You’ve used a chainsaw occasionally for small jobs around your home, but now you’re in the market for one that can handle a little more. The next step is a mid-range, all-purpose chainsaw with a cutting blade between 16 and 20 inches. It’s perfect for any homeowner who has some experience with light-duty chainsaws and now wants a bigger one.
Chainsaws with a 16-inch cutting bar are some of the most common home use chainsaws; therefore, they’re also the ones you see most often in stores. In fact, there are so many that shopping for one can be baffling. To help you, we reviewed many different brands and models of chainsaws with a 16-inch cutting bar. You need to see both sides to get a complete picture of an item, so we provide some of the good and the not-so-good qualities of the top eight that we recommend.
|Makita UC4051A 16" |
|Husqvarna 440 Rancher||4.50/5|
Best for the Money
|DEWALT DCCS670X1 ||4.25/5|
|Greenworks (20312)||4 years||4.15/5|
Some electric chainsaws can be difficult to start when you are wearing gloves. The Makita UC4051A 16″ comes with a large trigger switch that you can find easily, gloves or no gloves. The tool-less blade adjuster lets you adjust your chain no matter where you are when it gets loose. An appropriately tightened chain and a good grip on the rubberized handles will help you maintain control of this rather heavy chainsaw and give you a smoother cut.
For your safety, this chainsaw has a built-in chain brake to help keep you and others around you from getting injured in case of any kickback. There’s also a built-in current limiter that reduces the amount of power to the motor when it’s under a heavy load. This helps protect your engine from overheating.
This chainsaw has an automatic oiling system. The oil reservoir is large and has a window that allows you to check your oil levels effortlessly. It’s in an awkward place on the chainsaw, though, which makes pouring oil into it challenging.
The Husqvarna 440e Rancher has an X-Torq engine that lowers the amount of fuel needed to operate it. That means that a tank of gas will last longer. It also reduces the amount of gasoline emissions put out into the air. This Husky has an air injection centrifugal air cleaning system that filters out large particles before they reach the air filter. This keeps the filter from getting clogged up too fast.
The 440 Rancher has an automatic oiling system to keep the chain properly lubricated, and a chain brake to stop the chain immediately in an emergency. The side-mounted tensioning screw is supposed to make adjusting or replacing chains a breeze, but we didn’t find that to be true. It’s very hard to actually get a chain on the bar. It takes one pair of hands to hold the chain, and another to adjust the screw. The screw may be easy to get to, but it takes a lot to get it adjusted just right.
This Husky has a smart start starter that isn’t so smart. It’s supposed to start with one pull after the primer has been pumped. It doesn’t. This chainsaw is a beast to get started. Once you do get it running, you’ll have to rev the motor pretty much constantly for about five minutes until the engine gets warmed up. If you don’t keep the RPMs up, it will stall out, and you’ll have to start the process all over.
The WORX WG303.1 Powered Chain Saw 16″ has a 14.5 amp electric motor that can give any gas-powered chainsaw a run for its money. It has a low kickback bar to minimize accidents, and a chain brake to stop the chain immediately if it does kick.
This chainsaw is lightweight and has an automatic oiling system, as well as an auto-tension chain system for your convenience. The oil reservoir does leak, though. We believe part of the problem is that this chainsaw doesn’t take the same oil as standard chainsaws do. It requires a thinner oil.
The auto-tensioner is nice; however, it does get debris jammed in it. You’ll have to keep that area free from debris, or the tensioner stops working.
The DEWALT DCCS670X1 16″ Cordless Chainsaw Kit has a convenient automatic oiling system and tool-free tensioner adjustment capabilities. It’s lightweight and easy to use once you get used to where the trigger is. DEWALT puts the trigger in the same spot on all its power tools. That’s fine unless you’re a novice with chainsaws. The trigger location is different from a standard chainsaw’s.
The automatic oiling system keeps the chain well-lubricated at all times while it is being used. This means you can work without having to stop every so often to oil the chain. The tool-free tensioning adjuster allows you to make necessary adjustments no matter where you are.
This DEWALT saw has a low kickback bar, but if it does happen, there is a chain brake to stop the chain immediately.
One issue that seems to be recurring on DEWALT chainsaws is the washer that is used to hold the retaining bolt in place. It’s a cheap, small washer with a hole that’s too big for the bolt. This allows things to shift and become unbalanced.
The biggest issue with this chainsaw is that it’s battery-operated. It doesn’t have a whole lot of power, and the chain gets stuck often due to the lack of torque. The battery also only lasts about 30 minutes for heavy-duty use or 60 minutes for light use. If you have jobs that take longer than that, you’ll need to purchase a second battery, which is expensive.
The Greenworks 16-Inch Battery Chain Saw Kit (20312) has a brushless motor that will get the most out of the 40-volt lithium-ion battery. It will give you more torque and more power without vibration. This allows your battery to last longer and makes the saw more comfortable to use. It also has a chain brake to help keep you safe in case there is ever any kickback.
However, it leaks oil, and the chain comes loose easily, causing it to need frequent adjustment. The battery only lasts about an hour before it needs to be recharged. The only way to get around waiting for the two hours it takes to recharge is to purchase a second, expensive battery.
We had an issue with the saw skipping. The manual says that if it skips, you must power it down entirely and restart it. This doesn’t seem like a big deal since it only takes a few seconds, but the manual also has a long list of things that can potentially cause it to skip. You’ll waste a lot of time if it happens very often.
The Remington RM4216 16-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw has QuickStart technology to make starting it up a breeze. It features a low kickback bar for your safety, an anti-vibration system for your comfort, and an automatic oiling system for your convenience.
When we first opened this chainsaw, we noticed that the carrying case is very cheap. It will provide some protection for the saw, but know that it can get damaged quite easily.
It also leaks oil when not in use, so you’ll need to set it on something that can get oily if you’re taking a break, and empty the chamber before storing.
This chainsaw doesn’t have as much power as we thought it would. It will cut nicely through wood up to five inches in diameter, but anything more significant than that bogs the motor down and causes the chain to bind. The chain also dulls quickly, making cuts more challenging.
The Poulan Pro PR4016, 16-in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw has an automatic oiling system to keep your chain well-lubricated whenever it’s being used. It also has a tool-less tensioner that allows you to make any needed adjustments to this tool no matter where you are. It doesn’t have any bucking spikes to grip into wood, though.
This chainsaw has an anti-vibration system that’s designed to make you more comfortable and cause less fatigue. That’s great, but this saw is also often challenging to get started. Once you do get it running, you have to keep the RPMs revved up until the motor gets warm, or it stalls out. Another thing that wears you out quickly is that this particular chainsaw is more cumbersome than others of the same size.
The Earthwise CS33016 16-Inch Corded Chainsaw has a tool-less tensioner to make simple adjustments, and a plastic cover for the bar and chain. There’s an automatic oiling system to keep your chain well-lubricated during use. We found that it wasn’t consistent, though. One time it would put out a small amount of oil, and the next it wouldn’t work at all. You’ll need to keep an eye on the oil on your chain to keep it running effectively.
We found that it had trouble cutting through any wood more than one inch in diameter. It worked well on shrubs too, but don’t expect to be cutting up large trees or firewood.
We also found that it doesn’t take a whole lot for the chain to slip. It happens quite often. Upon inspection, we found that there is only internal peg that keeps it in place.
You know what size chainsaw you want, so let’s look at some features that you may want to consider and have included on the one you purchase.
If a chainsaw has a lot of vibration, you can get worn out quickly. Anti-vibration features lessen the amount of vibration, making it more comfortable to use and causing less fatigue.
Pull string starts can be a real pain and zap your energy before you even get started. Spring-assist starting requires less force behind your pulling to get your chainsaw started.
Automatic oilers are nice because they lubricate the chain while it’s being used, so you won’t have to remember to do it. Some are fully automatic, and you have no control over how much or how often the oil is released. Some have a push button so that the saw will be oiled only when you want.
The chain brake is designed to stop the chain immediately if there is any kind of quick movement or kickback from the chainsaw. Saws with this feature should stop automatically, but many will allow you to activate the brake manually too.
Low kickback bars:
Low kickback bars reduce the risk of the saw hitting something and being forced back and up toward you.
Tool-less chain adjustment:
Tool-less chain adjustment allows you to make quick and easy adjustments, no matter where you are when they’re needed.
A carrying case makes it easier to take your chainsaw with you wherever you go, but it will also protect the saw whenever it is not in use.
All power tools are dangerous and should be used with extreme caution. Chainsaws require some different safety protection that other power tools don’t.
Your legs are close to the chain. Wear cut-resistant pants or chaps to help protect your legs from flying debris.
A hard hat is especially needed if you’re working overhead, to protect yourself from falling branches.
Gloves will help give you a firmer grip and keep better control over the chainsaw. These should be cut-resistant too.
Things fly when a chainsaw is being used. Wear protective glasses that shield from the front and the sides, to help protect your eyes.
Chainsaws are loud. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs will help safeguard your future hearing.
You’re cutting up large and heavy pieces of wood. Always wear boots or shoes that have steel toes and non-skid soles.
Now that you have a list of features to look for in a chainsaw and the safety gear that is needed, here’s a list of the eight saws we thought you might like best out of all the ones we reviewed:
1. Makita UC4051A 16″ Electric Chain Saw – Top Pick
2. Husqvarna 440e Rancher – The Best 16-inch Gas Chainsaw
3. WORX WG303.1 Powered Chain Saw 16″ – Best for the Money
4. DEWALT DCCS670X1 16″ Cordless Chainsaw Kit
5. Greenworks 16-Inch Battery Chain Saw Kit (20312)
6. Remington RM4216 16-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw
7. Poulan Pro PR4016, 16 in. 40cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
8. Earthwise CS33016 16-Inch Corded Chainsaw
Hopefully, this information has helped you with the decisions you have to make and given you a picture of what you want. Now you just have to decide which saw is perfect for your needs.
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!