How to choose a chain saw: professional recommendations

Continuation of a series of works on construction tools. In previous articles, we dealt with screwdrivers and hammer drills, this time the main character will be a chain saw. Chainsaws were originally used for felling and sawing trees. But over time, they began to be used more and more often at different stages of construction. There are two separate classes of this unique instrument that do not compete, but rather complement each other – gasoline and electric. Then read about the features of a particular type of chain saws, the criteria for choosing a particular model..

The tool is compact, lightweight, the weight of the chainsaw is 4.4 kilograms. The controls are informative, they are located quite conveniently, the accelerator buttons are well “felt”, the regulating handle of the starter and the switch are combined into a single shift lever. The body has all kinds of corrugated images that help to navigate in various operations and control, which helped me a lot at first. The Oleo-Mac engineers are proud of the anti-vibration system they have used on this model. Three springs and rubber shock absorbers allow you to significantly reduce vibrations, so you can cut with good accuracy, which, in my opinion, is important for a construction site. Access to the air filter is easy – by unscrewing three screws, the filter itself is made of spongy material and is easy to clean. After changing the fuel or a long downtime, chainsaws usually do not start immediately, you have to suffer. This process is greatly facilitated by the suction function, which is available on the GS 35.

How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

2-stroke saw motor 39 cm3 – powerful enough, develops up to 2 hp (1.5 kW), there is no lack of torque. The gas tank and oil tank have a relatively decent volume – 0.35 and 0.26 liters, respectively, and their bodies are transparent, which makes it easy to control the level of liquids.

The saw is completed with a relatively small bar (35 cm long), which is enough for my purposes. However, it should be noted that if European manufacturers offer the smallest tire possible, then the Chinese are trying to make a lasting impression on the potential buyer and put the longest saw headset, without worrying about the balance of power / cutting capabilities.

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How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

I have had some problems with this chainsaw, which are most likely due to the inexperience of the operator. At first, the engine stopped holding speed, the reason was a clogged fuel filter. The second problem is the breakdown of the starter, popularly called “shmorgalka”. The service said that it was wrong to start, but perhaps the fact is that it happened in a frost of -15 ° C, and the plastic became unnecessarily fragile. At first, I was a little strained by the fact that the fuel mixture should be used within two weeks – then drain, several times a day you need to clean the air filter, constantly clean the cylinder body from oiled sawdust and the lubrication channels of the working tire. But these are general features of the operation of chainsaws, you quickly get used to them. Now Oleo-Mac GS 35 makes me happy, we found a common language. A great option for a builder at a price slightly above $ 200.

Gardena CST 3518

Gardena CST 3518 is our first electric assistant. It is a high-torque silent unit that embodies the characteristics of a chainsaw and the convenience of an electric tool. The powerful 1800 W motor copes with its task perfectly, there was no need to overheat the motor. The developers positioned it transversely, but the saw is well balanced in weight, there is no straining hand to fall on one side – the scourge of a tool with such a layout. By the way, the curb weight of the CST 3518 is 5.5 kilograms, compare with 4.4 kilograms of the gasoline Oleo-Mac GS 35, however, no serious problem was noticed – the work of the chain saw at the construction site is periodic.

How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

The body of this compact saw has a very ergonomic shape, the controls are comfortable and functional, everything, as they say, is in its place. The materials from which Gardena is made seem to be of the highest quality (at least for outdoor use). The plastic is elastic and pleasant to the touch, there is a metal stop and a bracket for the handle, an oil reservoir (with a volume of 0.18 liters) – transparent, has a convenient plug. In general, the Germans paid serious attention to the appearance and design, the saw is beautiful, you want to take it in your hands.

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How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

The manual chain tensioner in the form of two plastic nuts deserves special attention, which allow you to quickly perform the corresponding operation without additional tools. An interesting option that somehow got accustomed only to power saws. Let’s just say you need to get used to it. To prevent the chain from loosening during operation, you should very clearly wind it behind the sprocket. I am personally impressed by the reliable traditional version with a key and a screwdriver.

About the cutting part. The Germans were not surprised and put on this model a 35 cm tire with a 3/8 “chain and a link thickness of 1.3 mm. In short, we have a good balance between travel speed and chain characteristics, engine power and tire performance. You don’t need to push anywhere, the tool cuts itself.

How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

The Gardena CST 3518 chain saw belongs to the household class, but it has a set of “lotions” typical for a professional tool. In the asset: excellent working, fast inertia brake, chain catcher, automatic chain oil supply, thermal relay that protects the engine from overload. The saw is comfortable, functional, reliable – it definitely costs its money ($ 150). She has been with us for four years. True, there was one problem – one detail went out of order (it seems, it is called PSh), repairs in the native service pulled $ 15, now everything is in order.

Matrix EK2400

Once in one large construction supermarket I decided to play the lottery – I bought a Matrix EK2400 saw at a sale for $ 80. It seems like a product of a poorly promoted German brand, assembled, of course, in China. In terms of quality, everything turned out to be quite worthy, many times better than the new “pseudo-Russian” brands. The engine is located longitudinally. The declared power is 2400 W, however, it somehow does not look like it, there are not noticeable differences in performance from Gardena (1.8 kW), and its weight is less – 4.7 kg. This indicates that the developers, most likely, were cheating a little. The saw is quite comfortable due to the longitudinal arrangement, the balance is good. There is a sensitive motor brake and an inertial chain brake. The tire lubrication is automatic, but the channel is often clogged. According to the manufacturer, the motor winding is made with double protective insulation, which provides additional reliability. The 40cm Oregon tire is paired with a 3/8 ” chain – standard. The manual tensioner, as on the CST 3518, does not require additional tools, but it is very capricious. It is difficult to adjust the chain tension with it, although it should be quite the opposite..

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How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

For two years of operation, it was also necessary to replace the “licked” PSh gear. Everything else works, though noisy, but without interruption. There are no problems expected from a product from China. Let’s see what will happen next, in general, for infrequent use in the garden and on a construction site, it is quite an interesting option.

How to choose a chain saw. Professional recommendations

The gained practical experience made it possible to formulate some methods and principles for choosing a chain saw, especially from the perspective of “gasoline or electric”. I bring them to your attention:

  1. For active construction, it is better to have both a gasoline and an electric chain saw.
  2. Chainsaws are much more efficient with the same power. They should be used for extensive continuous work in open spaces. They are irreplaceable in the absence of power grids nearby.
  3. The electric saw is suitable for periodically performed operations on a construction site, as well as for not too intensive work on the site. They have no alternative indoors. They are much cheaper and much easier to operate..
  4. First you need to decide on the manufacturer – it should be a company with a reputation that provides service in the area of ​​your residence and uninterrupted supply of spare parts and the correct consumables.
  5. You should not buy a too powerful model of a chainsaw, since operation at partial speed, without load, is great harm to all systems of the tool – that is, it is necessary to determine in advance the specifics of the proposed work. Electric saw – the more powerful the better.
  6. The best option for construction is the “farmer”, a model of the middle class with elements inherent in professional chainsaws..
  7. The saw should “lie in the hand”, be comfortable for a particular performer.
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