What chainsaw do loggers use?
Once a month I go into a nearby prison to meet up with and support prisoners. The last time I went in, I ended up speaking with a man who had been a professional logger all his life. Ironically, years earlier he had even cleared large trees to make way for that very prison to be built!
Anyway, we spent the best part of an hour just talking about his life at the end of a saw.
He had been felling trees for decades and was a true chainsaw expert. Not only was he an expert logger, but he was also big into milling, chainsaw carving, and everything and anything else chainsaw-related.
The last question I asked him was, ‘what was your favorite chainsaw and what is the best logging chainsaw?’.
What do you think his answer was?
If you’re looking for a light work saw, check out our best chainsaws for homeowners here.
Husqvarna 460R Gas Chainsaw
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher is a very good chainsaw for a range of applications, from processing firewood to clearing land.
Husqvarna states that is good for “heavy clean-up through to use as a professional bucking chainsaw.” It is part of their Farm and Ranch series.
It is a 60cc chainsaw with plenty of power and is usually sold with a 24-inch bar. This is an excellent choice for regular chainsaw users.
Best Logging Chainsaw
When I asked this man what his favorite saw for logging was, I was a bit surprised to hear that he didn’t have a preference!
I was expecting him to tell me that Stihl was the best brand, but he said as long as the saw had a sharp chain he’d go to work with it. Don’t get me wrong, he did say Stihl and Husqvarna were good saws, but he also said he’d used Echo saws quite a bit and that they were decent.
The point was that there isn’t just one good saw for logging work. There is a range of saws that can go all day and have the power to get the job done.
Ultimately, there are some chainsaws brands that are much better than others. You don’t want to go out felling trees with a cheap Chinese battery-powered chainsaw, of course.
However, you just need to use some common sense as to which would be best for your particular application.
The more you spend the better your saw will be, and it depends on the type of work you’re going to be doing. I included a video above from the awesome Guilty of Treeson YouTube channel which has a ton of great advice.
Here are our top picks for the best logging chainsaw, but if you know anything about the chainsaw community, others will have a much different list!
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Stihl Pro Chainsaws
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Makita Gas Chainsaws
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Here is some more information about each of these brands and their top-end chainsaws.
Stihl 500i Chainsaw
The Stihl 500i is generally seen as the ultimate logging chainsaw.
It is Stihl’s top-of-the-line professional chainsaw and has been designed and built especially for the logging industry and professional arborists.
As you’d expect, this great machine is not cheap! It is one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, chainsaw on the market. However, you can’t really buy any better, so it’s worth it!
It can be purchased with anything from a 16-inch bar to a 32-inch bar, but much larger bars can be bought and fitted separately.
The 500i is special because it is the world’s first chain saw with electronically controlled fuel injection.
This basically just means it’s a higher-performance machine that works more efficiently. Sensors measure air pressure and internal and external temperature to provide optimum fuel quantity and ignition timing.
The 500i also has the full range of other excellent features and top market specs, including:
- STIHL 2-MIX engine – saves fuel and reduces emissions
- HD2 filter with radial seal – prevents intake of fine dust particles
- Decompression valve – to more easily start the engine
- STIHL ElastoStart – for smooth even starting
- Side-mounted chain tensioning – easier and safer chain tightening
- STIHL anti-vibration system – for smoother easier use
- New oil pump system – perfectly delivers chain bar oil to longer bars
- Power-to-weight ratio – the most power delivered for such a low weight
- Sensor-controlled fuel metering – for optimum fuel delivery
- Plunge guide – for better control when plunging
This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything the Stihl 500i offers, but it gives you a taste. It’s the best of the best and you won’t find another saw quite like it.
Husqvarna XP Series Chainsaws
Rather than selecting out a single saw here, any of the Husqvarna XP chainsaws are suitable for logging, though the top end of the range is best.
The XP series is Husqvarnas’s professional range of chainsaws, and they range in price from $529.99 for the 543 XP (43cc) all the way to $1,849.99 for the 3120 XP (118cc).
XP stands for Extra Performance and they are designed with:
- greater horsepower
- better power-to-weight ratio
- faster acceleration
- higher RPM
- special power band optimized for skilled users
Not only do loggers use these saws, but other professional tree workers as well. They are popular saws among arborists, farmers, millers, and other forestry workers.
The Husqvarna 3120 XP (pictured above) is the company’s largest chainsaw and one of the most powerful in the world. It’s designed for professional logging, milling, and stumpwork.
It can be used effectively with up to a 6-foot bar (72-inches).
Professional Stihl Chainsaws
Besides the 500i, there are many, many other Stihl chainsaws suitable for logging.
Some recommended models include:
- MS 362, MS 362 C-M, or MS 362 R C-M
- MS 462 C-M or MS 462 R C-M
- MS 661 C-M Magnum or MS 661 R C-M Magnum
- MS 880 Magnum
The MS 880 Magnum (pictured above) is a fantastic logging chainsaw, but might be more than most people need or want. It’s for felling and bucking large diameter trees. The lower-spec models are excellent as well.
The MS 880 features:
- the most power of any STIHL professional chainsaw
- great power-to-weight ratio
- precision-balanced with excellent handling and reliability
- 23% increase in engine power over the likes of the heavy-duty MS 660
- takes guide bars up to 59 inches in length (and can be purchased with them this large)
- available with or without wrap-around handles
There are many in the logging and chainsaw community who think that if you don’t have a Stihl, you don’t have a chainsaw. It’s not totally true but there’s something to it!
Echo CS-7310P Chainsaw
Echo is another chainsaw brand that is suitable for heavy-duty use.
The brand is Japanese-owned, but most ECHO products, including their chainsaws, are made in America from foreign and domestic parts and components (at least, Echo products sold in the US).
The CS-7310P Chainsaw (pictured above) is one of ECHO’s most powerful chainsaws in North America. It has everything that arborists and loggers need to take down trees.
The CS-7310P is said to be suitable for both felling and firewood processing. It’s powerful, durable, and able to run for long periods of time.
- a 73.5 cc commercial-grade engine
- decompression valve for easier starting
- better air cleaner system than other models
- 3-point spring vibration reduction system
- optional settings for winter use
The Echo CS-800P is another powerful saw from this company that can take up to a 36″ guide bar. The CS-800P has an 80.7 cc professional-grade engine, so it’s a little more powerful than the CS-7310P.
Jonsered CS2255 Chainsaw
Lastly, we have this Jonsered model as an option for a professional logging chainsaw.
We’re not under any illusions that somebody would use this full-time as a chainsaw for felling or bucking! This unit has the power to do it, but the reality is most pro-chainsaw users choose Husky or Stihl.
Nevertheless, for those farmers and ranchers who need a powerful saw that could be used in forestry, this is another option.
The CS2255 is one of Jonsered’s most powerful saws featuring:
- clean power engine design for better fuel efficiency and fewer emissions
- turbo intake air cleaning system for better air filter protection
- anti-vibration technology for easier use over the long term
- spin start for easier starting and less resistance
- inertia activated chain brake for greater safety
This saw is a 55cc model that is sold with a 20-inch bar (and only recommended with this same max. bar length).
Jonsered chainsaws are actually owned by Husqvarna and share many of the same features. They are mostly manufactured and assembled in Sweden, the home of Husky!
Best Loggers Chainsaw
While we’ve mentioned another couple of chainsaw brands here, it’s safe to say the majority of loggers use Stihl saws, and the rest use Husqvarna.
These two brands have the best reputation for quality, hardworking, powerful chainsaws for professional use. They have been put to the test on millions of trees over the decades, and have come out on top.
We would recommend going with either of these chainsaw companies.
I personally own saws from both brands and don’t necessarily prefer Stihl over Husky saws. It would depend on pricing and availability on the day as to which saw I would buy.
Here are some other good chainsaws for hard work:
- Makita gas chainsaws – they have chainsaws up to 79cc that are much cheaper than Stihl or Husky
- The Husqvarna T435 – another good chainsaw for arborists
- The Husqvarna 592XP – to be released early 2022
Weigh up what you will be using the saw for:
- What are you using it for? Are you a logger, a farmer, or a small home user?
- What will be the greatest diameter trees you will be cutting? Under or over 36″ can make a difference as to which you will choose.
- How often will the saw be used? If you have one huge tree to cut down, you don’t necessarily need the absolute best chainsaw.
- What is your budget? Obviously, you can’t spend more than you have. It might simply be a case of getting the best saw for your money.
Answering these questions should help you to decide what is the best logging chainsaw for you.
Lastly, if you’re only doing work close to home, consider these top electric chainsaws – personally, I prefer gas chainsaws any day, but electric do sometimes have their place (just not very often, right?)!