Are Tanaka Chainsaws any good? How do they compare to other chainsaw brands?
Tanaka saws are less popular and less well-known now than they have been in previous times, but they still have many fans out there.
They are difficult to find in the US these days but are more common in other parts of the world. There are plenty for sale in parts of Europe, for example.
If you’re considering buying a Tanaka chainsaw, here’s a bit more info to help you make a decision.
Tanaka Chainsaw Pros:
- Well established company
- Makes decent saws up to 50cc
- Well priced – affordable
- Durable and hard-wearing
- Easy to start and use
Tanaka Chainsaw Cons:
- Nothing above 50cc
- Fewer parts and support are available
- Not as trusted or reliable as the likes of Stihl and Husky
- Only gas-powered models (for those wanting battery or electric)
Tanaka saws are not the cheapest chainsaws on the market by any means.
Just take a look at the Amazon bestselling chainsaw list for examples of much cheaper saws. Tanaka brand chainsaws are not the cheapest because they offer much more than bottom-of-the-barrel chainsaws.
Their manufacturing is on a higher level, the features are right up there, and the ease of use is good. They are comfortable saws to use, well-balanced, and powerful.
If you look at the wide range of second-hand Tanaka chainsaws for sale on eBay, you will see there are many very old, well-used saws that are still going strong.
Here’s an idea of what’s available on eBay at the time of writing:
- Used Tanaka Pro Force 12″ – a small top handle chainsaw
- Brand new Tanaka TCS40EA18 – a 40cc chainsaw with 18″ bar
- Brand new Tanaka TCS51EAP – a 50.1cc chainsaw with 20″ bar
And there are many, many more, both used and brand new Tanaka chainsaws, as well as all the parts you might ever need.
We’ll take a closer look at the TSC51EAP
1. Tanaka TCS51EAP Review
The Tanaka TCS51EAP is one of the most popular Tanaka chainsaws.
It is a 50.1cc chainsaw, similar to my Husqvarna 450. It has a commercial-grade purifier engine which ‘provides clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption.’ Most modern chainsaws say this though!
- Decompression valve for easier starting
- Primer bulb and auto return choke
- Automatic, adjustable oiler so user can control oil flow to the bar and chain
- Bumper spikes were installed for added control and easier cuts
It comes with a 20-inch bar and chain, but there is sometimes the option to grab a 16 or 18-inch one instead. If you’re only going to be using it around the home, this could be better.
It is marketed as a ‘commercial’ chainsaw, which presumably means it could be used as a forestry or loggers chainsaw.
However, in my opinion, you would be better going with a Husqvarna, Stihl, or even one of the more powerful ECHO chainsaws such as the ECHO CS 590 (a very popular saw).
This saw is great as a homeowner or farm use chainsaw, but it would struggle to go all day every day, even though it has the ‘PureFire Engine.’
2. Tanaka TCS33EDTP Review
The Tanaka TCS33EDTP is another popular model from this brand.
It is a 32.2cc top handle chainsaw with Tanaka’s Pure Fire Engine. It comes with a 12-inch bar – the recommended size for the model.
The features are basically the same as the TCS51EAP listed above, it’s just a lower-powered saw.
The main difference besides this is that this one is a top-handled saw. This makes it good for arborists working in the trees and homeowners pruning trees and shrubs.
Tanaka Chainsaw Parts
Where is the best spot to find parts for Tanaka chainsaws?
First of all, I recommend you take a look at HL Supply.
They have one of the greatest ranges of chainsaw parts out there – especially if you’re after Husqvarna or Stihl chainsaw parts.
Just enter ‘Tanaka’ in the search box and it’ll come up with a bunch of compatible parts from spark plugs, bars, chains, and more.
If they don’t have what you need, here on eBay is the next best spot.
You will more than likely find what you need there, from entire Tanaka chainsaws available for parts to oil pumps, carburetors, and cases.
And, if even eBay doesn’t have what you want, I’ve found success in the various chainsaw Facebook groups. There’s always someone with an old saw lying around that can be used for parts!
Who Makes Tanaka Chainsaws?
As you might have guessed by the name, Tanaka is a Japanese company.
However, you can’t always reply on guesswork like that – if you also asked ‘where are ECHO chainsaws made‘ the answer is also Japan. However, the word ‘echo’ is decidedly not Japanese!
Anyhow, Tanaka was founded back in 1918 as an ironworks and began producing small engines in the 1950s. When it began this work, it was making engines for mopeds and motorcycles, rather than power tools.
Tanaka chainsaws first came onto the scene in the early 1970s with their first model the ECS-5 (37cc). They also began manufacturing other garden and home tools at this time as well.
Here are when the different chainsaw models originally came out:
- The ECS-405 and -505 chainsaws in 1981
- ECS-320 and -330 chainsaws in 1990
- ECS-3301 and -3351 chainsaws in 1996
- and the TCS-3401 chainsaw in 1998
Ownership of the company has changed hands multiple times over this period and it is currently owned by Hitachi Power Tools.
Tanaka Chainsaw FAQs
Who manufactures Tanaka chainsaws?
The Hitachi Power Tool Group owns the Tanaka Power Equipment brand and manufactures saws in China. They not only sell chainsaws but also other power tools like line-trimmers as well.
Where are Tanaka chainsaws made?
The Tanaka brand is mainly manufactured out of China, while offices are located in Japan.
Are Tanaka chainsaws good?
Overall, this company did produce good saws in the past. With proper care, they would last many years and were helpful homeowner chainsaws.
They were never on the same level as Stihl (if you’re wondering about Stihl Vs Tanaka), but they were a decent saw in its price range.
If you come across a second-hand model for a good price and you know how to check if it is still running well, don’t be afraid to grab it. They make for good pruning and light clearing saws and the more powerful models are good for firewood.
Tanaka Chainsaw Alternatives
For more reviews, just search Tanaka Chainsaw on Facebook and you’ll find a range of real feedback.
It can be a real mix bag.
Most people are perfectly happy with their Tanaka chainsaw, but if you read the Amazon reviews, others are less than impressed.
For the price, I would generally recommend getting a comparable Husky or another premium brand – even if it’s a good used model.
Good options include:
- Husqvarna 460 Rancher – a 60cc chainsaw
- Stihl MS271 Farm Boss – a 50cc chainsaw
- Dewalt 20V MAX XR chainsaw – a very popular battery-powered chainsaw
However, if you’ve had a Tanaka before and have been happy with the price and performance, there’s no reason not to jump in again. Let us know what your experience with Tanaka chainsaws has been like in the comments below.