Chainsaws can be a wood carvers best friend, where passion meets power! If you’re searching for the ideal tool to turn raw timber into intricate sculptures, you’ve come to the right place.
This article is dedicated to helping you find the perfect chainsaw for your wood carving projects, whether you’re a seasoned professional or a budding enthusiast. Read on and let us assist you in making an informed decision that will elevate your craft to new heights.
Some Important Notes Before We Begin
The best chainsaws for wood carving should be lightweight and easy to work with, have enough power to tackle all your chainsaw carving projects and produce little to no vibrations and kickbacks.
Notice we said enough power, not the most amount of power. Indeed, when it comes to wood carving, chainsaws with an extreme amount of power are unnecessary and can be extremely dangerous, so they’re best avoided.
If you plan on buying only one chainsaw, we recommend focusing on models with short to medium in length bar noses so you can make those awkward cuts more easily and with more precision.
With the right carve bar, a shorter nose will also allow you to carve more detailed contours.
Of course, longer bar noses also have their place in carving, and they’re ideal for making rough and deep cuts and working on larger workpieces.
Below you’ll find some of the best wood carving chainsaws on the market. Each unit has been assessed based on its power, safety features, and maneuverability.
The Best Chainsaws for Carving
1. The Best Battery-Operated Chainsaw: Husqvarna 120i
The Husqvarna 120i is our pick for the best wood carving chainsaw. It is an excellent heavy-duty cordless chainsaw that can easily bore into the wood with very little kickback.
This battery-powered chainsaw weighs just over 6 pounds. It’s easy to maneuver, while its power-conserving Save Mode ensures you won’t run out of battery quickly.
This being said, the battery life could be better. It lasts about 50 to 60 minutes, depending on how strenuous your cuts are, and takes about two hours to recharge fully. We recommend getting an extra battery so you can replace it after the first one dies.
The Husqvarna 120i has an ergonomic design and low vibrations, so working with it for extended periods – or however long the battery allows you– is comfortable and easy. We also like the intuitive keypad that makes it simple to operate.
For beginner carvers, we highly recommend purchasing a carving bar. But even without the carving bar, the 120i does a great job carving tree stumps. It’s good at making rough, large cuts, even when you’re going with the grain, and it’s surprisingly good at detail work, too.
Remember, if you plan on using it without the carving bar (not recommended for beginners!), it’s best to angle it instead of using the tip because of potential kickback.
A simple chain tension switch loosens or tightens the chain, allowing you to make quick adjustments while working with the chainsaw.
- 40V Li-Ion battery
- Brushless motor
- 14” bar length
- Intertia-activated chain brake
- Guide bar
- LED power indicator
- Weighs 6 pounds
- Lightweight and cordless, easy to maneuver
- Intuitive design, easy to use
- Low vibration technology
- Relatively short battery life
2. Best Gas Chainsaw: Eco CS-271T
Small but mighty, the Echo CS-271T is one of the best gas-powered wood carving chainsaws on the market.
It has a 26.9 cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine, so if you’re after power, you’ve found it. While we’d prefer a bit larger tank capacity, at 8.1 oz. it is perfectly decent. Besides, the saw would be bigger and heavier if the fuel tank were larger.
The CS-271T has a 12-inch carve bar, so it’s quite versatile – great for both larger cuts and detailing work. Of course, it’s not ideal for bulk cuts and carving very large tree stumps due to its size, but overall, it’s quite a versatile little gas powered chainsaw.
The Echo has an anti-vibration handle to reduce vibrations, so it is extremely low vibration despite being powerful. At 6.6 pounds, it’s also lightweight and easy to hold for long periods.
And since this is a powerful chainsaw, you get a throttle lockout on the handle for emergencies.
Overall, it’s a great small chainsaw for carving that has lots of power for its size. Ideal for most carving jobs, but especially detailing.
- 26.9 cc motor
- 8.1 oz fuel tank
- 12” bar
- Inertia-type chain brake
- Anti-vibration handle
- Rear-mounted air filter
- Weighs 6.6 pounds
- Compact and lightweight, easy to maneuver
- Lots of power for its size
- Versatile, but ideal for detailing
- Fuel tank capacity is on the smaller side
3. Best Electric Chainsaw for Large Workpieces: Oregon CS1500
If you’re looking for a powerful but affordable electric chainsaw for wood carving, the Oregon CS1500 is a great option.
It has a 15 amp instant-start motor and an 18-inch bar, so it’s ideal for carving large trees and making deeper cuts. It’s easy to start, and the guide bar helps reduce kickback, making it a decent choice for beginners. We’re also big fans of the budget-friendly price.
However, this is one of the heavier models in this guide. It’s lighter than most average gas-powered chainsaws, yes, but it’s on the heavier side for a full corded chainsaw unit. On the plus side, it’s pretty quiet, with zero emissions.
The self-sharpening feature sets the CS1500 apart from its competition, which allows the saw to sharpen itself without chain removal in about five seconds. We also like the tool-free tensioning system.
However, we have noticed that several customers mentioned that the chain is prone to coming off unless extremely tight. Another common complaint among users is that the chainsaw uses a lot of oil.
These are small compromises for the powerful performance, ease of use, and budget-friendly price. Remember, this is a good chainsaw for rough, large cuts and generally bigger workpieces; it’s definitely not recommended for detailing.
- Key Features
- 15 amp motor
- 18” bar
- Self-sharpening system
- Tool-less tensioning system
- Automatic oiling
- Guide bar and chain brake
- Weighs 12.6 pounds
- Plenty of engine power, great for larger workpieces and deeper cuts
- The self-sharpening feature keeps the saw sharp
- Great value for money unit
- Heavy for an electric chainsaw
- Uses a lot of oil
4. Best Cordless Precision Chainsaw: Black+Decker 20V MAX*LCS1020
Lightweight and compact, with a short bar, the Black+Decker 20V MAX* is an excellent chainsaw for smooth, fast cuts and detailing work.
It has a wrap-around handle that provides controlled horizontal and vertical cutting and barely vibrates. It’s perfect for detailing work, but it’s best to get a bar with a smaller nose radius if you want to make ultra-precise cuts.
Its tool-free chain tensioning system makes quick adjustments while carving without using additional tools. While this unit doesn’t auto-oil, it has a simple built-in oil system, so keeping the chain and bar well-lubricated is extremely easy.
The thing that makes the Black+Decker LCS1020 so attractive for detail carving – its battery-powered design – also makes it a little annoying to work with for extended periods. The 20V battery provides only around 20 minutes of runtime, so if you plan on using it for longer carving sessions, we highly recommend getting a couple of spare batteries.
Plus, you don’t have to bother mixing gas and oil.
- 20V Li-Ion battery
- 10” bar
- Tool-free tensioning system
- Wrap-around handle
- Built-in oiling system
- Weighs 6.8 pounds
- Lightweight and cordless, so easy operate
- Great for detailing jobs
- Very little vibration
- Short battery life
5. Best Budget Chainsaw: WORX WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw
If you’re just getting into chainsaw wood carving and are looking for an affordable but versatile saw, check out WORX WG303.1.
Compact and not too heavy (11 pounds), this electric model is easy to work with for shorter periods, but as you can imagine, it’s not the most comfortable to hold for extended periods.
It comes with a 16-inch bar and is made to work with carving bars, which we recommend getting if you plan on using the saw for detailing.
The WG305.1. has an easy-to-use chain tensioning knob, which helps keep the chain at the best tension without any tools.
With a 14.5 amp motor, this powerful chainsaw starts instantly and provides consistent performance.
No, it’s not as powerful as a gas-powered unit, but it’s powerful enough for most wood carving jobs.
It’s also quite versatile and can handle small, medium, and large workpieces, but it’s not suitable for detailing jobs (unless you get a carving bar).
While this budget-friendly wood carving chainsaw doesn’t have a LED oil-level indicator, it does have a simple indicator window that lets you see when the saw needs a refill.
One of the more common complaints about the WG303.1 has to do with its 14-inch cord, as it can make maneuvering the saw more challenging.
Of course, a corded chainsaw does have its advantages (no emissions, no mixing oil, no worrying about batteries), so we wouldn’t consider this a con per se, just something to keep in mind.
Some users have also mentioned that it can leak oil when sitting flat, so it’s best to drain it before storage to avoid oil puddles.
- 14.5 amp motor
- 16” bar
- Chain brake
- Chain tensioning knob
- Oil-level indicator window
- Weighs 6.6 pounds
- Front and rear handle
- Budget-friendly price, a lot of bang for your buck
- Plenty of power for most carving jobs
- Easy and comfortable to work with
- Leaks oil if not drained before storage
- Requires frequent chain tightening
How We Chose Our Picks
A good chainsaw for carving should have enough engine power to help you sculpt whatever project you’re working on. And that’s the thing – how much power your chainsaw should have depends on your project(s).
Small to medium-sized sculptures don’t require ultra-deep cuts but may need lots of detailing, so you want less powerful chainsaws. Large workpieces, on the other hand, typically require more powerful models.
We included highly powerful and low-power models to give you the best chainsaws for carving.
You’ll also find all types of chainsaws in this guide: gas, electric, and battery.
Comfort and Ease of Use
Chainsaw wood carving can be tough on your hands and arms, so you want one that isn’t too cumbersome or complex.
We focused on lightweight chainsaws (between 6 and 12 pounds) with ergonomic designs that should allow you to carve comfortably and safely.
When chainsaw carving, the goal is always to remain focused on carving and not the chainsaw.
Chainsaw carving is inherently dangerous, so getting a chainsaw equipped with important safety features and wearing protective clothing and gear while working is absolutely essential.
We ensured that each pick in this article has a clearly marked on/off switch, a front-hand guard and a chain brake. We also paid special attention to anti-kickback and anti-vibration features.