What is the Best Limbing Chainsaw For Arborists? (2024)

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I believe that when it comes to limbing branches, it might not seem as intimidating as some of the larger tasks you encounter in your backyard. But, it’s essential to realize that choosing the right limbing chainsaw can significantly impact the efficiency and cleanliness of your cutting experience.

To make sure your new saw is worth every penny, I’ve taken the time to review and compare the best limbing chainsaws to help you make a decision.

Premium Option
Husqvarna 120 Mark II
Editor’s Choice
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020
Budget Option
GreenWorks ‎20262
Husqvarna 120 Mark II
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020
GreenWorks ‎20262
• Type: Gas-Powered Chainsaw
• Easy Tensioning System
• Quick Adjustments
• Bar and Chain: 16 inches
• Built-in Safety Chain Brake
• Type: Battery-Powered Chainsaws
• Tool-free Blade Tensioning System
• Lightweight Design
• Low-Kickback Bar and Chain
• Comfortable Grip
• Type: Electric Saw
• Low-Kickback Chain & Hand Guard
• Automatic Chain Oiling System
• Cuts Per Charge: 65 (4x4 wood)
• Power Voltage: 40V
Premium Option
Husqvarna 120 Mark II
Husqvarna 120 Mark II
• Type: Gas-Powered Chainsaw
• Easy Tensioning System
• Quick Adjustments
• Bar and Chain: 16 inches
• Built-in Safety Chain Brake
Editor’s Choice
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020
• Type: Battery-Powered Chainsaws
• Tool-free Blade Tensioning System
• Lightweight Design
• Low-Kickback Bar and Chain
• Comfortable Grip
Budget Option
GreenWorks ‎20262
GreenWorks ‎20262
• Type: Electric Saw
• Low-Kickback Chain & Hand Guard
• Automatic Chain Oiling System
• Cuts Per Charge: 65 (4x4 wood)
• Power Voltage: 40V

Reviews of the Top Limbing Chainsaws

1. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

Despite not being a gas-powered chainsaw, BLACK+DECKER LCS1020’s 20V battery system allows the tool to deliver extensive battery life and runtime. Using this chainsaw for trimming tree limbs, I found the anti-vibration handle to be a real asset for make precise and controlled cuts with ease.

It may be a lightweight saw, but its electric motors and Oregon bar chain offer enough power to handle the frequent tree limb removals. Plus, the well-balanced weight distribution made cutting high tree branches a straightforward task.

You’ll also have no problem setting the correct tension because this limbing chainsaw has a reliable tensioning system without the need for other tools. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Husqvarna 120 Mark II

If you need to cut thick branches, a gas chainsaw like Husqvarna 120 Mark II gets the job done in a pinch. With a 16-inch bar length and 1.8 HP of power, it allows for uninterrupted cutting sessions.

What surprised me is that despite being a gas chainsaw, this Husqvarna model isn’t as heavy as some others on the market. Its dry weight is only around 4.22 lbs, and when you factor in the bar and chain, it comes in at 13.4 lbs.

And unlike most gas-powered models, this Husqvarna limbing chainsaw features an air-purge system that gets the engine going in a few pulls. I’ve found this to be a handy feature that has saved me some time when gearing up for cutting tasks.

(Other options? Look at these 16-inch chainsaws here!)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. GreenWorks ‎20262

Another electric limbing chainsaw you can consider when you’re on a tight budget is GreenWorks ‎20262. Although it’s a battery-powered tool, its 40V battery system can deliver power similar to gas-powered models.

Besides its impressive electric power, I also noticed that this saw comes with a durable 12-inch bar and chain. With this size, you can expect clean cuts on tough tree limbs without much trouble.

One feature that stands out to me is its 3/8-inch chain pitch, which ensures accurate cutting and reduces kickback. Overall, I consider it one of the best limbing chainsaws in its category. Alternatively, you may want to explore the Greenworks 12-inch 40V chainsaw. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. Worx WG323

In most tree limbing tasks where you need to reach high above the ground, having the Worx WG323 with its 12-foot extension pole is quite reassuring. Powered by a 20V battery system, it keeps going for extended periods with ample power to handle challenging limbs on tall trees.

What really caught my attention, though, is the unit’s auto-chain oiling system. This feature keeps the chain and bar well-lubricated, ensuring that the cutting operation maintains its optimal performance over time.

And when it comes to adjusting the tension for cutting limbs, it’s a straightforward process thanks to its quick-adjustment tensioning system. It’s a small detail, but it makes a significant difference in the overall usability of this tool.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. CRAFTSMAN CMCCS620M1

When I encounter tight spaces during branch cutting, I tend to lean towards compact chainsaws like the CRAFTSMAN CMCCS620M1. With its 12-inch chain and bar size, it makes quick work of cutting down tree branches and wood pieces around 10 inches thick. 

Although this electric chainsaw relies on battery power, I managed to execute approximately 60 cuts during the hands-on tests. Its power and lightweight construction also helped a lot when I tackled sawing a 4×4 pressure-treated pine wood.  

On top of that, it features tool-free tensioning, so I was able to adjust the saw easily for accurate and level cutting. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. ECHO OPE 24-Inch Gas Chainsaw

With light gas chainsaws like the ECHO OPE B00286WTTY, you can enjoy a combination of significant power and reduced weight. Despite only weighing 6.42 lbs, this saw houses a 14-inch bar that makes cutting 13-inch tree branches the easiest job in the world. 

And thanks to its dual 30.5 cc engines, my first-hand experience with this saw involved very few hiccups when ripping through fallen tree logs.

You don’t need to worry about motor vibrations as well. The firm wrap-around handle ensures minimal shaking during usage. It’s also aided with an auto-oiler system to keep the saw lubricated and cutting operation smoother. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. WORX WG303.1

Getting small and budget-friendly saw like WORX WG303.1 should fulfill your needs if you intend to delimb a small tree around the yard. Besides being affordable, this chainsaw runs at 12 m/s, which gets the job done faster than you think. 

You might come across a mix of chainsaw reviews about this tool, but from my perspective, its effectiveness depends on where you intend to use it. Given that it has a power output of 14.5 Amps, the chainsaw is quite capable of handling both vertical and horizontal cutting. 

I also liked the built-in chain brake, as it prevents accidental cutting during usage. 

See Also: Oregon CS1500 Review

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Limbing Chainsaw Buyer's Guide

Chain and Bar Length

When looking for the best limbing chainsaw, I’d strongly recommend taking a close look at the unit’s bar and chain length. These specifications play a crucial role in determining how effectively you can cut through thicker materials

Adjustable Tension

One thing to keep in mind is the importance of having easy-to-use chain tension on your chainsaw. This feature will help you to set the right angle to get accurate cuts during usage without wasting time. 

You’ll notice in my chainsaw recommendations that many models come with toolless chain tensioning. This means that you don’t need a wrench or any external tool to adjust the tool’s chain. 

Oiling Mechanism

If your saw has an oiling system, it will always keep your chain properly lubricated [1]. In return, this feature will maintain smoothness on the chainsaw components and prevent rough cuts. 

On top of that, keeping the chainsaw lubricated also extends the machine’s life. It prevents the saw’s component from wearing because of frequent usage. 

Comfort and Ease of Use

Comfort while using a chainsaw often boils down to its weight. When it comes to limbing, mobility is key. So, prioritizing a model with adequate cutting capacity and lower weight is crucial.

If possible, I also recommend considering tools with anti-vibration handles. They provide better user control and help prevent inaccurate cuts.

Size and Weight

As previously stated, your chainsaw’s size and weight heavily affect your cutting experience. Although cordless models are easier to carry and wield than gas alternatives, it’s important to note that these options can have shorter lengths and less powerful engines. 

To figure out what you need, just take a moment to think about the thickness of the branches you’ll be dealing with. Also, consider your own skill level and physical strength to decide whether you’re ready to handle a heavy-duty tool.

Portability

For newcomers or hobbyists, opting for a portable chainsaw is essential. . You’ll likely be tackling numerous branches, so a portable tool that’s easy to carry around and handle can make your work much more manageable.

Gas or Electric?

As I’ve mentioned in this chainsaw review, gas models are more powerful than electric units. However, it doesn’t mean that the latter can’t handle tough jobs. 

On top of that, gasoline-powered saws require more maintenance and can be heavier than their electric alternatives.

So unless you’re cutting bigger limbs, using cordless chainsaws is still more efficient for these jobs. 

Corded or Battery Type?

The very obvious disadvantage of corded tools is you always have to connect them to electric outlets. 

If you have enough money to spare, you could invest in extension cords to still have the mobility you need. However, it doesn’t change the fact that you must maneuver around the tool’s cord during usage. 

On the other hand, battery-operated chainsaws don’t have this problem. Given that they’re cordless, you can carry them around without minding any electric cord. However, carrying extra batteries is highly recommended because their runtime relies on battery levels, not fuel. 

What Does it Mean to Limb a Tree?

Limbing a tree is essentially the process of removing its branches. This task can be performed on a standing tree or a fallen one.

In places like California, limbing is often done to reduce the risk of forest fires. On the other hand, removing limbs is also a great way to gather logs to burn or clear the area to make way for electric lines. 

Risks of Limbing Trees

If you’re clearing limbs for electrical wiring, it’s essential to exercise extra caution. Limbs and branches can conduct electricity, so disposing of them carelessly is not advisable.

How Do Limbing Chainsaws Work?

As you start cutting, your tool’s chain will move along the bar with the help of the engine housed in the tool’s powerhead. Chainsaws with shorter bars are lighter and more maneuverable in tight or elevated spaces.

When delimbing a fallen tree, be aware that it can pose more danger than you might think. If you don’t put your 100% focus during the cut, you may accidentally remove the limb or branch that’s supporting the entire thing. This could result in the tree rolling over and causing unforeseen accidents.

FAQ

Can a 10-inch chainsaw cut big trees?

If you’re using a 10-inch chainsaw, you can cut a tree log up to 24 inches in diameter. It would be best to remember that deeper cuts can only be achieved when the bars are longer and bigger.

How can you measure a chainsaw’s power-to-weight?

You can measure the tool’s balance by dividing its HP or KW specifications by the overall weight. This calculation can exclude the chainsaw’s chain and bar weight. 

Which Stihl chainsaw is perfect for limbing?

When it comes to Stihl chainsaws, the perfect one for limbing is till Stihl MSA 140 C-BQ.

Why are top-handle chainsaws expensive?

Top-handle chainsaws are sold higher than standard models because they feature high-end components. On top of that, these are compact with shorter bar lengths, making them more convenient.

My Top Pick For a Limbing Chainsaw:
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

When it comes to selecting tools for cutting tree limbs, it’s crucial to have something light enough to maneuver easily. That’s why I’ve chosen the BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 as the best limbing chainsaw in the market. What sets this chainsaw apart is not just its user-friendly design but also its impressive battery life. Additionally, its reliable tensioning system simplifies adjustments

Although some users still prefer gasoline-powered models, I firmly believe that this model offers a winning combination of features, design, and performance to meet your daily limbing needs efficiently.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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