Husqvarna Chainsaw Protective Apparel Kit Review | 531300904

Safety is a big deal.

Any chainsaw can cause injuries.  But the bigger the saw, the more powerful is, the larger and sharper the chain is, risks go up.

The more cutting I do, the more injuries I see.  Part of that is just people being careless.  Part of it is just people getting tired.  Spending all day wrangling trees, limbs, brush, and a heavy saw can wear you out.  The more fatigue sets in, the more likely you are to get careless, sloppy, forgetful, and BAM! an accident happens.

To each his own, but I am a big believer in buying the right safety gear.  I work hard for a living, and I don’t have time to lay around in a hospital bed or on a couch somewhere with my leg propped up oozing puss.  I’m not trying to be gross here, just blunt.  I need to stay healthy and productive so I can pay the bills.

When I heard about Husqvarna’s safety kit,  I jumped on the chance to buy one, try it out, and provide a review for you guys.  They market this towards “landowners”.  After asking around, I came to the conclusion they just mean it’s not really meant for professionals who do this for a living, day in and day out, all day long.

What is it, and what’s included?

Husqvarna part number 531300904 is their Chainsaw Protective Apparel kit.  It includes the following items:

Husqvarna’s Chainsaw Protective Apparel Powerkit comes with what you see here – Check Amazon for Discount Pricing!

How’s the quality?

I will step through each component of the kit and review with you what I think…

Suspenders

Let me start off by saying I don’t care if it makes me look like a grumpy old man, I prefer to wear suspenders when I’m using a chainsaw.

Why are suspenders safety apparel, you ask?

About the time you get geared up and you’re sawing like a madman, you will be hot and sweaty, and your pants will start to fall off.

Who wants to drop the saw, take their gloves off, and hitch up their pants??  Nobody, that’s who.  And especially when you have to do that every five minutes, it’s hard to get anything done.

Doing that one-handed, trying to keep a chainsaw balanced on a limb while you keep your pants from falling down and exposing the south forty with your other hand – that’s just not safe.

Yes, you can wear a belt.  But when I get sweaty, the belt tends to absorb perspiration and stretch, which is just a recipe for droopy pants.  Suspenders are the perfect solution to that.  There is a reason you see so many pro chainsaw users wearing suspenders.  There is a reason Husqvarna includes suspenders in this kit.  Because they work, period.

These are great suspenders.  The clips don’t give up or slip off.  They are fully adjustable, and once adjusted they won’t slip or slide.  They are plenty wide and solid feeling.  If you carry as much crap in your pants pockets as I do, your pants can get heavy, and you don’t want a little pair of shoestring suspenders struggling to handle the stress.

These suspenders are made for men, who are doing a man’s job, and need a man’s equipment.  If I had three thumbs I would give them three thumbs up, that’s how much I endorse them!

ProForest Woodsman Hi Viz Helmet

If I had to guess, I would say Husqvarna has the market cornered on chainsaw helmets.

If you aren’t a professional lumberjack, you may think you can get away with not wearing a helmet.  And you may be right.  But it’s not just protecting your noggin that is this helmet’s main claim to fame.

There are three other hidden little gems associated with this helmet, and I’m going to give you the scoop right here on ChainsawsToday.

Integrated into the helmet are ear muffs for hearing protection.  There are some battery and corded chainsaws out there that are quiet enough that they don’t require hearing protection.  The Greenworks 20312 comes to mind.  But unless you have made the jump to battery, it’s an absolute necessity that you wear muffs.

These are 25 dB muffs, so  they do a good job of keeping the noisiest of big, powerful saws down to a manageable level.

The second feature is the full-face visor.  We’ll get to the glasses here in a minute, I’m talking about the large mesh visor on the front of the helmet.  This thing is awesome.  Regardless of whether you are wearing safety glasses (and you should be), invariably you stand a chance of kicking something up into your eyes.  I couldn’t tell you how often this has happened to me.  Debris tends to bounce up under the edge of safety glasses, or fall down between my eyebrows and the top edge of the glasses.

Well this visor stops it from happening!

Also, branches tend to whip around when you are working hard, and it usually doesn’t feel good when they slap you in the face.  I’ve even had safety glasses knocked off my face, and I’ve seen a guy get busted in the nose before.

Now obviously this visor isn’t meant to stop a punch or block a brick.  The mesh material is actually a bit flimsy, by design.  But if and when it gets damaged, it is easily replaced, and Husqvarna sells replacement shields.  And it’s ingenious when compared to a clear plexiglass shield, since we all know that would get scratched up before long and be difficult to see out of.

What the visor does well is keep sawdust from flying up under your glasses, or bouncing into your mouth and down your neck/collar.  If you were wondering, the visor can be flipped up out of the way when you are inbetween cuts.

Hold on, I’m not done yet.

The third feature is the the little shield you see above the visor on the front of the helmet.  This is a sun and rain shield.  And it’s awesome.

Yes, it sucks if you have to work in a downpour or in the sweltering sun.  It’s not like some magic guarding is going to stand behind you and hold an umbrella.  You would be surprised at how much of a difference this little swoop of a shield makes.

Now it’s not very big, granted.  Sometimes I had to angle my head a bit in order to have it properly shield my eyes from a rising or setting sun.  But the fact that it’s there is really handy, and having used it I wouldn’t buy one without the feature.

Getting back to my original statement, it’s perfect that these three features are integrated into the helmet.  Instead of having to store and put on all of these different elements, they are all strapped together and ready to go.  That means you don’t have to chase them all over the cab of your truck, or try to find them in the bottom of your toolbox.

Xtreme Duty Work Gloves

If you’ve seen my chainsaw gloves review, you already know that I’m picky about my gloves.

Husqvarna’s Xtreme Duty gloves weren’t included in my review for one simple reason:  they market them as work gloves vs chainsaw gloves.  Now that doesn’t mean they can’t be used in chainsaw applications, and obviously Husqvarna has chosen to include them in this kit.

They are double-reinforced in some (high wear) areas, and they have an elastic wrist to keep them snug and in place.

These are good gloves – they fit well and they seem to wear well.  I think they would’ve placed mid-pack in my previous review.  I like them, and I think they make sense as a part of this kit, but I think I like the Husqvarna Chainsaw gloves slightly better.

Apron Chaps

Husqvarna’s apron chaps are designed with a series of straps and buckles to wrap securely around your waist and legs.  The material is described as polyester with a PVC coating, and was developed to try and shield you from a spinning chain if accidental contact is made.

These things get really great reviews online.  Some people have even posted photos of how the chaps ripped (in a sacrificial way) to save the operator from a chainsaw.  People seem to be fiercely loyal to this brand and these specific chaps.

I really like them.  They are a little pricier than some other chaps that are on the market, but this doesn’t seem like a good place to skimp on a few pennies.  The only real drawback here is they can be hot.  If you’re using them in particularly hot weather, they are just going to make you that much more miserable.  But probably any pair of chaps is going to do that.

I will also point out that although they have their limitations, wearing some “armor-plated” chaps like these really lends me a sense of security.  I guess it’s like a football player putting his pads on.  Of course you can still get hurt, but getting outfitted up puts me in a serious frame of mind where I’m ready to get some work done while avoiding injury.

Safety Glasses

Some would say these are redundant if you’re wearing the helmet with the visor.  But I’ve already covered that argument above.

You need to wear safety glasses when you’re operating a saw, and these fit the bill.  They don’t blink neon lights, or tie your shoes, or sing piano bar tunes.  They aren’t exciting, in other words.  But they get the job done.

It’s nice that Husqvarna throws in the branded lanyard for the kit.  I have a tendency to set things down when I’m refueling or taking a break, and it can be hard to find if you’re in the middle of the forest with lots of undergrowth.  The lanyard keeps them around your neck where you can find them.

Recommendation

Convenience is king, and Husqvarna wins the prize with this “all-in-one” protective apparel kit.  The glasses and the gloves are fine, but it’s the helmet and the chaps that seal the deal.

You should buy this kit, no questions asked.  If you want to piecemeal the elements together, that’s fine, but I don’t know why you’d go through the trouble.  Even if you already have chaps, or a helmet, or any of these pieces, I’m willing to bet your stuff is either worn out or soon will be.  To me, it’s easy and it makes sense to order one box and get everything you need!

Click here to check the latest prices on Amazon.

Greenworks Pro 60-volt 16in Chainsaw Review

The Greenworks Pro 60-volt series is their hottest, newest line of product.  The power of 60 volts tends to spruce up each piece of their outdoor power equipment.  Their chainsaw in particular was noteworthy enough to purchase and review.

Greenworks 60V Chainsaw Specifications
Model: Greenworks Pro CS60L210 (kit)
Voltage: 60V
Weight with Battery: 12.20 pounds
Kitted Battery: 2.0 Ah
Nominal Battery Watt Hours: 108
Chain: Oregon 91 Skip Tooth
Bar Length: 16″
Warranty: 4 years limited

For those of you who want a copy, here is the CS60L210 owner’s manual.

Right off the bat, I noticed the “kit” came with a 2.0 Ah battery.  In my review of the 20312, it had a 4Ah battery.  I immediately had some concerns about runtime.  So I purchased Greenworks’ optional 5.0 Ah battery.

As usual, Greenworks nails the ergonomics.  The weight of the saw, which is right at 13 pounds with the bigger battery, is more than acceptable.  And the balance feels right too.

The handles are a little on the skinny/slim side, but it’s nothing objectionable.  The switchgear feels solid, and the saw feels quite professional.  Honestly I think Greenworks flubbed up the bucking spikes.  They are short, rounded, and not particularly effective.  It’s not a deal killer, and I guess I’m being picky here.  but it seems like a feature someone who knows nothing about chainsaws and how they work designed.

This 16″ model claims to make up to 90 cuts on a fully charged 2.0Ah battery. I had a lot of clean up to do on the 3 acre lot next door, and I wasn’t so sure 90 cuts would or wouldn’t do the job.  As you can imagine, I was curious how it would stand up against the other cordless chainsaws I’ve reviewed.

Recommendation
In working over the trees on the lot nextdoor, the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw had the power and chain speed to keep up with my work rate. The skip tooth chain that comes with the saw gets the job done, but you may want to switch to a standard tooth chain if you have consistent cutting to do.

I like this saw as a good option for homeowners that have seasonal chainsaw work to do and don’t want the hassle of gas. It gives you more muscle than most electric and lower-power cordless saws without becoming unwieldy.

I reviewed the Greenworks 20312 here.  There is a lot I like about the CS60L210 as compared to the 20312.

Feature Set
Trigger Safety
Some cordless chainsaws have electronic safety mechanisms, but it’s not a standard feature quite yet. This Greenworks saw doesn’t have one, so you can pick it up and start sawing without a step in between.

There’s a genuinely good debate about that. Electronic safeties time out, making it almost as irritating as restarting a gas saw. Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but it really is inconvenient. On the other hand, they add one more layer of safety, and that’s generally a good idea for tools that can do as much damage as a chainsaw.

So is the lack of an electronic safety a negative for the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw? Not really. The mechanical safeties in place do the job in my opinion.  Folks who have small children in their home should of course store the saw with the battery removed (and possibly on a charger).  With no battery, this saw is as safe as anything out there.

Skip-Tooth Chain
The Greenworks CS60L210 chainsaw uses an Oregon 91 skip-tooth chain. This saves on the cost and requires less juice from the battery, but these skip-tooth chains cut slower than traditional chains. That’s no surprise since it has half the teeth. They also do a good job clearing debris from the chain path—which is why you often see them in models using longer bars.

What’s different for Greenworks is that they move from the 0.043″ chain that most cordless chainsaws come with to a 0.050″ chain.

Bar Security
The bar is held on with dual studs whose nuts require a wrench to tighten and loosen. Some of the saws in this class have a tool-free adjustment, but the benefit remains a source of contention. Some Pros consider the dual stud design to maintain a more secure connection despite losing some convenience.

However, dropping bar nuts is common. Greenworks also designed this saw with captive nuts that are tougher to lose in the field. That’s definitely a giant plus.

Bucking Spikes
The Greenworks 60V chainsaw features aluminum bucking spikes for gripping the wood securely during a vertical cut. As you slightly rock the saw forward using a bucking grip, the spikes allow you to gain downward leverage. Many of the saws in this category have plastic bucking spikes—and puny ones at that. It’s good to see the more durable metal spikes.

These aren’t as substantial as we see on gas saws and that’s not a big deal on smaller cuts. With a 16″ bar, I’d like to see these extend out a bit more (and with more of a point on them) to give me a better grip on those 10″+ cuts.

All A-Buzz
Ergonomics
Compared to its peers, the 60V Greenworks Pro chainsaw does a decent job in the balance category. A lot of it depends on what battery you use since the 2.0Ah pack drops some weight. I primarily used a 5.0Ah and didn’t feel things were terribly out of whack.

There’s some internal debate about the handle size. Guys with bigger hands might feel they’re too skinny. I have medium-size hands and didn’t find it an issue, but I can definitely see how the gorilla in our office takes exception. As a chainsaw that targets homeowners, including women, I think it strikes a fair balance.

About that Chain…
You normally see skip tooth chains on larger bars, 30″ and up or so. When you’re cutting larger diameter logs, that style is helpful for chip removal. Fewer teeth are engaged and it helps reduce strain on the motor and crank. As a bonus, you have fewer teeth to sharpen.

On cuts 6″ or smaller, the lower number of teeth can cause some chatter and add extra vibration. If you don’t keep your chain speed up, it has a tendency to want to grab those smaller branches instead of cutting them.

I used the stock chain until it was time to sharpen it and took 3/4-ton or so of oak branches in the process. I had no problems with the cutting speed, though it was slower than a standard chain.

It cut very well on the larger branches, but I could feel the extra chatter on the light stuff. I’ll likely swap out the chain for a full tooth version after this. Even though the 0.050″ chain is thicker than other cordless saws, if you keep it sharp and let the motor do the work, the saw has plenty of power and speed to drive it.

Oil
The Greenworks 60V Chainsaw has an oil cap with a lug that’s easy to turn with gloves on. A flip-up tab also provides a good grip. The translucent window is a little tough to see through, however.

I haven’t had any oil leaking issues so far. That’s something that tends to set in over time with our cordless saws, so I’ll need to revisit it somewhere down the road once I’ve put another few hundred cuts on it.

Runtime
Yes, I was wanting to review this saw and give you guys feedback.  But honestly, I also had a lot of work to do and lost track of how many cuts I made.  So I can’t really judge against the “90 cut” claim that Greenworks markets.  And besides, I was using their larger battery.  There’s a lot of variation here anyway, like how sharp your chain is, how large the diameter is of the material you’re cutting, etc.

I took down three medium-sized trees with trunks of approximately 12″ in diameter.   Once on the ground, I cut those into ~18″ sections and trimmed all of the offshoots off. Add in some smaller branches I was thinning out, and I got all but the last few minutes of work done on that 5.0Ah battery.

In terms of working time, I had about an hour and a half of time with other hands to move the branches for me so I could work more quickly.

The 2.0Ah battery that comes in the kit is fine for light trimming, but I highly suggest moving up to the 5.0Ah if taking medium to large branches (or felling altogether) is what you expect the saw to do for you.

Price
The Greenworks 60V chainsaw runs less than $200 as a bare tool.  That means without battery.  That’s pretty convenient considering you may own other Greenworks 60V product, and could just use that same battery and save yourself a bunch of cash.   Don’t forget that Greenworks came out with a 60V Pro mower and it’s a great piece of machinery.  

The Bottom Line
For the urban tree care I performed, the Greenworks 60V Chainsaw had the power and chain speed to keep up with me. The skip tooth chain that comes with the saw gets the job done, but consider switching to a standard tooth chain if you have consistent cutting to do.

I like this as a good option for homeowners that have seasonal chainsaw work to do and don’t want the hassle of gas. It gives you more muscle than most electric and lower-power cordless saws without becoming unwieldy.

Click here to check the latest Greenworks saw prices on Amazon.

 

Worx WG305 Electric Chainsaw Review

Over the last few years, Worx has developed an  great reputation in the outdoor power equipment and power tool industry.  Their WG305.1 Electric Chainsaw is another addition to the company’s product range.  It is described by Worx as a compact powerhouse, and it comes with a pretty decent list of features, including:

Robust 8 amp motor
Toolless, auto chain tensioning system
14 Inch guide bar
Oil level indicator

For this review, I bought one of these and tried it out.  I’ve written up some of what I found, and in the following post I will go through some of the details, features, pros, cons, and my recommendation.  Keep reading to get the scoop!

Performance and Handling

The WG305.1 is an occasional use, homeowner chainsaw designed for light and medium cutting duties such as pruning, limbing, trimming and general light clean up.

As with all electric chainsaws it offers safe and reliable start-up with zero emissions. Starting the saw requires the user to engage the safety lock switch and press the throttle trigger. The saw will power into life and the safety lock switch can then be released. When the throttle is released the saw will stop and the chain gradually coasts to a stop.

The excellent WG305 is now without flaws, but is feature-packed and surprisingly affordable. Click HERE to check the latest pricing on Amazon…

The saw is extremely easy to handle. Weighing less than 7lbs, it is one of the lightest saws you will find and should be within the handling capabilities of most people. Indeed, reviews indicate that it is popular with older people and individuals who for other reasons (such as injury) find heavier models hard to control. It has a rubberized over grip handle to improve comfort and stability and its compact design means that it is pretty easy to maneuver.

So, just exactly what is this saw capable of in terms of performance? The manufacturer states that it has a ‘high cutting capacity’ of up to 28 inches. This is obviously not in a single pass and would require the user to cut wood from different angles. With a 14 inch blade, the saw should be able to cut through a 12 inch log in a single pass. In both instances, the saws ability to handle cuts of this size depends on the type of wood being cut (hard or soft; dry or wet). Most users indicate that the saw performs well on wood up to 8 inches thick and that when doing this sort of work has the staying power to cut for a reasonable length of time without being over worked.

Other users advised that they had been able to cut through some larger trees but if you have regular heavy cutting duties to carry out then there are better saws out there for this type of work.

In summary, the WG305.1 is best suited to light and medium cutting tasks around the yard.

Features and Cutting Equipment

As mentioned earlier in the review, the WG305.1 is fitted with a 14 inch bar and chain.

The bar is a reduced kickback, sprocket nose model (Type: ES140SDEA041). This style of bar is popular so you won’t have any difficulties finding a replacement if required. As the bar has a sprocket nose (this is the case with most homeowner saws), users will need to remember to regularly grease the sprocket nose hole. This is easily done by using a grease gun to inject grease into the hole.

The 14 inch chain has low kickback qualities. It has a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.05” gauge and 52 drive links. As with the bar, this is a popular size chain and replacements are readily available. The chain speed is 8.5 meters per second. On larger electric saws you can expect speeds up to 15 m/s and on gas

powered models higher still. In comparison, therefore, this is slower, however it is more than sufficient for light cutting work.

One important aspect of using a chainsaw is ensuring that the chain is kept properly tensioned at all times. On this model this is simple thanks to the tool-less auto chain tensioning system. Full instructions on how to set the correct tension are provided, however, it’s basically a case of turning the chain tensioning knob clockwise until it is hand tight. This is a great system which avoids the need to get out the tool kit and therefore keeps interruptions to a minimum.

Ergonomics of this saw are excellent. –Visit their Amazon page —

Some users complained that the chain slipped on a number of occasions. Experienced users will know that new chains have a tendency to stretch quite easily and so it is important that tension is checked on a regular basis. When the saw is first being used, this should be after every few cuts if necessary. You should find that once the chain is worn in, it will stretch less, reducing the number of times you need to adjust the tension.

The chain should also be kept in good condition, which means keeping it sharp. If you are used to doing this yourself, you will need a 5/32” round file and holder, together with a flat file. You can check out our article What size file do I need for my chainsaw? for more information about how to do this. If you don’t feel able to perform this function then you can look at getting the chain sharpened locally by an expert or, alternatively, invest in a new chain.

Design and Construction

The WG305.1 is constructed from hard plastic. Whilst it perhaps isn’t as robust as some larger saws, users will find the benefits in how light the saw is, as well as its low cost. The product is certainly robust enough to deal with occasional use light and medium duty cutting tasks.

In terms of design, this is a classic rear handle model. The diagram above shows the powerhead unit and guide bar. The oil filler cap and primer bulb sit at a slight angle on top of the unit next to the front handle. There is a front hand guard, which unlike some other saws, does not also act as a chain brake. Also shown is the chain tensioning knob. There is also a set of plastic bumper spikes (not in view) on the front of the unit which helps to provide stability when cutting.

The diagram above shows the rear handle which houses the throttle trigger and lock-out safety switch. You can also see the transparent oil reservoir window. The power cord is around a foot in length so an extension will be required.

8 Amp Brushed Motor

This saw is equipped with a feisty 8 Amp brushed motor, which is about as small as it gets on an electric saw and is comparable to the Remington RM1425 Limb ’N’ Trim. This reinforces the fact that this is predominantly a light duty cutting saw. Although the motor is small, it is easily capable of handling the tasks for which it was designed.

Being an electric saw, an extension cable will be required. This should be suitable for outdoor use and have the correct gauge. If you are using a 100 foot extension, then this should be a minimum 14 gauge (14/3) although a higher gauge (such as 12/3 or 10/3) is even better. If you are using a 50 foot cord then it should be a minimum 16 gauge (16/3), although again a higher gauge such as (14/3 or 12/3) would be better.

Users have a lot to say about the saw. Much good, some bad. Click here to check out the Amazon reviews…

Obviously the downside of using an electric saw is that you need to be within distance of a power outlet. You could consider using a generator. This saw has running watts of around 1,020 and starting watts likely to be higher than this. Your generator should, therefore, have sufficient power to cope with this load.

Chain Oil System

Unlike most saws, the WG305.1 has a manual bar and chain oiling system. This means that between cuts you need to remember to press the primer button (on the oil cap) to release the oil. Although this isn’t perhaps as convenient as automatic lubrication systems, there is the advantage that you can control the amount of oil released to the cutting components to match the conditions. You should press the cap at least once between each cut.

Oil is added to the reservoir through the oil cap on top of the powerhead unit. As you can see from the earlier picture, this is quite large and easily accessible. The reservoir itself has a capacity of 4 oz. (120 ml). You should find that if using constantly, a top up every 12 minutes will be required. There is a minimum oil level marking on the reservoir window, making it easy to see when top up is needed.

In terms of the type of oil, a good quality bar and chain oil should be used (See article). The manufacturer recommends a winter weight oil but this is not essential.

A number of consumers mentioned that the saw leaks during storage. Unfortunately this is an issue common to many chainsaws. To prevent or minimize leakage, ensure that the saw is kept in an upright position (with the oil cap uppermost) when not in use. Try to store with as little oil as possible in the reservoir and give some thought to where and how it is stored.

One final point, bar oil is NOT provided with this purchase.

Safety Features

Although this is only a small, light cutting duty saw, it is still a dangerous tool and needs to be used properly at all times. To help keep users protected, there are several safety features, such as:

Reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain which meets the standards laid down in ANSI B.175.1. These reduce, but don’t eliminate entirely, the chances of kickback.
Safety lock button which must be pressed to operate the throttle trigger. This prevents accidental starting.
Front and rear hand guards to prevent the hands coming into contact with wood, debris and the chain.
Bumper spikes. These act as a pivot on the wood and provide stability when cutting.
As always, these safety features should not be relied on entirely to keep you out of harm’s way. Make sure you operate the saw in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and always wear appropriate safety gear such as gloves, eyewear and suitable clothing.

Dimensions
This product weighs 6.6lbs, making it one of the lightest saws available on the market.

Accessories
It comes with an operators’ manual and plastic scabbard to protect the cutting equipment.  Here’s the owner’s manual, for those of you who would like to download it.

Pros
• Lightweight and easy to use

• Fast and simple starting (essentially just the push of a button)

• Tool-less auto chain tensioning system

• Inexpensive

• Quiet

Cons
• Manual oiler (you have to remember to dump oil to the bar)

• Not particularly “solid” construction

Consumer Ratings
There are well over a hundred online reviews for this saw and they are generally very positive. Around 85% of buyers rate the saw as either good or excellent. Users are happy with how light and easy the saw is to use, its cutting performance and the excellent price. Some users mentioned that the chain can slip, which emphasizes the point that tension needs to be checked regularly.

You should buy this saw if:

• You struggle with heavy objects and need a light saw.

• You want a saw for light cutting and pruning work

• You don’t want to spend a great deal of money

• You want a saw which is clean, easy to start and operate.

You should not buy this saw if:

• You have regular medium and heavy duty cutting jobs.

• You don’t have access to a power supply

Warranty
The WG305.1 comes with a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty.


Click here to check the latest Amazon prices…

Poulan Pro Chainsaw Reviews | 2018 Options

I understand the need for a top-of-the-line chainsaw, regardless of cost.  But if you’re like me (and most homeowners are), you are looking for something that performs well without breaking the bank.  A Poulan Pro chainsaw may be just what you need.

I consider Poulan Pro to be the “no-nonsense”, working-man’s brand.  A no-frills, heavy-duty saw at an affordable price.

And don’t forget, Husqvarna owns Poulan Pro and makes all their saws.  That means many of the same design targets are used, as are many common parts.

I think Husqvarna uses the Poulan Pro brand as a “price-fighter”, allowing them to play in a less-premium brand space without sullying their premium brand name.

In some ways, this is like Lexus and Toyota, or Ford and Lincoln.  There’s nothing wrong with a Toyota, but not many people who are shopping for Toyotas will cross-shop up in the Lexus brand space.

What I want to do here is introduce you to the Poulan Pro brand, and review a number of their affordable saws to see if any of them are right for you.

Poulan Pro Chainsaws

You have probably heard of the Poulan brand.  Most folks recognize their tools as being durable, priced right, and comfortable to use.  That type of reputation has been cultivated by Poulan for decades.  They seem to be dedicated to bringing products to market that are well-liked by the average consumer.

You may remember that Poulan Pro is the 2nd most popular chainsaw brand in 2018, behind only Stihl.

The Poulan History : An All-American Story

It all started with a guy named Claude Poulan.  Claude was a lumberjack, and spent many years of his humble, hard-working life cutting down trees.

I think it’s important to understand the distinction between someone who cuts down a nuisance tree every now and then, or perhaps cleans up a big plot of land after a storm, versus someone who spends years earning their living doing it.

Claude PoulanIf you don’t do it well, you either get hurt or your get fired.  You don’t pay your rent, and you don’t eat!

It’s in that context that we see the significance of Claude Poulan starting the Poulan Saw Company in 1946.  A former lumberjack brings certain qualifications to the table when he starts a saw company!

Poulan began manufacturing robustly designed, affordable chainsaws for professional lumberjacks in Claude’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana.

You may have already read that the first chainsaw models were two-man machines.  These things weren’t for the faint of heart, but did help increase throughput of the lumberjack crews.

Poulan’s designs and manufacturing capabilities continue to grow – along with their reputation – throughout the 1950’s.  By the 1970’s, Poulan had created a market for lightweight, consumer-duty saws.  The same quality and durability went into these saws as what was marketed to professional lumberjacks, but they had been downsized and redesigned for mainstream consumers.

It’s certainly hard to beat a large, powerful saw when it’s being used all day, every day by a professional.  But there are very real, substantial tradeoffs:

  • weight
  • cost

Poulan created this niche where saws built for non-professional users were appropriately sized, and didn’t require someone to take out a 10 year mortgage in order to afford them.

At the time, that novel idea was considered a “light-duty” saw.  But these days, we’ve come to recognize them as more medium-duty for the average consumer.

Old Poulan ProductsIn some cases, Poulan has kept up with the market by adding features to its saws.  But they aren’t known for being obnoxious about it.  If a feature makes sense for the sake of safety, or improved productivity, they tend to gravitate towards it.

Recognizing some of the benefits of battery-powered chainsaws (like ease of starting, less maintenance, reduced noise and vibration), Poulan has been fairly active in the last decade or so in this segment of the market.

In the rest of my article, I’ll try to touch on some of the best, most popular Poulan chainsaws – both gasoline and battery.

If you are looking for easy to handle, durable, affordable machines, I think you’ll find Poulan is one of your best bets.  And based on their overwhelming popularity, it’s clear these guys know how to make a chainsaw!

Poulan Pro PR5020AV (967061501)

20″ bar & chain — 50cc, Gas Powered Chain Saw (includes carrying case)

PR 5020av photo
An incredible saw for the money…[Check latest 5020 prices on Amazon]
Features:

  • OxyPower engine technology : Extra power via a powerful engine
  • 70% less emissions and 20% lower fuel consumption
  • Easy to start pull starting system : Reduces pull force 30%
  • Combi tool is integrated into the rear handle, it’s always there when you need it for maintenance
  • Purge bulb, which provides the carburetor with fuel
  • Combined choke and stop control makes it easier to start
  • Double post chain brake increases safety by right hand activation as well automatically by inertia
  • Designed for homeowners for general property management and firewood cutting
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • On board, scrunch holder included

View or download the OWNER’S MANUAL

Overview

Many of you might not realize this, but Poulan Pro and Husqvarna are the same company. Continue reading “Poulan Pro Chainsaw Reviews | 2018 Options”

Greenworks 20312 16″ Battery Chainsaw Review

It took me awhile, but I finally put together my review for the Greenworks 20312.

Greenworks 20312 chainsaw
The Greenworks 20312 offers serious performance for the money! [Check prices on Amazon now…]
This is their 16″ battery chainsaw that comes with a 4Ah battery. It’s their answer to some of the Black & Decker models, and it appears to be one of Greenworks’ top sellers.

It has been on the market for a couple of years now, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on one. I finally sent some chips flying with this thing, and I really like it!

Read on through this review for:

  • a detailed look at the 20312 specs
  • a fit/feel/finish assessment, and my “out of box” experience
  • performance evaluation
  • common competitors, and how it stacks up

Greenworks 20312 Features

You get a lot for your money with this chainsaw. A bullet-point list of specs/features:

  • Durable 16″ steel bar and chain.
  • Greenworks popular high-performance 40V G-Max Lithium-Ion battery, ideal for tough applications requiring fade-free power and no “memory loss” after charging.
  • Brushless motor, designed for longer life, higher efficiency, and up to 30% more torque to power through tough cuts.
  • Tool-less chain tensioning for maximum performance and ease of use.
  • 3/8 in. chain pitch delivering aggressive cuts while minimizing stall and kickback.
  • Overmolded handle for reduced vibration and increased user comfort.
  • Rear handle ergonomics provide max control, especially for overhead use.
  • Electronic chain brake to maximize operator safety.
  • Quick-release trigger.
  • Push-button start.
  • Up to 150 cuts on a single charge.
  • Automatic oiler with translucent tank.

[Click here for the OWNER’S MANUAL.]

Initial Impressions

The saw feels high-quality.

Its various knobs, plastic pieces, and metal pieces all fit well together, with no weird burrs or areas that make me think “cheap”.

The books and manuals were there, the packaging wasn’t a pain in the butt, and I didn’t notice any damage.

greenworks batteryThe 20312 version comes with a battery and charger.

The battery snaps into both the saw and the charger with no muss or fuss.  The charger isn’t flimsy and I get the impression I could get some real work out of this combo.

Performance Evaluation

Right out of the gate I noticed a few things:

  • MUCH quieter!
  • much less vibration
  • feels solid despite light weight

Greenworks, as well as other manufacturers, claim their battery saws are up to 50% quieter than gas saws. I would believe it!

greenworks saw
A powerful chainsaw! [View more product specs on Amazon…]
After years spent in the industry, I would never use any chainsaw without hearing protection. But this saw in particular runs very quietly, even at full throttle.

The noise it produces is very mechanical, with no noticeable whine from the electric motor.

The vibration on the 20312 seems to be at near-record lows. Similar to their claims for noise, Greenworks says this saw vibrates up to 70% less than a gas chainsaw equivalent.

I definitely believe their claim. Frankly, if I were to choose a saw I had to use all day long, this might be what I would pick just based on how easy it is on my hands and arms.

Even though this thing feels like a featherweight, it feels solid. The box says it’s only 10.4 lbs, and my lower back corroborates that story.

I think Greenworks did a good job tuning the stiffness and the balance of the saw to match up with its weight. It sits in the hands great, and has that “all-day” comfortable feeling.

It’s hard to get used to how easy it is to start one of these electric saws.  Pop the battery in, pull the trigger!

There’s no messing with a choke, and no jerking your arm off.  This is definitely one of the benefits I love.

This saw cuts really well.

At 16″, it’s in the middle of the common electric saw range.

It feels plenty powerful.  Of course with it being brand new and having a sharp chain, I was pretty impressed with how it slices through pretty much anything.

I cut with it for awhile, and it’s battery life seemed average, maybe a bit more than average.

It’s hard to tell you exactly how that will stack up to what you’re thinking, since there are so many variables, including how much pressure you’re applying through your hands.

Greenworks claims this combo is good for 100 cuts through 4×4 lumber.

4×4’s are expensive, and I’m not about to chop several into 100 pieces to prove a point to ya’ll!

But let’s do the math.

With the power this thing has, slicing through a 4×4 only takes a few seconds.  Including repositioning, I think you could make 4 cuts in one minute.

So if it will do 100 of those cuts, that means it would operate in fairly severe conditions for around 25 minutes.

Based on my experience, I think that’s about right.  You can always charge the battery in order to go at it again, which will take maybe an hour.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of cutting, it wouldn’t hurt to buy a spare battery.  But they are expensive.  If you’re going to do that much cutting (which frankly I think is rare for most homeowners), you probably want to consider a gas saw.

20312 vs Black & Decker LCS1240

LCS1240 chainsaw
Black & Decker’s closest competitor [Check B&D prices on Amazon…]

As I mentioned before, Greenworks meant for this saw to go up against the likes of Black & Decker.

The B&D LCS1240 is probably the closest competitor.

It’s a 12″ saw, 40V, and has similar features like automatic chain oiling and tool free chain tensioning.

You’ll notice the B&D is a 12″ while the 20312 is 16″.

BD LCS1240 chainsawAnd the Greenworks has a 40v 4.0Ah battery, while the Black & Decker has a 40V 2.0Ah.

Yes, you will need a bigger battery for the Greenworks since it’s a bigger saw, but even with that headwind you will get more runtime.

The B&D saw performs well.  It has a good feature set, and there’s nothing wrong with the saw, but honestly they have been resting on the laurels and Greenworks has run right by them.

This is really no competition 🙂

FYI – you may want to check out the LP1000, which is a bit of a specialty saw.

20312 vs DEWALT DCCS690M1

dewalt dccs690m1 pic
A solid competitor if you don’t mind the heft! [Check prices on Amazon…]
Okay, now we are getting a bit more serious.  Nothing wrong with that B&D saw, but DEWALT takes this particular battery chainsaw to a whole-nother level!

This is 40V with their 4.0Ah battery.  And a full 16″ bar and chain.

It’s one of their better saws, and they back it like they mean it with a 3-year warranty.

The DCCS690M1 is known for performing well.  I’ll just jump to the chase here and tell you about its achilles heel: the weight.

Dewalt DCCS690M1 chainsawDEWALT sort of hides the weight of the aw, putting it nowhere on the box or the product literature.  Having used it myself, I can tell you it weighs just under 16 lbs with its battery.

Yes, you’re doing your math right:  it is indeed 50% heavier than the Greenworks.

If you get get over that fact. you’ll find the DEWALT is a worth competitor to the 20312.

20312 vs EGO CS1600

Ego CS1600
Not cheap, but Ego’s CS1600 equipped with a 5Ah battery is a top contender [Check the Ego’s price on Amazon…]
EGO steps it up with their CS1600 model.  It boasts a 56V 5.0Ah battery.

That’s a lot of power!

It does have solid features.  Along with the 16″ bar/chain, it has an auto-oiler, chain brake, and a chain tensioning knob.

I will give it a more in-depth review soon, but I can  tell you without spending too much time with it that about the only thing I can easily find missing with the CS1600 are some metal bucking spikes.

Ego CS1600It does have some plastic ribbing on the front of the cover that presumably servers the same purpose.  But come on Ego, I think you can do better than that.

The fact that the saw is missing these isn’t necessarily a death knell, it’s just indicative that some folks that don’t really use chainsaws for a living might have had a hand in developing it.

20312 vs Zombi ZCS5817

Zombi ZCS5817 pic
The Zombi ZCS5817 is a well-kept secret! [Check prices on Amazon now…]

I’m going to lay one more out there, and it may be one you’ve never heard of.

The Zombi ZCS5817 is competitively spec’d and priced. Continue reading “Greenworks 20312 16″ Battery Chainsaw Review”

The History of Chainsaws

This should be easy, right?  Just stick a chain on a bar, power it with a motor, and chop a tree down!  In reality, it has taken decades of development and innovation to get to the chainsaw we see today.

The history of the modern chainsaw is convoluted and incredible.  It took expertise, brilliance, tedious work, and immense attention to detail, for the invention of this indispensable tool—the coveted staple of every arborist, and other laborers; which eliminates the need for axes—an outdated and tiresome undertaking!

In the year 1830, loggers in California made the first attempt to invent a wooden chainsaw. They considered it more an experiment, than a marketable investment.

Not much detail about these loggers has been recorded, though their efforts were documented. These wooden chainsaws were burdensome and not particularly dependable.

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that as chainsaw technology developed, so did safety gear.  We should consider the protection and safety aspects we would like to adhere to when we operate, own, borrow, or store a chainsaw. There are about a million possibilities and hazards of utilizing this essential machine, as well as the amazing benefits and ease it provides when properly managed!

There are several things to consider; the following are precautions that everyone should take to be able to safely use a chainsaw.  Many people are users, so if you educate yourself there’s no reason the be afraid.

For me it’s like the preparation for having a stove in your home; owning a car; lighting a fireplace; firing up your barbecue grill; and the list can be as long as we wish.  The reality is, precision and care can be the focus while we operate the chainsaw.

PRECAUTIONS DURING OPERATION OF THE CHAINSAW

  • The first thing we should think about is the fact that we can be injured, harshly or mildly; neither is a pleasant experience.
  • Objects in your space, like chips of wood, leaves, or other debris may whizz around during your operation, and be harmful in several ways.
  • The severe vibration from the saw handle may case physical injuries to your nerves, muscles, limbs, and other biological aspects of your body, specifically your ears.
  • Protecting your hearing is highly recommended; using ear muffs, or ear plugs.
  • A heavy chainsaw may cause injury to your back; caution should be taken to use a size that fits your physical needs.

We should all try to protect ourselves, so we can be efficient and (possibly) even enjoy the arborist experience.  Let’s wear the right protective equipment. Here are some guidelines:

EQUIPMENT TO CONSIDER

  • Wearing goggles or a shield to protect your eyes  in the best way possible.
  • Wearing gloves will decrease the vibration to your hands.
  • Ear plugs and muffs will protect your hearing.
  • Hard hats are not a bad idea, depending on where you’re at and what you’re cutting.
  • Wear chaps, leather leggings worn over trousers
  • The best boots or steel toed shoes you can find.

Note:  Never use a saw with a dull blade.

BEFORE STARTING YOUR CHAINSAW

  • Check and sharpen chain teeth
  • Check ignition, brake, bolts, handles, cover of the clutch
  • Add fuel at least 10 feet away from anything that could cause the fuel to ignite

WHILE OPERATING THE SAW

As we operate the saw, preparing to crank it up, nothing should get in the way—so, the first thing we must do is:

  • Clear the pathway of any obstruction or hindrances that impede our progress.
  • Trained workers should supervise inexperienced workers who are felling trees.
  • Firmly keep hands on handles and make sure footing is secure.
  • DON’T CUT DIRECTLY OVERHEAD OR BETWEEN LEGS.
  • Never carry the saw on your shoulder; the blade is next to your neck if you fall.
  • Be constantly aware of your co-workers; working at a safe distance from them (approximately twice the height of the trees).
  • Check for loosely hanging branches and tree limbs.
  • Avoid cutting with the tip of the chainsaw; keep a close eye on the tip of the saw.
  • It is strongly suggested that the throttle be shut off, or released before withdrawing, or retiring, while carrying the chainsaw more than 50 feet, or over dangerous regions.
  • Too tired workers tend to make mistakes, so be mindful of taking your breaks.

Reference Link:

www.osha.gov

MAINTENANCE OF THE CHAINSAW

  • Using the right fuel is paramount to effective operation of a chain saw
  • Frequently check the bar and chain oil level
  • File the chain teeth often
  • Sharpen the cutting teeth
  • Frequently file depth gauges
  • Replace worn out cutting tooth if less than 4mm
  • Keep chain lubrication up to date
  • Tighten loose bolts, nuts, and screws
  • Basic engine maintenance like air filters, spark plugs

HISTORY OF THE CHAINSAW

WHO INVENTED THE CHAINSAW?

Numerous foreign manufacturers, around the middle twenties, have staked their claims in advertisements, for the invention of the chainsaw; and followed with similar inventions.  Somehow their declarations always pointed back to the Bernie Heine chainsaw.

March 16, 1918 edition of the Scientific American highlighted a picture of a chainsaw, on the cover.  The design was apparently of German origin and showcased a gasoline engine distinct from the saw element.

INVENTORS  AND  STYLE VARIATIONS

1785:  The Medical Bone Chainsaw

Although clearly not used for wood, this was alleged to be the first chainsaw from late in the 18th Century, engineered by two Scottish doctors:  John Aitken and James Jeffray. The fine serrated edges were used for the excision of diseased bone; and to remove cartilage that held the pelvis together. Continue reading “The History of Chainsaws”

The 10 Best Chainsaw Gloves – Updated for 2020!

Too many casual chainsaw users make the mistake of thinking safety gear isn’t important. I wanted to make a post about the 10 best chainsaw gloves on the market in 2018 specifically to draw attention to this topic.

At a minimum, I would recommend the following safety items

  • gloves
  • eye protection
  • ear protection
  • steel toed boots
  • chaps

If you’re just going to the backyard to trim a small, annoying branch off a tree, and it’s only a few minutes worth of very safe work, you can probably disregard some of that equipment. But

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

Before we get to the actual product options, let’s talk about what I look for in a good pair of gloves…

Factors to Consider

I polled a few of the folks I know, and it sounds to me like people have been choosing gloves based primarily on 1) style, 2) availability.

This surprised me. Most of the guys I know who use a chainsaw, either casually or even for a living, tend to be what I would consider to be “macho men”. Not a group that I would think is overly concerned about how a pair of gloves look.

But I guess this is a bit like the whole “macho car” thing. Some guys prefer to drive a car or truck that looks a certain way. They want something that looks powerful, tough, etc. Same thing with gloves – they don’t want to be seen wearing gloves that look wimpy, or something that would make them seem like amateurs.

And in talking through the availability topic, I’ve realized people who shop in stores tend to buy whatever brand or type of glove the store they are in has available. If they are in Lowe’s or Home Depot, they tend to buy whatever is in stock at that store.

People who shop on the internet of course tend to have a wider selection, so availability becomes less of a concern.

Regardless of what those folks are telling me, I would NOT rank availability or style as the two most critical factors to consider. I’d say it goes like this…

1) Protection

I think chainsaw gloves need some element of abrasion resistance, as well as some element of cut resistance.

Cut resistance probably resonates with everyone. After all, we are talking about using a chainsaw with a chain spinning at thousands of RPM.

I mention abrasion resistance, because inherent in doing any kind of work with a chainsaw will be quite a bit of wood handling. That can be really rough on your hands. A good glove will help reduce scrapes, blisters, splinters, etc.

2) Grip

It’s great to protect our hands, but if you’re like me you hate that you lose so much of the tactile feel you need to do a job well when you wear gloves.

Ideally, a glove makes a good trade-off between maximum protection and dexterity.

Grip is critical. Not only do you have to keep control of the chainsaw, you will also probably be picking up wood and moving logs around. Depending on where you’re working, you may have to use a wheelbarrow or some kind of cart.

None of that is easy to do if you’re wearing a glove that has slick, low-friction surfaces on its finger pads and palm.

3) Sizing/Fit/Comfort

This is a fairly broad category.

Like shoes, wearing chainsaw gloves that are improperly-sized can actually be a liability. Too large and you risk losing your grip, or getting them caught in a spinning chain. Too small, and your manual dexterity and comfort are impacted.

Even if the glove is sized right, some gloves are more comfortable than others. I’m picky about where seams are inside the glove. Nothing wears a blister on me faster than a seam riding right on the tip of a finger.

I’ll also mention that I prefer a wrist closure with a strap rather than elastic. It’s not that elastic is terrible. I just feel like I can get the glove more secure with a strap that I can make as tight or loose as I want.

4) Durability

These likely aren’t super-cheap, junky gloves that you can throw away after each use. These cost a few bucks, and we are making an investment in our safety.

So we would prefer a glove that doesn’t fall apart after only a few uses. One pet peeve of mine is stitching – if a glove is made so cheaply that the stitching starts coming loose, and I see threads flapping around, I don’t like it.

Taking a cue from the “performance” section above, we want a glove that can endure some abrasion and some sharp edges. Also, moisture resistance is important, as we can’t be picky when we are in a tough outdoor environment with our saw.

5) Cost

I would rank cost as a factor. I guess everyone’s budget is a little different. I tend to be frugal, but maybe less so when it comes to safety gear.

I would never say “cost is no object”, but at the same time I’d rather have a glove that performs well than one that I can brag about buying on a blue-light special.

6) Style

The last factor I would consider is style. Some folks would lump the brand of the glove in the same category.

As I mentioned before, I understand that many guys don’t want a glove that makes them look like a wimp or a newbie.

Since this is my lowest priority, I would consider a good style as just a bonus. It’s a factor in my ranking, it’s just not a particularly important one.


Now that I’ve gone over some of the things I considered when ranking gloves, let’s go over some of our options.

I’ll actually present these in a table according to rank farther down, so for now they are in no particular order.

Youngstown General Utility Chainsaw Gloves w/ Kevlar Lining

These are some very high-quality gloves.

The seams and stitching are basically perfect.  They have a strap at the wrist for closure, which I like.  Every inch of the glove is lined with Kevlar, which is almost overkill (in a good way).

I’m impressed with the quality of this glove!…[Check latest prices on Amazon…]

They have a bunch of non-slip pads on the bottom of the glove to improve grip.  They even have a terrycloth insert on the top of the thumbs so workers can wipe away sweat without chafing their face.

They are rated as an ANSI cut level 3 and puncture level 4.  And you’ll find these are pretty affordable.

Youngstown Titan XT Chainsaw Gloves w/ Kevlar Lining

Some folks consider these to be the bigger daddy of Youngstown’s general utility glove, but I would not necessarily consider them to be better.

They certainly look cooler, with the TPR overlays on top of each finger.  Also, a reflective coating increases visibility, which is especially helpful if working in low-light conditions and/or with members of a crew.

Reinforced knuckles on this Titan XT glove! [Check latest prices on Amazon…]

They have foam inserts in the palm and fingers to help manage vibration and fatigue.

Youngstown says these gloves are certified to an ANSI cut level 5,  and a puncture level 4 for protection.

Husqvarna Chainsaw Gloves

Husqvarna is tremendously popular in the chainsaw world, and fairly well-known for their protective equipment.

Their functional saw protection gloves have a goatskin palm for extra grip and padding.  The high-visibility colors and reflective logo can always be helpful.

Husqvarna’s glove is very comfortable! [Check latest pricing on Amazon]

The back of the gloves are stretchy spandex, helping with comfort, and the left hand is cut-resistant.

This is a great-looking, comfortable glove.  They are rated Class 0, and 16 m/s per the EN 381-7 protection standard.

NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves

I know this may be controversial, but I want to mention an alternative that’s rarely discussed for saw protection.

Although in the photos, these types of gloves look like chainmail, they are actually an unusual fabric made out of glass fiber, spandex, and polyethylene.

Comfortable, amazingly tough, but not very grippy…[Check latest prices on Amazon]

They are actually four times stronger than leather!  And NoCry claims they were certified to the highest EN 388 level 5 cut resistance standard.

They are machine washable.  They have the consistency or feeling of a heavy-weight cotton, so they are very pliable and help with manual dexterity.

A couple of obvious drawbacks here.  They do not provide a very good grip.  And also, the weave of the fabric is such that they probably don’t provide as much protection against splinters as something like leather.

I tried these out with my chainsaw, and honestly I don’t think I can recommend them.  They are just too slippery.  They are fairly inexpensive, so if you want to give them a try, I don’t think you will be out much money.

Elvex Pro Chainsaw Gloves

If you aren’t a lumberjack or don’t cut wood for a living, chances are you’ve never heard of Elvex gloves.  I don’t know what this company’s marketing budget is, but it must be small!

I came a cross Elvex as an option when one of my “pro” friends suggested them.  And indeed, they do offer what they call a pro glove.

They take a different approach to glove design than some of the other options I have covered.  They are a looser, more over-sized fit that other chainsaw gloves, almost reminiscent of something you would see in a welding glove.

Supremely comfortable…[See details on Amazon]

This makes getting them on and off a bit easier.  To my hand, they are supremely comfortable.

They place protective padding primarily on the back of the left hand glove, and both gloves seem to have a good grip, whether wet or dry.

The Elvex gloves have extended cuffs with strap closures, which I love.

They claim EN381-7 certification, with class 1 cut protection.

Results – Jeff’s Recommendations

Okay, here’s the promised table…

 ProtectionGripComfortDurabilityCostStyleTotal
Youngstown Titan XT GloveANSI 5/44454527
Husqvarna Functional GloveEN 0/165554527
Elvex Pro Chainsaw GloveEN 1/?4554526
Youngstown General Utility GloveANSI 3/44444424
NoCry Cut Resistant GloveEN 5/02535321

I tried to be fair with my ratings.  The Husqvarna and the Titan XT gloves were really close, and it might boil down to which you prefer the styling of.

Understanding Glove Ratings and Cut Resistance

I want to spend a few minutes trying to summarize what I’ve learned about glove performance and ratings for cut resistance.

The general idea is to:

  1. provide a standardized way of testing gloves
  2. provide a rating system so glove performance can be compared

Sounds like an awesome idea, right??

But as always, the devil is in the details.  As awesome as the idea is, getting into the nuance of test methods and ratings may be more detail than you can suffer through.  But let’s try!

As you can imagine, there are many different certifications and governing bodies for safety equipment.

The three most common references I’ve seen for gloves are:

  • ASTM ANSI Cut Resistance
  • EN 388 Gloves Giving Protection Against Mechanical Risks
  • EN 381-7 Requirements for Chainsaw Protective Gloves

Let’s take these one at a time, and explain what you can expect if you see them listed for a particular glove.

ASTM ANSI Cut Resistance

The ANSI/ISEA 105 standard was revised in 2016. In goes into detail about how a glove should be tested, and how it’s performance should be rated relative to cut resistance.

The standardized test uses a TDD machine to apply a variable load to a razor blade, which is dragged across the test sample. A sensor underneath the glove measures conductivity to determine when the razor cuts through the material.

A diagram of the TDD test

The data from a test sample is then used to look up the performance level in a chart.

Chart showing cut resistance levels for old/new Ansi standard

So if a glove was tested and was found to withstand 5000 g over one inch of blade travel, per the old ANSI standard it would be rated a 5. Per the new standard, it would be rated an A8.

EN 388 Standard

The EN 388 standard classifies glove performance according to four different factors.  It’s easiest to show this as a chart.

TestPerformance Level
12345
Abrasion Resistance (factor)10050020008000
Blade Cut Resistance (factor)1.22.551020
Tear Resistance (newton)10255075
Puncture Resistance (newton)2060100150

Specifically for the cut test, it uses a standardized test called a couptest rather than the TDD test ANSI uses.  The couptest is very similar to the TDD test, but it uses a round/rolling blade and considers how many times it can move back and forth.

EN 381-7 Requirements for Chainsaw Gloves

EN 381-7, just by its name, seems to hold the most promise.

It puts the glove in a certain class (Class 0 through 3) based on the speed of the chain it can withstand.

Also, it has two different designs, A and B.  Design A specifies a protection zone on only the back of the hand.  Design B requires protection on the back of the hand as well as the top of the fingers.

As if that’s not enough, one or both gloves can have either of these types of designs, and any of the Classes!

 


Sometimes glove manufacturers will list several different standards for their product, taking more of a “shotgun” approach.  This is more prevalent in Europe.

An example of multiple glove standards for one product

Getting gloves tested and certified is expensive.  At least in the US and Canada, the information can be hard to come by.

Furthermore, manufacturers may use different standards, or even different revisions of the same standard, making side-by-side comparisons of gloves difficult.

2020 Update:

I prowled around the market looking for new gloves, or even improvements to old glove designs.  I hit up the hardware stores, some of the dealer shops, and finally did some online shopping.

I bought a new pair or two, but found nothing of value to write up and report here.

I’m very happy with the selections and the rankings from the article I previously published.  I stand behind them today, regarding any general market updates.  If you have any opinions or think I should check something new out, just contact me!

Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper Review

I am more than willing to cut to the chase for this review: the Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper is very good at what it does, and may be perfect for folks who don’t need an actual chainsaw.

The perfect “extra saw”, everyone should have one Check prices on Amazon

Although I live and breathe chainsaws (hence the website), I realize they are not necessarily for everyone.

Some people are intimidated by them.  Some people don’t feel comfortable using one.   And many people just don’t need one.

But honestly everyone should own one of these.  Yes, I mean everyone!  You too!

There are some limitations of this lopper.  I will cover those in a minute.  There are certain jobs around the house that only a chainsaw can do.  But if you use this thing for what it’s intended, there actually isn’t a better product in the market.

Surprised I said that?  Read on, and I’ll explain why… Continue reading “Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper Review”

Most Popular Chainsaw Brands of 2018

I am frequently asked what the most popular chainsaw brands are.

There is a group called OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) that periodically reports industry data like this.

Instead of teasing you and making you wait, how about if I present the data in tabular form, and then we can discuss the details? Here we go:

2018 Chainsaw Market Share by Brand

BrandMarket Share
Stihl18.0
Poulan Pro10.0
Husqvarna8.4
Craftsman7.7
Black & Decker7.1
Ryobi6.5
Echo3.8
Worx3.4
Remington3.1
Homelite2.2
Portland2.0
Dewalt1.8
Greenworks1.4
Snapper0.2
Other/ Don't Know24.0

Before we go through each of the data points, let’s talk about where the data came from. Continue reading “Most Popular Chainsaw Brands of 2018”

Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw Review | 20″ Gas Chainsaw

Echo CS-590 image
A beast of a saw that can cut firewood all day! Check Amazon prices

The ECHO CS-590 started production in 2013, while the ECHO CS-590 Timber Wolf started in 2014. The Timber Wolf won the won the Dealers Choice Award from Power Equipment Trade magazine. That’s fairly prestigious considering over 1,000 lawn and garden power equipment dealers participated in the survey. At the very least, we have to recognize that this is an impressive chainsaw that customers love.

Over the last couple of years, the ECHO CS-590 Timber Wolf has proven itself to be dependable, well-made, and a strong value considering its price point. In this article I will review it alongside a couple of the gas chainsaws it competes with to see how it compares. Continue reading “Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw Review | 20″ Gas Chainsaw”