Chainsaw Backpack Review – My Recommendation

I was recently hired to do some brush and tree maintenance on a trail.

The trail is three miles long. It starts at a public parking lot here in my hometown, and winds its way up through some pretty rough country.

Much of the trail is not accessible by any type of motorized vehicle.

The city hired me to cut down some risky trees, saw up and clear some previously fallen trees, and clear away any brush that was closing in on the trail.

This took me several weeks. Although it was quite a bit of work, I found it really enjoyable.

This was the first time I’ve tackled a job like this. I learned so much!

A few lessons I’ll share with you…

1) You can never have too much water. Well, okay, if you took a zillion gallons and the weight was more than you could carry, of course that would be too much. My point here is doing all that hard work will make you sweat, and you are going to need to hydrate.

2) A saw that’s too big is not ideal for this type of job. Using more fuel than you need is a terrible idea if you have to backpack in all of your supplies. I used a small 16″ Husqvarna saw to keep things light and make fuel use manageable. I’ll have to remember to review the saw for you sometime.

3) Pack some toilet paper. I don’t want to get too personal here, but in some cases I was an hour or hour and a half walk from the truck. At even then, I would have to drive to a nearby gas station or store to find a bathroom. That’s not going to work, guys! I packed some TP, and when I had to go I did so behind a tree.

One piece of equipment that I found very hand for this type of work is a chainsaw backpack.

I guess they are a bit of a niche product, made popular by firefighters who have to carry their chainsaws for long distances.

If you have a big piece of property or a trail that is not accessible by vehicle or even UTV, this type of carrying solution is exactly what you need.

True North Chainsaw Backpack – Review

I purchased this knowing that carrying my chainsaw, fuel, water, and axe was going to be very difficult towards the back side of the trail (3 miles away from my truck).

Although it is a solid piece of equipment, the True North pack is not overly heavy. It weighs in at just 5.5 lbs.

True North’s chainsaw backpack is packed with features – CLICK HERE to check latest prices

The straps and pouches are made from nylon webbing and a type of extreme-duty synthetic material.

The pack has shoulder straps as well as a waist strap. They are double-padded thick, and the thing is fairly comfortable. I mean, you are strapping a bunch of heavy stuff to your back, so it’s not like taking a nap on your couch, but they have really thought the design through for both comfort and strength.

Sling it on and get to marching!

This thing is pretty much everything-proof. I sweated on it, drug it through heavy branches and briar patches, and tossed it in the back of my truck bed.

I guess one criticism is the heavy duty material is pretty rough, and tends to collect mud and debris. I actually used a garden hose and a soft bristled brush to clean my periodically.

They don’t list a weight capacity, but I figured my back would probably give out before this pack would!

It has 3 pouches – one for fuel, one for water, and one for miscellaneous. It also has an axe scabbard.

There is a leather reinforcement on top of one of the straps which protects the strap when you carry your saw or a big nasty piece of wood on your shoulder. I thought that was a pretty innovative feature.

It is basically one size fits all. All of the straps are adjustable. I’m a pretty bulky guy, and it fit me just fine. Maybe if you’re more than 300 lbs or less than 100 lbs it could give you some trouble, but outside of that it was just the right size.

I used True North’s chainsaw backpack for a solid two weeks.

I walked somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 miles with it fully loaded on my back.

I put it on and took it off dozens of times per day, and never once did I take it easy on it or give it a break.

I think True North developed this specifically for commercial firefighters who needed a dependable, fool proof way to backpack their saws over rough terrain… and it shows.

If you’re in the market for something like this, I don’t think you can go wrong with their product!

If you need the ultimate chainsaw backpack >> CLICK HERE << to check pricing!

Cement Mixer Review

These days I stay pretty busy as a local handyman.

Rarely a day goes by that I’m not cutting something up with a chainsaw, but I tend to get my hands on a lot of different types of equipment, as you’ve probably noticed reading over my reviews here on the site.

Recently, I was hired by a local to pour a concrete walk and storage area for their trash cans.

I am definitely not a concrete expert, but I’ve done a few projects before. When you look at a project this small, it really doesn’t make sense to hire a concrete team. Anything less than a full truck load of cement makes them very cost inefficient. So that leaves do-it-yourselfers like me to mix concrete a bag at a time.

The local hardware place wanted $60 per day to rent out a cement mixer. I thought it would take me probably a day and a half, and when you look at transport time and cost, it was going to cost me right at $150 to rent one. It was apparently I could buy an inexpensive one for not much more than that, so I pulled the trigger!

Fenbeli 4.2 Cubic Foot Cement Mixer Features

You can find cement mixers as small as 1.6 cubic feet. Of course the smaller the machine, the less expensive it is. But you will ultimately be slowed down by how many batches of cement you have to mix up. Since what I was pouring was larger than just a few feet, I bought basically the biggest electric mixer I could find.

I’m not going to lie, assembly sucked!

I liked the size of this thing! – check latest prices >>Click HERE<<

The thing came in a box completely disassembled. I am pretty mechanically inclined, so it wasn’t that hard to figure out. There’s just a lot of parts and it takes a lot of time. That’s three hours of my life I will never get back.

I didn’t expect many features at this low price point. But Fenbeli baked a few into their mid-level cement mixer that I was happy about.

First, let’s acknowledge this is electric. The motor that spins the rotating drum is powered via standard 110/120 volt outlets. I have used gasoline powered mixers before, and I didn’t want one of those. You are constantly having to add fuel, rut out to a gas station, tinker with the carb, etc.

Having an electric one could be a drawback if your jobsite is far away from an outlet. In my case, I just ran a long extension cord around the corner of the house, and I was set.

Pro tip: You always want to position your cement mixer as close to, or actually IN the jobsite, as possible!

Also, it has 10″ solid rubber wheels. You guys know from my previous comments about wheelbarrows that I hate flat tires. They have a way of showing up when you are ill-equipped to fix them, and in a big hurry. Solid tires are much more expensive, but they are a good guarantee against flats, so this gets two thumbs up from me.

Solid tires mean no risk of flats! – Check latest mixer pricing >>HERE

Lastly, they designed this with a good, wide base, so it’s stable. When you are tossing 80 lb bags of concrete in there, you don’t want something that sits like a house of cards in a hurricane.

Rotating the handle around to dump the barrel of contents into a wheelbarrow, or ideally inside the concrete forms themselves, is a simple matter. The wide base, solid tires, and flanged support leg make this quick and easy.

My Review

My initial impression was the Fenbeli unit was good quality. It is made of reasonably thick, high quality steel. The parts line up and go together well. It seems to be well-designed, carefully packaged, and they weren’t cutting corners or scrimping on the basics.

+ Solid and stable
+ Seems durable
+ Easy to use
+ Just the right size!

– Assembly sucks
– Hard to clean
– Not a lot of good storage options

I have made some notes above summarizing my thoughts about the mixer.

Regarding my criticisms, some of these aren’t exactly fair.

Clean-up for any cement mixer is painful. Even if you go old-school and mix in a wheelbarrow with a hoe, getting the leftovers cleaned out of your wheelbarrow always seems to take forever.

Maybe Fenbeli’s mixer is about the same as all of them. But it did seem like the powder coat orange paint they used was a little rougher than it needed to be, and I wondered if that encouraged the leftover concrete dregs to adhere to the surface that much more strongly.

Plus, like any other mixer of this type, once you are finished using it, storing it isn’t ideal. I wanted to keep mine out of the rain and weather, so it’s occupying a spot in my shop, where space always seems to be at a premium.

More Stuff You’ll Need

Let me save you some time and tell you all of the other stuff you’re going to need while you’re at it.

If you skip over some of this stuff, depending on what type of job you’re trying to do, it will mean you have to stop and head back to the hardware store for the stuff you forgot.

I hate unscheduled interruptions!

Bucket – You will want a 5 gallon bucket or two. Most big box hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s sell these pretty cheap.
Extension cord – Hopefully you’ll be reasonably close to an electrical outlet. I keep a 100 foot outdoor cord handy, similar to this.
Gloves – You don’t want to go commando here. I like using chemical resistant gloves, preferably PVC coated. Mine are similar to these.
Finishing trowel – An 11″x4″ is pretty standard, like this one.
Float – There are a lot of different options for floats. Some people swear by magnesium floats.
Edger – I tend to use a small edger. But it doesn’t hurt to have several different sizes.
Bag/kit – The best way to keep all of these tools together is to throw them in your concrete kit back… or just buy one to start with!
Snips – If you are going to use wire mesh for reinforcement, you’ll need some side cutters. Link
Angle grinder – You will not be cutting rebar with snips! Easier to just throw an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel in the bag.
Shovels – Yes, you need shovels. All kinds of shovels. Pointy ones, flat ones, short ones, long ones!
Hammer – For the forms, you’ll use a hammer to attach the stakes to the form boards.

Best 2-Stage 80 Gallon Air Compressor – Ingersoll Rand 2475N7.5

My twenty year old air compressor finally gave up the ghost.

I don’t use an air compressor constantly, but I need something better than the little pancake jobs that provide only a gentle breeze.

I needed to replace my old one with something beefy! I shopped for a while, focusing mainly on 80 gallon options.

What Kind of Air Compressor Do I Need?

Here’s the rundown on air compressor specs, and how to interpret them.

The “gallon” refers to the size of the tank. This is like a battery. The bigger the volume of the tank, the longer the compressor can run a tool before the motor kicks on.

The motors are typically rated for two things: horsepower and cfm.

The amount of horsepower it has is related to its maximum psi. Typically larger motors have more power, that means they can generate more air pressure and flow more air.

The air flow itself is measured in cubic feet per minute, or cfm.

You will want to pick an air compressor that is compatible with the type of tools you run.

Air Tool CFM Chart

Tool DescriptionCFM @ 90 PSI
Angle Grinder 7"5-8
Brad nailer0.4
Chisel or hammer4-12
Cut-off tool4-10
Dual action sander11-13
Framing nailer2.2
Grease gun4
Hydraulic riveter4
3/8" impact gun2.5-3.5
1/2" impact gun4-5
1" impact gun10
Mini die grinder4-6
Orbital sander6-9
Paint gun12 (@60 psi)

There are single and dual-stage compressors. You will find single stage are more entry-level, while two-stage compressors are more costly and higher performing.

Basically, the 2-stage compressors do more and do it more efficiently than single stage. But that comes at increased complexity and cost of components, meaning you have to pay more.

I wanted a 2-stage because a) I wanted something a little beefier, and b) I’m ‘Merican and we like big-honkin’ high-horsepower things!

What did I buy?

Ingersoll Rand 7.5 HP 80 Gallon Air Compressor – My Review

Ingersoll Rand is pretty well known in the air compressor world.

Air compressors are somewhat like engines in that they use pistons and cylinders to compress and move air around. A certain amount of precision is required.

I wanted a name brand rather than generic, and I wanted something made in the USA with a warranty that I could trust.

ingersoll rand air compressor photo
Ingersoll Rand’s 7.5Hp compressor is true beefcake! >>CLICK HERE<< to check latest prices…

The 7.5 HP unit 2-stage, and is listed as their part number 2475N7.5. Its specs:
Country of Origin Made in USA
Air Delivery SCFM At 90 PSI 24 CFM 175 PSI
Airflow Volume 24 CFM Maximum Power and Flexibility: 100% continuous duty, 7.5 HP two-stage air compressor, 175 PSIg maximum operating pressure and an 80 gal. ASME receiver tank provide plenty of punch for the most demanding applications
Air Outlet Size 0.25 in.
Compressor Horsepower 7.5 HP
Compressor Maximum PSI 175 PSI
Compressor Tank Capacity 80 gal
Compressor Type Vertical
Compressor Voltage 230V
Drain System Manual
Drive Type 1 Phase – Electrical Vertical Tank Mounted 7.50 HP – Air Compressor Stationary Air Compressor, 80 gal.
Features The air compressor has a durable cast iron pump that is designed to provide 15,000 hours of trouble-free use.
Number Of Power Speeds Single
Number Of Wheels 0
Power Type Electric
Primary Color Brown
Primary Material Cast Iron
Product Height 76 in.
Product Length 48 in.
Product Weight 609 lb.
Product Width 40 in.
Pump Material Cast iron
Tank Fill Time 0 minutes
Tank Orientation Vertical
Warranty 1 Year
Manufacturer Part Number 2475N7.5

If you want to check out Ingersoll Rand’s brochure for this model, you can CLICK HERE. If you want to download a copy of their owner’s manual, you can CLICK HERE.

This thing is really heavy, 609 lbs! Rather than trying to get several people over here to help me load and unload, I decided to just have it delivered right to my doorstep.

Note that this thing is 230 volt, so if you don’t have 230V available in your garage, you may need to consider a different option.

It arrived in a big crate, and I made quick work of uncrating it and moving it into it’s final position with a dolly and some grunting and shoving.

It is fairly loud, which is to be expected for a unit of this size. Speaking of which, that’s the other drawback – it takes up a lot of floorspace.

It is roughly the same size as my previous compressor, so again this is not unexpected.

Wiring and plumbing were easy, and I got the oil and filter kit for the smoothest startup. It fills the tank pretty quickly with that giant, 2-stage motor. No leaks and no problem keeping up with my shop tools.

I have had the beast for about two months now. As I said in the beginning, I don’t need something for daily, continuous use, and I probably over-bought. They claim it is designed for a 15,000 hour lifetime. It is a really nice piece of equipment, and it gives me a piece of mind that I bought a high-quality American brand with a warranty.

ingersoll rand compressor pic
I’m happy with the quality and power – to check the latest prices CLICK HERE

The Best Wheeled String Trimmer – My Review of the Toro 22″ 58620

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lugged a heavy, noisy, vibrating string trimmer all over God’s green earth and then had a backache that evening.

And… all hands go up!

Chainsaws can wear your back out too, of course, but what if there was special kind of chainsaw that rested it’s weight on the ground so that you didn’t have to wear yourself out carrying its load?

Wheeled string trimmers are pretty rare pieces of equipment. They usually only sit out on the salesfloor at rural dealers or maybe a Farm And Fleet. They are not popular at all in the suburbs, and that’s for a reason.

They are really made for cutting acreage. And even then, depending on your terrain and what you’re trying to cut, they may not be suitable.

But they are perfect for long fence lines, or long ditches.

After mulling it over for years, I finally bought a wheeled string trimmer last summer. What did I get, and what is my honest opinion of it? Read on…

Toro 22″ 58620 Specs

Toro’s 22″ Wheeled String Trimmer powers through it all – check latest prices by clicking >>HERE<<

Briggs & Stratton 163 cc engine
22″ cutting path
14″ large wheels
Foldable, tool-less handle height/angle adjustment
Steel deck
2/5 year warranty
0.26 gallon fuel tank

If you are looking for it, I have uploaded the owner’s manual and you can find it ->> HERE

My Review

This 22″ trimmer from Toro came in a medium-sized, heavy box. It was right at 80 lbs, so speaking of back pain, keep that in mind if you are going to load one in your truck/SUV at the store, or if you are ordering one.

Assembly was pretty easy, and only took a few minutes. The handle height can be set to your liking. It is tool-less, but that’s less of a benefit for adjusting on the fly and more about dropping the handle down to take up less space in your shed or your garage.

Toro includes a little discharge guard that mounts to the side. This seems to help keep some of the debris off your legs and shoes.

They also include engine oil. Like your pushmower, this thing is 4-stroke. That means you don’t mix oil in the fuel (which is handy), but you do put oil in the crankcase. My point in mentioning this… don’t forget the oil! If you do, your engine won’t last very long.

Your back may thank you later! ->> LATEST PRICING
The “string” is actually a thick cord. It snaps into place and is easily replaceable.

The healthy B&S engine starts right up with one pull of the cord. What black magic is this??

I wouldn’t call this thing quiet, but it is a big quieter than most gas powered push mowers.

I found that it had plenty of horsepower to cut through even the thickest and tallest weed patches. If you run it up against something that is just too thick for it to cut, the strings beat it up a little bit and just keep going. This thing is not prone to bogging down.

Yes, the 80 lb package weight surprised me, and made me a little apprehensive. After all, it was the weight of must handheld string trimmers that I was trying to avoid with this purchase.

But once you plop this thing on the ground on it’s giant 14″ wheels, it practically floats along, offering little in the way of resistance. Much easier on the back! In fact, about the only thing I felt like it was missing to be a true luxury is a beer holder and air conditioning (ha ha).

There were overgrown patches that were waist high, and this thing just rips right through them.

I did encounter some sections of blackberry brambles. Those vines are thick, and give it a bit more trouble. But it’s still way more powerful and effective than a handheld trimmer.

I found the strings to be quite durable. I cut along a fence line for probably 200 yards, and then I spent another hour cutting along a ditch that was probably 4′ wide by another 100 or 150 yards long.

I have noticed if you cut along a brick or concrete wall, that seems to be the hardest on the strings, and wears them out a little faster.

I didn’t time myself, but I am guessing there was maybe a 10% improvement in efficiency as compared to do it with my handheld trimmer. The 22″ diameter certainly helps, but then you offset that against slightly less maneuverability – pushing the thing on the ground rather than pivoting at your hip with a regular trimmer. And you also still have to take care not to bash into things, it’s not like I was in a race.

I have tried a Craftsman, and felt like it didn’t track straight. I have tried an off-brand, but it was hard to start. The Toro really impressed me, and I’m happy with the purchase.

I give the Toro 2 thumbs up!

I was happy with my purchase…

Ego CS1804 18 inch 56 volt Battery Chainsaw – My Review

If you’re a regular reader of ChainsawsToday, you know I love getting my hands on various chainsaws and trying them out.

In this case, one of my buddies bought a brand new Ego Power+ CS1804 battery chainsaw. Before he even pulled it out of the box, he let me use it for a weekend!

Ego CS1804 Chainsaw Basics

18-inch bar and chain
LED work lights
11,000 RPM operating speed
IPX4-rated weather-resistant design
Tool-free chain tensioning system (tighten the chain by simply twisting the dial)
Brushless motor for longer life
3/8-inch pitch, .050-inch gauge chain, 62 drive links
5 Ah battery
5-year warranty for the tool
3-year warranty for the battery
14.5 lb operating weight

Tons of features on the EGO CS1804 Chainsaw – Check latest pricing on Amazon -> RIGHT HERE

Pulling this thing out of the box, assembly was pretty quick and painless.

I put bar oil in it, and double-checked the chain tension.

The knobs for both the oil fill and the chain tensioning mechanism are almost comically large. They look in some ways like they belong on a toy, especially in the neon-green color. But there is a method to this madness.

Ego designed these intentionally, so they could be used even when using gloves.

The chain brake is where it needs to be and functions as expected. Clicking the battery in place is simple, and starting the saw (just like any battery saw) is as easy as pushing the button rather than priming a bulb and cranking your arm off on a pull cord.

This thing has plenty of power for its size. It is not super-light, mainly because of the beefy 5 Ah battery. I think they offer a 4 Ah battery too, which might reduce the weight by a pound or two if that’s an issue.

CS1804 Performance

Rather than runtime, which would obviously vary according to how hard you’re pushing the saw, Ego advertises 300 cuts per charge. They standardize that to mean cuts on a 4×4 post, which they presumably test in their lab.

I don’t know how many cuts I got, but I worked the crap out of it and it did fine.

My buddy actually supplied me with two of Ego’s 5 Ah batteries, one came with the saw and one he already had. A cool thing about most of Ego’s products is they can all run off the same battery. Now keep in mind that Ego has different sizes of batteries. This saw comes with the big one (5 Ah), but they are smaller capacity batteries too. Regardless, they all click into place and work fine, whether you’re running the Ego chainsaw, blower, string trimmer, etc.

I ran the saw all day Friday and most of the day Saturday. I didn’t use it continuously, just like a gas saw I would set it down to move wood, haul it to the trailer, pull branches and debris out of the way, or move logs with my peavey.

For the most part, one battery kept up with me just fine. I suspect I could’ve put it on a charger whenever I took a break or hauled stuff to the landfill, and that would’ve been plenty. Having two batteries was icing on the cake, as I was able to keep one on the charger and one on the saw all the time.

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference to you, but after sawing for two days, I had used $0 is gas and 2-cycle oil. I’m guessing that would’ve cost me at least $25 or $35 with a conventional saw. Now, I charged the homeowner over $1,000 for this work, some of which I spent renting trailer and on gasoline driving back and forth to the worksite and the landfill. I’m just saying that the saw itself (just like any battery saw) is cheaper to operate than a gas saw.

I found the chain tensioning mechanism worked fine. Slightly more convenient to use since it’s tool-less, some kudos there.

The saw is pretty quiet, but I still wore hearing protection.

Although I saved on gas and engine oil, of course I still ran through a fair amount of bar and chain oil. The oversized knob makes it easy to check and fill.

I gave the chain a quick file and sharpen a couple of times on Friday, and solid 10 minute refresh Friday night, and just gave it a bit of a tweak once on Saturday. It seems to wear well, and does a good job making the chips fly.

Fights above it’s weight on thick logs! Check pricing by CLICKING HERE

I cut some really thick stuff, and the CS1804 never complained. It has good torque, low kickback, and cuts straight.

It was fairly cool out both days when I was cutting, maybe 50 or 60 degrees F. I can’t really say whether it would have a problem overheating the electric motor on hotter days during long cuts. Just something to watch out for if you think you might use it for hours at a time in a hot climate.

Incidentally, if you need them, here’s a link to the owner’s manual->> HERE, as well as the parts list->> HERE.

Review Verdict

I was surprised by how much I liked this saw.

It is one of the more impressive battery chainsaws I’ve used.

I don’t like the looks of it, like I mentioned it looks sort of toy-like and plastic-y. But I definitely like it’s performance.

I am thinking about buying one of my own!

I give this saw two thumbs up!

Most Popular Chainsaw Brands of 2024

Around six years ago now, I made a post here on ChainsawsToday about the most popular chainsaw brands of the year.

I think it’s time we update you guys, and see where we’re at in 2024!

As a reminder, there is a group called OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) who periodically puts out data like this for the entire industry. That is my source.

Like last time, I want to lead with the actual cold hard facts, in tabular form, and then we can discuss some of the details.

2024 Chainsaw Market Share by Brand

Before discussing these rows and data points, let’s chat about where the data comes from, and what it might mean.

Chainsaw Brand Popularity Data

This is a little tricky. Don’t let me bore you or lose you.

The OPEI surveys a given number of customers who have recently purchased various outdoor power equipment.

This could be chainsaws (pertinent to our discussion here), or a tractor, or a mower, etc.

In the survey, they ask the participants what brand they bought. Typically, the consumer gets back to them with a specific brand, or in some regrettable cases they simply answer “I don’t know”.

I have joked before about people buying a chainsaw and not even knowing what brand it is. I’m sure you find that surprising. I know I do. but it happens.

Sometimes when folks answer, they might misspell or mispronounce a brand. Or in all honesty, the survey may catch them by surprise and they may forget which brand and just write the wrong one down.

Because of some of these inherent inaccuracies, let’s assume any brands within a few percentage points of each other are roughly equivalent.

One last thing, not much data has been published for 2024 yet, so there is plenty that could change between now and the end of the year.

Stihl Chainsaw Popularity

Stihl is still the most popular brand of chainsaw in North America.

They are head and shoulders above their nearest competitor. And with several years of data shown in the chart, you can see they have maintained this market dominance for quite some time.

Stihl has quite a marketing machine, and this contributes to their success. They’ve also had some successful product launches that has driven their popularity in the last few years.

Echo Chainsaw Popularity

Although a distant second place, Echo has been chasing market share for years.

I reviewed their CS-590 Timberwolf not too long ago, and thought it was a great product. They have a compelling lineup, with plenty of solid entries.

Their 20″ 60cc model is fairly popular, but I don’t actually know of a single Echo saw that is crappy.

Husqvarna Chainsaw Popularity

Husqvarna is more or less tied with Echo for second place.

In years past, Husqvarna also manufactured Jonsered, RedMax, and Poulan Pro saws. In that way, it may give them an edge over Echo just in terms of yearly volumes and overall popularity.

Although I have used Husqvarna saws on and off since I was old enough to help my dad and grandfather cut wood, I have never posted a review of one here on the website. Note to sell- remedy this situation!

But Husqvarna is also known for selling tons of gear, and I did review their protective apparel kit a few years ago – find details here.

I will wrap it up there.

I was checking out the data from OPEI and thought I would keep you guys in the loop.

Best Pipe Insulation and Heat Cable/Tape

Depending on where you live, you may have to deal with frigid temps all the time, or it may just be a cold snap every now and then.

Or maybe you live on a tropical island and you don’t even own a winter coat!

You know what sucks? Frozen pipes.

If you’re really lucky, they freeze and thaw without bursting and it doesn’t cost you a fortune.

When they burst, they can cause extensive property damage. Think about flooding your house or basement, ruining drywall, ceilings, furniture, electrical appliances. It can be a nightmare even with good homeowner’s insurance.

Even in the best case, if the pipes don’t burst, it’s a pain in the butt. Nothing kills a busy weekend full of obligations or plans like having zero water service. You can’t shower, do stuff in the kitchen, wash clothes, and if unlucky you may not even be able to use your toilet. Ya might only get one flush (I’ve been there).

If you come here to ChainsawsToday looking specifically for content about chainsaws, cool. But I get dragged into more handyman stuff than you can shake a stick at, and I recently helped an elderly lady harden her plumbing against cold weather. She had been dealing with the nuisance and the risk of frozen pipes for several years, and for a minimal amount of time, effort, and money I was able to help fix that for her.

I figured I would drop something on the website to help others looking for the best options for pipe insulation and heat tape.

Pipe Insulation

Insulating risky pipes is one of the easiest and most inexpensive options.

Any pipe or connection that is above ground is at risk. Some areas to watch out for…
pipes in a crawlspace
pipes running from a well pump into the ground
outside hose bibs or spigots, and the pipes running to them

Depending on your location and how cold it gets, underground pipes can be a problem too. The frost line varies by region, and hopefully your pipes are a) buried deep enough to be below the frost line, and b) insulated down to that point.

Foam pipe insulation is a great option.

Foam pipe insulation is a gold standard – click HERE for bulk pricing

This is generally made of closed-cell polyethylene foam. It usually comes with a split down its lengthwise run, which makes it very quick and easy to install. It’s flexible, pretty wear resistant, not easy to tear or tear up. It’s not terribly expensive. If installing it somewhere it could be exposed to wind, I would recommend adding spots or even entire strips of tape to seal the slit once installed, that way it can’t blow off.

Also, for connections and T’s, you should probably butt pieces up against one another and seal them with tape.

Purchased in bulk, this will cost you around $1/ft.

Insulating tape is another option.

Winding insulation tape around your pipes for protection – click HERE to see bulk deals

It insulates just as well, or in some cases even better than the split foam tube option, but it’s harder to install.

When I say “harder”, it don’t mean like rocket science. You just have to wrap the roll around each pipe carefully, with (ideally) an even and precise overlap.

Costing this option is a little tricky. Because you’re wrapping it around the pipe, linear feet on the tape roll doesn’t equate to linear feet on the pipe. Plus you need overlap. A rough rule of thumb is assume a 30′ roll of 2″ wide tape will cover around 15′ of 1/2″ diameter pipe. With that assumption, the cost is about the same as the foam insulation.

If you need to up your game, pipe heat tape or heat cable may come into play.

This is basically like a heated blanket for your pipes. You can wrap the tape or cable in a spiral around each pipe, or in some cases you just run it straight down each length. Most kits come with tape or anchors to fasten it around the pipe. You then plug it into an outlet, and when powered a resistance heating keeps the material warm and prevents freezing.

Heat tape can protect pipes even in the Arctic – click HERE to check latest pricing

Nobody wants to stomp around in the middle of a snowstorm plugging their pipe heaters in. I usually recommend plugging them in to one of the small, cheap wifi controllers like this, and that way you can turn each on and off with your phone. Some of the more expensive versions come with thermostats, which is even nicer.

There are a couple of drawbacks to going the powered route. Number one, there are only so many plugs and outlets that can be managed. If you have more than a couple of runs of this, it becomes like a Clark Griswold Christmas Vacation thing where you are just itching to blow a fuse or trip a breaker. And of course electricity costs money, so your power bill may suffer.

On the other hand, if temps are sub-zero and brutally cold, insulation without a heated option may not be enough.

One final item I’ll throw out there, I use a heat lamp in my well pump house. My well pump and reservoir sit under a little 3’x3’x3′ plastic dome. The dome has some insulation on the underside, but not much, and it’s crumbling away anyway from age. I had a problem with some components freezing a few years ago during a cold snap, so I set a heat lamp out there and wired it to a wifi outlet controller.

Of course you have to use an “old school” incandescent bulb. Modern day LED bulbs are too efficient, and produce too little heat to have a protective effect. Any time it gets below about 20 degrees, I turn the well pump house heat lamp on the prevent problems.

A heat lamp in my pump house – click HERE to see pricing

Best Chainsaw Hearing Protection

Let’s get serious for a minute.

Hearing damage can be irreversible.

In many cases, once it’s lost, it never comes back. Also, it can be cumulative. The more exposure you have to loud noise, over time it will absolutely begin to affect your hearing.

Listen, when I was younger, I was invincible. It’s not that I didn’t realize things I was doing would affect my body. I just didn’t care. I figured hell, one day we all get old, I’ll worry about that later.

I wish now that I had taken better care of my body. Better care of my joints. Better care of my skin relative to sun exposure. And definitely better care of my hearing.

How loud are chainsaws?

The average chainsaw is 106-120 decibels. Battery saws tend to be a bit quieter. And some saws are much louder.

That Supmix 62cc saw I reviewed a while back was loud enough to wake the dead!

Anything over about 80 decibels may require protection. Here’s the standard chart that relates how loud something is to the exposure limit, or length of time it might be sustainable:

Even if you are just running a chainsaw for a minute, just to clean up one branch or knock the knob off one log, you should be wearing hearing protection. It just isn’t worth the risks of going without.

Here’s what I would recommend, going in stages of effectiveness.

Stage 1 – the bare minimum

Foam Ear Plugs

Foam ear plugs like these Mack’s Ultra Soft ear plugs are a good product.

They are pretty convenient to carry. You can stuff then in your shirt or pants pocket, put a pack in your equipment bag, etc.

They are pretty comfortable. Because they’re so light weight, they don’t really bother your ears. They are soft and usually don’t cause any problem or irritation even if you have to wear them for hours at a time, or all day.

And they are reasonably effective. If inserted properly, they have a NRR (noise reduction rating) of 33 decibels. So if that saw your are using is 120 decibels, these ear plugs could reduce it to 87 decibels. That’s still a little sketchy if you look at the chart, but much better than nothing at all.

Mack’s foam ear plugs are a good option – check HERE for Amazon pricing

Stage 2 – a better option

These ear muffs from Decibel Defense are an upgrade option to Mack’s ear plugs.

One of the inherent problems with ear plugs is they aren’t terribly stable. They can be pulled out or knocked out, and there is a bit of technique to roll them up and insert them into your ear canal. These ear muffs do away with all of that.

Also, they have an improved NRR of 37 decibels. This provides just a little extra protection compared to the 33 decibels from the foam ear plugs.

These are very comfy, with soft, thick cushions that go over your ears. They of course are a good bit heavier than just the bare minimum foam ear plug. Another drawback, if you’re working in a hot environment these can add to your heat stress. I’m one of those guys who sweats a lot, and sometimes it feels really good to pull the ear muffs off and let myself cool down!

These Decibel Defense ear muffs are a good upgrade option – click HERE to check latest Amazon pricing

Stage 3 – best option

A helmet/visor/muff combo is really an advanced protection system, and is often times one of the best options.

I covered the Husqvarna helmet a while back in a post about their nice protective apparel kit.

I’m still a big fan. It is very well-optioned and thought out.

It has a tiny bump out at the top of the visor that acts as a sun shield. That little feature is so nice to have during certain times of the day when the sun is brutal.

They are very comfortable. They have an Egyptian cotton sweatband inside, and ya’ll already know how much I sweat. I might not want to wear a helmet on a hot day, but the Husky helmet at least bends over backwards to make it as comfortable as possible.

They have plenty of adjustments for size and fitting. And the best part is their face shield. It has a fine mesh which does a surprisingly good job of keeping sawdust from flying up into to your face and your nose.

One drawback here is that their earmuffs are only rated to a 24 decibel reduction. That’s pretty standard across most forestry helmets. I know it sounds crazy, but I typically stick ear plugs in and wear the helmet for any kind of extended use activity.

Husqvarna has an amazingly comfortable helmet/visor/ear muff combo – check pricing HERE

I should probably do some reviews for more safety apparel, given how frequently we all see folks getting hurt in the industry. You may have already checked out my article on chainsaw gloves, and shin guards.

Be safe out there, folks!

NEO-TEC NS8105 36″ 105 cc Chainsaw Review

Sometimes, bigger is better. And sometimes you need a giant saw to do a giant job.

Huge and incredibly powerful saw ->>> CHECK AMAZON PRICES

Neotec claims their NS8105 chainsaw is a professional grade saw made for heavy-duty work like logging, felling massive trees, or cutting large diameter wood.

Over the last few years, they have gotten a pretty good reputation in the saw industry, and I have been wanting to try out one of their saws.

I was hired by a guy about an hour’s drive from me to cut up a huge 48″ plus thick tree that blew down on this property. I knew I was going to need a beast of a saw, and I saw this as an opportunity to order one of these Neotec 36-inchers and put it to the test.

NeoTec NS8105 – My Review

Right out of the box, this thing started right up and gave me no issues cutting.

It was always easy to start, whether hot or cold. And very easy to assemble.

The weight is a bit unwieldy, but that can be said of any saw that is sporting a 36″ bar and screaming to 6.5 Hp.

You definitely do not want to use something this big just for fun. I had to cut a very large diameter tree, and that fully justified a monster chainsaw.

The little support rod that braces the rubber-gripped handle to the bucking spikes was interesting. I think they added this just to stiffen the saw up, and it seems to work well. I wonder why more manufacturers don’t do this?

It has a 680 ml (23 oz) fuel tank. I hope you like buying fuel, because running this thing hard sure uses it. Again, this isn’t the saw’s fault – any big saw is going to be a gas hog. It seemed like I was constantly refueling it.

Despite a few of those drawbacks (the weight and the fuel usage), the power is addictive. Cranking on that trigger and bearing down on the handle means this thing slices through hardwood like some kind of nuclear powered buzzsaw.

The chain, right from the factory, seems to be set up just right, not too aggressive and not too lazy.

Same goes for the bar oil tank. It holds 360 ml (12 oz) and I ran through several tanks. It really has to crank out the oil to keep a chain/bar this long oiled.

What an incredible beast of a saw! —> CLICK HERE TO CHECK AMAZON PRICES
I put this thing through it’s paces through a long, hard weekend, and it never missed a beat. It really is a good bargain, and I’m interested in trying out some more of Neotec’s saws.

SupMix 20″ 62cc Chainsaw Review – My Experience

This one has been a long time coming.

I actually ordered one of these almost eight weeks ago, but it took nearly six weeks to arrive.

The first shipment was apparently lost, and the second shipment landed while I was out of town on a work/cutting trip.

After using it for a couple of weeks and maybe 30+ hours of cutting, I’m eager to tell you my thoughts. First, the basics…

SupMix 20″ 62cc Chainsaw Specs

SupMix 20″ 62cc Chainsaw – click >>Here<< to check Amazon’s latest prices
    • 4.2 Hp
    • 62cc
    • 2-stroke engine
    • front and rear anti-vibration handles
    • electronic ignition
    • 8500 rpm max
    • low kickback chain
    • chainsaw weight 14 lbs

Contents include:
guide bar
spark plug
tool kit
2L fuel mixing bottle
oil hopper
instruction manual


This SupMix comes in a box somewhat unassembled just like any other brand new saw. You have to install the bar and the chain, then set the tension.

There are a few other things you have to do before you use it the first time, but unless it’s your first saw, you won’t have any surprises. And if it is your first saw, no worries, they have enough documentation that you shouldn’t have any trouble.

Of course you will want to premix the oil and gas. And don’t forget to fill up the bar/chain oil.

My Review

This thing starts easily. I have heard some folks complaining about getting it started, but I often wonder if those are people that complain about starting all saws. I had no trouble hot or cold, a few pulls of the cord and it was rip-roaring.

It cuts really well. Plenty of power, nice and straight, no stumbles.

SupMix 20″ 62cc Chainsaw – to review latest pricing click >>HERE<<
It does seem to like full-throttle, and doesn’t like being run hard at lower rpm. But most gas saws are like that.

One of the few complaints I have is about the noise. Wow, this thing is loud!

Maybe the Supmix guys spent their money on a good engine and chain and carb and scimped on their muffler?

I always wear hearing protection, and you should too. But this saw is very loud, and your neighbors (if they are close) are going to know it.

The other thing is replacement parts. There is a certain amount of confusion about what chain the saw needs. For clarification, it takes a 0.325″ pitch, 76 link, 0.058″ gauge. They are not hard to find.

Like I said at the beginning of the article, I put probably 30 or more hours on this saw. If you went on a 30 hour long date, you’d know that lady/guy pretty well, right?

This thing is thirsty for fuel, but it is 4.2 HP, and I ran it hard.

It has good balance, and the ergonomics are decent. I mentioned earlier in the specs that they list it as 14 lbs. It’s no lightweight, but these days with big honking batteries for battery chainsaw versions, the gas versions can feel lighter and even sporty in comparison.

The saw cuts fast, and the chain seemed both sharp and durable. Over the course of several days and the 30 hours, I did some basic sharpening, just hitting it with a quick file. Check my post about sharpening if you need the help.

I did not have any problems with tensioning, or kickback.

I’m always careful to keep bar oil filled. Running one dry is a great way to wreck the bar, the chain, and even stress the motor. I did notice once that the bar oil usage seemed to slow down compared to the fuel usage and run time. It made me think I had a clog in the bar, or maybe the pickup in the tank isn’t positioned well.

That isn’t necessarily a complaint, just something I noticed that made me suspicious. So if you buy one of these, keep a careful eye on it and top it off frequently.

So that’s my review. It’s a good saw, and an incredible bargain for the money. If you want to check latest pricing, you can click here.