While outdoor jobs often need a chainsaw, some jobs are much bigger than others and require a similarly large chainsaw. This is where the best 50cc chainsaw comes in handy as it can generate plenty of cutting power while still being easy enough to use. This is why we put together a list of the 3 best 50cc chainsaws as well as a helpful buyer’s guide. We personally think that the Husqvarna is the best in class, but it is also the most expensive. Keep reading to find a great deal instead.
Best 50cc Chainsaws in 2020
|Husqvarna 450 Rancher|
|Poulan Pro PR5020|
1. Husqvarna 450 Rancher – Best 50cc Chainsaw
For anyone who knows the outdoor lawn care market, it should come as little surprise that Husqvarna made our Editor’s Choice top spot as the best 50cc chainsaw on our list. As the most experienced company on our list, it is also the best professional 50cc chainsaw that we reviewed as well. Though, it should be understood that the 20” bar, while more than suitable for most commercial projects, is not suitable for most industrial level projects. This means you should not attempt to fell a large, thick tree with it unless you are a master lumberjack. Still, the Husqvarna 450 Rancher is one of the most capable and complete 50cc chainsaws that we came across.
By far the quality which sets the Husqvarna apart from the other chainsaws we reviewed is its ability to generate raw cutting power. First, even though all of the chainsaws we reviewed have the same amount of engine displacement at 50.2cc, the Husqvarna is able to generate almost a full horsepower more than the next closest competitor. On top of that, the 450 Rancher is also able to generate a fairly quick chain speed that sits idle nearly 20-percent faster than the next closest chainsaw reviewed. All of this comes with Husqvarna’s X-torq technology that maintains lower emissions than most other 2-stroke chainsaws and is suitable for local municipalities with stricter restrictions.
Even though the 450 Rancher is able to generate so much cutting power, that does mean that Husqvarna forgot about the creature comforts. First, this chainsaw has a number of features designed to make starting the chainsaw that much easier beginning with a spring-loaded smart-start feature. On top of that, maintenance is made a bit easier with an engine design that improves air filtration as well as the air filter being easily accessible from the top of the chainsaw. Finally, the Husqvarna has one of the best anti-vibration features we found with their patented LowVib system.
2. Echo cs-490 – Best DIYer 50cc Chainsaw
As a company founded over 7 decades ago and specializing exclusively in outdoor lawn care equipment, ECHO has transitioned from its once commercial-grade lineup to a more consumer-grade approach. That said, ECHO does pride itself on providing one of the best consumer-grade experiences on the market and includes a number of extra features to make using their chainsaw easier. In fact, because of these various features and the attention paid to them, we find the ECHO CS-490 to be the best DIY 50cc Chainsaws we reviewed.
Easy to Use
While a consumer-grade chainsaw needs to be able to generate a certain base level of cutting power, chances are the target market is not felling Redwoods. As such, these users are far more likely to appreciate and be willing to pay for, extra features which simply make their experience more pleasant. As is standard when looking for a convenient chainsaw, the ECHO has an easy start function with a spring-loaded pull-start. It also has an automatic chain oiler that is not as likely to start leaking on its own like some other chainsaws with this feature.
That said, the most impressive quality of the CS-490 is how easy it is to use this chainsaw for extended periods with little fatigue. A big part of this begins with the fact that the ECHO is by far the lightest chainsaw on our list and is also one of the better balanced making it one of the more all-around maneuverable. The composite body and handle are lighter than other materials used, though they are also more liable to break too. Still, the safety of the ECHO is further ensured with a double-post chain brake that features a ‘peephole’ design to provide an even better sightline to the tip of the bar when making a cut.
3. Poulan Pro PR5020 – Best Budget 50cc Chainsaw
Some might be a bit surprised to Poulan so far down our list, but it is important to remember that Poulan actually specializes in Industrial and Commercial-grade chainsaws. As such, their consumer-grade effort does well in some respects but could see to significantly improve in some others. In fact, it seems very much as if many of the same principles which are better suited for larger chainsaws have been applied to the PR5020. That said, if you are looking for a powerful chainsaw that can get you through a couple of tough jobs, this is the best budget 50cc chainsaw that we encountered.
For a chainsaw that is almost half the price of our top pick, you know there will be something missing, but you hope it still can handle industry standards. For the Poulan Pro, you do not have to worry about this chainsaw falling short of the task in terms of cutting power. While the engine is not the most powerful on our list, the transmission is still able to generate some of the best torque that we saw. On top of that, the chain speed is also fairly impressive which, when combined, make using the Poulan Pro one of the faster cutting chainsaws we found. This is in a large part due to the inclusion of Poulan’s patented OxyPower engine which also keeps emissions down.
The biggest real issue with the Poulan Pro 5020 is that it is significantly more expensive than the others we reviewed without being able to justify that additional weight. At over 15 lbs, the Poulan Pro is nearly 50-percent heavier than our lightest chainsaw reviewed which has huge implications for all-day fatigue as well as maneuverability. That said, there are still plenty of features which helps make using the Poulan Pro that much easier. As is standard, the 5020 chainsaw has a spring-loaded smart-start system, though using this in conjunction with the safety throttle and the purge function are necessary for proper functioning.
If you are getting to the point where you are looking for a 50cc chainsaw, then chances are you need a product with some serious power. This is because few 50cc chainsaws do not already come with the requisite cutting power for most jobs, including professional grade jobs. However, it is important to remember that the power generated by the engine still requires a solid transmission system to turn that power into chain speed and torque. In this instance, the torque is generally considered the more important of the two qualities as it will determine how easily the chainsaw can cut when it encounters denser of irregular patterns in the wood.
The chain speed does play a factor in this as well, but it is mostly reserved for the more extreme circumstances with the average situation being met by most chainsaws. Still, in the hands of an experienced user, the ability to control the throttle and chain speed offers more options in regards to the cutting approach and technique. Though not terribly common, this is where you can begin to see people who use chainsaws artistically or for other types of work projects.
This is a bit difficult to rank but is definitely at the top of the list as it plays an important role in a number of different qualities to follow. That said, the quality most people are concerned with is the bar’s length which is given in inches and can range from under a foot to over four feet. While the length of the bar does impact the size timber you can safely cut with the chainsaw, few chainsaws have a bar under 12” which is about what you need for most homeowner purposes.
Of course, the size of the bar is more relevant if you have different sizes of timber to cut with smaller trees and branches being better suited cut by chainsaws with a smaller bar. It is also important to consider that the longer the bar, the more unwieldy the chainsaw which is inherently less stable and less safe. Granted, if you use a larger chainsaw on a larger piece of timber, the mass of the timber will aid in stabilizing the cut so long as you are otherwise using proper technique.
Thankfully, manufacturers are aware of this issue and most include anti-kickback bars to prevent the bar from getting stuck in the timber at an improper angle and being shot back at your face. You can recognize and anti-kickback bar by a knob at the end of the bar, but this is not a guaranteed solution for kickbacks requiring you to still maintain vigilance when using a 50cc chainsaw.
Outside of anti-kickback bars, numerous chainsaw manufacturers include other safety features to help further protect the user. One of the more related is the inclusion and use of an anti-kickback chain which features teeth employing a similar design as the tip of the anti-kickback bar. Combined, both of these anti-kickback features are generally good enough to prevent an uncontrollable kickback when using proper technique. Of course, if you use a chainsaw long enough or on tough enough jobs, you will eventually get to the point where other potential safety issues begin to crop up.
Easily one of the most important safety features involves the chain brake which is a nicer way of saying ‘shield.’ However, there are a number of different ways that the chain brake can be arranged to provide other safety and ease of use. That said, this is generally a choice between the maximum amount of protection or a better sightline on the chainsaw’s bar. Of course, if you wear the proper safety equipment, then there is a pretty good chance that you do not really need to worry about the minor risks imposed by a see-through chain brake. In fact, there are actually a number of chain brakes made in such a way that you get the sightline without having to sacrifice any safety.
Ease of Use
Depending on how long you need to use the chainsaw for at any given time, there are a number of features which are added to make that use a little bit easier. If you add enough of these features together, the chainsaw in question can be made significantly easier to use–so much so in fact that a complete novice can figure out how to effectively use it without any experience and little time spent learning beforehand. That said, most of these features are meant to enhance the experience of someone who has used a chainsaw before and knows what frustrations are possible.
In this instance, some of the most frustrating parts of using a chainsaw involve the various tasks you have to do before and after you use it. For instance, gas-powered chainsaws often use a pull-start method which can require significant amounts of effort to actually get started. In an effort to alleviate this annoyance, many manufacturers add either a spring-loaded mechanism to reduce the amount of force necessary to start the chainsaw or even include an electric-starter instead.
This could technically be considered part of the ease of use discussion, but the features and their effects are so similar that they are often grouped together individually. Ergonomics, however, are simply about avoiding time and frustration but are focused on actually reducing the physical burden using the chainsaw imposes. Considering that 50cc chainsaws are right around the line that separates a consumer and a professional-grade chainsaw, ergonomics is arguably more relevant to this chainsaw category than for others.
The best way to make the chainsaw easier on your body is to simply make less of it for you to have to carry. The other major feature that will significantly improve your long-term experience when using a 50cc chainsaw is some kind of vibration dampening system. In fact, having to control the chainsaw’s vibrations is arguably the most taxing part of using a chainsaw in the first place, so anything that reduces the vibrations is a benefit–especially for a chainsaw this size.
When you look for a 50cc chainsaw, it is important to make sure that you get the necessary amount of power that chainsaws in this class can generate. There are few chainsaws we found that could generate the same kind of power as consistently as the Husqvarna 450 Rancher. With an engine that generates far more power than the next closest competitor, the Husqvarna can chew through wood like no other in its class.
Of course, if you are looking for a powerful chainsaw that will not also take such a large bite out of your wallet too, then we recommend the Poulan Pro 5020 with its serious torque and much lower price. So long as you can deal with lugging the Poulan’s extra weight around and retensioning the blade more often than with others, the Poulan is both a cost-effective and safe alternative in an expensive class.