It’s a crucial tool for anyone who needs to cut through a fallen tree, or for the woodsman who simply needs firewood.
The chainsaw provides a time and effort-saving function, as no one wants to handsaw through a 20-inch log nowadays.
No, if you’re dealing with creating logs, trimming shrubs, cutting through branches, or making your own firewood, chances are you should invest in a chainsaw to speed through any of those processes.
From the outlook, finding the perfect chainsaw may seem tough. After all, as you probably already know, there are numerous brands and models to consider when choosing. The chainsaw is a crowded category of power tool.
As such, we’ve decided to take an in-depth look at a big power tool manufacturer’s offering: Makita.
Makita is a company that is known for reliable, durable, long-lasting products. You might be asking if they even make chainsaws. The answer is yes, so we thought it necessary to check out their chainsaw department.
Our choice: the EA4300 Makita chainsaw.
How will it stack up to the competition and is it worth your time and money? Let’s find out.
If you put aside the bright orange color, which is generally reserved for other power tool companies like Kubota and Husqvarna, there are numerous features that make this Makita chainsaw unique.
Most chainsaws use a crank-style engine to power the bar and chain, and while the EA4300 is no different, the crank case is made from a 2-sided magnesium material. This allows the saw to be extra durable, rather than your standard metal being used.
In addition, the magnesium parts allow for some weight loss on an otherwise medium weight chainsaw. It can be hard to imagine that a 10.8-pound device is considered middleweight rather than heavy, but that’s what the EA4300 represents.
You’ll also find a 2-point inertia and mechanical chain brake, which give you added safety should anything need to be stopped.
If you’re buying a heavy-duty chainsaw, chances are you’d like the parts to follow suit.
Thankfully, this Makita chainsaw uses an industrial quality centrifugal clutch, which gives the ultimate durability in the long run. There is an advanced vibration dampening system that allows smooth operation. Plus, for further vibration reduction, an antivibration handle was crafted.
On the bar, you’ll find true metal spikes to hold the chain in place, which isn’t always a design companies implement.
In terms of safety, you’ll be happy to know that there is a one-touch lever shut off to disengage the engine, should it be necessary.
If your saw requires maintenance, it’s easy to pop open the side compartment for access to the filter area, and the spring assisted starter can have work done, if necessary, too.
One last function that Makita includes as a leg-up on the competition is S-form caps for refueling, operation, and changing the oil. An S-form cap is easier to open and close, giving you better fit and security for the important ports on your chainsaw.
Overall, there are some good options to consider here.
Makita is a well-respected company, so it’s easy to see why many people still believe this chainsaw to be one of the better options for professional use.
Many claimed that starting the machine up was no problem, even after sitting idle for weeks. Plus, the cuts delivered were consistent, which means you’d know what to expect every use. Also, the compact design and weight were noted, making it easy to maneuver the saw around.
The only real drawback found was initial price, as it’s a tad more expensive than the other saws in its category which deliver more power.
That said, it seems like the EA4300 is highly regarded by the people who use it most, which should make anyone feel good about considering it as their next chainsaw.
Sometimes, as you probably already know, you must pay for a power tool for its quality. In this case, that stands true.
You’ll find that the EA4300 saw comes in at a mid-to-high price of $369.
A lot of this price is factored into the materials that are used in its construction, but also into the power the engine can displace. Manufacturing a 42cc engine for a saw is no easy work, especially one that is going to be used to slice through trees.
Really though, this is a powerhouse chainsaw that can be used for professional work, along with heavy-duty residential projects.
For this price, you also get a scabbard and chain included. That seems reasonable, but often, you’ll have to pay for a chain extra right out of the gate. Not many companies give them to you, so it’s nice to see one included.
One of the only drawbacks you’ll find with this saw comes in the form of its warranty.
Unfortunately for anyone who wants to use one, the EA4300 only carries a 1-year limited warranty. This is standard for professional use equipment, or products that are meant to be used that way.
Thus, that’s where the short warranty comes from.
Overall, you get a lot for the money here. Now let’s see how it stacks up against the competition.
As with most power equipment or tools, there are a plethora of choices out there.
Almost every manufacturer that relies on, or makes, devices for outdoor use have different models, coming in at a variety of prices. That means that you, as the consumer, have a lot to choose from. It’s hard to not be overwhelmed with choices, but that’s what we’re here for.
Below, you’ll find three different chainsaws that are close in price and performance to the Makita chainsaw. One will be a cordless, battery-powered variant, while the other two will run on good, old-fashioned fuel.
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If you haven’t heard of the company Ego, chances are you aren’t alone.
It’s a relatively new manufacturer that looks to specialize in high-usage, battery-powered equipment. Once you’ve seen some of their products, it’s easy to see that they have a winning formula so far.
The Ego CS1604 provides a 16-inch bar powered by a 56V lithium-ion battery.
One of the best parts about this product is that Ego includes the charger and 5.0Ah battery with the $300 price tag, giving you everything needed to start cutting right out of the gate. This does include the chain, too.
The brushless motor underneath runs everything and can hit 6,800RPM, which is very strong for a battery-powered machine.
Just like the EA4300, you’ll find an automatic lubrication system, oil inspection window, and weather-resistant construction. These are, of course, the extra features you’d be sure to look for in any chainsaw, so it’s good to see them here.
There is also an antivibration handle and tool-less maintenance via the side compartment, which makes it on-par with the heavy-duty EA4300.
The biggest drawback you’ll find, though, comes in the form of overall power output.
While this saw can produce good, quick cuts, it doesn’t produce as much torque as the Makita chainsaw. Even so, if you need a medium-use chainsaw for work around the house, you could do worse than the CS1604.
You’ll find it at local hardware stores for $300, as mentioned, and it carries a great 5-year limited warranty.
If you need a big saw for big jobs, the 20-inch 50cc gas-powered Husqvarna 450 may be for you.
Husqvarna is one of the leading power equipment companies you’ll find out there, and most of this comes from their reputation as producing quality gear for any occasion.
As with any piece of equipment that’s built to last, you’ll end up paying more and the 450 is no different. The retail price on this chainsaw will require $400 to acquire, which is more expensive than any other saw on our list.
With that $400, though, you get access to an X-Torq engine that spits cleaner air out into the world, and one of the best anti-vibration systems around in the LowVib frame and handle.
If you’re curious on the convenience aspect, the Husqvarna 450 includes the standard options, such as a side-mounted chain tensioner and snap-lock cylinder. Both, along with the automatic oiler and visible fuel tank make it an easy-to-use and maintain option.
Also, if you’re in California and need power gear that adheres to CARB’s guidelines, you’ll be happy to know that this is a CARB Compliant saw.
The biggest drawback you’ll find with the 450 is weight, however. While the 13.4-pounds it weighs makes sense due to the bar size and engine, it’s still heavy.
Husqvarna throws in your standard 2-year limited warranty, which is what we’d expect.
Our second gas choice is cheaper than both the Husqvarna and Makita chainsaws, making it a good value pick already.
You’ll find the 18-inch ECHO CS-400-18 right in the middle of those two saws as well, providing a good middle option if you require something slightly bigger than 16-inches, yet smaller than 20.
The biggest reason to consider the ECHO is job size: if you need to cut massive, 36-inch logs, this is the saw for you.
This is accomplished by the 40.2cc engine that uses 62 drive links, the most seen today.
It has your standard antivibration technology and tool-less maintenance included, and a heavy-duty chain brake for added safety.
It’s also the only chainsaw on our list that is fully EPA-approved, meaning you won’t have to worry about prolonged usage outdoors. This also means it’s CARB Compliant, like all the other saws we’ve covered.
On the flip side, cutting through bigger logs can wear down your machine quicker, while also using more gas. This may not be an issue for you, but it’s something to note if you’re familiar with heavy-duty chainsaws.
Also, if you’re curious about the warranty information, the ECHO gives you a 5-year limited warranty for residential use. If you need to use it for commercial that number drops to 1-year. It’s a solid saw, and you can purchase one at hardware stores for $300.
Overall, the EA4300 saw presents a good value if you need a professional-grade chainsaw to use but isn’t our top choice when it comes to this price bracket.
While the EA4300 Makita chainsaw gives you everything you’d want from a power tool, it also leaves a little to be desired in the power department, as it’s only able to cut through logs 16-inches or less.
That said, our choice would go to the ECHO mentioned above.
Again, this doesn’t mean that the EA4300 is a bad device, and for strictly professional or commercial use, it will hold up better long-term. But for overall usage or especially residential-based cutting, the ECHO is top dog.
The biggest difference is warranty, and 5-years provides peace of mind unlike 1-year can do.
Also, the fact that it’s a lighter saw makes it a good choice.
Basically, choosing between the two comes down to one question: what are you using it for? If you haul a chainsaw around in your truck to cut wood or trim shrubs, the EA4300 is the one you’d want.
Otherwise, the residential-based CS-400-18 takes the cake.