I'm looking for a chainsaw for shrub and small tree pruning. Needs to be able to cope with the occasional thicker branch or trunk. First thoughts are Stihl but just wondering if there are any other chainsaw brands and models out there worth considering?

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    • For occasional use, I think the MS171 would be more than adequate.  As Gary says, unless you're working trees a lot, anything else is overkill.

      Incidentally, I dismantled a 30 foot Birch over-hanging a green house a few weeks back using a pair of spikes and a Silky.  Chainsaw only came out for one cut to bring the butt down.

      I guess it all comes down to what kind of work you do?  

  • Stihl171 or Hushquvarna 236 both excellent saws.. its just down to personal preference.

    Echo seems to be coming up with good saws too

  • As someone that is primarily a tree surgeon, I have a selection of top handled and rear handled saws, but for shrubs and hedges, usually just a Silky or good pair of loppers are needed, but have recently started using a Makita reciprocating saw with a 4ah battery. Starting and stopping a chainsaw continuously is a pain, and just leaving it running between cuts while stuffed in a hedge is a no-no, whereas just picking the Makita up and pressing the trigger is much safer and easier. The Makita is usually used for cutting through roots when fencing, or cutting through nails / panels when taking old fencing down, so as a landscapers tool, well worth having in the armoury, plus the blades are as cheap as chips off of eBay!

    • The recip saw idea sounds great for topping hedges and cutting roots, especially if you already have 18v batteries kicking about.  Do the blades hold up to much abuse or do you just cost a couple into the job?

      • Even just shoving the blade into a hole to cut roots while digging post holes does not seem to wreak them immediately, usually manage to use the same blade for 2 or 3 jobs - use new ones for pruning, and when the edge goes off a little, use it for roots.<br />
        <br />
        If you already have the batteries for other tools, makes a lot of sense.
  • Get a pole pruner or multi-tool, depending on budget and how much you use it, even a cheap one might suffice. I feel much safer with the chain whizzing round 6 feet away from me. I still have an 18 volt black and decker chainsaw (but I don't use it professionally) as it's light and easy going for climbing or firewood chopping. Bigger isn't necessarily better. I am not a tree surgeon and don't want to take power  tools up a ladder if I can avoid it. Have gloves, helmet/visor etc and will invest in some trousers or chaps very soon.

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    It just depends on what size bar you are thinking of running. If you want something that is a bit more versatile, giving you the option to run a 14 or 18 inch bar you might want to look at the STIHL MS 251. However, if you want something light, with a smaller bar then I'd recommend the STIHL MS 170, MS 180 or MS 150. It'll be worth popping to your local dealer for some more advice, you will also be able to pick up the saw and see how it feels, that will help you make up your mind.
  • I've got a Stihl 170, use it for shrubs, and small to medium tree work.  I used someone elses Makita recip saw for some roots when putting a post in, was a handy tool.

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