Reviewers recommend the 13-amp, 4-horsepower Craftsman 34118 with an 18-inch bar as one of the best budget-priced, corded electric chainsaws. The Craftsman chainsaw has bucking spikes for cutting up firewood, plus important safety features such as an inertia-activated chain brake, anti-kickback bar tip and wraparound handle. As long as you can work within 100 feet of an outlet, this Craftsman chainsaw can perform most short tasks. Poulan manufactures this Craftsman chainsaw; the Poulan Pro 400E is essentially the same saw, only it lacks the Craftsman's tool-free chain tensioner. If you need to use a chainsaw for more than a few minutes at a time, consider getting a model with an anti-vibration handle, such as the quieter Best Reviewed electric model overall, the Husqvarna 316E (Est. $300) .
Because the Craftsman 34118 is nearly identical to the Poulan Pro 400E chainsaw, we looked at reviews of both models. We found the most helpful review at ConsumerReports.org, where the Poulan version is compared with 24 other chainsaws based on thorough objective tests. Tools of the Trade tests the Craftsman 34118, comparing it with only eight other models but providing much more detail. We also found more than 200 owner-written reviews of the Poulan Pro version at Amazon.com and of the Craftsman version at Sears.com. These reviews provide a first-person look at how this chainsaw has performed over time.
Our Sources: Craftsman Chainsaw Reviews
ConsumerReports.org tests the Poulan Pro 400E -- essentially the same chainsaw as the Craftsman 34118 -- along with 25 other chainsaws, both electric and gas. Models of each type are ranked based on test results. Chainsaws are tested on cutting speed, safety, ease of use and ease of maintenance, among other factors. Unfortunately, noise level is not among the statistics measured and compared by editors.
Review: Chain Saws, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Tools of the Trade
Nine electric chainsaws, including the Craftsman 34118, are rated based on objective tests that include cutting two sizes of square timbers. Chain brakes are tested to see whether they activate easily by inertia; the Craftsman is one of only three models that pass this test. Balance is a high point, but the Craftsman 34118's cutting speed slows significantly on the thicker timber.
Review: Electric Chainsaws, Michael Springer, March 2007
Nearly 360 owners review the Poulan Pro 400E chainsaw at Amazon.com, giving it a very high average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Most owners are quite satisfied with this chainsaw, although a small percentage of reviews are negative -- mostly regarding quality control issues.
Review: Poulan Pro 400E 18-Inch 4 HP Electric Chain Saw, Contributors to Amazon.com
More than 85 owners review the Craftsman 34118 electric chainsaw at Sears.com, giving it a near-perfect average rating. Almost 90 percent of users say they would recommend this chainsaw to a friend. A few report quality control problems, however -- about the same percentage as those weighing in on its Poulan-branded counterpart at Amazon.com.
Review: Craftsman 4 hp 18" Electric Chain Saw, Contributors to Sears.com