The gas-powered Husqvarna 440E's combination of fast cutting speed, power and low price make it a value that's hard to beat. It can handle up to an 18-inch bar, and owners find it light and well balanced. A few users say the starter can be problematic, but the no-tool tensioner is a hit. The saw also gets high marks for safety.
Ideal for fast work. The gas-powered Husqvarna 440E has a 40.9 cc/2.4 horsepower engine that can power up to an 18-inch cutting bar. It gets excellent scores from an independent consumer testing organization for its speed, and owners agree: "It cuts through 15-inch ash trunks like butter," posts one at ChainsawsDirect.com.
Sal Vaglica at This Old House magazine warns that the 440E may require more finesse to keep its chain from binding in larger logs, but says it handles 6- and 8-inch diameter cuts with no problem. An Amazon.com user says the saw "bogs down easily if you lean on it when the bar is buried." Hearing protection is recommended.
Good brakes. The Husqvarna 440E draws praise for its fast-acting chain brake. "This brake stops the chain almost instantly and either engages when the handguard is contacted or activates automatically via an inertial system," say editors at an independent consumer research organization.
However, not every owner feels completely safe operating this saw. "It scares me," writes one experienced chainsaw user who isn't confident in how well the bar is secured. Others say they have to stay on the throttle constantly to keep the engine from stalling, even while starting the saw in one notable instance. This is not the safest practice.
Quirky starter can be a problem. For some users, getting the Husqvarna 440E started is an insurmountable barrier. "I filled the tank, did what the instructions said, but no way will this thing start," writes one at Amazon.com. Others say it starts just fine, but the number of complaints makes this a noteworthy concern.
On the other hand, the anti-vibration handle provides noticeable comfort over long work periods. Most owners also agree that the no-tools chain adjuster "works like magic," in the words of one ChainsawsDirect.com poster.
Editors test and rate 25 chainsaws on factors including cutting speed, safety, ease of use and handling. The Husqvarna 440E isn't included, but it's deemed similar enough to the Husqvarna 435 to receive the same rating.
Review: Chain Saws Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Site editors recap the best features for a chainsaw, then review several models for a range of uses. They pick the Husqvarna 440 e-series as one of the best medium-duty saws, saying it's identical to the Jonsered CS 2240 S at a lower price.
Review: Chainsaw Reviews, Editors of TheFamilyHandyman.com, Not dated
The Husqvarna 440E gets 5 stars out of 5 after more than 35 user reviews, and all owners say they'd recommend it to a friend. Points of praise include fast cutting speed, a vibration-dampening handle and tool-free chain tensioner.
Review: Consumer Gas Chainsaws, Contributors to ChainsawsDirect.com, As of July 2013
More than 40 Amazon.com reviewers give the Husqvarna 440E an average score of 4.2 stars out of 5. Most of them love its fast, powerful cutting performance, but a number of users struggle with a problematic starter mechanism.
Review: Husqvarna 440E 16-inch 40.9cc 2-Stroke X-Torq Gas Powered Chain Saw, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013
5. This Old House
Vaglica briefly comments on each of the five top chainsaws in this article, including a 16-inch version of the Husqvarna 440E. He uses it to cut through a dozen pieces of 6- and 8-inch tree with no problem.
Review: TOH Tested: Chainsaws, Sal Vaglica, Not dated