The best tools for clearing fallen trees

Use caution when wielding a chain saw

Published: September 09, 2015 08:00 AM

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If a tree comes down on your property and you need to clear your driveway or walk in a hurry, a chain saw can come in handy. But using one can be intimidating. And maintaining a chain saw takes some expertise. So, if you don’t have a lot of big trees, consider these three less powerful options recommended by our chief outdoor-gear tester, Peter Sawchuk:

Suitable for cutting branches and roots too close to the ground for safe chainsawing.

Cost: $50 for the Ryobi 18-volt cordless P514, $50 for the battery and charger, and $7 for a 12-inch pruning blade.

With longhandles and pincers, they’re great for snipping off small branches and twigs.

Cost: About $30 for the Fiskars 391381-1001, a typical hand-operated model.

A bow saw can handle many of the same cuts as a chain saw. At minimum, choose one with a 30-inch blade.

Cost: About $40 for a Bahco model with a 30-inch blade and a sturdy blade guard. Extra blades cost about $10.

Top chain saws

Consumer Reports' chain saw Ratings of more than 40 models include heavy-duty gas models such as the Echo CS-590-20, $400; lighter-duty gas models including the Stihl MS 180 C-BE, $230; the corded-electric Worx WG303.1, $100; and the battery-powered Ego CS1401, $300. 

Storm preppers

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Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the October 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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