When you need extra muscle, you need a chain saw. Check out the latest models and features to look for when you're buying the bad boy of cutting tools.
This full-featured, all-around saw starts easily, runs smoothly, and has plenty of power for turning tree trunks into firewood. The chain can be tensioned or replaced by turning the built-in handle, a real plus if you're in the woods without a wrench. Stihl MS 250 C (16-inch bar; 11 pounds, 45-cc power head). $330; stihlusa.com
The light weight, compact size, and nice balance of this top-handled Echo make it easy to maneuver, which is why it's a favorite of professional arborists, who spend a lot of time up in trees. Echo CS-360T (16-inch bar; 8 pounds, 36-cc power head), $300; echo-usa.com
Vibration tires muscles and can inflict lasting damage on nerves, so this saw has shock-absorbing springs on the front and rear handles. Husqvarna 345-e (16-inch bar, 10 1/2 pounds, 45-cc power head), $290; husqvarna.com
Suburban loggers appreciate the plug-in convenience of electric chain saws, which are lighter, quieter, smoother, and easier to start and maintain than gas models. The chain runs about 70 percent slower, though, so cuts take longer. Milwaukee 6216 (16-inch bar, 9 pounds, 2 1/4 horsepower), $275; milwaukeetool.com
This fume-free, 5-pound saw will cut through small tree limbs faster than a handsaw; its 12-volt battery is good for 93 cuts through 1 3/4-inch hardwood. There's no chain brake, but since the chain crawls over a 4 1/2-inch bar at 6 miles per our, it probably isn't necessary. Makita UC120DWD, $199; makitausa.com
With an 18-inch bar, you can fell and buck trees as big as a yard in diameter. In addition to its catchy graphics, the "Wild Thing" has detailed starting and operating instructions printed on the saw, a helpful reminder for occasional users. Poulan P4018WT (18-inch bar; 10 1/2 pounds, 40-cc power head), $150; electrolux.com
The vast majority of chain-saw accidents involve legs and hands. So before you fire up, always suit up with each of the following.