CRAFTSMAN 35098 Chainsaw Review

The Best Craftsman 20-inch Chainsaw Review

The Craftsman 50cc 20-inch gas-powered chainsaw is built for the long haul.  Let’s dive right into our Craftsman 20-inch Chainsaw Review!

Reviewed Model:  Craftsman 35098

Overall Rating:

Performance:

Forgiveness:

Build Quality:

Look & Feel:

Price:

PROS

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    Plenty of power
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    Easy to start
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    Light and easy to handle
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    Cuts smoothly
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    Comes with its own case for easy storage

CONS

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    It bucks
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    It may bind under pressure
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    Bar oil can get messy
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    Ethanol-intolerant
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    Cutting chain isn’t suitable for green wood;

This unit offers an anti-vibration handle to reduce the risk of nerve damage during long cutting sessions and has plenty of room in the grip should you add anti-vibration gloves to your cutting routine. Its 50cc two-cycle engine gives it loads of cutting speed.This tool comes fully assembled and ready to use once fuel and lubricant are added.

Key Features

Cutting Chain

As stated above, the Craftsman 20 inch chainsaw chain that comes with this tool has a high cutting link and is really aggressive. If you're cutting through dry logs, this tool will probably work very well. 

Chainsaw Chain

However, for greenwood, you might want to have a spare chain with a lower profile and a bit less cutting power.  A high, aggressive cutting edge will create a lot more sawdust from old wood, but in greenwood, an aggressive cutting edge is more likely to tear up the wood, drawing back and shredding the long, flexible fibers inherent in greenwood.

These long strands will put an extra load on the engine and may bind the machine. greenwood wants to split into strands, not shatter into sawdust. A second chain with a lower profile and a little change-out time will make your cutting projects much more efficient.

Motor

Are Craftsman chainsaws any good? Well, considering these saws are made with components from several different manufacturers, yes! The 50cc engine is made by Husqvarna and is the same engine that goes into Poulan Pro saws. You will want to avoid ethanol as it's tough on the seals and other soft products inside the engine. Additionally, follow the additive instructions carefully, date your blends and never add old fuel to your two or four-stroke engines.

Chainsaw Motor


Source: Husqvarna

There's a bit of brand snobbery applied to a lot of products, from cars to chainsaws to computers. However, while Craftsman tools were intended to be used on home projects and not in professional settings, these tools are sold with a great guarantee. They're built to last.

Chain Oiling System

Take care when adding chain lubricant to your saw reservoir because there is no Craftsman chainsaw oil adjustment system on it. If you overload the bar oil, you may have a mess. This will keep your chain in good shape for longer, but when it's time to change it out you'll have a gooey mess.

Stihl Chainsaw Oiling System


Source: Stihl

Bar

The 20" bar is made of steel and comes attached to the tool for quick setup and easy cutting. You can also put a shorter bar on this for close work. Check your Craftsman chainsaw manual for the easiest way to change to a shorter bar and work slowly at first; a shorter bar chain will impact the balance of the tool. You must always guard against the saw kicking back.

Chainsaw Bar

Grip

The grip on your Craftsman saw is spacious. This saw gives you plenty of space for safety gloves and chatter protection. This saw is only 26.4 pounds, and a great deal of that is out in front of the saw. To make sure you're able to balance it properly and to let the weight of the saw apply the pressure, be sure to use this saw in a "low and slow" position for a time until you're ready to tackle bigger projects.

Chainsaw Chain Brake Handle (Stihl)

Safety

You'll need eye protection, ear protection, gloves, long pants and preferably long sleeves to guard against dust, wood chips, and nerve damage. In addition to your safety gear, you need to remember these two very important things:

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    Chainsaws can kickback under pressure; that is, they may bounce off the surface while cutting.
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    The top of the chain bar cuts just as fast as the bottom and will happily slice through whatever is in front of it. Kickback injuries are extremely dangerous. Never work a saw one-handed, keep a good grip on this tool and practice with the tool on the ground before you climb a ladder or try to bring down a large tree.
Chainsaw Safety Helmet

Product Review

Performance 

This lightweight saw has a great name backing it up and a quality Husqvarna motor. Follow the manual instructions on what fuel to blend and how to store blended fuel; it's always cheaper to mix new fuel than to run old fuel through a two-stroke engine. It’ll buck, so be sure to keep a firm grip on it as you learn the action of the bar. If you apply unnecessary pressure to the chainsaw, it’ll bind; but if you cut slowly, using only the weight of the chainsaw, you’ll get a smooth cut every time.

No Craftsman 20-inch chainsaw review would be complete without a reminder to store your chainsaw properly. For those that live in the far north, the way you put your chainsaw away will have almost as great an impact on the life of your tool as the fuel you put in the tank.

The following video has great instructions on getting as much fuel out of the tool as possible without running it dry, storing it with the right fuel in the tank, cleaning up the air access and pulling the spark plug:

Forgivness 

Your Craftsman 20-inch chainsaw has a well-designed handbrake and anti-chatter protection. However, as stated before, chainsaw blades move quick. Put in some serious practice with the saw until you have a good feel for it; then you won't have to rely on forgiveness. Follow the instructions for the initial priming (or if it's been sitting for a while) and you shouldn't have any problems starting this unit.

Build Quality 

Your Craftsman 20-inch chainsaw parts come from some of the best small engine companies in the world. While a 20-inch Husqvarna saw may be quite expensive, this tool has the same carburetor. Follow your instruction manual, get familiar with the chain adjustment without overloading the Craftsman chainsaw oil pump for the bar oil, and put this saw to great use!

Look & Feel 

Considering how lightweight it is, this saw has a lot of cutting power in that 20" blade. Once you get it balanced and are fully confident in directing the cut with the weight of the saw, you can experience quality cutting at a single user saw price.

Price 

When compared to other 20-inch saws on the tool market, this chainsaw is priced fairly. There are a few 20-inch saws at a lower price, but a lot more at a markedly higher price.

How does it compare?

Of the other 20" saws on the market, the Craftsman is one of the lightest and least expensive tools. Below are several other products for comparison.

The TimberPro is both lighter and cheaper. However, this machine is very prone to filling with dust and gumming up, causing the chain to overheat and bind. Take care to keep dust out of the oil reservoir and keep an eye out for kickback; this saw is under 20 pounds and is very blade-heavy.

The Husqvarna 460 Rancher has a higher capacity engine for more power, is about the same weight, can run a variety of blade lengths and is markedly more expensive. If you need a saw to work in your hard, the Craftsman is a great tool. If you're putting in multiple hours on multiple days cutting fence post, the Husqvarna might be the best pick.

The Remington RM4620 has a slightly less powerful engine, weighs just a bit more and has an anti-vibration handle. This saw can pick up an awful lot of dust and may clog itself, so be sure to stop and check the condition of your air cleaner and filters should the tool start to fail. The Remington chainsaw is slightly less expensive than the Craftsman chainsaw.

The Homdox 62cc chainsaw is slightly lighter and a bit less money than the Craftsman saw. A curious feature of this saw is that the safety break handguard offers a gridded shield.

Not only will this allow for great contact to apply the emergency brake, but it will reduce the amount of sawdust kicking up at you. If you've previously used an electric saw and would like the flexibility and convenience of a gas-powered saw, this is a great option.

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