Is The Best Small Chainsaw the Husqvarna 440E or the 440?
The Husky 440 and 440e semi-professional grade chainsaws are the perfect choice for anyone that needs a lightweight, rugged chainsaw that is easy to maneuver but has the power to tackle most medium duty homeowner jobs.
In fact, whereas you usually find a lot of the popular video reviews of chainsaws tend to be for the bigger more powerful models, many chainsaw buyers who need something for occasional use, or as their ‘go-to’ model for day-to-day jobs around the farm or ranch will get the best results from something lighter and easier to use.
The 440 and 440e fit right into that sweet spot very nicely with a 41cc engine, dry weight less than 10lbs and ability to take a bar and chain from 13 to 18 inches. That makes them an ideal candidate to review to see if they really are up to the job and we’re going to do that right here, so keep reading.
Husqvarna 440 vs 440e
It may not have escaped your notice that this review covers two models, but we are really only going to mostly talk about one, the Husky 440e. As you will see from the specs and features below, the two chainsaws are almost identical apart from one major difference; the e-series model has tool free chain tensioning whereas the 440 requires the use of the included T-wrench.
We have also found that even though the standard 440 is still a current model at the time of writing, it is becoming harder to find in the stores as the newer Husqvarna 440e becomes more popular.
Specs and Main Features
|Husqvarna 440e 965168601||Husqvarna 440 440 967166001|
|Engine||40.92cc 2-stroke X-Torq||40.9cc 2-stroke X-Torq|
|Power output||2.4 hp||3.49 hp|
|Chain||16” – 0.325” pitch / 0.050” gauge||16” – 0.325” pitch / 0.050” gauge|
|Compatible bar lengths||13” min to 18” max||13” min to 18” max|
|Starting aids||Smart Start, air purge, combined choke/stop control, fuel pump||Smart Start, air purge, combined choke/stop control, fuel pump|
|Pre-air cleaning||Yes – centrifugal air injection cleaning system||Yes – centrifugal air injection cleaning system|
|Air filter||Standard quality. Tool free access||Standard quality. Tool free access|
|Automatic oiler||Yes. Not adjustable||Yes. Adjustable|
|Chain tensioning||External tool free side access||External side access with included T-wrench|
|Chain brake||Yes – hand guard and inertia operated||Yes – hand guard and inertia operated|
|Cold weather cover adjustment||No||Yes|
|Spark arrestor||Check model being purchased||Check model being purchased|
|Low vibration system||Yes – LowVib system||Yes – LowVib system|
|Fuel tank||0.78 US Pint. Visible fuel level||0.78 US Pint. Visible fuel level|
|Fuel||Gas/oil mix 50:1||Gas/oil mix 50:1|
|Fuel consumption||510 g/kWh||510 g/kWh|
|Chain oil tank||0.53 US Pint||0.53 US Pint|
|Weight (without cutting gear)||9.7 lbs||9.25 lbs|
|Vibrations at front/rear handles||3.8 m/s2 and 4.2 m/s²||3.8 m/s² and 4.2 m/s²|
|Sound pressure at operators ear||102dB(A)||102dB(A)|
|Warranty||Residential 2 years. Can be extended by buying premixed fuel at the time of purchase.|
Commercial 90 days.
|Residential 2 years. Can be extended by buying premixed fuel at the time of purchase.
Commercial 90 days.
|Comes fully assembled||Yes||Yes|
Now that we’ve covered the main features and differences between the two models, let’s take a closer look at what this means when actually using the 440e in the real world. As mentioned above, we’re going to refer mainly to the e-series model from now on but will note where there’s a difference on the 440.
How good is the power and performance
of the Husqvarna 440e?
This chainsaw is powered by one of the Husqvarna X-Torq engines that are used in many of their 2-stroke (or 2-cycle if you prefer) power tools. These are great engines with a long life and have been designed to cut fuel consumption as well as reduce harmful emissions, making them CARB compliant. This model has the 40.9cc version with a power rating of a healthy 2.4hp and a top cutting speed of 9,000rpm.
That’s actually a lot of usable power for a small engined machine and when used properly, this saw can cut through most stuff you throw at it. We’ve even seen it used to cut through an 18” log in under a minute without getting bogged down, which is pretty impressive.
Like most chainsaws, this uses a 2-stroke air cooled engine as it provides the best power to weight ratio for outdoor powered hand tools and that means it uses a gas and oil mix for fuel. The mix used in this saw is the usual 50:1 gas to oil as for other X-Torq engines and it’s important to use good quality unleaded gas with an 87 octane rating at the very least. In fact, we recommend you stick to an 89 or better octane rating to be on the safe side.
Another tip for these engines is to make sure you run in the engine properly when new. This basically means not running it at continuous high speeds for the first 10 hours or so of usage. Seems a bit of a bind but it pays dividends later on by increasing the engine life considerably.
It does look as though the fuel tank on this model is a little on the small side at just 0.78 US Pints (about 12.5fl oz or 0.37 litres) but due to the smaller engine size, users are reportedly getting around 2 hours use out of it, so doesn’t seem like anything to worry about! There is also a handy little window on this model to see how much fuel is left in the tank which helps a lot.
What size is the bar and chain that comes
with the 440e?
At first glance, it looks as though there is a difference here between the 440 vs the 440e as the former comes with an 18” bar whilst the later has a 16” bar. You can, however, fit a 13, 15, 16 or 18-inch bar and chain to either of these models so it’s really simply a matter of which size it comes with that is the difference.
All the chains and bars are the same 0.325” pitch and slim 0.050” gauge and come as a good quality, low kickback type that will serve you well as long as it’s kept sharp, lubricated and tensioned correctly.
We will cover the lubricating and tensioning later, but as for keeping the chain sharp, there are a couple of simple ways to tell if you need to see to this on your chainsaw. The first is to look at the size of wood chips being produced, if they are small together with lots of sawdust then that’s one sign you need to sharpen the chain. If you notice that you need to apply more pressure to get the saw to cut through the wood than normal, then that’s another.
Check out the relevant section in the manual for more details and how to sharpen the chain
How easy is the tool-free chain tensioner
As we know, the major difference between our two models of 440 is that the e-series has a system to tension the chain that does not require tools. Why is this important? Well, let’s just say if you’ve ever tried to tension the chain when half way up a tree then you might well appreciate it!
The system actually works very well and most reviewers comment on how easy it is to use. To tension the chain, you just need to pull out a small handle and loosen the bar clamp, then use a thumbwheel to adjust the chain and tighten the bar clamp back up again when done.
There have been one or two reviewers who have commented that when they removed the cover completely for maintenance etc., they have been unable to get the cover back on again and have given the chainsaw a very negative rating because of it. However, the reason for the problem is most likely to be that they have not followed the instructions in the manual and released the chain brake first by moving the front hand guard forward.
What are the safety features on the
440 e-series chainsaws?
If you have read through any of our other reviews on chainsaws you will know that we strongly recommend learning all about your new power tool by reading through the operator manual from end to end at the very least. If you are a complete novice, then it would be a good idea to also attend one of the many chainsaw handling courses run by dealers and organizations across the country.
There are few more dangerous power tools than the chainsaw and it’s very easy to get yourself into a tricky situation without realizing it unless you know how to use one properly.
To combat the potential dangers, manufacturers of modern saws have built in several safety features and the 440e has some of the latest to help reduce the chance of injury. One of the most important is the dual pole chain brake system that operates the brake
One way it’s activated is through inertia, so when the system detects rapid movement of the blade it actuates the brake instantly. The other is through tipping the front hand guard forward by the left hand which will nearly always happen in a kickback situation.
In case you don’t know what kickback is, it’s what happens when the upper quadrant of the bar tip encounters an object and the saw bounces back rapidly, usually upwards towards the operator.
Neither safeguard can be relied upon to work 100% of the time as there are just too many different factors involved, so the best way to protect yourself is to learn how to handle the saw properly as we mentioned earlier.
On the 440e you will also find a few other safety features to help protect the operator from injury, these are:
- Right-hand guard - the guard at the back of the chainsaw where you grip it with your right hand has been shaped to protect it from a broken chain. It also prevents twigs, branches and other objects from interfering with your grip.
- Throttle trigger lockout - this device prevents you operating the throttle unintentionally.
- Chain catcher - a device in the clutch area that is designed to catch the chain if it jumps off the guide or snaps whilst in use.
Is the 440e loud or heavy when compared
to other chainsaws?
Despite recent advances in muffler technology, a 2-stroke chainsaw is always going to be pretty noisy and the 440e is no exception. It is slightly better than some other models, probably because of its smaller engine with a decibel rating at the operator’s ear of 102dB(A). However, we recommend you always wear ear defenders when using this chainsaw to protect your hearing.
As we have covered further up, this machine is one of the lighter ones around for its size and power, weighing in at just under 10lbs (4.4kg) without the cutting equipment installed or fuel added. In fact, the 440 model is even lighter weighing just 9.25lbs (4.2kg) due to the simpler clutch cover.
That makes both these machines ideal for light to medium duty tasks where the saw is going to be in your hand for a long time and you will certainly notice less fatigue at the end of a long day. Jobs this would be ideally suited to include limbing, bucking, pruning of all sorts and firewood duties.
Does this chainsaw cut down on
With the excellent Husqvarna LowVib system on this machine, you will really notice the difference when handling it compared to some other brands. The vibration dampers insulate the handles from the engine chassis and effectively cut down what is actually felt at the handles by quite some margin.
The official ratings are just 3.8 m/s2 at the front handle and 4.2 m/s2 at the rear, which helps, even more, to make the 440e comfortable to handle for extended periods. Of course, you will need to keep the chainsaw well maintained for these low vibration levels to be realized, especially keeping the chain nice and sharp!
You may well be wondering why this is so important and it’s a good question. Many people do not realize that continued exposure to vibration
How easy is the Husky 440e to start?
Like all 2-stroke machines, issues getting the darn things started can drive a person to drink sometimes! However, Husqvarna has done all they can to make this both easier and more reliable. One of their innovations is the Husqvarna SmartStart system that works by reducing the coil resistance by up to 40% making for easier cord pulls. One of the common problems when starting is flooding the engine and the manufacturer has introduced a combined stop/choke control that makes this much less likely to happen.
There is no decompression valve on this model at the time of writing (although it’s rumored this will be added soon as it’s a feature of higher end models already) but there is an air purge bulb and a dedicated fuel pump which are designed to aid easy starting and according to our research, they do a pretty good job.
Please make sure that you read the manual and follow the instructions closely, as many issues associated with poor starting can be avoided quite easily by using the correct procedure. Also, make sure to take note of the information around fuel, oil and ethanol etc. particularly the instructions for storing the machine for any length of time.
What about the air filter and air injection
system on this model?
On the 440e you will find a two-piece, easy to maintain air filter that pops out without the need for any tools. It’s simple to pull apart for cleaning and we prefer this to the foam variety that can get clogged up quite easily.
Getting to the air filter can also be done without the need for tools as the main cover is secured by several plastic clips that are easy to release. That makes keeping the air filter in good order a simple and quick task, made even better by the centrifugal air injection system that stops it getting so dirty in the first place!
This system uses the cooling fan to clean the air before it gets to the air filter by removing larger dust particles and debris making for longer engine and filter life. The system works really well and you will find it keeps the air filter in good shape for a lot longer than on older models without the air cleaning
Does this chainsaw automatically lube
The other thing to take care of with the chain apart from being tensioned properly and sharpening it when required is to make sure to keep it well lubricated at all times. With older models, this was not the easiest of things to do, but with modern chainsaws, it’s all taken care of with an automatic oiler.
The Husky 440e has a quality automatic oiler that is set up to deliver oil to match the rate that fuel is used so that you know to fill up both at the same time. This generally works well although can be affected by environmental factors so always check that oil is still being delivered whilst in use and keep the 0.53 US Pint (8.5fl oz or 0.25 litres) oil reservoir topped up after about an hour’s use to be safe.
You can quite easily check if there is oil being delivered by running the chainsaw at speed whilst pointing it at a light surface such as the top of a tree stump. After a few seconds, if the oiler is working
Unboxing the 440e
Both the 440 and the 440e come fully assembled but it’s always a good idea to check the bar and chain are tight and correctly adjusted before use. In the box, you will find:
- Fully assembled chainsaw
- Saw chain
- Guide bar
- Guide bar cover
- Combination spanner and screwdriver
- User manual
This chainsaw has a 2-year warranty for personal, household use or 90 days if used commercially. You can extend the homeowner warranty to 4 years if you purchase 3 x 32oz cans of Husqvarna pre-mixed fuel at the same time and from the same place. Use the online product registration to record this and note that the fuel must appear on the same receipt as the chainsaw to be valid.
What routine maintenance will I need to do?
There are both checks you should make before using the saw each time and regular checks at certain intervals but it’s important to remember that a well-maintained chainsaw will both perform better and be safer to use. All the maintenance information can be found in the manual and as we’ve said before, please read it before taking out the 440e to use.
Briefly, the ‘before use’ inspection includes checking oil levels, air filter condition, chain tension, making sure the chain brake works etc. etc. The regular maintenance includes cleaning the spark plug, checking fuel hoses, and turning the guide bar amongst other things.
What other features does the 440e have?
We’ve taken a good look at most of the important features now, but there are a few extra things that are worth a mention.
First up, the 440e has a three-piece forged crankshaft which is designed to increase durability. This effectively helps the crankshaft
This chainsaw also has some felling marks molded into the cover that helps to make precision cuts when felling a tree. Line up the marks on the cover when making the felling notch in the direction you want the tree to fall, just like sighting a gun. Use them when making the back-cut as well and with practice, you will get the tree to fall exactly where you want it.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the ergonomic front handle which has an improved grip as well as a 7o offset that helps to reduce operator fatigue.
What protective gear should I have?
There are a few items of protective safety gear that you should not use a chainsaw without and we consider absolutely essential.
We’ve mentioned some of these already and the first item on our list is a decent set of ear defenders. Exposure to the loud noise a 2-stroke engine makes can have an impact on your hearing very quickly and extended exposure could damage it permanently. The next things you should have are a hard hat and some eye protection. Rather than buy all three separately you can find safety helmets that include all of them as one unit which makes it very convenient to use.
Even though the vibration damping on this model is very good, a set of quality anti-vibration gloves can also help to make sure you’re doing the most you can to prevent the dangers of HAVS. These are made especially for chainsaw use and provide additional hand protection like any heavy-duty work glove as well.
You often see videos on YouTube of people using a chainsaw in shorts and flip-flops which is just plain stupid in our opinion. Some of the most common chainsaw injuries are to the legs and it’s important to protect yours using a pair of chainsaw chaps or a chap apron. If you are unsure what they can do, check out this video and prepare to be amazed
Of course, footwear is also important and some good quality work boots or shoes with non-slip soles are the best things to wear. Make sure you are not wearing any loose or baggy clothing and tie long hair back so that it cannot get caught up in the chain.
Lastly, if you’re working in a particularly dry and dusty environment, you may find some form of respiratory protection is needed as well.
Check out our article on chainsaw safety tips
What do the consumers have to say about
the Husqvarna 440e?
The 440 and the newer 440e have been around for a long time so there are lots of reviews online to look through. There are of course a wide range of experiences from the very worst to the very best some of which, especially the negative ones, you have to wonder if they are actually using the same saw or maybe have not followed the user manual correctly.
Overall though from our research, we have found the general impression is positive. Interestingly more so for the 440e as despite supposedly being the same engine and so on, it seems to have far fewer reports of starting issues than the 440.
Something else worth a mention which we’ve also noted in some of our other reviews is that on a few of the lower to mid-range Husqvarna models, including this one, the user manual has been designed with all the diagrams at the front which makes it very un-user friendly!
We’ve no idea why they have done that but we can recommend watching the videos Husqvarna
Our original question for this review was whether the 440/440e are some of the best chainsaws with a smaller engine for the homeowner. The answer is a definite yes and we would recommend the 440e over the 440 as the model to go for – but as always you need to make sure it matches the type of work that you will mainly be using it for.
If you are a homeowner with a lot of land, or a farmer or rancher and you need a rugged, powerful chainsaw that can cut quickly through the most demanding jobs, then this not the chainsaw you need to get. We recommend you check out our article on the Best 20-inch Chainsaws for Homeowners
However, if you have a smaller plot of land, are more of a weekend garden warrior or need a light and powerful saw that is easier to handle over a long day, then the Husqvarna 440e is going to tick all the right boxes for you.
Should you decide the 440e 16” gas powered chainsaw is exactly what you’re looking for after reading our review then we have found the best deals are on Amazon right now.
We also have lots of reviews on our site such as our one on the best medium-sized gas-powered chainsaw,