Which is the best 18″ chainsaw? Husqvarna 445 vs Husqvarna 450

Which is the best 18” gas-powered chainsaw?

Husqvarna makes some of the most popular chainsaws around with models catering for everything from the casual novice user to an experienced contractor. Two of their most popular mid-range machines are the 445 and 450 18” gas powered saws which are very similar with just a couple of differences, mainly in the engine and power output.


Both these models are ideal for the landowner with quite a large plot and are even capable enough to be considered by farmers and ranchers. They have a rugged quality to them and are loaded with the professional features an experienced user would need.


We’re going to compare the 18” versions of these two chainsaws, but they will both take other sizes of bar and chain making them quite versatile and suitable for use by more casual users as well, especially as they are fairly light compared to larger, more powerful machines.


First of all, let’s take a look at how the specs and features compare so you can see at a glance what each model offers.

 Husqvarna 445 965084001Husqvarna 450 966906738
Engine45.7cc 2-stroke X-Torq50.2cc 2-stroke X-Torq
Maximum speed9600rpm9000rpm
Power output2.8 hp3.2 hp
Chain18” – 0.325” pitch / 0.050” gauge18” – 0.325” pitch / 0.050” gauge
Compatible bar lengths13” min to 20” max13” min to 20” max
Starting aidsSmart Start, air purge, combined choke/stop control, fuel pumpSmart Start, air purge, combined choke/stop control, fuel pump
Pre-air cleaningYes – centrifugal air injection cleaning systemYes – centrifugal air injection cleaning system
Air filterStandard quality. Tool free accessStandard quality. Tool free access
Automatic oilerYes. Not adjustableYes. Not adjustable
Chain tensioningExternal side access with included T-wrench External side access with included T-wrench
Chain brakeYes – hand guard and inertia operatedYes – hand guard and inertia operated
Spark arrestorNoNo
Low vibration systemYes – LowVib systemYes – LowVib system
Fuel tank0.95 US Pint. Visible fuel level0.95 US Pint. Visible fuel level
FuelGas/oil mix 50:1Gas/oil mix 50:1
Chain oil tank0.55 US Pint0.55 US Pint
Weight (without cutting gear)10.8 lbs10.8 lbs
Felling marksYesYes
CARB compliantYesYes
Vibrations at front/rear handles6.1 m/s2 and 5.5 m/s23.1 m/s2 and 4.9 m/s²
Sound pressure at operators ear103.3dB(A)104dB(A)
WarrantyResidential 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.

Comes fully assembledYesYes


Quite an impressive list and very useful to see them side by side. We have full, in-depth reviews of both these models (note the bar/chain lengths may differ but the basic saw remains the same). You can find the Husqvarna 445 review here and the Husqvarna 450 review here.

Performance and Engines

This area is the where our two models differ the most. They both have the 2-cycle Husqvarna X-Torq engine with its lower fuel consumption and emission levels but they come with a different size and power.


The 445 chainsaw comes with a 45.7cc engine that has a power output of 2.8 hp and a maximum speed of 9600rpm. The 450, on the other hand, has a slightly larger engine at 50.2cc that develops more power of 3.2 hp. The maximum speed on this one is lower though at 9000rpm.


In terms of real world usage, there’s not too much to choose between them but we would generally go for the more powerful engine, just because it will handle those tough jobs a little better.


The chain spec on these two is exactly the same with both having a professional quality, low kickback type of chain. Both saws can also take different bar and chain lengths from 13” right up to 20” and when using the longer length, this is where the Husky 450 will score more points as it has the additional power to cope.


Overall, the 450 has the edge when it comes to power and performance, but both chainsaws are capable machines.



Starting

If you take a look at the reviews for either of these models you will find only a few complaints about poor starting, which is good news for a 2-stroke machine.


Husqvarna has done lots to improve the starting on their modern chainsaws and these both come fitted with some features to help make it as easy and reliable as possible. This includes an air purge bulb, the Husky SmartStart system, and a combined choke/start control. These chainsaws also have a fuel pump to further aid easy starting.


Both saws are pretty evenly matched when it comes to starting them so there is no clear winner here.



Air Cleaning

The 445 and 450 both benefit from the Husqvarna Air Injection system of pre-cleaning the engine air before it even gets to the air filter. This centrifugal air cleaning process removes larger debris and dust particles which help to improve engine life and reduce the amount of maintenance needed.


Accessing the air filter is simple on both models with a snap-lock cylinder cover that can be removed without the need for tools. The air filter itself is also quick release so keeping it clean or replacing it is quick and easy.


Again, nothing much to choose between the two models when it comes to the air cleaning system.



Safety Features

No modern chainsaw these days should come without some important safety features and Husqvarna products are no exception.


The main safety feature is the chain brake which on both models is inertia and hand guard operated. This helps to protect the operator from the dangers caused by kickback although there is no safety guard supplied for the tip of the bar.


It’s also unclear from the specifications if these models come with a spark arrestor fitted to the muffler. If the model you receive does not have one, we recommend buying it as an accessory.


Both models have the same safety features so no winner for this category.



Low Vibration System

The problems caused by prolonged use of a chainsaw can lead to some serious long-term damage including a condition known as HAVS or white finger.


Husqvarna has developed their own vibration dampening system called LowVib which is fitted to both these models but surprisingly is more effective on the higher powered 450 chainsaw.


With a much lower vibration rating for both the front and rear handles, the 450 comes out on top for this one.



Weight and Handling

As both chainsaws weigh exactly the same (10.8lbs) then the Husky 450 wins out in this category as it provides a much better power to weight ratio. It’s worth noting that this is quite a light weight for a rugged chainsaw so both these models would be great to use in situations where you might need to hold it for extended periods such as when limbing or light pruning.



Fuel Capacity

With a fuel tank capacity of 0.95 US Pints (0.44 L) the 445 and 450 hold the same amount of fuel, but with a slightly better fuel consumption, the smaller model will last a bit longer on a full tank.


Just to note, you can tell when you need to top up without removing the filler cap on both these machines as they have a window that lets you see what the fuel level is. A very handy feature missing on many other models.



Warranty

The warranty on the Husqvarna chainsaws is standard across the range and comes with 2 years cover for residential use and just 90 days if used commercially.


You can extend the residential use by a further 2 years if you buy some Husqvarna branded premixed fuel at the same time as buying the chainsaw. Both must be on the same receipt and is very much worth doing so make sure to remember this when you come to buy.



So which one is the best?

With very similar specs and features, there is not too much to choose between these two models but the Husky 450 definitely comes out on top. It just has that bit more power without weighing anymore and is only a little more expensive than the other model.


However, if keeping to a strict budget is important to you then you will find the Husqvarna 445 will perform just as well for most homeowner tasks so you will not regret buying that one either.


If one of these models ticks all the boxes for you then you can find the best deal by comparing their price below.



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