Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw. The Best 60cc Chainsaw?
Looking at a Husqvarna 460 Rancher chainsaw? If you are more than a casual user, can handle a 13-pound saw, and want a high-quality, versatile, and dependable saw, the 460 is a great choice for you. Why? The short answer is quality and power. It is also a versatile saw, available with either a 20-inch or 24-inch bar (and can take a bar as short as 13"). For the longer answer, read on and we will give you all the details.
There are many chainsaw brands to choose from, but none has the solid history and reputation of Husqvarna. Founded in 1689 in Sweden, this company has the longevity category sewn up. And there's a reason they have survived so long - they make quality products. They started out making muskets - a piece of equipment you do NOT want to have malfunction on you. Likewise, you do not want a dangerous tool like a chainsaw malfunctioning - especially one that is often used in remote areas.
Wanted to expand beyond firearms, Husqvarna later turned their engineering expertise to other useful items like bicycles, motorcycles, sewing machines, stoves, kitchen appliances, and numerous outdoor products. They've been making chainsaws since 1959.
Swedish engineering and manufacturing produce the safest cars (hello, Volvo!); Husqvarna fits right into that level of quality. Owned for a time by Electrolux, Husqvarna became an independent company again in 2006, and is currently traded on the NASDAQ. Once you've had a Husqvarna, it is hard to be satisfied with anything else, and fans are intensely loyal to the brand.
The company is also environmentally aware and takes pains to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. In their environmental policies, they state that they believe that "high environmental performance doesn't need to conflict with product quality, performance or safety." These policies also stipulate that the company will strive to use transportation with a minimum environmental impact and, in addition to reusing and recycling, shall "continuously optimize the use of and limit exploitation of natural resources and select energy providers with due consideration to their environmental impact". In 2014 Husqvarna was listed as one of the world's 100 most sustainable companies.
Husqvarna makes several classes of chainsaws: Homeowner, Farm & Ranch, Semi-Professional, and Professional. The 460 is the more powerful of the saws in the Farm & Ranch class.
The Homeowner class is for "light cutting and hobby work". They range in power from a 36 V electric model to a 2 hp gas powered model, and can handle up to a 16-inch bar. They are intended for light or heavy cleanup, and some use for producing firewood.
The Farm & Ranch line includes the 3.49 HP 455 Rancher and the 3.62 HP 460. The 455 can take a bar up to 20 inches long, which is the same max. length as the 445 Rancher, while the 460 comes with either a 20 or 24-inch bar. These are all-round saws intended for landowners and ranchers using them for everything from heavy brush clearing to firewood and woodlot management.
The Semi-Professional and Professional classes are intended for professional lumbering and arborists, and are priced accordingly.
Husqvarna makes its own engines, and has developed some proprietary technology, both in terms of mufflers (their 1959 saw was half as loud as competitors) and engine operation. Their X-Torq(r) technology separates clean air from the fuel and air mixture, which results in increased power, lower emissions, and better fuel economy. It reduces emissions by up to 60% and fuel consumption by up to 30%. The Rancher models all use the X-Torq(r) engines.
The 460's engine features a three-piece crankshaft, which has been manufactured for maximum durability. The centrifugal air cleaning system removes harmful debris before they read the air filter, and the quick-release air filter makes changing it a breeze.
Husqvarna's Smart Start (r) technology reduces resistance in the starter cord by up to 40 percent for a quick start with minimum effort. For starting a warm engine, Husqvarna provides two handy features: a decompression valve that releases pressure on the cylinder and makes starting easier, as well as an air purge diaphragm to avoid air lock.
The bar length is an important consideration when choosing a chainsaw. You want to consider both your experience level, your strength, and the size of the lumber you are going to be working with. Longer bar lengths obviously facilitate working with larger logs, but they are also more unwieldy, and require more strength to control.
Most non-professionals will not need, and probably should not be handling, a bar longer than 24 inches. Having the choice to use either a 20-inch or a 24-inch bar with the 460 means it is very versatile. You might want the 20-inch bar for use in closer quarters, or to save your strength when the 24-inch bar is not needed. This model can accept bars of either 20" or 24".
You can find the 24" model here, and the 20" model here.
Interestingly enough, the 3.62 HP 460 Rancher is more economical in terms of fuel use. it is rated at 437 g/kWh, while the smaller Rancher 455 is rated at 470 g/kWh.
Chainsaws, like other 2-stroke engines, require a blend of gasoline and oil (usually about a ration of 50:1). Ethanol-blend fuel should not be used in a small engine such as a chainsaw, period. Over time, using fuel with any ethanol in it will gum up the carburetor and degrade plastic parts and rubber tubing. Ethanol-free fuel can be purchased from small engine dealers and marine supply stores. You pay more up front, but you reduce the repair costs and extend the life of your equipment.
Modern chainsaws have numerous safety features, and the 460 Rancher is no exception. It has a combined chain brake and front hand guard. This is specially designed to stop the chain in the case of a kickback. While you may be injured by contact with a non-moving chain, the risk is greatly reduced from the damage a moving chain could do. Be sure to read our chainsaw safety tips here.
The chain brake is engaged manually by moving the front hand guard forward. There is also an inertia-activated mechanism, in the case of rapid upward motion as happens in a kickback, that automatically activates the brake.
No amount of safety features can prevent accidents caused by poor conditions or operator error or negligence. If you are new to using a chainsaw, at least read the Husqvarna owner's manual, which has very good information about using a chainsaw safely.
Always, always, wear ear protection when using a chainsaw. Even relatively quiet models produce enough noise to damage hearing over time, and hearing aids are expensive and will never sound as good as your own ears.
Safety goggles are a minimum requirement - better yet is a helmet with a full visor. Using a chainsaw produces sawdust and wood chips, and scratching your retina with one of these is no fun at all. In the event of a kickback, a visor can save your face and/or your life.
You may think that chaps are for sissies, but a chainsaw can rip a gash in a leg before you know it, and chaps are inexpensive and extremely effective. Good chaps should not impede your mobility, but damaging your knee with a chainsaw certainly can. Cut resistant gloves should also be considered a necessity.
Husqvarna chainsaws are extremely rugged and generally have long lives. Many reviewers on Amazon report replacing a 15 or 20-year old Husky. One reviewer reported getting more than 30 years of use from his. They really got their money's worth out of those saws.
Two things will help ensure a long life for your saw and its engine: diligent maintenance and using non-ethanol fuel. This second point cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Despite what advertisers may tell you, a stabilizer additive does not make 10% ethanol gasoline safe for small engine use. It will gum up your carburetor, and degrade plastic and rubber components and tubes.
If you will be storing the saw unused for any length of time longer than a week or two, you should always run the engine dry. This will prevent gumming, which can occur even with non-ethanol gasoline if it is left in the engine.
The saw comes almost completely assembled, but you will need to attach the bar and install the chain.
IMPORTANT: Installing the bar requires removing the clutch cover. BE SURE THE CHAIN BRAKE IS DISENGAGED BEFORE REMOVING THE CLUTCH COVER. This is very important, as you will not then be able to replace the clutch cover. See the "Cautions" section below to find out what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
There are three different maintenance schedules: daily, weekly, and monthly. Diligently following these guidelines will ensure the longest possible life for your saw and reduce the expense of repairs. It will also reduce the likelihood of an accident or malfunction. Remember, a chainsaw accident can be very dangerous - even lethal.
The Husqvarna owner's manual has very detailed instructions, including diagrams, for all of these steps, but here is a quick overview of the maintenance required to keep your saw in tip-top shape.
Before using the chainsaw, the following checks should be made:
1. Throttle. The throttle should not activate the saw unless the throttle lockout is pressed at the same time. The throttle control should quickly activate the chain, and the chain should immediately stop moving when either the throttle or the throttle lockout is released.
2. Stop Switch. Make sure that the stop switch works correctly, and that it cannot be tripped accidentally.
2. Bar. Check the bar for warping or bending. Turn the bar to ensure even wear. Check that the lubrication hole in the bar is not clogged. Clean the bar groove.
3. Lubrication. If the bar has a sprocket tip, lubricate it. Check that the bar and chain are getting sufficient oil. Top off oil reservoir, if needed.
4. Chain. Check saw chain for defects such as cracks or excessive wear in the rivets and/or links. The chain should not be stiff. Replace any chain that is compromised. Sharpen the chain. A sharp chain makes your saw run more efficiently. Adjust tension, if necessary. Check the drive sprocket for wear and replace if necessary.
5. Air intake. Clean the air intake on the starter unit.
6. Nuts and screws. Check that all nuts and screws are tightly fastened. Vibration can cause these to loosen over time.
7. Fuel. Check the fuel level, and ensure that there are no fuel leaks from the engine, gas tank, or fuel lines.
Once a week, perform the following maintenance tasks:
1. Check the cooling system
2. Check the starter, starter cord, and return spring.
3. Check that the vibration damping elements are not damaged.
4. Lubricate the clutch drum bearing.
5. File down any burrs on the edges of the bar.
6. Clean or replace the spark arrestor screen on the muffler. Especially important if you are working in a fire-prone area.
7. Clean the carburetor compartment.
8. Clean the air filter. Replace if necessary.
1. Chain brake. Check the brake band for wear. Replace when less than 0.024" (0.6 mm) remains at the most worn point.
2. Clutch. Check the clutch centre, clutch drum, and clutch spring for wear.
3. Spark Plug. Clean the spark plug and check that the electrode gap is 0.020" (0.5 mm).
4. Fuel System. Check fuel hose for cracks or other damage. Replace if necessary. Empty the fuel tank and clean the inside.
5. Oil tank. Empty the oil tank and clean the inside.
6. Check all cables and connections.
Before storing for more than two weeks
1. Make sure all weekly and monthly maintenance is up to date.
2. Run the engine dry.
3. Clean the outside of the entire saw, especially the carburetor.
Husqvarna sells a maintenance kit that includes a new air filter, fuel filter, and spark plug, as well as a bottle of 2-cycle engine oil. You would probably want to do this maintenance once a year or so, unless you are using the saw in very dirty conditions.
Operating under special conditions
The short story is that your saw should work fine at varying altitudes, and it is best not to mess with it. Most folks reading this review will not need to do this, or could have it done at a local dealer. Current EPA regulations mean that the manufacturer has to make it difficult for you to adjust the carburetor on your chainsaw - it requires a special tool (a splined wrench). In fact, it is not clear whether adjusting the carburetor might void the Husqvarna warranty. You can find out more about these regulations here.
While it is true that for use at very high altitudes, the air-fuel mixture needs to be a bit leaner for optimum performance. HOWEVER, the altitude difference would need to be around 5,000 feet for this to make a difference, and running the saw without making the adjustment will not harm it, but it will just run less efficiently. In contrast, running a saw with too lean a carburetor setting can cause the engine to overheat, which can cause real damage.
Husqvarna makes saws with AutoTune, which is a technology that automatically adjusts the air-fuel mixture. If you will be working at greatly varying altitudes, you might want to consider one of those models. The one most like the 460 Rancher is the 465 Rancher. In fact, the only significant difference between the two models is the AutoTune feature.
Winter is the best time for wood cutting, as the leaves being off the trees makes it easier to navigate around the woods. The pressure of actually burning wood can also be a motivation to cut more! However, this time of year can cause some problems with your chainsaw.
Starting your saw in cold weather requires a bit more attention than in warm weather, when you can simply pick it up and pull the cord.
At temperatures below 32F (0 C), the cold air can cause problems like icing of the air filter, especially if the air is moist. Husqvarna, being based in snowy Sweden, understands that you are likely to use your chainsaw in cold weather, and has provided an adjustable cylinder cover that can be opened to allow warm air into the carburetor. This will prevent icing of the air filter, etc.
For using the saw in extremely cold weather or powder snow, the owner's manual says that a winterizing kit is available, but this reviewer could not find it on their website. A quick fix would be to use a piece of gaffer tape to partially cover up the air intake, to reduce the inflow of cold air and prevent snow from being sucked in.
You may also want to use a special cold-weather chain oil in colder temperatures, as normal chain oil can become too viscous when cold. If this is not readily available, there are several alternatives, ranging from 10% dilution with kerosene, to using canola oil. Due to the fact that the bar lubrication system is a "total loss", as long as the oil is running onto the bar, and will stay there for a lap or two, this is all that's needed really. Keep in mind, too, that snow and ice on your saw's warm bar will melt, which can dilute the chain oil, so you may need to adjust the oiler to release more oil. The 460 Rancher is equipped with an adjustable oiler.
Be sure to clean snow and ice off your saw while using it to avoid buildup, especially under the sprocket cover and in the bar groove. A piece of hacksaw blade can be very useful for cleaning the bar groove. Also, check periodically to make sure that the chain brake is not affected by frozen sawdust and or oil. Finally, be sure to clean any ice or slush from around the oil or fuel cap before opening them, to avoid any moisture from getting into the mix.
When using the saw in extremely cold weather (below 0 F), the chain should be left loose at the end of the day. Otherwise, the chain, which has been tightened while warm, will contract as it cools, which will stretch the rivets and eventually make the chain unusable.
One other note: a reduced top place angle (30 degrees) will work better on frozen wood than the normal 35-degree angle.
Husqvarna offers a 2-year warranty for both consumers and professionals. If you purchase your saw online, keep in mind that for warranty service you will need to take it to a Husqvarna dealer. You should check that there is one near you. Husqvarna has a handy online dealer locator [http://www.husqvarna.com/us/construction/service/dealer-locator/] for this purpose.
CONSUMER WARRANTY EXTENSION: Husqvarna will extend the warranty to 4 years for a consumer if at least 96 oz. of Husqvarna pre-mixed fuel is purchased on the same receipt as the saw, and the purchaser registers the saw online including uploading a digital image of the receipt. You can find the pre-mixed ethanol free fuel here.
Husqvarna has always been a leader in innovation with its power tools -that's part of what has kept it in business for over 300 years. Here are a few of the special features of the 460 Rancher.
The Husqvarna exclusive X-Torq engine technology provides better fuel economy and reduces emissions to make their saws fully compliant with the most stringent emissions regulations.
Operator fatigue and repetitive strain injuries are a very real problem for professionals who use chainsaws. Extensive use of vibrating machinery can result in a condition known as Vibration White Finger, or Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Symptoms include numbness in the hands and fingers, fingers turning white in cold weather due to reduced circulation as a result of vascular damage from the vibration, and loss of manual dexterity.
Recognizing this, Husqvarna has developed Low-Vib(r) damper systems for their equipment, which reduce the vibration experienced by the operator. While Husqvarna is fairly secretive about how they achieve this, this video [https://youtu.be/LO6HDaGn6bI] of a Husky and a Stihl saw graphically demonstrates the difference made by the Low Vib(r) technology.
Husqvarna also does what it can to reduce the weight of its saws - at about 13 pounds, the 460 Rancher is fairly lightweight for the performance it delivers. It also features operator-friendly features such as a cleverly designed rear handle with a soft inlay, an ergonomically designed trigger, and an asymmetrical handle. However, smaller individuals may find it tiring to use or hard to manage because of the weight.
There are a couple of things about the 460 Rancher that show up repeatedly as complaints.
The first is a tendency of the chain oil to leak when the saw is stored. Releasing pressure in the oil tank by loosening the cap can hep with this, but, of course, you need to be sure to tighten it afterward. Draining the oil tank before storing it for extended periods is another option, as is putting a plastic boot tray lined with newspaper or cardboard under the saw.
The second involves removing the clutch cover. The chain brake MUST be disengaged before removing the clutch cover, or you will not be able to replace the cover. The chain brake is a metal band that, when engaged, presses around the clutch to keep it from moving. If you remove the clutch cover with the chain brake engaged, the band will be too small to easily fit back over the clutch. Should you run into this problem, do not despair - there is an easy fix for this, which is illustrated at about 2:19 in this video. Basically, you simply press the clutch cover back over the chain brake mechanism and disengage the chain brake. Reading the equipment manual beforehand can forestall a problem like this. Just sayin'.
Bar Length: 20" or 24"
Min Bar Length: 13"
Max Bar Length: 24"
Engine: X-Torq(r), 3.62 hp
Max torque: 3.4 Nm
Cylinder displacement: 60.3 cm3
Idle Speed: 2,700 rpm
Maximum Power Speed: 9,000 rpm
Fuel tank capacity: .93 pint / 0.44 liter
Fuel consumption: 437 g/kWh
Oil pump capacity: 6-17 ml/min at 9,000 rpm
Oil pump adjustable? Yes
Weight: 12.79 lbs (excl. cutting equipment)
Chain pitch: 3/8"
Chain speed at max power: 65.62 ft/s
Sound level: 112 dB(A)
Husqvarna's reputation for quality is a top selling point for this saw. 70% of the reviews on Amazon give it 5 stars, with about 16% more giving it 4 stars. Given that unhappy users are more likely to leave reviews, this is a very impressive record. The 460 will be more than adequate for the casual user, and should fit the needs of farmers, ranchers, and even part-time sawyers.
The choice of whether to buy the version with the 20" inch or the 24" bar really depends on the kind of use the saw is going to get. The 24" inch bar is probably only needed if you'll be dealing with large diameter logs, and a longer bar is unlikely to be needed by a non-professional. Some reviewers felt they got better performance with a 20" blade. It is, of course, easy to fit a different size bar to the saw.
We have prepared a comparison of this saw and another popular brand which you may find of interest. You can see our report Husqvarna 460 vs Echo CS 590 here.
There really are very few downsides to this saw. If you are of particularly small stature and not especially strong, you may find the saw too heavy for extended use and/or difficult to manage. If you are a professional, you probably aren't looking for advice from this review, and will be looking at Husky's lines of professional saws.
Complaints about this saw seem to be mostly limited to those who failed to release the chain brake before removing the clutch cover (read the manual, folks!) and those who were annoyed that the chain oiler sometimes leaked when the saw was stored. These are really inconsequential problems. If some leaking oil is going to keep you from buying a piece of equipment, you might want to consider hiring the work out to avoid getting your hands dirty.
A Husqvarna 460 Rancher should give you many years of service and is a good investment if you need a reliable, powerful saw for light or heavy cleanup and cutting firewood.