Husqvarna 450 Chain Saw Review – How Paul Bunyan’s Cousin Sven Makes Firewood

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Over the years, my old Echo chainsaw and I have caused many a mighty oak to tremble and drop its nuts. Lately, though, it’s been somewhat sluggish and underpowered, sort of like a ’76 Yugo running on one cylinder. Or the economy. It can still earn its lube nibbling through smaller trees and limbs, but since we recently bought a piece of property with some wooded acreage, clearly it was time for a backwoods makeover.

I’m no lumberjack (although I’m frequently mistaken for one, probably due to my extensive collection of flannel, and the large double-bladed axe I’m fond of carrying). I wanted something powerful enough to easily slice and dice a good-size tree, but I didn’t need something capable of felling mighty redwoods all day, entertaining though that is (and such great revenge on the Sierra Club for revoking my membership).

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After researching the offerings from the best of the chainsaw makers, including Stihl, Jonsered, Husqvarna, Echo, and Poulan, the Husky 450 seemed to have the right combination of power, features and price (around $330), so I ordered one up. It arrived fully assembled, with an 18” bar and not much in the way of extras—a combination spark plug wrench/screwdriver, the manual, and a bar cover. No case, no little starter bottle of 2-cycle oil, no complimentary calendar featuring Swedish beauties in their protective regalia…ah well.

Some Pertinent Spec’s on the Husqvarna 450 Chain Saw:

• Power output: 3.2 HP
• Cylinder displacement: 50.2 cc
• Maximum power speed: 9600 RPM
• Fuel tank volume: 0.95 pint (15.2 fluid ounces)
• Oil pump type: Fixed flow
• Chain speed at max power: 56.89 fts
• Weight: 11.33 pounds
• Chain pitch: .325”
• Recommended bar length: 13” minimum, 20” maximum

The snap-lock cover provides easy access to the spark plug

The engine on the 450 makes use of Husqvarna’s X-Torq technology, which they claim reduces emissions by up to 60% and fuel consumption by up to 30%. (Maybe the Sierra Club will take me back after all!). A snap-lock cylinder cover allows quick access to the spark plug and for cleaning, and the saw incorporates a “Low-Vib” system to reduce felt vibration, which should help reduce operator fatigue.

A fuel-level window saves unscrewing the cap to check

There’s also a little window for a quick check on the fuel level, and the use of a quick-release filter makes cleaning or replacing the air filter easier.

Want a headache? Try to decipher all 113 of these!

Getting the Lowdown

My first move was to page through the manual, which did have some actual instructions cleverly camouflaged among the 497 warnings about how chainsaws are DANGEROUS. I guess they have lawyers in Sweden, too. There were also 113 (by actual count) little pictograms, many of whose sole purpose seemed to be to attempt to make my brain explode, and many of which had no connection at all to the chainsaw I had purchased. Husqvarna explains that their manuals may cover several models, and I guess it’s up to the buyer to sort through it all and determine what’s relevant. I’m sure this saves them a little money, but it’s aggravating (and time consuming) to have to sort through the unnecessary information; a model-specific manual would be a HUGE improvement.

On the positive side, Husqvarna’s web site provides a fairly well-done series of instructional videos. The first set is mostly specific to their own saws, showing how to tension the chain, change air filters, and so on.

The second set relates more to cutting techniques and safety, and would be relevant to any chain saw user. Some of it is a bit simplistic, but there are some great tips for beginners, all delivered in a cultured British accent. (Sven must have been on vacation).

Numbered start steps on the saw are helpful for infrequent users

Firing Up The Husqvarna 450

Once I had sorted through the instructions and found the ones that applied, I filled the gas and oil tanks and got ready to fire it up. The steps required to start the saw are actually numbered and stamped onto the saw, which is helpful for us scatterbrained old farts.

Multi-function choke/stop switch works well

The 450 makes use of a combined choke/stop control button, and once you get the feel for how the switch moves, it’s pretty simple to use. The saw started on the third pull, smoothed out quickly, and ran all afternoon with no glitches. We had a large pile of brush and tree limbs, with branches ranging from an inch to around 14”, and the Husqvarna’s narrow-kerf chain tore through it all with ease. Later, I fired it up again, and cut an old chicken coop up into firepit-size chunks. (A word of advice—when burning the floor of an old chicken coop, stay upwind…).

Some Observations…

Make sure chain brake is OFF before removing cover!

The saw feels well-balanced, it’s easy to control, and it has yet to kick back. There’s an inertia-activated chain brake to help lessen the likelihood of injury if the saw does kick back, which it undoubtedly will do at some point (all those warnings are there for a reason; chainsaws ARE dangerous).

And while we’re on the topic of the chain brake: before removing the clutch cover, make sure the chain brake is OFF. If you don’t, by all accounts you’ll be in for a world of aggravation, probably culminating in a Swedish-expletive-filled visit to your friendly Husqvarna service center.

Even with a chainsaw, you need a backup…

Bottom line—so far I’m very happy with my Husqvarna 450. For my level of use (cutting down a few trees every year, bucking them up for firewood, pruning limbs, dissecting the occasional chicken coop), it should be more than adequate. I may even retire my trusty axe! Then again, naaahhhh; flannel and a good axe never go out of style. You can find the Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start (CARB Compliant) for just over $300 on Amazon.

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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7 thoughts on “Husqvarna 450 Chain Saw Review – How Paul Bunyan’s Cousin Sven Makes Firewood”

  1. Wow – what a load of aggravation! Too bad the dealer didn’t take the time to diagnose the problem, especially knowing it took you a 70-mile round trip to get there. Since the carburetor is relatively inexpensive, it could have been replaced and saved you some of your sanity…It’s fortunate you’re savvy enough to have figured out the problem on your own, but it’s a shame you had to waste all the time to do it. You might want to contact Husqvarna’s customer service department and see if they’ll replace the carb for free, as compensation for your aggravation. You can contact their customer support center at 1-800-487-5951 Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Good luck!

  2. Bought a new 450 from dealer in Buffalo, Tx two years ago. Ran great while clearing a large downed tree. Used it several times on minor cutting jobs but total running time was less than 3 hours. I started it last fall to cut a little firewood and, after running a few seconds, it died………That’s when the “fun” started. I took it to the dealer and told him I had checked for spark and fuel but no way would it even try to start. After 2 weeks they called and said it was ready and had only needed a carb adjust and they only charged me $18.00.
    Upon picking it up I asked if they had cleaned the carb or checked the ignition for full output. “No, just adjusted the carb” I told him it made absolutely no sense and he was going to cause me another 70 mile round trip to bring it back. I got it home and it started just fine. I was still dubious…. The next day was Saturday and I had two large oaks that were down for some time. I loaded all my supplies and set out to cut a lot of wood. It started, ran for a couple seconds, died and would not start. I tried most of the day and all day Sunday and never got a “pop” out of it. Monday morning it was going back to the dealer and I was hot. I was going to pull it through a couple of times, pull the plug and verify I had fuel and spark. The damn thing started and ran just fine. Every time I walked by it for the next two weeks, it started and ran. Then, one day I was seriously thinking about using it, it started, staggered and died. All the pulling, plug cleaning and cussing never produced so much as a pop. I have since learned, on my own, that it will flood so badly after a couple of pulls that I can pull the plug, turn the saw over and pour out at least a thimble full of fuel. After much research I’m sure the problem is the fuel diaphragm and its failure to cut off the fuel. That explains why after a few hours it will not start but after a couple of days it has time to dry out enough so that it will start just fine at first attempt. It will run fine until it floods itself and dies. A new carb is cheap enough so I’ll fix my own problem. I am NOT impressed with the saw and even less with the dealer.


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