Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Review

While we’re big fans of battery-powered chainsaws, there’s a reason many of the best chainsaws are gas models. Hitting a price point that’s attractive for homeowners and property owners, we got our hands on the Craftsman S205 20-inch gas chainsaw to see what you should expect.


Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Performance

Craftsman turns to a 46cc high output engine to power this 20-inch saw. The rest of Craftsman’s gas chainsaw lineup uses a 42cc with bars that range from 14 – 18 inches, making the S205 the strongest of the group. Comparing what else is out there in the homeowner/Prosumer range, it’s one of few in this power and bar size class.

It’s a good power level, melting through softwoods with ease. When you’re cutting hardwoods, you need to let the saw work slower than you would with a farm and ranch class (~60cc), but it’s still quite capable of making those cuts. Make sure your chain is sharp, let those beefy bucking spikes dig it, and let the saw do the work.

Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Design Notes

Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Review

If you’re relatively new to gas chainsaws or don’t use them frequently, you’ll appreciate that Craftsman includes the start-up procedure right on the top where it’s easy to find.

  • Flip the on/off switch to on
  • Pump the purge bulb ten times
  • Pull the choke out
  • Pull the cord 4 or 5 times

Once the engine sputters, push the choke back in and you’re ready to cut. Once you have the engine warmed up, you only need to make sure the switch is in the on position for subsequent restarts.

The saw is on the heavy side, pushing 15 pounds with fuel and oil. However, there are more metal components than some saws we’ve used in the residential class, offering greater durability.

One minor thing we’d change is in the design of the gas and oil reservoirs. Neither reservoir has a way to view their levels on the fly. As a matter of practice, always fill both when you get started. Whenever you fill the gas reservoir while you work, be sure to top off the oil at the same time, and you’ll be fine.

Cutting

We’d also like to have more space between the handle and the chain brake. It’s tight enough that you have to pull it to the active position and then slide your hand in behind it rather than being able to pull it back with your hand already in position.

There are a couple of things we really like about the design, too. The bar secures with dual bar studs, and we prefer that over a dial at this power level. Chain tensioning is straight-forward—loosen the bar studs, flip the scrench to the slotted side, turn the tensioner, and then tighten the bar nuts back down. It’s the way most Pro saws work, it’s secure, and it’s effective, even if it’s not as convenient as the tool-free tensioning systems.

Bar studs

We also like the top access hatch. Turn the knob until the cap comes off, and you have simple access to the spark plug, air filter, and carburetor.


Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Review

Craftsman S205 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw Price

Look for this and other Craftsman chainsaws at your favorite Craftsman retailer. It retails for $249 and has a 2-year limited warranty.

The Bottom Line

When you look at residential-grade chainsaws in the $250 range, it’s tough to find much in the same power class that comes with a 20-inch bar. Craftsman did an excellent job of designing the S205 chainsaw to balance power and price for homeowners who need an occasional-use model for storm prep, storm cleanup, and general tree maintenance. It’s also a good fit for larger property owners who don’t have a lot of tree coverage. However, those who do are better moving up to a farm and ranch class that’s designed to work longer the longer hours it takes to keep those properties in good shape.

Specifications

  • Engine: 46cc air-cooled
  • Spark Plug: Champion RCJ6Y or equivalent
  • Fuel Mix: 40:1
  • Fuel Capacity: 22 ounces
  • Bar Oil Capacity: 8.5 ounces
  • Bar: 20 inches
  • Chain: 0.50-inch gauge, 3/8-inch pitch

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