The Husqvarna Group is the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products. With over 15,000 employees they are based in Husqvarna, Sweden. It’s not the 300 years of engineering, the attention to detail; it’s not the craftsmanship or all the testing. People like Husqvarna because of the durability and performance they provide. Look for engineering in their outdoor power equipment, there is innovation and reliability in everything they make. Their engineering team carefully selects materials and components and continuously tests them on a never ending journey towards performance. For the parts and accessories, you don’t have to go anywhere; your local Husqvarna dealer is right around the corner.
Starting with the first Husqvarna factory established in 1689, from homeowners to full time professionals their chainsaws are ideal for anyone who requires first class quality, durability and ergonomics. Primarily various saws are differentiated on the basis of engine installed. They provide single piston rings, composite material cases in homeowner and landowner saws. While the professional saws have magnesium crankcases. The professional saws also have better cylinder design and piston coatings. The professional models are manufactured in Sweden but the homeowner and landowner models are built locally in the US itself.
Here you can read Husqvarna chainsaw reviews in general. Further in this article I will specifically write about Husqvarna 455 Rancher review.
The Husqvarna 455 Rancher has found its place in the homeowner category. Since it is not appropriate for everyday use so it is not a PRO saw. PRO saws are lighter and faster because of the better engineering employed and are designed for more rigorous usage. It is unfair to compare the performance of homeowner and landowner saws which may be very decent individually when other factors such as price and weight are also taken into account.
In my opinion if the homeowner/landowner grade saws are put to everyday use, they tend to get junk slowly. But we cannot question the durability this way. If you treat it for what it is designed and take proper care and maintenance, they would have a good life and work fine as long as a PRO saw.
First, this saw is better balanced with 20” bar and of course runs a 3/8 chain. Although it is not suitable for tearing apart smaller limbs with that sized bar but it has absolutely no problem with the heavy, dense wood. It passes smoothly apart the 16” to 20” diameter thick hunks of wood like warm butter but with a lot of grunt. For cutting fire wood 4-5 days a week, it’s just built for it.
There are two very good features on this machine such as the decompression valve along with the rubbery air purge for easy starting capability. It should only take about 2-3 pulls to start it from dry once you get used to it. For safety if you like to start the saw on the ground with your boot through the handgrip area, then you would not be disappointed with the large space. It also has a good filtration mechanism that results in less filter clogging. But the filter needs to be cleaned every cutting session however.
Engine Type and Power
The 455 Rancher has “X-Torq.” engine which is a strato motor design. It is 55 cc two-stroke gas powered version. They acquired the technology when they bought Redmax. The X-Torque line of engines are a line of fuel efficient, emissions compliant motors which don’t get heated up with the consumption of more fuel like some other models that try to use back pressure and a catalytic converter to achieve the same thing.
Power to Weight Issues
Weighing 12.8 lbs., the 455 is a little bit heavy and bulky for its power as compared to the other homeowner/landowner saws. The 455 actually has a strato-charged engine, which is the main component responsible for heavy weight. But being heavy doesn’t mean it is difficult to use the chainsaw. The saw is actually well balanced and I didn’t get fatigued after a long use. The power is great and there is no need of muscles for smooth work. Although an extra displacement is something we wish you would like to have. Working with a 16”-18” bar is recommended for this power range.
Plastic Crank Case and Body
Most common complaint among people stems from the use of plastic crankcase in this saw. So let me give my two cents here. First, the outer body of 455 Rancher is not all plastic. Only the front handle including the outer cases of the oil tank consists of plastic. The crankcase is metal which rests in a plastic housing. That plastic housing has a thin piece of stamped steel that the bar bolts to. There are metal inserts that house the bearings.
Second, what we call plastic is actually a composite polymer (improved high grade plastic) which tolerates heat well, is light weight and cheap. It is better than magnesium (which replaces plastic in PRO saws) as it is chemically modified to flex a little. As the magnesium usually get cracked in such situations, so composite are advantageous materials.
Third, even if composites are better they are not used in professional bracket for some reason. PRO models have an all metal crankcase with a vertical part line pressed on the bearings and a bolt on cylinder. As composite crankcases spin the bearings in extreme heat and stressful conditions, they are not suited here.
Overall plastic crankcase doesn’t impact the durability or reliability of the saw nearly as much as people often think. Consult a dealer and you’ll know there are no problems associated with a plastic crankcase provided they are used for what they are built for. The main complaint from our side has nothing to do with plastic crankcase. It is that damn wild looking switch and flimsy blue coloured choke lever which is cheesy and fragile.
In the end Husky guys knows better what works best, so let’s believe them this time. After all they are one of the most reliable brands out there.
The chain can be tensioned with the help of chain tensioning screw which is located just below the clutch cover. The plain old side tensioning system looks a lot stronger and more reliable. I was wrong about how the chain tensioner works though… I thought you just need to tighten the screw but it ends up you have to loosen the two bolts that hold the bar before you can actually start winding-in the chain tensioning screw. It’s still not a big deal and the 455 comes with a combo tool that will loosen the bolts and turn the screw.
The 455 E-series Rancher has tool less tensioning system which is convenient and faster. But the bad plastic is what which needs to be taken care of. A sudden jerk is all it needs to get detached from the body and for me it was pretty common during the laborious work.
Probably the biggest reason to go with the two bolt design is because bolts are a lot cheaper and easier to replace if they go missing than that weird flimsy plastic is.
Few Small Problems:
- I noticed many people complaining about the faulty oiler in 455 but that is something which is common with any chainsaw. Leaking oiler can be fixed easily and does not pose any risk to the saw.
- The clutch cover should only be removed once the chain brakes are disengaged. Otherwise it can only be placed back with the help of a dealer. You need to take care of this small thing or you will suffer.
Some Nice Benefits:
- The bumper spike is a good feature to balance the saw in correct position. The lateral pressure on the chain and the fatigue was minimum due to this nice little feature which could cost another $50 if bought separately.
The Big Conclusion:
The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is a reputed saw which runs problem free and is a good choice for a homeowner. They have been “upgraded” over the years and are very fast cutting saws. They have proven themselves to be a great saw for the money, are extremely reliable and do a fair amount of cutting. The 455 has a great support with easy parts availability which is expected to remain long because of its large sales volume. This is the reason why I personally prefer this saw.
Finally if you are still confused, then let me tell you one thing. A lot of people will sing the praises of the other models and thump you for not purchasing one. But in the end you only have to make yourself happy. Be content with your purchase, ignore the make, model, class bias, and cut safely.