Makita DCS6401-20 Gas Powered Chainsaw Review


Makita DCS6401-20 Commercial Grade 20-Inch

The Makita DCS6401-20 is an impressive piece of equipment. It’s a good-sized, powerful saw, and yet – for it’s size and power – it’s amazingly light weight and easy to handle. It offers great cutting power, and it’s a tough, well-made, durable, reliable workhorse. And that’s not just my opinion; it’s also based upon the customer reviews for this chainsaw.

If you do the kind of cutting where you need the muscle of a powerful 20-inch gas chainsaw, the Makita DCS6401-20 is well worth considering.

Features of the Makita DCS6401-20 Gas Powered Chainsaw

Impressive Power to Weight Ratio
The Makita DCS6401 has a 64 cc engine producing 4.7 horsepower. But it weighs only 14 pounds. That’s quite impressive, particularly when you compare it to some competing models:

  • Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20 inch: 55.5 cc engine – 21 pounds
  • Solo 656 20 inch: 56cc – 17 pounds
  • Poulan Pro 20 inch: 46cc engine – 24 pounds

The light weight of this chainsaw contributes to its impressive ease-of-use for a chainsaw of this size and power.

Carburetor Heat
In conditions of low temperature and high humidity, engine performance can be adversely impacted by the formation of ice within carburetor venturis. In fact, due to the temperature-lowering effect of decreased air pressure within the carburetor venturi, carburetor ice can form even when the air temperature is above freezing.

The problem of carburetor ice can be avoided with the Makita DCS6401-20 because of the carburetor heat feature. It works simply by taking heated air from the engine’s cylinder, and routing it into the carburetor intake. To engage carburetor heat, you simply remove the air filter hood, and change the position of an air intake insert to the cold weather position.

Makita recommends using this feature at temperatures below 41 degrees F (5 degrees Celsius).

Double Air Filtration
To prolong engine life and increase performance, Makita provides 2 air filters for this chainsaw. There’s a fleece filter that is to be used in dry and dusty conditions. And there’s a nylon filter for use in damp conditions. You simply choose the filter that best suits the conditions you’re working in.

Integrated Chain Brake
Makita has substantially reduced the risk of kick-back injuries with their special chain brake. The system is designed to completely stop the rotating chain in the event of a kickback. According to Makita, the chain brake will bring the chain to a full stop “within a fraction of a second” if the saw bucks upward suddenly in a kick-back.

The chain brake can also be engaged manually to provide an additional measure of safety while starting the chainsaw.

Automatic Half-Throttle Lock
Cold starts are simplified with the automatic throttle lock. When you’re making a cold start, you just pull the choke out until you hear a click. In addition to opening the choke, that action also opens the throttle halfway and locks it. Once the engine starts, you simply tap the throttle to release the throttle lock and allow the engine to idle.

Large Hand-Protector
The large hand-protector helps to deflect flying wood chips and poking branches from your hand.

What’s Included:
The Makita DCS6401-20 comes with the following adjustment and maintenance tools: an allen key, a universal wrench, a carburetor screwdriver and a torx wrench.

Owner’s Manual
The owner’s manual for the DCS6401-20 is available online. Click here if you’d like to take a look.

Makita chainsaws come with a full 1-year warranty. They also come with a no-risk 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your Makita chainsaw, just return it within 30 days of purchase and receive a full refund or replacement.

The Reviews


Well made and runs great. That’s a common theme running through the customer reviews at Those who have been using the Makita for a while were impressed with its durability and reliability.

A great power to weight ratio. According to several customer reviewers, Makita achieved their goal of producing a chainsaw with an exceptional power to weight ratio (4.7 hp – 14 pounds). One reviewer noted that this Makita is about half the weight of a comparable Stihl chainsaw, and that when you have a long day of woodcutting, the light weight really makes a difference.

Several customers mentioned that the DCS6401 is easy to handle for a large saw. A couple of reviewers who were accustomed to using only smaller saws were concerned about whether they’d be able to handle it. But they found that they were able to handle it without difficulty. The light weight really helps.

A couple of mentions of the carburetor heat feature being a great help for cold weather operations.

A number of reviewers mentioned that the saw is consistently easy to start. In fact, as of this writing, there was only one mention of hard starting. That’s unusual for a gas powered saw – usually there are a number of complaints about starting (kind of comes with the territory with gas chainsaws). And this one complaint was only after the saw had been sitting unused for a lengthy period of time.


No product is absolutely perfect, and the Makita DCS6401-20 is no exception. But so far, customers haven’t had many negative things to say about this chainsaw. Here are a couple of things that customer reviewers have complained about:

Sawdust and wood chips tend to become packed inside the safety brake housing, requiring that the housing be taken apart and cleaned occasionally.

A couple of customers expressed disappointment that this chainsaw doesn’t come with a case.