The Husqvarna 450 Rancher, 455 Rancher, and 460 Rancher chainsaws are all similar at first glance. So similar, in fact, it can be tough to see why the company put out all three. But once you drill down into the details, you see pretty clearly there are enough differences to make your choice much easier.
|Features||450 Rancher||455 Rancher||460 Rancher|
|Engine Power||50.2 cc – 3.2 HP||55.5 cc – 3.5 HP||60.3 cc – 3.62 HP|
|Fuel Tank||15.22 fl oz||14.88 fl oz||14.88 fl oz|
|Oil Tank||0.55 US pint||0.7 US pint||0.7 US pint|
|Oil Pump Type||Fixed flow||Automatic||Automatic|
|Adjustable Oil Pump||No||Yes||Yes|
|Max. Torque||2.6 Nm/7200 RPM||3.2 Nm/6600 RPM||3.4 Nm/7000 RPM|
|Min. Bar Length||13″||13″||13″|
|Max. Bar Length||20″||20″||24″|
|Side-Mounted Chain Tensioner||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sound Level||104 dB||104 dB||104 dB|
|Weight (excl. cutting equipment)||11.24 lbs||12.8 lbs||12.79 lbs|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
As with any chainsaw, the engine is the central focus of a Husqvarna Rancher. And, truth be told, the differences in the 450, 455, and 460 are less than the similarities in this category.
- 450 Rancher: 50.2 cc (3.2 HP)
- 455 Rancher: 55.5 cc (3.5 HP)
- 460 Rancher: 60.3 cc (3.62 HP)
- 450 Rancher: 2.6 Nm (@7200 rpm)
- 455 Rancher: 3.2 Nm (@6600 rpm)
- 460 Rancher: 3.4 Nm (@7000 rpm)
A glance at the figures shows that, in terms of size and power output, all three Rancher models offer plenty of beef to tackle any job a homeowner might have. Even pros often find that these chainsaws offer ample power to handle the overwhelming majority of tasks they need to perform.
Just to put the numbers in practical perspective, with the right bar and chain any of these saws will fell and slice a 16″ diameter oak tree. A 12″ tamarack or pine will go down in a jiffy and buck with only average effort.
Oddly, for the variation in size and power, the fuel consumption seems a little out of whack. I haven’t run extensive tests personally, but the 450 is rated at 504 g/kWh, the 455 at 407 g/kWh and the 460 437 g/kWh. That suggests that the 455 is the more efficient, since it uses less gas for the amount of power it puts out.
It’s odd because maximum efficiency tends to reside either at the lowest end of a series or the highest, not in the middle. No matter, really. The differences are minor and the cost (and/or inconvenience) of refilling the tank is generally far from the reason anyone buys a particular model of chainsaw. The tank sizes are: 15.22 fl oz (450) and 14.88 fl oz (455, 460).
One other way the three models differ fairly substantially is in vibration level. The 450 vibration level is minimal, rated at 2.3 / 2.7 m/s^2. The 455 and 460 are pretty shaky at 3.4 / 4.5 m/s^2 and 3.5 / 4.5 m/s^2. For those unfamiliar with the rating system, the first number is for the front handle and the second is for the rear.
Still, that alone might not tell you much. But, suffice to say, the 450 is gentle and offers no special arm fatigue over hours of use. The 455 and 460 are more average to moderate or greater, by comparison. As with any medium-sized gas-powered chainsaw, they all require some muscle to operate.
That’s particularly true since they weigh about what you would expect from a gas model: 11.24 lbs (450), 12.8 lbs (455), and 12.79 lbs (460) respectively – that is without cutting equipment.
Fortunately, the horsepower and torque offered by any of the Ranchers mean you don’t have to do all the work. In fact, I use that moderately heavy bulk to make my job easier. When leaning in to buck a big tamarack, I’ll just let the chainsaw naturally plow through the log. That means all you have to do is hold on firmly; there’s no need to press down excessively. The power any of these units produces makes that technique sensible.
Chain & Bar
Of course, that technique is only useful – and the power offered only an advantage – when you fit the Rancher with an appropriate bar and chain.
Any of the Rancher chainsaws will accommodate a bar down to 13″. Frankly, I would find that far too short for most jobs. It’s fine for trimming small pine trees, but I wouldn’t wear myself out with such a heavy-duty-use chainsaw for that simple job. And, that bar is too short for more serious work, like felling a 10″ cedar. Fortunately, bolting on a 20″ bar takes only a few minutes.
One differentiator between the three is the chain speed. The 455 and 460 will run at 65.6 fts, but the 450 will only manage up to 56.76 fts. “Only” might be a little misleading, however. That’s plenty fast enough to slice a thick log of oak in short order – again provided you have the right kind of chain for the work. In fact, with the right chain (like a diamond tip) you can saw through corrugated tin or aluminum siding with any of these.
On the downside, the Rancher models are pretty noisy. Not outrageously so for a gas-powered model, but far from soft. The rating tells part of the story: 104 dB(A) for each model (sound pressure level at the operator’s ear). But the larger part of the story comes from real-world use. The Rancher is no worse than average for a gas model, but no better either.
That said, both the vibration and noise level have been kept down as much as possible by good vibration isolation technology, a decent muffler, and so forth. But you’ll definitely need some good ear protection gear if you plan to use the 450, 455, or 460 for more than a few minutes.
Even so, felling trees and slicing logs is noisy work. No matter how much or how little sound comes from the chainsaw, the chain moving through wood makes a lot of noise, even with an electric model.
Fortunately, all three Rancher chainsaws sport much the same ease-of-use features.
All house a quick-release air filter that make changing it a breeze. All of them have an efficient air injection system and a combined choke/stop control. All use the Husky air purge system that makes starting in cold weather much easier.
There are a few features the 450 lacks, however, that the 455 and 460 offer. One is the side-mounted chain tensioner. I find that a very handy convenience factor. Another lack is the Smart Start feature, which is odd since it’s included with models costing much less, like the 445. On the other hand, the 450 is considerably cheaper than the 455 and, even more so, the 460.
For my money, the Husqvarna 455 Rancher chainsaw offers a good balance between price and features. But there are plenty of buyers who will find the Husky 450 Rancher plenty good enough for their needs. The 460 Rancher offers the most beef, but you pay a hefty premium to get a moderate amount more power.
Of course, in the end, which is best for you depends on your personal circumstances.