Electric vs Gas Chainsaw – Which One’s Right for Your Project?

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Electric vs Gas ChainsawThe two types of chainsaws are electric and gas chainsaws. This post will provide a short comparison of these two and give you their advantages and disadvantages so you can make a well thought out decision when buying.

We won’t be doing reviews, top picks, and product recommendations here, but we’ll enlighten you on the basics of chainsaw maintenance, buying guides, and safety considerations.

Electric vs. Gas Chainsaws Quick Comparison

Have a glance at the most obvious differences between gas and electric models. After this section, you’ll see the differences between gas and electric chainsaws.

 Electric chainsawsGas chainsaws
Most suited for:Lighter tasksMore intensive tasks
Noisy?NoYes
Does it have cords?YesCordless
WeightLighterHeavier
CostLowerHigher

Electric Chainsaws

electric chainsaw

Pros of Electric Chainsaws

Light in weight: Electric chainsaws are generally lighter than others because they don’t have battery or gas (even battery-powered chainsaws are lighter than gas chainsaws). Therefore, they are easier to handle, and users rarely complain of fatigue when using them.

Cleaner: There are no fumes or gas oil leakages when using electric chainsaws, making them environmentally friendly than any other type of chainsaw.

Quieter: If you want your work to be as discrete as possible, then an electric chainsaw will help you keep things on the low. An electric motor is quieter than a gas motor – ideal for hospitals, near schools, or other noise-sensitive areas.

Easy to start: When comparing gas and electric chainsaws, one thing that comes to mind is the engine activation. The good news is that starting an electric chainsaw is easy and anyone can do it with the press of a button, just like battery-powered tools.

Cons of Electric Chainsaws

Restriction: You will be highly restricted when working with corded electric chainsaws. Therefore, there are areas of your property or working space that will be off-limits to the chainsaw unless you extend the power cable. Electric chainsaws offer less convenience than cordless battery-powered chainsaws.

Not as powerful: If you are thinking of using your electric machine regularly or heavy cutting duties such as needing to cut down large trees, you need to buy a professional-grade saw. A good number of electric chainsaws are only suitable for light operations.

Gas Chainsaws

gas chainsaw

Pros of Gas Chainsaws

More Powerful: Gas chainsaws are more powerful than corded electric models. Gas saws have more horsepower than electric chainsaws. They also provide cutting torque, making them the ideal machines for heavier tasks.

Mobile: Gas-powered chainsaws are cordless chainsaws that are mobile since you don’t need to plug them anywhere. Therefore, you can work freely without a long extension cord.

Cons of Gas Chainsaws

Cumbersome: Gas chainsaws are generally bigger than electric counterparts, and therefore they tend to be bulky. They are not the best for light duty tasks.

Noisy: Gas and oil-fueled chainsaws have a loud gas engine sound, and you will need hearing protection when operating them. Therefore, they are not the best machines for noise-sensitive environments. We prefer these for cutting firewood in the forest where there’s not a lot of people.

How to Look for a Good Chainsaw

chainsaw cutting a log

Bar length is the primary consideration in a chainsaw purchase. It’s the blade of the chainsaw, and it’s dependent on how big your sawing jobs are.

Bar lengths range from 12 to 36 inches. A higher bar length gives you an easier time cutting through larger diameters of wood.

As for the engine, larger ones offer more power but also weigh more. If you’re getting a chainsaw only for simple and occasional use, we suggest going for less horsepower. A bulkier machine is uncomfortable to operate for hours on end and will give you muscle pain unless you take frequent breaks.

Rotations per minute (RPM) determines the cutting speed, so more is always better.

Useful Features of Gas and Electric Chainsaws

Modern tools provide you a lot more options for customizability and control, making them easier to use. One such example is the electronic ignition of the electric chainsaw. You can get the machine up and running without any hassle.

Anti-vibration handles are nice additions. These reduce unnecessary tension and movement of the chainsaw parts, therefore extending its lifespan. These vibration isolators will also benefit you greatly by lessening muscle fatigue.

Meanwhile, tool-less tension adjustment is a pretty straightforward name: it lets you make chain tension adjustments conveniently. When the chain starts to hang loosely from the bar, you must tighten it immediately before using the chainsaw again. Brands such as Husqvarna have a tool-less chain tensioner at the side of the saw, which is a thumb-wheel. It is a very effective chain tension adjustment system.

Chainsaw Safety Tips

unsafe vs safe chainsaw handling

The most important thing to do is wear protective gear all the time, such as face shields, tough-coat goggles, ear defenders, and chainsaw boots. You shouldn’t wear loose clothing when operating a chainsaw.

It’s also vital to be incredibly alert when operating a chainsaw. If you’re feeling a little sleepy or hungover, resting for a couple of hours could spare you from a potential accident. A slight lapse in concentration could lead to serious injury or death.

If your chainsaw comes with safety features, it’s even better. Units with low-kickback chains are great to have.

As soon as you notice kickback, engage the chain brake.

Basic Chainsaw Maintenance

To prolong your gas or electric chainsaw life, you need to perform regular cleaning on it.

Before cleaning electric chainsaws, make sure to unplug them. For gas chainsaws, disconnect them from the spark plug.

Take a look at the cutting bar and chain – see if they’re lubricated enough. As for the chain brake, remove debris from the bar and engine after every use. Also, make sure that air intake slots in your chainsaw are clear.

Once you see signs of wear and tear on your bar, it’s time to rotate it. But if you notice the dulling of your chain, it’s time for a replacement.

Regularly check for loose screws, nuts, damaged extension cords, the battery for cordless models, and the fuel filter for gas chainsaws.

Is There a Winner?

From this gas chainsaw vs. electric chainsaw comparison, it is clear that they have their strengths and weaknesses. However, they have their suitable settings and types of jobs.

If you are looking for simple power tools to work on your small projects or basic yard work, then the electric chainsaw is needed. On the other hand, heavy duty jobs could use gas-powered chainsaws even though their gas/oil fuel mixtures aren’t easy to handle.

Passtools.com author Andreas Kalt
Andreas is a DIY enthusiast who specializes in home improvement and interiors. He believes each project is a puzzle which needs to be solved. Therefore he believes using the right tools is the key to make it efficient.
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