Electric vs gas chainsaw — which one is right for you? This article will provide you with an in-depth analysis of the different chainsaws available (gas, battery, corded electric) and give you the advantages and disadvantages of each one so you can make an intelligent buying decision. We know that it can be confusing when shopping for a chainsaw so that’s why we created this guide.
Introduction | Electric vs Gas Chainsaw
The chainsaw is an extremely versatile and highly portable power tool, and you are sure to find one of these in the inventory of any homesteader or wood worker. Even if you’re not a lumberjack or homesteader, there are plenty of reasons why you would want to own one of these magnificent machines.
Chainsaws have been around for quite some time now, and are used by homeowners, orchard workers, lumberjacks, firemen, disaster rescue personnel, and construction teams. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are mainly classified on the basis of their motor (gas/electric), and the length of their guide bars (8” to 24”).
If you go into the market today to buy a chainsaw, you will be overwhelmed with the variety of chainsaw brands, models, and sizes. There are literally hundreds of brands out there, and it can often be difficult to separate the genuine ones from the knockoffs. If you get a chainsaw that is not the right size for your task, it might result in unnecessary physical fatigue, damage to the machine, as well as loss of time and money in maintenance. But fear not, because we shall provide you with the ultimate guide on which chainsaw you should buy, with a special focus on gas versus electric chainsaws.
These are the two types of consumer chainsaws you can get, and their names pretty much explain why they are different. Gas chainsaws run on gasoline, while electric chainsaws run on electricity. Which one do you need? Before answering that question, we would like to give you some usage scenarios for a chainsaw so that you can figure out whether or not you need a chainsaw in the first place.
After that, we shall delve deeper into how a chainsaw works, and explain in detail why size matters when it comes to chainsaw bar lengths. Then we shall give you the pros and cons of gas as well as electric chainsaws, and you will get an idea of which one is better for your particular workload. Finally, we shall discuss a few chainsaws from reputed manufacturers so that you can get an idea of which features matter the most, and what to expect from a top of the line chainsaw.
Save Time with your Chainsaw
Before we begin our journey though, let’s take a look at a few use cases for chainsaws. The next section discusses some scenarios in which chainsaws can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to complete a certain task:
Let’s say you own an orchard or large garden with a bunch of trees in it. Or maybe you just have a large home with green patches surrounding the house, and a lot of old trees nearby that have been around for several decades.
Black & Decker LCS1240 | Best for Small Jobs Around the House
While lawnmowers, trimmers, and edging machines are great for managing the grass and shrubs, you can’t exactly chop and trim branches with them. Besides, old trees that are nearing the end of their life cycle are a danger to everyone who passes near them. Their dry trunks and branches can snap at any moment under load, and it is best to cut down these trees or at least snip the branches before they hurt somebody. Besides, a small and lightweight 8”- 12” chainsaw is what you need for clipping overgrown branches and little tree stubs.
In the next scenario, we shall assume you are a homesteader and like to obtain your own firewood for burning in the fireplace, or for building the home/shed. But that can take a long time with a simple axe and saw combination. Besides, the axe will require you to exert tons of physical effort and needs a tremendous amount of dedication as well as patience. Yes, it’s true, an axe doesn’t need to be oiled and cleaned, but you can still cut trees at least 10 times faster with a chainsaw. This allows you to get more wood in the same amount of time, with less effort. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Finally, let us consider a more extreme case of chainsaw usage. Whenever a storm hits, it brings down trees, telephone lines, electric poles, and just fills the entire urban landscape with broken pieces of roofs, sheds, etc. If you’ve got a tree blocking the driveway, you can’t go out to procure essential supplies such as food, medicine, or fuel.
Emergency Gas Generator | Generac XG8000E (5747)
Storms will also take out the electrical grid along with them, meaning that you won’t be able to cook your food, heat your home, or light the place unless you have a generator. If you own a fireplace or wooden stove though, you can use the chainsaw to transform some of those fallen trees into fuel for the fireplace. You can also clear your driveways and streets of fallen trees and poles with a chainsaw, something that is otherwise impossible until the rescue team or disaster management crew arrives.
These are not the only use cases for a chainsaw, there are many more. We cannot discuss all of them, since it is simply out of the scope of this article and would take up too much time. But you get the idea, right? A chainsaw is very useful for a number of different reasons, and we shall now talk about how you can make the perfect choice while buying a chainsaw for yourself. Below, we are about to discuss how a chainsaw works, after which we shall differentiate between gas and electric chainsaws.
How Does a Chainsaw Work?
Trees are majestic incarnations of natural beauty that are capable of growing to gigantic proportions. Some tress like oak, birch, maple, etc. take several decades to grow and can get as tall as a multi-floor building, while full-size hardwood trees can weigh more than 50 tons — that is almost as much as an M1-Abrams, the main battle tank of the USA! However, you can slice down one of these gigantic trees within a matter of minutes using a 20” gas-powered chainsaw, which is actually quite impressive when you think of it. Our ancestors would have been envious of our generation.
With a saw or axe, even experienced lumberjacks need several hours to take down a fully matured hardwood tree, and that is IF they work in teams of two. So exactly how do chainsaws manage such a feat? What lies inside one of these wood-slicing machines? Read on below to find out…
Types of Chainsaws
There are primarily three types of chainsaws, based on how they are powered. These three types are – gas, corded electric, and cordless electric. Each distinct type has its advantages and disadvantages, and we shall discuss those in detail very soon. But first we shall take a quick overview of how they work, and the kind of tasks that each one is suited for.
— Gas Chainsaw
Gas powered chainsaws run on gasoline and contain a fuel tank located right next to the engine shroud. These fuel tanks typically have capacities ranging between 0.7 to 1 US pints, or anywhere between 0.33 to 0.47 liters. Run times can vary greatly depending on the amount of load, fuel efficiency of the engine, as well as cylinder displacement and power output. However, the average gas powered chainsaw with a guide bar between 16” and 18” in length, should last 15-20 minutes on a single tank of fuel as long as moderate loads are applied.
Remington RM5118R Rodeo | Gas Chainsaw
Gas powered chainsaws require much more maintenance than an electric chainsaw, since the saw dust tends to mix up with the lubricating oil on the cutting chains and you often need to remove the sprocket cover and clean out all that gunk. The air filters often get choked if you work in an area that is filled with dust particles, or if you just cut a lot of dry wood on a daily basis.
Slicing through dead or dry wood can result in the emission of lots of small wooden splinters which might blow back into your engine air intake and choke it. But maintenance and noise aside (gas engines are loud), gas-powered chainsaws are the go-to tool when you need to do some serious wood cutting.
Arborists, lumberjacks, firemen and homesteaders swear by gas chainsaws for a very good reason — they are simply much more powerful than an electric chainsaw of equivalent size and weight. If you need to go through 12” or more of thick hardwood, then an electric chainsaw simply won’t cut it (no puns intended). If your primary goal is to fell trees or if you deal with thick logs of hardwood, then you better ditch the electric chainsaw and get something that’s loud, powerful, and hungry for gasoline – like a gas-powered chainsaw!
— Corded Electric
Not everyone happens to be an arborist or lumberjack. In fact, the average homeowner living in a city might have never chopped a tree in his or her entire life. But what if you have a few ornamental trees in the backyard, and their branches are getting dangerously close to your house roof or windows? Or maybe, you just want to shape up some wooden boards and planks for your next DIY furniture project?
WORX WG303.1 | Corded Electric Chainsaw
Instead of going out and getting a noisy gas-powered chainsaw for the home, you should purchase a corded electric chainsaw. Why do we recommend a corded electric chainsaw for stuff like this? Well, firstly because it requires next to no maintenance. Unless you’ve got some sort of experience with equipment like lawn mowers, generators, etc. you will find it quite hard to understand the working of a gas chainsaw, and maintenance can be a huge pain in the butt.
You need to mix the right proportions of fuel and stability oil for storage, must make sure that the fuel you’re feeding into your chainsaw is well lubricated so that you don’t shorten your engine life, then you need to clean the air filters and check the spark plugs, etc. In short — it is a lot of time, money, and effort spent in maintaining something that you will probably use for like 5 days a year.
Maybe you’ll use it for shaping up your kids new wooden desk. Perhaps you’ll use it for clearing out some overgrown branches in the backyard or garden of your home. Those branches will barely be more than 4 or 5 inches in thickness, and they will most likely not be hardwoods either. So if you don’t need all that extra horsepower of a gas chainsaw for these small tasks, why waste money and effort in maintaining one? And we haven’t even discussed about noise yet – you might be living in a society that has strict rules regarding pollution and noise levels.
Benefits of an Electric Chainsaw
Just so you know, the average chainsaw generates more than 100 decibels of noise at a distance of a couple feet. That is literally louder than listening to a jet taking off from the runway, and is at the level of a large rock concert. Some chainsaws can get above and beyond 110 decibels, which is pretty close to the human pain limit threshold. Gas-powered chainsaws are some of the loudest power tools in existence, which is why it is always recommended that you were ear protection while operating a gas chainsaw.
Lumberjacks who work in the forest never have to worry about noise pollution, since they operate several miles away from any trace of civilization. But your neighbors and family will mind that annoying noise – so it is definitely something worth taking into consideration while buying a chainsaw.
— Battery Power (Cordless Electric)
While discussing about why you should buy a corded electric chainsaw, we talked about how everyone does not need a ton of power and will most often be just fine with a weaker, but much quieter and easier to maintain electric chainsaw. If you need to find your way through the house in the darkness, there is no point in getting a giant floodlight — any torch or flashlight will do just fine. But what if your flashlight requires to be plugged into an electrical socket in order to work?
Wouldn’t that be frustrating? You would be unable to use that flashlight outside the house, unless your entire lawn is filled with power outlets instead of water sprinklers.
EGO Chainsaw | Battery Powered Chainsaw
The same problem applies to corded electric chainsaws, they are great as long as you need to work on something located within 20 feet of your house, but as soon as you cross that line the chainsaw stops being useful. Let’s say you have a rather long lawn or backyard, and there are some trees at the far end which have extended beyond the fence, and into your neighbors territory. You want to chop off the stray branches, but just found out that the 25-foot power cord on your electric chainsaw won’t let you go that far. So basically, you’re stuck with a super expensive paperweight now.
A power outage is yet another scenario where the lack of a built-in power source could be devastating. If a burnt transformer or broken power line causes a temporary pause in your homes power supply, your brand new electric chainsaw is also rendered useless. But hey, what if your chainsaw could run off a battery? Wouldn’t that be cool? You could work even when a power outage occurred, and no more need to be restricted by wires! That is where cordless electric chainsaws come in. They are basically electric chainsaws with rechargeable 40V lithium-ion battery packs included for powering the motor.
These are also slightly heavier and costlier than conventional corded electric chainsaws, but are not restricted by power cords and are still lighter than most gas chainsaws. Yes, batteries will provide limited run-time, but you can almost always get at least 30 minutes of run-time out of the battery of a cordless chainsaw. And if power cuts are a tad too frequent in your area or if you’re going to travel a lot with that chainsaw, consider getting a second battery pack. Swap batteries when one of them gets depleted, and you’re good to go once again.
Main Chainsaw Components
A chainsaw is composed of the following major parts:
- The motor
- The sprocket and clutch assembly
- The guide bar
- The chain
If it is a gas-powered chainsaw, it will also have a fuel tank, carburetor, and air filter. If it is a corded electric model, you will find a power cord on the rear end to feed the electric motor. In cordless electric models, you will find a rechargeable battery pack near the motor. But before we talk more about the actual parts and how they work together, let us discuss exactly how a chainsaw cuts through wood.
If you’ve ever used a bicycle or seen one in action, you might have noticed that the power is transferred from the rider’s feet to the rear wheels via a chain and sprocket assembly. When the bicycle rider hits the pedal and moves it around, the larger sprocket spins along with it. This sprocket contains teeth, which fit into the gaps between the sections of a bicycle chain.
A chainsaw is basically a rotating chain with teeth mounted on top of the chain sections. These teeth are designed in a very specific manner, and the chain itself is a series of riveted metal sections. Each cutting tooth features a folded shape and is made from high carbon chromium steel. A cutting tooth is divided into two distinct parts — a depth gauge or raker, and the cutting tooth itself. Depth gauges lie ahead of the teeth and limit the depth of a cut, in order to protect the chain from unnecessary damage.
Makita EA5000P53G | Professional Gas Chainsaw
Conventional “full-complement” chainsaw chains have one cutting tooth per two drive links, while “full-skip” chains have one cutting tooth per three drive links. A higher tooth density increases the smoothness of the cut, but also requires more power to drive since it increases the friction between the moving chain and the contact surface, i.e. tree trunk/ log.
The motor located at the back of the chainsaw spins a driving disk that is geared to spin a sprocket and centrifugal clutch assembly. The clutch assembly is designed to engage only when the engine or motor spins at a certain minimum rpm. This way, you won’t have to turn off or turn on the motor/engine every time you are not cutting wood. While idling, the motor will spin the clutch disk inside the clutch drum, without engaging the actual chain. A centrifugal clutch consists of two semicircular halves of a metal disk held together by a couple of thick springs.
There is a drive shaft in the middle that spins these two halves together. At low rpm levels, the disks stick together into one perfect circular piece because the springs are strong enough to prevent them from flying apart due to centrifugal force (kind of like that feeling you get while sitting in a merry-go round that is spinning really fast).
However, as the engine speed increases this pair of springs gradually begins to extend, and at one point the two clutch plates will make contact with the clutch drum that is surrounding them. This forces the drum to spin along with the clutch plates, and since the drum is connected to a sprocket assembly that drives the chain, your cutting chains also begins to spin.
When the teeth on this chain come in contact with wood, they rip right through the fibers and carve right in, like a knife going through butter. The amount of power that an engine has will determine the speed at which the chain rotates. Faster rotations result in cleaner and quicker cuts, and the torque of the motor is what determines whether or not a certain chainsaw can cut through hard woods. For cutting through thick logs, you need a combination of a really powerful engine, along with a long chain assembly.
The chain itself is mounted on a guide bar. This is the long metal structure that supports the chain, and the chain spins around this metal bar. Tensioning nuts are provided to secure the chain firmly, because a loose chain will dismount mid-operation and slice through flesh and bone. Too tight, and the chainsaw will come to a sudden halt if you’re cutting through a thick log. Sudden stops will crack the clutch plates, as well as damage the motor/engine.
Those were the 4 main parts which you’ll find in any type of chainsaw. Gas powered chainsaws are driven by gasoline engines, while both cordless as well as corded electric chainsaws employ brushless DC motors. One thing that we would like to elaborate on right now is the engine of choice for gas chainsaws. That is because the engines that are found in gas chainsaws are much more similar to jet-ski engines, rather than snow blower and leaf blower engines. Why? Well, that’s because gas-operated chainsaws use two stroke or two cycle engines.
In two stroke engines there are no valves or lubrication mechanisms. Rather, the lubricant is mixes right into the engine fuel and it goes in through the carburetor from the fuel tank. Two stroke engines have one power cycle per two rotations of the crankshaft, compared to the 4 stroke engine which has one power cycle per 4 rotations of the crank shaft. There is a reason why 2-stroke engines are preferred over four stroke engines, and we shall discuss that in the next section.
Why do chainsaws use 2-stroke engines?
Two stroke engines are nosier and less efficient in comparison to 4-stroke engines. This is because the 2nd cycle comprises of intake and exhaust, both taking place at the same time. Meaning that, some of the fresh fuel is also washed away through the exhaust port whenever the piston moves down to allow burnt gases from the previous cycle to escape. Not just that, the fact that these engines have no valves or lubrication mechanism also means that the overall lifetime will be lesser than that of 4-stroke engines.
Lubricant is mixed directly into the fuel, and is spread all over the crankshaft and piston lining whenever the carburetor releases fuel into the cylinder. This is a very crude method of applying lubrication, and is primarily done to reduce the cost and size of these engines. Due to their two-cycle operation and unrefined combustion cycles, two-stroke engines are louder and emit more half-burnt smoke. In short, they don’t abide by emission norms and sound like thousands of little crackers going off in a series of uncontrolled explosions.
Makita DCS5121 | 18″ / 50cc Professional Gas Chainsaw
But if they are louder, have shorter lifespans, and are less efficient than equivalent 4-stroke engines that generate the same amount of power with less fuel, why do chainsaw manufacturers favor them so much? Well, that’s because of their incredible power to weight ratio.
A typical chainsaw motor weighs between 3-4 kilograms and generates nearly 3-3.5 horsepower. That puts its power to weight ratio very close to the 1:1 metric that is nearly impossible to attain for a 4-stroke engine. Since 2-stroke engines employ less moving parts, they also cost less. A total lack of lubrication systems means that you can mix lubrication oil into the fuel and forget about having to replace engine oil regularly, like you do with 4-stroke engines.
Since 2-stroke motors generate power in just 2 cycles, they are also better for cutting through trees- a scenario in which continuous resistance is applied on the engine and spontaneous power generation is every important. In short, the torque curve is much smoother on a simple two stroke engine in comparison to a 4-stroke motor which has to wait 3 cycles for each power stroke. Since two stroke motors are smaller and lighter, they can easily fit into the limited space of a chainsaw body. Try fitting a 4-stroke motor of comparable power into the same space. You can’t, thanks to camshafts, valves, and lubrication systems – all of which add on size and weight.
Does Size Matter?
While searching for chainsaws, you’ll encounter a number known as “guide bar length”. This is usually expressed in inches, and the average chainsaw sports a guide bar that is anywhere between 16 to 18 inches long. Well the basic rule is that the longer your guide bar, the deeper you can cut without having to reposition the chainsaw.
If you didn’t understand that, picture this — your chainsaw has a guide bar that is 12” long. You wish to cut a tree that has a 36” thick trunk. Assuming that your chainsaw packs a powerful enough motor, you’ll only be able to get 12” through towards the center of the trunk. What do you do after that, since you’ve run out of blade length? Trash the machine, and get that trusty old 2-man crosscut saw out of the back of your pickup truck maybe? Then you and your buddy can begin the 2-hour long journey to the center of the tree trunk. Or, you could just pick up a chainsaw with the correct guide bar length at the store in order to prevent yourself from running into any such situations.
Guide bar length is also indicative of the amount of power that a chainsaw motor/engine packs. This is because longer lengths of chain will encounter greater resistance. Picture this — you have a rod with 3 hooks on it. Take the rod and tug on a plank of wood. Note the amount of force that you needed to drag it across the wood. Now, add in some more hooks. Then drag this rod across the wooden plank again. It is harder right? That is because more hooks equals more resistance.
Chainsaw teeth are not like hooks, but more of them will increase the amount of resistance on the chain that will ultimately result in your motor or engine having to work harder in order to maintain the same rpm levels. A decrease in the speed of the chain will result in erratic or slanting cuts, along with highly uneven cross sections of wood that will have splinters and ridges all over the surface.
Which Type — Electric vs Gas Chainsaw?
This is a highly subjective matter, and it all comes down to what you need. Get gas chainsaws for big jobs that require a lot of power, and electric chainsaws for home use, or yard maintenance. Besides, gas chainsaws support much longer guide bar lengths compared to electric chainsaws. But electrics are quieter, need much less maintenance, and can be handled very easily.
— Gas Powered Chainsaws
These employ gasoline motors to drive the chain and often come out on top of electric chainsaws in terms of sheer power output. They are harder to maintain and emit fumes while running. Their 2-stroke engines can emit up to 115 decibels of sound, which is already bordering on the human ear pain threshold. However if you need to cut large logs of hardwood, then this is what you need.
Husqvarna 445 | Enough Power for Most Homeowners
- Much more powerful than their electric counterparts, and great for cutting firewood.
- Capable of sawing down all types of trees, including hardwood.
- Great for clearing up after a storm.
- Not limited by power cords.
- Support longer guide bars and chains due to their superior motor power and torque
- Support better bar-oiling systems
- Louder, emit half-burnt fumes.
- Heavier, can be harder to handle if you’re using longer guide bars.
- Need routine maintenance to keep running in optimal condition.
- Much harder to start up in comparison to electric chainsaws
— Corded Electric Chainsaws
Corded Electric chainsaws can either be extremely cheap and lightweight. You can judge the power of an electric chainsaw based on the amount of amps that its motor is rated at. Some will even come with automatic chain lubrication to make the operation almost completely maintenance free. These normally support guide bars up to 16” in length, although the recommended guide bar length for an electric chainsaw if you’re cutting hardwood is between 12” and 14”.
- These are the lightest and cheapest type of chainsaws that you can find.
- Extremely convenient push button start.
- Silent, easy to handle.
- Almost completely maintenance free.
- Great for yard management and in-home usage.
- Lack the power of gas chainsaws, not recommended for cutting logs and trees of any kind.
- Don not support long chain guide bars, because of decreased power output.
- Restricted mobility because of the power cord.
— Battery Chainsaw
These have the same operation principles as corded models, except that these come with rechargeable battery packs. The motors in cordless models are tuned to deliver extra efficiency, in order to increase run-times. These are great for cutting branches or for DIY projects at home. Mobility is not restricted like the corded models, thanks to the built-in battery pack. However, they tend to be heavier and more expensive than their corded counterparts because of these battery packs.
- These are the lightest and cheapest type of chainsaws that you can find.
- Extremely convenient push button start.
- Silent, and easy to handle.
- Almost maintenance free.
- Great for yard management and DIY furniture projects, can be taken out of the home since it is independent of power cords.
- Slightly easier to handle in comparison to corded electric models, because there is no heavy power cable dangling behind the chainsaw
- Limited guide bar lengths.
- Costlier and heavier than cordless electric models.
- Some of these tend to be weaker than their corded counterparts due to the fact that their motors are more geared towards energy savings rather than actual performance.
- Batteries can get pretty costly.
Watch This | Husqvarna Chainsaw Safety Video
What You Should Look For while buying a Gas Chainsaw
Vibration Dampening: To save yourself from Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) while operating a gas chainsaw for longer periods of time, consider getting a chainsaw with decent vibration dampening built into it. Larger chainsaw engines with displacement above 40cc will vibrate the most.
Spring Assist Starting: This allows you to start your chainsaw much more reliably and with slightly less effort.
Automatic Chain Lubrication: Automatic chain lubrication uses the motion of the sprocket to drive the guide bar and chain lubrication system, meaning that you don’t have to manually take the assembly apart for oiling.
An Inertial Chain Brake: A chain brake is designed to protect you from chainsaw kickbacks. A kickback occurs when the chain gets stuck on something, and this causes the chainsaw to recoil and bounce back towards you at a high speed. The large brake bar located on the front pushes against your hand and applies an instant stop to the chain, so it doesn’t cut your face into two halves. This is a manual brake that relies on input from your hand to kick in.
However, an inertial brake is much faster and engages as soon as it senses an irregularity in the motion of the chain. This is automatic and engages super-fast. Considering that a chainsaw chain can move at speeds of 60 miles per hour and normally stays at a distance of 2 -3 feet from your body, you could really use that extra response speed of the inertial chain brake.
Tool-less Chain Tensioning: This allows you to tighten/loosen the chain without having to use a wrench, bar, or some other tightening tool.
Throttle Lock: Basically like the safety lock on a firearm. You cannot rev up the engine even by pressing on the throttle, unless you disengage the throttle lock.
Heated Handles and Carburetor: Do you work in freezing cold? Well then you better get a chainsaw with heated handles to help alleviate some of that numbness in your hands, since nobody advises operating a chainsaw with numb or trembling hands. This is both for your convenience, as well as safety. Heated carburetors are crucial for operation in sub-zero temperatures as they will prevent the oil from freezing, so your chainsaw can start up even in the coldest of climates.
Tool-less air filter access: Air filter cleaning is something that needs to be done on a routine basis to ensure that your engine doesn’t choke up or malfunction. Tool-less air filter removal makes this task extremely easy and saves a lot of your time.
Makita UC4051A | 16″ Electric Chainsaw
- Chains speed of 2900 feet/minute
- 16” Guide bar
- Chain pitch and gauge of 3/8” and 0.05” respectively
- Measures 19.875” long, and weighs 12.3 pounds without the guide bar and chain
- Tool-less chain adjustment
- Rubberized ergonomic handle grips
- Built-in overload protection for motor
- Large 6.8 ounce oil reservoir with transparent gauge on the side
- Automatic chain oiler
- Electric chain brake
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Makita UC4051A.
First of all, this is a corded electric chainsaw. This means that you’ll be restricted by the length of its power cord, and therefore it is not the ideal tool for pruning and maintaining large gardens or orchards. But if you just need a chainsaw to trim off some of the trees growing right next to your house, or if you want a power tool for shaping up some wooden planks and boards at home, then this Makita model is definitely worth looking into.
It is geared towards the first time user, one who is not familiar with power tools in general. That is why the UC4051A comes with features such as tool-less chain tensioning and automatic lubrication. It is much quieter in comparison to a gas chainsaw, and barely emits half as much noise as a gas chainsaw while running (approximately 10 decibels less). That is WITH the motor spinning the chain at its maximum speed of 2900 feet per minute. However the performance is not as good as a decent gas chainsaw but the UC4051A is as powerful as you can get with an electric model as it runs at 15 amps.
Makita UC3551A | 14″ Model
Even though this chainsaw comes with a 16” guide bar, it does not mean you can walk into the woods and fell a tree with it. The electric motor inside this 12 pound machine does not pack nearly enough power to go through a 24” thick log of pine, oak, or birch. We even recommend swapping out the 16” guide bar on this model for a shorter 12” or 14” guide bar since you’ll primarily be using it for trimming your garden trees and doing DIY furniture stuff at home. For those purposes, a smaller chain and bar will be lighter and easier to handle.
Also, the motor can work better since resistance or load on it is reduce by up to 20/25 percent when you decrease the guide bar size from 16” to 12”. This will allow you to work faster and make cleaner cuts. There are plenty of neat little safety features packed into this machine to make sure that you never have to open it up or replace a part anytime soon. The electric motor can be started by a button push, and there is an electric chain brake which reacts much faster than a conventional hand-assisted chain brake.
Automatic oiling means that you won’t have to pour in the oil manually into the chain sprocket. The large 6.8 oz. oil reservoir does not need to be refilled anytime soon, and you will know when to refill it thanks to a transparent side view gauge on the oil tank that clearly shows lubricant oil levels. Built-in overload protection will save the motor from any sudden surges in current or voltage.
GreenWorks Pro GCS80420 80V | 18″ Chainsaw
(Battery Powered / Cordless Electric)
- Features an 18” bar and chain assembly
- Powered by a 80V 2Ah li-ion battery, charges in 30 minutes
- Automatic chain oiler
- Chain pitch and gauge of 0.375” and 0.05” respectively
- Electric chain brake
- Tool-less chain tensioning
- Weighs 13.7 pounds without the bar and chain, battery included
- Push-button easy start
- Variable speed control switch
- Brushless motor to increase torque and reduce vibration
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the GreenWorks Pro 80V chainsaw.
This is one of the most powerful cordless electric chainsaws on the market as of today, and is actually capable of chopping through logs of firewood and even the trunks of some softwood trees. This immense power is mainly due to the combination of a superb high current brushless motor, and a high-discharge 80V lithium-ion battery. Lithium ion batteries are known for their excellent discharge characteristics and do not slow down the motor by much even as they near the end of their charge cycles.
Video | Watch it in action | Impressive
Once you fully charge this 80V, 2Ah Li-Ion battery (should take 30 minutes), you’ll be able to do quite a bit of work with it. As mentioned on the GreenWorks page itself, this chainsaw can put 150 cuts in 4” x 4” logs of pressure treated pine before running out of power. Pine is actually a rather hard type of wood, and it is indeed impressive that a battery powered chainsaw can last so long while cutting through blocks of pine.
For the average user who buys this chainsaw to cut planks, thin branches, small logs, etc. the battery will last even longer. By attaching an 18” guide bar to this cordless beast, you’ll even be able to take down 12” thick hardwood logs, and tree trunks up to 24” thick. Of course it will struggle a bit with the 24” tree trunk, but will get the job done without you having to spend a single drop of gasoline. Not to mention the fact that this chainsaw is incredibly quiet.
Fast Battery Charge Time | Buy A Back-up Battery
It is definitely a bit on the heavier side at 13.7 pounds with the chain and guide bar not included, however you’ll still be able to handle it pretty easily thanks to the low vibration brushless electric motor and the shorter guide bar length. The chainsaw handles are designed to absorb vibrations in order to deliver a refined user experience. No more numb fingers after 15 minutes of operating the chainsaw, and thanks to the tool-less tensioning you’ll be able to instantly adjust the chain tension with just your bare hands.
A 4-year warranty delivers further peace of mind, and protects your investment against manufacturing defects and accidental malfunctioning.
Husqvarna 450 | 18″ Gas Chainsaw
- Powerful 50.2cc two-stroke engine that generates 3.2 horsepower
- Has a recommended bar length of 20”
- Weight of just 10.8 pounds after removing the chain and guide bar
- Idling speed of 2700rpm, maximum engine speed of 9000rpm
- Maximum torque of 2.6 Nm
- Fuel tank capacity of 0.95 US pints
- Chain speed of 3405 feet/minute, and can go up to 4527.6 feet/second on 133% of the maximum recommended engine power
- Automatic lubrication
- Sound power level – 115 dB (A) guaranteed, 104 dB (A) at operators ear
- Quick-release air filter for easy cleaning and replacement
Husqvarna keeps on raising the bar when it comes to quality and performance. Their latest gas powered all-round chainsaw, the model 450, is equipped with a behemoth of a 2-stroke chainsaw engine. The power output from this 50.2 cc single cylinder 2-stroke engine is almost 3.2 horsepower and it can spin the chain on a 20” guide bar at a speed of nearly 3400 feet per minute on full load.
If you take the engine into overdrive and run it on 133% power limit, then your chain will hit dizzying speeds of up to 4527 feet/minute. This is bordering on industrial grade chainsaw territory!
Husqvarna 450 is Ideal for medium-duty wood cutting
Automatic lubrication is assisted by the engine itself, and will keep your drive assembly running at full efficiency all the time without you having to take apart the sprocket and clutch assembly every now and then. Well, you’ll need to clean the chain and drive system manually, but just not as often as you would without automatic lubrication built-in. The fuel tank has a capacity of 0.95 US pints, which translates to nearly 0.7 liters. This should last you anywhere between 7 to 15 minutes of continuous usage, depending on what type of wood you’re cutting, as well as the thickness of the wood.
This chainsaw is just as loud as it is powerful – with a sound power level of 104 dB (A) at the operators ear, you’ll definitely want to wear ear protection unless you plan on busting your eardrums. That is nearly as loud as jet plane idling on the runway! A quick release air filter is included, and pops right off ensuring easy maintenance and cleanup. In summary, this is the perfect chainsaw for cutting large amounts of firewood, or for felling medium sized trees. It can even be used for clearing operations after a storm.
Make sure you are always protected when operating a chainsaw
Husqvarna ProForest Includes : UV-protected hard hat, adjustable 6-point suspension, 25 dB (A) NRR hearing protectors, face screen and a rain neck protector
Safety Tips for Operating Your Chainsaw
- Always wear safety equipment on your HEAD, EYES, HANDS, and LEGS while operating a chainsaw. These are a must – Hard plastic hat, face mask made of mesh or eye goggles similar to those used in shooting ranges, a thick pair of tear-resistant gloves, and a nice pair of chaps on your legs.
- Ear protection is a must if you operate gas-powered chainsaws, and might even be required for certain electric chainsaws.
Husqvarna 531300089 | Hearing Protection
- Always read the instruction manual before you attempt to start the saw, since operation techniques and specifications can vary from model to model.
- Do not wear loose clothing while operating a chainsaw, for example – scarfs that are hanging out.
- Always carry a mobile phone or whistle in your pockets if you are working away from the company of your friends or away from the house.
- Before you start any chainsaw, gas or electric, check the following to make sure that they are working and in place – the chain brake (must be engaged while starting the chainsaw), the chain guard, the throttle lock, and the lubrication oil levels.
- Always point the saw blade in a direction away from yourself while starting it. When you’re ready to start, activate the chain brake and place the chainsaw on a firm surface while making sure that chain is not nearby any other objects, or making contact with the ground. Then check your footing to make sure that you’re standing on a steady and firm surface.
- NEVER try to cut into a log of wood or for that matter, anything at all, while going tip-first into the surface. This is a chainsaw, not a fencing sword. Use the bottom region of the blade to cut, and always go through while keeping vision of the tip of your chainsaw. The front tip is a kickback region, and will cause the saw to snap back at you if it gets stuck in something. Make sure that your saw has a kickback guard plate installed on the front if you’re operating a chainsaw for the first time. This is extremely important!
- While cutting a tree, make sure that you’ve cleared all surrounding undergrowth from your workplace.
- DO NOT use a chainsaw with a dull chain. It will damage your saws engine/motor, will cause you to apply more physical force while cutting, and will also GREATLY INCREASE the chance of kickback.
Learn more about Chainsaw Safety.
Chainsaw Basic Maintenance Tips
— Gas Chainsaws
Always check the air filters and carburetor if you’ve been using the chainsaw for a while. Never cut with a dull chain. You can know if your chain is dull by the amount of vertical pressure that you need to apply on the chainsaw in order to push it through a log of wood. Remove the air filter and clean it inside a bucket of soap water, with the help of a soft brush or sponge. Clogged air filters will choke airflow to your carburetor and your engine will never start.
If your chain has an auto lubrication system, make sure that you always maintain the oil levels by constantly refilling the oil container with the specific oil that is recommended by your chainsaws manufacturer. Mix gasoline with engine oil, in the exact same ratio that is specified by your manufacturer in the manual. More often than not, you will be mixing 1 unit of engine oil per 50 parts of gasoline.
Always wait for the chainsaw to cool down before you refuel it, and remove the spark plug while refueling in order to prevent an accidental fire. Tension the chain with a wrench or rod if it feels loose or is sliding around too much. Loose chains can snap loose and fly out, causing immense damage.
— Corded Electric Chainsaws
With these you don’t really have to worry about anything other than the lubrication oil and chain tension. There are no air filters, and the electric motors are always self-lubricating. They don’t need to be oiled, at least not until 2-3 years.
Besides that, you might want to check the power cord for any cuts or missing insulation which could potentially cause short circuits. Since they don’t vibrate as much as gas powered chainsaws, you probably won’t even have to check for loose bolts and screws that frequently.
Sharpen he chain when it gets dull, tighten the chain when it get loose, and replace the oil when it gets low. And that’s about it! It should be as easy as maintaining a bicycle, if not easier. Also – never operate a corded chainsaw while standing on a wet surface (for obvious reasons).
— Battery Chainsaws
Follow the exact same procedure as you did with corded models, except for one little change – you have a battery instead of a power cord. This battery will need to be recharged daily to ensure that you don’t run out of juice while working. If you plan on storing the chainsaw for a long period, remove the battery.
OREGON CS300-A6 | Built-in Self-Sharpener | Impressive
Always check the user guide for voltage and current specifications while buying the batteries for your cordless chainsaw. Choosing a battery that provided too much voltage or current will result in burnt motor windings, and could even cause a fire. Don not attempt to take apart the battery or tamper with it. Dispose the Li-Ion batteries as they approach the end of their lifespan, since they could explode if you overload them or heat them beyond their tolerance levels.
Summary | Electric vs Gas Chainsaw vs Battery
Choose a chainsaw based on your needs, not the size of its engine or guide bar. Decide which size and power range you need based on your work scenario and usage case. If you’re not a professional lumberjack, don’t get a 20” gas powered chainsaw with a 50cc engine. Also, don’t install an 18” or 20” guide bar and chain on an electric chainsaw. Because even if you can, chances are the chain will come to a halt as soon as you cut through wood, and the electric motor will not be able to keep up with the load.
This could burn-out your motor windings, or even result in kickback. Remember – 8” to 12” for DIY home projects and shrub-clearing, 12”-16” for cutting small pieces or quantities of firewood, 16”-18” for cutting logs and small trees. Get 20” and above only if you’re a professional and need to fell trees or cut giant amounts of firewood on a regular basis. Get a corded electric model if you are only going to use the chainsaw in and around your home.
Stock up on Bar & Chain Oil…you’ll need it | Oregon 54-026
Get a cordless electric model for light firewood cutting, and remote operation away from the comforts of your home. Or get a cordless electric model if you don’t have a power outlet that allows you to reach the very edges of your backyard/lawn. Gas powered chainsaws are loud, need lots of maintenance, and can rip through large tree trunks or logs of hardwood with ease.
PLEASE remember to look up chainsaw safety videos and read the manual if you have never operated a chainsaw. Not only are chainsaws some of the loudest power tools in existence, they are also THE most dangerous hand-held power tool known to mankind. Don’t believe us? Go watch some horror or action movies, and you’ll get an idea. But seriously though, these things are extremely dangerous. Always wear chaps, gloves, eye protection, ear plugs, and a helmet while operating them.