Electric Vs Gas Chainsaw – Which Is Right For Your Needs?

When you have to pick between two high and mighty tools, such as the electric chainsaw and the gas chainsaw, you have no other choice but to weigh the pros and cons of one against the other. In order to do that, there a few things that you need to consider:

  • Types and their mechanism
  • Ease in handling
  • Maintenance and storage
  • Cost
  • Battery life

In this battle between electric vs gas chainsaw, we will look at each of these details to help you in making a better choice.

Learn More: 5 Different Types of Chainsaws

Electric Chainsaws

When it comes to electric chainsaws, basically, there are two types of them – cordless and corded. They are both reliant on electrical sources for power. And, when it comes to operation, they both work the same way.

However, there is one major difference between the two. The cordless chainsaw requires batteries to run. But, in the case of the corded chainsaw, it has to be connected to an electrical outlet for power while chopping.

How does it work?

Every electric chainsaw has an electric motor that is powered by an armature. This is an essential component as it transforms electrical energy into mechanical energy. Here, mechanical energy is referred to as the torque that is produced by the chainsaw.

After the armature releases the torque, it is then supplied to the shaft of the chainsaw. This causes the chain that is strapped onto the guide bar to spin.

Common Uses for Electric Chainsaws

An electric chainsaw is comparatively less powerful than a gas chainsaw. It is ideal for light landscaping and yard work, such as cutting down branches, trimming bushes, hedges, and small trees.

Since they are light and compact, you can easily carry them up trees and cut down higher branches.

Advantages of Electric Chainsaws

There are plenty of advantages to using an electric chainsaw. A few notable mentions would be-

  • Easy to handle – Electric saws are lightweight and are easy to handle because they are compact in size.
  • Silent – Unlike gas chainsaws, electric ones are much quieter during operation. And, the only time that you may hear any noise coming out of it- is probably during a throttle trigger.
  • Smell – Since these devices don’t rely on fossil fuel for cutting, they don’t produce any kind of odor.
  • Maintenance – You can easily switch this gadget on by pressing a button. Also, they don’t require much maintenance. You don’t have to clean the filters or oil the engine parts. So, it saves you from cleaning up a lot of mess.
  • Storage – After finishing your project, all you have to do is simply switch off the saw, unplug it from the electrical outlet (if you are using the corded one), and keep it in your garage.
  • Cheaper – When it comes to comparing the prices, corded electric chainsaws are much cheaper than both cordless electric chainsaw and gas chainsaw.
  • Battery life – The cordless electric models have a limited cutting time. They don’t last for more than an hour (some high-end models do). However, the corded ones can run for hours on end without a hiccup.

Disadvantages of Electric Chainsaws

  • Smaller bar length – When it comes to chopping down trees with a wider trunk, using an electric chainsaw won’t be an ideal choice since the longest blade size is 18 inches.
  • Power – Electric chainsaws aren’t as powerful as gas ones. Also, they are much slower. The corded ones can only cover a limited area depending on the length of the extension cord. Most of the corded chainsaws have cords that are 100 feet long.
  • Battery-operated – The cordless ones work in a limited time frame. This makes them more suitable for trimming shrubberies and smaller trees.

Gas Chainsaws

There are two different types of gas chainsaws – a 2-cycle and a 4-cycle one. What sets them apart is that, in the 2-cycle chainsaw, you need to mix the gasoline with oil. After which, you pour the mixture into the tank, which is connected to the engine. This mixture lubricates the moving parts of the engine.

On the other hand, the 4-cycle has two separate tank compartments instead of one. You need to pour in the oil and the gasoline in each of these compartments.

How Does a Gas Chainsaw Work?

Both the 2-cycle and the 4-cycle chainsaws work in the same manner. In the case of the 4-cycle, oil and gasoline flow out of their individual compartments and pass through the carburetor, where they get mixed with the air.

Then, the mixture flows into the cylinder, where it gets ignited with the help of a spark plug. This releases a large amount of energy that drives the piston to move back and forth.

The crank and the connecting rod inside the motor then converts the movement of the piston into rotational motion. This motion generates a power that the drive shaft transfers to the centrifugal clutch.

The clutch forms a bridge between the engine and the sprockets. The power from the engine causes the sprockets from the engine to spin along the guide bar of the chainsaw.

Common Uses for Gas Chainsaws

When it comes to handling large projects, there is no beating the gas chainsaws. The engine is quite powerful, and so, it can easily chop through dense-wood.

For example, you can do timber felling for firewood or lumber. Since they come in different ranges, they are more versatile than electric chainsaws. Also, the bar length is much longer, so they are perfect for professional jobs such as disaster cleanup.

Advantages of Gas Chainsaws

  • Heavy-duty – Unlike their electrical counterparts, gas chainsaws are perfect for cutting down large trees. Their blade length is three times longer than that of an electric chainsaw.
  • Fast operation – While electric chainsaws are slow in action, gas chainsaws can chop down trees much quicker. Also, they are not limited by radius or by a time limit.
  • Convenience – You can use your chainsaw anywhere, and you can also use them for as long as you want, with sufficient fuel.

Disadvantages of Gas Chainsaws

  • Weight – Gas chainsaws are much heavier to handle. It can weigh up to 12 pounds. Therefore, you need a lot of upper body strength and stamina to hold it steady for a longer period of time.
  • Fuel – Since these bad boys run on fuel, you need to keep an extra tank by your side in case you run out of gas. And, in the case of a 2-cycle gas chainsaw, you need to calibrate the amount of gasoline and oil to a particular ratio before mixing them in the tank. Also, they can stink up the place while running.
  • Noisy – Gas chainsaws are quite loud during operation. They can reach up to 120 dB. In fact, it is recommended for the operators to gear themselves with hearing protection since these devices can damage their ears.
  • Difficult to start and maintain– You need to pull on a cord to start the engine. However, the more you use the saw, the more difficult it becomes to pull the cord. That’s why the chainsaw needs to be properly maintained on a regular basis.
  • Expensive – Not only are these operating tools hefty, but they are also quite pricey.

Electric Chainsaw vs. Gas Chainsaw Comparison Chart

Topics Electric Chainsaw Gas Chainsaw
Types Corded and cordless Two-cycle engine and four-cycle engine
Mode of Ignition Press on a button Pull-start a cord
Weight Compact and Light-weight Heavy
Noise Silent in operation Loud. Can reach up to 120 decibels
Fuel emissions None Emits smoke and smells of gas
Maintenance Does not need much maintenance. Needs to be maintained and lubricated on a regular basis. Filters need to be cleaned.
Type of fuel Relies on electricity (corded) or on batteries (cordless) Uses gasoline and oil. For a 2-cycle engine, the fuel needs to be mixed in a proper ratio.
Power Less powerful and slower More powerful. Chops down trees at a quicker pace
Price Corded chainsaws are relatively cheaper than cordless ones Expensive
Duration of operation Corded electric chainsaws can run forever.

Cordless ones can function only as long as the battery lasts. It can be between 30 mins to 1 hour, depending on the model.

Can run for an unlimited amount of time. Needs to be refueled afterwards
Portability A corded chainsaw needs to be connected to a power outlet. Therefore, has a limited range.

Cordless chainsaws can be carried anywhere.

Mobile with no range restrictions
Blade length Can reach up to a maximum of 18 inches Longer blades. Can reach up to 72 inches
Uses Ideal for cutting down branches, trimming bushes, hedges, and small trees. Best for heavy-duty work such as timber felling for firewood or lumber, and for profession cleanup jobs.
Storage Easy to store Can take up a lot of storage space.


1. Are electric chainsaws more dangerous?

Electric chainsaws are compact and light in weight; this makes them easy to maneuver and cut through objects. Thus, they are far less dangerous than any other type of chainsaw.

2. Do Electric chainsaws overheat?

Normally chainsaws do tend to get overheated, especially during summer, since they operate at high temperatures. Debris like wood chips and sawdust can block the system and cause the engine to heat up quickly.

The starter and the cylinder need to be cleaned regularly to prevent overheating. This allows the engine to release the hot air, thus letting it cool down.

3. How long do electric chainsaws last?

Electric chainsaws can run for a limited amount of time after each charging cycle. Depending on the type of model, the time frame can be between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Are electric chainsaws as good as gas?

Gas chainsaws are more powerful than an electric chainsaws and can last much longer. So, in terms of power, gas chainsaws are better.

Final Words

As you can see, an electric chainsaw is ideal for small to medium-sized projects. You can use them for pruning, trimming, and minor landscaping. They work silently without causing any disturbance in the neighborhood. Also, they are compact and lightweight. But they don’t have a long run-time, especially the cordless ones.

On the other hand, this is where the gas chainsaw shines. They have a much longer run-time, provided you have some extra fuel with you. Also, they are more powerful and are perfect for hard-to-handle projects. However, they are quite noisy and smell very bad during operation.

So, you really need to think decisively about the project you have to deal with and choose carefully. We hope this article on electric vs gas chainsaw was helpful to you. Thank you!

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