Electric Vs. Gas Chainsaw (Advantages and Disadvantages)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

I recently bought an electric chainsaw to do some yard work around the house. It was awesome – I mean, it definitely got the job done. But then I began thinking, what if I had something more heavy duty that had way more battery use?

That’s when I decided to get a gas chainsaw, just to see which one would suffice my requirements better. 

To be honest, the electric chainsaw does most of the regular work that a homeowner like me would need. You know, things like cutting small pieces of logs, sprucing up the trees in my backyard, or just trimming limbs on the trees. But when it comes to sheer power and capacity, the gas chainsaw wins hands down. 

How Do Electric Chainsaws Work?

electric chainsaw in the yard

Types of Electric Chainsaws

There are two kinds of electric chainsaws, cordless and corded. Both have the same mode of operation that drives the chain. The main difference is how the chain gets powered. The corded chainsaws need electricity from an outlet, while cordless versions run using batteries. 

How Do Electric Chainsaws Function?

  • Electric chainsaws receive their power via electrical motors.
  • They do not have movable parts like gas engines. 
  • An internal component called “armature” produces power.
  • This power is converted from electrical to mechanical form, also called torque.
  • The torque gets transferred into a shaft located within the chainsaw.
  • This causes the spinning of the chain on the guide bar. 

Common Uses of Electric Chainsaws 

firewood with electric chainsaw

Medium and Small Sized Jobs

Electric chainsaws are compact and light. This makes them best suited to medium and small sized jobs around the backyard and house. They are excellent tools when you need to keep the trees in the backyard in great shape!

Yard Work

If you need to cut small pieces of log to use in your backyard fire pit, then electric saws are great. They are also perfect if you need to trim off the dead branches on trees. You will find that they are light enough to carry around, without fatiguing your hands, arms or back.

Environment Friendly

Electric chainsaws do not give off much noise. They also do not give out noxious fumes such as is the case with gas chainsaws. They are more pleasant to use in quiet neighborhoods and better for your lungs.

Infrequent Usage

An electric chainsaw does not require much maintenance. It doesn’t matter if you have a cordless or corded electric chainsaw. These types of chainsaws are best suited for use maybe once a week. 

How Do Gas Chainsaws Work?

larger gas chainsaw in the backyard

Types of Gas Chainsaws

There are two kinds of gas chainsaws, 2 cycle and 4 cycle ones. The 2 cycle versions need you to mix oil and gasoline, and pour it into a single tank for the engine. The 4 cycle does not need an oil or gas mix. It has two different tanks to store gasoline and oil.

How Do Gas Chainsaws Function?

  • Fuel moves via a carburetor and mixes with air.
  • This fuel air mix goes into a cylinder.
  • Within the cylinder, this air mix gets ignited by a spark plug.
  • Once the mix burns, it releases energy, which pushes a piston.
  • A connected rod and crank converts this energy into a rotatory motion.
  • The drive shaft transports this power into a centrifugal clutch.
  • This clutch connects the engine with the chain, via sprockets.

Common Uses of Gas Chainsaws

Gas chainsaws can be used in commercial and home settings. Ranchers and farmers love them because they combine portability and power. They are powerful enough to break up fences or cut large sized trees.

Gas chainsaws are the perfect tool for those who need large and medium size jobs done efficiently and quickly. If you need to do landscaping work, or cut down an old tree, gas chainsaws are the best to do the job. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Chainsaws

new electric chainsaw

Advantages of Electric Chainsaws

There are many advantages of electric chainsaws such as:

  • They are compact and lightweight, and hence great for a person of any size to handle them.
  • They are quiet, and only produce noise when the throttle trigger is pulled. 
  • They don’t need gasoline and don’t produce a smell.
  • They can instantly start with just the push of a button.
  • Electric chainsaws are great for trimming limbs of trees, sprucing trees, cutting up small pieces of logs, and any cutting work around the backyard or house.
  • They do not need any fuel mixture. 
  • They do not have filters to clean.
  • There are no engine parts that need oiling.
  • Storage is easy, because you just need to turn it off, unplug it and keep it aside.
  • The corded ones are cheaper, while battery powered ones are the same in price compared to gas chainsaws.
  • Corded versions run as long as they are plugged in, while battery ones are dependent on charging time. 

Disadvantages of Electric Chainsaws

There are some disadvantages to electric chainsaws such as:

  • They lack bar length or power to cut large trees.
  • The longest blade is just 18 inches.
  • They are slower to cut compared to the gas chainsaws.
  • They are only good for light landscaping and cutting small size trees.
  • Heavy duty jobs can be difficult with electric chainsaws.
  • Corded ones will vary in functionality depending on the extension cord’s length.
  • Battery powered electric chainsaws depend on the charge, which usually takes anywhere from 20 mins to an hour.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gas Chainsaws

gas chainsaw pouring oil inside

Advantages of Gas Chainsaws

There are several advantages to gas chainsaws:

  • Great for heavy duty work and can handle most jobs.
  • Gas chainsaws are great for trimming, pruning, and cutting large trees.
  • They can also slice wood for firewood.
  • The longest blade is an impressive 72 inches!
  • The cutting is much faster compared to corded or cordless electric chainsaws.
  • There is no limitation in distance, they provide great mobility and are used anywhere.
  • With sufficient fuel, gas chainsaws can even run all day long!

Disadvantages of Gas Chainsaws

Not all is great with gas chainsaws, and there are some cons too:

  • They are heavier compared to electric chainsaws.
  • This makes it difficult to handle over long periods.
  • You need to have fuel handy, and carry it along when cutting.
  • They need a specific fuel-oil mix, especially if it’s a 2-cycle variant.
  • They do give out smoke and smell – so, not the most eco-friendly!
  • They can be very loud. Be sure to wear hearing protection if you don’t want hearing loss.
  • Can be more expensive compared to corded electric chainsaws, but are the same in price compared to the battery powered electric chainsaws.
  • Gas chainsaws need regular engine maintenance to keep functionality alive.
  • You need to pull the cord to start the engine. The process gets tedious as the engine gets older.

How to Choose the Right One?

The choice of chainsaw will totally depend on the kind of work you want to do. If you’re a homeowner, like me, a regular electric chainsaw will do just fine. They’re quieter, more compact, portable, and often cheaper than gas chainsaws. 

But, if you like heavy duty work in your backyard, work long hours cutting logs and similar woodwork, or are a professional – then gas chainsaws are simply unbeatable in their performance! 

Take it from me – a former electric chainsaw aficionado. I used to love them until I decided to try a gas chainsaw one day. Then there was no turning back.

The sheer power in cutting from a gas chainsaw gives you an adrenaline rush like no other! It’s like driving a Ferrari after you’ve driven a Hyundai for ages. Both are stupendous in their own way – but the rev up from the engine and pickup is unbeatable in a Ferrari.

That’s how it feels when you operate a gas chainsaw and the price for fuel will decline when we bring more supply online which we will do in a year and certainly in three years.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

Leave a Comment