Electric vs. Gas Chainsaw – What’s the Difference?
There will always be something to do with a chainsaw in many homes whether it is trimming tree limbs or felling a large obstructive tree. Hence, it is a great idea to have a chainsaw around instead of always renting one.
But, when it comes to buying one, you will be faced with a myriad of options to choose from. However, before you get to pick between the many models out there, you will first need to decide whether to go for electric or the gas chainsaws.
Both types will do a good enough job and are almost equally popular. But, given their differences in various factors from power to versatility, they will be ideal for different kinds of users.
To help you get a chainsaw that suits your specific needs, here we compare the electric and gas chainsaws and highlight the advantages that come with each type.
Electric Chainsaw Overview
Electric tools are always more convenient than gas-powered types. The same is also true with the gas and electric chainsaws.
The electric chainsaws are powered by either plugging them into a power outlet or using batteries for the cordless models. And they will offer the advantage of quieter operation, unlike the gas types that can be super loud.
Because electric chainsaws will not burn any fuel, they will also be more environment-friendly as they will operate without any emissions.
Most have been designed to be easy to carry to allow you to use them from anywhere. Since they do not have very large engines like their gas counterparts, they are more lightweight and a majority of them come in a more compact design.
Starting an electric chainsaw will be super easy as they typically only require you to flip a switch or press a button and this also makes them easier to use.
But while these chainsaws might be super convenient, they will not be as powerful as gas chainsaws and can hence only be used for simple and light-duty tasks.
Gas Chainsaw Overview
Gas chainsaws are the oldest type and despite the coming of the more convenient electric versions, they are still the most popularly used by many professionals.
What makes them popular with the pros is that their gas engine, which mostly uses a mixture of gas and oil, will produce more than enough power to tackle almost any project.
These chainsaws are also available in different types to suit any kind of users as you can get them in homeowner, professional and farm and ranch variations. And most of these types will feature heavy-duty construction for long service life.
While gas chainsaws might not give you an unlimited runtime like the corded electric models, they still deliver a long enough run time. Provided you have some gas, you can use these chainsaws as long as you wish.
But what many users will probably love most about them is that they can cut into any kind of wood with ease and in a shorter time than any other chainsaw time. They are generally more versatile chainsaws.
Given the heavy-duty construction and components and the fact that you will have to put in several litters of gas in the tank, these chainsaws can be quite heavy. They are also pricier to buy when compared to the electric types.
Plugging-in or battery
Gas and oil mix
Everyday yard work
Big projects and heavy-duty use
Unlimited for corded and short for cordless
Produces lots of emissions
Lightweight and portable
Heavier and less portable
Ease of Use
Easier to start and use
More tedious to start and handle
$50 to $200
$150 to $300
Electric vs. Gas Chainsaw
If you are pondering on buying a new chainsaw or even your first one, it will be vital to have in mind what you intend to use it for. Knowing this will determine which between the electric and gas models will work best for you. With this and their following differences in mind, you should have an easy time shopping.
1. Power Source
The power source is what truly sets these two chainsaw types apart and also what determines the power that you get and hence what each will be suitable for.
The electric chainsaws, as the name suggests, are powered by electricity. But, they will come in two forms which are the corded types that will require you to plug into a power outlet and the cordless battery-powered types.
Corded chainsaws tend to be more powerful than the cordless types and they will also provide consistent power supply, unlike the latter whose performance decreases as the battery drains out.
Gas chainsaws will get their power from gasoline which is combusted in the engine to produce power. While some models will have a separate chamber for gas and the oil required for lubrication, many will require you to mix the oil and gas precisely which can be quite a dirty job.
2. Best Uses
Another key difference between these two chainsaws types is the kinds of jobs that they have been built for. And this is perhaps the most important difference to know as it will help you match the chainsaw to the task at hand.
Because electric chainsaws are not very powerful, they will be more ideal for everyday yard work at home. Whether you want to cut some small limps or trim bushes and hedges, the electric chainsaws will be perfect. You can also use them to cut small trees around the house.
The more powerful gas chainsaws are built for heavy-duty work, and they can handle almost any tree-cutting job you throw at them. Whether you have a giant tree you want to bring down or dozens of small trees to cut, the gas chainsaws will be up to the task. And they will also be more appropriate for professional uses.
Read More: The Best Professional Chainsaws
When it comes to the runtime, there will be no clear winner here because both electric and gas chainsaws will have their advantages.
For the electric chainsaws, you will get unlimited runtime when using the corded types. Provided there is power in your mains, these chainsaws will work for as long as you want to keep cutting.
But, with the corded electric chainsaw types, you will get a shorter run times because the battery can only hold a charge for a few minutes. Most will give you about 30 minutes of runtime, and what makes things even worse is that there will be at least an hour downtime as the battery recharges.
While the gas chainsaws will not give you an unlimited runtime like the corded electric types, they will have a longer runtime than a typical battery-powered model. These chainsaws will run for as long as you have gas, and so your accessibility to gas is the only thing that limits their runtime.
You can never overlook the environmental impact that any tool you use will have because climate change is slowly becoming real and has started affecting different aspects of human life.
With a chainsaw, the biggest issue as far as the environment is concerned is emission. And there is no competition between the two types because the electric chainsaws operate cleanly with no emission while gas chainsaws are bad emitters.
Using a gas chainsaw will require combustion of fuel and in the process, there will be emission. Even the modern models that claim to burn the gas more cleanly will still produce significant quantities of emission.
You will not find a chainsaw that cuts without producing any noise anywhere. Even the newer models that claim to be super quiet are still quite noisy.
However, when comparing the electric and gas chainsaws, the former provides significantly quieter operation. Electric chainsaws do not have massive noisy engines as they use simple motors.
Gas chainsaws can be super loud as some will produce up to 128 dB which makes them even louder than a rock concert. Hence, when using one in your compound, you should not be surprised when neighbors start complaining. And to avoid damaging your ears, it will be vital to wear some form of ear protection.
Because the electric chainsaws are more compact and lightweight, they will be more portable as you can easily pack and carry them anywhere.
However, certain things will affect the portability of electric chainsaws. For the corded types, you will not be able to use them where there is no power.
For the corded type, you will be limited to a few minutes of runtime and might hence not be very useful for use on the go. But, if these factors do not affect the usability of the tools for you, then electric chainsaws are the most portable.
Despite their large size and weight, gas chainsaws are still surprisingly portable, and they are in fact what many people prefer to carry when going deep into the woods. They might give you a hectic time to carry, but will be more reliable out there. Provided you have gas, you can use them as long as you want.
7. Ease of Use
The ease of use you get with both the electric and gas chainsaws will depend on your experience, and so this will be more subjective. Experienced loggers and chainsaw operators will have an easy time with any type as they already know how to handle them.
But for the regular users, the electric chainsaws will give you a much easier time as they are designed to be straightforward to use.
An electric chainsaw will be easier to start than the gas types as in many instances, you only need to plug it in or add the battery and then push a button or flip the switch to start it. And because they are also less cumbersome due to their lighter weight, you can handle them without breaking a sweat.
Gas chainsaws will give you a more tedious work right from starting them. Starting one will often require you to pull a cord to get the engine running which takes some effort and a few trials. Also, the extra weight makes them hard to balance especially for novice users.
Given that the gas chainsaws will come with a more complex structure, are way more powerful and also tend to come with relatively more accessories, they are generally more expensive.
The cheapest gas chainsaws will start at around $150, but you should be ready to part with up to $300 or more if you are looking for something beefier and heavy-duty.
With the electric types, you can get a corded model for as little as $50, and despite the battery-powered options being more expensive, prices will hardly go beyond the $200 mark except for a few high-end models.
Besides the higher purchase cost, the gas chainsaws will come with higher operational cost. They need more maintenance and the oil and gas required can be quite pricey in the long run. However, given that they are heavy-duty and longer-lasting, you can go through several electric chainsaws before you need to replace a gas chainsaw.
Chainsaws are always quite handy to have around the home and are not just a preserve of the professionals. There is quite a lot you can do with one from trimming tree limps to hedging.
When it comes to choosing between the electric and gas types, you only need to determine what you intend to use it for and where and also how much cash you are willing to spend. And with a little shopping around to compare different models, you should be able to get something that will give you great service.
With that said, the electric chainsaws will be perfect for everyday yard work around the home and for those looking for a more affordable chainsaw that cuts with minimal noise and no emission.
The gas chainsaws, on the other hand, will be the best choice for heavy-duty tasks such as cutting larger trees or larger trimming jobs, and they are also the best for professional use.