Electric Vs. Gas Chainsaw: Which One Is Better?

Chainsaws are one of the common power tools used by workers to get their cutting work done. While it is also a type of saw, it is not a finishing side product. A chain saw is commonly used to cut trees, tall grass, and wood. However, unlike the table, scroll, circular, and band saw, they cannot be used to perform the same cutting function. 

Chainsaws are entirely different from other saws, the cutting function that any other saws cannot do a chainsaw and this is one of the reasons why chainsaws are important. As you know, a chain saw is a hand-held cutting power tool that could cut almost any wood. It could even cut the thickest wood with ease. When it comes to chainsaws there are two major types available, electric and gas-powered. This differentiation is based on how the chainsaw is powered. An electric motor powers an electric chainsaw and a gas chainsaw is powered by a gas motor that runs when the fuel burns. While both chainsaws serve the common function of cutting, the power source difference makes a great change. Here is everything you need to know about the electric and gas chainsaw. 

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw: Comparison

In this article, we will take a little different approach to explain both the chainsaws. We will start by explaining how it works, advantages, disadvantages, and comparison.

How does an electric chainsaw work?

When it comes to an electric chainsaw, there are two types available on the market today. Corded chainsaw and cordless chainsaw, the working of both these types are the same, but while a corded chainsaw draws its power from a power socket somewhere through a power cord. A cordless chainsaw draws its power from a battery incorporated into the chainsaw itself. No matter what the power source, an electric chain saw works the same.

Here are the basic details on how an electric chainsaw works

  1. An electric chainsaw has an inbuilt electric motor.
  2. This electric motor draws power from a power socket or a battery and then converts this electrical power to mechanical power using a component called an armature.
  3. The mechanical power is produced by the armature in the form of a torque.
  4. The torque produced is transmitted to a shaft inside the chainsaw
  5. The torque received by the shaft results in the movement of the chain around the guide bar.
  6. The guide bar holds the chain in place and helps it to spin around it, which, in turn, cuts the wood or other material that it touches.

Advantages of an electric chainsaw

  • Lightweight – One of the greatest benefits of an electric chainsaw is that it is comparatively lightweight, making it easy to carry around and easy to use. This feature commonly makes the user’s away from fatigue or cramps.
  • Quite – When compared to gas chainsaws, an electric chainsaw is quiet, even during cutting, the noise produced is comparatively very low. However, you must purchase a good product.
  • Easy to start and use – While gas chainsaws demand the user a different approach to start it, an electric chainsaw could be switched on very easily. The user will have to touch or push a button and voila, the chainsaw starts functioning.
  • No pollution or other environmental issue – One of the greatest benefits of using an electric chainsaw is that it does not pollute the environment. 
  • Easy to maintain – When it comes to electric products, the maintenance is as easy as it comes. The user just has to clean the blades frequently and nothing more to do.
  • Cheap – Compared to gas chainsaws, an electric chainsaw is cheap and the number of models available on the market is diverse. 
  • Cordless chainsaws are comparatively easy to use – While corded electric chainsaws come with annoying cords, a cordless chainsaw does not have such cords. The user has the freedom to move freely to corners or places where a power socket is not present.

Disadvantages of an electric chainsaw

  • Power is limited – Yes, indeed, an electric chainsaw is not powerful enough to handle large trees and dense wood. Apart from this, the largest chainsaw blade that you could find on the market today is 18-inches, which is comparatively very smaller to gas chainsaws.
  • Slower cutting and limited movement – An electric chainsaw is comparatively slower and corded chainsaws cannot be taken reach far places as the length of the cord would be limited. However, this limitation could be overcome using cordless chainsaws, but, cordless chainsaws are comparatively less powerful than corded chainsaws and even lesser powerful than gas chainsaws.
  • Cutting time range for cordless chainsaws is very limited – A cordless chainsaw heavier than corded chainsaws, and, at the same time, the maximum running time would be limited to a maximum of 1-hour.
  • Too much could kill the motor – While an overload might not kill the engine of a gas chainsaw, an overload would result in a completely burned electric motor in an electric chainsaw.

How does a gas chainsaw work?

Perhaps, the gas chainsaw was the first to be used for cutting, all the other types of chainsaws came after it. Like an electric chainsaw, a gas chainsaw also comes in two types, 2-cycle, and 4-cycle. It would be a waste of time to explain in detail the difference between a 2-cycle and 4-cycle chainsaw, but we will explain the fact that you need to know. When it comes to a 2-cycle gas chainsaw, the user will have to mix oil and gasoline and fill the tank. On the other hand, in a 4-cycle gas chain saw, the user will have to fill oil and gasoline in two separate tanks.

Here are the basic details on how a gas chainsaw works

  1. Start the chainsaw and through a carburetor, the fuel mixed with air will move. 
  2. This fuel and air mixture enters a cylinder and a spark plug ignites it
  3. The ignition releases energy that pushes a piston back and forth
  4. This back and forth movement of the piston is transferred to a crank and connecting rod setup, which converts the back and forth movement into rotary motion.
  5. This rotary motion is taken to the centrifugal clutch by the driveshaft and the centrifugal clutch connects the engine to a chain through a sprocket, which, in turn, spin around the guide bar.
  6. This spinning chain around the guide bar would cut anything that comes in contact with it.

Advantages of a gas chainsaw

  • Heavy-duty – Gas chainsaws were in use for a very long time, it is designed in such a way that it could perform any heavy-duty work with ease. Cutting large trees, trimming, pruning, slicing, a gas chainsaw could do them all with ease.
  • Larger blades – While the largest length of a cutting blade of an electric chainsaw blade is limited to 18-inches. The maximum length of a gas chainsaw blade is 72-inches, which makes it compatible with cutting even the largest wood.
  • Easy cutting – High power and heavy-duty are two things that make gas chainsaws cut easily through a dense or thick wood. 
  • No limitation on movement – A gas chainsaw could be taken anywhere, let it be a deep forest or an island, you could take a gas chainsaw. Like a corded electric chainsaw, the freedom of movement is not limited in a gas chainsaw.
  • No time range limit – As mentioned, a gas chainsaw is designed for heavy-duty, this also means that a gas chainsaw could run all day long without breaking down. Proper lubrication and gasoline could make the saw run continuously.
  • Compatible with any type of wood – The heavy-duty design and powerful engine make a gas chainsaw compatible with cutting any type of wood with ease. The diversity in the length of the chainsaw blade makes it compatible with cutting even the largest wood.

Disadvantages of a gas chainsaw

  • Heavier – The engine and the entire setup of gas chainsaw are heavy and added to this, if the fuel and oil tank is full, the weight of a gas chainsaw would be comparatively more. This affects the handling of a gas chainsaw.
  • Pollution – A gas chainsaw draws its power from burning fuel and this produces smoke, and, at the same time, always has an annoying fuel smell around it. People who have a health issue could find it difficult to use it.
  • Requires frequent maintenance – A gas chainsaw has several individual moving parts that need to be cleaned frequently. The engine itself requires maintenance frequently. Leave a gas chainsaw unattended for a long time and the chainsaw would be worthless within no time.
  • Hard to start – One of the biggest disadvantages of a gas chainsaw is that it comes designed in such a way that, the user will have to pull the cord. If the engine is older or cold, then the user will have to pull the string for more number times to jump-start the engine.
  • Extremely loud – While electric chainsaws are designed to be quiet, a gas chainsaw is comparatively louder. Even after, the technology has advanced so much, the sound produced by gas chainsaw is still comparatively louder than an electric chainsaw.
  • Expensive – When it comes to gas chainsaws, they are as expensive as cordless chainsaws. Which is comparatively very high compared to corded chainsaws.

Electric v/s gas chainsaw, which is better?

Answering this question is not an easy task; there is no perfect answer to this question. While one chainsaw could be best for you and it would not be the best for others. The answer depends on the user’s requirement, if the user requires a chainsaw for just cutting small wood, trimming branched, then an electric chainsaw is the best option. On the other hand, if the user needs a chainsaw for heavy-duty purposes and also offers maximum freedom of movement, then a gas chainsaw is the best.

Bottom line

Based on each chainsaw’s advantages and disadvantages, it would be easy for even a beginner to select a suitable chainsaw. However, you must know that, the benefits could be enjoyed only if you are purchasing a good product.

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