Gas vs Electric Chainsaw: Which is Better?

electric chainsaw

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From basic yard work to heavy-duty jobs, cutting tasks are always easier to tackle with a reliable chainsaw. While buying one is a no-brainer, choosing between an electric or a gas chainsaw is a tougher dilemma.

Whether it’s your first chainsaw or intended for professional use, deciding is never easy. Fortunately, our pro woodworkers and tool experts are here to prevent you from investing in the wrong cutting tool.

Gas Chainsaws

Admit it or not, cutting large trees is a heavy-duty job more suited for a gas-powered chainsaw. If you’ve been doing DIY projects for the longest time like our team, you’ll notice that gas chainsaws are preferred by professional chainsaw users like loggers and landscapers.

orange gas chainsaw

Given that it has a little more power than corded electric chainsaws, it’s not surprising that it can last extended periods of cutting operations. It can cut large trees and fences, so it’s a recommended tool for medium to large properties or lawns.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

What is a Gas Chainsaw Used For?

As our team previously mentioned, gas-powered chainsaws are suitable for extensive lawn area as it operates to mix oil and gas. Unlike a corded electric chainsaw, its mobility isn’t limited because it doesn’t require a power outlet or battery life to run. 

If you intend to get rid of big trees on the property, we can assure you that a powerful gas engine can withstand any implications from heavy-duty cutting operations. Most gas-powered chainsaws in the market such as from the Poulan brand also have up to 72 inches guide bar variations, capable of cutting thick materials that you want to get rid of in your yard. 

And because a gas chainsaw operates faster than an electric saw, you also wouldn’t encounter many problems when slicing thick firewood or pruning. 

Electric Chainsaws

The main difference between electric and gas chainsaws is the reality that electric models aren’t limited by fuel or oil levels. Unlike a gas model, an electrical chainsaw is a more energy-efficient option because its engine does not carry or emit oil fumes. 

electric chainsaw

While these chainsaws carry lesser power than their gas-powered alternatives, these tools can start their engines with one button push. You also don’t need to perform lengthy maintenance routines for this type of chainsaw. Due to its convenient features, our chainsaw experts highly recommend it for newbie users. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

What is an Electric Chainsaw Used For?

If you’re cutting small logs along a tiny yard, a corded electric model is a more practical choice than a gas chainsaw. Besides the obvious lower cost range advantage, this saw has a light construction. It means that you can easily carry electric chainsaws to work on trimming limbs and other small jobs.

Comparing Gas and Electric Chainsaws

Noise and Emission

It’s not a secret that a chainsaw engine can produce potentially harmful gas emissions [1]. Unfortunately, gas chainsaws are designed to emit smoke from their fuel power source. Because of this, electric tools like corded saws are preferred by many environment enthusiasts. 

On top of that, an electric chainsaw has a quieter motor operation than the powerful engine equipped on a gas chainsaw. 

orange gas chainsaw and blue electric chainsaw

And if we pit electric vs. gas chainsaws in terms of noise production, you’ll be surprised that gas chainsaws can produce sound at the same level as a thunderclap. When using a gas-powered chainsaw, our lawn care experts urge you to use ear protection to prevent hearing damage. 

So if you don’t have any hearing protection and you’re just tending to a small yard, it’s more advisable to go for electric or battery-powered chainsaws. 

Runtime

Picking which type of saw lasts longer in this electric vs. gas chainsaw battle is not really a hard task for our team. Considering that a gas chainsaw runs on limited fuel, we can tell you with our extensive logging experience that you’ll need to bring a refill to keep the cutting operations running for a long time. 

On a lighter note, electric cutting tools have an unlimited runtime for as long as the machine is connected to an electric power source. 

operating an electric chainsaw on a log

However, remember that electric chainsaws often have less power production than gas alternatives. Because of that, a gas-operated saw may get the job done faster than its electric alternative. 

Other Key Differences to Know

Portability is one of the main considerations when comparing electric vs. gas chainsaws. As a newbie, you may not know that most gas chainsaws in the market are designed with heavy construction. On the other hand, electric chainsaws are often lighter and easier to handle when dealing with overhead cutting tasks. 

Another important feature our experts would like to tackle is its maintenance frequency. As electric chainsaws do not run with fuel, you don’t need to check their filter or refill their tank with fresh oil. 

Contrary to that, a gas chainsaw may need component replacement from time to time. If you’re not familiar with troubleshooting its chain and engine (see: troubleshooting a Poulan Chainsaw), our resident landscapers urge you to consider electric or battery chainsaws. 

Which Type of Chainsaw is Better For You?

As you compare electric vs. gas chainsaws, it’s crucial to consider what tasks you intend to tackle. If you want to cut down trees or get rid of thick lumber, you’ll need a cutting tool with a powerful engine like gas saws. It’s also the go-to cutting machine for handling medium to large properties as power cords do not restrict it.

person operating an electric chainsaw

However, fuel-powered models aren’t exactly great for overhead cutting operations. You may not know, but these chainsaws are quite heavy because of their motor components. For these types of tasks, electric saws are still more convenient. 

Have You Considered a Battery-Powered Chainsaw?

Our team suggests trying chainsaws that operate with batteries if you prefer a more environmentally friendly option than any gas-operated tool. 

It’s also an electric-type saw, but it doesn’t need a corded power source to run. As long as you charge the battery long enough, you will not deal with your chainsaw refusing to start. These machines can assist you until the end of your cutting operations. 

However, corded saws provide more power than battery chainsaws. In fact, among the three chainsaws running with batteries have the least runtime and power capacities. 

FAQ

Do electric chainsaws have more torque?

No, electric chainsaws do not have more torque than fuel-powered cutting machines. Generally, chainsaws that run with fuel have bigger engines capable of cutting any thick material. On the other hand, corded models only rely on internal components and direct electricity that provides less power.  

Can an electric chainsaw cut down a tree?

Yes, an electric chainsaw can cut down a tree. However, using fuel-powered saws is the most viable option if dealing with thick lumber (e.g. 5/4 lumber). Cutting down large trees and firewood isn’t the best task corded and battery-powered tools can tackle. It’s wiser to use these machines for trimming and smaller lawn tasks. 

Conclusion

Both tools may have the same function, but this electric and gas chainsaws side-by-side comparison proves that these machines can be useful in different situations. As long as you’re well-versed in using and maintaining these chainsaws properly, our resident lawn care experts are confident that any of these can fulfill your cutting needs in the long run. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson