June 24

Electric Chainsaws vs Gas Chainsaws – What’s the Difference

​Forget dogs, chainsaws have long been a man's best friend. They cut down stuff and they can do it much better than many of the things that have ever been invented.

They can be rough and rugged for logging or they can be just nimble and lightweight enough to trim our hedges.

In whatever your fancy, if used properly, they are just as important as an artist's paintbrush. Since their inception, electric chainsaws have been compared to their gas-powered big brothers, sparking the electric chainsaws vs gas chainsaws debate.

The truth is, they both have their benefits and drawbacks, regardless of the side of the aisle that you're on.

Here, we're going to break down both the benefits and the drawbacks of both. Depending on what you're using them for, there's more than enough room for both on the market.


​Gas-powered chainsaws use a mixture of both oil and gas. They're generally the go-to for bigger or commercial jobs or at least those where you're going to find yourself doing a lot of cutting.

Gas-chainsaws are generally used to cut down moderately-sized trees, sawing firewood, and restoring your property after a storm.

​Why Choose Gas Powered?

​People usually consider gas-powered chainsaws because they're almost as strong as you can get. Since they can cut down trees, it's pretty obvious to determine that they don't skimp on brute force.

Remington RM4216 16-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw with Carrying Case

They're also pretty impressive because you don't have to worry much about distance. So as long as they're gassed up, you can probably take them anywhere and they'll cut.

As earlier stated, this is the weapon of choice for lumberjacks. They rely on chainsaws to cut down some of the most arduous trees - although they may be hundreds of feet in the air. Gas also tends to last a long time, so you won't have to worry about it quitting on you too easily.

​Drawbacks to Gas Powered

​If you happen to be a fan of more compact devices, your mileage may vary as they tend to run a bit bigger on the whole.

As with things of this nature, they also tend to be a bit heavier, to boot. With these added dimensions, a direct comparison makes gas-powered chainsaws more cumbersome when you're choosing between electric or gas.

Gas-powered anything will require a bit more maintenance, too. They tend to be harder to start, you'll have to oil them up, and some brands can simply be a bit more annoying for you to use. 

Husqvarna 120 Mark II 16 in. Gas Chainsaws, Orange/Gray

​This is compounded by the fact that there will be filters that need changing as well as fuel that needs to be drained after every use. Of course, you'll have to keep fuel on hand and how to mix it properly with the oil.

Another thing you have to consider is the emissions of a gas-powered chainsaw. While the industry has gotten a lot better about this, at the end of the day, this is very much a combustion engine attached to a blade.

It sounds like one, acts like one, and like your car, you're going to get some problems out of it in the long run.

Lastly, the barrier of entry is higher. Gas-powered chainsaws are impressive pieces of machinery that can be used for commercial jobs as much as they are used for residential ones. The prices are going to start off a bit higher than their electric cousins.

​Electric Chainsaws

​Electric chainsaws are more or less the opposite of gas-powered chainsaws. Outside of the heavy jobs, you're probably not too bad off with an electric chainsaw to keep around the house and do some routine maintenance.

At current, you generally have two different varieties - corded or cordless electric chainsaws.

​Why Choose Corded Electric?

​If you find yourself irritated by the sound of chainsaws, you'll more than likely appreciate corded electric chainsaws because they nearly whisper quiet.

This may not mean anything to most, but some neighbors are particularly receptive to noise. You won't have to worry about using it in the early mornings or later at night.

Since they're a super-light option, cumbersome movement isn't an issue. You can easily reach across fence lines relatively safely without worry.

Oregon CS1500 18 in. 15 Amp Self-Sharpening Corded Electric Chainsaw

Also, gas-powered chainsaws are notoriously hard to start for some, but you shouldn't have much of an issue with this variety.

There's no pull-cord, so if you can plug it in, you can turn it on. It comes with a push-button for ultimate ease-of-use.

Furthermore, it's also a fool-proof kind of thing. There's almost no maintenance involved in the process, making this almost a perfect chainsaw for a rookie or someone who doesn't plan on using their chainsaw often.

Last but not least, this chainsaw doesn't require you to put it someplace special. It's essentially an electronic device, so you can put it anywhere you'd put any other appliance.

​Drawbacks to Corded Electric

​The most common drawback to corded electric is, you guessed it, the cord. This limitation will keep you somewhere close to the outlet, so you probably won't be able to reach all the way to the back of your lot.

Husqvarna 967256101 16

Even if you have an extension cord, it's just more cord, which in and of itself can be problematic in its own way. This makes it almost relegated to pruning some shrubs or hedges on your property.

The second issue is its power limitation, which more or less goes along with the first point. You won't be able to chop down trees or split much in the way of firewood, though there's a chance that most people want to given its lacking heft.

​Considering Cordless Electric?

​Cordless electric is a decent choice because if cords happen to be your issue. It boasts about the same amount of power as its corded brother, but it obviously offers almost unlimited mobility if you have a full charge.

Greenworks PRO 18-Inch 80V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included GCS80420

​Drawbacks to Cordless

The biggest drawback to cordless electric is nearly the same as that of a corded electric chainsaw.

​It's only ideal for personal landscaping projects and really not a lot else. However, the corded variety operates by battery, so you'll have to have quite a few of those on hand.

This isn't bad, but understand that most cordless chainsaws come with a battery that only lasts about an hour or so.

​Electric Chainsaws vs Gas Chainsaws: Who Wins?

​To be fair, there isn't that much of a debate. Gas-powered chainsaws are great for those who are looking for more power and the ability to not have any limitations in which they cut. They're the top choice for those in the know, though you'll certainly have to pay for it.

Corded or cordless chainsaws are great for those who only need a chainsaw for certain small projects just outside of the home.

WEN 4017 Electric Chainsaw, 16

Electric chainsaws are a decent cost-efficient, easy-to-maintain option for those who don't have a lot of familiarity with chainsaws on the whole.

They will always be probably the best choice for people who are learning the time-honored tradition of cutting things down.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of what you'll be using the chainsaw for and whether or not you'll feel comfortable. Regardless of your pick, be sure to be safe with proper clothing and protective eyewear.

About Me.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Cut The Timber. On this site, I share everything that learned and continue to learn about wood. From grains, to projects, to saws, and everything in between. 

I grew up camping with my family and ended up becoming an Eagle Scout. Currently, my family and I live on a ranch outside of Montana with tons of trees and fire pit fun. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: jeremy@cutthetimber.com

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