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A storm just swept through and left a lot of large branches cluttering up your land. Or maybe you need some firewood and would rather cut your own than buy some from someone else. Perhaps you have some DIY projects in mind that require you to cut pieces of wood to specific lengths.
Whatever your reason for wanting to buy a chainsaw, it can be overwhelming if you’ve never bought one before. There’s so many options, features, and brands to choose from. Do you go with an electric vs gas chainsaw? Corded or cordless? What brand do you choose?
Comparing different brands is beyond the scope of this article, but we can help you make the best decision regarding the type of chainsaw to look for. Read on to find out the advantages and drawbacks of each.
Electric vs Gas Chainsaw – Which One Will Do the Job?
Whether you buy an electric or gas chainsaw relies heavily on the cutting task you need one for. While electric chainsaws are easier to use and require less maintenance, they don’t have enough power for heavy-duty sawing.
One important thing to remember: When working with a chainsaw (gas or electric) it is essential that you have the proper safety equipment. Invest in a hardhat, eye protection, ear protection, quality gloves, sturdy boots, and chainsaw chaps to protect your lower torso.
Before you start cutting anything: Once you have the proper safety equipment, be sure to survey the area you’ll be cutting in.
What you look for will depend on the cutting task, as well as the type of chainsaw you end up buying. However, you want to make sure your work area is safe.
If you’re cutting down trees, make sure you’re doing so away from the house and any structures in the yard (sheds, dog houses, flower beds, powerlines, etc.).
For any job, make sure other people aren’t standing too close to where you’re working, and if they are, they should also be wearing proper safety equipment.
Above all, use common sense. Don’t swing the chainsaw around, especially while the cutters are moving. Use the chain brake whenever you’re not cutting anything, and always cut at about waist level so you have full control (this is especially necessary for gas saws).
Now, let’s discuss the gas chainsaw, corded electric chainsaw, and cordless electric chainsaw in detail. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each as well as the types of tasks that each one is best for.
Why Choose a Gas-Powered Chainsaw?
Gas saws are best for large cutting jobs requiring lots of power. They are fueled by a mixture of oil and gasoline, which is easy to pre-mix and fill as needed. It also means that you’re not tethered to the house by a long cord.
You also don’t have to worry about battery life, so if you have plenty of fuel you can take your chainsaw anywhere and work as long as you need to.
If you live on a large property surrounded by a lot of trees to cut, this can come in handy.If you have a lot of tall trees around your property, you can also get a gasoline pole chain saw.
Gas pole saws will help you get at those branches that are out of your reach before felling the entire tree.
Here are some examples of tasks that are great for gas-powered saws:
- Felling trees
- Cutting a lot of firewood
- Cleaning up after a storm
Gas saws can also be bought in a variety of sizes and bar lengths depending on the size of the trees or logs you plan to cut. Sizes ranging from 10”-24” inches are ideal for homeowners or ranch use, while sizes going up to 36” are best for professionals who sell lumber and firewood as their business.
Wood sculptors and carpenters who require lots of wood could use a gas-powered chainsaw as well. They can get as much wood as they need without having to buy lumber from anyone else. This could save artists and carpenters a lot of money on materials.
Downsides to Gas-Powered
However, gas-powered chainsaws do come with a few downsides that are important to consider.
First, they’re extremely bulkier and heavier than their electric cousins. This can increase fatigue while you work. If you’re not used to using them it’s best to take frequent rests, or plan to spread the job over a few days or weeks so you get used to handling it. Doing too much at once when you’re new can be dangerous.
Another big downside for many people is that the engine for a gas chainsaw is very loud.
That’s where the ear protection we mentioned earlier is most needed. If an electric saw simply won’t handle your task, you will need to invest in a quality pair of earmuffs. Ones that are designed for use when shooting guns would be a great place to start.
Gas chainsaws are also much more difficult to start. Just like starting a gas lawnmower or weed eater, there are a lot of steps you must take before you even pull the starting cord. And even once you get there, you have to pull on it multiple times before the engine finally rumbles to life.
Gas saws also require a lot of maintenance. Debris from cutting often get gunked up in the chain oil and the air filter. The air filter will need cleaning out frequently, which requires you to drain any unused fuel from the engine. Furthermore, the chain will require frequent sharpening to keep it in top working shape.
But even with the downsides, a lot of professionals or those who life on farms and homesteads simply won’t use anything but a gas-powered chainsaw, as it has just the right amount of power they need.
Why Choose Corded-Electric?
There are two types of electric powered saws: corded and cordless. We’ll first discuss what the benefits of corded electric saws are and the ideal tasks they are designed for.
The two biggest advantages that corded-electric chainsaws have over their gas-powered counterparts are a quieter engine and lighter weight. You could use one indoors, if you wanted to. If you have one of these models, you’ll no longer have to worry about neighbors complaining about the noise, and you won’t need ear protection.
Because electric chainsaws don’t have the gas engine, they’re much lighter and are to carry around. This is great for limiting fatigue, so you won’t tire out as much from your cutting jobs.
We also like how easy it is to maintain. No filter to clean or fuel to store. You do still need to sharpen the cutters periodically, but that is the easiest of all maintenance tasks.
Electric chainsaws are also easier to start. Just plug it in and press the start button.
What About Cordless-Electric?
A cordless-electric chainsaw has all the benefits of the corded version, but with increased portability. The battery should last you about an hour, which is plenty of time for trimming a few bushes, or dealing with some problematic branches. If you have a long yard with branches and bushes that need trimming now and then, a corded saw isn’t going to help you much.
Cost is another huge benefit that electric has over gas-powered. If you plan to only do odd cutting jobs that aren’t very heavy duty, electric saws will be easier on the wallet.
Here are a few examples of the types of jobs that electric chainsaws (corded or cordless) are perfect for:
Cutting small branches
Trimming and pruning around the yard
Light wood cutting for small DIY projects
Drawbacks of Corded and Cordless Electric Saws
The number one drawback of a corded electric saw is the reach of the cord. If your saw’s cord only reaches 30 feet, that’s as far as you’re going. You could use an extension cord to go out further, but that’s more work than it’s worth.
Therefore, most people with farms and a lot of land will opt for gas-powered chainsaws. They may be heavier and noisier, but you can take them anywhere.
Cordless electric saws give you more portability as well, but the biggest drawback of those is battery life. If you have a lot of trees to fell and cut up into firewood, a cordless isn’t going to be a very efficient use of your time. For those tasks, gas-powered engines are better as long as you have plenty of fuel with you.
Both types of electric saws are also not as powerful as gas chainsaws. If you only have small jobs or are only going need to use your chainsaw a few times a year, electric is fine.
Comparing gas versus electric chainsaws is common and necessary to learn what is best for the job you have in mind. If you have small jobs to do, you don’t want something that’s super expensive and heavy. Additionally, if you’re mechanically inclined, the amount of maintenance that gas chainsaws need is going to be too much for you.
Likewise, if you have a lot of wood that needs to be cut that’s 40 feet or more away from the house, you don’t want something that’s either limited by a cord or requires a batter that won’t last you more than an hour. They may be cheaper and lighter, but the power they lack will only frustrate you more.
We hope this guide has helped you figure out what type of chainsaw to buy for your cutting needs.