Electric vs. Gas Chainsaws – Which is Best for Your Needs?


You may be pondering on buying your first chainsaw. Before you buy, it’s essential to have in mind the type of project you will be using it for and if you have experience in tool maintenance. There has been a lot of advancements in cutting tools, and the best tool is one that will serve your needs.

What is a chain saw?

best electric chain saw

A chainsaw is a convenient, power-driven saw which uses its teeth to cut through an object alongside a revolving chain spread through a guide rod. It can be used in several activities, for example, felling a tree, kicking, cutting, trimming firebreaks in a bush fire and firewood harvesting.

There are two types of chainsaws; electric and gas saws. Chainsaw appliances are conventionally either gasoline for internal combustion or electric driven by a battery or electric power.

How does a chainsaw cut?

Unlike a hand saw that works by being manually pulled back and forth, cutting wood with its sharp metal teeth, a chainsaw’s cutting power comes from a metal chain that rotates around the blade. Most chainsaws in the market have a gasoline-powered engine and are portable. A clean bar in good condition guides the chain through the cut, making a straight, accurate cut. A dull chain produces sawdust that gets sucked into the air filter, reducing power by limiting the airflow to the power head. A dull chain does not allow the saw to cut smoothly and puts unnecessary strain on the power head. It is worthy to note that unlike the former very little energy is needed to operate them.

Differences between electric and gas chain saw

On the surface, there aren’t any noticeable differences between a gas and an electric chain saw. Both types of chainsaws carry out their functions similarly by use of an engine rotate around a chain that cuts through wood and other debris.  However, there are quite a few operational differences as explained below:

Type of projects

One main difference between electric chainsaws and gas chainsaws is the type of projects they can handle. Electric chainsaws are still less powerful than their gas-powered counterparts though they’ve made strides in recent years due to their portability. 

Electric saws are perfect for everyday yard work, from cutting down limbs and small trees to trimming hedges and bushes. They are light and dense making them easier to carry and cut through branches that are high. That also makes them less of a hassle to store. Therefore for big projects, an electric chainsaw will be suitable. For small projects around the home, gas chainsaws are preferred.

Work capacity

There is also a difference in work capacity between electric chainsaws and gas chainsaws. Although electric chainsaws have become popular in recent years, electric chainsaws are still less powerful than the gas-powered chainsaws.  They are not ideal for heavy tasks. 

best gas chain saw

For large tasks, gas-powered chainsaws are more superior in a variety of ways. The more powerful engine can quickly cut through tough wood without much energy and time. Gas saws also come in wider ranges and bar lengths for more significant cuts. Although they’re less compact, gas saws are more powerful and far more useful for professional level jobs.

Gas saws are often heavy compared to electric power saws.   They use fuel which is bulky and makes them heavier, unlike the electric ones which use either an electrical cord which is connected to the power or a power battery which is lighter than the fuel tank.     

Cost differences

 The electric chainsaw comes in two forms. These are corded and cordless. Their cost is lower in comparison to gas chainsaws. It is partly due to their more straightforward engine system. However, the electric corded chainsaws are far much low-priced as compared to the battery powered chainsaws and have more power and rotating force.  A casual customer may want to pick an electric saw instead. Operational costs in terms of purchase and maintenance should be considered. 

Runtime and Refueling

The most obvious difference is the runtime of an electric motor. Corded electric chainsaws can work through long projects, but you have to be close to a power outlet. Electric Cords usually measure approximately 100 feet, which can constrain you in some instances. Electric saws that have rechargeable batteries only last for at least one hour. Thus you might fail to finish your projects on time.  A gas-powered saw will last far longer and can merely be refueled if it runs out of fuel. An electric chainsaw would likely have limitations to customers working on long-term projects or working deep in forests where there is no electricity.


The lifespan of Gas chainsaws is longer and far superior for big, serious jobs. They have different bar lengths that let you customize your chainsaw to suit your needs. They are stronger and long lasting as compared to electric chainsaws.

Noise and emissions

Gas-powered saws are far louder, which can have a negative environmental impact that ranges from the annoyance of your family and neighbors to hearing loss for yourself. A gas chainsaw is loud enough you can only compare the noise a thunderclap or a rock concert.

You will need to protect your eardrums by wearing ideal hearing protection. Failure to protect your eardrum from the noise can lead to hearing loss. Noise can also affect young children within the vicinity. 

The emissions are toxic since it uses a mixture of oil and gas, it also gives off a scent of gas while operating which can pollute the surroundings. It is not favorable within residential areas due to those factors. Electric chainsaws are eco-friendly and produce mild sound.

Read More: How to Sharpen a Circular Saw Blade

Required operation skills

An electrically powered saw is easier to start.  They are less cumbersome to carry due to light weight and portability. Ideal for trimming branches and fences within the compound.       

Electric chainsaw in use


You will be able to decide on the best chainsaw for your need by understanding the differences between the two. If you are cutting heavy logs, then the gas chainsaw will be suitable. If you are pruning your backyard, then the electric chainsaw will be ideal.