Gas-powered vs. an electric-powered chainsaw. Which is the best? What are the similarities and differences? We have it all in this article.

There are two main variations of chainsaws based on power source: gas-powered and electric. Both electric and gas-powered chainsaws have their downsides and strengths. Which one is ideal for you?

This article will discuss the similarities and differences between gas-powered and electric chainsaws. We will also provide use cases for each version so that you can choose a chainsaw that will work best for you.

Electric vs. Gas Chainsaw: Which One Should You Pick?

The choice of an electric chain saw over a gas-powered chainsaw, or vice versa is a matter of preference. They can both perform, but each excels in different environments. If you are a professional woodworker, choose a gas-powered chainsaw because it offers more strength and efficiency. Go for an electric-powered chainsaw if you require to use it occasionally. Another factor to consider is the pricing point. Go for electric-powered chainsaws if you are tight on budget.

About Electric Chainsaw

Electric chainsaws run on electricity. You plug them into your standard electric outlet and operate it. They have rapidly risen to prominence in recent years because of their clean operation. There are two variations of electric chainsaws: corded and cordless options. 

The difference comes in the power source. Corded electric chainsaws do not have a built-in battery. On the other hand, cordless alternatives have a battery you can use to operate them. When the battery is depleted, all you have to do is plug it into a standard electric outlet to charge it.  

An electric chainsaw is ideal for people who seldom cut trees. Think of a scenario where you have chopped branches that have grown dangerously close to your roof in a city landscape. In this case, you will require a quiet chainsaw that will run for some minutes. This task is ideal for an electric chainsaw. 

A cordless option is ideal if you want to work outdoors. You can even buy a second battery pack that will allow you to continue working for longer hours. A typical battery pack for your cordless chainsaw has a 40V lithium-ion battery. Price-wise, electric-powered chainsaws are notably cheaper than the gas-powered option.

About Gas Chainsaw

Just as the name suggests, gas chainsaws run on gasoline. They have a fuel tank you have to refill to continue operating it. The tank sits next to the engine shroud. Gas chainsaws have been a long-time favorite for many because of their power and versatility. 

The run times of gas-powered engines vary significantly. It all depends on the size of the motor, efficiency, load amount, power output, and cylinder displacement. To give you perspective, a chainsaw with a guide bar between 16 and 18 inches long will last for around 20 minutes on a full tank if you use it on a moderate load. In most, the fuel capacity is between 400 ml and 1 liter. 

One notable downside of gas-powered chainsaws is that they often require maintenance to run smoothly. First, this is because of their nature. Their engine design means you have to maintain it frequently. In addition, the sawdust from the cutting often mixes up with lubricating oil, and you will have to frequently remove and clean the sprocket cover. 

Moreover, the air filters in gas-powered chainsaws are known to get choked easily. This is the case if you often cut dry wood in a dusty area. In that case, the wooden splinters and dust will blow back toward the air passage, thus blocking it. Also, gas-powered chainsaws are known to be noisy.

Similarities Between Electric  Chainsaw and Gas Chainsaw

Here are some similarities between a gas and an electric chainsaw:

  • Cutting Ability

Electric and gas-powered chainsaws can all cut wood and other soft materials. While one may be more powerful, it will all accomplish your cutting needs. They both have sharp chains that rotate at high speed to cut through your material.

  • Safety Features

One aspect that gas-powered and electric-powered chainsaw manufacturers have been keen to include in their appliances is the safety features. They both have safety features, such as a chain brake that prevents the chain from rotating before you want them to. 

  • Chain Tension Adjustment

Both chainsaw variations have a chain. Therefore, both require occasional chain tension adjustment.

  • Maintenance

While you may be led to believe that electric chainsaws do not require maintenance, they are pieces of machinery where things can go wrong. However, the gas-powered version may require maintenance more often.

Differences Between Electric Chainsaw  And Gas Chainsaw

Here are the primary differences between gas-powered and electric-powered chainsaws:

  • Source of Power

This is the main difference between the two chainsaw variations. Gas-powered chainsaws operate on gasoline, while electric chainsaws run on electricity. 

  • Cutting Ability 

While the two chainsaws can cut through wood and other soft materials, the difference comes in the cutting ability. Gas-powered chain saws are more powerful and can easily cut through the hardest hardwood in moments. Electric-powered versions may still do it but at a slower rate.

  • Noise Level

Gas-powered chainsaws are noisier than their electric counterparts. However, you may miss this difference as most gas-powered chainsaws operate deep in the woods, miles away from human civilizations. 

  • Weight

Electric chainsaws are notably lighter than gas-powered chainsaws. The weight difference comes from the gas tank, engine, and other components missing on the electric chainsaws.


The electric vs. gas-powered chainsaws debate is one that professional woodworkers often experience. Both these chainsaws have their shining points as well as their downsides. 

To sum it all up, go for a gas-powered chainsaw if you require a workhorse that you will use for hours each day cutting through tough wood. On the other hand, go for an electric chainsaw if you need a quiet chainsaw for your short DIY project.

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