Electric vs Gas Chainsaw: Which One to Consider and Why

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

gas vs electric chainsaw

Buying a new chainsaw might seem easy; go to your nearest hardware store and grab the one you like, but this won’t always work in your favor and might cost you a lot in the long term.

Before buying the perfect chainsaw for yourself, you should know the differences between an electric chainsaw and a gas one to judge how both suit your needs properly.

As their name suggests, an electric and a gas chainsaw runs on electricity and gas, respectively. But, their differences continue beyond their power source and extend to every minute detail.

You probably don’t know every difference in such detail, but fortunately, this guide is here to tell you about the function of chainsaws, their types, and what makes each one unique.

Let’s find out the major differences between electric vs gas chainsaw as follows:

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw: The Major Differences

The major difference between electric vs gas chainsaw is that “An electric chainsaw (both corded and cordless) uses electric power generated by an electric motor to operate. Contrary to that, a gas chainsaw uses gas/petrol and has a proper two-stroke engine on which it works.”

Electric Chainsaw
Power Source
Portable, not limited by the power cord
Electric motor powered by electricity
Portable, not limited by the power cord
Limited by cord length or battery life
Noise Level
Louder due to the engine
Quieter operation
Releases exhaust emissions and fumes
Environmentally friendly, no direct emissions
Pull-cord or recoil start
Instant push-button start-up
More complex, and requires regular engine maintenance
Less maintenance, mainly chain and bar upkeep
Heavier due to engine and fuel
Maybe less durable due to electronic components
Power Output
Higher power, suitable for heavy-duty tasks
Lower power, better for lighter tasks
Fuel and Operation Cost
Requires gasoline and oil mixture, fuel costs
Electricity-powered, lower operating costs
Higher vibration levels
Lower vibration levels
Generally more robust and durable
May be less durable due to electronic components

The Key Differences Between Electric vs Gas Chainsaws

Following is a detailed comparison between the different types of chainsaws:


Let’s be honest here; chainsaws are all about power, and the more power a chainsaw has, the better it is.

In terms of the power metric, gas chainsaws outweigh all other chainsaws. No one can match their intensity and ruggedness, and no matter how advanced electric chainsaws become, be they corded or cordless, it’s doubtful that they will ever come close to the power figure of the good old gas chainsaws.

One of the best examples to display the power of a gas chainsaw is the ‘Husqvarna 460 Rancher Power’. This beast has a 3.6 horsepower engine and works at a maximum speed of 9000 rpm to cut through wood like butter.

Wood Cutting Ability

Gas-powered chainsaws are the undisputed champion of cutting all types of wood; nothing can withstand their wrath, whether hardwood, softwood, logs, trees, or branches.

On the contrary, wired electric chainsaws are not suited for cutting giant trees and are mostly made for cutting furniture or working on DIY wood projects.

Wireless electric chainsaws also have a similar domain to wired ones. However, they can be used in specific scenarios for cutting thinner trees.


In this era when we are so concerned about pollution, noise pollution should also be accounted for. Although gas chainsaws stand out in the power department, they lag behind in suppressing their noise.

Gas chainsaws are the loudest of the three, and their noise readings can go as high as 110 decibels. This can result in partial hearing loss, and it’s recommended to use ear protection while using them.

As far as wired and wireless electric chainsaws are concerned, they also make some noise but are not as damaging as gas chainsaw and can be used without any ear protection.


Like noise pollution, people are also concerned about the emissions from chainsaws that play a part in global warming.

Wired and wireless electric chainsaws run on electricity. Hence they don’t produce any direct emissions and are safe for both the user and the environment.

On the other hand, gas chainsaws emit toxic fumes and gases that might put the user at risk of cancer and breathing issues while also deteriorating the environment irreversibly.


Every appliance you own requires some care, whether in the form of cleaning, oiling, or replacing some parts. Similar is the case with chainsaws; they all require maintenance. However, the degree of care varies.

Gas-powered chainsaws require frequent maintenance to keep them running at their best. You will need to keep its air filter in check and see whether it’s choking. Furthermore, they also require periodic oiling and cleaning to prevent sawdust buildup.

Electric chainsaws require little to zero maintenance, you have to use them and clean them frequently, and they will work like a charm.

Duration Of a Single-Use

For wired electric chainsaws, the runtime has no limits. In other words, they can be used for as long as they are connected to a power source.

For wireless\cordless options, they have a Lithium-ion battery with a limited run time varying from 40 minutes to 2 hours of use.

Finally, for gas chainsaws, the runtime is around 15-20 minutes on a full tank. However, it must be noted that gas chainsaws generate more power and can complete a task in significantly less time than an electric chainsaw. Plus, you can always refill their tank instantly.

To sum up, no chainsaw will have runtime issues, but the wired ones protect you from the hassle of recharging or refueling after set time intervals.


Although gas chainsaws don’t have wires, they are still not portable as they are cumbersome and require professional handling experience.

Wired electric chainsaws also need to catch up in the portability race, as their use is limited to the length of their wires, making them unsuitable for places without any electrical outlets.

However, wireless electric chainsaws are the best in terms of portability; you can take them wherever you want. They are not too heavy and support adding extra battery packs to increase their runtime.


Electric chainsaws are incompatible with long guide bars as they are made for lightwork and have a lesser power output.

Gas chainsaws are compatible with all sorts of guide bars, whether long or short because their nature of work is extreme and requires different sizes of bars.

Generally, gas chainsaws fit three sizes at a minimum; small, medium, and large. Moreover, many brands also give these guide bars as a complimentary add-on when purchasing a new chainsaw.


Pricing is the most crucial factor to consider before buying a new chainsaw.

Electric chainsaws vary in price, depending on their runtime and build quality, but you will mostly find them near $100.

Gas chainsaws are generally priced slightly higher than the electric options; however, you should also consider the high maintenance cost of gas chainsaws which takes the difference from marginally higher to significantly higher.

Which Chainsaw Is The Best One For You?

The best chainsaw for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw include the size and type of trees or wood you will be cutting, the frequency of use, and your budget.

A gas chainsaw is a good option if you need it for heavy-duty cutting tasks and have the budget. They are powerful, portable, and suitable for cutting large trees or logs.

If you need a chainsaw that is easy to maneuver around your property and suitable for lighter cutting tasks, a battery electric chainsaw or a wired electric chainsaw could be a good option.

They are quieter and produce no emissions, but they are not as powerful as gas chainsaws and may not be suitable for heavy-duty cutting tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better an electric or gas chainsaw?

The choice between an electric and gas chainsaw depends on your specific requirements and the nature of the tasks you’ll be performing. Electric chainsaws are better suited for lighter tasks such as pruning, trimming, and cutting small to medium-sized branches. They are quieter, emit no harmful fumes, and require less maintenance. On the other hand, gas chainsaws are more powerful and excel in heavy-duty cutting, including felling large trees, processing logs, and commercial logging. They offer greater mobility but tend to be noisier and require more maintenance. So, the better option depends on your intended use and preferences.

What are the disadvantages of electric chainsaws? 

Electric chainsaws come with a few disadvantages. They typically have lower power output compared to gas chainsaws, making them less suitable for heavy-duty tasks or cutting through dense hardwood. Mobility can also be limited by corded models’ cord length or cordless models’ battery life. In remote areas without access to electricity, electric chainsaws may not be an option. Additionally, electric chainsaws are more sensitive to cord damage (in corded models) and may have reduced performance as batteries age (in cordless models).

Are electric chainsaws reliable?

Electric chainsaws are generally reliable for tasks they are designed for, such as light cutting and pruning. They have fewer moving parts than gas chainsaws, which can result in less frequent maintenance. However, their reliability can be influenced by factors like the condition of the extension cord (for corded models) and the lifespan of the battery (for cordless models). Regular maintenance, proper storage, and following manufacturer recommendations can help maintain their reliability.

Are battery chainsaws as powerful as petrol?

Battery-powered chainsaws can be quite powerful and are suitable for a wide range of tasks. While they may not match the raw power of petrol chainsaws, advances in battery technology have significantly improved their performance. Modern battery chainsaws can handle medium to heavy-duty cutting, making them a versatile choice. They offer the advantages of portability, quieter operation, and reduced emissions, making them a popular choice for both homeowners and professionals. However, for the most demanding and prolonged heavy-duty tasks, petrol chainsaws may still be preferred due to their higher power output and longer runtime with refueling.

Final Takeaways: Electric vs Gas Chainsaw

In conclusion, the choice between a gas and electric chainsaw ultimately comes down to the specific needs and preferences of the user. Gas chainsaws offer more power and are ideal for heavy-duty tasks, but they come with a higher price tag and require more maintenance.

On the other hand, electric chainsaws are more affordable, require less maintenance, and are better for the environment.

We hope you found this information helpful in making your decision. Always follow safety guidelines when using a chainsaw and consult the manufacturer’s manual for proper usage and maintenance instructions.

We would love to know your feedback and solve any queries you might encounter. Until next time, have fun cutting!

Richard McMann
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