8 Different Types of Chainsaws and Their Uses

Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Sarker C. Weber

Chainsaws come in handy when you need to do some serious cutting. Gone are the days when you needed to hack at trees/wood for several minutes.

With a chainsaw, you can bring down a large tree in a flash!

There are different Types of Chainsaws on the market, and each of these saws has some mean cutting power.

Getting the chainsaw that’s just for you could be a bit tricky especially with the mountain of choices on the market.

Right now, all you need to do is fix your focus here, as you’ll get to see all major chainsaws and much more.

In order to make a well informed purchase, read our reviews: Best chainsaws for beginners, Best 50cc chainsaw reviews, Best 18-inch chainsaw reviews, Best farm and ranch chainsaw reviews,

Types of Chainsaws

Chainsaws have varying lengths and strengths, but one thing that’s used to distinguish among saws is the power it uses and its design. So we’ll be talking about chainsaw types based on their power source and design in two different sections;

Chainsaw Types Based on: Power Source

These Types of Chainsaws need a specific power source to function, and there’re some saws which assure more power than others when challenging cutting tasks have to be completed;

1. Corded (Electric) Chainsaw

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Electric chainsaws work with the aid of a direct electrical current. These Types of Chainsaws function with equal power you’d expect from a regular chainsaw with a major drawback – distance.

An electric chainsaw is only as good as the distance of the cord, or your extension power cord’s length.

Corded Chainsaw Pros

  • Electric chainsaws have a long run time
  • Easy ignition system
  • Chainsaw less prone to wear-and-tear
  • Electric saws are mostly lighter in weight
  • More comfortable chain tensioning and bar tightening

Corded Chainsaw Cons

  • Saws are not useful in areas where there’s no electricity
  • Not ideal for more challenging tasks
  • Restricted use based on the length of your saw’s cord/extension cord’s length

2. Cordless (Battery-Powered) Chainsaw

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Chainsaws powered by batteries are perfect for getting the cutting going at a distance. This cordless chainsaw is powered with embedded lithium-ion batteries.

These chainsaws pack the right amount of power and can cut through virtually anything.

Cordless Chainsaw Pros

  • Comfortable ignition system
  • Easy maintenance potential
  • Eco-friendly design and operation
  • Lightweight design for more comfortable operation
  • Replaceable rechargeable batteries

Cordless Chainsaw Cons

  • Could underperform when faced with tough cutting tasks
  • Battery performance may wane over time
  • Not ideal for long term use in areas with no electricity

3. Gas-Powered Chainsaw

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Gas chainsaws cut through stuff with gasoline-powered engines. These Types of Chainsaws will serve you well when you need to do some heavy splitting where your electric saw can’t reach.

But with this chainsaw, you’ve got to get fuel on standby in case you’re in a large-scale cutting mission.

Gas Chainsaw Pros

  • Perfect for challenging cutting tasks
  • Easy maintenance potential
  • Safety features are included in most chainsaws
  • Lubrication of engine prevents crankcase damage
  • High-powered engine ensures faster cutting speed

Gas Chainsaw Cons

  • Oil leaks are common when gas chainsaws are stored
  • Regular maintenance and engine lubrication is needed
  • Some gas engines are prone to dirt and debris penetrating the engine

Chainsaw Types Based on : Design

These Types of Chainsaws differ based on their build and performance, but they all offer top cutting power for your operations

4. Rear-handle Chainsaw


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Rear handle chainsaws are mostly used for cutting through stuff with more precision. These chainsaws can be powered by anything, but have a distinct feature in how their handles are placed.

A rear handle is fitted right behind the engine of the chainsaw with a secondary handle fitted. The rear-handle chainsaw saw is mostly ideal for cutting through items at a horizontal angle.

Rear Handle Chainsaw Pros

  • Assures more balance while cutting
  • Comes with a durable design
  • Easy-to-understand controls
  • Ideal for cutting through tough objects with ease
  • Operators of ant skill level can easily handle this saw

Rear Handle Chainsaw Cons

  • Ideal for ground use only
  • Comes weighing more than other saws
  • Both hands needed for this saw to function properly

5. Top-handle Chainsaw

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Top-handle chainsaws come fitted with a guide on the chain along with a top and side handle for more comfortable operation.

Top-handle chainsaws are perfect for cutting through items in conditions where full balance may not be assured. It’s also perfect for cutting through stuff vertically while you’re on solid ground.

Top handle Chainsaw Pros

  • Portable design
  • Easy control systems
  • Can be used with one hand
  • Increased flexibility during operation
  • Durable design for increased performance

Top handle Chainsaw  Cons

  • Costs more than other saws
  • Requires a good level of skill to operate
  • Ideal for cutting through small-sized objects

6. Manual Chainsaw / Pocket Chainsaw


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Hand chainsaws are perfect for getting through small pieces of wood (5-10”) with manual effort. This chainsaw is exclusively powered by two people, but a powerful guy can wield the chain for an easy cut.

It’s made with handles on both sides with teeth fitted around a chain. When you wrap it around a tree, all you need do is tug at both handles while the chain does the rest.

Manual Chainsaw Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy operation
  • No power source required
  • Can be used in dense natural environments
  • Ideal for cutting through much larger stuff

Manual Chainsaw Cons

  • Takes longer to cut down objects
  • Requires a great amount of human effort
  • Two people are needed to cut through dense objects

7. Pole Chainsaw

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These chainsaws are getting increasingly popular for being handy when cutting branches. A pole chainsaw is fitted with a long handle to make it easier to reach through branches for precise cutting.

Be careful with this chainsaw as it could cause damage when used in closed quarters. The reason why’s that the pole handle limits the control a user has on the machine.

Pole Chainsaw Pros

  • Easy controls
  • Ideal for cutting from a distance
  • Assures greater balance at a distance
  • Decent engine power for cutting with less hassle
  • Perfect for operators who don’t prefer tree climbing operations

Pole Chainsaw Cons

  • Not ideal for ground cutting
  • More expensive than other saws
  • Requires skilled handlers to avoid injuries

8. Concrete/Metal Cutting Chainsaw


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More powerful chainsaws equipped with hydraulics can easily cut through concrete and hard metal.  Such chainsaws aren’t common on the open market but you can easily find them in a fire service warehouse or in a construction crew kit.

These saws come with a load of power, and you can cheaply slice through anything with relative ease.

Concrete Chainsaw Pros

  • Time saving engine
  • Extraordinary cutting power
  • Perfect for industrial applications
  • Ideal for cutting through metals and concrete
  • Lesser effort needed in cutting through tough objects

Concrete Chainsaw Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Requires advanced skill level for smooth operation
  • Requires proper hydraulics for cutting through thick concrete/meta

Uses of a Chainsaw


One of the major uses of a chainsaw is lumbering. You can use a chainsaw to get those logs prepared for sales/construction in a short while so easily.

You don’t have to sweat and struggle with a hand saw, as chainsaws pack a lot of benefits for your business effort. If you’re a homeowner, you can also use the chainsaw to clear off trees in your property for a better view.

Firewood chopping

With a chainsaw, you don’t need an axe. Start up your engine, rev it up, and chop through firewood like butter.

One other fascinating use of a chainsaw is its ease of cutting through wood at neat and varying lengths.


Chainsaws for milling help in cutting down previously thick trees into fine pieces. The Best chainsaws for milling normally have lengthy guide bars (18” above) and greater engine power (50ccs above).

There’re also two-handed chainsaws for milling that require an operator at both ends of the machine cutting down simultaneously.

Read Our Other Review

Best 50cc Chainsaw Reviews

Best 18-inch Chainsaw Review

Tree felling

Need those trees down pronto? The chainsaw is your best bet for sending trees crashing down. Note that the tree you intend to fell determines the chainsaw you’ll need used.

For a tree with small girth, you can manage a saw between 12-14 inches, but with much larger trees, your saw needs to pack more length and strength.


With some chainsaws, the artist in you can come alive. Sculpting becomes a lot easier with chainsaws, and they come in various sizes to make your job easier.

Branch cutting

Your cutting through branches is a whole lot easier when you use a chainsaw. There are chainsaws that go the distance (gas/battery chainsaws), and they can be used high up trees to bring down branches.

Steel and Concrete

Powerful chainsaws equipped with tough engines are capable of slicing through concrete and metal. These saws are mostly used for construction/industrial applications.

Final Word

Here’s everything you need to know about the Different Types of Chainsaws and much more. All this info is helpful when you’re intent on buying a perfect chainsaw.

You’ve seen in detail that these saws are top-notch and perfect for bringing down any hard object in your way. Use this info to your advantage, and get the best chainsaws to cut through virtually anything.

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