Gas vs Electric Chainsaws: How to Choose the Right One?

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

Are you thinking of buying  a chainsaw? But not sure which model do you want to buy, or do you want to expand your knowledge about gas vs electric chainsaw?

Whatever the case is, you’ve come to the right place. so, Without any further delay,

Let’s get started,

Chainsaws started as heavy-duty tools to cut wood. But new technologies and smarter materials allowed them to evolve until becoming lighter and easier to handle.

Such evolution also included the development of 2 major categories that lead to consider gas vs electric chainsaws as the main options.

And, when trying to decide which is the best one for your projects, comparing and learning their facts and tricks is what can help you make the right choice.

So, below you will find those details that can lean the scale in one way or another. 

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What is a Chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a powerful mechanical tool designed to cut. To do so, it uses a group of teeth along with a chain powered by an engine. In this sense, a gas chainsaw is powered by fuel and an electric chainsaw is powered by electricity.

Basic Components of Gas Chainsaws

All gas chainsaws have the following basic components:

  • Engine
  • Carburetor
  • Spark plug
  • Fuel Tank
  • Guide bar
  • Chain
  • Gear

How Gas chainsaws work?

Gas chainsaws obtain their energy to operate from the gasoline. To start working, you only need to add a portion of gasoline into the fuel tank.

Then, this liquid goes to the carburetor and starts mixing with air. This combination goes to a cylinder that is boosted by a spark plug that results in energy.

Finally, the energy boosts a piston that produces the final movement.

What is truly remarkable in this process is that users only need to add some gasoline and the mechanism does the rest of the work automatically.

You only need to take care of operating and cutting.

Why Choose a Gas-Powered chainsaw?

Gas vs Electric Chainsaw

Starting mechanism

Gas-powered chainsaws require some time and effort to start. Pushing a button is not enough.

This is to say that you need to prepare the equipment first. And to start it, you need to pull a rope with enough strength.

For instance, some high-end models require that you press a decompression valve and pump a primer to purge air located in the gas line.

It optimizes the chainsaw but takes time. Also, if you stop using it during the winter, then you would need to warm it up before starting it again.

Running time

In the electric powered vs gas powered chainsaw race, gas chainsaws take the lead.

These models can run for many hours and you can recharge them while you are using them by only adding more gas and oil.

Some models even allow adding those liquids without having to stop the chainsaw.

Weight and maneuverability

When compared with electric chainsaws, gas-powered chainsaws are heavier. That is because the oil and/or gas add weight to the mechanism.

In addition, they can carry longer and bigger bars that add more weight. 

However, even the most professional versions with long bars are still lightweight and manufactured with ergonomic designs.

Also, top handles help to ease the maneuverability and users can carry them for long hours.

Engine Power

The engine power of gas chainsaws comes from the combustion of the gasoline. That is what makes it so powerful and suitable for heavy-duty cuts.

There are 2 types of engines, 2-cycle and 4-cycle.

If you are planning to use it a lot, you should consider a 2-cycle engine chainsaw that requires a mix of oil and gas.

As this type of engine doesn’t store oil in the sump, you can put in any position without the risk of linking.

They are usually lighter than 4-cycle engines and may ease even more the burden of the equipment.

Bar length

Due to the its higher power, gas-powered chainsaws can carry longer bars. The bar length is also crucial to determine the power of a chainsaw.

The larger the bar length the more power it will have to cut. In general, long bars start at 20 inches and above and they are better for heavy-duty tasks.

The capacity to hold longer bars is the main reason why gas chainsaws are chosen by professionals. But you can find gas chainsaws with all bar lengths.

When they have shorter bars, they are more powerful than the electric versions.

Vibration & Noise

Due to their type of motor, gas chainsaws produce more vibration and noise than electric chainsaws and this is a fact.

So, if you are sensitive to these matters you shouldn´t even think of buying a gas chainsaw.

However, you can reduce a portion of the noise by using earbuds and some models include noise reduction features.

But noise and vibration will always be higher that electric versions.

Downsides to Gas-Powered Chainsaw

In spite of the higher power offered by gas-powered chainsaws, they also have some downsides as follows:

  • The toxic gases and fume that they produce are a serious problem of contamination either for the environment or the user.
  • Its parts require serious and frequent maintenance
  • You must carry out additional gas provisions to replace it while using the chainsaw

Our Recommendation:

Gas-powered chainsaws come in all sizes but they are mostly recommended for heavy-duty tasks due to their higher power.

As thy produce some gases, it is imperative to use them in open spaces.

Basic Components of Electric Chainsaws

Electric chainsaws have the following basic components:

  • Battery/cord
  • Guide bar
  • Chain
  • Gear

How electric chainsaws work

Electric chainsaws also need a power of source and they get it from the electric current that feeds the engine.

It may come from the outlet or the battery when they are cordless chainsaws. After they obtain the energy, they operate in the same way that gas chainsaws.

Types of Electric Chainsaws

Unlike gas chainsaws, electric models come in 2 types as follows:

Electric corded chainsaws

These models need to be plugged into a source of electric power to operate.

It offers the benefit of adding more power and unlimited running time but limits the distance you can maneuver with them.

Battery (Cordless) Powered chainsaws

These chainsaws operate with batteries to obtain their electric energy.

Although you can operate them without limits of distance, the charge of the batteries limits their maneuverability.

Why Choose Corded Electric Chainsaw?

gas vs electric chainsaw

Starting mechanism

The starting mechanism of electric chainsaws only requires that you put them in a safe position and then push a button to turn them on. It was a major advance when they first appeared in the market.

Running time

Corded electric chainsaws have unlimited running time because their source of power comes from the outlet. So, as long as you keep them connected, they keep running without restrictions. But they are limited about the distance they cover.

However, manufacturers are constantly trying to save these obstacles by increasing the length of the cord. So, it is recommended to verify the alternatives and new models when you want to buy one of them.

Weight and maneuverability

Corded electric chainsaws are commonly lightweight and they all have similar weight. The variations come in the way of design, colors, and other details that ease the maneuverability.  Among them, we can mention rubberized handles that avoid slippery situations, diminish fatigue, and reduce vibrations.

Engine Power

In general, electric chainsaws have less power than gas-powered versions. Those with power under 4 HP are recommended to home tasks and cutting small limbs and trees.

When they have 4 HP and above, they become real bests that can cut huge trees of more than 12 inches. However, gas chainsaws are the winners when it comes to engine power.

Bar length

Due to their lower engine power, corded-electric chainsaws use bar lengths shorter than gas-powered versions. It means they are suitable for light-duty / medium tasks.

Vibration & Noise

Corded electric models run quiet and smoothly and that makes them the favorite version for homeowners.

They produce less vibration and noise but that is mostly due to their lower power and shorter bar lengths.

Downsides of Corded Electric Chainsaw

The biggest downside of this chainsaw is the limited distance you can get away from the source of power. 

As a result, you can only use it in nearby zones. Also, its benefits are eclipsed by the lower power it offers when comparing the gas chainsaw.

Our Recommendation:

Corded chainsaw is an ideal device for homeowners and light duty tasks in places that don´t require to cover long distances.

Its engine power allows cutting limbs and small trees. However  corded chainsaw is best for small-medium size properties that need to cut wood in nearby zones.

Why Choose Cordless Electric Chainsaw?

Electric vs gas chainsaw

Starting mechanism

Similar to corded-powered versions, cordless electric chainsaws also use a simple button as starting mechanism.

Running time

Regarding electric chainsaws, when they are cordless and need batteries to operate, they have very limited running time.

Nowadays, they may last about 1-2 hours and recharging the batteries may take about 1 additional hour.

Although you might have extra batteries, it might result expensive to have several of them.

Weight and maneuverability

This type of chainsaw is lightweight but heavier than corded versions due to the batteries. Usually, they require at least 2 batteries to run properly.

Engine Power

The engine power is limited to the power of the batteries. As a result, this is the less powered chainsaw version.

Bar length

The bar length is limited due to the low power of the engine that is fed with batteries.

Long bars go well with a different type of chainsaw other than cordless-electric versions.

Vibration & Noise

A cordless electric chainsaw produces minimum vibration and noise just as its counterpart corded-electric version.

Downsides of Cordless Electric Chainsaw

The cordless chainsaw was a major breakthrough when it first appeared but the fact that the batteries don´t last long enough is a real problem.

Also, this chainsaw is a little heavier because it has to carry at least 2 batteries.

Our Recommendation:

Cordless chainsaw is best for small-medium size cutting task.


Q – Which chainsaws have more affordable prices?

A – Electric chainsaws are usually more affordable. However, some models may include sophisticated features that may increase their prices.

Among them, cordless electric models may be more expensive due to the batteries.

Q – Does both types of chainsaws require the same maintenance?

A – No, gas chainsaws require more maintenance than electric models. That is mostly due to the use of gas and their additional parts.


When trying to find a winner for gas vs electric chainsaws, gas chainsaws continue to be the best option for heavy-duty tasks.

However, electric chainsaws are continually upgrading their performance with new features that are always worthy to check.

In any case, if you are starting to use this tool, it is always recommended to start with an electric chainsaw to guarantee maximum safety.

Only those who use it for small businesses or have a ranch might consider starting with a gas chainsaw.

Also, if you want to upgrade the type of tasks that you need to handle, you can consider to changing to a gas model.

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