Electric vs Gas Chainsaw: Which is Right for You?

There are several key factors to consider when it comes to electric vs gas chainsaws. Let’s discuss electric vs gas chainsaws in detail, and help you decide which is the best option for you.

Electric vs Gas Chainsaws: Which is Better?

Electric chainsaws are best for homeowners who only need light-duty yard work like cutting small trees or tree branches, cutting firewood, or removing brush. Gas chainsaws are better for large projects like cutting trees and hardwoods or cutting in areas with no electric power or generator.

Electric Chainsaws

An electric chainsaw is a tool powered by electricity, usually through lithium-ion battery packs or a power outlet to power the electric motor. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, electrical chainsaws are less powerful than gas-engine chainsaws.

Electric chainsaws do have many benefits. They are easy to operate and don’t require as much maintenance as gas models. Electric chainsaws also don’t produce as much noise and are less likely to cause air pollution.

Electric chainsaws are a great option for many homeowners who only need them for light yard work, but they’re not right for everyone. A gas chainsaw is better if you need powerful motors for large projects. However, an electric chainsaw is better if you want an easier-to-use saw that requires little maintenance.

electric vs gas chainsaw

How Do Electric Chainsaws Work

Electric chainsaws come in two main types – corded or cordless. Both have good and bad things about them, but more people like to use the cordless type because it is easier to carry around and does not need power cords.

A mini chainsaw has a 4 to 10-inch bar, while larger electric chainsaws have a 12 to 18-inch bar and chain size.

A corded chainsaw is probably the most commonly available today. They are inexpensive and great for general landscaping tasks, including tree removal, limb pruning, and firewood collection.

Corded electric chainsaws require a power source which consists of plugging a power cord into an electrical outlet. They have a limited range (limited to how long your extension cord is) and tend to be a less powerful tool. They are usually lighter than cordless electric models. It would help if you also looked at the bar length. Some corded models come with shorter bars than those found on cordless models. If you plan to cut large logs, you’ll need a long bar.

Cordless electric chainsaws (also called battery-powered chainsaws) come with a lithium-ion battery pack that provides continuous power for 30 minutes to 1 hour. They can be charged by placing the battery on a charging station and plugging it into any standard household electrical outlet.

For anyone looking to cut firewood, we recommend a battery-operated chainsaw with at least a 5.0 Ah battery. This will give you up to 300 cuts before recharge, as opposed to the smaller 2.0 Ah rechargeable batteries, which will only last for 100 cuts per charge. If you plan on using your chainsaw for extended periods, it might be worth investing in extra batteries so that you always have one ready to go.

Advantages of Electric Chainsaws

Electric chainsaws are a great choice for many people, but they’re not right for everyone. A gas chainsaw is better if you need a powerful saw for large projects. However, an electric chainsaw is better if you want an easier-to-use saw that requires less maintenance.

Electric chainsaws have many benefits.

  • Easy to operate
  • Require less maintenance as gas models
  • Are quieter, making them good to use in neighborhoods
  • Don’t require gas
  • Don’t produce harmful fumes
  • Better for the environment

Disadvantages of Electric Chainsaws

Electric chainsaws have some disadvantages.

  • Most can’t handle heavy-duty operation
  • They are not as powerful as gas models
  • Most models lack the power to cut big trees
  • Batteries in cordless models exhaust quickly
  • Extra batteries can be expensive

If you’re looking for a new chainsaw, here is our pick for the best electric and battery-powered chainsaws:

  1. Best Overall Electric Chainsaw: Makita-UC4051A 16-inch Electric Chainsaw
  2. Best Battery-Powered Chainsaw: EGO Power+ CS1804 18″ 56V Battery Powered Chainsaw
  3. Best Heavy-Duty Cordless Chainsaw: Makita XCU04PT LXT Cordless 16″ Chainsaw
  4. Best Chainsaw for Firewood: Greenworks Pro 80V 18″ Cordless Chain Saw
  5. Best Light Duty Electric Chainsaw: Oregon CS1500 18″ 15A Corded Electric Chainsaw
  6. Best Starter Chainsaw: WORX WG322 20V Power Share 10″ Cordless Chain Saw
  7. Best Budget Chainsaw: Greenworks 10.5 Amp 14″ Corded Chainsaw 2022

See our full review of the Best Electric Chainsaws.

makita electric chainsaw

Gas Chainsaws

Gas chainsaws are the most common type of chainsaw. They run on a mixture of gasoline and oil and are generally more powerful than electric saws.

You’ll need to mix the fuel yourself. The gas-to-oil ratio varies depending on the chainsaw brand, so consult your owner’s manual before adding fuel.

Once the fuel is mixed, please fill up the chainsaw’s gas tank and pull the cord to start it up. Then, you’re ready to get to work! Just read the safety manual that came with your chainsaw before using it. And if you’re ever in doubt, always err on caution and seek professional help.

How Do Gas Chainsaws Work

Chainsaws are one of the most versatile tools you can have in your arsenal, whether you’re a homeowner or a professional logger. But how do they work?

The answer may seem obvious: gas powers the engine, which rotates the chain that cuts through the wood. However, a few more steps are involved in making the chainsaw work properly.

You first need a spark plug, which ignites the fuel and gets the engine started. Once the engine runs, it powers a motor that drives the chain. The chainsaw chain is made up of sharp teeth that do the actual cutting, and as it rotates around the guide bar, it cuts through the wood.

Of course, there are different types of chainsaws for different purposes. Some have longer guide bars that allow you to cut through larger pieces of wood, while others have shorter guide bars that are better suited for smaller jobs.

Advantages of Gas Chainsaws

Gas saws have several advantages over electric models.

  • They have more power and cut faster than electric chainsaws
  • They easily cut large trees and branches
  • Gas fuel offers longer cutting times than battery chainsaws
  • They don’t need electricity to operate
  • Available in a wide range of bar lengths

Disadvantages of Gas Chainsaws

Gas chainsaws have several disadvantages over electric models.

  • They create more noise than electric models
  • They produce oil and gas fumes, which can harm your health if exposed for too long
  • Often more expensive than electric chainsaws
  • They’re heavier and more difficult to use
  • Require more routine maintenance than electric saws
greenworks electric chainsaw

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw Safety

Whether using an electric or gas chainsaw, you should always use protective gear such as a hard hat, ear protection, safety glasses, gloves, long pants, sleeves, a safety vest, and work boots.

Electric chainsaws are generally considered much safer to use than gas models. With no fumes and less noise, they’re better for use indoors and people sensitive to smells or loud noises.

Electric chainsaws also have a lower risk of a kickback than gasoline chainsaws. Kickback is when the chain grabs onto something and flings the saw back at you. It’s the leading cause of serious injuries with chainsaws.

With electric chainsaws, there’s no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning since there are no fumes. Gasoline-powered engines release carbon monoxide gas when they run, and it can quickly build up to dangerous levels in enclosed spaces.

Electric cordless chainsaws are also much easier to maintain than gas engines. No oil changes or tune-ups are required, and the saws run cleaner, so there’s less chance of parts getting gummed up.

However, electric chainsaws have some disadvantages, the biggest of which is they lack the cutting power and speed of gas-powered chainsaws. They’re not ideal for bigger jobs like cutting through large logs or thick tree branches.

They also require an electrical outlet or battery pack, so you’re limited to how far you can move around with them.

Oregon electric chainsaw

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw FAQs

When comparing electric vs gas chainsaws, consider these frequently asked questions.

Is it worth buying an electric chainsaw?

For most people, it is worth it to buy an electric chainsaw. Electric chainsaws are safer and easier to maintain than gas models and can handle light-duty yard work like cutting small logs, delimbing trees, and brush removal. Overall, electric chainsaws are a good choice for most people.

Can an electric chainsaw cut down a tree?

An electric chainsaw can cut down a tree, but it might not be the best choice for the job, depending on the size of the tree. Generally, professional tree cutters recommend a chainsaw bar to be at least 2 inches larger than the tree diameter.

However, electric chainsaws are not as powerful as gas models, so they’re not ideal for heavy-duty tasks like cutting through large logs or thick tree branches.

How long does an electric chainsaw last?

A battery-powered electric chainsaw usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour of continuous use per battery charge. The exact amount of time depends on the size of the saw and the battery. A corded chainsaw will run as long as the extension cord is plugged into an electrical outlet.


Overall, electric chainsaws are an excellent choice for many people. They’re safer and easier to use than gas models and require less maintenance. A gas chainsaw is still the best choice if you need a powerful saw for heavy-duty tasks.


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.