/What are the Different Types of Chainsaws?

What are the Different Types of Chainsaws?

Homeowners looking to purchase their first chainsaw will be curious to look at three main types of chainsaws. Gas powered chainsaws, electric chainsaws and cordless or battery powered chainsaws.

Gas Chainsaws

The gas chainsaw is an extremely powerful tool that is used by homeowners and professional alike. Gas chainsaws are lightweight, handheld tools. Handheld gas chainsaws are powered by small 2-stroke engines. The engine sizes can vary from 30cc for a small home chainsaw and up to 120cc for a professional saw used in the timber industry.

The engine in a chainsaw is a small 2-stroke engine. A 2-stroke engine uses a mixture of gasoline and engine oil for fuel. This is due to their small, compact size and the design of the engine components. You will have to mix engine and gasoline together in a ratio specified by the manufacturer, which is typically between 40: 1 and 50: 1 (fuel to oil ratio). This will vary amongst manufacturers.

The main reason many homeowners prefer gas chainsaws is due to their cutting performance. The cutting power of a gas chainsaw cannot be duplicated with electric or battery powered chainsaws. Even though gas chainsaws require more maintenance, the performance of a gas chainsaw will keep you cutting through timber without losing power or performance.

When you purchase a gas chainsaw you will notice that the cost to purchase is going to be more than an electric chainsaw. A gas chainsaw will also weigh more than corded electric saws. This is due to the internal combustion engine instead of an electric motor.

It is important to always wear hearing protection when operating a gas chainsaw. The sound output level of gas chainsaws can generate 100 to 120 decibels. This is comparable to a gas lawn mower that is about 20 feet away.

Maintaining a gas chainsaw is not difficult. Each manufacture has specific instructions that are included with the chainsaw that you purchase. The instructions will include care and maintenance, such as the fuel to oil ratio, lubricating the bar and chain, cleaning or replacing the air filter, etc.

Electric Chainsaws

Electric chainsaws are great for the average homeowner. Even if you’ve never cut down a tree before a chainsaw can be a great tool for the homeowner.

Electric chainsaws are not as powerful as a gas chainsaw, but they have many benefits and uses around the house.

An electric chainsaw is lightweight, easy to handle and very capable for most cutting needs. An electric chainsaw is great for cutting 2×4 or 4×4 lumber, cutting damaged or low branches from trees. They are also a great tool to have in the event you need to cut up and clean up fallen branches after a big storm. In many cases, an electric chainsaw is a good fit for homeowners because it is lighter and much easier to handle.

The best part of owning an electric chainsaw is that it requires no refueling or maintenance. However, in order to use it you will need to have a lengthy extension cord that can reach a close by power outlet.

With a gas chainsaw, it’s easy to understand how powerful the saw is based on the displacement of the engine. With electric chainsaws it is a little more difficult.

Many electric chainsaw manufacturers specify the amount of amperage that the saw will draw. A higher amperage motor draws more electrical current which allows the motor to spin faster and produce more torque. Most electric chainsaws will have a motor amperage rating from 8 to 15 Amps.

The other factor to consider when buying an electric chainsaw is the length of the bar. The bar length of an electric chainsaw is what determines the thickness of items you’ll be able to easily cut.

For many homeowners a bar-length of 12 to 16 inches is sufficient for most DIY tasks. A bar length of this size is capable of being used for pruning and trimming bushes, hedges and lopping small branches from trees. It is also capable of cutting larger logs for firewood down to more manageable sizes.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make with electric chainsaws is not using a proper heavy-duty extension cord that is rated for the amount of current draw. There are electric chainsaws that can draw as much as 15 amps of current. These chainsaws require a larger gauge wire to prevent the cord from overheating and becoming a fire hazard.

Battery-Powered (Cordless) Chainsaws

Cordless, battery-powered chainsaws have gained in popularity over the past few years. Their performance and reliability has increased dramatically with advances in battery and motor technology.

Most battery powered chainsaws operate using an onboard or detachable lithium-ion battery packs. This provides a unique combination of the low-noise and low-maintenance of an electric chainsaw without having to worry about having an outdoor electrical outlet or heavy-duty extension cord. Some of the newer cordless chainsaws provide as much power and cutting performance as a small gas-powered chainsaw.

Cordless chainsaws use either a 0.25” or 3/8” low profile chain. The chains are designed with anti-kickback features both the bar and chain. Some newer battery-powered chainsaws can give you 60 or 70 cuts on a 6” x 6” block of pressure treated pine with a single charge. This is the equivalent to being able to cut down and de-limb a small to medium sized tree.

Major power tool manufacturers such as Makita and DeWalt have been instrumental in bringing cordless electric chainsaws to market. These manufacturers have designed universal lithium ion battery platforms which are interchangeable between a range of cordless tools. The same battery pack that you use for your cordless drill or circular saw can also power your cordless chainsaw.

Cordless chainsaws have their weaknesses. Rechargeable batteries wear down and lose power over time. When the battery charge level drops below a certain level you will notice a decrease in cutting power and perofmance. When you are researching and buying a cordless chainsaw it is important to note the Ah (Ampere hour) rating of its battery. The Ah tells you how much energy the battery can supply before it needs to be recharged. A 3Ah battery can supply 3 amperes of current continuously for 1 hour before going dry. With a 9Ah battery, you can draw up to 3 times the energy of a 3Ah battery within the same period of time.