Types of chainsaws

Gone are the days when you had to use a two-man handsaw to cut down a tree in your yard. Right now the home improvement industry features innovative do-it-yourself power tools like chainsaws that make your cutting tasks easier.

There are three main types of chainsaws, and which one you choose depends on your cutting needs. For starters, let's take a look at some of the uses of chainsaws.

Uses of chainsaws

Whether you are a homeowner, handyman or a landscaper, you can use a chainsaw for the following tasks;

  • Chopping firewood

Swinging an axe to chop firewood for your wood stove can be a hassle since you have to deal with back pains and aches; the good news is that there are small, portable and powerful chainsaws that can get the job done. You can opt for a small electric or gas-powered chainsaws for your task.

  • Sculpting foliage and shrubs

Landscapers can use chainsaws for shaping foliage on your shrubs, carving wood on your property and also trimming shrubs in your yard for an appealing look. If you can't afford a personal landscaper, you can maintain your hedges using a chainsaw.

  • Cutting lumber

Handymen in construction sites can use chainsaws to cut down trees and turn them into uniform lumber for building and sculpting. This lumber can be used for frames and trusses, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

  • Pruning

You can use chainsaws to prune branches in tall trees, the good thing is that chainsaws are small and portable, and you can use them when climbing a ladder. Only cut down branches that pose no harm to you, and be careful when pruning large branches, lest they fall on your roof or your neighbors.

Types of chainsaws

As we mentioned earlier, there are three types of chainsaws and each has its advantages and shortcomings which we will be discussing below. The three types of chainsaws are;

  • Cordless electric chainsaws

  • Corded electric chainsaws

  • Gas-powered chainsaws

Types of Chainsaws Comparison Table

Unlimited mobility

Cordless Electric

Corded Electric


Easy to start

More portable

Low maintenance


Best for heavy-duty cutting jobs



More powerful than corded and cordless electric chainsaws

Uses rechargeable batteries

Best for light duty cutting tasks

Requires frequent maintenance

Reduced power capacity than corded electric chainsaws

They require thicker cords for low current resistance


Best for DIY cutting tasks

Low maintenance

More expensive

Battery balances the weight


Larger and heavier

Cordless electric chainsaws

These chainsaws are battery-powered, and they come equipped with Lithium-ion batteries which are larger in capacity and lighter than Nickel-Cadmium batteries used in the past. Lithium-ion batteries give you more Amp-hours and they can be recharged faster.

Another advantage of using a battery-powered chainsaw is that they come with the most recent brushless motor, which is more effective than a carbon brush motor as there is less friction in the moving parts, giving the battery more runtime.

Also, battery-powered chainsaws give you more mobility as it is cordless. Plus most of them are small and portable, perfect for contractors and handymen who move from one work station to another.


  • Lighter in weight
  • It requires less maintenance due to less friction
  • Quieter than gas-powered chainsaws
  • Easy to start
  • It gives you the mobility
  • The weight of the battery balances the chainsaw


  • The battery runtime is less, depending on the cutting intensity

Corded electric chainsaws

These chainsaws don't come with batteries, instead, they come with a cord that you plug into an electric socket to power the motor. A corded electric chainsaw gives you a consistent power output, that's why it's a logical choice for high-intensity cutting.

Also, a corded electric chainsaw requires little maintenance, the only maintenance practice is to keep the chain and the bar oiled. The good news is that recent models come with an automatic oiler that constantly applies oil to the chain and bar preventing friction.

Another appealing feature in an electric chainsaw is the ease of start; you don't have to pull ropes to start the motor. Once you plug it in, press the power button. Also, you don't need any mechanical know-how like fuel ratios, making it best for beginners.

However, a corded chainsaw comes with a cord that limits you in terms of the cutting distance to the electric socket. The longest cord available is 100 feet, and it has to be thicker for lower current resistance, otherwise, this cord will overheat and be a risk to your safety.


  • They are lightweight, as they weigh 12-16 pounds
  • You get a constant power supply
  • It requires little maintenance
  • Quieter than gas-powered chainsaws


  • The cord length limits the cutting distance

Gas-powered chainsaws

These chainsaws are more powerful than the other two types of chainsaws, plus they give you more mobility, as long as you carry the fuel with you. They are great for high-intensity cutting like felling large trees and making lumber.

They come with an engine that runs on gasoline and oil, most come with a one-pint gasoline tank that runs the chain for a maximum of 20 minutes depending on the cutting intensity. However, this runtime heavily depends on the engine's fuel efficiency and cylinder displacement.

However, they come with serious drawbacks. One of them is that they are extremely loud especially when revving the engine hard, which makes it a bad choice for residential use and you can be sued for noise pollution in some states.

Another setback is that it is difficult to start the engine at times, you have to pull the starter rope and the engine might start after several attempts which makes it time-consuming.

Also, more engine parts equal to more maintenance practices. You have to replace oil filters, air cleaners and cylinders to make it more efficient during the cutting process.


  • They are powerful for heavy-duty cutting tasks
  • Gas-powered chainsaws are mobile
  • Runs longer than all the other types of chainsaws


  • The engine is extremely loud
  • It requires more maintenance than electric chainsaws


Go for a chainsaw type that suits your specific cutting needs, for example, if you do heavy-duty cutting like felling large trees, you need to go for gas-powered chainsaws. If you move frequently from one work station to another, then you need a portable battery-powered chainsaw.

The best chainsaw for DIY tasks like trimming bushes and maintaining your yard would be corded electric chainsaws.

Thanks to this article, you can compare the different features of each type of chainsaws and make an informed purchasing decision.    

‚ÄčThe various chainsaws in operation:

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