Chainsaws are dangerous so we have aimed to provide a simple guide to the different types of chainsaw available and also to highlight their differences so you can decide which would be best for you.
When considering a chainsaw there are a number of key factors to consider:
What will you be cutting?
If you are planning to prune or trim branches or small trees then an electric or battery powered chainsaw is ideal.
If you are planning to cut larger tress or lots of trees then a petrol chainsaw would be best.
Cutting logs requires continual power and running for longer so review the power of the chainsaw and the run time of the battery if it is a cordless chainsaw.
Are you using a chainsaw for the first time?
If this is your first time purchasing a chainsaw then watching manufacturers’ videos on safe use is really important as well as having adequate safety equipment.
We would recommend starting with an electric or Cordless chainsaw which has a guide bar no more than 16 inches. These are easier to use and will be ideal for occasional use while also being great for trimming, pruning and cutting branches and smaller trees.
How Often Will You Use the Chainsaw?
If you only plan to use a chainsaw occasionally then you will be better with an Electric or Cordless chainsaw.
If you are planning on cutting down loads of trees and will be using it more frequently then a Petrol Chainsaw will be better.
What does the Chainsaw guide bar mean?
If you are using the chainsaw to trim and prune branches or small trees then a guide bar up to 14 inches will be fine, the guide bar is the plate around which the cutting teeth fit.
The general rule of thumb is look at the diameter of the average tree you are planning to cut down and the add 2 inches this will allow you to make the cut in one go.
The smaller the guide bars will increase the cutting speed of the chainsaw, by reverse with a longer guide bar the cutting speed will be slower but remember that longer guide bars are used for bigger trees.
What are the safety features on a chainsaw?
Chainsaws should have a suitable number of safety features.
The chain should be properly matched to the guide bar and be properly fitted to the saw, this is more relevant if you are planning on swapping the chain and the guide bar to do different jobs.
Make sure the teeth on the chain are sharp, if you are using the chainsaw a lot then if the teeth become blunt it will put more strain on the guide bar and engine as well as the person using it which could cause accidents.
Kickback reduction and protection. The chainsaw should have a chain brake which will engage if the saw ever kicks back while you’re using it.
- Reduced noise levels
- Lower vibration levels
- Tool less chain adjusting
- Automatic chain oiling
What are the different types of chainsaw?
Battery chainsaws are perfect for light jobs around the garden if you are trimming branches or cutting small trees. While these eliminate the need for a cord the battery run time may become a factor.
With the continual improvement of battery technology cordless chainsaws are becoming more powerful. The higher the volts the more powerful the chainsaw, and Lithium-ion batteries are fast becoming the norm due to their better performance.
Smaller lightweight cordless chainsaws are now as powerful as electric and even petrol chainsaws with the only drawback being how long the battery lasts.
Battery-powered chainsaws are judged by their run time and the number of cuts that can be made on one charge.
- No extension cords
- No need for fuel
- Better mobility than Electric
- Quieter than Petrol chainsaws
- Simple to use
- Little to no maintenance
- Battery can be used on multiple tools (provided you have the same range)
The single biggest drawback for a battery chainsaw is how long the battery lasts and how long it takes to recharge. With battery garden tools people general will buy a number of different tools which use the same batteries and one way to improve the length of cutting time is to have more than one battery.
These are great for the average garden where you want to trim and cut branches and smaller trees, and where you plan to only use them occasionally. Electric chainsaws are generally less expensive than Petrol chainsaws and while they are quieter and easier to use their main drawback is the need for an extension cord.
The higher the wattage of the chainsaw the more powerful it will be and the faster the chain will run.
- Quieter than Petrol Chainsaws
- No fumes
- Simpler to use
- Little to no maintenance
- more eco-friendly than petrol chainsaws
- No fuel required
Electric chainsaws biggest drawback is the need for an extension cord.
Petrol chainsaws are the most powerful chainsaws, and are suitable for commercial use and if you are planning to cut down large trees and to use it more frequently.
The higher the engine CC, the more powerful the chainsaw, these chainsaws usually have a 2-cycle or 2-stroke engines that will run on a mixture of engine oil and fuel.
Petrol chainsaws are known for their faster cutting speed. Smaller bars will increase the cutting speed of your saw, and larger bars will slow down the cutting speed.
- Perfect for larger jobs
- Generally heavier than others
- Nosier than electric and battery
- Have more vibration
- Require frequent refuelling.