The chainsaw is an indispensable tool for most homeowners or woodworkers. Even though its primary use is tree felling, with the switch from petrol to electric chainsaws we have seen their range of application extend to many other tasks.
Because of this change in mechanics and size, it’s not just lumberjacks who need to have a powerful chainsaw.
But with hundreds of options out there, how can you choose the right one? Well, you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll find out what the main differences between chainsaws are and which one would suit you best based on your needs.
Types of chainsaws
There are three main types of chainsaws:
- Corded electric
- Cordless electric
Let’s take a quick look at how they work and whether they are the right choice for you.
Petrol powered chainsaws
Petrol or gas powered chainsaws run on gasoline which is stored in a tank in the chainsaw itself. Usually, the tank has a capacity of around 500ml – this directly translates into how long the chainsaw will run for.
Besides the capacity of the tank, the run time also depends on the engine efficiency, the workload and the power output.
Petrol chainsaws can have two different types of engines – 2-stroke and 4-stroke.
2-stroke engines are made up of fewer parts, meaning that they are much lighter and compact. However, this doesn’t translate into power. In fact, 2-stroke engines are more powerful than 4-stroke engines.
4-stroke engines, on the other hand, use fuel much more efficiently and as a result, are cheaper to maintain. Another thing that the 4-stroke has over the 2-stroke engine is that it is much quieter.
Is a petrol chainsaw the right thing for you?
For cutting hardwood thicker than 13”, petrol chainsaws are the real deal.
They are best used by arborists and lumberjacks, as these types of chainsaws are the most powerful. If you have a tough job to do or cut hardwood thicker than 13 inches, then anything less than a petrol powered chainsaw won’t do the trick.
Having said that, you do get some cordless electric models such as the GTech HT20 hedge trimmer which has a branch cutter attachment.
Still, all that power with a petrol machine comes at a cost. They require a lot of maintenance as the sawdust mixes with the oil on the chain.
Additionally, they are very loud and emit fumes so if you only need to work in your garden, you might be better off with an electric chainsaw – you don’t want to disturb the whole neighbourhood and pollute your garden.
If you’re unsure about all of these things, I recently found a website that has a lot of good, in-depth information on it called Saw Advisor, which is great to check when purchasing a good chainsaw. That’s worth checking out.
Electric corded chainsaws
Corded chainsaws feature a power cable that needs to be plugged into a power outlet. They usually have enough power for small to medium cutting tasks, which is why they are the most popular among homeowners.
Another advantage they have over petrol-powered chainsaws is that they start with the push of a button – no more pulling and hoping.
Additionally, they don’t require any additional costs such as buying fuels.
Corded chainsaws can support guide bars up to 16 inches, but they typically feature a 12 to 14-inch guide bar.
Is a corded chainsaw the right thing for you?
If you live in a crowded area and only need light pruning around your garden, then a corded chainsaw will suit you well. They also come in handy for DIY projects and cutting big wooden boards.
Still, the biggest benefit of the corded electric chainsaw is that it doesn’t emit any dangerous fumes which you wouldn’t want in your garden and around your family.
What’s more, they don’t have a fuel tank and a filter, meaning that they are much easier to maintain. No oil mixing and filter cleaning – just push a button and you’re good to go.
And after you’ve finished cutting, all you need to do is turn it off and put it in your shed.
But what corded chainsaws have in convenience, they lack in mobility. The cord restricts your ability to use the chainsaw if you’re far away from a power source. Additionally, the cord can also get in the way and tangle with the surrounding plants and trees.
Another guide that’s worth taking a look at is the one from Which?, so be sure to check that out too.
Electric cordless chainsaws
Cordless chainsaws work in the same way as corded models. The only difference is the power source – battery packs.
Many people think that cordless tools are closer to a toy than a tool, but they are wrong. In recent times, cordless tools, including chainsaws, can match and even outperform their corded counterparts.
Additionally, with the latest advancements in technology, their motors are finely tuned to perform very efficiently in order to save the battery. These advancements have improved the battery life as well – they last just as long as a gas tank on a petrol chainsaw, and can be recharged in around an hour.
Is a cordless chainsaw the right thing for you?
Being powered by a battery that’s located in the chainsaw itself means that you can use cordless chainsaws anywhere you want.
Even though they lack the power of a petrol chainsaw, they are great for cutting garden branches and DIY projects. They can easily cut up to 8-inch thick wood, which is more than enough for smaller projects.
Moreover, they are remarkably quiet with noise levels of around 90 dB. Compared to petrol chainsaws who can even reach the human pain limit threshold with up to 120 dB, that’s quite an improvement.
All of this means that you can easily use them in your garage without disturbing your family or your neighbours.
And the best part? They are incredibly lightweight so you don’t need to worry about sore arms, even after long use.
Getting the best value out of your chainsaw mostly depends on what kinds of tasks will you use it for. For bigger projects that require cutting thick trees for a longer time, a petrol chainsaw is needed.
Just make sure to properly maintain it and wear protective headphones as they can get pretty loud.
And for smaller, back garden projects, an electric chainsaw will do the job just fine. You can choose between a corded and a cordless model, depending on your preferences, but with modern technology cordless models offer the same benefits without the hassle of a cord.