Electric vs Gas Chainsaws: Which is Better for Firewood?

Updated on February 2, 2023 by

Gas chainsaws are typically more powerful, while electric chainsaws are lighter and quieter. Electric chainsaws are better suited for landscapers and homeowners, while gas chainsaws are better suited for timber workers and heavy industry.

Choosing between an electric vs gas chainsaw depends on what and where you plan on cutting. Gas chainsaws are necessary for felling large trees. Electric chainsaws are better suited for dealing with small trees and light landscaping. 

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw

Electric Chainsaw Advantages

The main difference between an electric and a gas chainsaw is the power source. Electric chainsaws rely on electricity, while gas chainsaws rely on gas. 

Electric chainsaws are available in corded and cordless models. Corded chainsaws require access to an electrical outlet. Cordless electric chainsaws use a rechargeable battery for power.

Corded and cordless chainsaws offer several advantages compared to gas chainsaws: 

  • Lightweight
  • Easier to maintain
  • More affordable 
  • Produces less noise

Electric chainsaws are lighter compared to gas chainsaws. An electric chainsaw does not have a fuel tank or an oil tank. 

Gas-powered chainsaws can weigh 10 to 20 pounds. Electric chainsaws may weigh 6 to 10 pounds. A lighter tool is less tiring on your arms, so you can hold a lighter tool for longer without straining your muscles.

Electric chainsaws have fewer parts, which makes them easier to maintain and less likely to break down. Gas chainsaws require regular maintenance to continue operating smoothly. You need to check and change the oil and deal with the gradual wear and tear of other components, such as the carburetor. 

Electric chainsaws are more affordable. They have fewer parts, which makes them easier and cheaper to produce. 

Corded electric chainsaws are the best choice if you want the cheapest chainsaw. The lack of a rechargeable battery helps lower the price of a cordless electric chainsaw.

Electric chainsaws are quieter. An electric chainsaw produces about 90 to 102 dB of noise. A gas chainsaw produces 110 to 120 dB of noise. 

I use hearing protection whether I use an electric or gas chainsaw, but an electric one is less likely to cause permanent hearing damage. 

An electric chainsaw is more comparable to the noise of a lawnmower, snowmobile, or power tool. A gas chainsaw can reach the same noise levels produced by a jet airplane during take-off. 

Overall, an electric chainsaw is more convenient to store, use, and maintain. However, you also need to consider the drawbacks. 

Ryobi Electric Chainsaw
Ryobi Electric Chainsaw

Electric Chainsaw Disadvantages

Electric chainsaws come with several disadvantages over the typical gas chainsaw:

  • Not as powerful
  • Not suitable for use in the rain
  • Requires a power source

Electric chainsaws are not as powerful as the typical gas chainsaw. Less power means that the chain rotates at a slower speed and cuts at a slower rate. It may take longer to get through larger trees using an electric chainsaw. 

Electric chainsaws are not designed for use in the rain. Water can damage the electric components. Using a corded electric chainsaw in the rain may also create the risk of electrocution.

Electric chainsaws require a power source, which may be an issue when working in remote areas without electrical hookups. A rechargeable battery can only last so long before it needs to be recharged. You can use a cordless electric chainsaw in remote areas but may need to bring a backup battery. 

Gas Chainsaw Advantages

A gas chainsaw provides several important advantages over an electric chainsaw:

  • More powerful 
  • Available with longer bars
  • Suitable for use in the rain
  • Great for work in remote areas

Gas chainsaws are more powerful compared to electric chainsaws. The power of a gas chainsaw allows the chain to rotate around the bar at a faster speed. A faster speed allows you to cut stronger, thicker wood. 

Gas chainsaws are also available with longer bars. The extra power and longer bar length are necessary for cutting down large trees. 

You can also use a gas chainsaw in the rain. Using an electric chainsaw in the rain is dangerous due to the risk of electrocution or shock. 

Gas chainsaws are also my preferred option for use in remote areas. You do not need access to an electrical outlet. You simply refill the fuel tank when you run out of gas. 

Makita Gas Chainsaw

Gas Chainsaw Disadvantages

Here are some of the potential drawbacks of using a gas chainsaw over an electric one:

  • Heavier
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Greater safety concerns

Gas chainsaws weigh more compared to electric chainsaws. Using a heavy gas chainsaw can be exhausting, especially if you just perform light landscaping around your property. 

A gas chainsaw can weigh up to 20 pounds, while the typical electric chainsaw weighs less than 10 pounds. 

You may not need a large, hulking gas chainsaw to cut down a few small limbs and branches. An electric chainsaw can get the work done and weighs much less.

Gas chainsaws also require more maintenance. You need to change the oil at least once per season and check it regularly. You also need to drain any remaining fuel from the fuel tank when you are done using it for the year.

Gas chainsaws are potentially more dangerous compared to electric chainsaws. The most common safety hazards when using a chainsaw include kickback, pushback, and pull-in. These risks are greater when using a powerful gas chainsaw. 

Transporting gas also creates safety concerns. You must ensure that you have enough gas, which may involve transporting a gas can. The fumes from the gas can are dangerous to inhale, which you do not need to worry about with an electric chainsaw. 

Electric vs Gas Chainsaw Comparison

Use the following table to compare electric and gas chainsaws:

Key MetricsElectric ChainsawGas Chainsaw
Bar Length6 to 12 inches12 to 20 inches
Weight 6 to 12 pounds10 to 20 pounds
PowerBattery or CordedGas
Noise90 to 102 dB110 to 120 dB

A gas chainsaw is best used for felling large trees. You may prefer a gas chainsaw if your property is heavily wooded. 

Yet, an electric chainsaw may be the best option for the typical homeowner. It is lighter, quieter, and perfect for landscaping tasks. 

Photo of author

Michael Culligan

I am a lumber worker who performed logging services for Oregan's forestry industry for over a decade. I have spent years honing my skills and experience to become a well-rounded axeman. I enjoy timbersports and have ranked in my local lumberjack competitions. I'm exited to share my knowledge of axes and lumber tools with everyone to help. I also have a large collection of restored vintage axes that I carefully maintain.