Different Types of Chainsaws – Features, Pros, Cons

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Whether you need a chainsaw for light-duty yard works or professional and commercial uses, all you need to know about the different types of chainsaws to get the perfect one. In fact, first-time buyers may find it extremely confusing to choose the most suitable type from the various categories.

Different Types of Chainsaws

Hope, this guide will be very helpful to you to compare the different types, their major features, advantages, and shortcomings.

Read along!

Different Types of Chainsaws

Depending on the power options

  •  Electric
  •  Gas-powered

#1 Electric

Electric chainsaws are good for light-duty yard jobs- pruning, trimming that requires less power. These are suitable for small jobs that require less power. You’ll find both corded and cordless (battery-powered) varieties.


  • Easy to start
  • Quieter than gas-powered chainsaws
  • Requires less maintenance

Cordless-electric (battery-powered)

Cordless chainsaws resemble their corded counterparts; the only dissimilarity is cordless version has rechargeable batteries. This feature makes them more portable than the corded version.

The Good-

  • Offers better mobility
  • The battery adds weight to the unit

The Bad-

  • Limits operating time
  • Need to recharge the battery

Corded Electric Chainsaws

Corded Electric Chainsaws

Corded- electric chainsaws need to be plugged directly into a power outlet to work. So, these are the least portable type of chainsaws. However, these are incredibly light and very affordable.

What’s more, electric chainsaws don’t need any fuel mixing. Hence, these are easier to maintain than gas-powered chainsaws. This type is perfect for yard work around the home such as limb and firewood cutting, light pruning.

The Good-

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • The least portable
  • Doesn’t require recharge or refuel

The Bad-

  • Limits the work area by the cord length
  • For safety reason, you need to keep the cord out of the way as you work

#2 Gas-powered

Gas Powered Chainsaws

Gas-powered chainsaws are usually powered by gasoline (petrol). Generally, they feature 2-stroke or 2-cycle engine.

These are the most powerful and effective of all engine types. They range from Light-duty to professional –grade models. They are popular among the occasional and professional and chainsaw users.

The Good-

  • Most powerful and heavy-duty
  • Ideal for cutting a lot of wood in the shortest possible time or cutting down entire trees and thick limbs
  • Run longer than all other types

The Bad-

  • Need to mix the fuel yourself (premix fuel are also available)
  • Loudest, and heaviest
  • Emit fumes so not environment-friendly
  • Produce more vibration

Comparison Table

Gas poweredCorded-electricCordless- electric
Easy to maneuverEasy to startOffers unlimited mobility  
Heavier and largerLightweightBattery adds to weight  
Most powerfulLess powerful than gas-powered modelHave reduced-power capacity than the corded electric chainsaws
Requires fuelRequire heavier special extension cordsRequires rechargeable battery
Best for heavy-duty cutting jobsBest for general purpose and light-duty cutting jobsBest for occasional cutting jobs
Requires regular maintenanceLow maintenanceLow maintenance    
More expensiveConsiderably cheaper than gasoline-powered and battery-powered chain sawsThe most expensive models

Based on the overall design-

Pole Saws

A small chainsaw is attached to the one end of the extension pole of this type of saw. These saws are used to enhance your reach for eliminating, cutting or trimming small, thick limbs. Pole saws are handy if you need to cut high-tree branches.

 By removing the extension pole, you can convert them to the regular chainsaws. Pole saws can be corded-electric, battery- or gas- powered.

Top-handle chainsaws

In the top-handle chainsaw, the engine or fuel tank is located right underneath the handle. These are designed to be used single-handedly safely. These are comfortable for limbing operation at extreme heights. These are not recommended to use while on the ground. Top-handled chainsaws are compact, lighter and extremely maneuverable.

Rear-handle chainsaws

Rear-handle chainsaw offers ample leverage for good control. These are designed for 2-handed use. In fact, rear-hale chainsaws are almost impossible to use with one-hand. These are safer to use especially if kickback occurs.

Based on The User’s Need-

Lightweight/ Small Chainsaw

If you need a chainsaw for some light-duty and occasional yard work such as pruning or trimming thin branches or tough hedges, a lightweight, small chainsaw can be a good option.

Professional/ Commercial- Grade Chainsaw

If you’re a professional and your occupation involves frequent or hard woodwork, there is no substitute for a professional chainsaw. These kinds of chainsaws boast of more capacity, power and durability than the average chainsaws.

Other Chainsaw Types

Standard/ Traditional chainsaws

Standard chainsaws come with front and rear handles on the motor/ engine housing. However, there are some variations. They are perfect for heavy cutting jobs. But you can use them for light-duty work too. On the positives, they are most powerful, but on the negatives, they have limited reach. You also need to use a ladder to trim the high tree branches.

Manual/ hand-powered Chainsaws

Manual chainsaws require no fuel or electricity to run. These offer less power capacity than the engine or motor-driven chainsaws. In general, these are used to trim wood or cut firewood for camp. Using manual chainsaw is tiresome as they need effort. However, these are environ-friendly as they don’t exhaust or produce noise. Manual chainsaws are highly portable, convenient and affordable. One type of manual chainsaw is the pocket chainsaw. This ultra-portable tool increases your chances of survival out in the wild

Safety Chainsaws

Safety chainsaws come with a set of jaws or an enclosure surrounding the cutting bar. This special design offers additional protection from the chain. The teeth on the jaw help to grip the wood you’re cutting.

Concrete/ Metal cutting Chainsaws

Concrete chainsaws are powered by hydraulic- or pneumatic- motors or gasoline engines. These are mainly used in construction or demolition works. You can easily cut through and reinforced concrete walls with a steel bar, steel plates and much more with this type of saw. Concrete chainsaw works like sandpaper- grind down the upper layer of the objects at an extremely fast pace.

To work faster by using less fuel, it’s essential to keep the chain as sharp as possible. To keep your chainsaw chain sharper and efficient you should use the best chainsaw sharpener.

Summing Up

Hope, this article has helped you to learn more about the different types of chainsaws. And you’re no more confused to choose the best type to meet your needs.

Before buying a chainsaw, ask yourself what you need the chainsaw for.

Happy sawing!

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