An Electric Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide

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Electric Chainsaws

Wanting to save time and energy when cutting wood? Then an electric chainsaw is for you! An electric chainsaw will be considerably more efficient than other methods for chopping wood for a Woodburner, or cutting down trees in your garden.

With so many different electric chainsaws on the market, it can be difficult to know what features to look for and exactly what you need to complete the job at hand. We have created this Buyer’s Guide to help make your purchase of an electric chainsaw a walk in the park!

Only Got 5 Minutes?

In a rush to go and purchase the best electric chainsaw you can for your budget? – then this is the part of the article that you need to be reading! Looking at features to watch out for and what to avoid – keep reading for all you need to know!

Electric Chainsaw Uses

If you are just looking to chop softwood for a fire then you won’t need a massive amount of power from your electric chainsaw, so can probably opt for a lower-spec model. But, if you are cutting hardwood or looking to tackle an out of control tree in your garden, then you will need more power so a higher spec model is in order.

We would recommend spending slightly more for a high-spec tool if you can, as you know that you will be able to rely on your electric chainsaw no matter what the task!

Corded or Cordless

Electric chainsaws come in both corded and cordless models, both of which have many pros and cons. It really depends on exactly what you need your chainsaw to do as to what is going to be right for you.

  • If the budget is something that you are trying to watch then you may be better choosing a corded model, which are considerably cheaper than the cordless options. With corded models ranging from around £100-200 and cordless models starting at around £250 up to £500!
  • The power in cordless models can be considerably less than those that are mains powered – unless you can fork out for a really high-spec model. This means they could find it difficult to complete some of the jobs that you are wanting to use them for. Bear in mind that the more heavy-duty the task, the sooner the battery is going to run out. Spare batteries can be purchased for most models but this adds even more to the cost and you have the issue of remembering to keep them charged and having them to hand when needing changing on a big job.
  • However, choosing a corded model isn’t always the safest option. If you are using a tool that can cut through the branch of a tree, you can be sure that it can cut through your electric cable to your device! This is just something to be mindful of when working if you purchase a corded model!
  • Think about where you are going to be using your tool. If you are going to be close enough to a mains power source (or close enough with an extension cable) then you can probably choose a corded model, but if you are going to be working further away – which is a serious possibility when working with an electric chainsaw – then you may want to consider a cordless model.

Power

As a general rule, you are better choosing the most power that you can get for your money, as you know that you will be able to rely on your electric chainsaw for whatever jobs you are wanting to complete! But equally, there is no point spending a fortune on more power than you need. If looking to cut back relatively small branches (7 inches and less) then you will only need a model with around 10 amps or slightly less. If you have bigger jobs to complete (branches bigger than 20 inches) then you will need a more powerful tool, so look for one with 15 amps or more.

How Heavy Are Electric Chainsaws?

Electric chainsaws range in weight from around 3kg to 5kg – significantly lighter than their petrol counterparts! It is important to consider your own strength and ability when looking at different models of electric chainsaws. Even the best electric chainsaw can be tiring and difficult to use depending on the job that you are completing. Choosing a tool that can overpower is not only dangerous but will actually make the job take longer! As if that isn’t enough, it will also affect how easily you can get to difficult branches if working with live trees and bushes. The heavier the tool, the harder it will be to control when further away from your body.

Does Bar Length Matter?

Yes! Put simply, bar length is the length of the bar on the chainsaw (the part used to cut things!). The longer the bar, the bigger wood that you will be able to cut through in one move. Bar length on domestic chainsaws ranges from between 10-18 inches long. The longer the bar length, the harder it can be to control the tool and balance the weight of it if reaching up high to tackle tall branches.

How Does the Handle Affect the Job?

We know what you’re thinking – “How can the design of the handle affect how easily I can complete a woodcutting job?”. Well actually, the answer is – it can affect it a lot!!

The design of the handle will affect the angles and ways in which you can hold your device, therefore affecting which branches you can reach – and can’t – when working with live trees. It will also affect how quickly you tire and struggle to carry on chopping wood if using your electric chainsaw for softwood. It really is something that is down to personal preference, so consider what you are going to be using your chainsaw for and if you need it to offer more flexibility in cutting angles.

Some have wrap-around handles, which allow much more flexibility in the ways that you can hold the tool. Others have smaller handles for better grip, which are positioned in various places around the tool to aid the ease at which the tool can be used.

Could a Petrol Chainsaw Be Better Suited for Me?

Electric chainsaws have a considerable amount of power and in general, will be able to complete most wood chopping tasks that you could need. High-spec models will even capable of cutting down small trees. However, if completing bigger jobs, then it could be that an electric chainsaw just isn’t up to the task.

Petrol chainsaws can cut down larger trees and have a much longer running time than electric models. They also have greater power and cutting speed than electric chainsaws. But, they aren’t perfect! With the more complex functioning comes a much heavier machine that needs more maintenance. You also have the additional cost of fuel to consider.

Keeping My Electric Chainsaw in Tip-Top Condition

Maintaining your electric chainsaw is important to avoid any unnecessary wear or damage to your tool. It also helps it to work to the best of its ability – and who wouldn’t want that? We would recommend that you take your electric chainsaw to be serviced by professionals once a year to keep it in the best condition, as well as following our advice below on a more regular basis if you are going to be using your tool regularly.

  • Remove dust or debris from the chain after every use to avoid wear. Also, remember to clean your air filter to avoid it getting clogged and overheating your electric chainsaw.
  • Lubricating your electric chainsaw helps to avoid wear of the guide bar and chain. We would recommend lubricating your chainsaw after every use. Many electric chainsaws will come with a visible oil reservoir to see how much oil is left in the tool.
  • Chain tensioning is important for your safety and to maintain your chainsaw. The vibrations of the tool can cause the chain to become loose, which could then lead to it coming off the guide bar – damaging either your machine or you. Some models offer tool-free tensioning, which saves considerable time and hassle. Otherwise tensioning tools will come with your electric chainsaw and allow you to adjust the tension of your chain as needed. If the chain is neatly in contact with the bar but also it can be moved around the bar by hand then you have the correct tension. It is important to let your chain cool before adjusting the tension.
  • Sharpening of the chain should be completed whenever you notice that your chain is becoming blunt (when the debris is coming away as dust instead of more like wood chippings). This helps to ensure that your electric chainsaw is working as efficiently as possible but also to avoid any damage.
  • You should check your manufacturer’s instructions for exactly how to sharpen your chain. However, in general, you can use a file to sharpen the teeth at right angles to the rollers. Remember to keep your chain in a locked position to do this.

Safety Advice for Using an Electric Chainsaw

Electric chainsaws could cause serious accidents if not used correctly, so it is important to follow any safety advice given by the manufacturers of the model that you choose to purchase. We have compiled a list of the main safety advice needed before using your electric chainsaw for the first time.

Kickback

Kickback is when the bar of your chainsaw touches something that it shouldn’t and bounces back off the surface towards you. This can be very dangerous so many models now come with something called an “anti-kickback brake” which helps to prevent this motion being too dramatic!

Safety Wear

Helmets, ear protection, clothing and boots are all equally important if you are going to be using an electric chainsaw. Things can go wrong with even the best electric chainsaw so it is important to protect yourself in these instances!

  • Helmets will protect your head if the bar kicks back and also from any branches that drop if you are working with a live tree.
  • Electric chainsaws can be very loud tools, ear defenders will go some way to protecting you from this!
  • Chainsaw trousers are made of fabric that will slow down a spinning chain if it comes into contact with your leg. It is worth mentioning that it won’t stop the chain completely, but it will give you time to correct your mistake and move the chain away from your leg!
  • Chainsaw gloves and safety boots will protect your precious hands and feet from the tool!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the chains break on electric chainsaws?

Yes, unfortunately, they can. Following our maintenance advice (see above) should protect from this but they have a hard job to do so will start to wear eventually. Replacement chains can be purchased for almost all electric chainsaws and manufacturers will provide specific details on which chain is right for your chainsaw and how to replace this. 

I know my electric chainsaw needs lubricating – but what oil do I choose?

Make sure to only use a specific bar and chain lubrication oil for your electric chainsaw to ensure that it stays well maintained. There have been many rumours in recent years that you can just use vegetable oil to lubricate your electric chainsaw – don’t!! Most manufacturers will recommend their own brand of oil, however, there are generic oils that can be purchased. We would recommend spending the extra bit of money for a higher quality oil as they will include fewer contaminants and last longer.

Why is my electric chainsaw overheating?

There are a number of reasons why electric chainsaws can overheat. If they are not well oiled or are overworked this can lead to overheating, which can then damage the mechanisms inside. Also if the air filter is blocked with dust this could stop the device from being able to maintain a cooler temperature when being used. It could also be something as simple as the temperature outside. If cutting during particularly hot months then this will affect the performance of your device.

About Mike Jones 128 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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