Are you looking for an alternative to an engine-powered chainsaw? Then an electric chainsaw might be something for you. You can use it to cut hardwood, firewood and concrete, and all you need is a power source. Many craftsmen swear by the efficiency of electronic chainsaws. But what are the differences between electric chainsaws and motor chainsaws and what criteria do you have to consider when buying?
In our electric chainsaw test 2021 we show you the best and latest models that are available. We also give you important information and helpful tips on the correct use of chainsaws. You will find the best electric chainsaws on the market.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Electric Chainsaw: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an electric chainsaw
- 5 Decision: What types of chainsaws are there and which is the right one for me?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate chainsaws
- 7 Facts worth knowing about electric chainsaws
- 7.1 Who should use electric chainsaws and what are the requirements?
- 7.2 Where can I get spare parts and accessories for a chainsaw?
- 7.3 Which petrol and oil is suitable for which chainsaw?
- 7.4 Which chain is suitable for which electric chainsaw?
- 7.5 What to do if the electric chainsaw does not start?
- 7.6 What to do if the chainsaw smokes?
The most important facts
- Electric chainsaws are the perfect companion for most forestry work. You should always use the right saw chain depending on whether you want to cut hardwood, firewood or concrete.
- Unlike a conventional motorised chainsaw, an electric chainsaw must always be connected to a cable when in operation.
- The weight, chain speed, displacement, bar length and noise level should all be checked before buying an electric chainsaw.
The Best Electric Chainsaw: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an electric chainsaw
What should I look out for in used electric chainsaws?
Especially in the area of second-hand equipment, there is hardly any warranty Tip: If you don't have a lot of money to spend and you rarely saw, there are smaller and cheaper chainsaws you could buy instead.
What kind of work can be done with chainsaws?
The end justifies the means. All you need is the right saw and the right accessories and you're ready to go. Tip: Please follow the safety instructions on the enclosed instruction manual.
Not all chainsaws are the same. The right model should be chosen depending on the project.
Which electric chainsaw do I use for carving or sculpting?
Carving with a chainsaw requires special chainsaws that are pointed at the front. In this way you can carve furniture, sculptures and the like. Carving involves working with different woods and degrees of hardness, which is why you need different swords in this case.
When carving, you should look out for particularly light, low-noise and low-vibration chain saws with a chain tensioner on the side and a length of 3 cm. The same criteria apply to carving. However, you must make sure that you have chosen and tensioned the right chain for stone and plaster.
Which electric chainsaw do I use for hardwood?
For hardwood, make sure you choose a chainsaw that is as powerful as possible. Of course, there are also powerful electric chainsaws, but in this case a petrol chainsaw makes more sense because it has more power from the start. If you still want a powerful electric chainsaw, it should have at least 1,800 watts.
Tip: If you work a lot with hardwood, remember to sharpen or replace your blades regularly, as hardwood puts more strain on your blades than conventional firewood. The faster the chain speed, the closer you get to a "cut like butter" saying.
Which electric chainsaw do I use for firewood?
When you want to cut firewood, it all depends on whether you want to cut trees yourself or just reduce already cut wood. Based on your task, you need to ask yourself which type of drive makes sense for my needs? If you need power, take a petrol chainsaw that you can take with you into the forest.
If you only want to cut small pieces of wood in the garden or cellar, go for a light electric chainsaw. Tip: Look at these criteria to decide what makes sense for your purpose: drive type, weight, blade length, vibration and noise.
Which electric chainsaw should I use for concrete?
Concrete and masonry pose a particularly demanding challenge to your chainsaw, as they are extremely hard and robust. To be able to cut them, you need a chainsaw with diamond saw chains, a cooling water tank and an air filter.
This is for the following reasons: When you cut stone, your chainsaw can heat up quickly and needs to be cooled to keep your blade from shattering. Also, when you cut stone, a lot of dust is released into the air, which is why you need the air filter.
All in all, chainsaws for concrete are extremely powerful custom-made tools for professionals. If you ever need to cut stone or masonry, get a powerful chainsaw with diamond chains, a cooling water tank and an air filter.
Are there electric chainsaws for left-handers?
Can I also rent or borrow chainsaws there?
You can rent a chainsaw at a DIY store for about 35 to 50 euros per day.
How much do chainsaws cost?
These tools are very reliable in their performance and offer you consistent and solid results even after intensive use. So if you often do woodwork, you should choose a device from this sector. Depending on the quality and the manufacturer, professional machines can cost up to 800 euros. These tools are mostly used by professionals. For an average price of 570 euros, you get very good quality.
However, if you plan to use your chainsaw only a few times a year, you should choose a cheaper version. here you have a short list of corresponding devices, sorted in descending order.
|Electric chainsaw lower price range||70 € to 150 €|
|Motorised chainsaw lower price range||75 € to 215 €|
|Electric chainsaw middle price range||150 € to 400 €|
|Motorised chainsaw middle price range||230 € to 475 €|
|Professional chainsaw||from 500 €|
Decision: What types of chainsaws are there and which is the right one for me?
Basically, a distinction is made between two types of chainsaws.
- Electric chainsaws
- Motorised chainsaws
Both types work according to the same principle, but with the help of a different energy source. This entails certain advantages and disadvantages, which we would like to present to you at a glance.
Within these two types of chainsaws, there are different motors or energy generators. Depending on what kind of work you want to do, i.e. what kind of material you want to cut, you have to choose the right cutter for your needs. In the following section, we would like to help you make the right choice for you.
How does an electric chainsaw work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Whether electric or petrol-powered, chainsaws always work on the same principle: a driving force moves a crankshaft on which a centrifugal clutch is mounted. The rotation of the crankshaft is transmitted to the clutch bell, which drives the chain sprocket.
This in turn moves the chain. The biggest advantage an electric chainsaw has over a motorised chainsaw is probably its environmental friendliness. "Where there is smoke, there is fire" i.e. combustion engines always cause CO2 emissions. You can find more advantages and disadvantages here:
How does a motorised chain saw work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
As the name suggests, motorised chainsaws are powered by a built-in engine. As with more common internal combustion engines (e.g. in cars), they need to be fuelled with petrol and oil. However, as mentioned above, the principle is the same.
The biggest advantage of a motorised cutter is the power and intensity: If you need a strong saw, e.g. because you have to cut through a thick trunk, you should buy a motorised chain saw. You can find more advantages and disadvantages here:
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate chainsaws
In the following section, we will show you which factors are important for chainsaws so that you can make the right choice for your purposes. So take a look at the next section and get informed. Important factors are the following:
- Chain speed
- Stroke capacity
- Bar length
- Weight / tank capacity
- Catalytic converter / volume
- Tool-free chain tensioning
- Safety brake
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
The chain speed is expressed in metres per second (m/s), i.e. the distance a chain travels around the bar. For example, if a bar has a circumference of 40 centimetres, at a value of 15 metres per second, the chain would rotate around the bar approximately 60 times per second. This value is important to know how fast your chainsaw is. The higher the chain speed, the faster you can cut through a thick tree trunk, for example.
The chain speed is of course related to the engine power. A powerful engine means a fast rotation. We have already touched on the subject of power above. Here we will discuss it again in more detail and help you make a decision when buying your chainsaw. Whether powered by electricity or petrol, there are considerable differences in performance even within these categories.
It is not so much the result that is influenced by this, but the power that you have to add when working. You can assume that chainsaws with petrol engines tend to have a higher power output, i.e. they can cut through material faster and more efficiently.
Electric chainsaws, on the other hand, are somewhat weaker, but convince with their lightness and ease of use. First determine what you need a chainsaw for. If you want to cut real trees, your chainsaw should have at least 5 hp or 3700 watts.
However, such chainsaws are completely unsuitable for domestic use due to their weight. If you want your chainsaw to be well-balanced in terms of power, look for a horsepower figure of 3.5, which corresponds to a wattage of 2600watts. The longer the bar of your saw, the more teeth the chain has and the higher the cutting capacity. Then not only the motor must be powerful, but also the user.
A 70 cm guide bar is too big for home use. As a private person, a 30 cm guidebar is sufficient for most purposes. If you are felling large trees in the forest, a 40cm centreboard. In terms of power and mobility, a petrol chainsaw is still unmatched, but it is also noisy, smells unpleasant and needs to be serviced after every working day."
The cubic capacity refers to the part of the cylinder in which the piston of an engine moves. Since it is the volume, the cubic capacity is measured in cubic metres (ccm or also cm3). In other words, displacement is the total power potential of an engine and is related to horsepower.
Therefore, if an engine has a large volume, this implies a high horsepower number. A high horsepower number means a large engine and therefore more weight of the chainsaw. Here is a small table that you can use as a guide:
|Displacement||Weight||Power KW||Power HP||Power-to-weight ratio|
The length of the blade is important for the diameter of the object you want to cut. You cannot cut a metre-thick tree with a small 35 centimetre saw. Your saw would only get stuck in the trunk. For that you need a much bigger saw with a longer chain.
Please note that the motor power must be at least 1 hp or 800 watts per decimetre of bar length. So if you go for a larger cutter, you also have to expect more weight due to a larger fuel tank (petrol engine) and also more power.
Weight / tank capacity
The weight of chainsaws correlates with the size of their tanks. Motor chainsaws, for example, have an additional tank for petrol and therefore weigh more. The smaller the tank, the lighter the saw, but also the lower the power. Large engines usually have a larger fuel tank, as more fuel is needed to ensure high performance.
Conversely, chainsaws with smaller fuel tanks have less power. Thesmallest fuel tank on the cutter in our list is 300 millilitres. Compared to other chainsaws, this is relatively small and the weight is therefore low. This point is also little different for the oil tank. The only difference to the petrol tank is that both motor and electric chainsaws have an oil tank, as the chains of both types need to be oiled regularly.
However, the oil tank is usually no more than 200 millilitres and does not add too much weight. Here you should look out for an automatic oil pump, because then you only have to make sure you have enough oil, which can save you a lot of trouble
Catalytic converter / volume
Catalytic converters, as you already know from combustion engines in cars, are responsible for drastically reducing the emission of pollutants. Roughly speaking, this works as follows: Combustion pollutants such as hydrocarbons (CmHn), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are converted by chemical processes into non-toxic substances such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and nitrogen (N2).
In some cases, 100% of the pollutants can be converted. To achieve this, an operating temperature of 500 °C is required, which can be reached in combustion engines within 5 minutes of starting. Bear in mind, however, that this problem only arises if you are using a petrol chainsaw. You do not need to worry about this with electric chainsaws. Just remember that electric chainsaws can also consume a lot of energy in the form of electricity.
The noise level of chainsaws should also be a factor in your buying criteria. You should make sure that your chainsaw is not too loud so as not to pollute your environment. There is also a noise ordinance that restricts the use of chainsaws on certain days and at certain times.
Of course, you are not committing a criminal offence if you use your chainsaw on a day of rest, but you are committing an administrative offence in the sense of § 16 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 2 of the Equipment Safety Act.
It is better to invest in a quieter chainsaw. This will not only benefit you, but also your surroundings.
Since it is difficult to assign the decibel number to specific noises, we provide you with a list of sound sources, the corresponding decibel numbers and the dangers.
|Sound level(dB)||Sound source||Danger|
|10||rustling leaves||not dangerous|
|35||room fan||not dangerous|
|45||quiet flat||not dangerous but disturbs concentration|
|50||soft radio music||not dangerous but disturbs concentration|
|60||normal conversation||not dangerous but disturbs concentration|
|70||Hoover||risk increase of diseases|
|80||heavy traffic||risk increase of diseases|
|90||hand grinder||dangerous with prolonged exposure|
|110||chain saw||dangerous with prolonged exposure|
All chainsaws range between 85 and 120 decibels. If you regularly use a chainsaw at these levels, you may not only be putting your health at risk, but also that of your neighbours, and you could even be prosecuted. So do yourself a favour and make sure your chainsaw for domestic use is as quiet as possible.
Tool-free chain tensioning
Many chainsaws allow tool-free chain tensioning with a simple chain tensioning system. This allows you to (un)tension your saw chain very easily and without tools, quickly and effortlessly via an adjusting wheel. This is often located under a cover. Advantages:
- Without tools
- Chain tensioning fixes the guide bar by itself.
- Easy maintenance and cleaning.
First loosen the sprocket cover from your hand. If you turn the adjusting wheel to the left, the chain relaxes and you can replace it. Then insert the new chain and turn the adjusting wheel to the right. The guide bar fixes itself.
A safety brake is designed to prevent the chain from overrunning after the motor has been switched off, thus ensuring your safety. However, it does much more: it also ensures that the motor stops.
All chainsaws rotate clockwise and move downwards at the front of the tip. When contact is made with wood at this point, the saw abruptly moves upwards according to the interaction principle and a kick-back occurs. This can tear the saw from your hand and cause serious injuries. Fatalities can also occur.
All chainsaws have a hand guard or a chain brake bar that you can use to release the safety brake. The engine and chain will then stop within 0.2 seconds. You can bring your chainsaw to a standstill in several ways:
- Push forward with the left hand,
- Touching with the back of your hand when the saw moves upwards (like a kickback) and you still have your hand firmly on the second handle,
- SafeMatic. This stops the chain brake using the moment of inertia. Moment of inertia is the resistance of a rigid body to a change in its rotational motion about a given axis. So if there is a kickback, the hand guard folds forward and releases the safety brake.
Facts worth knowing about electric chainsaws
Who should use electric chainsaws and what are the requirements?
A motorised or electric cutter for household use is not a must, but it makes the work immensely easier. In principle, chainsaws can be used by anyone who is physically able to do so. However, if you are taking strong medication, you are advised not to use it. If you want to saw on your property, you can do so without hesitation.
Just be careful of the noise so as not to disturb your neighbours. However, you cannot just buy a chainsaw and start sawing. If you want to cut on someone else's property or in the forest, the legal situation is different, because in this case you need a chainsaw licence.
Tip: To learn how to use a chainsaw, you can attend a course. In this course you will learn safety instructions and facts about your saw. If you take a course, you can reduce your risk of accidents by up to 90 percent.
Where can I get spare parts and accessories for a chainsaw?
You can usually get accessories and protective clothing where you bought your chainsaw. If this is not the case, you can get accessories at any DIY store near you. You can get special spare parts for repair purposes online or in specialist shops if they are not available in the DIY store.
Tip: If you rent a chainsaw, you can often get protective clothing for an extra charge. This is worthwhile if you only want to use a chainsaw once.
If you need spare parts and your product is still under warranty, use them, because the cost of repairs often exceeds the value of the machine.
Which petrol and oil is suitable for which chainsaw?
Most chainsaws have a two-stroke engine. Therefore, you should make sure that you have a balanced ratio of engine oil and fuel, which should not be less than 90 RON. Make sure you use a high quality fuel to keep your chainsaw running for a long time. In addition, your fuel should not contain lead for environmental reasons.
Tip: There is a view that you could use cooking oil, such as rapeseed oil or sunflower oil, to oil the chains. Of course, you can also use cooking oil in an emergency if you have no other option, but you should not let this become the norm. The viscosity (consistency) of cooking oil is far from sufficient to oil the chains.
The result is increased wear of the chains and dull blades. In the worst case, your oil supply can become clogged. So make sure you always have the right chain oil and engine oil available. Also make sure that your chain oil is transparent.
Which chain is suitable for which electric chainsaw?
Choosing the right chain is no trick. You only have to consider the tooth shape and the quality of the chain. There are two types of tooth shape: full chisel and half chisel. half-chisels are recommended for private use because they are less demanding and require less resharpening. The quality of the chain should be high so that they need to be resharpened less often if they are used for a long time.
What to do if the electric chainsaw does not start?
Electric chainsaw: Electronics are very complex and prone to failure. This is especially true for your electric chainsaw. If it does not start, it could be the cable or the fuse. Make sure that both are intact before you remove parts of the saw.
If you use your electric chainsaw a lot, an overload can cause a temporary malfunction. In this case, let your cutter rest for 10 to 20 minutes. In some cases, the electric chainsaw is simply defective, which could be due to a loose contact on the throttle.
If your electric chainsaw is still under warranty, simply replace it, as the repair costs usually exceed the purchase price. It can also happen that the chainsaw starts but the chain does not turn. This is due to wear on the drive links. Remove the chain cover and replace the drive sprocket.
Power chainsaw: If the power chainsaw does not start anymore, it can be due to various reasons. Sometimes it is because the spark plugs are sooted or the air filter is dirty, which is not uncommon if you use your chainsaw a lot.
In this case, you need to clean or replace the spark plugs or air filter. Starting problems are also often caused by bad or incorrectly mixed fuel. The quality of the fuel deteriorates, especially when the machine is not used for a long time. If you suspect this, fill up with ASPEN 2 and start the engine. If it starts, you have found the cause.
Sometimes it can also be due to a dirty carburettor. The carburettor ensures a correct air-fuel ratio. If the engine is used frequently, dirt will also accumulate there. The carburettor is located below the air filter. Either remove the carburettor yourself and clean it, or have a workshop do it for you.
Tip: You can do a lot of things wrong with the carburettor. For this reason, you should consider having it removed by a workshop.
What to do if the chainsaw smokes?
Of course, a chain saw that is smoking is worrying, but you should not panic immediately, because the cause is often very banal and easy to fix. The first thing to do is to observe when the smoke starts: Smoke when vaginalising?
If your saw smokes when you cut and leaves black lines on the wood, you have probably put the chain on the wrong way round. In this case, simply remove the chain and replace it correctly. It is also possible that the housing seal is leaking and chain oil is being burnt, which is causing the smoke.
You can easily replace the housing seal as a spare part. It is also possible that the carburettor is incorrectly adjusted and is releasing air particles into the air, which you have identified as smoke. This can be remedied:
- H and L are the mixture adjustment screws
- L is the idle setting
- H is the setting up to full throttle
Tip: If you don't dare to touch the carburettor, have it fixed in a workshop.
Photocredit: Pixabay.com / mikkooja1977