A DeWalt battery operated saw and a Husqvarna gas powered saw each have their optimal use scenarios.
With technical advancements in the last five years, the chainsaw market has shifted considerably. Two significant brands – DeWalt and Stihl – introduced battery operated chainsaws. They weren’t the first battery powered saws, but they are the first to really nail functionality and compete with the performance of gas powered chainsaws. At Murdoch’s, we now get this question a lot: how do I choose between gas and battery powered saws? We’ve detailed the pros and cons below.
- Quiet: When the saw isn’t cutting, the motor is silent. Even when the saw is cutting, it is much quieter than a gas saw. This can have its advantages for folks who live in communities with noise ordinances.
- No exhaust fumes mean they can be used indoors and are better for the environment.
- Most battery operated saws weigh around 8-10 lbs including the battery. Lightweight designs:
- Are easier to maneuver (which has subsequent safety benefits)
- Let you work longer by reducing fatigue
- Offer improved portability
- No gas is a pro in-and-of-itself:
- You don’t have to mix it
- You don’t have to have it on hand to refuel
- You won’t spill it
- You won’t flood your engine
- To start the engine, you flip a switch. No more pull cords, which annoy some users and sometimes break.
- Brands like DeWalt and STIHL have developed interchangeable systems so you can swap batteries between other power tools. You may not have to purchase a spare if you already invest in these brands.
- Maintenance is minimal
- When you are ready to store it, you just put it away and charge the battery for next time.
- Your cutting time is limited to your battery length. Many users get around this limitation by purchasing spare batteries.
- Locations are limited by recharging outlets. If you aren’t cutting near a power source, you can’t recharge a battery, no matter how many you have in your arsenal. Remote and rural locations aren’t ideal for battery use, unless you’re also packing a generator (in which case, you might as well pack the mixed gas instead.)
- Depending on your make/model, you may be sacrificing power with a battery. Investing in quality brands like Stihl and DeWalt can mitigate this.
- Power is never really a sacrifice. Gas engines go full steam ahead, and this is huge considering that if you’re buying a saw, you need it to perform to the best of its abilities.
- You can go anywhere with your saw, unlimited by access to a power outlet.
- You don’t have to mix your own gas if you buy it premixed in convenient, easy-to-transport bottled quarts.
- Runtime is only limited by your gas supply.
- They have a better reputation for cutting large trees and branches.
- There is a huge variety of models and features available on the market, which means you can get exactly the bar length, engine, and features that are optimal for you.
- They weigh more, which can create fatigue and aren’t as easy to maneuver.
- Depending on the model you purchase, they can be more expensive initially to purchase.
- They aren’t ideal for today’s suburban areas. It may or may not bother you, but they are loud to operate and emit fumes.
- If you run out of gas, your day is done.
- When you store the saw, you will need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to store a fuel-powered saw. If you don’t, you could run into repair costs.