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When it comes to heavy-duty tree cutting, nothing gets the job done better than a gas powered chainsaw.

These roaring beasts are popular with construction companies, arborists, lumberjacks, and homeowners who need to take care of some serious business.

In this article, our Tool Nerds team will break down the inner workings of gas chainsaws, highlighting their best features and where they work best in the industry.
Guide to Gas Chainsaws
We’ve recommended some of our favorite gas powered chainsaws in the past, and we invite you to revisit those reviews as it can help you make an informed choice when it comes to picking a chainsaw that works best for you.
If you’re interested in a traditional, large, and heavy-duty chainsaw, gas powered is definitely the way to go. Here’s what we love most about these original power tools.

Where Are Gas Chainsaws Typically Used?


Gas powered chainsaws are the industry standard in the world of construction and outdoor work. Only a gas chainsaw can fell trees and cut up thick pieces of lumber in a timely and efficient manner. In fact, these devices often possess the perfect combination of mobility and power.
Most gas chainsaws come in the standard chainsaw design, which features handles on both ends for a steady grip. This allows the user to maintain steady control of the powerful machine at all times. They are most commonly seen in forests, where large pieces of lumber are being cut down.
A gas chainsaw is used over an electric or battery powered chainsaw when it comes to:
  • Felling large trees
  • Cutting medium-sized trees
  • Chopping large amounts of firewood
  • Trimming large branches off trees
Some professionals in the construction or maintenance industry may also be seen using gas chainsaws to clean up large amounts of debris after a storm or natural disaster. They can prune plants and chop up large pieces of wood to make the cleanup process easier. Since gas chainsaws typically hold the most power, they are the best choice for long-term or heavy-duty jobs.

How do Gas Chainsaws Work?


Gas chainsaws use a combination of gasoline and oil in order to function. They work in a similar fashion to a car engine, because without both of these materials the machine parts simply would not function. Other forms of petrol can be used to power the chainsaw as well.
How Do Gas Chainsaws Work
There is a large fuel tank next to the shroud of the engine, which can take up to 1 pint of gasoline at a time. This is enough for a consistent, 20-minute running of the motor before it’s time to refuel again. However, the run time of a gas chainsaw depends heavily on the displacement of the cylinder as well as the engine’s initial fuel efficiency to begin with. You can also add different sized loads for different sized jobs.
Because they use fuel to run the blade, they are naturally more powerful than a chainsaw that uses electricity or batteries. This is because the powerful motor uses gasoline in a small combustion engine to get the long blade running on a consistent basis. This is why they are typically the most sought after kind of chainsaw in the forestry industry.
Take note that most gas chainsaws are only available at professional levels. While you can find some of our greatest picks on Amazon, we recommend that you take the time to consider your budget and your DIY needs before purchasing one. Some of the more advanced models come with anti-vibration technology, which helps to prevent kickband when you’re holding one for an extended period of time. Plus, there is always an emergency off button, called a Stop Switch, usually located on the rear handle of the chainsaw.
The powerful bar and chain can range anywhere from 16” to 22” on a gas powered chainsaw. This means that these are the biggest cutting bars in the industry. They typically stick out from the revving engine, making sure that the blade runs consistently. One of the drawbacks of electric and battery powered saws is that sometimes the blade does not run very smoothly.

Advantages of a Gas Chainsaw over Other Brands


There’s a reason why gas chainsaws have been around for as long as they have. Since these machines can pack a punch, there’s no replacing them in certain aspects. However, that doesn’t mean that the other types of chainsaws aren’t contenders as well. In this section, we’ll highlight some of the biggest advantages we’ve found to using a gas powered chainsaw over another type of saw or power tool. You can read the list and decide for yourself whether or not this is the right kind of chainsaw for you.
The main benefits to using a gas chainsaw are:
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Gas chainsaws do not require a power cord or battery. It can be annoying to have to rely on a battery to be fully charged by the time you want to use your chainsaw. With these large and powerful machines, you don’t need to worry about recharging a battery or limiting yourself to the length of an extension cord. Instead, you have the freedom of mobility, allowing you to carry the chainsaw to wherever you need in order to get the job done.
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Gas chainsaws have the most horsepower of any other type. This offers a lot of benefits when it comes to the best cutting tech and specs. The simple fact is that a gasoline-powered motor just cannot be matched by devices with other forms of energy and fuel. Since they have been around in the industry for the longest, gas chainsaws have been improved over the years with advanced specifications that continue to mark it as the most powerful chainsaw around. If you need to get some major forestry work done, then don’t hesitate to choose a gas powered chainsaw over something else.
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Gas chainsaws are the only kinds of chainsaws that can fell large trees. It’s difficult to cut down a tree with an electric or battery powered saw. These chainsaws are also the premier choice if you’re looking to cut large amounts of hardwood, since the bar and chain is powerful enough to slice through thick wood.
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They are a great choice in case of emergency. You never know when a storm will hit, knocking your trees and debris around in your yard. You may be trapped inside, and only something as powerful as a chainsaw can help you to cut your way out.
The sheer power that these chainsaws bring, coupled with the large chains and fuel efficiency, make this the best choice for those in the professional industry. Arborists and lumberjacks will always choose a traditional gas saw over newer electric or battery powered saws.

But that doesn’t mean they are perfect. Next, we’ll take a look at some of the disadvantages of gas powered chainsaws.

Drawbacks of Gas Chainsaws


If you’re an average homeowner, or you live in a crowded area with a small yard, you may want to steer clear of gas chainsaws. There are a few limitations and drawbacks to these machines that might not make it the best choice for DIY enthusiasts and those working on smaller sized projects. If you are just looking to cut some firewood or prune your branches, you may want to seek an electric or battery powered saw.
Here are a couple other ways that gas chainsaws have a disadvantage:
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Gas chainsaws are extremely loud. The 2-stroke engine can output a maximum of 115 decibels of sound, which is dangerous to the human ear if prolonged over time. They are typically too loud to be used in residential neighborhoods without some sort of clearance or allowance.
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Gas chainsaws are difficult to start and stop. When compared to battery powered saws, which simply turn on and off at the start of a button, gas chainsaws require a cord to be pulled, which starts revving the motor.

It often takes several attempts before the motor is running strong. And after you turn it off, you must repeat the process over again, which can eat up time during a valuable construction project.

Gas Chainsaws In Action
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They must be well maintained. You can’t just leave your gas chainsaw in the garage for a year and then come back to it, expecting it to work. You have to oil the blade regularly, tighten all cords and devices, and maintain the chainsaw quite well to get it up and running each time you want to use it.
It’s clear that gas chainsaws aren’t the best for every situation. However, the power they put out cannot be matched, and if you’re looking for something with raw cutting ability, you can’t go wrong with a gas chainsaw.
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Final Verdict

Gas powered chainsaws may be the oldest in the industry, but they certainly aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, you can rely on gas chainsaws to always serve as the professional standard across a variety of niches. Forestry workers, arborists, woodcutters, construction workers, and heavy-duty landscapers will always choose this traditional saw over its electric and battery powered brethren.

What do we think? Well, ultimately, the choice is up to you. We believe in the raw power of the gas chainsaw to get all of our large jobs done. But if you’re looking for something that can work well with a smaller project, a lighter-duty chainsaw may be the more efficient and affordable option for you.

Guide to Gas Chainsaws

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 10 min
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