Outdoor project season is just around the corner. Do you have a chainsaw that will power you through everything from cutting down dead trees to handling your woodworking projects? If you don’t, or if yours has given up the ghost this year, here’s what you need to know about buying a new chainsaw.

Chainsaw Basics

Every chainsaw, whether it’s gas, electric or cordless, share the same basic features. They’ve all got the chain, the engine and the blade, commonly called the cutting bar. From there, it all boils down to one thing: The bigger the bar, the bigger the job the saw can do.

The type of chainsaw you need depends on the type of project you usually do. Are you a weekend warrior with a back forty that needs tending? Do you use a saw mainly for cutting plywood or other building materials? Is maneuverability your main concern? The good news? Any way you slice it, we’ve got you covered. The main thing is getting clear on your needs, and the types of saws that best fit those needs. Here’s a buying guide to help you find the right one for you.

Which type of chainsaw is right for me?


A gas chainsaw is the heaviest and most powerful saw in the chainsaw world. If you have big jobs to handle, this is the bad boy to handle them. While they require gas and oil to operate, they're the best equipped to tackle anything you can throw at it, from cutting down dead trees to dispatching that old cedar fence in your yard. They've got power, speed and a very long running time if you’ve got enough fuel.

One thing to note about gas chainsaws: They are not for beginners. Improperly used, a heavy-duty chainsaw can do real damage to your project, and yourself.

Gas chainsaw features

  • Runs on gas and oil
  • Cordless, so you’re not tied to an outlet
  • Large, heavy, very loud and powerful
  • Ideal for the biggest jobs
  • More expensive than other chainsaws
  • Requires yearly maintenance like any gas and oil-powered machine


Maybe you don’t have a wooded yard that needs tending or big projects to tackle. An electric saw might be the best choice for you. Electric chainsaws are lighter than gas saws. They don’t require gas or oil, but you may need to plug it in, especially if you’re doing a lengthy job. These are best suited for lighter projects. In other words, don’t take an electric saw out into the woods to cut down trees, but by all means use it to prune a few branches from the young trees in your yard. Electric saws are especially good if you’re working in close quarters and don’t want to disturb your neighbors because they’re quieter than their gas-powered counterparts. Used cordless, they’ll last for an hour on average. And cords don’t reach everywhere, so you’ll be limited on where you can use it.

Electric chainsaw features

  • Less expensive than gas chainsaws
  • Lighter weight
  • Quieter
  • Less maintenance than gas saws
  • No fuel required
  • Extension cords are required


Cordless chainsaws are ideal when mobility is a big factor. That’s because they’re lightweight like electric saws but they don’t require an extension cord because they’re battery powered.

Cordless chainsaw features

  • Excellent range of motion and mobility — you can take them anywhere
  • Lightweight
  • Battery powered
  • Batteries must be recharged between uses
  • Not as powerful as gas chainsaws but on par with electric

Chainsaw Safety 101

One word: kickback. This is the biggest thing you’ll face when operating any chainsaw. What is kickback? It’s when the bar comes into contact with something it can’t cut, causing the saw to rear back. Here are some other precautions you should take:

  • Never use a chainsaw if you’ve been drinking or if you’ve taken prescription drugs.
  • Wear protective clothing and eyewear. Don’t forget to wear heavy, solid shoes or boots, and do not wear loose clothing.
  • Don’t cut anything above your head.
  • Start the saw on the ground, braced with your foot on the handle.

At Fleet Farm, we have all of your chainsaw needs covered. Come in today and talk with one of our pros about which type of saw is right for you.