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How to choose a chainsaw | Electric, petrol and battery-powered

The chainsaw is a wood cutting tool; there are several types of wood cutting tools, including electric, combustion engine and battery operated. Among them there are important differences that determine a different use. A further category to keep in mind is that of pruning chainsaws. Above them all, you can choose best 18 inch electric chainsaw.

Structure of the chainsaw

A chainsaw is primarily formed by a motor (petrol or electric); this has the task of transmitting the movement to a chain (very similar to that used in bicycles). This is composed of segments, each of which is formed by a small blade called a “tooth”.

The chain, thanks to the rotating movement around the so-called “guide bar”, has the function of a real blade with which you can face cuts on logs, even of considerable size. It consists of three different types of links: preliminary, gouge and limiter.

Around the engine block there is the structure (normally in plastic material) formed by a double handle.

In the rear part the main handle is equipped with an accelerator trigger that increases the engine revolutions according to the pressure exerted; this is in the internal part of the handle, while outside, usually on the upper part, there is an accelerator locking lever. In the front part of the machine instead we find a second handle, fundamental to stabilize the saw during the cutting operations.

In front of this second handle we find the safety trigger that prevents portions of cut wood from hitting our hand. Finally, in correspondence of the engine we find the lanyard and the starter pump.

The shape of the chainsaw may vary slightly from one model to another, but the basic structure is always the same; this, on the other hand, is clearly different from other cutting machines such as, for example, the circular saw, the cutting-off machine and the catcher.


The electric chainsaw, or electric saw, is a cutting tool with an electric motor: it requires a power cord and is suitable for use in places close to a power outlet.

In general, electric saws have lower power than those with an internal combustion engine; however, they have a great quality, i.e. they are not very noisy and allow those who live near other houses to cut without disturbing the neighborhood.

On average, the power of a chainsaw can reach 2000 watts, with 220 volt power supply. The approximate weight is between 4 and 6 kg, while the length of the blade ranges from 30 to 40 cm.

If the saw has an electric motor, no special maintenance is necessary, except (if foreseen) the replacement of worn brushes and the lubrication of the motor axis. It is also useful a good blow to eliminate dust and a periodic check of the integrity of the power cable.

The use of an electric saw is recommended for those who do not have special professional needs and must carry out small cutting operations on small trees or branches that are not very large.


The petrol powered chainsaw is characterized by a petrol powered engine; this can be two or four-stroke; in the first case a mixture feed is necessary, in the second case instead the tool is equipped with a separate oil mixer.

Petrol chainsaws can have different displacements and consequently different power levels; clearly the larger the displacement the higher the fuel consumption will be.

This type of tool requires continuous maintenance. First of all, when it comes to a chainsaw with a separate oil tank, it is always a good idea to check its contents. It is important to use mineral oils specifically designed for such use, avoiding other types of lubricants that can cause problems for the engine.

Cleaning the air filter is also important, but it is good to follow the maintenance booklet of the saw where it is almost always indicated the most suitable system to clean it correctly and without causing problems.

In the hypothesis of a two-stroke model it is always good to prepare a mixture with suitable percentages of oil; normally the minimum percentage is 2%.

The burst models have a higher power than the electric saws; moreover they can be equipped with respectable blades, with lengths starting from 45 cm, up to over 55 cm in the more powerful models. The latter are specially designed for professional cutting of large trees.

The choice of a petrol chainsaw is recommended for those who have to do professional work, for example cutting large trees: it is to all intents and purposes a professional chainsaw.


The cordless chainsaw is in a much lower power range than the petrol chainsaw. Being battery powered it cannot reach the performance of the petrol model (the power is generally 36V), however it has many advantages.

First of all, it is much lighter, which makes it easier to handle, making it suitable even for those who have a small build. It is very quiet and unlike wire-powered chainsaws it is not bound to an electrical socket, which gives us more freedom of movement.

Finally, the models and battery are easy to maintain and despite their low power rating, they offer a very respectable performance.

Compared to wire-powered models, battery-powered chainsaws have a limited service life, but thanks to the latest generation lithium-ion batteries they still have a good range.

Pruning chainsaw

A further category that we must take into account when choosing a chain saw is the chain saw for pruning. These are smaller models, with guide bar (max 35 cm) and shorter chain. The pruning chainsaw is a small chainsaw, therefore lighter and easier to handle, perfect for quick cuts of smaller branches. It has a power between 1000 and 2000 W.

To prune branches that are at high heights, it is advisable to use a telescopic chainsaw, characterized by a pole (even several meters long) that allows cutting at high heights. The telescopic chainsaw improves safety conditions by preventing the user from having to use ladders or even climb over the tree, thus making operations more dangerous.

Chain maintenance

The chain needs constant maintenance. The main enemies are moisture from the cutting of fresh wood, sawdust produced during work (often rich in sap or resin that kneads the sliding rail of the chain or the drive sprocket). Finally there is the earth, almost never free of abrasives and harmful grains of sand, which is collected when cutting logs and branches cut down to the ground.

For a proper cleaning and good maintenance of the bar, in addition to hexagonal keys and screwdriver, it is useful to have a small piece of wood to slide into the throat of the bar in order to free it from any deposits of sawdust and earth.

The teeth of the chain are shaped to slide into the groove of the bar. The chain must be properly tensioned so that it does not come out of the groove. A test consists of pulling the chain outwards: it must not be more than 1 cm from the bar.

If the teeth have lost their sharpness, a special angled guide can be used, specific for each type of chain, on which a round file passes tooth by tooth.

Price chainsaw

The prices of chainsaws vary according to the type. You can go from a minimum of 60 euros for a pruning chainsaw to figures that far exceed 1000 euros for professional chainsaws, with a very long blade and particularly high power.

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