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Electric Chainsaw?

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 1444 days ago 2388 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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richgreer

4521 posts in 1577 days


1444 days ago

I only use a chainsaw occasionally (once or twice a year). In general, I find chainsaws problematic. After setting for a long time, they can be hard to start. I’m considering switching to a corded electric chainsaw. I could reach everything I wanted to cut with a 100’ extension cord.

I know virtually nothing about electric chainsaws, but I expect them to always start without a problem.

Has anyone used one? Do they have sufficient power? Are they too heavy? Do you have a recommendation about which brand/model? What should I know that I don’t already know?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.


20 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

448 posts in 1507 days


#1 posted 1444 days ago

I have owned a few. They are handy, make less noise, vibrate alot less. Generally they don’t have the torque of a gas saw and the ones I had were just on or off, no speed control. You still have to keep the chain oiled.

They are just a light duty chain saw.

Usually alot cheaper too.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2408 days


#2 posted 1444 days ago

I bought a Ryobi remanufactured for like $60 (?) for small stuff around the sawmill. Sometimes I would need to trim just a little bit on a log or something. I figured it would blow up in a year and I was fine with that…that was 5 years ago. I grab that little dude way more often than I thought I would. It’s somewhere around 3hp, with a sharp chain it does a fine job. I of course have many saws, up to 99 cc/7.5 hp that has a 36” bar on it right now (can handle 60”)...but no fiddling with gas/pulling the rope for a quick job. For anything serious I don’t see an electric being very handy, but for small stuff absolutely.

-- http://nelsonwoodworks.biz/

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5280 posts in 1734 days


#3 posted 1444 days ago

An electric chain saw has its place. One is in my shop now. I wish I had a gasser, but they cost too much. Disadvantages of an electric are that they are generally speaking built much lighter duty than gassers, and do not provide anywhere near the power that gas models do. Chain oiling is still a necessity. I have a Remmington 18” electric and am on my 3rd chain for it. It works fine, and I honestly haven’t been able to kill it…

The advantage of an electric…. No carburettor to foul and make your life miserable… No gas to mix.

Two years ago, I swapped over from electric string trimmer and edger to gassers. Mostly because I busted the light duty electrics up pretty bad. So far no fouling of the carbs, but I follow the owners manual to the letter, drain the carb out and run it dry every time… Both are Echo products.

For me, a gas saw falls under the category of necessity though. I live in hurricane country, and have had trees across friends roofs, across the road when I need to get out for medical issues etc…. A gas chain saw is needed in storm situations. Or a two man logging saw, and the chain saw would be cheaper…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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rhett

691 posts in 2169 days


#4 posted 1444 days ago

I prefer them because when you set them down, they stop running. They are less powerful than a gas, but they still cut wood. I really do not see the need for messing with a gas saw if you are not felling trees or working with big timbers. An electric will do all the things a typical homeowner would need a chainsaw for. Unless ofcourse you need a very large, powerful and loud tool to feel more manly.

-- http://planeandsimpleblog.wordpress.com/

View Viking's profile

Viking

857 posts in 1697 days


#5 posted 1444 days ago

Rich;

It depends what you want to use it for. If you are looking for a saw to do light tree trimming you might consider the B&D Alligator Lopper. We have one and it is prettty handy for light work when we don’t want to mess with a gas chain saw.

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-Alligator-Electric-LP1000/dp/B000BANMUY

If you need a more traditional chain saw there are several available but, as far as I know they are all really light duty and mechanically pretty sloppy. I have an old Remington that would just as soon throw the chain off as cut. Most of the electrics are less than $100 with Makitas being the notable exception. I have never actually seen a Makita so they may be a heavier duty saw.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Doutdoor&field-keywords=electric+chainsaw&x=14&y=16

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Clarence's profile

Clarence

125 posts in 1608 days


#6 posted 1444 days ago

Comments above are right on: electric saw is good for small stuff. I’ve got one that fits on a pole, and it’s great for cutting limbs—-just have to be careful about binding.

Also have the gas burner for the bigger stuff. Like DBhost says, you have to run it dry or drain if it sits up for a while. Actually I use Staybil in my gas for all my tractors, mowers, blowers, tillers, weedeaters, etc, and it works great for relatively short intervals—especially for the chain saw. I’ll drain the tank if I’m going to set up an engine for a long period of time.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

3470 posts in 2078 days


#7 posted 1444 days ago

I have one and use it occasionally, and it does the job just fine.
I wouldn’t try to cut a big tree down with it, but for pruning and log sectioning; no problems.

-- Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1772 days


#8 posted 1444 days ago

It definitely depends on how thick the wood is that you want to cut. An electric chain saw is mostly for trimming small branches and hedges it is not for tree removal and cut up. I would recommend that you get a small Poulan gas if you need a small light saw – Sears also has a small one…and it is usually on sale or fairly inexpensive. I have a Stihl and a Husquavarna which are the top of the quality for chain saws…but these are for someone that cuts alot or needs a heavier duty saw.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Luke's profile

Luke

521 posts in 1796 days


#9 posted 1444 days ago

Electric Saws have way more torque. Just like an electric car. I’ve had two remington saws, an 16” and 18”. They are quite awesome. The 18” was a self oiling and that is definitely the way to go. The 16” you had to pump a little button to oil and you had to know and remember when to push it, kind of like the old reebok shoe pumps. I used these to cut down quite a few trees in my backyard from 4 inches to 20 inches in diameter and larger. They cut great and are quite quick too. You don’t have to mess with the gas or listen to it and it starts up every time, just run a cord. The ONLY down side is that the motors went bad on both. After a while the brushes/armature will just wear out and start to spark and smell until it conks out on you at the worst time. They don’t spin as fast as the gas so they don’t cut as quickly but they will easily pull your arms opposite the chain direction if your not careful. With the gas versions “clutch” this is much less noticeable I think. If you’re not doing much cutting definitely worth it over a gas. I recently bought a huskvarna gas 16” and it is amazing. I got sick of motors going bad so I’ll try this one for a while. Helps me make a few bucks now and then cutting something up for friends and stuff. Good luck!

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View woodpeckerbill's profile

woodpeckerbill

201 posts in 1775 days


#10 posted 1444 days ago

Rich, I use a chainsaw a lot..a few hours a day 2-3 days a week. About the first of March, I bought an electric chainsaw. Poulan 4 hp. Way easier on my back! I’ve cut thru logs 3’ in dia. without a problem. Still have my stihl for the big stuff. Wish I’d listened to my better half (get tired of saying that!) and got one a long time ago. If you do get one, use some good sense about extension cords. Sure hope this helps.
Bill

View GFYS's profile

GFYS

711 posts in 1973 days


#11 posted 1444 days ago

I own a Husqvarna 316E electric chainsaw. It has served well in heavy use. I found that I had to modify the chain oiler though. It isn’t adjustable. MSRP 270.00

View Stevinmarin's profile

Stevinmarin

837 posts in 1578 days


#12 posted 1444 days ago

Rich,

I agree, few things in life are more frustrating than a fussy gas chainsaw that won’t start. (How do they always start on the first pull in horror movies?)

I ditched mine a few years ago and got an electric. I wish I had done it years earlier! Of course, I don’t fell trees with it, but for lopping branches and cutting logs, it works fine. It sounds sort of like a hair drier!

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers. http://www.WoodworkingForMereMortals.com

View MyFathersSon's profile

MyFathersSon

180 posts in 1815 days


#13 posted 1444 days ago

I had a LOT of brush and limbs to clear – got tired of hand sawing – but didnt want to spend a lot of money
Used the heck out of a lightweight Remington (probably similar to the ones dbhost and Viking mentioned).
All I can say is—it cut anything I asked it to. Mostly 1 to 3 inch diameter—but a few 6 to 8 inch logs. I think it threw the chain once. It was still working fine a couple of years later when I sold it to a neighbor for over half its original cost. And we both thought we made a good bargain.

Would it have lasted that long under 7 day a week heavy duty use—I doubt it—but then – that wasnt my need.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

View scrappy's profile

scrappy

3505 posts in 1932 days


#14 posted 1444 days ago

Thanks for all the info. I have been considering getting an electric myself for the logs I bring home. Now I think I will.

Thanks Again.

Scrappy

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14402 posts in 2178 days


#15 posted 1443 days ago

They work great for little stuff, but they aren’t much compared to a good gas saw.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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