Different Types of Chainsaws (Explained with Their Uses)

Whether you want to cut down tree branches, transform logs into sizeable lumbers, or chop firewood, you would probably need a chainsaw for it. A chainsaw indeed performs a myriad of jobs depending on which types of chainsaws you have.

A chainsaw is usually a power tool with a chain containing a tooth. The tooth on the chain moves around a blade to perform various types of cuts. It comes handy in managing the property neatly. Also, a chainsaw is popular in horror movies when axes and machetes get outdated.

Now, without much ado, let’s see the various types of chainsaw so that you can make the right decision to pick the right one for your purpose.

Types of Chainsaws and Their Application

So, you have dedicatedly made up your mind to purchase a chainsaw and wonder which one will be the best suitable option for your jobs? Well, without much ado, let’s take a look at our various chainsaw types and their usage so you can make the decision.

Depending on The Power Options

The chainsaw is broadly categorized in two versions depending on the type of power source it has. Ideally, all the chainsaws except the manual ones are divided into the following two categories. While electric chainsaws are mostly compact, gas-driven chainsaws are more powerful and larger too.

1. Electric Chainsaws

As the titular name suggests, this type of chainsaw runs with electrical power. The power may come directly from an electrical source or a battery. While the battery-powered chainsaws are less powerful, they are compact as well. Also, the saws that use electricity directly from a power outlet is defined as a corded chainsaw.

1.1. Cordless Electric Chainsaw (Battery-powered Chainsaw)

As the name suggests, the cordless electric chainsaw runs with a battery. These are the lightest and easily portable chainsaw in the category. Also, mostly the battery-powered chainsaw is run by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

The power of the motor and running time of the blade will depend on the battery power of the saw. Also, the battery power varies extensively between different brands. However, if you haven’t used a cordless electric chainsaw for a long time, we recommend you fully charge it before starting to cut tree branches or firewood.

What’s more, the battery-powered saws are less potent but environment friendly since it generates less noise, and there are no fume emissions as well.


  • The battery-powered chainsaw is less noisy.
  • It doesn’t emit any harmful gases.
  • It is lightweight and so easily portable.
  • The electric chainsaw is best for small to medium-sized cutting jobs.


  • These chainsaws are not so potent.
  • The battery life is limited.
  • The saw isn’t ideal for commercial tasks.
1.2. Corded Electric Chainsaw

The corded chainsaw generates power directly from the power outlet through a cord. And that’s where their name comes from usually.

Since the corded chainsaw runs through a power outlet directly, it generally has higher amperage and robust motor. So, it is used mostly in large cutting jobs. These saws with the sheer power can cut through large lumbers with ease.

However, the cord length will limit the reaching capacity of the chainsaw, which is a big setback. Nonetheless, the chainsaw is best for residential usage and will reach around 1-1.5 acre space easily to perform the most cutting jobs.


  • The electric chainsaw is more powerful.
  • It can cut larger tree branches and lumbers.
  • Easy to ardently use for both beginners and experienced users.


  • The cord limits its reaching capacity.
  • You can’t use the chainsaw for substantial cutting purposes.

2. Gas-Powered Chainsaw

The gas-powered chainsaw is the most powerful among all types of chainsaws without a doubt. Also, people new in the landscaping profession will be most familiar with the gas-powered chainsaw. These chainsaws are seen widely in homeowners’ and professionals’ hands, mainly because of its versatility, extreme power, and reaching capacity.

Since it features the most powerful motor of all, it can cut through all sizes of tree branches, lumbers, and firewood. However, the downside is that these are bulky and less portable. Also, the gas fume emitted by the chainsaw isn’t suitable for the environment.


  • It is the most powerful chainsaw.
  • It is ideal for professional and commercial jobs.
  • The saw has the highest reaching capacity.


  • Sometimes the chainsaw is balmy and limits portability.
  • It is noisy and emits harmful gas fumes.
  • The start of the chainsaw can be a hassle at times.

Based on The Overall Design

Apart from the power source, there are different types of chainsaws depending on the overall design. It includes the chainsaw shape, blade style, and so on. The most popular chainsaws based on the invention will consist of:

1. Pole Chainsaws

Technically speaking, pole chainsaws are not correctly categorized as a type of chainsaw. However, they have a similar working procedure, and that’s why these are worth mentioning with the chainsaw.

A pole saw is simply a blade attached in the pole. It is helpful to reach higher spaces without risking to ride on a ladder. Also, the pole saw is functional with higher reaching capacity. It is a brilliant option to cut down tree branches, which otherwise would be risky if left uncut.

However, the pole saw has limited power and is lightweight so that it doesn’t put stress on the pole.


  • Available in several sizes and shapes.
  • Perfect for reaching limbs at higher space.
  • It is safe to operate with even for beginners.


  • The chainsaw is less powerful.
  • It is not ideal for all types of conditions.

2. Top Handle Chainsaw

The top handle chainsaw comes with a top movement of the rear handle and allows one-hand operation if necessary.

These types of chainsaws are compact, well balanced, and lightweight. The top-handle chainsaw is specially designed to work on higher spaces. So, workers need to have a superior climbing capacity to do with these chainsaws.


  • Ideal for working on heights.
  • It has a lightweight design.
  • The top handle chainsaw is easy to maneuver and transport.


  • These aren’t workable in ground operations.
  • The worker will require climbing ability.

3. Rear Handle Chainsaw

Rear handle chainsaw, as the name suggests, works with a rear handle design. The handle has a rear movement and is designed to work on grounds. So, you can use it to prune shrubs and smaller tree branches.


  • Ideal for working on grounded lumbers and shrubs.
  • It has a lightweight design and easy portability.


  • You can’t use the chainsaw in higher areas.
  • It has limited power.

Based on The User’s Need

The chainsaw has another category, which depends on its applications and usability. It includes the following type of chainsaws.

1. Lightweight or Small Chainsaw

As the name suggests, the lightweight saws are designed to cut smaller tree branches, smaller lumber, and firewood. Also, the chainsaw is small in size and operated in handheld.

Also, the lightweight chainsaw is suitable for residential usage and often operates with a battery-powered source. Furthermore, it has portability and easy to use, as well.


  • Easy to use
  • Ideal for lightweight cutting operations
  • These are compact sized and portable.


  • Limited power
  • Only for smaller cutting jobs

2. Professional or Commercial- Grade Chainsaw

The professional or commercial chainsaw is often run by gas or from direct electrical power. So, the professional chainsaw is more powerful and heavyweight.

This chainsaw type is engineered to work with larger tree branches, firewood, and lumbers in commercial space. What’s more, the blade is stealthy and won’t wear off quickly. The chainsaw has a heavyweight design that will withstand the heavy-duty applications easily.


  • It can cut through literally everything.
  • The professional chainsaw is durable and rugged.


  • These are expensive
  • Not suitable for beginners

Other Chainsaw Types

Apart from the fuel source and design, there are also different types of chainsaws. It depends on their applications, usage, functioning system, and so on. Some of the popular versions of chainsaw include the following ones.

1. Traditional chainsaw

The traditional or standard chainsaw has a housing for the motor, and the blade is wrapped around the chain. The blade operates from the housed motor and can be run by gasoline, electricity, or battery. In fact, the term ‘standard chainsaw’ is a general term that broadly includes almost all designs that work on the traditional application.


  • Easy to use and widespread application
  • Various types of design
  • Supports both professional and lightweight operation


  • The different types are confusing

2. Manual Chainsaw

As the name suggests, the manual chainsaw is operated with manual or hand power. So, sometimes this chainsaw type is also referred to as hand-powered or pocket chainsaw. Also, it has a basic design.

The chainsaw comes with a retractable blade and has two handheld ends. You can hold the two sides with two hands and work on tree branches or lumbers to cut through them. The blade is fragile, and you can remove it anytime.


  • Easiest of the chainsaw to use
  • Hand-powered and so, ideal for laborious people
  • Suits small cutting operations
  • No battery or gasoline or additional blade to be worried.


  • Minimal power
  • Has limited applications

3. Safety Chainsaws

As the name suggests, safety chainsaw is more focused on safety features. It is basically not a specific chainsaw type; instead, it is an accumulation of different safety features. It has a set of a bar around the jaw to prevent accidents.

Since it focuses more on the safety of the users, you can rest assured about the proper build quality of the chainsaw. Nonetheless, the saw hasn’t any shortcomings when it comes to durability and performance in different cutting jobs.


  • Includes safety bars to protect the blade
  • Safe and durable
  • Widespread variety


  • Can’t be categorized properly

4. Concrete and metal cutting Chainsaws

The concrete and metal chainsaw is used mainly in the construction site. It is designed to cut down concrete and metal sheets for different designing purposes. Mostly, these are gasoline-powered and so, one of the most powerful saws in the industry.

The blade has a non-abrasive coating, which prevents it from getting worn out easily. Also, the motor is durable and will withstand heavy-duty applications. It cuts down steel bars, sheets, and concrete plating at ease.


  • Mighty motor
  • Works on the most demanding metal and concrete easily
  • The blade comes with a non-abrasive coating


  • Only for professional’s use
  • Expensive chainsaw

5. Rescue Chainsaw

Rescue chainsaw has close contact with concrete chainsaws and works on almost a similar method too. You will see the application of rescue chainsaw in the fire brigade, rescue teams, military fields, and demolition sites.

The blade has a diamond coating that acts like sandpaper to grind through the metal bars and concrete floors. Also, these work on pneumatic or gasoline power and are designed to work safely during emergencies.


  • Powerful chainsaw
  • Ensures all safety features
  • Use in construction and demolition fields


  • Not meant for residential use
  • Only for skilled users

6. Pneumatic Chainsaw

The pneumatic chainsaw is by far the most powerful. In fact, it is way stealthy than the gasoline-powered chainsaws. Also, it works on pneumatic or air power and is used in the industrial sector. So, you won’t find them in the landscaping sector and is not readily available in online stores.

You may need to order them separately for your specific jobs.


  • Extremely powerful
  • Widespread use in the industrial sector


  • Not usable in landscaping purposes

7. Pruning chainsaw

As you might guess from the chainsaw name, it is used to prune trees. You will see the blades of the pruning chainsaw either in curved or straight shape. Each of them is designed for specific cutting purposes.

You can use them to prune tree branches and shrubs. These chainsaws are lightweight and have high accuracy. Also, it is easy to maneuver.


  • Lightweight and accurate
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Ideal for pruning trees for landscaping jobs


  • Has limited power
  • Sometimes you may need to climb on ladders to prune branches

8. All-purpose chainsaw

The all-purpose chainsaw is engineered to perform both heavy-duty and light cutting jobs at ease. These chainsaws will handle multiple cutting functions and so, is rated versatile. Depending on the power source, it can be both gasoline or electrically powered.


  • Versatile applications
  • You can use it for different purposes


  • Sometimes it can be tough to handle
  • Not suitable for beginners

9. Felling Chainsaw

The felling chainsaw is designed to cut large trees and lumbers into workable sizes. It is also used in firewood cutting and is used in sawmills. Also, you will see it forestry department and homeowners who want to fell trees.


  • Is used to cut down trees accurately
  • Super easy to use


  • Need two people to operate


The industry is full of various types of chainsaws. Each of them is designed for performing different tasks and comes in different sizes, shapes, and working procedures. So, the next time ardently you go shopping for the chainsaw, have a look at our discussion the chainsaw types and pick the best one suitable for your cutting and pruning job.

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