In years gone by, chainsaws were only available with a two-stroke engine. However, with advancements in lithium battery technology, there are now a multitude of battery powered and petrol powered variants. Both types of chainsaws have their own advantages, which may be preferable to some more than others.
What is the difference between a battery and petrol chainsaw?
In their most basic form, both petrol and battery chainsaws offer the same functionality. Stripped down, they both consist of a motor, drive gear, bar and chain. The differences lie in the motor and its effect on usability and everyday operation. Both pack enough power and torque to rip through the hardest wood.
Battery Chainsaw - Battery chainsaws are quiet, start with the push of a button, have no exhaust fumes, and they’ll run for hours when connected to a battery backpack. They are also lightweight and well balanced, making them ideal for forest workers, arborists and hobbyists alike.
Petrol Chainsaw - Modern smart start petrol models are easy to start, have plenty of power, will keep going as long as you have it topped up with fuel and are typically cheaper than their comparable battery counterparts.
What size battery do I need for my battery chainsaw?
Depending on what you intend to use your chainsaw for most, there are a few guidelines that can help you make up your mind. Depending on the battery size and power, operating time on a single full charge will vary. The below working times are based on a 536LiXP Chainsaw.
- BLi20 (4.0Ah) from 25 minutes to 2 hour 25 minutes, depending on the task
- BLi200 (5.2Ah) from 35 minutes to 3 hour 5 minutes, depending on the task
- BLi300 (9.4Ah) from 1 hour to 5 hours 35 minutes, depending on the task
- BLi550X (15.6Ah) from 1 hour 40 minutes to 9 hours 20 minutes, depending on the task
- BLi950X (31.1Ah) from 3 hours 20 minutes to 18 hours 40 minutes, depending on the task
What size chainsaw do I need?
Petrol chainsaws come in all shapes and sizes. So how do you know which petrol chainsaw you need for the job? Here’s a quick reference guide to get you started;
Light Duty 30cc – 35cc engine – Excellent for light pruning, trimming, delimbing branches and felling small to medium-sized trees.
Medium Duty 36cc – 41cc engine – Best suited for cutting down medium-sized trees and clearing up after storm damage. Also good for light pruning, trimming and delimbing branches.
Heavy Duty 42cc – 50cc engine – A good choice for cutting firewood and felling large trees, excellent for cutting medium sized trees, along with general pruning, trimming and delimbing of small to medium-sized trees.
Professional 50cc + engine – The best choice for cutting medium and large trees, cutting firewood, and for particularly dense woods. Best suited for professional use.
Choosing a chainsaw for pruning
A battery chainsaw is both lightweight, nimble, well balanced, easy to operate and produces no fumes, which makes it great for pruning. If working in urban areas where noise pollution is a concern, you’ll be able to use a battery chainsaw throughout the day without disturbing the neighbours. The 120i offers fantastic performance for lightweight tasks such as pruning. Coupled with a BLi20 battery, it’ll run for approx. 35 minutes when pruning.
Petrol chainsaws offer a lot of power. If you have heavy foliage and branches that need to be pruned, then a 30-35cc petrol powered chainsaw will make quick work of it. If you need to cut through thick or dense branches and new wood, then a 36-41cc chainsaw will be perfect. Most people find this to be sufficient for all of their cutting needs around the garden.
Choosing a chainsaw for felling
Felling a tree requires sustained cutting power and a battery chainsaw is able to offer this. Many people will find a battery chainsaw easy to use for felling small trees and cutting smaller branches into firewood. In this case, it’s best to opt for a BLi200 or BLi300 battery.
With huge amounts of power and the ability to be able to move freely, a petrol chainsaw is a perfect choice for felling trees. Of course, if you are using it away from home then you will most likely want to carry extra fuel. A 42-50cc petrol chainsaw will be able to tackle the largest trees while also being great for smaller ones. For medium sized trees 36-41cc chainsaws are an ideal choice.
Choosing a chainsaw for delimbing
A battery chainsaw will make quick work of most branches while being easy to handle. Most battery chainsaws are lighter and more compact than petrol chainsaws, so reaching branches on even the thickest log is a simple task. Most people will find this type of chainsaw perfect for small to medium-sized branches, especially those in difficult to reach places. A fully charged battery can provide anywhere from 25 minutes when log cutting with a Bli20 battery to 3 hours for a BLi950X model, depending on the workload.
Petrol chainsaws are great for de-limbing and will cut through branches like butter. Typically, a 30-35cc chainsaw will provide similar cutting power to a battery chainsaw while remaining reasonably lightweight. For thick branches, many find that selecting a 36-41cc chainsaw will do the job and is a good all-rounder.
Choosing a chainsaw for cutting firewood
A battery chainsaw motor provides fewer vibrations, while its compact size also means you can cut as much or as little as required and spare your arms from fatigue. If you generally cut small amounts of dry firewood, then a battery chainsaw coupled with a BLi200 battery is a great choice and will offer approximately 35 minutes of cutting time.
A petrol chainsaw will make short work of cutting large logs down to size. For freshly felled firewood a petrol chainsaw is ideal due to the density of the wood fibres. Typically, a 42-50cc chainsaw would deliver the cutting power you need for large logs and regular use. A 50cc + professional use chainsaw is the best choice if you regularly cut large amounts of hardwood.
Get expert advice
After doing some research online and getting a better understanding of which chainsaw should suit your needs the best, it is recommended that you seek expert advice from your local Husqvarna dealer. It is a great opportunity to discuss your needs in detail, and get the right advice to ensure you purchase the most suitable chainsaw for your needs. With the right care and maintenance your Husqvarna chainsaw will be a long term investment, and therefore you want to choose a saw that is up to the work you expect out of it.