A chainsaw is a portable mechanical saw used for cutting wood, trees, and other materials. It consists of an engine that powers a rotating chain of cutting teeth. Knowing how much a chainsaw weighs is important because it affects how easily and safely it can be handled and maneuvered.
Chainsaws were first developed in the early 20th century and quickly became an indispensable tool for forestry and logging. The original chainsaw models were large and bulky, weighing over 100 pounds. With advances in technology, chainsaws became more compact and lightweight, making them more accessible and useful for a variety of applications.
The first portable chainsaw was developed in 1927 by the German company Festo. In the 1950s, chainsaws with smaller gasoline engines allowed loggers to use them more nimbly in the forest. Through the 1960s and 70s, anti-vibration systems and ergonomic designs further improved the portability and ease of use of chainsaws.
How Much Does a Chainsaw Weigh?
Today, chainsaws are produced in a range of sizes and weights, typically from about 5 to 20 pounds. Heavy duty models remain available for demanding industrial uses. When selecting a chainsaw, considering the planned applications and one’s physical abilities will allow finding a model with ideal power and maneuverability.
Factors Affecting Chainsaw Weight
There are several key factors that contribute to the weight of a chainsaw:
- Gas engines: The most powerful and heavy. Range from 5-15 pounds. Good for frequent and heavy duty use. Require fuel mixture.
- Electric motors: Heavier than battery powered but lighter than gas. 4-12 pounds. Limited by cord length. Good for light to moderate use near power source.
- Battery-powered: The lightest weight. 3-7 pounds. Cordless convenience but limited run time. Good for light, occasional use.
- Longer bars (16-25 inches) add more weight but allow deeper cuts.
- Shorter bars (10-14 inches) are lighter for increased control and maneuverability.
- Bigger cc engines have higher chain speeds and can cut thicker material.
- More power adds weight. Match capacity to your typical workload.
- Anti-vibration systems add weight but improve handling and control.
- Auto-oiling and chain brakes add safety at the cost of some dry weight.
|Engine Type||Bar Length||Cutting Capacity||Weight Range|
|Gas||16-25 in||40-60 cc||10-15 lbs|
|Electric||10-16 in||30-40 cc||6-12 lbs|
|Battery||10-14 in||30 cc or less||3-7 lbs|
Types of Chainsaws
There are several main types of chainsaws, which use different engine designs and power sources. The type of chainsaw affects its overall weight and intended uses.
- Gas-powered chainsaw – These use an internal combustion gasoline engine for power. They have high power output but weigh more than other types. Gas chainsaws range from about 5 to 15 pounds.
- Electric chainsaws – Electric motors provide the power for corded electric chainsaws. They weigh less than gas models but require an electrical outlet. Weight of the chainsaw is typically 6 to 12 pounds.
- Battery chainsaws – Battery powered chainsaws are the most portable option since they don’t have a cord. However, runtime is limited by battery life. They are the lightest at 3 to 7 pounds.
- Pneumatic chainsaws – These specialized saws use an air compressor as the power source and are mainly for industrial applications. They have comparable weight to electric models.
- Hydraulic chainsaws – Hydraulic fluid provides power for these heavy duty saws used on excavators and other equipment. They are among the heaviest type.
The main factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw type are the required portability, power output, runtime, and weight that suits your needs and physical capabilities.
Power-to-Weight Ratio Explained
- The power-to-weight ratio measures how much power a chainsaw can provide relative to its weight. It is calculated by dividing engine power output (in watts) by the weight of the saw (in kilograms).
- This ratio is important because it gives an indication of how easily a chainsaw can cut through material without being overly bulky or difficult to handle.
- A higher power-to-weight ratio means the saw can provide more cutting power with less weight. Lighter saws with lower ratios may struggle with thicker or harder woods.
- For example, a chainsaw with 2000 watts of power and a weight of 4 kg would have a power-to-weight ratio of 2000/4 = 500 watts/kg.
How to Choose the Right Chainsaw Weight
Choosing the right chainsaw weight involves evaluating several key factors:
- User strength and stamina – Heavier saws require more physical exertion to maneuver and control. Match the weight to your abilities to use the saw safely and avoid fatigue.
- Intended use and cutting tasks – For light pruning and occasional use, a smaller and lighter saw will suffice. Frequent heavy-duty use needs more power that heavier gas models can provide.
- Accessibility – The work area impacts the ideal weight. Lightweight saws are easier to handle for climbing, overhead cutting, or tight spots.
- Power output – Higher cc engines have more cutting power but add weight. Make sure to match the power to your typical workload.
- Bar length – Longer bars (16-25 inches) enable deeper cuts but add more weight. Shorter bars (10-14 inches) save weight while limiting reach.
- Comfort features – Anti-vibration systems and padded handles add some weight but improve control and reduce strain.
- Safety features – Chain brakes and auto-oiling provide protection at the cost of slight added weight.
The weight of a chainsaw is an important factor to consider based on your needs and capabilities. Heavier saws can cut thicker, harder materials but require more strength and control to operate safely. Electric saws are the lightest while gas models provide the most power at an added weight.
When choosing a chainsaw, evaluate the engine type, bar length, cutting capacity, and features to understand what contributes to its weight. Consider your typical use, strength, and accessibility to select an optimal power-to-weight ratio. Favor a lower weight if you will be cutting overhead or climbing with the saw.
With the right match of power and maneuverability, you can handle cutting tasks efficiently and safely. Always take precautions like wearing protection, maintaining proper stance, and avoiding fatigue when running any chainsaw, especially heavier varieties. Take the time to choose a saw weight suitable for your situation to improve control and minimize strain.
What’s the lightest chainsaw I can get for simple jobs?
The lightest chainsaws are battery-powered models, which typically range from about 3 to 5 pounds. These are best for occasional light duty cutting.
How much heavier are gas chainsaws compared to electric ones?
Gas chainsaws are typically 3-5 pounds heavier than electric models of equivalent power. Gas engine chainsaws weigh 5-15 pounds while electric ones range from 6-12 pounds.
Is there a major difference in weight between professional and consumer models?
Yes, professional chainsaws are significantly heavier, weighing 15 pounds or more compared to 5-15 pounds for consumer models. They have heavier duty components for intensive commercial use.
How does bar length affect the overall weight?
Longer bars add 1-2 extra pounds per inch of length. So a 18″ bar saw will weigh 1-2 pounds more than a 16″ bar model of equivalent power.
Should I choose an extra lightweight saw if I’m older or not very strong?
It’s advisable to choose a chainsaw in the lighter end of your intended power range if you have less strength or stamina. This allows better control and less fatigue.