Which? tests reveal whether electric or petrol chainsaws are bestFrom chopping to pruning – the results are in
11 November 2011
A recent Which? test of electric, cordless and petrol chainsaws answers the question of which option is best for chopping logs and pruning in the garden. Plus, four Best Buys are revealed
When it comes to cutting wood, petrol chainsaws are often considered the only tool for the job. They will slice through logs faster than any other machine and you can use them anywhere in the garden without the hassle of a trailing power cable. But they have drawbacks: they’re expensive, heavy, noisy and give off powerful fumes. They also need regular servicing.
In contrast, electric chainsaws are cheaper, quieter, lighter to manoeuvre and easier to maintain. However, popular opinion is that they’re less powerful than petrol models, and aren’t as good at chopping logs.
Electric vs petrol
We compared all of the top chainsaw brands, including Stihl, Husqvarna, Bosch and Ryobi, and our tests reveal that electric chainsaws are just as good at cutting wood as a similar-sized petrol chainsaw. Plus they’re easier to work with.
To see the results in full visit our chainsaws review.
Petrol models still have the edge when it comes to larger logs – they cut a lot faster. We also discovered that cordless chainsaws aren’t powerful enough to cut large logs and the battery doesn’t last long before it needs recharging.
We tested each machine on how quickly and cleanly it cuts through stems, branches, logs, hard wood and a railway sleeper, and found that the electric chainsaws measured up to the petrol ones. Click here to find out more about how we test chainsaws.
The best chainsaws
Our tests uncovered four Best Buys: two electric and two petrol machines. All cut branches and logs quickly and cleanly and are easier to use than other models available. So, whether you’re looking to chop large logs for firewood or you want a tool to tackle heavy pruning in the garden, we’ve got a Best Buy to recommend.
We tested the following chainsaws.
Bosch AKE 30 34Li
Bosch AKE 40-19 S
Challenge Xtreme 1800W
Qualcast QG-PT3043 46cc
Spear & Jackson SPJS 3740 37cc
Stihl MS 170 D
Stihl MS 181
Woodburning stoves – if you chop logs for fuel, this guide will help
Which? Gardening – for expert advice, tips and testing on gardening products, plants and veg