Skip to Content

How Long Can You Run a Chainsaw? What pros say

Are you curious about the duration of time your chainsaw can operate continuously? With our comprehensive understanding of chainsaws, we’re confident in providing you with the correct information. We’re here to help you optimize its use.

How Long Can You Run a Chainsaw?

The runtime of a chainsaw depends on its type and model. Gas-powered saws typically run for 15-45 minutes on a pint of fuel, while battery-powered saws last from less than an hour to around 2 hours on a bigger battery pack. Gas saws can be quickly refueled to resume cutting.

Are you looking to optimize your chainsaw’s performance? It is crucial to understand its runtime, which depends on its type and model. Let’s delve into the specifics of gas and battery-powered saws and learn how to extend their operation.


Cutting speed of an Average Chainsaw

An average chainsaw piston moves up and down 20,000 times per minute. The piston speed of an average chainsaw is 2500 square feet per minute. The middle chain sliding speed across the bar is 5000 square feet per minute.

It means your chain will run at 55 to 60 miles per hour or 1 mile per minute, equivalent to 88 square feet per second. The chain rotates about 1300 times per second, and the sprocket rotates about 1 million times in 24 hours.

To calculate the exact chain speed of your saw, find the chain pitch and multiply it by 2. Multiply the number found by the number of teeth on your chain. Multiply the number found by your saw rotations per minute (RPM).

• Understanding Chainsaw Speed

In this way, you will find the speed of the chain in inches per minute, divide it by 12 to find out feet per minute, and divide it by 720 to convert to feet per second. Let us now try out a more sophisticated estimate.

Suppose you have a 30 cm or one-foot-in-diameter tree, and your chainsaw makes 0.5 mm or 0.02 inches cut into the wood with each pass of the chain.

It means that your chain needs to pass through the wood six hundred times, thirty cm = three hundred mm, and removing each mm takes two chain passes.

The Power of Chainsaws

Suppose you use a powerful chainsaw with a rotational speed of about two thousand eight hundred rotations per minute (2800 RPM) or three thousand rotations per minute (3000 RPM). In that case, the chain will make six hundred passes in just twenty seconds.

Let me now compare this time with the cutting speed of a hand saw. How long would this take with a handsaw? Suppose your hand saw has teeth the same size as your chainsaw’s.

Suppose they are roughly the same length as the chainsaw (half as long as your chain). You still need to make six hundred passes through the wood. Suppose you can create one complete pass of the hand saw each second and keep up that speed constantly.

• Estimating Cutting Time

Then, it will take at least six hundred seconds or ten minutes. In practice, as the saw slips out of its groove occasionally, it will take longer. This is a guesstimate, a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but I hope you got the idea.

Using a chainsaw is undoubtedly many times faster, probably five to ten times faster than using a good handsaw. The simplest way to find out the sprocket speed of your chainsaw is to count the number of its teeth. Your chainsaw has a toothed sprocket attached to its crankshaft.

To calculate the speed of your chainsaw, you must divide the number of teeth on its input gear by the number of teeth on its output gear.

What is the Run Time of a Battery-Powered Chainsaw?

A battery-powered chainsaw is cordless and noiseless. It does not depend upon a non-renewable fuel, and it does not exhaust any harmful emissions.

It has advanced features, including an LED visual and audible recharge alert, a temperature sensor to avoid overheating, and a rain guard. Using the chainsaw with the standard battery pack will give you a run time of up to 2 hours.

But there are also electric chainsaws that you can use with an additional battery pack. Stihl, for example, has several battery packs you can purchase that you can wear on your back:

  • AR 1000 Backpack Battery: The AR 1000 backpack battery delivers an exceptional run time of up to 7.5 hours.
  • AR 2000 Backpack Battery: The AR 2000 backpack battery delivers an exceptional run time of up to 11 hours.
  • AR 3000 Backpack Battery: The AR 3000 has an exceptional recharge time and 100% capacity within just two hours and forty minutes.

Understanding Chainsaw Runtime

Tim Johnson, a logger, says: “My setup includes the STIHL AP 300 battery. This is their 36-volt lithium-ion, 6.0 Ah battery. STIHL claims a forty-five-minute runtime with a chainsaw and battery, but equating what runtime minutes mean with a chainsaw is hard.

Let us find out how many cuts I can make. I found a large section of the oak tree with a consistent branch diameter of roughly 10 inches. With a freshly charged battery, I made approximately 43 (it was 42 ⅞) cuts from the oak limb.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

● 1. Is ethanol harmful to my chainsaw?

Yes, ethanol is very detrimental to the engine of your chainsaw. Ethanol will dissolve the gum and varnish deposits in your engine. This thick mixture will clog the small fittings and filters inside your chainsaw.

Ethanol is responsible for creating a lot of corrosion inside the fuel system because it mixes with the moisture in the air. Ethanol absorbs much water and settles down at the bottom of the fuel tank.

Engine failure occurs when a layer of gasoline is left on the top, with a lower octane level than the original ethanol-gasoline mixture.

– The Impact of Water and Ethanol on the Fuel System

The fuel system draws from the bottom of the fuel tank, and when it uses water and ethanol instead of gasoline and oil, the system will fail because that mixture is too thick to pass through easily. Gasoline sold in the USA has ethanol in it.

The law allows a maximum limit of 10% ethanol content in the fuel for small engines. You must always use 89 Octane in your chainsaw.

Always buy as little fuel as you can finish within two months. Ethanol-free and high-octane synthetic oil can be stored in the original container for up to 2 years.

● 2. Why does a chainsaw flood?

Your chainsaw will flood when you try too many times to start it in a choke position. It would be best if you learned to create it by reading and following the instructions given in the user manual.

It would be best to remember that when placing the switch control to the complete choke setting, more fluid fuel and less air will flow into the combustion chamber to create a higher chance for ignition.

– Understanding Chainsaw Flooding

If you pull the rope more than 2 or 3 times in this situation, you may flood the engine of your chainsaw. You must move the Master Control Lever or the choke lever from its complete choke setting after 3 or 4 pulls, even if the engine has to fire.

When you move the lever to the following setting, the half choke or part throttle position will allow more air into the combustion chamber and help resolve the flood condition.

● 3. Why does my chainsaw leak bar oil?

The oil is distributed inside the bar rails when the oil reservoir of your chainsaw circulates it. The average quantity of oil is 0.3 to 0.5 ounces. When your chainsaw stops, the oil will be pulled down because of gravity and settle at the bottom of your bar.

Naturally, the oil will start seeping from the bottom of the bar, chain, and drive sprocket. The oil will continue bleeding because the anti-flinging material, lithium, is mixed at the refinery. Lithium will give it a very thick consistency to flow slowly.

– The Role of the Vacuum Relief Valve in Oil Leakage

If you want to store your chainsaw for a long time and find it seeping oil for many days, then the problem is with the vacuum relief valve. The vacuum relief valve is between the bar and the oil output hole on the side of your chainsaw engine.

The vacuum relief valve has an internal spring and a ball pressed against the output hole of the casing when the fuel tank develops a vacuum from the oil being pumped out when this ball is pulled away from the output hole.

It will allow the air to enter the fuel tank, thus breaking the vacuum so that the oil will continue to flow to the bar and chain of your saw. After the vacuum is relieved, the spring pushes the ball back against the output hole of the valve casing.

With two decades of experience, I can tell you that the continuous running time of a chainsaw is influenced by several factors, including the make and model, the engine’s condition, the type of fuel used, and the intensity of the work

– Impact of Dust, Dirt, and Grease on Oil Leakage

Sometimes, there is a lot of dust, dirt, and grease between the ball and the hole. This will cause the oil to keep seeping because there is still some vacuum in the tank, which will prevent the oil from moving freely when you shut off your chainsaw.

To remove the dust and dirt in the hole, you must take a pin or a needle and push it six to seven times into the valve hole. To prevent any damage and oil from leaking, you must remove all the fuel from the fuel tank when storing the chainsaw for a long time.

● 4. Is it essential to wash the chainsaw chaps before every use?

The chainsaw chaps are designed to protect your lower body from the cuts of a rotating chain. They are made of cut retardant material, often compressed when shipped and stored.

When you wash them before every use, the protective pads become fluffy and help to prevent you from cutting yourself. You must always read and follow the washing instructions; otherwise, you will damage their missed retardant property.

The chainsaw chaps are strong enough to control the movement of the sprocket and the chain. The level of protection depends upon the speed and torque of the saw at the time of contact with the body part.

In my 20 years of working with chainsaws, I’ve observed that the type of wood being cut significantly affects the chainsaw’s running time. Harder woods make the chainsaw work harder, reducing its running time, while softer woods are easier on the chainsaw, allowing it to run longer.

– Why Dry Cleaning is Not Recommended

It would be best if you never dried your chainsaw chaps clean. Instead, it would be best if you tumbled dry them only. Never iron, bleach, or use fabric softeners while washing your chainsaw chaps. It is recommended to machine wash them with warm water and mild detergent.

Make sure that the zippers, loop, and hook fasteners are closed. Measure the length of your legs carefully before buying a pair of chainsaw chaps for yourself.

If you buy a short one, some of your legs will be exposed, which is dangerous. The ideal chap length is between the top of your boot and the second or third lace hook. It should not cover your boot toe.

● 5. How do I store my chainsaw for more than one month?

First of all, you must dismantle the cutting part of your chainsaw. Clean the air filter, cylinder fins, and the spark plug of your chainsaw. Apply a small layer of oil on the metal parts to prevent corrosion and rusting.

It would be best if you replaced the old spark-arresting screen of the muffler in your chainsaw with a new one. Ensure the fuel tank is empty, and not a single drop of oil is left behind.

You must run the engine of your chainsaw for a couple of minutes to ensure that the fuel system is arid. You must run the engine at the idle speed; do not operate the throttle until the motor stops.

● 6. How many kinds of chainsaws are used commonly?

Five different kinds of chainsaws are used commonly:

  1. Battery chainsaw is a lightweight, portable, instant starting machine.
  2. Electric chainsaw: It has infinite run time. It can begin instantly and is lightweight.
  3. Farm or ranch chainsaw is used for storm cleanup and firewood cutting.
  4. Homeowner chainsaw: It features advanced technology and general German engineering. Its Quickstop feature is a chain brake system designed to stop the chain in a fraction of a second and can be activated by inertia in the event of a kickback. A homeowner chainsaw has many more features, including anti-vibration technology for maximum user comfort.
  5. Professional chainsaw: It can handle the most challenging task easily.

● 7. How do I measure the speed of my chainsaw?

You can measure the speed of your chainsaw by using a tachometer. The tachometer is an instrument used for measuring the rotation or revolution speed of the crankshaft in your chainsaw. The tachometer measures the revolutions per minute (RPM) of the chainsaw.

The older models of a tachometer used a needle and a dial to show the readings, while today’s highly advanced tachometers have a digital LED display where they show the reading. It is a simple method.

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of a chainsaw. In my experience, cleaning and sharpening the chain can significantly extend the lifespan of a chainsaw and improve its performance.

– Clamping the Tachometer to the Spark Plug Wire

You have to clamp the tachometer to the spark plug wire of your chainsaw. The tachometer will measure how many times the spark plug fires every minute. Each time the spark plug fires, the engine crankshaft of your chainsaw makes one revolution.

The tachometer reading is a direct measurement of the engine speed of your chainsaw. You will not have to connect it to the wire if you have a digital tachometer. You can measure the speed by just holding it near the spark plug of your chainsaw.

● 8. What maintenance should I perform daily on my chainsaw?

It would be best if you cleaned the outside of your chainsaw daily. You must check that the throttle control and lockout are working safely. You must ensure your chain brake is working safely; if the chain catcher is damaged, you must replace it immediately.

It would be best if you turned the bar daily. You must also make sure that the lubrication hole is not blocked. If your bar has a sprocket tip, you must lubricate it daily.

● 9. What maintenance should I perform weekly on my chainsaw?

If your chainsaw has no catalytic converter, you must check its cooling system weekly. You must check the return spring, the starter cord, and the starter.

Make sure that the vibration-damping parts are not damaged. It would be best if you correctly lubricated the clutch drum bearing weekly.

● 10. What maintenance should I perform monthly on my chainsaw?

You must check the chain brake band monthly, and if it is less than 0.6 mm thick, replace it immediately. You must check the clutch spring, the clutch drum, and the clutch center of your chainsaw.

You must clean the spark plug and ensure a 0.5 mm gap between the electrodes. It would be best if you also cleaned the carburetor of your chainsaw from the outside only.


In a nutshell, the exact runtime of a chainsaw varies from type to type and model to model. For a gasoline chainsaw, the runtime is typically shorter than their battery-powered counterparts.

However, it’s important to note that refueling a gas tank is typically quicker than charging the battery, which may take 1-2 hours. This means that they can be ready to work much quicker.

At full throttle, a gasoline chainsaw can consume a full tank of gas quickly, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get less work done. The mileage you get from a gas tank depends on the age of the chainsaw, how well it’s maintained, and how hard it’s working.

• Evaluating Your Needs for the Right Device

Being a homesteader, I’m sure you understand the importance of having tools that are ready when you are. You should evaluate your needs and purchase the device that suits your needs. Remember, the typical runtime figures you see are often from controlled experiments.

In these experiments, the chainsaw is run at full throttle for a certain period to see how long it can cut before it runs out of gas. But in real-world conditions, your chainsaw may not always run at full throttle, and the runtime may vary.

So, while controlled experiments provide some answers, they may not fully represent what you’ll experience daily. Whether you choose a silver or bronze model, the best chainsaw for you is the one that best fits your specific needs.

  1. Edith Wilson says:

    What tools do I need to calculate the chain speed of my chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To calculate chain speed, multiply chain pitch by 2, then multiply by chain teeth. Finally, multiply by RPM. This formula will give you the chain speed in feet per second. Hope this helps!

  2. Sue Hughes says:

    Is there a formula I can use to calculate the chain speed of a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, Sue. To calculate the chain speed of a chainsaw, find the chain pitch, multiply by 2, then teeth on the chain, and finally saw RPM. Hope this helps!

  3. Danny Byrd says:

    How do I calculate the chain speed on my specific chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Danny, to calculate chain speed, multiply the chain pitch by 2, then by the number of teeth on the chain, and finally by your saw’s RPM. This gives you the speed in inches per minute. Divide by 12 for feet per minute.

  4. Larry Webb says:

    What factors determine the chain speed of a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Larry! Chain speed factors include chain pitch, teeth count, and saw RPM. For specific speeds, calculate using these factors. Gas chainsaws run 15-45 minutes on a pint of fuel; battery-powered lasts 1-2 hours. Hope this helps optimize your chainsaw use!

  5. Amy Gonzales says:

    Can you explain in simple terms how to calculate the chain speed of a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      I can help! The chain speed of a chainsaw can be calculated by finding the chain pitch, multiplying by 2, tooth count, and saw RPM. The result gives you the chain speed. Let me know if you need more details!

  6. Meghan Vasquez says:

    Is there a standard chain speed for most chainsaws?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Meghan, understanding the runtime of your chainsaw is crucial. Gas-powered saws typically run for 15-45 minutes on a pint of fuel, while battery-powered saws can last up to 2 hours with a standard battery pack.

  7. Joshua Cox says:

    How can I determine the chain speed of my chainsaw accurately?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To determine the chain speed accurately, find the chain pitch, multiply by 2, then by teeth count, then by saw RPM. Divide by 12 and 720 for speed in feet per second. Hope this helps!

  8. Mark Stevens says:

    Is there any way to measure the exact chain speed on my chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To measure the chain speed of your chainsaw, find the chain pitch, multiply by 2, multiply by the number of teeth, and then by the saw RPM. This calculation will give you the chain speed in feet per minute. Hope this helps!

  9. Rene Wagner says:

    Can you provide a step-by-step guide on calculating the chain speed of a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Certainly! To calculate chain speed, multiply chain pitch by 2, then by number of teeth on the chain, then by RPM. Hope this helps with your chainsaw calculations!

  10. Christine Alexander says:

    How important is it to know the chain speed of my chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Knowing the chain speed of your chainsaw is essential for optimizing its performance. Gas-powered saws typically run for 15-45 minutes on a pint of fuel, while battery-powered saws last from less than an hour to around 2 hours with a bigger battery pack.

  11. Francisco Marshall says:

    How do I calculate the chain speed on my specific chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Calculating chain speed on your chainsaw involves finding chain pitch, multiplying by teeth, then saw RPM. Gas saws are around 55-60 mph, battery about 88 SF per sec. Check manual for exact speed. Hope this helps!

Comments are closed.