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Are electric saws inherently slower?

Post in 'The Gear' started by velvetfoot, May 23, 2007.

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  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Mine seems to be. It's a Poulan 400e. I've tried a new chain.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My understanding is that the electric motors aren't capable of pulling the chain around as fast as a gas motor is, so that will mean they are slower at full bore than a gas saw is. However a gas saw has a very peaky power band, and a clutch that will disengage when the engine slows down to much. The electric motor can put out more power at low speed, and is directly connected to the chain, so an electric will keep trying to cut after the gas saw jams...

    However this also poses a safety hazard of sorts - chainsaw chaps and other such gear doesn't work on electric saws, or at least not as well, because the high torque, low RPM electric motor will keep on shoving the chain around while a gas saw would be jammed up and stalled.

    I haven't used a lot of electric chainsaws, but the ones I have definitely left me underwhelmed. I feel that even a cheapo consumer grade gas saw like my Poulan is better than most anything you can get in an electric.

    Gooserider
  3. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, I'll be using my gas saw today for comparison.
    I'm thinking it might also have something to do with the chain.
    It's definately smaller than my gas saw's chain.
    I had the same results with a new chain right out of the box.
  4. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    My experience is kind of what Goose says.. before I got my 359, I bucked up a fairly large maple with my Makita electric, it is definitely slower but it might be a chain thing too... right now on both my 359 and UC4000, I am using the chain that came with the saw and both of them are safety chains with the little bumper link in between the cutting links. If you look at a non-safety chain, you'll see this bumper link missing but supposely it allows for a faster cut so my next chain on my UC4000 will probably be the Oregon 91VX. It's been mentioned in this forum from more experienced chainsaw users than I so I may follow the suggestion when I am faced with replacing my chain.

    I haven't tried to chop my leg off yet so I can't say anything about the chaps and electrics. :) Sounds reasonable, I know electric cars have high torque at the expensve of horsepower.

    Jay
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    IMHO the extreme "safety chains" are a bit of a pain - they seem to sacrifice cutting ability for safety. Interestingly the VX chains without the bumper links are also labeled as "low kickback" - perhaps they just aren't as low as the VG chains with the bumpers, I don't know.

    In terms of the chaps question, I haven't tried the experiment either, but the instructions on the chaps and packaging was very explicit, they specifically said that they were NOT intended for use w/ electric saws and didn't make any promises at all... They didn't promise all that much with gas saws either, but were a bit less discouraging with those... The torque explanation I got when I posted earlier asking why this would be so.

    Gooserider
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I used the gas saw yesterday.
    Much faster.
    I'll look for the bumper links and compare with the gas saw's chain.
    It's definately skinnier.
    The electric cuts like it has a dull chain.
    The mfr's replacement chain is labled: Type 91vjp; Pitch 3/8”; Gauge .050; Drive Links 62.
    Would a "VX" designator be faster?
  7. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Hey velvetfoot, check out Oregon's web page, you can see the profile for the 91VX versus the 91VG. My chain has the same specs as yours but it considered a "low profile" chain and uses a 4mm or 5/32" round file. You'll be able to see the missing bumper link when you look at the 91VX profile. The one thing about the non 'safety chains' is they're not as readily available in the big box stores, i.e. you wont find them.

    Jay
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I'll give it a whirl, thanks.
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