When most people think of powered saws, they think first of a chainsaw. It’s a powerful machine that can cut through trees like butter. However, the chainsaw is not the only powered saw out there.
There’s also a smaller, more compact kind of saw known as the Reciprocating Saw. And while there’s no objective answer as to which one is better, the job you’re doing will determine which one you should be using.
So when is a chainsaw better and when will a reciprocating saw be the better tool for the job?
It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that the more powerful of the two is the chainsaw. So if your goal is to cut down a big tree, there’s no point in using a reciprocating saw as it will take way too long, and that’s assuming to the saw will even complete the job.
Chainsaws are designed to make quick work of heavy trees, and are ideal for cutting up harder woods such as oak.
However, just because the reciprocating saw is not as powerful does not mean that it loses this round. While it might not be very good for cutting down larger trees, it’s perfect for smaller trees, ones you can wrap your hand around.
It’s also much safer as it turns off the instant you let go of the power button. This means that you can hold a tree with one hand to stabilise it while you cut it down, without too much risk.
When it comes to price, there is a clear winner, the reciprocating saw. It’s much cheaper, both to buy and to run.
The chainsaw is more expensive at first, because it’s. a larger machine that can cut with more power. Most chainsaws are available to buy for about $100. So if you’re not going to be using it often, you need to think about whether having one “just in case” is worth the investment. It’s also more expensive to run: most of them run on chainsaw fluid, which retails at about $4 a bottle.
Reciprocating saws, on the other hand, are better for people who don’t plan on chopping down large trees on a regular basis. They usually cost about $50 to buy.
Also, as they’re usually battery-powered, you don’t need to buy any fluids for a reciprocating saw. However, you may need to be careful with your electricity bill as the batteries will need to be charged on a regular basis.
As mentioned earlier, the chainsaw is what you need if you want to cut down a large tree. The sharp and extremely quick teeth are ideal for getting through that hardwood. It’ll also be better for when you want to turn the tree into logs, and if you want to turn the logs into boards.
The reciprocating saw, on the other hand, would be better for smaller jobs, such as chopping very thin trees. It’s also better for if you want to cut some branches off a tree to make the fall better. Would you want to climb a tree with a huge chainsaw? I know I wouldn’t!
It can also be better for cutting up boards, as the chainsaw can often just make a splintery mess out of the job.
As with price, there isn’t much competition as to which one is better. In fact, when most people think of a chainsaw, they’ll probably think of the sound it makes. It’s an iconic rumble that everybody can recognise.
This loud noise is because of the power of the engine, so the chainsaw won’t be very good if you want to do work in an urban backyard, as you may get a few complaints from your neighbors.
However, this is not automatically a disadvantage as being loud means that people (especially small children) and animals) are more likely to avoid it and stay out of the way
While the reciprocating saw is much quieter, it’s not exactly quiet. Yes, the engine is nowhere near as loud as a chainsaw, but I wouldn’t recommend using it when people have gone to bed. If you want to cut with the least noise, you shouldn’t be using a powered saw at all.
If you know how to manage it properly, you can be surprising accurate with a chainsaw. You just need to draw clear markings before you make any cuts, and hold your chainsaw with the correct posture.
In fact, being accurate with a chainsaw is vital as, without accuracy, the tree you’re felling might not fall in the direction that you want it to. And when you’re cutting the tree into logs, you want the edges to be as flat as possible.
However, for smaller trees or pieces of wood, the chainsaw can actually be quite difficult to control, particularly as some small trees might even bend as you start to cut them with a chainsaw, making accuracy almost impossible. It might also be difficult to cut off small branches without cutting into some of the trunks if you’re using a chainsaw. In such circumstances, you should use a reciprocating saw.
The chainsaw is a lot more work to maintain than the reciprocating saw. This is because it’s a more complicated piece of machinery.
First, there’s the oil. You need to make sure you have a sufficient amount of oil inside the saw before you can begin to get to work with it. You also need to make sure the filter is clean so that your chainsaw will not get overheated.
Other aspects that need to be maintained are the bar; the long bit that you wrap the chain around.
You need to keep it clean and the nose sprocket should always be able to move. And, of course, the chain should be sharpened so that it can actually do its job
As with a chainsaw the reciprocating saw needs to be sharpened, as using it on trees can dull the blades. And you need to recharge the batteries regularly.
But it’s pretty easy to do.
While there is no definite answer as to which powered saw is better, if you have a big job to do like cutting down a tree or turning a fallen tree into logs, the chainsaw is what you want. However, if it’s a thin tree you need to cut, or if you need to cut off branches from time to time, then pick up the smaller, lighter reciprocating saw.