Gas or Electric

With visitors expected to arrive today, it is important to regain our access. The rain has descended sufficiently to thaw the ice on our driveway enough for me to scrap away the bulk of it. There are still patches I hope vehicles can overcome with sufficient momentum.

The big challenge of the day is to clear the large fallen branches ripped down by freezing rain storm. Since most of the work is in limbing, I left the big guns in the workshop and stuck to my two arborists saws. When felling and bucking, my go to is the Stihl 462 with a 28inch bar, 6.0 bph and 72.2 cc. But I am not felling or bucking, so why carry so much weight?

I suppose part of me has a huge FMO (fear of missing out) so I buy pretty much everything I feel I will need and then some if I can afford it. My hopes is that more tools will help make up for my desperate lack of knowledge. When you need something and you don’t have it, it can and will set you back for days or weeks. So I have several arborist saws.

The most recent one I bought for about $350 taxes in on sale, was the Makita 18V LXT with a 10 inch bar. I decided on this because of it weighing in a 2.6kg. I was having elbow issues and hoped the lighter weight will make tree work more pleasant. The limited power equivalent to a 22c gas saw does not make the weight difference worth while. It has much less power than my Husqvarna T540iXP. Less power and weight meant a longer cut time and the need for applying more physical pressure. Handling of the tool itself was more pleasant. The battery sits under the handle compare to the Husqvarna which sits behind the handle. The under the handle battery feels more comfortable. I mostly use this saw out of convenience as it is packed in the tool truck for the just in case I need it situation. It was not a great investment but it will be a good tool for beginners getting a feel for an arborist saw. I would not want a beginner messing with my T540iXP. In writing this blog I realize Makita has a 36v top handle saw that takes 2 x 18v batteries. They boast this to be comparable to a 30cc gas saw.

My go to saws for the day are the Husqvarna T540iXP battery powered and the Stihl 192Tc gas powered saws. The Husqvarna is actually the preferred saw. It is quiet and has an similar cut ability boasting an equivalence to a 40cc gas. The power head weighs in at 7.67lbs (5.51 for the power head and 2.16 for the battery). The 192Tc is 30.1cc and has a power head weighing in at 7.0lb without the bar, chain and fuel. With fuel the 192Tc is essentially the same weight as the 192Tc.

In terms of efficiency, the saws are very similar although I want to lean to the gas saw for power. The electric saw is definitely more comfortable to use by far. It is quiet and starts with a push of a button. I find pulling a cord, whether or not I am dangling off a tree, very inconvenient. The buttons on the electric saw also yields a greater sense of safety; you can power off easily and avoid accidental and dangerous chain activation.

I would lean towards the gas saw when it comes to handling. The power head is well balanced and is slightly front heavy with the bar and chain attached. This compliments the application of weight into the cut. The electric saw is well and pretty much perfectly balanced with the battery in place. I find this somewhat of a drawback since more forward pressure into the cult is required. Also, the overall length of the T540iXP is longer making less agile.

My reference to electric versus gas saw here is specifically in relation to my T540iXP and 192Tc and not to all gas versus electric saws.

My electric saw gets a win for greater convenience, safety and comfort that does not require pull cords or working with smelly gas and loud noises. The gas saw wins with better handling and most of all continuity of use. I burnt through 2 batteries with my electric saw clearing and bucking up the branches visible on the road. I then resorted to my gas saw so I didn’t have to find power and wait for a recharge. With 4 tanks of gas, the tree got a complete make over in addition to having pretty much all the branches processed in to 16 inch logs. For such continuity in work flow with an electric saw a power source is needed to recharge or multiple batteries are required at over $300 a pop. The temperature was not very cold. It has been around 2 degrees Celsius and the battery was not charging in the workshop. I had to bring it into the heated house. I imagine the temperature is also inhibiting run time of the T540iXP.

I prefer using the electric saw but I am sure glad I have my noisy gas guzzler to get the work done.

December 2022

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