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Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil? (What You Need to Know for Proper Maintenance)

Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil? (What You Need to Know for Proper Maintenance)

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Why do people buy electric chainsaws in the first place? It is a lot like the reason people are buying electric cars. If you own one, then you know.

If you don’t, think about all the reasons why people talk about helping out the environment based on the threats from carbon monoxide emissions. Electric chainsaws are beneficial for similar reasons.

Electric chainsaws derive their power from electricity, so you will need to plug them in. You may not even realize this if you have never owned a chainsaw that runs on gasoline, but many run on a mixture of oil and gasoline together.

Electric chainsaws don’t require added oil, but there is a way you will use oil with your electric chainsaw.

Electric saws are cleaner since they don’t run on gasoline. That means it will keep you cleaner — and the air you breathe will be cleaner as well.

Many people love the fact that they can just plug them in, and they are ready to use right away without mixing oil and gasoline in a canister and putting it inside the chainsaw’s fuel tank.

Typically, the chainsaw bar and chain will need to be lubricated — so they will need oil in that way. In fact, this lubrication is the same kind that gas-powered chainsaws use to lubricate their bar and chain.

So there is a common element of how all chainsaws use oil — to lubricate its bar and chain to help with the efficiency and life of the chainsaw.

So how exactly does a chainsaw need lubricating? Is lubricating the chainsaw’s bar and chain all you need to do to maintain and care for your electric chainsaw?

There are lots of answers for you to read below so that you can enjoy and maintain your electric chainsaw for a long and happy life together.

What About the Lubrication?

Adding Bar Oil to a Chainsaw

Electric chainsaws have specific bar and chain lubrication oil that is to be used on them. The oils are designed for this very thing — to keep the bar and chain running smoothly and efficiently.

As you might imagine based on the discussion above, these lubricants are also made to be safe for the environment.

Warning: many other kinds of oil or lubrication you might think of using, such as reclaimed motor oil or even any type of vegetable oil, can damage the oiling system. So don’t think of making that kind of substitution!

More details on this below.

Comparing the Different Brand Options

Cutting wood with different brands of chainsaws

The way the market is structured today, most chainsaw manufacturers actually produce their own brand of bar and chain oil for their own saws.

By no means is this essential to use the name brand; however, the manufacturer may offer the best lubrication for your model. Refer to your owner’s manual for specifications.

Some companies who do not produce their own lubricant will still name a particular brand lubricant that they partner with and recommend using for the model chainsaw you purchased.

This is probably a helpful agreement between the two companies and profitable referrals.

Buying Options

You can purchase oil at many home and garden stores, big box stores, and even engine shops and hardware stores. Many people choose to ultimately purchase it at a place where they can buy larger quantities at a less expensive price per fluid ounce.

You can gauge whether that is a good option for you based on how often you use your chainsaw.

What Your Owners Manual Might Tell You

Chainsaw companies conduct performance tests to see what lubrication works best in their systems.

So while some oils might be less expensive, they may be costlier to use in the long run. You might have engine repairs that are necessary after months of using the wrong oil. So consider an ounce of prevention and how much it may save you down the road.

Notice that most companies show that fresh motor oil can be used to lubricate your electric chainsaw. Most companies will advise using an SAE 30 motor oil in the summer. Another might advise you to use an SAE 10 motor oil in the winter to produce the best lubrication.

What the Wrong Oil Can Do

Synthetic Motor Oil

Using the wrong oil can damage your bar and chain, and it may happen quicker than you realize. Damage can also occur to the drive sprocket and clutch assembly.

Warning: a smoking or extremely hot tip can mean your lubrication is too low. It is recommended in these cases to immediately shut off your engine.

You will want to check the oiling system ASAP to make sure your chainsaw is not damaged.

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

Chainsaw with all the proper PPE including ear muff, eyewear, gloves and a helmet

A word that seems obvious but must be said. No matter whether your chainsaw is gasoline powered or electrically powered, chainsaws are mechanically powered saws that make use of sharp teeth attached to a rotating chain. Does this convey the danger well enough?

Chainsaws are used effectively to cut, prune, and buck. They make work easier for the user. However, all safety guidelines should be followed all the time!

Pay special attention to what your instructions say about the following:

  • The proper type of gloves to wear to protect your hands and provide the best grip for using your chainsaw.
  • The proper eyewear protection so that your eyes are not injured from flying debris during the use of your chainsaw.
  • Other recommended clothing to wear so that nothing is potentially caught by the moving chain.
  • Proper techniques for holding the chainsaw — both what to do and what not to do.
  • How to cut trees and limbs most effectively for the wood to cut more easily and for you not to be injured by falling trees and limbs.


  • Many people think they are okay if they always add fresh oil to their chainsaw. However, before starting your work, make sure that the oil reservoir of your chainsaw does not contain old oil since this can affect proper lubrication. This can be especially true if you do not use your chainsaw regularly. If you can’t remember the last time you used your chainsaw or the last time you changed its oil, then it is best to take the time to change it and start fresh — for your safety and the long-term care of your chainsaw.
  • Make sure that your chainsaw’s oil stays filled. If you are using your chainsaw for a long period of time, don’t assume that your reservoir will stay filled. If you are not checking it often, it may run dry before you realize it, and that can be problematic. This will result in a buildup of heat and friction, which will definitely affect its performance and can eventually result in damage to your chainsaw.

Refill the Oil in a Few Easy Steps

Pouring Motor Oil Into Engine

Here are some step-by-step guidelines for how to refill your oil to lubricate your bar and chain:

  1. Always start by unplugging your electric chainsaw from the electric socket. This will prevent any accidents from your chainsaw accidentally starting.
  2. Always place your chainsaw on a flat surface before you begin working with it. Dropping it can damage your chainsaw and possibly cause an injury to your person.
  3. If you are refilling your chainsaw in the middle of using it, always let your chainsaw cool down first. A hot chainsaw can result in painful burns that will slow you down from accomplishing your work goals.
  4. No matter whether you were just using your chainsaw or it has been stored in your garage collecting dust, it is advised that you clean the top of the chainsaw before removing an oil cap. You do not want any debris to enter the oil tank. This can cause damage to your lubricating system.
  5. Follow the directions to open the oil tank properly. Take off the cap and set it aside on a clean surface so that it will not gather debris and possibly contaminate the oil when you reattach it. Use a clean funnel that fits the size of the opening of your chainsaw.
  6. Slowly add the bar and chain oil into the funnel. You do not want to wastefully spill oil and you want to make sure that you stop at the full mark indicated in your reservoir. Overfilling can be dangerous and cause a mess when you replace the cap.
  7. Remove the funnel and place it on a shop cloth or paper towel without spilling the oil that will inevitably drip from the funnel. Tighten the oil tank cap securely so that it will not leak.

You will get the hang of this refill process easily before long and will not think twice about checking it so that it will not run dry. Think of it much like you do refilling your car. You don’t want to run near empty for long!

So, although electric chainsaws do not use gasoline and oil as a gasoline-powered chainsaw would, you will need to lubricate the bar and chain as you would any chainsaw. This will ensure that it runs properly and enjoys a long life for you to use in your work and home tasks.


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James Hash

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

How often do I need to put oil on the mini saw chain and where do I put the oil on the chain. Thanks for your help.