For many homeowners, an electric chainsaw is a handy tool to have around the yard. It’s also gaining popularity as a better alternative to gas-powered chainsaws.
The reason behind this is similar to why people buy electric cars. If you own one, you’ll know!
Electric chainsaws are eco-friendly, lightweight, less expensive, easier to start, quieter to operate, and don’t require as much maintenance as gas-powered chainsaws.
Since they use electricity as a power source and don’t have an internal combustion engine, electric chainsaws don’t need gas and oil to run, but they need bar and chain oil for lubrication.
Bar and chain oil protects electric chainsaws from heat, friction, and premature wear and tear, extending their lifespan. It improves cutting performance too, so you can work easier and faster!
So, what are the exact reasons why an electric chainsaw needs oil? How do you choose the right oil and how do you fill your electric chainsaw with it? Keep on reading to find out!
Why Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil?
Whether you’re cutting down trees or trimming low-hanging branches, your electric chainsaw will need a special type of oil designed to lubricate its moving parts. It’s called bar and chain oil.
Here are a few important reasons to use bar and chain oil:
- Smooth and Sharp Cutting: Good lubrication means good performance. The oil keeps the chain sharp and allows you to cut through wood quickly and glide effortlessly.
- Cooling and Safety: Oil acts as a coolant that prevents a smoking tip, an overheating chainsaw, and dangerous situations involving resistance and kickback while cutting.
- Longer Life: Oil forms a protective layer around the guide bar and chain, reducing friction and wear and tear. It prevents the chain from becoming dull and inefficient.
- Prevent Damage: As chains cut through wood, they become vulnerable to rust and the buildup of wood chips and dust. Oil coats and protects the bar and chain.
- Noise Reduction: Proper lubrication helps reduce chainsaw noise, allowing your machine to run and cut quietly, resulting in less disturbance to you and your neighbors.
By consistently lubricating your electric chainsaw, you’ll get your cutting tasks done with minimal hassle. You’ll also save money by not having to deal with frequent repairs or replacements!
It’s also worth mentioning that biodegradable bar and chain oils are available for you to use. They’re highly effective and non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about harming the environment!
Choosing the Right Oil for Your Electric Chainsaw
Having the right bar and chain oil will help you make the most out of your electric chainsaw, in both chain life and cutting performance.
High-quality bar and chain oil has the following characteristics:
- Thick consistency that provides sufficient lubrication and optimal protection
- Sticky texture that fully coats the bar and chain without throwing off during use
- Long-lasting formula that doesn’t wear out quickly
- All-season oil that’s usable in different seasons and temperatures
- Compatible with your electric chainsaw and doesn’t void the warranty
- Biodegradable and environmentally friendly
You can buy oil at engine shops, hardware stores, home and garden stores, and big box stores.
Most people choose a place where they can buy in bulk at a lower price per fluid ounce. It may be a good choice for you to buy large bottles, depending on how often you use your chainsaw.
Your Chainsaw Manufacturer’s Oil
You might’ve noticed that most chainsaw manufacturers produce their own bar and chain oil that’s specially formulated for their chainsaws.
Stihl, Oregon, Greenworks, Makita, and Husqvarna are popular examples.
By no means is it necessary to use the same brand of oil as your electric chainsaw. However, one thing to consider is that the manufacturer likely offers the best lubrication for your model.
That’s because chainsaw companies often conduct performance tests to see what type of lubrication is the safest and work most effectively and efficiently for their machines.
Some companies that don’t produce their own oil will still name a particular brand of lubricant that they partner with and recommend using for the model chainsaw you purchased.
While other oils might seem less expensive, they can be costlier to use in the long run. You might encounter serious damage and repairs after months of using the wrong oil. So, take an ounce of prevention when choosing your oil—it might save you a ton of money down the road!
Bar and Chain Oil Alternatives
Some companies allow you to use fresh motor oil as a substitute for lubricating your electric chainsaw. They usually advise an SAE 30 motor oil in the summer and an SAE 10 motor oil in the winter for the best lubrication.
However, there can be differences in the formulation between bar and chain oil and motor oil, which means the latter may not be as thick and effective, especially in extreme temperatures.
If your motor oil lacks tackiness, it may even fly off the chain! To ensure the durability and high performance of your chainsaw, it’s best to use bar and chain oil instead.
Many other kinds of oil that you might think of using, such as reclaimed motor oil, cooking oil, and vegetable oil, can damage your chainsaw’s oiling system. So say no to these substitutes!
To learn more about what type of oil is allowed in your chainsaw, check your user manual or consult a qualified technician.
What the Wrong Oil Can Do
Using the wrong oil can harm your bar and chain, and it may happen quicker than you realize. Damage can also occur to the drive sprocket and clutch assembly.
Here are some of the things that could happen when you use the wrong oil on your chainsaw:
- Tiny particles, dust, and debris from used oil cause damage to your bar and chain
- Oil wears out quickly, you’ll stop for frequent refills and use a lot more oil than necessary
- Oil leaks from the chainsaw’s guide bar
- Chain and guide bar deform due to extreme heat and stress
- Rusting and residue buildup
- Overheating chainsaw from too much friction and lack of lubrication
A smoking or extremely hot tip is one of the tell-tale signs that your lubrication is too low. When this happens, you should shut off your engine and check your oiling system right away.
How to Refill Your Oil in a Few Easy Steps
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to refill your oil to lubricate your bar and chain:
- Begin by turning off your chainsaw and unplugging it from the electric socket. This will prevent any accidents from your chainsaw unexpectedly starting.
- Always put your chainsaw on a flat surface before you refill. Dropping it can damage your chainsaw and cause an injury.
- Give your chainsaw time to cool down. Refilling a hot chainsaw can result in painful burns that will slow you down from accomplishing your cutting tasks.
- Whether you regularly use your chainsaw or are taking it out from storage, clean the top of the chainsaw first before removing the oil cap. This prevents debris from entering the oil tank and damaging your lubricating system.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to open the oil tank properly. Take off the cap and set it aside on a clean surface so that it doesn’t contaminate the oil when you reattach it. Use a clean funnel that fits the size of the opening of your chainsaw.
- Slowly pour the bar and chain oil into the funnel to prevent any spills. Stop at the full mark indicated in your reservoir. Avoid overfilling, as it’s dangerous and causes a mess when you reattach the cap.
- Remove the funnel and place it on a shop cloth or paper towel to avoid spilling or dripping oil on your workspace. Tighten the oil tank cap securely to prevent leaks.
You’ll get the hang of this refill process after a few tries. By then, you won’t have to think twice about checking your chainsaw’s oil.
Think of it like refilling your car. You don’t want to run near empty for too long!
Helpful Tips on Refilling Your Oil
Follow these tips to keep your electric chainsaw clean, lubricated, and in good condition:
- Before you start working, always ensure that your oil reservoir doesn’t contain old oil, especially if you don’t use your chainsaw regularly. Old oil doesn’t lubricate as effectively.
- If you can’t remember the last time you used your chainsaw or changed its oil, it’s best to change it and start fresh—for your safety and the long-term care of your chainsaw.
- Periodically check your oil reservoir to ensure that it’s not empty. A good tip is to do so every 20 minutes of use. Your chainsaw may run dry before you realize it, resulting in a buildup of heat and friction, poor performance, and damage to your chainsaw.
- Clean your oil reservoir opening regularly to prevent clogging and buildup.
- Dispose of your used oil in an eco-friendly way, and avoid mixing used oil with fresh oil.
Basic Rules for Chainsaw Safety
Whether your chainsaw is powered by gas or electricity, it’ll have extremely sharp blades attached to a fast-rotating chain.
These parts can be used to cut, prune, and buck wood quickly and efficiently, but they can also be very dangerous if used improperly.
To prevent serious injuries and avoid costly damage to your machinery, always follow safety precautions. Pay special attention to the following:
- The proper type of gloves to wear for your work situation to protect your hands and provide the best grip when handling your chainsaw.
- The proper eyewear to cover and shield your eyes from flying debris when using your chainsaw.
- Other recommended clothing, like protective jackets, cut-resistant trousers, headgear, ear protectors, and heavy-duty boots, to protect yourself from the moving chain.
- Proper techniques for holding a chainsaw, including important do’s and don’ts.
- How to cut trees and limbs safely and effectively to prevent injury from falling wood.
- Emergency procedures in case of chainsaw kickback, wounds, hearing loss, and CO poisoning.
Although an electric chainsaw doesn’t use gasoline and oil in its engine in the same way that a gas-powered chainsaw does, you’ll still need oil to properly lubricate its bar and chain.
This will ensure that your machine runs smoothly and effectively and enjoys a long life of getting your cutting tasks done easier, faster, and safer.
Take care of your chainsaw by choosing the right bar and chain oil and refilling your reservoir regularly, and take care of yourself by following chainsaw safety rules at all times!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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