Chainsaw vs Circular Saw | Main Differences, Uses, and More

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The modern age gives us access to a wide variety of tools for different purposes. Among them, Chainsaw and Circular saw are two very bright stars. It is very hard to say which one is better. Both them has various uses, different purpose. In this article, we will compare both in different environments, conditions, usage, and objectives.

What is a Chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a tool powered by either gas or battery which has blades weld on a chain that runs on a guided bar. It is good at cutting trees and branches but you can cut a wide variety of items. It is portable and the mobility makes this machine a great cutting tool.

What is a Circular Saw?

A circular saw is a tool powered by a motor with a circular blade or disk blade attached to it. It cuts with the circular motion of the blade. It is perfect for cutting wood, PVC, plastic, tiles. But we can cut many materials with it. It gives us additional safety, which an angle grinder can’t give us.

Comparison Table – Chainsaw vs Circular Saw

Choosing factorChainsawCircular Saw
VersatilityLessMore
Cutting EdgeLittle roughFine and Smooth
Beveling cutsEasyModerate
Cutting PowerMoreLess
Blade ChangeEasyEasy
Adjustable DepthYesYes
VibrationMoreLess
NoiseMoreLess
WorkspaceLargeLittle
Wastage AmountMoreLess
SafetyLessMore

Rapid Analysis

Chainsaw

Advantages

  • Uses a very powerful 2 stroke engine. (Exception: battery-powered chainsaw uses motor)
  • Has long blade.
  • Maneuver.
  • Lightweight and easy to use. 
  • Far faster than a hand saw.
  • Blades are easily changeable.
  • Saves your labor and time.
  • Easy to maintain.
  • Electric chainsaw makes very little noise and dust.
  • Don’t eat up much space.

Disadvantages

  • A little bit costly.
  • It needs time to learn to operate a chainsaw at first.
  • Extra care is needed to avoid injuries.
  • A gas-powered chainsaw makes much noise and dust.
  • Often leak happens.
  • Some time needed for cooldown.

Circular Saw

Advantages

  • Efficient because of the rotary motion.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Offers versatility for cutting.
  • Very precise and accurate.
  • Runs on a battery also give a power cord option.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Blade changing is very easy.
  • Don’t take much space.
  • Very good for angle cutting.
  • Can cut hard material like concrete and iron rod.

Disadvantages

  • Hard to see the cutting area.
  • Makes noise and dust.
  • Needs to charge for quite a long time.
  • Extra caution is needed to operate.
  • Cutting corners is difficult.
  • Blade becomes very hot during cutting.

Working Range

 Both the tool is a powerful tool. But their working field is different. The chainsaw is very much useful for cutting trees and tree branches. It is also very good for angle cutting. We can use it with our hands only. No solid base or support is needed for operating. It can cut both horizontally and vertically. It is widely used for cutting wood and gardening work.

 A circular saw gives the benefit of accurate and precise cutting. It is also very portable and lightweight. We can cut a variety of materials with it. It can cut wood, plastic, and cardboard, tiles, PVC, iron rod, concrete. But it needs a plane surface to cut on. It is also very efficient for its rotary motion. The blades are very easy to replace. But it produces much heat that burns the surface of the cutting edge.

Type and quality of cut

The gaps between the blade of a chainsaw are moderate. And to operate it, we don’t need any kind of base. So cutting very straight is difficult. It cuts very fine but does not cut as smoothly as a circular saw.

A circular saw uses a disk blade with a high density of teeth. It uses a rotary motion also. On the other hand, we need a plane surface for support. All these things give a very good quality cutting edge with a very much smooth surface.

Comparison at different situation

Making cuts at hard to reach places

The chainsaw has a longer blade and it is designed to use with two hands only. We can hold the chainsaw at any angle and it can cut. Oppositely the circular saw is designed to cut on a smooth surface. It needs support to cut cleanly. But operating it at different angles is quite difficult with a circular saw. So in hard-to-reach places, the chainsaw is better.

Cutting Thick trees

A chainsaw blade is like a two-sided sword with a tip. It can cut deep grooves easily. We can slide the blade into thick trees and it still will cut. A Circular saw is not designed that way. It can not cut as deep as a chainsaw and cannot cut on a curve or zigzag workpiece. So cutting down thick trees is definitely the work of a chainsaw.

Cutting on a guided line

Chainsaw blade has much torque but it is very difficult to cut on a guided line. It is on the operator’s skill how much expertise he has but still, it is hard to cut following a line with a chainsaw. The circular saw uses a surface as support for guidance. It is very efficient at cutting with a straight line. The cutting edge is also very smooth. This work is obviously for a circular saw.  

Cutting boards and logs

A circular saw allows us to cut following a line very accurately. Its design, along with the skill of the operator, allows us to cut thin square-shaped boards. For making boards and square holes, this tool is widely used. But it can’t cut deeply as much as a chainsaw. So it is not suitable for cutting logs. Chainsaw cuts deeply for its blade shape. Cutting logs is the work for a chainsaw.

Cutting rounded corners and curves

In this area, both the tool scores the same. But we can cut smooth curves and corners with a circular saw as it gives much control. It is hard for a chainsaw to cut precisely. But if the operator is skillful enough, he can cut at different angles and curves. But circular saw gives us more advantage in this matter.

Demolition work

Chainsaws are mainly designed for cutting trees. It has a powerful torque but it is not that suitable for demolition work. It can’t cut harder materials than wood. It creates a lot of vibration, which can break fragile pieces like tiles. Concrete and iron cutting would make the chain break. But demolition work is much suitable for a circular saw. It can easily cut through concrete and steel. It gives the facility to cut precisely. That’s why it is a standard tool for demolition work.

Other Comparisons

Changing blade

Both the tool give us very easy blade changing. There are often two screws on a chainsaw you have to unscrew and pull the bar away from the chain tensioner. Then the chain will come off easily and a new chain can be installed in the same way reverse.

On the circular saw, there is only one screw at the middle of the blade. If you unscrew it, the blade comes off easily. Then place the new blade and tighten the screw, that’s all.

Noise and Vibration

Both the tool makes a good amount of noise as every power tool does. But if I compare these two chainsaw makes more noise than a circular saw. The engine of the chainsaw makes a tremendous noise. Electric chainsaw makes very low noise than gas-powered. The Circular saw and electric chainsaw makes quite the same noise.

But in the case of vibration, the chainsaw makes the workpiece oscillate far more than a circular saw. That’s why it cant cut as fine as a circular saw.

Amount of Wastage

A circular saw has a guided channel for dust. The dust is not sprayed in the air as much as the chainsaw does for its guided channel. But it makes a fair amount of dust.

Chainsaw blades are far thicker. This is one of the main reasons that it makes much dust, and the dust is sprayed in the air. The waste can be sprayed up to 5 meters. 

Maintenance

A chainsaw needs more maintenance than a circular blade. Frequent cleaning and lubrication are a must for the chainsaw. Fuel needed to be poured every time you need to use it. Oil draining is another problem that further increases the maintenance work.

A Circular saw does not need that kind of work. We just need to clean the blade with a brush when it is not cutting finely. Lubrication is not needed that frequently for a circular saw.

Safety

Both the tool can do a tremendous amount of harm if not carefully operated. But in comparison, the chainsaw is dangerous than a circular saw because of the kickback. Then the blade touches the workpiece chainsaw tends to bounce back. If anyone does not keep this in mind, injuries are obvious. Also, the blade is naked for the chainsaw, which opens more options for injuries.

A circular saw is a dangerous tool also. But it is less threatening. The blade is covered with a guard. It also has a kick. So safety measures must be taken.

FAQ

Can I use a circular saw for tree branches?

You can cut small and thin tree branches with a circular saw but it is not suitable for this. It would be hard to cut as the blade is not so long and it is not designed for this work. A chainsaw would be a much better option. If you don’t have a chainsaw, a hack saw will also work.

What is the most versatile kind of saw?

Circular saw is more versatile. It can cut a wide variety of things. We can cut at many angles also with a smooth finish. It is also a portable tool. Another versatile saw is the oscillating saw. But its blade is small.

Why does my hand saw keep getting stuck?

The reason behind this problem might be dull blade, blade not having large teeth and not cutting in a straight line. If you see the teeth of your blade closely and find chipping, then you have a dull blade. Try to buy a new one. If the blade is fine, then look at the grove of your blade teeth. At last, try to cut in a straight line.

Which saw blade makes the smoothest cut?

The blade with dense packing of teeth makes a smoother cut. If you want a smooth and fine cutting edge, try to pick up the blade which has the greatest number of teeth.

Final Note

To sum up, both the tool is very useful in their purposes. It would be a fool’s job to compare to identify which tool is better than the other because both the tool is made for particular work. Cutting trees and gardening work is more suitable for a chainsaw.

On the other hand, demolition work, cutting precisely, making boards, etc., are circular saws’ jobs. So you must identify your need and buy accordingly. I hope this article gave you the information you were looking for.

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