Chainsaw vs. Circular Saw – Do You Need Both?

Chainsaw and circular saws are two different types of saws that we can use in woodworking. A chainsaw has a cutting chain and a circular saw has a cutting blade. More than that there are so many differences such as accuracy, power consumption, size, weight, price, and many more. So let’s compare in-depth chainsaw vs circular saw. So keep reading on!

Chain saw vs. Circular saw: Comparison Table

So let’s take a look at the fundamental differences and similarities between the two power tools.

Chain sawCircular saw
AccuracyLessMore than a chain saw
User ExperienceNo need more experience to handle itMore experience will help to handle the tool very quickly to cut accurately
Power consumptionGas and Electric powered
Consumes high power
Electric powered tool
Consumes less power
PortabilityLess than a circular sawEasy to carry
Cutting capacityHas a higher cutting capacityLower than a chain saw
Cutting depthHighLess than a circular saw
Material wasteToo much goes to wasteLesser than a chain saw
SizeIt depends on the power source normally, starting from 14 inches and go up to 72 inches.The common size is  6.5 – 7.5 inches.
WeightThe average is 10 -15 lbs. Smaller will take 6 lbs. and also, the most powerful chain saw can exceed 20 lbs.7 – 10 pounds.
PriceIt can cost around $200 to $350.It can cost between $50- $200.
The differences and similarities between a chain saw, and a circular saw

Differences Between Chainsaw vs. Circular saw

Chainsaw vs circular saw
Chainsaw vs. circular saw

Under the previous heading, you may got a rough idea about the differences between the two devices. Let’s get a more comprehensive description in this section.

A chain saw is a portable saw type. Mainly has three types based on the power source.

  1. Gasoline
  2. Electric
  3. Battery-powered

It cuts the liquid at high speed by means of a set of teeth attached to a chain that rotates along a guide bar. It is used in tree felling, limb cutting, grinding, pruning, forest fire fighting firewood cutting.

And also, there are several types based on the shape of the teeth of the chain saw. Those are;

  1. Square chisel
  2. Full chisel
  3. Semi-chisel
  4. Low profile

Before you buy a chainsaw, you should know Is a Chainsaw Worth It? – Do You Really Need it?

Knowing about the circular saws is an advantage if you are looking to engage in professional work that needs to be done very delicately. A circular saw is a tool with a cutting blade with disc-shaped teeth. There are two types. If they are,

There are several types of a circular saw to choose from according to your needs.

We will talk about how to choose the circular saw that suits your needs.

Experience should be consulted to determine which of these two devices can do the job more accurately. A chain saw is usually used for larger tasks such as splitting large logs. Therefore, more accurate cuts are not expected in such tasks.

A circular saw is used to make finer, smaller cuts (a few inches). A more accurate output can be expected when using a circular saw.

You don’t need a lot of experience to use a chain saw. But your experience is essential to use a circular saw.

But when using a chain saw, you need to move your arms and hands more strongly to handle the power of the tool.

The circular saw is easy to handle!

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the chain saw is high. A starting watt of about 2000 W is required. 1200 W minimum required to do the job. Because the chain saw is used to perform tasks that require high power, its energy consumption is high. Think how much power it takes to cut down a large tree.

The most common power supply for corded circular saws is 120V or 230V. This is closely followed by 18V for Cordless circular saw. Circular saws used in industry are generally 110v. But cordless chain saw use in industry for safety.

  1. It is true that using a circular saw also requires considerable power. But definitely less compared to the chain saw.

Chainsaw gas oil mix ratio is an important factor. Because the mixing ratio can increase or decrease the performance.


It seems that the size of the chain saw varies according to the type of power used in it.

Gas-powered chain saws start at 16 to 18. 72 inches’ gas powered chain saw is largest one.  Electric chain saws tend to be smaller. Usually it will take 14 to 16 inches.

A circular saw is also portable. However, the size of the circular saw is determined by the length of the blade used.

Cutting Capacity

Circular saw cutting capacity
Circular saw cutting capacity depends on the blade diameter

Cutting capacity is a term used to describe how well and how quickly a chain saw’s primary function is to cut wood. The cutting capacity of a chain you have is directly related to the capacity of the work you can do.

As mentioned above, the cutting capacity of the chain saw is more than the cutting capacity of the circular saw. Especially gasoline chain saw can work between 5 – 6 horsepower.

And corded electric chainsaw has 3-4 horsepower. But cordless electric chainsaws are less power than a corded one.

Type of ChainsawCutting Capacity
Gas ChainsawA large tree can be cut
Electric ChainsawYoung to mature tree
Pole SawSaplings branches of trees
Chainsaws and cutting capacities

Cutting Depth

With the rough idea you got about the difference in cutting capacity between a chain saw and circular saw, you will understand that this cutting depth also varies similarly. The cutting depth of the circular saw is limited to a few trenches.

Standard-size chain saws use 7 ¼-inch blades. It can cut a maximum depth of about 2 ½ inches. A chain saw can use to cut huge trees also. So the cutting depth of the chain saw is not limited to inches.

Chainsaw cutting depth depends on the bar length and user experience. Even large trees can be cut into piece by pieces when it need to be cut down. So most of the woodworkers use 16″ – 18: chainsaws for their tasks.

Material Waste

According to the knowledge about cutting capacity and cutting depth, the material waste is high when cutting materials using a chain saw. Usually, using a chain waste does not make the most accurate cuts.

The circular saw cuts more precisely, so the material waste has minimized.


Generally speaking, the chain saw is larger compared to the circular saw. As mentioned earlier, a lot of power is required to handle the chainsaw.

Accordingly, a different size range related to the three types of a chain saw can be seen in the chain saw in the market. Those are;

  1. Full chisel
  2. Semi chisel
  3. Low profile chains

Large circular saw blades range from 8 1/4 inches to 10 1/4 inches. These large saws can easily cut 2 trenches of solid material. But a powerful motor is also required. So they can be a heavy and intimidating pieces of equipment.


Compared to the size of the chain saw and the circular saw, the weight of the chain saw is also higher because it is larger.

Therefore, you should use the chain saw safely while bearing its weight.


Prices vary for different sizes of equipment under different brand names. Accordingly, you should choose the most appropriate device for your needs.

Chain saw vs. Circular saw: Which One Do You Need?

Chainsaw is mostly used for the wood cutting

Now, you know that chain saws are generally used for rough and large cuts and circular saws are generally used for finer and more precise cuts. Accordingly, depending on the nature of your need, you should choose the most suitable type of these two devices. After that, the appropriate size device of that type should be selected.

For example, let’s examine the applications of several types of a circular saws.

  • A carbide circular saw can use to cut very hard material.
  • An abrasive saw can use to cut the hardest material like metals, tile, and concrete.
  • The table circular saw can use to cut wood.

Actually, the circular saw is a type of indoor use machine which is suitable for light-duty work. So circular saw is the most common type.

A chain saw is useful for heavier duties. When you select chainsaw, you should know How many CC chainsaw do you need?. Because CC can state the chainsaw performance.

Chain saw vs. Circular Saw in Firewood Processing

A Circular saw is mostly used for the wood processing

When cutting trees for firewood, you must first choose the right size tool. After that, the condition of the equipment should be checked, and appropriate safety practices should be followed. Under that, suitable protective clothing, gloves, and shoes to protect against cuts should be worn. A chain saw is a loud machine, so proper ear and head protection should be worn.

The firewood processing industry today uses chain saws that are suitable for rapid processing. As a chain saw the device, it is successful here because the initial cost is minimal. But regular lubrication is essential.

But the disadvantage of this is that the maintenance cost is high and during the maintenance period, this firewood processing process is completely stopped.

Circular saw is also used for firewood processing with minimal productivity cost. No need any lubrication for the blade of a circular saw. Due to a long time between disc re-sharpening, the chain saw can produce firewood for a relatively long time.

The cost of installing a large-scale circular saw is higher than the cost of installing a large-scale chain saw. However, the rate of producing better quality firewood is higher.

Related Topics

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.