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How to Choose? Battery- vs. Gas-Powered Equipment

A DeWalt battery-operated and a Husqvarna gas-powered saw have optimal-use scenarios.

For many people, the convenience of a battery makes it the preferred choice over gas. But why choose a battery over a traditional gas unit for a grass or hedge trimmer, blower, chainsaw, or mower? Battery-powered is ideal for most homeowners. Moreover, the technology has progressed enough that many professionals are considering making the switch. At Murdoch's, we are frequently asked how to choose between gas- and battery-powered saws. Here, we detail the pros and cons of saws but keep in mind that much of the information applies to other yard equipment.

Battery Pros

  • Batteries offer easy starts. Simply plug in a charged, reusable battery and pull the trigger or push the button. No more pull cords, which annoy some users and sometimes break. 
  • Quiet: When the saw is not cutting, the motor is silent. Even when the saw is cutting, it is much quieter than a gas saw. This can have advantages for folks living in communities with noise ordinances. Either way, a quieter operation makes for friendlier neighbors. 
  • No exhaust fumes mean they can be used indoors and are better for the environment. 
  • Instant torque 
  • Lightweight designs: most battery-operated saws weigh around 8 to 10 pounds, including the battery. The lighter weight means it: 
    • is easier to maneuver (which has subsequent safety benefits) 
    • lets you work longer by reducing fatigue 
    • offers improved portability 
  • Lower vibration creates less fatigue. This means the operator can run the unit longer than gas and get more work done. For commercial crews, there is a cost-saving here. 
  • No gas management is a pro in and of itself: 
    • You don't have to mix fuel 
    • You don't need it on hand to refuel 
    • You won't spill it 
    • You won't flood your engine 
    • You won't worry about bad fuel, fuel lines, spark plugs, or even carburetors 
  • Battery equipment is built on brand platforms. There are interchangeable systems to swap batteries between other power tools and equipment made by the same manufacturer, provided the battery provides the required volts. You may not have to purchase a spare battery if you have invested in EGO, Stihl, Husqvarna, or DeWalt. 
  • Equipment maintenance is minimal. When you are ready to store it, just put it away and charge the battery next time. 

Battery Cons

  • Your cutting time is limited to your battery length. Many users get around this limitation by purchasing spare batteries. 
  • Less sturdy than gas because they don't necessarily require enhanced features. However, the need to beef up the equipment is reduced with reduced vibration and fewer components (because there is no gas system). 
  • Locations are limited by recharging outlets. If you aren't cutting near a power source, you can't recharge a battery, no matter how many you have in your arsenal. Remote and rural locations aren't ideal for battery use unless you're also packing a generator (in which case, you might as well pack the mixed gas instead.) 
  • Depending on your make/model, you may be sacrificing power with a battery. Investing in quality brands can mitigate this. EGO, for example, delivers or exceeds the power of gas with advanced battery technology.

Gas Pros

  • Power is never really a sacrifice. Gas engines go full steam ahead, which is huge considering that if you're buying a saw, you need it to perform to the best of its abilities. 
  • You can go anywhere with your saw, unlimited by access to a power outlet. 
  • You don't have to mix your gas if you buy it premixed in convenient, easy-to-transport bottled quarts. 
  • Your gas supply only limits runtime. 
  • They have a better reputation for cutting large trees and branches. 
  • A large variety of models and features are available on the market, which means you can precisely get the bar length, engine, and optimal features. 

Gas Cons

  • They weigh more, creating fatigue and proving more difficult to maneuver. 
  • Depending on the model you purchase, they can be more expensive initially. 
  • They aren't ideal for today's suburban areas. It may or may not bother you, but they are loud to operate and emit fumes. 
  • If you run out of gas, your day is done. 

Power Equipment at Murdoch's