Oil for Electric Chainsaws – Which Type Should You Use?

Published Categorized as Chainsaw Oil Guides

Many people wonder what kind of oil is used in an electric chainsaw. After all, what type of oil you can use in an electric chainsaw can be perplexing, especially if you’ve never used one before. So in this article, we’ll discuss the types of oil for electric chainsaws, so that you know exactly which to use for your own chainsaw!

Table of Contents

blue Bosch chainsaw on table

Do Electric Chainsaws Need Fuel or Gas to Work?

When it comes to fuel or gasoline, electric chainsaws do not require it. You’ve probably heard about having to mix oil and gas in chainsaws, but that only applies to gas chainsaws, not electric chainsaws.

An electric chainsaw, unlike gas-powered chainsaws, does not require a specific oil-to-gas ratio to run and cut. It employs an environmentally beneficial manner, such as plugging into a power source.

Electric chainsaws, however, just like gas chainsaws, require oil to lubricate the chainsaw bar and chain. With that chain and bar oil, they stay functional, providing easier cutting and will extend the life of the saw.

Related: Bar and Chain Oil Substitute

So when we say electric chainsaws need oil, it means lubricant.

Will Any Chainsaw Oil Do?

No, not just any oil will do. Chainsaw oil is specifically designed to adhere to the chain and bar, providing a protective layer that reduces friction and wear during operation.

The Importance of Electric Chainsaw Lubrication

Lubrication is vital for chainsaws and most cutting tools because it reduces damage and smoke from overheating. If the tool is not properly maintained, it will struggle and potentially emit smoke while performing your duties.

The bar and chain are lubricated with a specific lubricant that reduces friction and ensures smooth cutting performance. This is not the oil used in gas-powered chainsaws, nor is it any ordinary motor or vegetable oil. These can wreak havoc on the oiling system. Therefore, it’s important to use the right oil.

Characteristics of Lubrication Oil

Chainsaw lubrication oil is a type of lubricant designed specifically for tending the bar and chain. Its distinguishing features are as follows:

  • Because it is thicker and stickier than engine oil, it does not fly off the bar.
  • It is temperature dependant, therefore in the summer, high temperatures might cause it to thin. Thinner oil has a tendency to fly off the bar and be of little use.
  • Winter’s cold weather can make it thick. Thickness can make it difficult for the oil to flow and prevent it from providing enough protection and friction.

Types of Chainsaw Oil

  1. Bar and Chain Oil: This is the standard lubricant for chainsaws, formulated to be sticky enough to cling to the chain as it moves at high speeds. Its viscosity is designed to resist being flung off the chain and to protect against the high friction generated during cutting. Using the correct bar and chain oil will prolong the life of your chainsaw’s bar and chain.
  2. Winter Oil: In cold climates, standard bar and chain oil can thicken, which reduces its effectiveness. Winter oil has a thinner viscosity, which helps it flow better and maintain lubrication in cold temperatures.
  3. Biodegradable Oil: For environmentally conscious users, there are biodegradable chainsaw oils made from vegetable oils or other natural sources. These oils provide effective lubrication but break down more quickly in the environment, reducing pollution.

Can You Use Alternative Oils?

While it’s best to use oil specifically designed for chainsaws, in a pinch, some users may consider alternative oils. However, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Motor Oil: Some people use old motor oil as a substitute. While it can provide some lubrication, it’s not recommended because it lacks the adhesive properties of chainsaw oil, leading to increased wear and potential damage. Additionally, used motor oil can contain harmful contaminants.
  • Vegetable Oil: As a temporary solution, especially in emergency situations, vegetable oil can be used because of its lubricating properties. It’s also a safer, more environmentally friendly option compared to petroleum-based oils. However, it may not perform as well under high temperatures or in cold weather.

Buying Electric Chainsaw Oil

For the greatest results, most chainsaw manufacturers develop their own lubricant, while others prescribe a certain oil brand. In any case, the correct answer can be found in your user handbook. If you are unable to get the specified product, any excellent quality bar and chain oil with the following qualities can be used:

  • Examine the label for a ‘throw-away’ inclination. It means improved performance because the oil will better hold the bar and chain in place.
  • Oil viscosity varies with temperature. Choose one that can operate in a wide temperature range.
  • To prevent plant damage when pruning and leveling, use a biodegradable oil.

Avoid using less expensive oil because it can ruin the entire tool. Cheaper oil, whether electric or gas-powered, is not recommended by professionals because it can damage your chainsaw. Learn more in our Electric vs Gas Chainsaw guide!

Where to Buy Electric Chainsaw Oil?

Electric chainsaw lubricant oil can be purchased at your local engine shop, hardware store, or home and garden store. You can even get them directly from the manufacturer, whether than be Husqvarna or Stihl, or from shops like Amazon.

Although there are many Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil Substitute, it’s generally not advised to use them unless it’s in an emergency before you’re able to source the recommended bar and chain oil for your specific electric chainsaw.

Here’s some general advice:

  • Never use recycled or used oil. Use only fresh oil.
  • Never add oil to the reservoir when the chainsaw is turned off.
  • Do not use cheap alternatives. They have the potential to damage the chainsaw.
  • The incorrect oil can cause damage to the chain, bar, drive sprocket, and clutch assembly.

Importance of Using the Right Oil

Using the correct type of oil is crucial for:

  • Protecting Your Equipment: Proper lubrication reduces wear on the chain and bar, extending their lifespan.
  • Safety: Adequate lubrication reduces the chance of the chainsaw overheating and potentially causing a fire or injury.
  • Environmental Impact: Choosing biodegradable oils can minimize environmental harm, especially when cutting near water sources or in sensitive areas.

How to Refill Oil in an Electric Chainsaw

Lubrication oil is used in all chainsaws to provide smooth, uncomplicated operation and regular maintenance. The oil is supplied to the chain by an automated oiler as the bar spins around it.

When the oiler or lubricator runs out of oil, follow the instructions below to refill it:

How to Refill Electric Chainsaw Oil

Total Time: 5 minutes

Turn off the saw

Wear work gloves for your own protection. Unplug the saw and turn it off. Allow the lightweight chainsaw to cool on a flat work area.

Remove cap

To prevent dirt or debris from entering the oil tank, clean the top of the chainsaw and the filler cap with a towel or cloth. Remove the cap by spinning it anticlockwise or by following the manual’s instructions.

Fill the chainsaw with bar and chain oil

To properly add oil, use a funnel. Pour slowly until the ‘full mark’ indicator appears. Overfilling can be harmful, so keep a close eye on the mark.

Replace the cap

Take out the funnel and clean up any spills. Screw the cap on tightly in the clockwise direction, or as directed in the handbook.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What kind of oil do you use in an electric chainsaw?

Electric chainsaws use bar and chain oil only. This lubrication is vital for maintaining the chainsaw and ensuring it works properly. Every electric chainsaw model will have a recommended bar and chain oil to use with that specific chainsaw.

Can I use 10W30 oil in my electric chainsaw?

Yes, 10W30 oil can be used for bar and oil for an electric chainsaw, but it is not the best solution and is generally not advised unless in an emergency. If you must, you may use it as a substitute. Because 10W30 oil is multi-weight, it can be used in both summer and winter.

Do electric chainsaws need chainsaw oil?

Electric chainsaws require chainsaw bar and chain oil in order to lubricate the chainsaw bar and ensure smooth operation. Without sufficient lubrication, the chainsaw bar will overheat, potentially smoke, and result in costly damage.

By Dave Cross

Hi, I'm Dave. I’ve been sawing for more than 40 years. I feel most at home when I’m surrounded by nature and my saws, but occasionally, I’ll share some of my know-how and experience on Cross Saw Mill.

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