Chainsaw Oil Essentials

Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil? – Maintenance Tips & Guide

When it comes to outdoor power equipment, the electric chainsaw has been a game-changer for both seasoned loggers and weekend warriors. a common question slices through the noise:  Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil

Electric chainsaws do require oil, but it’s for the bar and chain, not the engine, because they simply don’t have one. This little-known fact often surprises new owners who might not expect their electric models to need that kind of lubrication. 

After all, without the mess and maintenance of an internal combustion engine, electric chainsaws present a cleaner, more user-friendly option.

Let’s rev up our knowledge of electric chainsaws and the slick role oil plays in their operation

How Do You Lubricate An Electric Chainsaw?


Chains that are well-oiled reduce friction, prevent a saw from wearing out faster, and facilitate cutting. 

Furthermore, it keeps chainsaws running smoothly and ensures that they are properly maintained. Therefore, it is critical to use bar and chain oil regularly. 

By rotating the bar around the oiler, oil is supplied to the chain. 

Following are the steps to refill the oiler or lubricator when it runs out of oil:

  • Make sure you wear work gloves to ensure your safety.
  • Turn the saw off and unplug it from the power source.
  • Make sure the lightweight chainsaw is cooled down before using it.
  • Keep the top of the chainsaw and the filler cap clean with a towel or cloth so that dirt and debris don’t get into the oil tank.
  • Using either the manual or the anticlockwise rotation method, remove the cap.
  • Make sure you carefully add the oil using a funnel.
  • Slowly pour the liquid until the indicator indicating ‘full’ appears. Be careful not to overfill the container, as this could cause damage to the product.
  • If you notice any spills on the funnel, remove them and wipe them off.
  • Using a screwdriver, screw the cap securely into the machine in a clockwise direction or according to the instructions in the manual.

What Happens If You Run An Electric Chainsaw Without Bar Oil?


Using a chainsaw without bar oil can seriously damage your chainsaw and also put your safety at risk, so you should avoid using it without bar oil. There are several issues you may encounter, including:

Breakage Of Chain

When you run your chainsaw without bar oil consistently, there is a significant risk of breaking a chain. The chains on chainsaws are linked together, just like the chains on bicycles. 

You can move your chain freely while using bar oil, and it will keep your chain cool simultaneously. In contrast, a chain that is not oiled or dry will wear out its links faster and more easily. 

In chainsaws, chain catches are added to catch flying, broken chains. It is important to keep your chain intact while using the chain catch. 

Chainsaw teeth can fly everywhere when you work with one, which can cause you harm. To ensure you stay safe and make your chainsaw last longer, use bar oil unless you don’t care about safety concerns and damage. 

Increased Kickback

The kickback potential of a chainsaw will be dramatically higher if it has a dry chain. The reason for this is that without lubrication, friction will increase, and friction only increases the rate of kickback. 

If your chainsaw kicks back, you can use the chain brake, which is built into the handle. Once the chain brake engages, it locks the chain.

When faced with a violent, strong kickback, the left hand of the top bar automatically hits the chain brake. You’ll be able to engage your brake immediately, but you should still check your chain brake’s use to ensure it’s always working to ensure you’re protected and safe. 

Therefore, you should always oil your chainsaw to prevent kickback and consider taking a course on handling kickback at your local hardware store.

Chain Deterioration Or Destruction

If you don’t lubricate your chainsaw with bar oil, it can get dull and destroyed quickly. You know that friction stops your blade from working properly if you’ve ever hit a chain with a chainsaw. 

Related: Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Dull So Quickly?

Two factors can cause a dull chainsaw blade:

  • Heat 
  • Friction

Using bar oil reduces heat and friction on the chain. Dull blades can also lead to you leaning harder. 

As a result, friction and heat will only increase on the chain, worsening the situation. By using bar oil instead, you can avoid much of this. 

A Higher Wear Rate For Your Bars And Chains

A chainsaw that doesn’t use bar oil will experience faster wear and tear, including its:

  • Chain teeth
  • Links
  • Drivers

The saw will break more easily when you don’t apply enough bar oil. Moreover, that puts more strain on the chain, increasing its likelihood of stretching out and breaking. 

Related: The Chainsaw Chain Won’t Tighten Anymore?

Check whether you need to constantly adjust the tension on your chain if it is worn out and stretched. You will need to buy a new chain if this is the case. 

Electric Chain Saw Oil Substitute


Usually, standard motor oil is used in electric chainsaws. However, synthetic motor oil, transmission fluid, gear oil, or cooking oil can also be used. 

Below are some alternatives to bar oil that a chainsaw user can use. Try them out to find out which one works best for you.

Motor Oil

Motor oil is one of the most common types of oil and comes in various viscosities. However, motor oil drips down the chain more slowly as it becomes thicker. 

Read: Can You Use Motor Oil For Chainsaw Bar Oil?

In addition to preventing oil from flying off the chain, thick oils can also clog machinery and slow it down.

Vegetable Oil

If you don’t want to use motor oil, you can also use vegetable oil, which is biodegradable. Your chainsaw doesn’t get contaminated with vegetable oil.

Frequently Asked Question

Do electric chainsaws need bar and chain oil?

Indeed, electric chainsaws require bar and chain oil for proper maintenance and performance.

How often do you oil an electric chainsaw chain?

It’s best to check the oil level and top it off before each use; some models have automatic oiling systems that manage this during operation.

How do you take care of an electric chainsaw?

Keep it clean, sharpen the chain regularly, ensure proper tension, and always use fresh bar and chain oil for lubrication.

What oil can I use for my electric chainsaw?

Use the manufacturer-recommended bar and chain oil or a suitable alternative specified for electric chainsaws.

Can I use SAE 30 oil in my electric chainsaw?

SAE 30 oil is not recommended for electric chainsaws; they require bar and chain oil, which is stickier and better suited for the task.

Final Thought

  • Electric chainsaws need oil for the bar and chain, not for an engine.
  • Regular lubrication with the right oil is critical for chainsaw longevity and safety.
  • Check and top off the bar and chain oil before each use.
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations for oil types, considering alternatives as needed.
  • Proper maintenance ensures the smooth, efficient, and safe operation of your electric chainsaw.