Tuesday, 15 July 2014

2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Engines in Chainsaws

A petrol chainsaw with a large engine will cut through just about anything and maybe that's what you need from a chainsaw. But lets take a wider look at the advantages and disadvantages of a 2 stroke vs a 4 stroke engine.

2 or 4 Stroke Chainsaw Engine

Like any different versions of a wider product there are advantages and disadvantages in having a 2 stroke or 4 stroke engine. Lets look over some of these points to help you make the decision.

Advantages of a 2 Stroke Engine

2 stroke engines are lighter than 4 stroke engines and therefore this generally leads to a lighter chainsaw. This makes t easier to use for those that may struggle carrying around a heavier chainsaw for a prolonged period of time. 

However just because the 2 stroke engine is lighter does not mean that it is in any way less powerful. In fact the 2 stroke engine is actually more powerful than the 4 stroke engine and carries a much bigger punch. You rarely have a chainsaw that is too powerful for the job but you can always have a chainsaw that is not powerful enough...

2 stroke engines are also less complicated and made up of less parts which causes them to be a lot more compact than a 4 stroke engine. This allows them to be used in tighter spaces and in areas where a large, clunkier chainsaw might get in the way e.g. whilst in a tree.

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So a 2 stroke engine is lighter, more compact and more powerful, why would I ever get a 4 stroke engine?

2 Stroke Top Handle Chainsaw

Advantages of a 4 Stroke Engine

A 4 stroke engine has a much lower fuel consumption than its 2 stroke cousin. This means it is cheaper to maintain, you can get more out of a full tank and will generally run for longer. Kinda like the reliable ford ka to the mg rover.
A 4 stroke engine is also much more quiet than a 2 stroke engine. This can be be very useful in not annoying your neighbors if you are forced, due to commitments, to work on your garden early in the morning or late at night. Unless of course annoying your neighbors is all part of the fun in which case I guess you can just skip this "advantages"

A 4 stroke engine may be less powerful than the 2 stroke engine but it does have a lot more torque at lower speeds. This makes the 4 stroke engine overall a lot more easy to use and gives it the edge over the 2 stroke engine in completing smaller jobs easier and faster.

So a 4 stroke engine is quieter, runs for longer and can make quick work out of small jobs. Hmm maybe this chainsaw is starting to sound like the one for you?

 Disadvantages of a 2 Stroke Engine

If you can't stand the smell of smoke or even the feel then maybe a 2 stroke engine is not for you. A 2 stroke engine is a lot less fuel efficient than the 4 stroke engine and therefore produces a lot more smoke. To be completely honest with you the amount of smoke varies from chainsaw to chainsaw but 2 stroke engines will definitely always produce that little bit extra.
As we touched on before, a 2 stroke engine is about as fuel efficient as a Lamborghini Gallardo in rush hour traffic in London. Don't really think I need to say anything else, that probably covers it.
Along with this comes the fact that the 2 stroke engine has higher emissions than the 4 stroke engine although to be honest this is to be expected from a more powerful piece of equipment regardless of the industry.
So basically the 2 stroke is bad for the environment but this can be considered a fair compromise for a piece of machinery that could maybe, probably, most likely chop a house in half.

Disadvantages of a 4 Stroke Engine

a 4 stroke engine is heavy due to the extra parts and their general size. Now you may look at it and think "Yeah I can carry that" but you have to remember you'll most likely to be maintaining your garden when it is hot and its not going to be a 5 minute job. It's going to be tiring, hot and sweaty. Don't say I didn't warn you...
A 4 stroke engine will always be less powerful than a 2 stroke engine depending on engine size of course. What this means that if you have a 26cc 2 stroke engine it will always be more powerful than a 26cc 4 stroke engine.
With it's larger size the 4 stroke engine can seem clunky and bulky and difficult to use. Not to mention you will definitely find this to be a lot more difficult to use in tight spaces or in areas where your ease of use is already limited.
Now I don't know your precise circumstances (only you know that) but I hope these advantages and disadvantages help you make your decision on your 2/4 stroke chainsaw!