Can a Chainsaw Run on Diesel? The Answer May Surprise You

Chainsaws are designed to run on a mixture of gas and oil. The oil is used to lubricate the engine and keep it cool. Gasoline is used as fuel. But the question is: can a chainsaw run on diesel?

Chainsaws are not designed to run on diesel. Diesel fuel is heavier than gasoline and doesn’t vaporize as quickly. Consequently, it won’t burn as cleanly or efficiently in the chainsaw engine. Furthermore, diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, resulting in deposits on engine parts. 

So if you’re wondering whether you can save money by using diesel instead of gasoline in your chainsaw, the answer is no.

In fact, there is a lot more to learn when it comes to knowing an answer to the question: can a chainsaw run on diesel?

Luckily, you have come to the right place because I have explained it all in a very simple and easy-to-understand way. So let us get started!

Can a Chainsaw Run on Diesel (2)

Can a Chainsaw Run on Diesel?

As I already mentioned, you should never even think about using diesel in your chainsaw because the results won’t be quite pleasant.

Chainsaws are not designed to run on diesel fuel and you will end up doing more harm than good if you try (1).

Diesel engines are designed to burn cheaper fuel than gasoline engines.

They don’t have to be as fuel efficient because they are used in larger vehicles such as trucks and buses.

This means that the engine can handle the heavier fuel without any problems.

Chainsaws, on the other hand, are designed to be lightweight and portable. This means that their engines are not as powerful as those found in diesel vehicles.

As a result, they cannot handle the heavier fuel as well and will start to experience all sorts of problems.

What If the Chainsaw Starts with Running Diesel? Here’s What Happens Next

The first thing you will notice is that the chainsaw will be very difficult to start. This is because diesel is much harder to vaporize than gasoline.

In order for the engine to start, it needs a mixture of gas and air. Diesel is not as vaporized as gasoline, so it will not mix with the air properly (2).

The engine will also run very roughly because diesel is not burning as cleanly or efficiently.

You will notice a lot of black smoke coming from the exhaust and the chainsaw will be much louder than usual.

Additionally, the engine will overheat quite easily because diesel does not dissipate heat as well as gasoline.

If you continue to use diesel in your chainsaw, the deposits left behind by the fuel will eventually cause the engine to seize up.

At this point, the only thing you can do is take the chainsaw to a mechanic and have them rebuild the engine.

This is an expensive process and it is something that can be easily avoided by simply using the right fuel.

So, can a chainsaw run on diesel? The answer is no and you should never even think about trying it.

A powerful chainsaw in action

Why Would a Chainsaw Not Run on Diesel?

The main reason why a chainsaw can not run on diesel is due to the fact that diesel is heavier than gas.

It burns slowly as compared to gasoline (which is a sublime liquid and evaporates at room temperature).

Furthermore, Compression ratios for diesel engines are in the 16 to 21:1 range, which makes it difficult for chainsaws to compress the fuel enough for ignition (3). In addition, an extra component will be necessary to push the fuel to where it needs to go.

Keeping this in mind, if a diesel engine is designed for a chainsaw, it will be very heavy and quite expensive.

Additionally, diesel has a higher carbon content as compared to gasoline. What this means is that it will leave behind more deposits on the engine parts.

Over time, these deposits will cause the engine to seize up and will eventually lead to a complete breakdown.

So, if you’re wondering whether or not you should use diesel in your chainsaw, the answer is a resounding no.

It is not worth the risk and you will end up doing more harm than good. Stick to using gasoline and your chainsaw will thank you for it in the long run.

What fuel does a chainsaw run on?

Ok, so if a chainsaw can’t run on pure gasoline or diesel then what fuel do you need to run it on?

The answer is a mixture of gas and oil.

This mixture is known as 2-stroke fuel or unleaded gasoline and it is specifically designed for use in small engines such as those found in chainsaws.

The oil in the mixture helps to lubricate the engine and prevent wear on the moving parts.

The gas, on the other hand, provides the power needed to make the chainsaw run.

The ratio of oil to gas can vary depending on the manufacturer, but it is usually around 50:1.

You can find 2-stroke fuel at most hardware stores and gas stations (4).

It is important that you use high-quality fuel because this will help to extend the life of your chainsaw.

You should keep in mind that the fuel should have about an 89-octane rating.

If the octane rating is lower than the recommended then will experience an increase in engine temperature, knocking, and pinging.

All of these things can lead to serious engine damage so it is important that you use the correct fuel.

chainsaw with spikes cutting a log

What happens if you put the wrong fuel in a chainsaw?

As mentioned earlier, there is a specific ratio of fuel mix that needs to be maintained in order to make the saw run properly for an extended duration.

But what happens if you put the wrong fuel in the saw?

The most common mistake people make is putting in too much oil.

While this might not seem like a big deal, it can actually cause some serious damage to the engine.

Too much oil can cause the engine to overheat and will eventually lead to seizures.

Additionally, it can cause the chainsaw to smoke excessively and will make it very difficult to start.

If you do accidentally put too much oil in the saw then you will need to drain the tank and refuel with the correct ratio.

It is also important that you use high-quality oil because this will help to extend the life of your chainsaw.

chainsaw maintenance

Final Words!

So can a chainsaw run on diesel? The answer to this question has already been answered in detail.

I hope after making it this far, you will have an idea of the importance of using the correct fuel for your chainsaw.

Even if you try running the saw with diesel the engine will be difficult to start, it will overheat easily, and it will eventually seize up.

Therefore, I will never recommend putting diesel in your chainsaw, and make sure to use the right fuel mixture.

I hope you not only enjoyed reading this article but also found it quite helpful. If so, then please do not hesitate to share it with your friends and family.

Until next time!

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Jack Logan is a student of MS Global Navigation Satellite System who spends his free time researching and writing articles, many of which are geared towards helping people. His favorite power tools are miter saws and impact wrenches Read More About Jack