Circular Saw vs. Chainsaw for a Firewood Processor

In a recent TimberWords blog post, we discussed what to look for when searching for a firewood processor. Briefly mentioned in that blog is the difference between circular saws and chainsaws on a processor.

The difference between the two saws is one of the most obvious distinctions between wood processors on the market. Circular saws are very large and can be seen on a log processor from quite a distance. On the other hand, chainsaws are much smaller but still perform the same function.

So, what is the difference between a circular saw and a chainsaw?

Benefits of a Circular Saw

Circular saws are large and powerful, which allows them to operate faster than a chainsaw blade. This results in clean and consistent cuts.


No lubrication is needed for a circular saw, so the sawdust it produces will be dry, and there will be less of it (Peak Equipment, n.d.). Also, circular saws have a longer sharpening interval and require less maintenance than chainsaw blades.

Chainsaw Firewood Processor Advantages

Though chainsaw blades are smaller than circular saw blades, they offer a larger cutting diameter because of their shape (Hakki Pilke, 2020). So, you will have more consistent cuts when working with larger logs.

Choosing a firewood processor with a chainsaw blade will lower your investment cost, compared to if you opted for a circular saw processor. This is because chainsaw blades cost less and allow wood processors to be more compact.

Additionally, a chainsaw blade requires less power than a circular saw, so that power can be used where it is needed, like the push block (Hakki Pilke, 2020).

The most prominent difference between chainsaw and circular saw blades is that chainsaws are much easier to sharpen and service, and as a result, safer.

Disadvantages of a Circular Saw Log Processor

Besides being difficult to service, there are a few other disadvantages of circular saws. For one, they are more dangerous than a chainsaw blade.

Luckily, with several respected manufacturers of firewood processing equipment across the nation, the days of a circular saw blade detaching from the machine and taking off on a war path are over.

Still, circular saw blades are very sharp, even when not in operation. They must be handled with a great deal of care, and because of this, they are more difficult to transport than a chainsaw wood processor.


A circular saw processor is going to be more expensive than one that uses a chainsaw blade. This is not only because of the cost of the blade but because the size of the processor must be larger to contain a circular saw.

Weak Points of a Chainsaw Blade Processor

Because of their smaller size, chainsaw blades cannot cut as fast or as cleanly as a circular blade. Though clean cuts don’t count for much when the wood is going to be split anyway, it can affect production. 

While chainsaw blades are much easier to service, they need to be serviced more regularly, including adding lubrication oil.

Lastly, chainsaw blades used for processors come in a single standard size while there are several different size options for circular saws, in order to better fit specialty projects (Peak Equipment, n.d.).

Timberwolf’s Choice

All Timberwolf firewood processors are equipped with a 25” cut/.404 chain chainsaw. This chainsaw bar is used because of its ability to operate in all conditions, ease of service, and cutting consistency.

Part of the reason Timberwolf wood processors are not equipped with circular saws is because of the patented top roll clamping system used on all wood processor models. 

The top roll clamping system applies 1,000 pounds of downward pressure on forward-moving logs near the splitting chamber. This results in the cleanest cut a chainsaw blade can offer because the saw can cut without having to re-engage the log.

So, since the power of a circular saw is not needed in combination with the top roll clamping system, using a chainsaw allows Timberwolf to sell top-of-the-line processors for less.



Hakki Pilke. (2020, March 18). A Firewood Processor with a circular saw or a chainsaw? Hakki Pilke Blog,(380%20mm)%20diameter%20wood

Peak Equipment. (n.d.). Saw Blade vs Chainsaw Firewood Processors

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