How Many RPMs Does a Chainsaw Run? (Updated: 2023)

chainsaw rpm - featured image

On average, a chainsaw runs at around 9,000 to 14,000 RPMs. A higher RPM chainsaw can handle more demanding tasks, but it also consumes more fuel. On the other hand, lower RPM models are more suitable for lighter work and precision cuts.

I’m Samuel Anali and I have over two decades of chainsawing experience. In this article, I’m going to share every piece of information you need to know about chainsaw RPM.

So, stick with me till the end!

What Does Chainsaw RPM Mean?

Don’t SKIP!

To understand the rest of this article, you’ll need to know what RPM means! (It’s not the chain speed, btw)

I’ll keep it simple. Promise!

Courtesy of Energy Education!

See, chainsaws come with a 2-stroke engine which has two main components: the piston & the crankshaft.

For every revolution of the crankshaft, the piston inside the cylinder goes through one upstroke (moving upward) and one downstroke (moving downward). These two strokes together make up one complete cycle (or one revolution) of the engine.

And the number of revolutions the crankshaft does per minute is called revolutions per minute or RPM.

For example, if a chainsaw engine has an RPM of 9,000, it means, the crankshaft does 9,000 revolutions per minute and for each revolution, the piston goes through one upward & one downward motion.

Easy peasy, right?

Average Chainsaw RPM

The average chainsaw RPM is between 9,000 to 14,000. Pretty much all the gas-powered chainsaws you’ll come across fit within this range. (It’s like the sweet spot, you know!)

You don’t have to trust my words! I have real examples to show you.

Here’s a list of some popular chainsaws and their respective RPMs: 👇

ModelMax. RPMIdle Speed (RPM)Engine sizePower Output
Husqvarna T540 XP10,2003,00037.7 cc2.4 hp
Husqvarna 36510,2002,80070.7 cc4.9 hp
Echo CS 40012,0002,70040.2 cc5.3 hp
Echo CS 59012,5002,80059.8 cc3.8 hp
Stihl MS 29113,0002,80055.5 cc3.8 hp
Stihl MS 39113,0002,80064.1 cc4.4 hp
Stihl MS 46113,5002,50076.5 cc6.0 hp
Husqvarna 46013,6002,70060.3 cc3.6 hp
Husqvarna 562XP14,0002,80059.8 cc4.2 hp
Stihl MS 26114,0002,80050.2 cc4.0 hp
Echo CS 68014,0002,70066.8 cc4.6 hp
Husqvarna 4509,0002,70050.2 cc2.8 hp
Husqvarna 576XP9,6002,70073.5 cc4.2 hp

Check out my ultimate chainsaw RPM chart here!

And as you can see, all these popular models fit within that 9,000 to 14,000 RPM range.

What’s the RPM of your chainsaw?

Let me know in the comments! 👇

How Many RPMs Does a Electric Chainsaw Run?

Electric chainsaws don’t come with an engine, but you might’ve noticed that they also sometimes mention an “RPM” in their specs.

The RPM on electric chainsaws refers to how fast the chain spins around the bar. Or, in other words, it’s the number of rotations the chain can do in one minute.

On average, electric chainsaws fall within the range of 2,000 to 3,000 RPM. But there are also a few models that could go up to 4,000 RPM. Those are mainly designed for more demanding jobs.

Here are some popular electric chainsaw models and their corresponding RPMs: 👇

ModelMax. RPM
Oregon CS15002,800
STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ2,800 to 3,300
Makita UC4051A2,900 to 3,300
Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless2,900
DeWalt DCCS6703,000

How to Find the RPM of a Chainsaw?

Don’t have any idea of your chainsaw’s RPM?

No problem!

Here are 2 methods that will help you figure it out:

Method 1: Check the User Manual

Probably the easiest one!

Open up your chainsaw’s user manual &head to the “Specifications” or “Technical Data” section.

There you’ll find a list of all the technical details regarding your saw, including its maximum RPM.

Here’s an example: 👇

Method 2: Measure the RPM Yourself

If you don’t have a user manual, or you’ve lost it, then fear not! You can measure the RPM yourself! 

All you’ll need is a tachometer (a device that measures the rotational speed of an engine typically in revolutions per minute or RPM. 

These are cheap & you can easily get one from Amazon!)

Now let’s get to measuring!

Step 1: First of all, put on your safety gloves and goggles. (Safety is IMPORTANT!)

Step 2: Fire up your chainsaw and let it “warm up” for at least a minute.

Step 3: While the engine running, turn the tachometer on and hold it close to the spark plug. Point the sensor end towards the spark plug.

And if you’ve got a wired tachometer, gently connect the wire or clamp to the spark plug wire. (Make sure the connection is secure or else the tachometer might get disconnected when the engine roars to life!)

Step 4: Now rev up the engine to the MAX and wait until you get a steady RPM reading.

Step 5: Write down the number displayed on the tachometer and that’s your chainsaw’s maximum RPM.

Stihl Chainsaw RPM Chart

MS 17030.1 cc1.3 kW8,500
MS 17130.8 cc1.3 kW13,500
MS 18030.8 cc1.5 kW9,000
MS 180 C-BE30.8 cc1.5 kW13,500
MS 151 C-E23.6 cc1.05 kW12,800
MS 194 C-E31.8 cc1.4 kW13,000
MS 201 C-EM35.2 cc1.8 kW14,000
MS 21135.2 cc1.7 kW13,500
MS 211 C-BE35.2 cc1.7 kW13,500
MS 25045.4 cc2.2 kW14,000
MS 251 C-BE45.6 cc2.2 kW13,000
MS 26150.2 cc3.0 kW14,000
MS 261 C-M50.2 cc3.0 kW14,000
MS 27150.2 cc2.6 kW13,000
MS 29155.5 cc2.8 kW13,000
MS 31159.0 cc3.1 kW13,000
MS 34159.0 cc3.1 kW13,500
MS 36061.5 cc3.4 kW13,000
MS 36159.0 cc3.4 kW14,000
MS 36259.0 cc3.5 kW14,000
MS 362 C-M59.0 cc3.5 kW14,000
MS 39164.1 cc3.3 kW13,000
MS 400 C-M66.8 cc4.0 kW14,000
MS 151 T C-E23.6 cc1.05 kW12,800
MS 194 T31.8 cc1.6 kW13,000
MS 201 T C-M35.2 cc1.8 kW14,000
MS 46176.5 cc4.5 kW13,500
MS 461 R76.5 cc4.5 kW13,000
MS 462 C-M72.2 cc4.5 kW13,500
MS 462 R C-M72.2 cc4.4 kW13,500
MS 500i79.2 cc5.0 kW13,700
MS 500i R79.2 cc5.0 kW13,500
MS 66191.1 cc5.4 kW13,500
MS 661 C-M91.1 cc5.4 kW13,500
MS 880121.66 cc6.4 kW11,000
MS 881121.66 cc6.4 kW11,500

Husqvarna Chainsaw RPM Chart

12038.1 cc1.88 hp9,000
13038.1 cc2.0 hp9,000
13538.1 cc2.1 hp9,000
43540.9 cc2.2 hp9,000
44039.3 cc2.4 hp9,000
44550.1 cc2.8 hp9,000
45050.1 cc3.2 hp9,000
45555.7 cc3.5 hp9,000
46060.3 cc3.6 hp9,000
46564.1 cc4.29 hp9,600
36570.6 cc4.9 hp10,200
43935.2 cc2.01 hp10,000
54550.1 cc3.6 hp9,900
55559.8 cc4.16 hp9,600
540 XP39.1 cc2.6 hp10,200
543 XP43.0 cc2.9 hp9,600
550 XP50.1 cc4.0 hp10, 200
562 XP59.8 cc4.7 hp9,600
372 XP70.6 cc5.5 hp10,200
572 XP70.4 cc5.8 hp9,900
576 XP73.4 cc5.6 hp9,500
592 XP92.7 cc7.6 hp9,600
390 XP88.0 cc6.5 hp9,600
395 XP94.0 cc6.6 hp9,600
3120 XP118.8 cc8.3 hp9,000
T43535.2 cc2.01 hp10,000
T540 XP39.1 cc2.6 hp10,200
T52527.0 cc1.48 hp13,500

Does Chainsaw RPM Matter?

Yes, chainsaw RPM does matter!

When we talk about chainsaw RPM, we’re essentially talking about how fast the engine’s crankshaft is spinning. The faster it spins, the higher the RPM.

And the higher the RPM, the more fuel the engine consumes.

Long story short, the RPM affects your chainsaw performance by impacting fuel consumption when running. 

On top of that, a higher RPM means more power and better performance. It gives the engine more strength to cut through dense hardwood.

Highest RPM Chainsaws

While almost all the chainsaws out there are within the 9,000 to 14,000 RPM range, there are some exceptions that can go beyond, like –

  • Husqvarna 242-XP – 15,500 RPM
  • Husqvarna 346-XP – 14,800 RPM
  • Stihl MS 400 C-M – 14,200 RPM

Does Chainsaw Engine Size Affect the Maximum RPM?

No, the engine size of a chainsaw doesn’t really affect the RPM.

The size of the engine does determine how much power it can produce & how fast the chain spins, but it doesn’t directly affect the maximum RPM.

A small chainsaw with a 25cc engine can have the same maximum RPM as one with a 50cc engine.

For a better understanding, check out this line chart:

engine size vs chainsaw RPM chart

It clearly shows that the RPM isn’t proportional to the engine size.

Samuel Anali

Hey there! My name is Sam, and I'm the NERD behind this site. I'm an avid chainsaw enthusiast, and I've been tinkering with them since I was 17 (it's almost 20 years now!).