Convert Chainsaw to Trencher – Digging a Trench with Chainsaw!

We’ve all heard about chainsaws being used for cutting firewood and big logs of wood, but have you ever heard of a chainsaw being used for digging a trench? Well, it does sound weird but yes, chainsaw trencher conversion is a thing and people do use this technique to make their tasks easier.

However, this isn’t just as simple as cutting wood with a chainsaw. Using a ground chainsaw for trenching is a whole different thing and not a simple task for sure. Also, the ability to dig a trench greatly depends on the type of chainsaw. It should have a bar and chain long enough to dig a trench. Also, the saw should be very powerful so that it could handle such a tough task.

Moreover, you cannot expect the chainsaw to make big wide trenches. They’re only capable of digging small trenches. 

Moving on, our article contains all the information on how to dig a trench with a chainsaw, its advantages and disadvantages, and what risks could be involved when you’re digging a trench with a chainsaw.

Is It Actually Possible to Dig a Trench with a Chainsaw?

Well, yes. It is possible to dig a trench with a chainsaw. People use them often because this is a convenient method which means the user doesn’t need to hire an excavator for this purpose. You can have a chainsaw and you’ll be able to dig a trench all by yourself.

If you’re an experienced chainsaw user, and your chainsaw is strong enough to handle a trench, only then you should try trenching with a chainsaw. Otherwise, it could be very risky!

Is It Actually Possible to Dig a Trench with a Chainsaw

Safety First, Always!

No matter how old and a pro chainsaw user you are, accidents can always happen. To avoid them and to keep yourself safe, you should always consider safety equipment. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • A helmet.
  • Hand gloves.
  • Goggles for the safety of your eyes.
  • Ear defenders protect your eyes against the noise that chainsaws make.
  • Chainsaw protective clothing.
  • Chainsaw boots have protective fabric layers on the exposed areas for protection.

Steps on How to Dig a Trench with Chainsaw

If you plan to dig a trench with your chainsaw, here are the steps to be followed.

  • Take Digging Measurements
  • Mark the Measurements
  • Prepare the Surface for Digging
  • Change the Chainsaw Chain
  • Start Digging

Take Digging Measurements

As a first step, measurements need to be taken. Determine how long, deep, and side should be the hole you’re planning to dig. Know that, in order to dig 30 inches or deeper than that, a chainsaw CANNOT be used. It is also important to consider the purpose of your digging when taking your measurements because your measurements will differ according to that.

A trenching chainsaw is a good choice for electrical cords as they require a depth of around 20 to 25 inches. In contrast, gas pipelines require almost 30 inches of depth for which chainsaws cannot be used.

Mark the Measurements

After that, make a mark on each measurement spot. Also, examine the surface. You should make sure there are no stones on the surface. In spite of the fact that chainsaws usually do not fail to cut through the stones, they will still damage the chainsaw anyway. Moreover, if you are working on hard surfaces or metals, you should also use attachments.

Mark the Measurements

Prepare the Surface

Preparing the surface for digging is the third step. In order to keep it convenient for the saw, the place should be dried out, and cleaned well, and any larger stones should also be removed. In case there’s grass growing on the surface you’re working on; it should be cut first before cleaning the area.

Change the Chainsaw Chain

Next, the chainsaw chain needs to be changed. A trenching chain must be used if you plan to dig with your ordinary chainsaw. Never ever risk yourself and your chainsaw by using the same ordinary chain that you use for cutting wood.

Start Digging

Now you can start digging. Hold the chainsaw motionless for a few seconds before digging. Also, let the chainsaw rest occasionally in between the process so that it doesn’t get heated up. 

Remember, when digging deeper, do not force or put pressure on the saw. Let it do the work on its own.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digging a Trench with Chainsaw

Although it’s very helpful if you know how to dig a trench using a chainsaw, it has its disadvantages as well.


Here’s what we think is great about digging with chainsaws.

  1. Because chainsaws are lightweight and compact, you can dig deep into your yard without having a need for any heavy equipment. You can do it all by yourself.
  2. Using a saw would be more beneficial than using a shovel if you have some rough terrain or uneven ground since it is much easier to cut through dirt with a saw.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digging a Trench with Chainsaw


Now, this is something not so good about digging with your chainsaws.

  1. The process can be dangerous. The fact that they’re lighter doesn’t mean they can’t create cutting edges on even tough surfaces, as they’re still extremely powerful. It is also possible to experience kickback when cutting through rocks.
  2. Using a chainsaw might not be the best choice if you need to cut through large sections of dirt quickly and are short on time. Because you have to be very patient with chainsaws, especially when using them for digging a trench!

Risks Involved in Using a Chainsaw as Trencher

While you’re planning to dig a trench using your chainsaw, you must be well aware of all the possible risks involved in this process. 

Here’s what could be risky about it.

  • Chainsaws are extremely dangerous when used to dig trenches because they can gouge tree stumps or rocks in the soil. If you slip off the saw’s handle while cutting, you could suffer serious injury or even death if the blade kicks back at you.
  • Rocks and dirt being propelled through the air at high speeds without any sort of control by whoever operates the saw are also very dangerous. And this could result in eye injuries. To prevent this, everyone nearby should wear safety goggles.
  • It might not be a good idea to use a chainsaw if there is a gas leak near where you will be digging since sparks from the electrical current can easily ignite gasoline. So, you should be very careful about that too.

Convert Chainsaw to Trencher – FAQs

Is there a handheld trench digger?
Yes. Handheld trench diggers do exist. Portable, mini trenchers, like the TrenchBadgerTM Pro Series, are ideal for fast installation. This particular trench digger weighs just 22 pounds and is designed to be lightweight and easy to transport.
How often change chainsaw chain?
By sharpening a chain when needed, you can extend its life for up to 6 years. You should replace your chainsaw chain if it is no longer performing well despite being sharpened and if you have no other problems.
Why is chainsaw not cutting straight?
A chainsaw chain that is not sharpened properly is the most common cause of chainsaw not cutting straight. When the cutter teeth are sharpened at an uneven angle degree, the chain will pull in the highest degree direction, resulting in your chainsaw not cutting straight.
How deep can a chain trencher dig?
Approximately 15 inches can be dug down with it. Cables, pipes, and other items can be buried quickly and easily with this method.



In a nutshell, it’s great to use your chainsaw as a trencher too! But what’s important here is to have a complete knowledge of how to do it. You’ll have to be very careful with the entire process as trenching could be dangerous with chainsaws too. 

Consider consulting with an experienced professional is the best thing you can do. They can help you determine which tools would be most beneficial to your project and how they can be used.

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