Quick Answer: Best Small Chainsaw
How We Decided14 products considered
- 750+ reviews analysed, 22 research hours spent, 15+ info. sources referred
A small chainsaw can be a handy tool to have around the house. It can make quick work of any trimming or pruning, reducing your arbor maintenance time to just minutes.
They can also be used for chopping firewood quickly and might even be suitable for construction work.
There are, however, a lot of chainsaws that fit the bill for home or farm users and the variety is truly endless.
This list prunes through the various choices on the market and gives you the 11 best small chainsaws, which are backed by popularity and customer satisfaction.
Comparison Table: Top Small Chainsaws Today
Here is a quick comparison table of the top small chainsaws available in the market with their key specs to help you decide which one is best for you –
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch
|12"||Battery||8.3 lbs||Check Price|
Best Corded / Lightweight
|14"||Electric||6 lbs||Check Price|
Best Gas Powered
|12"||Battery||9 lbs||Check Price|
Makita Tool XCU02Z
|12"||Battery||10 lbs||Check Price|
|14"||Battery||11.5 lbs||Check Price|
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
|12"||Battery||6 lbs||Check Price|
|10"||Electric||10 lbs||Check Price|
Best 18"Bar Lenght
|18"||Electric||12.9 lbs||Check Price|
|16"||Electric||11 lbs||Check Price|
|12"||Gas||10.7 lbs||Check Price|
Reviews of the Best Small Chainsaws
Here are detailed reviews of the small chain saws we have ranked –
BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw Review
This neat little model by BLACK+DECKER is the ideal size for home users who need a chainsaw to trim some hedges, prune branches, or cut a few small fallen limbs.
With a weight of just 8.3lbs and a full wrap-around handle, it is extremely easy to handle and maneuver from different angles, making it perfect for yard work.
It is a rechargeable, battery-driven chainsaw that uses a 40V lithium-ion battery which is capable of holding its charge for up to 18 months. At full charge, this battery provides you with 60 4×4 pine lumber cuts.
The chainsaw also has an indicator which tells you about the state of charge so that you can keep track.
The 12-inch bar, low kickback blade, and chain are designed for fast, smooth, and effective cuts. The chain is easy to adjust due to the toolless tensioning design.
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Cuts well
- The battery retains its charge for a long time
- Chain can be adjusted without tools
- Battery charge indicator
- Battery life is a bit short
- A few users have complained about oil leaks in their model
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Review
This chainsaw by Dewalt has a compact 12-inch bar and weighs only 9lbs, which makes for easy handling and low kickback.
It is suitable for construction work, such as for cutting beams or demolition work, as well as outdoor cutting jobs that aren’t too intensive, like pruning trees.
It runs on 20V lithium-ion batteries that can give you up to 90 cuts on 4×4 pressure-treated wood in a single charge.
The brushless motor also helps increase its efficiency and extend the usage period per charge. This gas-free operation frees you from having to worry about carburetor issues or being bothered by fumes and cold starts.
The chain, which has a 25.2 feet/second speed, has tool-free tensioning while a knob lets you tighten the bar for better bar clamping force.
The auto-oiling system keeps the chain and bar properly lubricated while in use and an oil-level indicator lets you keep track of the oil so that you know when you need a refill.
You can watch Dewalt’s brief product video on this model here:
- Battery-powered and cordless
- Isn’t too loud
- Oil level indicator
- Tool-free tensioning and knob for tightening the bar
- Battery lasts long
- The oil cap is poorly made
- The bar oil can leak easily
Makita Tool XCU02Z Review
The Makita Tool XCU02Z is an impressive little model, weighing just over 10lbs, and will be a great addition to your job site toolkit.
It features Makita’s Extreme Protection Technology that is engineered to increase the water and dust resistance of the model for the harshest job site conditions.
Its Star Protection Computer Controls protect against overloading, over-discharging, and over-heating to make it workplace-safe.
It operates on two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries which deliver power and high performance with a chain speed of 1650FPM that makes for fast and efficient cutting.
At the same time, the battery design dramatically reduces motor noise to just 87dB. The soft rubberized grip gives you greater dexterity while handling it and lets you apply more even pressure.
It has a large oil reservoir with an automatic oiling system which keeps the 12-inch bar and chain lubricated during use.
The oil filling port is large so that you can easily fill it without any spillage and a viewing window lets you monitor the oil level. Similarly, an LED battery indicator lets you keep track of the battery charge.
It has a tool-less chain adjustment feature which makes both operation and maintenance significantly easier.
You can check out a product video of the XCU02Z here:
- Lower noise levels
- Oil-level viewing window
- Battery level indicator
- Protected against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating
- Extreme Protection Technology offers enhanced dust and water resistance
- Low weight and soft, rubberized grip let you apply pressure evenly
- Doesn’t come with batteries or charger
- Some users have noted that the chain loosens a bit easily
Makita XCU03PT Review
The Makita XCU03PT is powered by 2 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries which, when combined with Makita’s special brushless motor, give you a direct-drive system which can compete with 32cc gas saws in terms of efficiency.
The chain has a variable speed that can go up to 3940FPM for excellent cutting performance.
Due to this extremely high efficiency and power, it also has a number of safety features such as a built-in lock-off lever that prevents the blade from accidentally engaging.
Extreme Protection Technology increases its resistance to dust and water so that it can be used effectively at job sites.
There is also an L.E.D. switch with an auto power-off function which automatically shuts off the saw when the operation is delayed. It is auto-oiling, which means that the 14-inch bar and chain remain lubricated when in use.
The large oil filling port lets you fill in oil easily and the view window lets you monitor the bar oil level.
It possesses a rubberized soft grip top handle which is designed to give you better control over the pressure you exert.
Combined with its relatively low weight of 11.5lbs, this makes for an easy to handle model. It also has very low noise emissions.
You can watch Cop Tool’s in-depth overview of this model here:
- Extensive safety features
- Viewing window to check the oil level
- Low noise level
- Low weight and soft grip handle make it easy to work with
- Very high efficiency, comparable to a gas saw
- Chain speed can go as high as 3940FPM for smooth cutting
- Safety feature deactivates it after only 4 seconds of non-use
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw Review
Coming in at a weight of just 6lbs, this chainsaw by Greenworks is quite possibly one of the most lightweight ones you will encounter.
This low weight gives it very smooth functioning and excellent maneuverability. With the wrap-around handle, you can try a multitude of cutting positions and angles with equal ease.
It uses Greenworks’s G-Max 40V Lithium-Ion batteries which deliver fade-free power and retain their charge for a long time after charging.
This gives you a higher efficiency as well as a longer run time. Each full charge can give you up to 75 cuts.
It has an automatic oiler that applies oil to the 12-inch bar and chain whenever needed to give you optimal use. It comes with a translucent oil tank so that you can keep an eye on the oil level.
The chain has minimal kickback and can be adjusted without tools for quick adjustments.
- Its extremely light weight makes it popular with older users
- The wrap-around handle makes it easy to use
- Charge lasts for a decent amount of time
- Fairly quiet
- Chain is prone to loosening and sometimes even comes off
- It isn’t very powerful, might leave jagged edges while cutting
Remington RM1425 Review
If you’re on the lookout for a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive chainsaw then the Remington RM1425 is for you. At just over 6lbs, it is among the lightest available chainsaws.
Combined with its easy-to-wield design, you’ll find cutting and chopping with this chainsaw to be almost effortless.
Its 8-amp electric motor powers up instantly and is best suited for trimming as well as cutting through small branches and saplings.
The 14-inch bar and chain are durable and up the task of residential maintenance tasks. For more heavy-duty work, the wraparound handguard which covers the handle protects your hands from any debris that might fly your way.
The chain is designed to give you low kickback and an external tension adjuster lets you make quick adjustments as you work. To oil the chain and bar, a push-button oiler quickly disperses the exact amount of oil you need.
- Very lightweight
- Handguard protects you prove debris
- Good choice for novices and lightweight work involving pruning and trimming
- Oiler is manual
- Multiple users have had problems with the chain popping
- Debris tends to accumulate and disrupt the saw
- Oil leaks are a common problem with this model
WORX WG309 Review
This chainsaw by WORX is the ideal choice for people who need to trim hard-to-reach areas and prune tall trees. It weighs just 10lbs and comes with an 8-foot extension pole that doesn’t require any tools to install.
With this pole, you have a maximum reach of 10 feet to prune and maintain your trees with ease. The ergonomic grip at the bottom of the pole lets you maneuver it without fatiguing yourself.
Even without the pole, this chainsaw is durable and trustworthy, with an 8-Amp electrically-powered motor that is great for cutting and chopping jobs around the home and yard.
The 10-inch bar and chain stay lubricated with an auto-oiling system. The oil tank has a volume of 120ml and has an oil level indicator for you to keep track of the oil.
The chain has a speed of 8.5m/s for effective cutting. The auto-tensioning system in the chainsaw ensures that the chain doesn’t get loose and cause you issues.
Check out WORX’s assembly video for this model to learn how to attach the pole:
- 8-foot pole with an ergonomic handle
- Oil-level indicator
- Works effectively for pruning, trimming, and for cutting thinner trees
- Lack of safety feature such as a brake
- Pole is hard to stabilize and bends easily when used for 10-feet distances
Oregon CS1500 Review
This electric chainsaw by Oregon has a powerful 15-amp motor that gives you quick and efficient cuts. The 18-inch bar and chain are meant to give you less kickback, with the chain being self-sharpening.
This minimizes downtime by letting you sharpen the chain on the saw within 3 seconds.
It has ergonomic design that makes it easy to handle and well-balanced, with an over-mold handle for a comfortable and secure grip.
The integrated chain brake acts as an important safety measure. Some assembly, however, is required for this chainsaw: the tensioner must be put on the guide bar and the bar and chain on the saw.
It is meant to have minimal vibration to give you low noise functioning that is silent between cuts.
The chain is automatically oiled by the chainsaw’s Lubri-Tec oiling system which minimizes chain friction and increases the saw’s run time.
You can watch a user-uploaded product overview and usage video here:
- Costs less than many other chainsaws
- Motor is powerful and efficient
- Self-sharpening feature
- Ergonomically designed
- Tool-less tensioning system
- Requires some assembly
- Chain pops off during use
WORX WG303.1 Review
The WG303.1 is an electrically-powered chainsaw that is powered by a 14.5Amp motor which gives you a cutting performance that is comparable to gas chainsaws and a chain speed of 12m/s.
It is meant for household use but can also be a handy tool for farmers and ranchers. It is up to a number of tasks in your yard or farm such as chopping up firewood, trimming hedges and trees, or clearing brush.
The overall design is quite ergonomic, with a rubber rear handle as well as a full-wrap front handle. Together, these let you control, direct and maneuver the chainsaw effortlessly and comfortably.
It also has a chain brake for your safety that is engineered to protect you in case of kickback by stopping the chain in seconds in case of improper contact.
The chainsaw has an automatic oiler that constantly supplies oil to the 16-inch bar and chain to ensure smooth functioning.
The oil tank has a capacity of 200ml and has a window-level indicator so that you can check the oil level at a glance. It also has an auto-tension system so that the chain maintains appropriate tension at all times.
- Powerful motor
- Ergonomic design
- Automatic oiler and auto-tensioner
- Oil leaks are a common complaint among users
- Poor quality control, many complaints about the chainsaw not working on arrival
- Uses up oil at a high rate
Remington RM4214 Review
If you need a compact gas chainsaw to tame your hedges or trees, then the RM4214 is a great option. It has a sturdy 42cc 2-cycle gas engine that delivers steady power and has Remington’s QuickStart technology which makes pull starts easier.
It has a 5-point anti-vibration system that is meant to minimize the noise that is so commonly associated with gas chainsaws.
The design is well-balanced in terms of weight to give you a good feel while operating it.
The ergonomic design and cushion wrap handle together give you comfort and ease while cutting through even the most unmanageable branches and growths.
The automatic oiler in the chainsaw ensures that the 14-inch bar and chain stay in top condition while in use.
The spark-plug and filter can also be accessed without any tools for whenever you need to perform some maintenance work.
- Starts easily
- Ergonomic design and cushion-wrap handle
- The chain can dull very quickly
- The chain needs frequent readjustment
- Leaks chain oil
Echo CS-271T Review
This is one of the more high-end chainsaws on the market, manufactured by Echo to be a professional-grade machine. It has a 26.9cc 2-stroke engine that uses Echo’s i-30 starting system for fast starting with no hassle.
The design features a large handle that makes it easy to wield and an inertia-type chain brake on top that ensures your safety. It even has a lanyard clip that lets it be easily attached to your belt.
It has a rear-mounted air filter that can be accessed easily without the use of tools. It also has Echo’s G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner.
This reduces the need for air filter maintenance while also giving a cleaner air supply to the fuel while its purge bulb circulates fresh fuel to the carburetor.
It has a clutch-driven oiler for the chain and 12-inch bar that reduces oil consumption according to your needs. It also has a side-access quick chain tensioner for whenever you need to make adjustments to the chain.
You can see it in action here:
- Very compact and lightweight
- Starts easily and quickly
- Effective and powerful for its size
- Tool-less chain tensioner
- G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner supplies cleaner air to the fuel
- Oiler is manual
If you are in the market for a chainsaw the first thing you need to ask yourself is what you are going to be using the chainsaw for.
Most of you probably want a chainsaw just to have a chainsaw, but when you consider how much you will be using it and what you will be using it for you might realize you don’t need to spend a lot of money.
As homeowner chances are you can get by with purchasing the best small chainsaw rather than something a professional logger or tree trimmer might use.
How to Purchase the Best Small Chainsaw – Buying Guide
The important features to consider when purchasing the best small chainsaw is bar length, power source, chain maintenance, noise, and safety.
Small chainsaws are best for weekend projects, those projects that require a little cutting or trimming, such as hedges or saplings in the backyard.
A small chainsaw is perfect for those harder tasks that your ordinary hedge clippers just can’t do. When purchasing the best small chainsaw consider these important factors.
The first thing you need to take into consideration is the bar length. The length, which is measured in inches, tells you the length of the chainsaw’s blade.
The smallest chainsaws are six inches, while the professional ones can reach up to thirty-six inches. Blade length is important as it tells you the maximum distance your small chainsaw can cut through in a single pass.
If you are going to cut a piece of wood that is 20 inches in diameter you need at least a 20-inch blade.
The biggest blade you wo9uld need for cleaning up the backyard is 14 inches and that is on the high end.
All chainsaws, including the smallest ones, offer three power sources. You have the choice between the corded, battery, or gasoline powered chainsaws. Gas powered are often the most powerful and are often the largest ones.
Battery powered saws offer a lot of power, but most of them are far less powerful than your gas-powered models.
Battery powered chainsaws can be on the small to large size and are lighter than gas models. The smallest chainsaws are often corded.
With a corded chainsaw, you are limited as to where you can go even with an extension cord.
Even with just regular, ordinary use your chain is going to come loose and become dull. The looser and duller the chain becomes the less efficient your chainsaw becomes.
An inefficient chainsaw becomes a safety hazard for a variety of reasons. Loose chains can fall off, while dull blades mean you have to work harder when using the chain saw.
Always check your blades tension before starting your project and adjust it accordingly. Regularly sharpen and oil your blade to keep it working effectively. Auto-oilers and toolless tension adjusters make chain maintenance easier.
No matter how you look at it, chainsaws are going to be noisy, but not all are created equal when it comes to how much noise they emit.
Gas powered chainsaws are the loudest, plus the bigger the chainsaw the louder it is going to be.
Battery powered and the smaller corded ones are not nearly as loud, plus their smaller size enables them to emit less noise. If you live close to others, the small, quieter ones are your best choice.
No matter what style of chainsaw you buy, even if you buy the smallest one on the market they are still considered one of the most dangerous power tools.
The good news is there are several things you can do to ensure you are buying the safest chainsaw you can find.
Before operating a chainsaw, even a small one, you want to read the operating manual to ensure you understand how to use it.
You also want to make sure you are wearing all of the required safety gear, including eye protection, ear plugs, gloves, pants, etc.
In addition to following basic chainsaw safety, you want to look for certain safety features. Find a chainsaw that offers an alert if the brake is on, which means you should also find a chainsaw that offers a chain brake.
You can also look for a chain catcher, which catches a broken chain before it has time to fly off the saw and hit you. Chain guards, safety throttles, on and off switch, and handguards are other safety features to look out for.
Small Chainsaws – When to Go For Them?
You want to choose a small chainsaw when you have smaller projects that you are working on.
Small chainsaws are the perfect choice for those who are needing to clean up their backyard or do other smaller projects.
The smaller chainsaws are lighter so your arms won’t grow tired after only a little bit of use. Smaller jobs also require a little more finesse, so you want something small enough to maneuver easily.
The size of the chainsaw should only be up to two inches larger than what you will be cutting.
Small chainsaws make an excellent choice for backyard projects, for those people who are only going to use their saws occasionally.
For example, backyard pruning, minor tree trimming, or even removal of various saplings all warrant the use of a small chainsaw rather than a large, professional sized one.
The best time to opt for a small chainsaw is when you have a project too big for your hedge trimmers, but not big enough for a regular sized chainsaw.
The smallest chainsaws feature six-inch blades, while a regular sized chainsaw offers blades around 14 inches.
What Can You Cut with a Small Chainsaw?
You can cut a variety of things with a small chainsaw but should avoid cutting anything that is more than two inches bigger than your blade.
A small chainsaw can be used to cut a variety of things but does work best for smaller jobs. A good rule of thumb to follow when cutting with a small chainsaw is to never cut something that is two inches longer than your blade.
The best things to cut with a small chainsaw are hedges, small branches, saplings, etc. Small chainsaws are the next step up from hedge trimmers, but a step below a regular chainsaw.
When looking online you will read all about how you can use small chainsaws to cut a tree that is twice the length of your blade.
While this might true to an extent, it is not something that you want to practice. Cutting anything that is more than two inches larger than your blade is a safety risk.
A chainsaw with a six-inch blade should only be used to cut items that are 8 inches in diameter or smaller.
Electric/Gas or Battery – How to Choose?
Choosing your power source is going to depend on where you plan to use the chainsaw and how you to plan to use it.
When it comes to chainsaws you have three types of power sources, gas, battery, or electric.
How you choose your power source will depend on how you plan to use the chainsaw, basically what you are going to be cutting with it, as well as where you plan to use your chainsaw.
Most small chainsaws are not available as a gas powered version. Gas powered chainsaws are often larger and more powerful than other power sources, so finding a small one is almost impossible.
With a small chainsaw, this leaves you with a battery or electric model.
Battery powered chainsaws are ideal for portability, so if you need to cut down saplings far from a reliable power source or trim up some hedges this is your best choice.
An electric small chainsaw uses a cord, so you are very limited on where you can use it.
The corded model is just as powerful as a battery model, but as you need to be hooked into a power source you can’t go too far from the house. Battery models are better for large yards, while electric ones are best for smaller yards.
The smallest blade you are going to find on a chainsaw is six inches long.
The best place to purchase a small chainsaw is at a local hardware store or dealer. You can purchase small chainsaws at stores like Lowes and Home Depot if you know what you are looking for.
To reduce the risk of injury you want to wear proper eye and ear protection when operating a chainsaw. You will also want to invest in a pair of good work gloves and wear pants and a helmet when the chainsaw is being used.
Most models recommend using SAE 30-weight motor oil, but there are exceptions based on temperatures. For weather below 30 degrees F use 10-weight and for temperatures higher than 75 degrees F use 40-W.
To check the tension, pinch the chain at the center of the bar. The chain should lift up enough to show about half of the chain guide. The chain should also move along the bar without too much resistance.
One of the first things you will notice when looking for the best small chainsaw is that there are so many to choose from. Each of these small chainsaws offers various abilities, as well as different prices.
The best small chainsaw for you might not be the same as for your neighbors, so always consider the individual features of each one before making your final decision.
Here are our top picks for small chainsaws again for you. Check out their specs, reviews, pricing and offers on Amazon –
- BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch – Best Cordless
- DEWALT DCCS620P1
- Makita Tool XCU02Z
- Makita XCU03PT
- Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw
- Remington RM1425 – Best Electric
- WORX WG309
- Oregon CS1500
- WORX WG303.1
- Remington RM4214 – Best Gas Powered
- Echo CS-271T
Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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