The Best Small Chainsaws in 2023: A Buying Guide & Product Review
Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Gary Stephen
Chainsaws are tested and proven to be awesome equipment to have when working with any type of wood. It makes all the cutting and chopping way faster and easier. Hence, saving you a ton of time and effort. A total convenience I must say!
However, chainsaws nowadays come in a wide array of models. If you are one of those people who prefer its device to be LIGHT but MIGHT, then you’ve come to the right page.
In this article, we will particularly discuss all about SMALL chainsaws. What can it do? What are the different types? What factors should you consider when buying one? Plus, allow us as well to present to you our top product picks in 2021.
Practical Uses for Small Chainsaws
Okay, some of you reading this might still feel a bit hesitant to buy a small chainsaw. Probably because you likely fear being restricted by its petite size. To help you clear out that cloud on your mind, here are some of the common things a small chainsaw can do for you:
Tree felling particularly refers to the activity of cutting down the tree itself. Yes, small as this chainsaw may be, it can be used to effectively tear down a tree. Of course, this type of device would work best on woods with respectively smaller diameters too.
After you have taken down a tree, you can now use the same tool to cut it into manageable sizes. By doing so, it makes it easier to store and pile up the logs in a more secure place. Or, you can also alternately use the chainsaw to trim trees that had accidentally broken or fell down.
Firewood splitting probably is the primary purpose most people buy small chainsaws. Aside from being lightweight, it is far more fast and convenient to use. No need to swing your arms back and forth like when using a traditional axe. Just let the chainsaw’s motor handle all the splitting for you in as quick as 1-2-3.
You can also use the small chainsaw to prune and keep the tree in good shape. The size and weight of this device are just perfect for trimming unwanted branches off of the tree. They are easier to maneuver here and there. Thus, more efficient and safer to use than full-sized chainsaws.
Small chainsaws are not just for trees. You can also use it to trim the foliage down to your desired length. This is especially helpful to use on thick and tall bushes. Things that the regular grass clippers and trimmers might find challenging to accomplish.
Different Types of Small Chainsaws
Smaller chainsaws can be further subdivided according to two factors: the power source and the design. Let’s begin with power:
The gas-powered chainsaw is very popular basically because it is the most powerful of all types. It is fuelled by a mixture of gasoline and two-cycle oil in a ratio between 40:1 or 50:1 depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
It is easy to operate and fairly low maintenance. Aside from that, it can deliver long cutting times. Hence, these are suitable for rugged uses.
Nevertheless, there are also considerable drawbacks to using gas-powered chainsaws. First of which is the weight. Small chainsaws are supposed to be lightweight. However, those models powered by gasoline are more likely to bear additional heftiness. Notwithstanding, they do not seem to be as heavy as the regular-sized chainsaws.
Another issue is its tendency to contribute to pollution. This device is utilizing and burning fuels. Thus, it will consequently release carbon monoxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Furthermore, noise is also a factor worth noting. Gas-powered chainsaws tend to produce a louder sound. If you are living in a residential area, be aware that using this tool might cause disturbance to your neighbors.
As the name implies, this type of chainsaw is run by electricity. Although it is not as powerful as the gas-powered models, these electrical ones have their own set of charms. They are the lightest and the quietest among all categories of small chainsaws.
Moreover, it also comes with unlimited cutting times. As long as there is electricity, you can use it all you want. You can also consider them as a more eco-friendly option as they do not produce carbon exhausts. Plus, their price point is much cheaper too.
The major issue though with an electric-powered chainsaw is that they are technically corded. That means you can only go as far as its cord can go. Nonetheless, you can use it with an extension cable to give you that extra length you need to go and do your tasks.
This type is pretty much designed to address the problem in electric-powered chainsaws. Performance-wise they are very much comparable. However, the battery-powered models offer the advantage of being portable. In short, no cords to restrict its movement.
Rather, it makes use of a rechargeable battery pack to keep it up and running. The only caveat to this feature is the limitations in cutting time. Usually, the battery will give you about 30 minutes to an hour of operating time. Beyond that period, you already need to prepare spare battery packs to continue the usage.
One more thing, these models tend to be much expensive than the gas and electric-powered chainsaws. You definitely are paying for the convenience this tool provides.
Small chainsaws can also be classified according to their specific design. Here as follows:
This is the standard design most people are familiar with. It requires a two-hand operation. One hand grasps onto the handlebar. This side will guide the blade towards the direction you wish to cut through.
Meanwhile, the other hand will be the one to grab the back handle. This side is responsible for manipulating the throttle. In both instances, your arms are controlling the movement and the operation of the engine simultaneously.
If you need an extra length, then this one is perfect for your task. The pole saw is basically like a small chainsaw attached to a pole, thus the name. The lengthiness of this rod is helpful for accessing hard-to-reach areas. This can well include tree branches and other stuff to cut that is far beyond what you can get hold of.
2-in-1 Small Chainsaws
The 2-in-1 chainsaw offers both the functionality of a handheld and the pole-type chainsaw. This model comes with extra accessories which you can attach and detach to convert from a handheld into a pole saw. On this note, this type gives you the versatility to use the tool both down in the ground or up in the tree.
Factors to Consider When Buying Small Chainsaws
Specific Size of The “Small” Chainsaws
As the popular saying goes, size does matter. The same holds true for chainsaws. Be it small or regular-sized models. And how small is “small”.
In general, chainsaws do come in specific sizes. The size particularly pertains to the length of the chainsaw bar. This measures from the base of the blade up towards the front tip.
So, why is the size important to consider?
Well, the length of the chainsaw guide bar directly corresponds to the thickness of the wood the blade can cut through. For instance, a 12-inch chainsaw can well accommodate cutting woods with a 10 to 12-inch diameter. From there, you can tell that this device will effectively work for that specific range, or less, only.
Forcing the use of a chainsaw beyond its intended length capacity is in no way safe. This action can haphazardly cause an incident called kickback.
The chainsaw kickback refers to the sudden upward movement of the guide bar. This unexpected motion can occur when the tip of the moving chain strikes against an object. Hence, causing the blade to jolt up and out of the wood.
Kickback is one of the most common causes of chainsaw accidents. To prevent that from happening, make sure to always provide at least a 2-inch allowance from the tip of the guide bar.
The activities you intend to use the chainsaw with are also worth considering when buying this equipment. Of course, the smaller the guide bar is the thinner the diameter of the wood it can cut through effectively.
So, how small should you go?
To give you an idea of which tasks are good for particular sizes, here are some suggestions:
|Guide Bar Length||Recommended Tasks|
|6 to 8 inches||Best for pruning tree branches and trimming bushes.|
|10 to 12 inches||Best for cutting tree branches and small-diameter trees and logs.|
|14 inches||Best for felling small trees, cutting logs, and splitting firewood.|
In relation to tasks, you should be able to determine as well which type of chainsaw would serve the purpose best.
Would a handheld chainsaw suffice your cutting activities? Or, do you need an extra-long pole saw to reach out cutting the limbs of the trees? Better yet, do you need both functionalities to cater to your varying needs every now and then?
Aside from that, you should also decide whether your activities are better off using a gas, electric, or battery-powered chainsaw. By now, you are already aware of the pros and cons of each power source. So, you can somehow assess which one is most suitable according to the nature of your tasks.
For example, if you intend to use this chainsaw for felling small trees, then a gas-powered model seems to be the most appropriate choice. This type of chainsaw is wireless and has the strong power that you need most for the job.
On the other hand, if you only need to split logs in your garage, then an electric-powered chainsaw will suffice. This model is more lightweight and it gives you unlimited cutting time without the need to top up fuel or change battery packs.
Physical Strength of the Small Chainsaws
Just because it is small doesn’t mean anybody can handle it already. Chainsaws come with really sharp moving blades. It is definitely dangerous if handled by someone who cannot manage to carry the total load.
You must always remember that you are not only considering the actual weight of the tool. But, you must also factor in the vibrations it produces when in use. This can take a toll on your arms and cause fatigue. The weight plus the stress can affect and weaken your handling.
So, when buying a chainsaw make sure you are comfortable handling the equipment. Check the declared weight in the specifications. If possible, take hold and assess how heavy it actually feels on your arms. Just remember, the lighter the chainsaw is, the easier and more comfortable it will be for the user to handle.
Be it small or full-sized, all types of chainsaws should be considered not a plaything. It can be dangerous and even potentially life-threatening if not handled properly. On that note, the gravity of this matter demands serious precautionary actions. Hence, the provision of safety features is significantly important when buying chainsaws.
Different brands and models offer different safety attributes. Here are some of the common features that are worth having in your chainsaw:
- Two-Step Activation – This requires the user to activate two separate buttons or triggers to turn on the chainsaw.
- Chain Brake – This enforces a full-force stop to halt and disengage a troubled chain. Thus, preventing the user from getting struck by the moving chain resulting from a kickback incidence.
- Chain Catcher – This serves as a barrier in case the chain breaks or gets derailed.
- Hand Guard – Same with chain catcher, this also protects the user, especially its hands, in case the chain breaks or gets derailed.
- Throttle Lock – This feature prevents accidental advancement of the throttle. You must first activate the lock before you can operate the throttle.
- Emergency Stop Button – This control button allows you to automatically stop the engine. It is strategically placed where it is easily accessible by your hand.
Budget for Small Chainsaws
Small doesn’t automatically mean it is cheap. Small chainsaws still tend to cost you a considerable amount of money, especially the premium models. So, you should also consider asking yourself – How much are you willing to spend?
There are a lot of factors that can affect the price point of chainsaws. For one, the type of motor it uses is a major consideration. The gas-powered chainsaws are slightly more affordable than battery-powered models. Nevertheless, it is still not as cheap as the electric-powered ones.
The bar length is also a variable in the pricing. The longer it gets, the higher the cost will be as well. Aside from that, the materials used in general will also influence not just the price but the overall quality too.
As mentioned, small chainsaws are not exactly the cheapest equipment. Hence, it is right and just to invest in a product with fair warranty conditions and coverage. As consumers, we look forward that the manufacturers will be there to provide aftersales assistance should problems arise. This could be in the form of service, parts replacement, or both.
The terms in the warranty differ from one brand to another. But you can usually find most manufacturers offer a period between 1 to 3 years. Anything below that, or worse none at all, should be considered by buyers as a red flag.
Our Top Picks for Small Chainsaws
HUSQVARNA 120 MARK II 14-INCH GAS CHAINSAW
The Husqvarna 120 Mark II model is an all-purpose chainsaw with a 14-inch bar length. It is equipped with a 38cc X-Torq engine that can deliver up to 1.4 kW of power output. It is designed to be more fuel-efficient by consuming 20% less gas. In that regard, this also helps to substantially tone down its exhaust emissions by 75%.
This chainsaw also features an air injection cleaning system. This initiates the removal of dirt and debris by as much as 97%. It does the job even before the dirt penetrates into the air filter. Thus, minimizing the wear and prolonging the operating period between routine maintenance.
The Husqvarna Mark II also uses an air purging mechanism. The combined choke/stop control promotes a smoother starting of the motor. Moreover, this action also decreases the chances of engine flooding.
To promote comfort, this chainsaw is designed with anti-vibration dampeners. This component absorbs the vibration produced by the machine. Hence, saving your hand and arm from getting easily fatigued.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Alternative Option: CRAFTSMAN 8AMP 14-INCH ELECTRIC CHAINSAW
BLACK + DECKER 20V 10-INCH CORDLESS CHAINSAW
This cordless chainsaw is as reliable as its manufacturing company, Black & Decker. It features a premium 10-inch Oregon low-kickback bar. This blade offers faster and smoother cuts within a breadth of 8 to 10 inches.
This model is battery-operated allowing it to be handy and wire-free. It is compatible with a Lithium-ion battery system with a voltage rating of up to 20 volts. Lithium batteries charge faster and safer. Apart from that, it is also twice less heavy than its lead-acid counterparts.
The chainsaw is also designed with a tool-free chain tensioning feature. The knob allows you to adjust the tightness or looseness of the chain accordingly. No need to use a wrench or any instrument whatsoever.
Moreover, this chainsaw also comes with a built-in oiling system. This keeps the bar and the chains well lubricated. Lubrication is essential as it reduces wear, prevents corrosion, and ensures smooth movement of the components.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Alternative Option: WORX WG6322 20V 10-INCH POWER SHARE CORDLESS ELECTRIC CHAINSAW
LOGGERS ART GEN UPGRADED ELECTRIC MINI CHAINSAW
Loggers Art Gen’s upgraded version features a copper wire 680 watts motor. This delivers sufficient power for splitting small logs, pruning branches, and other lightweight cutting tasks.
This mini chainsaw is designed to be ultra-portable. It weighs only 1.95 pounds and measures about 13 inches from the tip of the blade up to the end of the handle. Its lightweightness and compactness make this tool super easy to operate with one hand.
To further add to its portability, this chainsaw is battery-operated. It is compatible with a 24 volts lithium-ion battery pack. The package also includes a quick charger that enables fast and secure charging.
To add extra protection, a lock and a safety button are being provided. This feature requires you to activate both the main switch and the safety button together to get it started. Thus, preventing unexpected operations and accidents.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Alternative Option: KOHAM 4-INCH CORDLESS ELECTRIC CHAINSAW
SUN JOE SWJ806E 8-INCH 8.0AMP 2-IN-1 CONVERTIBLE POLE SAW
The SWJ806E model is a double-duty chainsaw. It is basically a small handheld chainsaw that can be converted into an adjustable pole saw. The attachable telescoping pole can give you an additional length between 8.6 feet up to 15 feet. This extra distance allows you to maximize your access to overhanging tree limbs and other hard-to-reach areas.
This electric chainsaw is equipped with an 8 amp motor and an 8-inch Oregon cutting bar. It is very well capable of cutting up to 7.5-inch thick wood. The blade comes with a plastic cover to ensure safe storage.
This small pole saw also features an automatic oiler. The unit is provided with a viewing window to conveniently check the oil level at any time. So, you will never miss out on lubricating your blade and chain.
Check the latest price on Amazon.
Alternative Option: RYOBI ONE+ 8-INCH 18V LITHIUM-ION CORDLESS POLE SAW
Wrapping Up about The Best Small Chainsaws in 2023
The small chainsaw is a great cutting tool to have in your household. Despite its petite disposition, it can still offer a decent amount of power without compromising functionality. So, don’t let its size fool you. This small but mighty equipment is definitely as valuable as the regular-sized chainsaws can be.