5 Best Small Chainsaws

Bigger is not necessarily always better. And the same applies to chainsaws. 

If you have attempted any of the above with a regular gasoline-powered chainsaw, you will know they aren’t ideal. But don’t be mistaken about the abilities of a small chainsaw. They are the ninjas of the chainsaw world.

The Top Small Chainsaws We Reviewed

The ones listed here will remove tree branches of a 10-inch diameter without much effort. With care, you could find they can cut down thicker branches than that even. 

So long as you don’t expect a lumberjack-grade chainsaw’s performance, your expectations will not be disappointed. Small chainsaws are designed for a specific role and excel in that.

You may also be interested in: Top Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews

How We Built Our List

In this small chainsaw review, we have picked out what we consider to be the best available right now. To cover all the power-source bases, we have selected battery-powered, gasoline, and corded models. So there’s a chainsaw to match everyone’s needs.

Since the subject matter is complex and varied, we carefully investigated each in turn. What we arrived at is, in our opinion, the best of the bunch.

The criteria we used should match your own considerations closely. What we decided on after much thought was: power source, runtime, performance, ergonomics, and specification. We also evaluate the pros and cons of each type of power source and spell these out in the model reviews.

Taken together, we sincerely believe that this small chainsaw guide will enable you to make an informed choice.

Reviews of the Top Small Chainsaws

Specifications:

  • 20V lithium battery
  • Long runtime
  • 10-inches long
  • Low kickback chain and bar
  • Easy-adjust blade tensioning
  • Wraparound handle

A powerful compact chainsaw from hardware kings, BLACK+DECKER that offers fast, smooth cutting. It weighs just over seven pounds to reduce fatigue. The tool-free system to adjust the chain tension makes tensioning easy and quick. The bale-type wraparound handle gives better comfort and control.

What you will like

It’s lightweight and compact, so ideal for cutting into tight spots and densely packed trees. It will easily decimate a tree of up to ten inches in diameter. The see-through oil tank window lets you keep a close eye on the oil level.

This model is an ideal chainsaw for most yard work and avoids having to lug around a heavy gas-guzzler. It’s quiet too. For the money, you are getting a great chainsaw that will keep your yard or garden under control.

Real talk

This chainsaw is oiled manually and requires you to press the bulb primer on the oil tank for every cut. From new, it appears that you need to prime the chain with around 50 one-second bulb depressions before you start. After that, three presses of the bulb is sufficient for each cut.

User feedback varies on the runtime, ranging from 15 minutes to 30 minutes per charge. As there are numerous variables to juggle, even BLACK+DECKER are reluctant to quote a figure. On a side note, always check the product description to ensure the battery and charger are included. If the price is a bit cheaper than the others, then probably not.

It would be best if you remembered that this is not a chainsaw for lumberjacking. If pushed too hard, there’s a tendency for the battery to overheat, so take it easy.

Specifications:

  • Corded electric power
  • 14-inch blade
  • Integral limiter to eliminate motor overheating
  • Easy-view oil check window
  • Tool-free adjustment of the blade and chain
  • Soft start trigger switch
  • Ergonomic handle grip

This electric corded chainsaw has been developed by Makita to be efficient and easy to maintain. It is a great solution that does away with both gas and the need to recharge batteries. Sporting a 2,900 RPM chain, there’s not much that will stymie this chainsaw. The built-in current limiter reduces power to the motor to protect it from burnout.

What you will like

There’s no need to have gas every time you want to do some yard work. You will also love that this chainsaw is powered directly from a standard power outlet. Because it is corded, this chainsaw will never run out of gas. Or grind to a halt before you are finished because the battery is flat.

A good all-rounder, this Makita model will work off 100 feet of an extension cable. This length should be sufficient in most settings.

Real talk

It’s got a cord. There’s no getting away from that fact. It is going to get tangled in the undergrowth for sure. And be a distraction when you should be concentrating on the job at hand.

That said, it is continuous use unless you push it too hard. And even if the going does get tough, the limiter steps in to reduce power to the motor. So there is little chance of you burning out the motor.

Equally, being corded, you won’t run out of electricity. With battery-powered chainsaws, it always seems that power runs out on your last cut of the day.

Specifications:

  • Gas-powered
  • 29cc engine
  • 1 oz gas tank
  • Anti-vibration grip
  • Auto oiling
  • 12-inch blade

Chainsaws and gas go together like bacon and eggs. This model is a proper old-school chainsaw updated for the 21st century. A sturdy chainsaw that’s up for slicing through any wood you can find in your yard. The price point is attractive too. This relatively inexpensive chainsaw performs as well as rivals costing double the money.

What you will like

This chainsaw will cut through branches of up to 10 inches in diameter with little problem. It’s reliable and usually starts on the second pull. At just 9 pounds, the chainsaw is relatively light so that you won’t get tired too quickly. It performs well and is trouble-free even after being in storage for a long time. The five-year warranty for consumers is also a big plus point.

If you are searching for a little workhorse that won’t let you down, you won’t go far wrong with this Echo. Being compact, it’s suitable for maneuvering in tightly-packed branches or using from a ladder to get at higher branches.

Real talk

The five-year warranty only applies to householders. Business users are offered a one-year warranty instead.

This chainsaw may look slightly dinky but don’t be fooled by its size. It’s a great deal, and it’s reasonably economical on gas and chain oil. All in all, it’s a brilliant alternative to the equivalent Stihl range.

On the downside, it runs on gas. That means mixing gasoline and two-stroke oil accurately, spark plugs, and priming. Plus, the exhaust fumes are no fun and positively bad for your health. And, as we have all heard by now, burning fossil fuels isn’t kind to the environment or the climate. Maybe consider going battery-powered before defaulting to gas.

Specifications:

  • Corded electric
  • Powerful eight amp motor
  • Patented automatic chain tensioning system
  • Auto chain lubrication
  • Lightweight, compact design
  • 4 oz oil tank

A compact workhorse from the Worx stable with a handy 14-inch bar. This chainsaw married a high-output 8 amp motor with a superb 14-inch cutting edge. Worx’s patented auto-tensioner is said by the manufacturer to extend the life of the chain and bar. It’s a great machine equally at home pruning, trimming, and lambing as it is for tackling the big stuff.

What you will like

This is a versatile machine. It’s elegant enough for delicate pruning yet strong enough for more substantial yard work and cleanups. You will like the rubberized over-grip, which provides increased levels of comfort and stability. At just short of eight pounds, you won’t tire out before getting the job done. The easy-start is a bonus if you don’t want to use pull cords. And being corded to a regular power outlet, there’s no gas and oil mixing to do. Or wondering if a rechargeable battery is going to stay the course.

Real talk

Several reviewers are talking about the chain frequently coming off. These reports are a little surprising since the chain is auto tensioned.

You also have to be sure the power extension cable you are using is compatible. If not, you are likely to experience the chainsaw cutting out regularly.

Reports too of oil leaks when the chainsaw is being stored, even while perfectly horizontal. Leaks appear to be a bit of an issue, with Worx customer service reportedly telling customers to drain the oil after use.

Specifications:

  • Battery-powered
  • Low recoil
  • 12-inch bar and chain
  • High-capacity motor
  • Chain speed of 25.2 feet per second
  • Weighs 8.8 pounds
  • Compact, lightweight design

A very capable compact chainsaw from DEWALT, so you can be sure it’s suitable for your backyard or the construction site. It is fitted with an industry favorite bar and chain from Oregon. A chunky knob tensions the chain and bar to ensure you get the correct bar clamping force. As ever with DEWALT, it comes with numerous positive reviews from its band of loyal customers.

What you will like

You will love this chainsaw and its abilities to whip your backyard into shape in no time at all. It’s a very competent piece of equipment you are unlikely to regret purchasing. Being compact, it’s excellent for lopping off tree limbs and tidying-up around the yard or garden. It is much easier to use than a bigger chainsaw and will cut most tree branches with ease. So long as you don’t go into full lumberjack mode, you won’t be disappointed by the performance. Most users will find this DEWALT model perfectly acceptable for the vast bulk of general tree and bush maintenance.

Real talk

It delivers on the promises made on the label. As well as gardening, it’s a great piece of kit for building hunting blinds or going on off-road adventures.

Like book cover-judging, don’t be taken in by the most dimensions of this chainsaw. It is way better than you expect at first glance. You will be pleasantly surprised by its ability to convert tree branches into sawdust.

Despite its 20V battery pack, this chainsaw performs exceptionally well. It may not be the fastest chainsaw on the block. But it quite simply never gives up. Runtime is remarkable too.

Suppose you are pondering giving up on gas. In that case, this DEWALT model is the one to dispel any misgivings about converting to electric.

FAQ

Which chainsaw brand is best?

The goalposts on this question keep moving. It’s easy to hear people rattle off brand names by default. The same ones they have been quoting for years. But our review identifies the best five chainsaws for 2020.

What’s the best size chainsaw to buy?

Generally speaking, you want to have a chainsaw that’s at least two inches longer than the diameter you wish to cut. For example, if you wish to cut a 10-inch diameter tree branch, you will need a bar of at least 12-inches. With this in mind, buy the chainsaw model that most closely matches your general requirements.

Which is best for a chainsaw, gas, battery, or corded?

It’s all down to personal preference. Some people continue to cling to their gas-powered chainsaws. However, battery-powered chainsaws are today at least as good as gas-run chainsaws. On the other hand, a corded chainsaw does not need refueling, maintenance, or recharging.

Conclusion

Small, compact chainsaws pack a bigger punch than you might expect. You aren’t going to fell any redwoods with them, though. But for the majority of household scenarios, they are perfectly adequate. And likely to exceed your initial expectations. Performance is not the real issue. The greatest challenge facing you is which power source to go with; gas, battery, or corded electric?

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