- 1 Top 5 Best Small Chainsaw
- 2 Best Small Chainsaw Buying Guide
To help you with your search for the best small chainsaw, we evaluated more than 27 products and judged them according to the qualities that maximize your productivity whether you’re a homeowner, landscapist, or arborist: engine power, safety, and portability or maneuverability.
We shortlisted five products, with the Black & Decker PHS550B Electric Saw coming out as our top pick. There’s no belittling this barely six-pound handsaw that can cut through both wood and metal with consistent performance through its electrical connection. Keep reading for more details about this excellent product and our four other highly recommended small chainsaws on the market today.
Top 5 Best Small Chainsaw
#1 Black & Decker PHS550B Electric Small Chainsaw
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Black & Decker product is a small but powerful chainsaw that can cut through not just wood but also plastic and metal. With its high-speed and tool-free blade change system, it’s great to use whether for indoor or outdoor jobs.
This Black & Decker model is not technically a small electric chainsaw but a handsaw with a 34A motor that can cut at a maximum speed of 4,600 strokes per minute. The PHS550B has a variable speed trigger switch for adjusting the speed. Instead of a chain, it features two blades: one large-capacity blade and one metal cutting blade that are packed in a storage bag. The large-capacity blade can cut through up to 4×4 inches of softwood and up to 4 7/8 inches of plastic soil pipe. Meanwhile, the metal cutting blade can cut ferrous and non-ferrous metals up to 1/8 inch thick.
The handsaw’s lock-off button secures the blade in place while the blade release helps you safely pull it out from the main body. The 5.6-pound product comes with a 6-foot cord so it’s easy to maneuver and it requires only a small space for storage. It may just help you cut enough small trees that you won’t need the best leaf blower anymore. I’m joking.
#2 Greenworks 20312 Cordless Small Chainsaw
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Yard work is easy and efficient with this product that operates with more torque but less vibration, thanks to its Oregon blade and chain, a respected name in chainsaws. With the help of the Greenworks 20312’s GMAZ battery and automatic oiler, you can work longer while the electronic chain brake will ensure your safe performance.
You can do plenty of shrub trimming and tree de-limbing with this Greenworks product without getting tired easily, thanks to its ergonomic handle, 16-inch bar and chain from the popular Oregon brand, and brushless motor that reduces vibration by 70%. It’s equipped with a chain break and a low-kickback chain that assure your safety. The brushless motor also provides 30% more torque so you can even use it to buck logs. The oiler ensures that the bar chain is regularly lubricated, prolonging its usefulness. Users must supply the oil for the 170-milliliter (5.75-ounce) oil reservoir of this oiling system. However, oil may sometimes leak during storage.
The 10.4-pound Greenworks chainsaw is also very maneuverable because it’s powered by a rechargeable GMAX 40-volt, lithium-ion battery. The battery can run from 30 minutes.. And you’ll know when it’s time for a recharge thanks to the battery life indicator on the side of the chainsaw. Charging is quite long and takes about two hours. Greenworks has come a long way and some even consider them to be the best tool brand.
#3 Black & Decker LCS1020 Cordless Chainsaw
Award: Best for Tight Spaces
WHY WE LIKE IT: Also fitted with the renowned Oregon bar and chain, this Black & Decker product is ideal for light work and quarter sawing in tight places. It’s also safe, thanks to its chain lock, low-kickback chain, handle guards, and lightweight design.
This 10-inch, 7.2-pound chainsaw features a wrap-around bale handle that’s easy on the hands so you can work with reduced fatigue. It’s equipped with a tool-free blade tension system that makes chain adjustments easier. Keeping the 50-milliliter (1.7-fluid-ounce) oil reservoir filled up will ensure that the product’s self-oiling feature will help the chainsaw operate smoothly longer.
The LCS1020 is powered by a 20-volt battery, which isgood for 30-45 minutes of continuous light cutting and 20-25 minutes for sawing thicker objects. Charging takes three to five hours, a bit more than our other picks For comparison, you get more out of a cordless drill, but then again the best corded drill has it’s own uses.
#4 Black & Decker LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw
Award: Most Powerful Electric
WHY WE LIKE IT: Black & Decker’s LCS1240 is the big brother of the LCS1020 in every respect, from its longer bar length and bulkier body to its higher-voltage and longer-lasting battery. You can do more cutting minus the fatigue and safety worries due to its soft rubber-coated handle, tool-less chain tension adjustment, and Oregon low-kickback bar and chain.
This 12-inch, 8.3-pound chainsaw helps you accomplish a lot more than the smaller LCS1020 due to its longer guide bar and a 40-volt MAX lithium-ion battery that can cut more than 4×4 inches of pine lumber on a single charge. Depending on how much work you do, the battery can store power for up to 18 months. Charging is also faster than the LCS1020 at just two hours.
The narrow tip and contoured guard link of this chainsaw helps reduce kickbackThis chainsaw also lubricates itself as long as its 109-milliliter (3.7-ounce) oil reservoir stays filled.and Just like its smaller sibling, the LCS1240’s chain can be easily tightened with its tool-free tension knob. Then just pull back on the lock-off button with your thumb and pull the trigger to start sawing. Chainsaws are the best tools for clearing away trees and tree limbs easily.
#5 Remington RM4214 Chainsaw
Award: Best Heavy-Duty
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Remington unit is the best small gas chainsaw, equipped with QuickStart technology and an anti-vibration system that will appeal to more experienced users. It’s convenient to use despite its weight due to its cushion-wrapped handle, automatic oiler, screw tensioning system, and easy-to-access spark plug and filter.
Cut through soft and hardwoods with ease using this 14-inch blade chainsaw with a two-stroke, 42-cc engine. Remington RM4214’s user-friendly features compensate for its 15-pound weight: QuickStart technology that makes pull starts easier and a five-point anti-vibration system that brings down fatigue during operation.
The die-cast chassis and sprocket-tipped bar and chain will provide many hours of productive cutting. To keep the oiling system running efficiently, users must ensure the 250-milliliter (8.5-ounce) reservoir is full. On some models it feels like you need the best magnifying glass to see the level, but not on this one.
How We Decided
Our selection comprises options for light to mid-range cutting, which includes trimming bushes and cutting small trees, with all chainsaws featuring bars and blades no longer than 16 inches. To give you a variety of choices, we included both electric-powered equipment, corded and battery-charged, as well as a gas-operated chainsaw.
We also chose products based on the run time they can provide on a full charge, which can range from 30 minutes to an hour, based on the amperage you set for your tool.
We also made sure that the products on the list are equipped with safety features, including low-kickback chains and chain brakes. Moreover, the chainsaws we recommended in this buyer’s guide will help sustain your energy longer while you work through their ergonomically designed handles and automatic oiling systems.
Best Small Chainsaw Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Power Type
Chainsaws can be grouped according to their power source: electricity, rechargeable battery, and gas.
Gas-powered chainsaws are the oldest type of saws and the most powerful. Because of their high speed, you can use them with less effort compared to their slower corded counterparts, particularly for tasks that involve thicker wood and require clean cuts. However, gas-operated units are typically heavier and noisier than electric-powered chainsaws. You usually need to yank their pull cords hard several times so they’ll start. Moreover, they emit carbon monoxide, so it’s more advisable to use them outdoors.
Meanwhile, electric chainsaws with cords normally operate once you press the power button after plugging them in. They weigh less than gas-run chainsaws and are typically more affordable, too. Power output is consistent due to the stable electrical source. However, these corded tools operate at slower sawing speeds, so they’re more useful for light work such as trimming and shaping hedges. For extra length, you’ll need 12- to 14 -gauge extension cords.
The last type of chainsaws runs on rechargeable batteries. Their performance and cost are about the same as gas-operated versions. But the life of the battery ranges from only 30 to 40 minutes, so they’re only for occasional use. Recharging usually lasts over an hour.
- True/Overall Length and Guide Bar Length
A chainsaw’s overall bar length refers to the whole length of the bar, inside the casing and outside. To determine this, you have to detach the bar from your chainsaw and measure its entire length. Meanwhile, the guide bar length refers to the cutting length of your chainsaw or the area of your tool that does the actual cutting, from the bar’s tip to the back of the cutter nearest the body of the saw. A longer bar allows you a deeper and efficient cut in a single run. But as a general rule, select a guide bar at least two inches bigger than the size of the wood you’ll cut. Bars eight to 14 inches long are best for pruning bushes and small tree branches and other light work. Meanwhile, 16- to 20-inch guide bars are best for cutting firewood and larger tree branches. Massive 20- to 24-inch bars are for lumberjacks.
- Size and Weight
The greater the capacity of your chainsaw’s motor and the longer its guide bar is, the heavier and bulkier it is.
- Chain and Bar Oiler
A built-in oiling system will keep your chain lubricated, preventing both damage on the motor and friction between the chain and guide bar. It also lowers the risk of kickback, which is the sudden upward movement of the chainsaw that puts the upper half of the operator at risk. This can occur when the moving chain around the tip or nose of your guide bar strikes an object or when the two ends of a log squeeze together and “pinch” the saw chain while you’re in the middle of cutting. Automatic oilers provide a consistent amount of oil to flow onto your chain, while adjustable oilers allow you to set the amount that goes to your chain between each cut or before each use.
- Safety Features
- Chain Brake
You can manually press down the chain brake to stop the chain from moving if the chainsaw kicks back.
- Low- or Reduced-Kickback Chain and Bar
A low-kickback chain has extra bumps or metal between the cutter teeth, while a reduced-kickback bar has a narrower nose or bar tip. Most products come with labels explicitly saying that they meet the kickback performance requirements of the American National Standards Institute.
- Chain Brake
Small Chainsaw FAQs
What is the best lightweight chainsaw?
The best lightweight chainsaw on the market today is the battery-operated Black & Decker LCS1020. At 7.2 pounds, it's also the best small chainsaw. It's about two pounds lighter than our top pick, the Black & Decker PHS550B, which is technically a handsaw and not a chainsaw because it operates using a blade instead of a bar and chain.
How would I know if the chainsaw's chain is already dull or worn out?
The chainsaw chain needs to be either replaced or sharpened when:
- It cuts through objects unevenly or jaggedly instead of smoothly.
- The chainsaw no longer produces coarse strands but fine sawdust during vertical cuts.
- You exert pressure onto the tool to cut instead of it going right through objects.
- Smoke comes out while you're cutting. This is a sign that the chainsaw is heating up and the chain's teeth have turned dull.
- The chain teeth rattle or bounce, and it becomes difficult to position the saw for cutting. You find damaged or missing chain teeth.
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