Small chainsaws come in handy for those smaller tasks you encounter around the home such as loose branches and limbs after a storm, brush clearing, etc. Due to their size, they don’t get in the way and they generally don’t cause much fatigue, allowing you to use them longer without feeling weighed down or exhausted. To help you find the best small chainsaw, we came up with nine top-rated products on the market.
We reviewed each small chainsaw extensively, addressing their advantages as well as any flaws they may have. In addition, we explore a guide to teach you more about these types of chainsaws, focus on what to look for, and more.
Best Small Chainsaw – Comparison Table
Best Small Chainsaw Reviews
1. DEWALT 20V Max Lithium-Ion XR Brushless Compact Cordless Chainsaw — Best Overall Small Chainsaw
One of the best overall small chainsaws is the DEWALT 20V Compact Chainsaw. It is intended for outdoor cutting and construction applications. The low kickback 12 inch Oregon bar and chain makes it simple to maneuver and use.
With it being battery-operated with a 20V max lithium-ion battery, cold starts are a thing of the past. It starts up quickly with a simple pull of the trigger. As it has a high-efficiency brushless motor, it can deliver up to 70 cuts on a 4×4 inch per charge, maximizing its life as well as its runtime.
At less than 9lbs, the DEWALT 20V Compact Chainsaw is light in weight, which makes it far easier to control. The average homeowner who has medium-duty work should be able to use this small chainsaw with next to no difficulty.
- Easy one-handed operation
- Good operating time
- May leak bar oil when it’s stored
- The tightening mechanism can flex too easily
2. Makita XCU03PT1 Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Chain Saw – Best Occasional-Use Small Chainsaw — $$$$
The Makita XCU03PT1 is a battery-powered small chainsaw that uses two 18V lithium-ion batteries. For durability, it features a heavy-duty design as well as protective seals throughout the tool that prevent the likes of debris, water, and dust from entering key internal components.
Although intended as a safety feature, the built-in LED power switch with the auto shut-off function can be hinder. It turns off after mere seconds of idleness, and users are prone to keeping it on by having to constantly hold the trigger down. This can contradict safety measurement.
Nevertheless, this small chainsaw is relatively simple to operate. It’s light in weight, and the addition of the brushless motor direct-drive system grants it a good level of power on top of what is offered from the batteries. This makes it one of the best small chainsaws for the homeowner who uses it occasionally around the house.
- Requires low maintenance
- Quiet operation
- Power auto shuts-off after four seconds of non-use
- Minimal runtime
3. Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Chain Saw – Best Silent Operation Small Chainsaw
If you’re looking for one of the best small chainsaws that make minimal noise so that you can use it in the early morning hours without disturbing the neighbors, then check out this model from Makita. The chainsaw has a low noise emission of only 87 dba as well as zero emissions.
It makes use of two 18V lithium-ion batteries to offer 36V of power. This LXT platform allows for up to 3x faster charging so even when you do run out of power, you can charge back up in no time using the dual port charger. Even so, the chainsaw has up to 50% of a longer runtime in addition to extending the life of the motor up to 50%.
The XCU02PT from Makita features a 12″ guide bar while the motor can deliver speeds of 1,650 FPM to offer faster cutting. Minimal maintenance is needed for this bar, so it is useful for the new user. However, you may need to frequently readjust the chain as it can become too loose too often.
- Quality lightweight build
- A good amount of power for most trimming needs
- Issues with oil leaking
- A chain can be too loose even with adjustments
4. Fdit Gasoline Chainsaw Small Logging Saw — Best Comfort Grip Small Chainsaw
The Fdit Chainsaw is the best small chainsaw with a comfort grip design. In addition to that, the handle is a wraparound so that you will not undergo fatigue even after extended use. It may weigh a tad bit more than most similar small chainsaws, but it is not enough to weigh you down, allowing you to transport this anywhere you need it to go with no problem.
With this small chainsaw from Fdit, you get something cordless that is well-balanced and easy enough to use. The lack of cord further helps with it being portable. As it has tool-less chain tensioning, you don’t have to worry about fighting with adjusting the chain. Also, to prevent the risk of any unintentional disconnect, this chainsaw has a cord retainer built-in.
This small chainsaw is perhaps most ideal for dealing with the basics around the house such as small trees, pruning branches, and more similar tasks. It does use a lithium-ion battery for power, but this single battery does not appear to offer much in terms of strength to allow this chainsaw to last long before needing a new battery.
- Soft comfort hand grip
- Offers a wide cutting swath
- Doesn’t offer much power or strength
5. Ryobi ZRRY40511 40V Cordless Brushless Lithium-Ion Chainsaw — Best Basic Small Chainsaw
The Ryobi Cordless Brushless Chainsaw can function with all Ryobi 40V lithium-ion batteries, which can be useful if you have additional Ryobi products to use. To help increase the speed of the chainsaw, it has a brushless motor. This offers increased torque.
What makes this such a useful tool for new users is its simplicity, which makes it one of the best basic small chainsaws. It features an onboard tool storage for quicker chain adjustments. Alongside that, there is the side-access chain tensioning. With this feature, adjusting is not only quicker but easier as well.
Although it is designed to have a faster cutting speed compared to other battery-powered chainsaws, the battery itself does not appear to hold a good amount of power. It just indicates that it requires frequent charges, but it does manage to charge quickly.
- The battery charges up fast
- Potential for the clutch system to fail
- The battery doesn’t maintain adequate power
6. Husqvarna 240 2 HP Chainsaw — Best Low-Fuel Consumption Small Chainsaw
A small chainsaw that is one of the best in its class for low fuel consumption is the Husqvarna 240. Its x-torque allows it to have low exhaust emission levels according to strict environmental regulations. This chainsaw is quiet and easy to maneuver, more so with its cordless feature.
The Husqvarna 240 features an easy-start system with a combination of a smart start and fuel pump function. However, even with the Air Purge mechanism that takes the air from the carburetor and fuel system to further aid that, there may still be complications getting it to start the first or second time.
There are additional features that make this small chainsaw simple to use even with the hard start. It has a LowVib system design that helps to cut back on vibrations. In turn, this can reduce operator fatigue so that you can work longer. This tool may best work for light to medium-duty jobs that you can get done around the home.
- Cuts clean
- Washable air filter
- Difficulties with idle function
- Not as easy to start as it claims
7. BLACK+DECKER LCS 1020 20V Max Lithium Ion Chainsaw — Best Fast-Operating Small Chainsaw
If you are looking for something that is fast and still user-friendly, this BLACK+DECKER LCS 1020 may be the right choice for you. It features a low kickback bar and chain that offers a faster, yet smooth, cutting process.
To make it trouble-free for first-timers, this small chainsaw has tool-free blade tension system for ease of use as well as quicker adjustments. Fatigue is also reduced due to it being so light in weight and simple to maneuver. To allow you to have greater control, the small chainsaw has a wraparound bale handle. This also makes it far more comfortable to use, especially if you are planning to tackle some mildly difficult and long tasks.
For long battery life, this small chainsaw has a 20V max lithium-ion battery. It can generally stay charged up to 5x longer than similar batteries. Though it has an oiling system with a clear window to help you gauge the oil levels, the oiler may fail to function.
- Maneuvers well
- Maintaining control is easy
- Probabilities of the chain loosening
- Problems with the oiler not working
8. Greenworks 24V Cordless Chainsaw — Best Budget-Friendly Small Chainsaw
A small chainsaw that functions well at an affordable price is the Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw. It is one of the best budget-friendly chainsaws in its class, and it is a versatile tool that can handle most DIY projects that are light to medium-duty.
If you need to adjust the chain, it has tool-free chain tensioning to make the process quicker. It features a 10-inch bar and chain, and it has an automatic oiler that easily applies oil to both the chain and the arm. This can help prolong the life of the chain by improving its durability.
You can check on the chainsaw’s oil levels at any time thanks to the translucent oil tank that gives you a clear view. For power, this small chainsaw utilizes a 24V lithium-ion battery. There is an onboard battery life indicator. All in all, the Greenworks Cordless Chainsaw offers a quiet and smooth operation with the convenience of being cordless.
- Adjusts with no difficulty
- The battery charges up at a good speed
- Consumes chain oil fast
- Not good for more than 1 hours work
9. BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 40V Cordless Chainsaw — Best Battery-Powered Small Chainsaw
One of the best battery-powered small chainsaws is the BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 Cordless Chainsaw. It has a 40V max lithium-ion battery, which can give this small chainsaw a greater life overall. This can provide more than 60 4×4 inch pine lumber cuts on a standard charge.
One thing to look carefully at, however, is the oil. It is prone to developing leaks. Also, there are some problems actually getting oil to the chain. With this issue, it can make it chainsaw less effective after only a few uses. Keep an eye on the oil and the product should generally function at a higher quality.
Otherwise, this small chainsaw from BLACK+DECKER has the standard tool-free tensioning. To make it more comfortable, it also features a full wraparound handle. This ensures that you can cut in different orientations with no problem or hand fatigue.
- Easy to take apart for maintenance and cleaning
- Operates quietly
- May develop oil leaks
- The oil pump has problems sending oil to the chain
Considerations Before Buying a Small Chainsaw
It’s not so simple to go to the store and buy just any small chainsaw. There are some details you should know about them on top of understanding what to look for so that you get a quality chainsaw.
Before you decide on any small chainsaw, understand that they come with various fuel types. You will generally have the following to choose from: gas, electric (corded), or battery-powered. All have their own strengths and weaknesses, but it comes down to what you need your small chainsaw for.
When it comes to gas, it is the most powerful type of fuel as well as the classic in the bunch. It is best if you are planning to travel with your chainsaw as you can take a gas-powered chainsaw anywhere without worrying about the power dying as long as you have additional fuel with you.
More so, gas chainsaws make the cutting process easier since it is so powerful. However, it tends to be harder to start up, heavy and requires a great deal of maintenance to keep it working at top-quality.
The electric, corded small chainsaws are certainly quieter than their gas counterparts. They are also versatile in the type of work they can do. Some can easily handle light-duty tasks, while others are capable of more heavy-duty work.
Though they are light in weight, these chainsaws do limit your mobility due to having a cord. Even with an extension cord, you can only go as far as the cord stretches. This can also get in the way of other work you may have to do.
Lastly, battery-powered small chainsaws don’t always perform best for heavy-duty work, but they’re optimal in light to medium-duty tasks. They are easy to run through, and you can take them anywhere just as you can a gas chainsaw as long as you keep batteries with you.
At times they can be more expensive, however, due to having to keep purchasing batteries and oftentimes chargers. They also are not as powerful as the other two types of chainsaws.
Types of Tasks Best Suited for Small Chainsaws
There is no question that if you are looking for a professional-level chainsaw to take out on the job or to handle extensive, heavy-duty tasks around your home, a small chainsaw simply will not cut it. These types of chainsaws are more in line with simple tasks. For instance, a small chainsaw may come in handy if you need to prune bushes, cut down loose limbs, and other comparable yard work.
Small chainsaws can offer a greater amount of maneuverability. Entry-level users who may not be so used to such a power tool may find these sizes simpler to manage.
Factor in Weight
Other than them being so compact in size, small chainsaws tend to weigh far less than their larger counterparts. Having something that is so light in weight further adds to their ease of handling, more so if you have never used a chainsaw previously.
When shopping for a small chainsaw, take into account the various weights as the lighter it is, the more you are able to handle longer, harder tasks. This is due to the fact that lightweight chainsaws may help cut back on fatigue. By reducing fatigue, it allows for a greater amount of control as well as helping you maintain a steady pace.
Whereas, finding a small chainsaw that happens to have some weight to it which is more of a case with gas-powered ones can eliminate the overall convenience of it. Take into consideration what you will need the small chainsaw for, and it should steer you in the appropriate direction as to which weight range will work best for your intended needs.
Additional Features to Consider
Understand that chainsaws, no matter the size, are dangerous tools and are not to be taken lightly. There are many features that can be built-in that not only makes them safer, but also simpler to use. Keep in mind that not all small chainsaws have the same features:
- Chain brake: This is the primary safety aspect on any chainsaw. It resembles another handle, and its purpose is to stop the saw if kickback occurs. This is done via the chain brake pushing into your arm or hand, which signals the brake to engage and stop the chainsaw.
- Ergonomic handle: Not only is a handle with a good grip ideal for comfort, but also for safety. They can ruin your steadiness, which reduces your control of the chainsaw. Seek something that is both easy and comfortable to hold.
- Anti-vibration: Some small chainsaws are designed with anti-vibration features, which is useful if you are planning on doing a lot of cutting for an extended period of time.
- Automatic oiler: The chain needs to be properly lubricated to ensure good functionality, so some chainsaws are built with an automatic oiler that lubricates the chain as you cut.
- Tool-free chain tensioning: As you will be performing a good deal of chain tensioning, having a small chainsaw that features tool-less tensioning may save you on time and effort. It is ultimately seen as a convenient design option.
- Easy start system: Not all chainsaws will have such a feature, but it can be a useful one. With an easy start system in place, you may be able to spend less time stressing over getting the chainsaw up and running as it is done in mere seconds.
Though they are not typically professional-grade, small chainsaws are optimal at completing light to medium-duty DIY tasks around your home. High-quality ones are even easy to use for those of you who have never worked with chainsaws before. They are light in weight to cut down on fatigue, allowing you to work harder, longer, and maneuver with ease.
Our Best Choice
To settle on one of the above-reviewed products being the best among the rest, we chose to go with the DEWALT 20V Max Lithium-Ion XR Compact Chainsaw. This top-rated small chainsaw is user-friendly so just about anyone can use it. It is both compact and wonderfully light in weight so that you have better control and more comfort as you won’t experience fatigue anytime soon. In addition, it features a good motor life so that it will last you a good deal of time.