Best Small Chainsaws – 2019 Complete Review

When looking for a chainsaw, it is tempting to get the biggest, baddest, and often most expensive model on the market. However, there are many reasons to invest in a smaller saw. They can be easier to operate, cheaper, and in some situations, can be even more efficient than a larger saw.

Read on to learn more about these awesome products and how they can make yard work better.

Comparison Chart of the Best Small Chainsaws

Product

Rating

Price

Makita XCU02PT

Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12' Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)

Best Overall

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine

Runner-up

Remington RM1425

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 8 Amp 14-Inch Lightweight Corded Electric Chainsaw, Black

Best for the Money

Makita UC3551A

Makita UC3551A 14' Electric Chain Saw

Best Small Electric Chainsaw

Remington RM4214 Rebel

Remington RM4214 Rebel 42cc 2-Cycle 14-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw Automatic Chain Oiler-Anti Vibration System, 42cc-14

Best Small Gas Chainsaw

Greenworks 10-Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw

Greenworks 10-Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20362

Best Small Battery Powered Chainsaw

What Purpose Does a Small Chainsaw Serve?

You may be wondering what exactly you can cut with a smaller sized chainsaw. Here is what they are most commonly used for:

Small Trees

You will likely not be able to use a small chainsaw to cut down fully grown trees, but you can certainly effectively use it on smaller trees. If you have saplings popping up that you would like taken care of, a small chainsaw will work extremely well.

Small Logs

Again, chainsaws of this size are not intended to hack through giant felled oaks, but that does not mean they can’t still effectively cut up some firewood. Just keep in mind that dead wood is always stiffer than live wood, so be patient with your saw when cutting up smaller logs.

Pruning

Smaller chainsaws were designed for this kind of work – not cutting down a tree entirely, but cleaning up broken branches or making sure it does not grow over your house. With its smaller size, these saws are easy to manipulate into the angles needed to keep trees pruned properly.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

Here are some of the factors you should be looking out for when choosing a smaller chainsaw:

Weight

Just because a saw is smaller does not mean it is necessarily lighter. Make sure you choose a saw that is lightweight and easy for you to carry around so that you will be able to operate it for longer periods of time.

Safety Measures

Chainsaws are some of the most dangerous power tools you will likely ever work with. However, many of the saws on the market today feature new and improved safety technology so you will never have to worry about accidents. Find a saw with some of these features, such as an automatic shut off.

Durability

Even smaller chainsaws will end up doing a lot of tough work. You do not want a saw that is going to break down on you after only a few uses. Invest in a model that can go the distance and will last you for the long haul.

Quick Take | Best Small Chainsaws

Before you move to the our full review of the best small chainsaws, here is a quick take of the top 3 models:

  1. Makita XCU02PT
  2. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12
  3. Remington RM1425

Review of the Best Small Chainsaws

Now that you are more familiar with what these saws can cut and what you should be looking out for, let’s check out some actual products:

Best Overall:
Makita XCU02PT

Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12' Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)

PROS

  • Not incredibly loud.
  • Cordless and not limited by cord length.
  • Has a brushless motor to extend engine life.
  • Additional safety feature present in lock-off level.
  • Incorporates power from two separate batteries, which is about thirty-six volts.

CONS

  • Not super easy to maneuver.
  • Chain will need to be adjusted often.
  • Does not come with included batteries, will need to be purchased separately.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers really like that the motor system on this model has a variable speed and can easily be adjusted with a simple dial system. Additionally, the power button is illuminated by an LED light so you can see it in all conditions, and the saw has an automatic shut off system as an additional safety feature.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The automatic lubrication system on this model was extremely impressive for us. You will never have to worry about the saw rusting, or about the need to oil up the chain yourself with this model.

Who Will Use This Most

Even for a smaller saw, this model is lighter than many of the other small saw brands. It is an excellent option for users who are women.

Bottom Line

The Makita XCU02PT is a fantastic saw option that makes our choice for best overall pick because of its variable speed motor, additional safety features, and automatic lubrication system. The one thing to look out for with this model is that you will have to seal the oil tank after you are done using it, otherwise, it will leak.

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine

PROS

  • Will not eat up a ton of fuel.
  • Includes a gear-driven automatic oiler.
  • Side chain tensioner allows for easy access.
  • Comfortable to operate and simple to maneuver.
  • Comes with a two-year commercial warranty and a seven-year consumer warranty.

CONS

  • Feels off balance.
  • Does not have a large amount of bottom-end torque.
  • Not the best option for cutting larger pieces of wood.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love how quickly they can get this model to start up. Its purge primer bulb and half throttle choke allow for fast starts, guaranteeing you will always be able to start sawing even in lower temperature situations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We liked how easy it is to operate this model. It has an anti-vibration system, meaning you will be able to hold on to it for longer without your hands numbing up from all the shaking. It also has a sprocket nose bar, which allows for a greater level of control when making fine, precise cuts.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is an excellent choice as an arborist saw, and for any job that will require a large amount of pruning.

Bottom Line

The Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 is a phenomenal product option and our choice for runner-up pick thanks to the ease of starting this model up no matter what the temperature, and the comfort and increased control you will experience when using this saw. Its only drawback is that it is pretty heavy, around twelve pounds in total.

Best for the Money:
Remington RM1425

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 8 Amp 14-Inch Lightweight Corded Electric Chainsaw, Black

PROS

  • Chain will not overheat easily.
  • Trimming tension is simple to operate.
  • Does not produce a large amount of kickback.
  • Arrives already put together, can be used straight out of the box.
  • Strikes a good balance between ease of use and available power.

CONS

  • Oiler has a tendency to leak.
  • Front handguard does not work super well.
  • Chain teeth are located much farther apart than on other saws.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers really appreciate the push button oiling system on this model. If you struggle with oiling up your saw’s chain, you need to start using this product – it is a true game-changer.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We could not believe our eyes when we saw the price tag on this model. A Remington saw, for this low of a price? We thought there had to be some mistake, but lucky for us, there was not. This saw definitely has the best value on the market today.

Who Will Use This Most

Users saw this saw is a great choice for yard work, and particularly for cutting limbs and saplings (not the best option for cutting fully grown trees).

Bottom Line

The Remington RM1425 is a top-notch product option that has a number of handy convenience features, including a push-button oil system, and will keep your wallet and your bank account happy. Keep in mind, though, that it is not intended for heavy-duty jobs, such as working with harder woods or knotted woods.

Best Small Electric Chainsaw:
Makita UC3551A

Makita UC3551A 14' Electric Chain Saw

PROS

  • Easy to use.
  • Makes very quick cuts.
  • Comes with a one-year limited warranty.
  • Handle is a soft grip with comfortable rubber.
  • Trigger switch is large and easy to flip for quick starts.

CONS

  • Guide bar bearing can pop off.
  • Chain has a tendency to loosen easily.
  • Included instructions are not particularly helpful.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are big fans of the larger oil reservoir on this model. If you are sick and tired of constantly needing to stop and refill your saw’s oil before you can get back to cutting, you need to invest in this Makita.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We admire the additional safety features on this saw, one of which is the current limiter. If the motor overloads, the current limiter will respond by reducing overall motor power, decreasing the odds of an accident.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a saw for casual use around your yard, you should choose this model because it will consistently work well and not require a lot of maintenance work or upkeep.

Bottom Line

The Makita UC3551A is a fantastic product option with some cool enhanced safety features like a current limiter and a larger oil reservoir for more convenient operation. The one thing to consider with this model is that it does have a larger amount of plastic parts, which feel like they are of lower quality.

Best Small Gas Chainsaw:
Remington RM4214 Rebel

Remington RM4214 Rebel 42cc 2-Cycle 14-Inch Gas Powered Chainsaw Automatic Chain Oiler-Anti Vibration System, 42cc-14

PROS

  • Bar is sprocket tipped.
  • Has cushion wrapped handles.
  • QuickStart technology is reliable.
  • Comes with a two-year warranty.
  • One of the most durable models available on the market today.

CONS

  • On the heavier side.
  • Can be difficult to maneuver.
  • Oil dispenser can be a bit finicky.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are drawn to this model because it addresses many of the issues other gas-powered models struggle with. This product’s engine is relatively quiet, as compared to other gas engines, and it produces a lower amount of pollution. If you want to do your part for the environment, this saw is a good option for you.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We appreciated that this product comes with its own carrying case. And we are not talking about some cheap case, either, but one that is well made of high-quality material.

Who Will Use This Most

Users report that this saw is an excellent choice for pruning and branch trimming for medium and larger branches. It is also a good option for an entry-level gas chainsaw.

Bottom Line

The Remington RM4214 Rebel is a top-notch product option with a variety of excellent features, including its quieter engine that does not produce as much pollution as competitor models, and the fact that it comes with its own carrying case. One thing to keep in mind with this model, though, is that it is not intended to cut through anything with a diameter of more than twelve inches.

Best Small Battery Powered Chainsaw:
Greenworks 10 Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw

Greenworks 10-Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20362

PROS

  • Well designed.
  • Extremely powerful.
  • Tool-less blade detachment system.
  • Greenworks is a well known power tool manufacturer you will be able to trust.
  • Weight walks the fine line between being easy to use and yet still feeling stable.

CONS

  • Oil is not included.
  • Does not feel well balanced.
  • Is somewhat limited, works well only on smaller pieces of wood.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are big fans of how convenient it is to use this chainsaw. They never have to deal with filling up a gas tank or a finicky pull start system, and the battery life on this bad boy will last for just as long as your average tank of gas.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model has one of the best warranty options we have seen on the market today. Four whole years, with the option of extending to potentially four more years? That system will give you eight years of worry-free use with this saw!

Who Will Use This Most

This model seems to attract many gardeners, particularly those that are older. Because of its lighter weight and ease of maneuvering, it works well with senior users.

Bottom Line

The Greenworks 10 Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw is an all-around excellent model that uses battery power efficiently and comes with an incredible warranty. Watch out, though – its chain has a tendency to loosen up pretty often.

​Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Still struggling to narrow down your options? Here are some additional factors to keep in mind:

Size    

While all chainsaws on this list are small, they are not all the exact same size. The longer the bar length, the more your saw will be able to cut, but the less easy it will be to carry and to operate.

Ease of Maneuvering

For a smaller chainsaw, you are definitely going to want something that is not complicated to maneuver around, even with the tighter, more awkward angles that come with tree work. Find a saw that you can easily manipulate.

Power Source

Do you want a gas saw, an electric saw, or a battery saw? The various power sources all have their pluses and drawbacks – as an example, gas saws are more powerful but also more expensive. Weigh your options carefully.

Conclusion

Small chainsaws are a handy tool for any homeowner to have in their arsenal. Whether you plan to use your saw to chop firewood or to do some pruning work on your trees, it can come in handy to have a smaller model. Make sure you choose a saw that will work well for you and fit your individual needs. We promise you will not be able to go wrong if you select a model from our comprehensive list above.

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