Are you looking for the best small chainsaw? Read my reviews, my opinions and the guide to choosing.
Small chainsaws are authentic jewels for those with a passion for gardening, but also for those who carry out this activity as a profession. They are very compact, they are easy to use and they are the queen of handling, given their low weight and limited size. It is true that they are not suitable for cutting branches with a large diameter, but when it comes to pruning small shrubs, hedges and vines they are truly exceptional. On the other hand, the adjective “small” could indicate two different categories: the classic chainsaws for pruning, and the mini chainsaws.
Types of small chainsaws
As I mentioned above, it is very important to distinguish the two main categories of compact chainsaws. Their main feature is the presence of a rather short blade bar, between 8 cm and 25 cm in length. Being small, the blade greatly reduces the overall weight of the chainsaw, giving you unrivaled freedom of maneuver.
1. Chainsaws for pruning
A classic chainsaw for pruning (read my complete guide) it has a bar with a length of 20 to about 40 centimeters. It can be powered by wire or battery, or with an internal combustion engine. Exceeded 30 centimeters, however, it can no longer be considered “small”.
The electric models are ideal for those who have to make a hobby or semi-professional use, while the petrol ones are perfect for those involved in professional gardening. The limited dimensions of the bar are used to ensure excellent handling of the tool, especially when it comes to cutting branches at high heights, equipped with ladders (tree climbing).
2. Mini chainsaws for pruning
They are also tools for pruning, but the mini chainsaws (read my full guide) they are always battery powered. Furthermore, they have a bar that starts from a minimum of about 10 centimeters up to a maximum of 18 centimeters, except for the micro-saws with a 6 centimeter bar. The latter, however, are more suitable for precision work in carpentry, since they cannot saw branches with a diameter of more than about 4 cm.
These small chainsaws are the best in terms of lightness, considering that they rarely exceed 2 kilos in weight. In addition, they are less equipped than classic chainsaws, because they often do not have the oil pump for automatic lubrication or the double handle for using it with two hands. And the battery lasts less, when compared to that of the “big sisters”.
Best small chainsaws
1. Hangrow Mini Rechargeable Saw 2 Batteries 10 cm
If you are interested in a small cordless chainsaw with a 10 cm bar and one hand grip, then I recommend this model from Hangrow. It has a very competitive price and can cut branches up to a maximum diameter of about 8 cm, and it is also very light and super manageable, considering that it weighs only 1.2 kilos. Also know that the package includes 2 batteries, the charger, 2 chains and the set to tension it.
- Template: mini chainsaw
- Bar length: 10 cm
- Diet: battery
- Weight: 1.2 kilograms
- Accessories: 2 batteries, charger, 2 chains, tensioning kit
The motor is small but it is a real bomb, since it has to manage a very short blade, and the battery also amazes with its autonomy. Used intermittently, it can last up to 2-3 hours, while charging takes another 2 hours. Of course it is anything but a professional chainsaw, and this can also be seen from the price, but for non-intensive pruning it is a real gem.
What are the other features to underline? It has a double safety button start, so you will have to press the button at the same time as the trigger, otherwise the blade will not turn. In my opinion it is an important plus, as a matter of protection, and it is a peculiarity that unfortunately is missing in many chainsaws of this category. Finally, it has a section that covers the top of the blade (again for safety).
2. Laecabv Battery Operated Blade 18 CM Oil Pump
We remain in the field of miniature chainsaws, but take a step forward in terms of blade length. This Laecabv model, while remaining compact and very light (almost 2 kilograms), mounts an 18 cm bar and has a maximum cutting diameter of about 16 cm. In addition, the bar has a carving design, so it is very thin and for this reason it can fit even in the narrowest areas.
- Template: mini chainsaw
- Bar length: 18 cm
- Diet: battery
- Weight: 2 kilograms
- Accessories: 2 batteries, charger, case, Allen key
Being a bit bigger than the actual mini saws, it has a few extra extras, as in the case of the automatic oil pump (very handy indeed). Secondly, the appliance has a safety lever to activate to operate the trigger, but it is snap-in: this means that once you have finished using it for pruning, you will have to remember to lower it to avoid unnecessary risks.
The battery lasts for about an hour if you use it intensively, while the accessories include (in addition to the batteries) the charger, the key to tighten the chain and the carrying case. Also consider that the Laecabv offers excellent performance, thanks to the brushless motor, and is ideal for pruning small shrubs and orchards. Finally, the carving bar also ensures high precision in the cuts.
3. BLACK & DECKER GKC1820L20-QW Bar 20 cm
We abandon the category of mini saws and move on to the standard pruning ones, but again with a very short bar. This small battery-powered chainsaw from Black & Decker is one of the most interesting and compact: it is a model with a 20 centimeter bar and with an 18V and 2.0 Amp hour (Ah) battery. Also consider that it is very light, as it weighs exactly 2.3 kilograms.
- Template: electric chainsaw
- Bar length: 20 cm
- Diet: battery
- Weight: 2.3 kilograms
- Accessories: battery and charger
Also in this case we are not dealing with a professional product, since it is rather cheap, but it is ideal if you are looking for lightness and compactness. As for the technical data, this saw bike is capable of cutting branches with a maximum diameter of around 16 centimeters, unless you use it at full bar (which if you have little experience I always advise against).
The battery is enough to make about 200 cuts, and the oil pump is present but it is not automatic, since to lubricate the blade you have to press a button. The safety equipment is good, since the anti-kickback system is present, and the balance is excellent. It also mounts the double handle, has the lock switch and recharging takes place in about 4 hours. Finally, the chain has a speed of 3.1 meters per second: it is not very fast but it does its duty.
4. ZENOAH Small Petrol Chainsaw 20 cm
It’s small, but don’t underestimate it. This petrol saw bike from ZENOAH has a compact 20 cm bar and a rather powerful engine, with a displacement of 18.3 cc and with a power of 0.9 HP (0.7 kW). It is a saw for semi-professional use and it is also clear from the price, which is certainly not cheap. However, it is worth up to the last penny, since it also includes the primer for easy starting.
- Template: petrol chainsaw
- Bar length: 20 cm
- Weight: 2.4 kilograms
Among the other features to underline we find its super compactness, with a weight that does not exceed 2.4 kilograms, while the carving blade ensures record-breaking handling. Ideal for pruning orchards and olive trees, the chainsaw in question also stands out for a perfect balance of the tool, which obviously favors precision when cutting.
There is also the double side handle, so you can use it with two hands, although it is so light that it allows you to use it with a single hand (however dangerous if you are inexperienced). In addition, it features a comfortable steel spring system that dampens vibrations and an automatic oil pump. Finally, the Zenoah G 2050 T requires less effort when pulling the rope, thanks to the e-Start system.
5. Husqvarna T525 Petrol Engine 25 cm Bar
In my ranking, obviously, a small petrol chainsaw from Husqvarna, a brand that is an authentic institution, could not be missing. This professional model is equipped with a 25 cm bar and an X-TORQ engine with a displacement of 27 cc, and with a power of 1.1 HP. In addition, it has a system that reduces the amount of polluting emissions, which is one of the main problems of internal combustion models.
- Template: petrol chainsaw
- Bar length: 25 cm
- Weight: 2.7 kilograms
It is also necessary to underline the presence of a rope eyelet, which allows you to connect it to the strap that you will use during tree climbing. Secondly, this saw bike has a stop button with automatic return, the classic side chain tensioner (not quick) and an air filter that is very easy to remove, due to the quick release. Then consider that in terms of performance it is exceptional, and it is very light, since it does not exceed 2.7 kg.
In my opinion this is one of the best small petrol chainsaws on the market, as well as the ideal model for a semi-professional or a professional. Above all it is for those who need a powerful but still very compact chainsaw, so as to be able to prune while climbing trees without running any kind of risk. Finally, the fact that it reduces smoke emissions by 75% is certainly a commendable plus point.
6. Makita DUC254Z Electric chainsaw 18V Bar 25 cm
If you are interested in a standard chainsaw for pruning, with a 25 cm bar but with battery, then I recommend that you evaluate this product. I already told you about it in mine Makita DUC254Z review, but I still want to give you a small summary, starting from the fact that the kit does not include the battery, and that you will therefore have to buy it separately. The battery life is around 90 minutes, while the weight is slightly higher than the other models (3.2 kilos, due to the battery).
- Template: electric chainsaw
- Bar length: 25 cm
- Diet: battery
- Weight: 3.2 kilograms
- Accessories: battery and charger NOT included
One of its best qualities is the speed of the chain, which runs at 22.5 meters per second, and it is one of the best balanced electric chainsaws on the market. It also mounts an ergonomic handle with SoftGrip handle, has automatic lubrication, and the chain included in the package is one of the best around, considering that we are talking about an Oregon.
Being electric, it does not pollute, consumes less than petrol engines and is very easy to start. The package, as I mentioned, does not include the battery or the charger, but you will find a convenient blade cover sheath, a transport bag and the key to tighten the chain. Secondly, this Makita chainsaw has a Turbo mode that you can activate when you need a more intensive cut, with an extra sprint of up to 30 seconds. Below you will find the links to the charger and the battery:
How to choose the best small chainsaw
1. Blade and cutting diameter
As I have already explained to you, the blade can have a length between 10 centimeters and 25-30 centimeters. Of course, there is a world of differences between mini and standard pruning saws, especially if we consider the maximum cutting diameter, related to the length of the bar.
- Mini chainsaws: having a blade about 10 cm long, they cannot cut branches with a diameter greater than 8 cm. The only exception applies to models with a 18 cm sword, since in that case a cutting diameter of around 15-16 cm is easily reached.
- Standard chainsaws: we have much fewer limitations, considering that a 25 cm blade allows the cutting of branches with a diameter up to 22-23 cm, unless you use them with a full bar (but those who are inexperienced should avoid it). Luminaires with a 30 cm bar, on the other hand, can reach up to about 26 cm in diameter.
Based on what you read above, the maximum diameter of the branches that you can cut follows this simple rule: you have to subtract a couple of centimeters from the length of the blade, to allow the chainsaw to maintain its precision when pruning and cutting. If you use it at full bar, and if you are inexperienced, you risk getting a crooked cut and damaging the branch (as well as hurting yourself).
As for the shape of the blade, often in the field of small chainsaws we find a carving type bar. This, being thinner than standard blades, can fit into any space, even the most difficult, and weighs less than the others.
2. Motor power supply
Better a small battery or petrol chainsaw? Of course it all depends on the purpose for which you are going to use it. The electrically powered models (including those with wire) are more suitable for hobby use, although there is no shortage of almost professional level chainsaws, comparable in power to the petrol ones. Petrol appliances, especially when used for pruning, are more suitable for professional use.
Below I will briefly list the characteristics of the two categories but, if you want to deepen them, I suggest you click on the link to read the specific guides.
- Battery-powered chainsaw: super easy to use and light, they are ideal for pruning undemanding branches. The engine, in fact, could overheat if you use them to cut complex branches and if you use them continuously. They don’t have the hassle of wire, but the battery has a limited life (around 60 minutes). Finally, they are easy to maintain, consume little and do not pollute.
- Corded chainsaw: the wire can become a nuisance, but it completely cancels the problem of battery life. Small chainsaws of this type, among other things, require the presence of an electrical outlet nearby and the mandatory use of an extension cord. Otherwise, the same advantages as those with the battery remain, since they do not produce fumes, and are also quieter.
- Petrol chainsaw: is the professional model, designed with an engine capable of holding up during the most demanding and prolonged pruning sessions. The power is in fact superior to the others, although the bar is shorter than the classic pruning products, which can even exceed 40 cm of blade. In addition, they require attention during maintenance and produce fumes.
As you can see, there is no better model than another, as it all depends on the use you will make of it. Personally, if you do not need to prune hard branches and make continuous use of them, I suggest you put aside the petrol products. Conversely, if you have to make a professional or semi-professional use, petrol ones are still the most suitable solution today.
3. Engine power
The power of the motor is always related to the length of the blade. In summary: to be able to withstand the work of a long bar, a more powerful and more responsive engine is needed. In our case, being the blades rather small and short, the engine will hardly have a high power if you consider its technical data. But this aspect must not deceive you, because – having to support an undemanding bar – it will be able to put in place exceptional performances in any case.
- Small chainsaw (10 cm bar): in this case the motor power is very low, and rarely exceeds 28 Wh (watt-hour, or number of watts produced in 60 minutes).
- Classic electric chainsaw: the minimum union for a compact electric chainsaw, with bar within 20-30 cm, is equal to 500 watts, but it can also exceed 1,200 watts.
- Small petrol chainsaw: in this case the engine displacement rarely exceeds a value of around 25 cubic centimeters, while the power is about 1.2 HP for models with a 25 centimeter bar.
Always remember this rule: the power of the engine must be sufficient to support a blade of a certain length. If the bar is long and the engine is not very powerful, performance will be poor, the chain will turn slowly and the engine itself may be damaged.
4. Structure and other characteristics
In this guide on how to choose a compact chainsaw I have already listed a lot of important information, but there are others that require our attention. For example, I’m talking about the type of handle, self-lubrication, safety equipment and the chain tensioner.
- Handle: many chainsaws classic have a double handle, and I suggest you choose them. The single handle can in fact become risky for those with little experience with these tools, while the double handle allows greater control. Unfortunately, however, small chainsaws with a 10 cm bar are almost always single-handled.
- Self-lubrication: only the classic pruning ones are equipped with an oil pump for automatic chain lubrication. The smaller ones do not have this extra, due to their very small size, so the chain must be lubricated manually.
- Double start button: as a matter of safety, I recommend that you always choose the models with double start button, or with safety lever. They are less comfortable because you will have to press both of them to use the chainsaw, but they are much safer than the others, as they reduce the risk of accidents.
- Chain tensioner: the chain tensioner can be traditional or rapid. In the first case you will have to use the special keys supplied, while in the second case you just need to tighten or loosen a handle. The quick chain tensioner, of course, is more comfortable and faster to use.
- Security systems: the pruning models with a bar over 18 cm can integrate safety systems such as the system to dampen vibrations, the claw that prevents the chain from detaching from the bar and finally the chain brake.
In conclusion, compact chainsaws are fantastic allies when you have to prune in difficult situations such as climbing trees, or when you have to cut small branches. And this does not mean that they are less powerful than the others, since their engine is optimized to handle a less demanding bar.