What is the Best Small Chainsaw of 2018?

It’s tiring, isn’t it?

Cutting those hard tree branches with a hand saw is not an easy job.

Not only do you have to spend your energy cutting but you also have to be careful when using the saw.

But those darn branches have grown thick and are blocking the sunlight from your plants. You do want to trim them up.

Do you have to pick that nasty hand saw? No, you don’t.

Get yourself a good small chainsaw and you’ll be cutting those branches in no time.

The small chainsaw is a great tool to have around the garden that will help you cut branches, small trees, and shrubs with minimal effort.

Product Rating Price
Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 LXT Cordless Chainsaw 1 Buy Now
BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 40V MAX Cordless Chainsaw 2 Buy Now
Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc Gas Chainsaw 3 Buy Now
GreenWorks 20362 24V Cordless Chainsaw 4 Buy Now
Sun Joe SWJ698E 9-Amp Electric Chainsaw 5 Buy Now

What is a small chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a motor-driven cutting tool that has a saw with a chain around it.

Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes and power and you can choose one depending on your cutting needs.

A small chainsaw has a small saw and relatively lower power. They are the ideal cutting tools for occasional trimming and cutting tasks in your garden or backyard.

What are the different types of small chainsaws?

There are two main types of small chainsaws you can find.

Gas-powered small chainsaw

A gas-powered small chainsaw runs on a mixture of oil and gas. They are very portable and you can use them for a long period of time before you need to refuel. They are also more powerful as compared to an electric small chainsaw.

Gas-powered chainsaws tend to be noisy, emit fumes, and need more maintenance than an electric chainsaw.

Electric small chainsaw

Electric small chainsaws are either corded or cordless. The corded ones are lightweight and you can use them for long cutting periods. However, they do need a long outdoor extension cord when you’re moving around the yard.

The cordless electric small chainsaws have a rechargeable battery in them. That makes them very portable but they are heavier because of the battery. And you can only use them for a certain period of time before you need to recharge the battery or swap it.

Do you need a small chainsaw?

A small chainsaw will help you save time and effort for your trimming and cutting jobs than using a hand saw. That’s a good enough reason to keep it as part of your gardening tools.

How to choose a small chainsaw

A small chainsaw is a complex piece of equipment when compared to a regular hand saw or bow saw.

But here are a few pointers that can help you made a good choice to choose a small chainsaw.

Guide bar length

The guide bar length is measured from the tip of the chainsaw bar till the end where it reaches the motor.

This length determines the thickness of the wood that you can cut with the chainsaw. For a safe and efficient cut, the guide bar length should be at least 2 inches more than the thickness of the wood you’re cutting.

Small chainsaws are meant to trim small trees, branches, and shrubs in your garden. So chainsaws with a bar length between 10 to 14 inches should be quite sufficient.

Power

The power of your small chainsaw determines the speed with which it cuts. The more power it has the faster it will cut.

For gas-powered chainsaws, the power is measured in cc (cubic centimeters). A small chainsaw usually has 30cc to 40cc power.

For corded electric chainsaws, power is measured in A (Amps). A small chainsaw may have about 9A power.

And for cordless electric chainsaws, power is measured in V (Volts). A small chainsaw may have 20V to 30V power.

Portability

One important factor for small chainsaws is how portable they are. And the portability depends on the weight and work capacity of the chainsaw.

Gas-powered chainsaws have a higher work capacity than electric chainsaws because they can work for a long time with a refill of gas.

However, they tend to be heavier than electric chainsaws because of their powerful motor.

Corded electric chainsaws are lighter than gas chainsaws and easier to carry around. They can work for a long period of time as long as connected to power.

But they have a drawback that they have to be connected to a power source and depend on a good long outdoor extension cord.

Cordless electric chainsaws are heavier than corded electric chainsaws because of the battery. And they have the lowest work capacity because they can last around 30 to 60 minutes before needing a recharge.

So choose the type that you’re most comfortable carrying around till you get your trimming work done.

Tension adjustment

The chainsaw chain should have the right tension before you use it. This will help you get the best cutting and improve the life of your chainsaw.

Some chainsaws come with a tension adjustment system that needs a hand tool to tighten/loosen the chain.

But newer chainsaws come with an easy to use tension adjustment system that can be done with a turn of a knob.

I would recommend you select one that has the easy version because it will save you time and effort before using your chainsaw.

Some new chainsaws come with an auto tension adjustment system that works with the push of a button. Get this one if you can.

Safety features

A chainsaw is a handy gardening tool to have for your cutting and trimming needs. However, it’s also a tool that has the risk of injuring you seriously if you’re not careful.

That’s why you need to make sure your chainsaw has the necessary safety features before you use it.

One risk of chainsaws is kickback which commonly happens when the tip of your chainsaw blade touches wood and bounces back at you.

To avoid this, chainsaws come with a hand brake system that engages in case of a kickback. Some chainsaws come with an anti-kickback system that engages automatically when a kickback is detected.

Since you’re a beginner, you can also opt for beginner level chainsaws that have an anti-kickback cover attached to the tip of the chainsaw.

Automatic Oiler

Keeping the chain and blade of your small chainsaw lubricated is important to cut easily and keep the chainsaw in great condition for a long time.

Some chainsaws require you to manually oil the bar and chain every few seconds by pressing a button. But modern chainsaws come with an auto-oiling system that will do the bar and chain oiling during the cutting.

Just make sure to fill the oil reservoir before using your chainsaw.

Ergonomics

A small chainsaw is much more comfortable to use than a professional chainsaw. But make sure that the handle of the chainsaw is comfortable for your hands and the weight is something you can carry for a few minutes.

Check the balance of the small chainsaw and see that it is well balanced at the front and the back.

Use the tension adjuster and see that it is easy to use. It should also be easy to start the chainsaw without much effort.

Auto chain sharpener

A well-sharpened blade is a must before you use your small chainsaw. It will help you cut efficiently, increase the life of your chainsaw, and protect you from injury.

The chain will dull after several uses of the chainsaw and you’ll need to sharpen it. You’ll either need to use a sharpening tool or get the help of a professional.

Some new chainsaws come with an auto sharpener that sharpens it with just a push of a button for a few minutes. If you can get hold of such a chainsaw, then go for it.

Maintenance

If you use the chainsaw occasionally then you’re not going to need a lot of maintenance, especially with electric chainsaws.

Of course, you do need some regular oiling and cleaning just to keep it in shape but there is nothing more to do.

Electric chainsaws need much less maintenance than gas chainsaws because there is no issue of fuel and oil residue clogging it up. With gas chainsaws, you also need to maintain the air filters in them.

Gas chainsaws use a mix of fuel and oil which you need to keep handy. But if you’re not using it for a long time, you’ll need to take the fuel out of it and store it in a can. And add a stabilizer to it to keep it from evaporating.

Price

Choosing a good small chainsaw comes down to the price you’re willing to pay for it.

High-quality chainsaws are more expensive but they do work better and last longer.

However, if you just need a tool for the occasional cutting and trimming in your garden then there are plenty of good quality budget chainsaws available as well.

Precautions when using a small chainsaw

The small chainsaw can be a dangerous equipment if you’re not careful while using it. But with the right precautions, it’s a tool that is very handy.

  • Before using the small chainsaw, you need to wear the required safety gear. This includes safety boots and chaps that will protect your feet in case of a chainsaw kickback. Wear safety gloves that will make the cutting comfortable. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from wood chips and dust. And the final protective gear is the safety helmet that will protect you from falling objects, cover your ears for the noise and protect your face from flying debris.
  • Make sure the chainsaw blade is sharp enough. A sharp blade will make it easier and efficient to cut the wood and reduce the chances of injury.
  • It is important to keep the right chain tension so that the chain is not too tight or too lax.
  • Make sure the bar and chain are well oiled and there is sufficient oil in the reservoir. For cordless chainsaws, make sure the battery is charged. And for gas chainsaws, make sure there is plenty of fuel in the tank.
  • The chainsaw handbrake will protect you from injury due to kickbacks. So make sure to test that the handbrake is in working condition. When you’re moving around with the chainsaw always engage the handbrake.
  • Before you start cutting with the small chainsaw, make sure the area is cleared of any objects lying around. Don’t allow children or pets around the work area.
  • Don’t stand directly behind the chainsaw but at the side so that you can clearly see the chainsaw cutting the wood. And in case of a kickback, the saw will not jump on your body.
  • Don’t use the chainsaw standing on a ladder or hold it above your shoulder. That is the job of arborists who know what they are doing. If you want to cut branches that are high on the tree, you need a good pole saw. Or get the help of a professional.
  • When cutting use the part of the bar closer to the engine as that is the safest way to cut.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure when using the small chainsaw and let it do the cutting for you.

How to use a small chainsaw

Using a small chainsaw is pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

  • Make sure the blade is clean, sharp and oiled before starting the cut.
  • Keep your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees to give you a stable standing position.
  • Press and hold the throttle lockout and squeeze the throttle control to start the chainsaw. Then you can release the throttle lockout and continue squeezing the throttle control to keep it running.
  • Hold the small chainsaw at the side and place the part of the blade closest to the engine on the wood. Apply steady pressure so that the blade does the cutting.
  • Once done release the throttle control so that the chainsaw stops.
  • Once the wood is cut, clean the blade with a damp cloth to remove any pieces of wood.

Maintaining your small chainsaw

The better you maintain your small chainsaw, the longer it’s life is going to be.

  • Before using the small chainsaw, make sure the blade is sharp. If not then you need to sharpen it using a sharpening tool. A sharp blade will improve the life of your chainsaw and cut wood fast.
  • Make sure there is sufficient oil in the oil reservoir before using the chainsaw. You need to use a good bar and chain oil. Do not try to use motor oil. The oil will keep the chainsaw well lubricated, reduce friction and increase the life of your chainsaw.
  • For a gas chainsaw, inspect the air filter and make sure there are no holes in it. Tap it on the bench to remove any debris. Remove the spark plug and make sure there is no debris on it as well.
  • When a gas chainsaw is not going to be used for a long time, empty the fuel in a can and add some fuel stabilizer to keep it from evaporating.
  • After a cutting session, clean the debris from the blade using a damp cloth.
  • Cover the blade with the protective scabbard and store the small chainsaw in a safe place away from children.

Reviews

Sale
Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)
  • Makita-built motor delivers 1,650 FPM chain speed for faster cutting
  • Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries (included) deliver power and performance without leaving the 18V LXT platform
  • Low noise level at Only 60.6 db(A) per Ansi B 175.2 standard and zero emissions for operator comfort
  • 12" guide bar for increased capacity
  • "Tool-less" chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance

Last update on 2018-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Makita XCU02PT is a cordless chainsaw that comes with two 18V rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries which makes it a very powerful small chainsaw.

The guide bar is 12 inches which is more than sufficient to cut branches and trees in your backyard or garden.

It comes with a dual port charger which means you can charge both the batteries at the same time and this will save you some recharging time. The batteries are fast charging which means they recharge fast.

Including batteries, this chainsaw weighs just 10.1 pounds which makes it pretty lightweight for long cutting sessions in your garden.

Since this is a cordless electric chainsaw it needs low maintenance. You don’t need to mess with engine oil, spark plugs, or air filters as with a gas chainsaw.

It has Extreme Protection Technology which means this small chainsaw is not affected by dust and water. So you can use it in harsh environments without any issues.

The Makita XCU02PT comes with a tool-less chain adjustment which makes it easy to adjust the chain tension without fiddling with hand tools.

It has Star Protection Technology which makes the tool and battery communicate with each other to avoid overloading, over-discharging, and overheating. This makes the chainsaw very durable with improved performance and battery life.

This Makita XCU02PT comes with a three-year warranty on the tool and the battery which is pretty nice.

It’s the most expensive small chainsaw in our list but if you’re looking for a high-quality and high-power cordless chainsaw then you can’t go wrong with the Makita XCU0PT.

Pros Cons
  • High-power, high-quality tool
  • Three-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • Fast charging batteries
  • Tool-less chain adjustment
  • Expensive
  • The chain needs frequent adjustment
  • Spare chains are hard to find

Buy Now

Sale
BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 40-volt Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch
  • 40V MAX Lithium Ion Battery for longer runtime and overall life
  • 12" premium bar and chain
  • Automatic oiling system
  • Tool-free chain tensioning for quick and easy chain adjustments. 40V MAX* 2.0Ah Battery provides over 60 4x4 pine lumber cuts on average per single charge
  • Full wrap around handle for comfortable cutting in different orientations

Last update on 2018-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Black+Decker LCS1240 is a 40V cordless chainsaw with a12-inch bar that can cut through dry and green wood.

It’s nice to have a 40V Lithium-Ion battery that gives you a good cutting performance and make the charge last longer. But having a big battery means it does take more time to charge.

The 12-inch bar and chain is made by Oregon and has a low kickback feature which lowers the risk of injury during the cut. It’s also easy to get a chain replacement in case you need one in the future.

It has a tool-free tensioning system which is great because you won’t need to use a hand tool to tension the chain before use.

It’s important that the bar and chain is lubricated before use. And with the LCS1240 auto-oiling system you don’t need to worry about it.

This chainsaw weighs about 10 pounds which makes it pretty lightweight to hold and cut for long periods of time.

The LCS1240 comes with a limited two-year warranty which is pretty cool.

It’s manufactured by Black & Decker which is a well known brand in the power tools industry. So you can be assured of high quality and support when you buy this small chainsaw.

This chainsaw does like to eat up a lot of oil when in use. It also tends to leak oil when you store it so don’t keep other things near it.

Pros Cons
  • Powerful engine
  • Tool-free tensioning system
  • Auto-oiling system
  • Lightweight
  • Quality brand
  • Needs lots of oil
  • Leaks oil in storage
  • Takes time to charge

Buy Now

Sale
Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine
  • 12-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine to provide a clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption
  • Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start and warm up
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain tensioning providing quick and convenient chain adjustment
  • Sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain provides added control for easier cuts
  • Comes with a 7-year consumer, 2-year commercial and 1-year rental warranty

Last update on 2018-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Tanaka TCS22EDTP is a gas chainsaw with a 32.2cc pure fire engine that gives a good cutting performance without consuming a lot of fuel.

This model comes with a 12 inch chain and bar which is sufficient to do your regular cutting and trimming around the garden or backyard.

This small chainsaw comes with an auto-oiling system that takes the hassle away from manually oiling it before use. It also has an easy chain tensioning system that helps to keep the correct tension before using the chainsaw.

A well oiled chain and the right tension helps to cut efficiently, prevents injuries and makes your chainsaw last longer.

The chainsaw weights around 11.9 pounds which is not the lightest in our list but it is pretty easy to carry around in your backyard.

The cool thing about the Tanaka TCS33EDTP is that it comes with a 7-year consumer warranty. Which means you get a 7-year warranty when you use it around your house for your cutting and trimming jobs.

The engine heats up when in use and it may happen that the gas and oil caps sometimes get stuck. And you might feel the heat a bit on your legs while cutting.

This chainsaw has a top handle which does take getting used to. So you need to try it and find out if you like the top placement or not.

Pros Cons
  • Powerful engine
  • Auto-oiling system
  • 7-year consumer warranty
  • Easy tensioning system
  • Easy to start
  • Leaks oil in storage
  • Expensive
  • May get hot

Buy Now

Sale
Greenworks 10-Inch 24V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20362
  • 24V Lithium-Ion Battery compatible with both indoor and outdoor tools, 2AH battery and charger included
  • 10-Inch bar and chain, perfect for cutting branches and limbs with ease
  • Tool-less chain tensioning for quick adjustments so you can get back to the task at hand
  • Automatic oiler applies oil to the arm and chain to ensure durability and extend the life of the chain
  • Translucent oil tank for clear view of oil level

Last update on 2018-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The GreenWorks 20362 is a cordless chainsaw that comes with a 24V Lithium-Ion battery and a 2Ah charger. It will take you about 45 minute to recharge the battery.

It has a 10 inch bar and chain that is sufficient to cut through small tree branches and limbs. With this chainsaw, you should be able to make about 35 cuts on a single charge.

It comes with a tool-free tensioning that makes it easy to adjust the chain tension before using the chainsaw.

Also has an auto-oiling system that makes it easy to keep the chain and bar well oiled so that you can cut the branches with ease and keep using the chainsaw for a very long time.

The GreenWorks 20362 weighs less than 8 pounds which makes it the most lightweight and portable small chainsaw on our list.

The chainsaw has a four-year warranty and the batteries and charger have a two-year warranty which is pretty good.

If you like things that look pretty you’ll like this chainsaw because it is very ergonomic and has an eye-appealing design.

Like many auto-oiling chainsaws, this one leaks oil on storage as well. The battery has decent juice but will only last you about an hour on a single charge.

Pros Cons
  • Very lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
  • Four-year warranty
  • Auto-oiling system
  • Inexpensive
  • Relatively less powerful
  • Leaks oil

Buy Now

Sale
Sun Joe SWJ698E 12-inch 9-Amp Electric Chain Saw
  • 12 in. (30.5 cm) Oregon bar + chain
  • Powerful 9-amp motor cuts branches up to 9 in. (23 cm) thick
  • Ideal for trimming and pruning limbs and branches
  • Automatic chain lubrication system
  • Full 2-year warranty; ETL approved

Last update on 2018-05-26 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Sun Joe SWJ698E is a corded electric chainsaw that has a 9-Amp motor useful for trimming and pruning branches.

It comes with a 12 inch Oregon bar and chain that is high-quality and should last you a long time.

The chainsaw comes with an auto-oiling system which is good because you don’t need to bother manually oiling the chain and bar before use.

The Sun Joe SWJ698E comes with a full two-year warranty which is pretty good.

The chainsaw weighs about 10 pounds which is neither too heavy or too light. But you should not have any problems carrying it around your yard. Of course, you will need an outdoor extension cord that is long enough.

You won’t be able to use it in bad weather when it’s raining because you risk getting electrocuted or damaging the chainsaw.

If you’re looking for a budget small chainsaw that works great for your cutting and pruning jobs, the Sun Joe SWJ698E is all you need. It’s a cheap option with a pretty good quality.

Pros Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • Two-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • Auto-oiling system
  • Good quality
  • Limited by cord length
  • Cannot use in bad weather

Buy Now

Conclusion

No more worrying about those branches blocking the sunlight from your plants.

No more spending your time and energy using a nasty hand saw.

And no more risking yourself to an injury.

Just choose a small chainsaw that meets your needs and you’ll have a wonderful backyard in no time.

The best in our list of small chainsaws is the Makita XCU02PT cordless chainsaw. It’s a good portable, high-power, high-quality small chainsaw you can buy.

If you’re on a budget and looking for something that is portable but does not burn a hole in your pocket, the Sun Joe SWJ698E corded electric chainsaw is perfect for you. It’s cheap, good quality, and should work well for all your cutting needs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.