10 Best Small Chainsaws 2021 – Reviews & Buying Guide

Living in the countryside, you love DIY projects. The latest one needs you to clear all the shrubbery and the dead trees on your property and maybe cut up some firewood. This would become a lot easier if you had a small chainsaw.

Chainsaws are a very versatile tool, an almost must-have for everyone. They’ve come a long way in development. From the old heavy and bulky ones that require constant care, to the small and lightweight modern ones that are almost maintenance-free just right for you. So you decided that you are going to get a small chainsaw. But which one?

Fret not for we have compiled a list of 10 best small chainsaws you can buy right now. With the list and our super-informative buyer’s guide, you’re bound to find one perfect for you.

Image Product Details   Price
1 – Dewalt DCCS670X1 60v MAX Chainsaw Dewalt DCCS670X1 60v MAX Specialty: Best Overall
Bar and Chain: 16 inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 12.1 Pounds
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2 – Oregon CS300 Cordless Chainsaw Oregon CS300 Specialty: Premium
Bar and Chain: 12 inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 12.1 Pounds
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3 – Wen 40417 40V Max Chainsaw Wen 40417 40V Specialty: Editor’s Choice
Bar and Chain: 16 inches
Power Source:
Battery
Weight:
12 Pounds
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4 – Dewalt 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Dewalt 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Specialty: Most Versatile
Bar and Chain:
12-inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 8.8 Pounds
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5 – Black+Decker LCS1240 Black+Decker LCS1240 Specialty: Power Child
Bar and Chain:
12-inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 10.4 Pounds
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6 – Husqvarna 120 Mark II Husqvarna 120 Mark II Specialty: The Heavy Worker
Bar and Chain:
16-inches
Power Source: Gasoline
Weight: 9.3 Pounds
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9 – LiTHELi 40v Chainsaw Oregon CS1500 Specialty: Best Budget
Bar and Chain:
18-inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Weight: 12.4 Pounds
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10 – Worx WG305.1 Worx WG322 Specialty: Best for tight spaces
Bar and Chain:
10-inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 6.19 Pounds
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9 – LiTHELi 40v Chainsaw LiTHELi 40v Chainsaw Specialty: Rising Star
Bar and Chain: 14-inches
Power Source: Battery
Weight: 17.25 Pounds
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10 – Worx WG305.1 Worx WG322 Specialty: The Buck Cheap Chainsaw
Bar and Chain:
14-inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Weight: 7.94 Pounds
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Best Small Chainsaws 2021

1. Dewalt DCCS670X1 60v MAX Chainsaw

The moment you learn that a product is Dewalt, you lose all doubt over quality. The Brand is known in the market for the durability of its products, delivering above and better performance.

This chainsaw was meant to replace its gas counterparts, and it does itself justice. With a 60v battery, it ensured to saw through all you throw at it and show itself to be the best small battery chainsaw. Having an ergonomic design and all the modern safety and features of a chainsaw, few even come close in comparison.

With minimal kickback giving you fluidity, the cuts the very smooth. This makes it perfect for DIY projects and some construction work. And with all that, it’s still extremely low maintenance.

Pros

  • Power equivalent of a gas chainsaw
  • Good battery runtime
  • Smooth cuts
  • Tool-less chain tensioning
  • Chain Brake

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Battery needs recharging

2. Oregon CS300 Cordless Chainsaw

Now if you have any prior knowledge about chainsaws, you’d know Oregon. Yes, the company that invented the world-famous chipper style chain everyone loves. The Oregon CS300 is the most powerful and versatile chainsaw in our list and not without reason. But as you know, with unmatched quality comes an unmatched price. This beast of a chainsaw is the most powerful and expensive item on our list.  

The CS300 from Oregon packs all the features a chainsaw can have on the market. But all of us know how hard it is to sharpen a dull chainsaw. The CS300 even remedies this problem by having a sharpening stone built into the chainsaw. Just at the pull of a lever, within 3 to 5 seconds, your chain will be good as new. Making this machine almost free of maintenance.

It also has the biggest battery out of all chainsaws available, making it the best battery chainsaw on the market.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Fine cuts
  • Self-Sharpening
  • Tool-less chain tensioning
  • Chain Brake

Cons

  • Very expensive

3. Wen 40417 40V Max Chainsaw

Not everyone wants to spend over the top for the best of the best. Although everyone wants the best, not all of them are willing to empty their wallets for it. If you are one of those people, we promise that you will love the Wen 40417 chainsaw.

To be honest, even we were surprised by the quality and performance of that went head to head with its more premium competitors. Although the company may not be as well-known compared to the above mentioned. But you can be assured that they are in the market to stay.

With a 16-inches Oregon bar and chain, low kickback and precise cuts, you can be assured no tree in your yard will stand in the way. This, we believe for most homeowners would be the selling point, and indeed, it delivers.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Cuts smooth
  • Chain Tensioning is tool-less
  • Has Chain Brake

Cons

  • Battery needs recharging for constant use
  • Shorter product warranty
  • Needs assembling

4 – Dewalt 20V MAX XR Chainsaw

If it’s a tool for your home, most people will stay off the big stuff. They want something that can easily limb tree in their yard and maybe gather some firewood. The Dewalt 20V MAX XR proves itself to be a perfect choice. Having a compact and ergonomic design that’s easy to handle and weight just a little below 9 pounds, it’s a chainsaw even women can use.

Dewalt never makes products that leave you unsatisfied. As such, they created this chainsaw with a high-efficiency brushless motor and all the bits and pieces that make a good chainsaw. The 20V 6Ah battery will let complete your work without having to recharge.

Although this Dewalt chainsaw is great, being a 20V, it does lack a bit of power. It is great for occasional cutting and limbing and minor DIY’s. Nothing too heavy.

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Low kickback
  • Chain can be tightened without any tools
  • Chain brake installed
  • Great battery

Cons

  • Low power
  • Not meant for big trees
  • Moderately expensive

5 – Black+Decker LCS1240

What if your needs require a powerful chainsaw that easily handles small to mid size workload but you still don’t feel like investing big. The Black+Decker LCS1240 is a chainsaw that will fulfill all your needs and more, without you needing to go all the way.

This 12-inches handy tool equips a 40V battery letting it be one step ahead in the competition. And let me tell you, it packs some serious power. Moreover, with it being a Black+Decker product, you don’t need to be doubtful of its quality. Rest assured with this piece of goodness,  maintaining your yard will be a cinch.

However, it is sad to say nothing is perfect, as is the case with the LCS1240. With all that power it loses out on battery runtime, or it would have been the best small chainsaw.

Pros

  • Great Power
  • Chain can be easily tightened
  • Portable design
  • Chain Brake

Cons

  • Low battery timing
  • Somewhat expensive

6. Husqvarna 120 Mark II

Credit, where credit is due. Gas-powered chainsaws have been a go-to choice of all lumberjacks and for a good reason. They’ve served well for over decades and have yet to be replaced in the commercial market.

Let’s face it, even with a company like Husqvarna, gas-powered chainsaws aren’t really well-liked by homeowners. But unlike battery-powered or even corded electric chainsaws, these can be used for long periods at a time. All you need to do is carry some oil and gas.

Husqvarna is well known to deliver great performance. And with the 16-inches bar and chain along with the fluidity and power of the 38cc engine, you can expect no less. And it still just a little over 9 pounds making it the best gas powered chainsaw.

Pros

  • Very fine cuts
  • Chain brake
  • Can be used for long periods at a time

Cons

  • Chain requires tool tensioning
  • Is very loud
  • Needs proper maintenance

7. Oregon CS1500 Corded chainsaw

So besides the casual limbing and pruning, you’re going to be cutting up some firewood and don’t think small ones will cut it. Also, you also don’t want to carry a 20-inches gas chainsaw around. So, when buying a chainsaw, you’d look for something small but very powerful.

Introducing the Oregon CS1500. Another one from the brand because who doubts Oregon. Even we were surprised and overjoyed to learn that even with stats that shame the premium, the CS1500 comes at a price that everyone can afford.

Being a corded electric means as long as there’s power, you can continue working nonstop. The 18-inches bar and chain with the 15 amp motor make this the best electric chainsaw you can buy. And it’s also the only corded electric chainsaw on the market with a self-sharpening feature built-in.

Pros

  • Very Powerful
  • Easy chain tensioning
  • Self-Sharpening
  • Chain Brake built-in
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Needs to connect to an electricity supply

8. Worx WG322 20V Power Share Cordless 

Worx, another well-known brand. Bringing you exceptional quality products without being a burden on your bank balance. And like always, bringing a very likeable product this time in the shape of the WG322.

The WG322 is the smallest and the most compact chainsaw on our list. With just a 10-inch bar and its small form factor, it truly is a mini chainsaw. Being small also means that it weighs less, and indeed it does. With its weight of around 6 pounds, even a child can use it (not saying they should). Making this cute package the best for handling tight spaces.

Moreover, it also features an auto-tensioning system that tightens the chain itself. Meaning you only need to check the oil and the battery. Perfect for people who just want to use it and don’t want to waste time tightening the chain all the time. And the WG322 gives you all that and still not lose out on power. But don’t expect it to saw down trees.

Pros

  • Surprisingly light
  • Powerful enough for its size
  • Auto tensioning chain system
  • Great for tight spaces

Cons

  • No chain brake
  • Low battery runtime
  • Chain loosens easily

9. LiTHELi 40v Chainsaw

LiTHELi is a new brand in the market which has quickly become reputable among its customers with its fresh line of products. For those who stick to the old, it’s just another brand to choose from. Most people might even be sceptic about buying it. However for those, a little more open-minded and trusting the LiTHELi 40V chainsaw bring much to the table and leaves less to be desired.

Don’t think this chainsaw will magically give the power of a 20-inch gas-powered chainsaw. Be a little realistic and it will leave you satisfied. With a 40V 14-inch Oregon bar and chain, you can expect this saw to make quick work of your lawn maintenance, and even chop down some trees on the way.

LiTHELi is giving bold claims on the warranty that make us believe that it is a durable piece of machine. The only things we didn’t like were its 2.5 Ah battery and the 17-pound weight.

Pros

  • Produces good power
  • Has chain brake
  • Tool-less chain tensioning

Cons

  • Low battery time
  • Almost as heavy as a mid-sized gas powered chainsaw

10. Worx WG305.1, 8 Amp 14-inch Corded Chainsaw 

Everyone hopes for it but everything in life cannot be great, especially when chainsaws are concerned. Ranging from low inexpensive ones to the pricy premium ones, one starts to think don’t they all just saw all the same? Do you really need to go all the way for something like this? Well, you don’t but that doesn’t mean you should just settle for something subpar.

Thinking on that note, we introduce to you the Worx WG305.1. The buck-cheap chainsaw. Don’t get me wrong, being buck-cheap in no way means it not a good chainsaw. It is a must get saw for people who only care about the job getting done and nothing fancy.

All in all, it still keeps the good bits and pieces that are found in “expensive” chainsaws like chain brake and auto-tensioning chain system. With its 8-amp motor and 14-inch bar and chain, it’s bound to be just enough for your needs.

Pros

  • Auto chain tensioner
  • No charging required
  • Chain brake
  • Practically cheap

Cons

  • Chain tends to loosen easily
  • Not very powerful

Small Chainsaws Buyer’s Guide

From all of that, you should now understand that chainsaws come in a variety of different types and features, each having its own uniqueness. Keeping that in mind, below we have compiled an extensive and meticulous guide that is sure to help you better understand your needs. Helping you in making a learnt and knowledgeable decision you won’t regret. Let’s get started.

The Type of Chainsaw you want

All chainsaws, may they be big or small can be divided into three main categories according to the source of power they use to run the chain. Although in the end, all of them do the same job, each of them has its own uniqueness that makes them better suited for certain situations.

A – Electric Corded

Well, not much to say there, is it? As you guessed, these chainsaws run on electricity provided through a long cord that goes all the way to the saw. Although this gives them great potential in terms of power, they lack the portability and handiness of chainsaws powered by, say a battery or even gas.

If you have a small garden or yard, this will be great for pruning bushes and or even cutting down a tree. Of course, if your yard is big, opt for something else, or you’ll have 100ft cord to manage all the time. That doesn’t mean you can use it where there is no electricity. If you have a generator, you can run it off that. However, till at that point, it won’t be much better than a gas-powered chainsaw, with all the emission and noise from the generator.     

B – Battery Powered

The most popular out of the three types. With the advancement in technology, battery chainsaws are coming closer and closer to the power and smoothness of gas. And batteries have become that so more efficient. These saws are also by far require the least maintenance as well. Pop in a charged battery, fill the oil, and you’re good to go—no emission, very low noise, who wouldn’t love it.

However, with all that, there are also disadvantages. Regardless of how advanced technology has become, in the end, batteries run out and need charging. Plus, for the sake portability, these batteries can be too big. Meaning if you want to do occasional pruning and limbing or even felling a tree, it will be fine, but that’s all. Don’t expect it cut you up a bunch of trees. 

C – Gas

The old kind or that’s how they are known by homeowners. Notorious for requiring constant care, gas-powered chainsaws aren’t really the best choice for homeowners anymore.

Even with their bad reputation, there’s a reason lumberjacks still refuse to upgrade to electric or battery chainsaws. Like any other engine, if nothing goes wrong, all you need is gasoline and bar oil to keep it running—no need for multiple batteries or a generator.

For this reason, people who have a big property or those with lots of trees opt for gasoline powered chainsaws. Moreover, no other chainsaw cuts better or more fluid than these beasts.

Guide bar length

Okay, so you’ve decided the type of chainsaw you want, next is how big do you want it to be. The guide bar and chain are the parts used as a saw (the cutting part) usually represented in inches. In short, it states the half of the maximum diameter of a tree it can cut in one go. A 16-inch bar and chain can cut a tree of diameter 32-inches.

For most homeowners, anywhere between 10 – 16 inches should suffice. However, decide the size of your chainsaw according to your needs. And try to buy 2-inch above your required size. You should always give some leeway when it comes to machines.

Safety features

A chainsaw can easily cut a tree and can cause you the damage of the same severity. Safety gears aside, when buying a chainsaw, look for ones with certain safety mechanisms the reduce the risk of injury. 

Firstly, the chainsaw must have a chain brake to prevent kickback. A kickback can be explained as the blade of the saw shooting back at the user rather than going in the wood. Mainly due to the grip not being enough.

Secondly, they should have accidental start protection. Almost all modern chainsaws come with a safety lock of button that lock the trigger. Preventing it from an unintended start.

Power

Different types of saws have different power ratings that state how powerful the chainsaw is.

For battery-powered, you can just look at how much volt is the battery. For small chainsaws, they can have anywhere from 20volts to 60volts. Some 60volts chainsaws are said to match the power of 36cc gas powered.

Electric corded chainsaws will have a current value in amps that expresses how powerful the motor is. For small chainsaws, the range is (8amps – 16amps). Think of it like this, the more the better.

In gas-powered, there are engines involved so we look at engine displacement, that’s the value in cc. The higher the value the bigger the engine, hence, the more the power. For homeowners that will be anywhere from 28cc to 42cc.

Ease of maintenance

All chainsaws require bar oil to be used. Nowadays all chainsaws have auto-oilers, eliminating the need to worry about them. However, do check the bar oil level.

Different types of chainsaws have different levels of care they need to stay in mint condition. In this regard, gas-powered chainsaws are the worst. Gas and bar oil aside, the spark plug could go bad, the engine could seize, giving you constant anxiety. Even tightening the chain is not that easy. Repairs take more time compared to battery-powered.

Electric and battery-powered ones completely remedy this situation with all modern ones having tool-less chain tensioning. And as for the engine, there isn’t one. But remember never to overtighten the chain, that will only help in breaking it.

Weight

An easily overlooked, but an important factor is the total weight of the chainsaw. Regardless of how amazing the saw is, if you can’t use, it’s useless. Weight, size and ergonomics also need to be taken into consideration.

Most small chainsaws generally weigh from as low as 6 pounds all the way to 14 pounds. But wait, that’s only 14 pounds at max, what’s the big deal? Don’t forget, you won’t just be picking up the chainsaw and putting it back down. You’ll have it in your hands for a significant amount of time and will be resisting the force of grinding gears.

Hence, it would only benefit to pick a chainsaw that won’t leave you drained at the end.

Get your gear on and start sawing!

For Gas chainsaw

  • Push forward the chain brake (if it has it)
  • If it has a decompression button, press it
  • Activate the cold start button (choke)
  • Keep the chainsaw at a distance from other material
  • Pull the starting rope to start the engine, if it doesn’t start repeat (stop after 15 tries)
  • Pull the choke half-way and press the trigger to rev up the engine
  • Release the choke, remove the chain brake and start sawing

For Electric Corded chainsaws

  • Make sure the saw is connected to the power
  • Turn the safety off and pull the trigger to start sawing

For Battery Powered chainsaws

  • Make sure that the battery is charged
  • Put the battery in the required place
  • Turn the safety off and pull the trigger and begin your work

FAQ’s

Sure, there is no strict rule that states chainsaws can only be used for only one job. You can do all the lawn maintenance you want including tree felling. Similarly, you can use it in your DIYs.

Brands and companies create different tools for different jobs. However, that doesn’t mean it’s restricted to the stated use only. On this, just understand that a chainsaw is a machine used to saw wood. That wood can be a standing tree, a dead tree or even treated wooden blocks.

Most chainsaws regardless of the type work the same with only some key differences. Check your product manual, and it will have the correct method to start your chainsaw.

With the advancements in technology, modern electric chainsaws are becoming more and more powerful. However, it remains a fact that gas-powered chainsaws the most powerful of the bunch.

Some electric saws do claim to be as strong as a 36cc gas engine chainsaws, but that is considered less if gas saws are concerned. Generally, no other chainsaw cuts more fluid or is more powerful that gas.

Try to find and direction which is clear, if the tree is in the open that would be best. However, if the tree in question is surrounded by properties, it will cause damage. Call for professional advice.

After you’ve determined the direction, make a wedge cut on the tree in that direction. A wedge cut is one angular and one horizontal cut made on the tree trunk. This shifts the weight of the tree in the desired direction. After this, go to the opposite side of the tree and star sawing horizontally along with the wedge cut. Remember not to saw all the way through.

When you feel the tree is starting to fall, stop and step aside to make sure you don’t get hurt. Congratulations you just experienced your first tree felling.

Yes, regardless of what safety features your chainsaw has, it is always better to wear proper protective gear. Especially so, when the helmet is protecting a fatal part of your body, your head (brain). Understand that minimal kickback doesn’t mean no kickback and they can still occur.

Additionally, when handling a chainsaw, many more accidents can happen. You may not like the feeling of the headgear or you may not look good in it but remember your life is always more important.

Yes, regardless of what safety features your chainsaw has, it is always better to wear proper protective gear. Especially so, when the helmet is protecting a fatal part of your body, your head (brain). Understand that minimal kickback doesn’t mean no kickback and they can still occur.

Additionally, when handling a chainsaw, many more accidents can happen. You may not like the feeling of the headgear or you may not look good in it but remember your life is always more important.

The guide bar and chain length is half the diameter of a tree you can saw. With your 12-inch chainsaw, you can saw up to 24-inch thick trees. Now that’s plenty thick. Any bigger than that and your saw won’t be able to handle it. However, cutting up thick trees requires knowledge and practice.

Always make certain that the tree is dead before you decide to cut it down. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t kill trees.

Most small chainsaws in 2020 have tool-less chain tensioning except gas-powered. Different makes and models have slightly different implementations of this, but the general rule is the same. Refer to the owner’s manual you the proper method for your saw.

  • Rotate the bar locking mechanism on the right side of the chainsaw anti-clockwise to release the bar.
  • Now use the tool-less tensioner to tighten the chain. This can be a wheel, a knob, etc. rotate it clockwise to tighten and anti-clockwise to loosen.
  • Don’t over tighten the chain or it might slip during use. It should be just enough so that the chain can be pulled up slightly.
  • Retighten the bar locking mechanism to clamp the bar back in place.

There can be several reasons this can happen. Start diagnosing them one by one. Check the chain for defective links. Even if a single is defective, it can cause the chain to slip. Then try checking the bar with the chain installed. Hold the chain and move it from side to side. If it moves, the bar has become faulty and need replacement. Lastly, check the sprocket for fault. A defective sprocket could be the reason your chain slips.

Conclusion

A chainsaw is a worthwhile investment to have around the house. After going through our meticulously collected data, we believe you now have a good understanding of small chainsaws. You will easily find your small chainsaw according to your needs.

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