Best Small Chainsaw in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

best small chainsaw
One tends to think of chainsaws as being reserved for the bigger jobs – felling redwoods, clearing rubble, squaring and slicing huge cords of firewood. There’s no denying that chainsaws can do all that and more, but not every chainsaw is built with the deep woods in mind.

Smaller chainsaws make their mark in a wide range of applications, appearing in landscaping and agriculture, construction, park services, and more. These lighter and steadier models are often electric, making them a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative to heavier gas saws, and can save hours of work with a hand saw or mattock.

Apart from having a shorter cutting bar and chain, many of these saws will see issues with lower operating times. Where a gas tool can keep going as long as there is fuel, a battery will need to be changed after a relatively short time in operation. Durability is also a concern, as smaller saws tend to be less resilient as well.

Even so, there is still a brisk market for smaller chainsaws among today’s professionals, and plenty of options exist for anyone looking to lay their hands one. Such a broad selection can be confusing at times, so we’ve narrowed the field to the five best models to take with you to your next job.

Related Article: The 5 Best Electric Chainsaws For 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]

Best Small Chainsaw  – Comparison Table

PRODUCTFEATURESLATEST PRICE

TOP PICK

1. Makita XCU02PT

  • Universal Makita batteries mean you can save on spares or new parts
  • Low noise
  • Tool-free adjustment
  • Well balanced for working at heights
  • Charge both batteries at once with included dual-port charger
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RUNNER UP

2. Remington RM1425

  • Long cutting bar
  • Unlimited power
  • External tension controls
  • Relatively light
  • Handguard to block debris
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3. Greenworks 20312

  • Cutting bar on par with gas models
  • Lower vibrations
  • Brushless motor lasts 80% longer than standard motors
  • 150 cuts per charge
  • Battery and charger interchangeable with all Greenworks tools
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4. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12

  • High endurance parts
  • Reliable in all weather
  • Does not need a power supply
  • Exceptionally powerful cutting
  • Impressive seven-year warranty
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5. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

  • Trusted manufacturer
  • Compact and maneuverable
  • Automatic lubrication
  • External tension knob for tool-free adjustment
  • Oil tank window to monitor lubricant levels
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Our Best Small Chainsaw Reviews and Comparisons

1. Makita XCU02PT

Product Highlights

This saw runs two batteries in tandem to double power without needing a heavier charge.

Features

  • 12” cutting bar
  • 5 Ah
  • 1650 feet per minute
  • Battery powered

What We Like About Makita XCU02PT

This tool has low emissions all around, with an electric motor for zero carbon footprint and a noise level well below 90 decibels.

What We Don’t Like About Makita XCU02PT

The oil tank is small and tricky to access, and the instruction booklet does not include a clear explanation of how to do so.

PROS

  • Universal Makita batteries mean you can save on spares or new parts
  • Low noise
  • Tool-free adjustment
  • Well balanced for working at heights
  • Charge both batteries at once with included dual-port charger

CONS

  • Oil tank is tricky
  • Chain needs adjusting often

2. Remington RM1425

Product Highlights

This tool pushes the envelope for a small chainsaw, giving an impressive performance for exceptionally low poundage.

Features

  • 14” cutting bar
  • 8 amp motor
  • 6lbs
  • Corded electric power

What We Like About Remington RM1425

This saw’s corded power supply means it will never run out of juice in the middle of a job.

What We Don’t Like About Remington RM1425

Corded tools are only useful near an outlet or with an extension cord, and can easily come unplugged midway through a project.

PROS

  • Long cutting bar
  • Unlimited power
  • External tension controls
  • Relatively light
  • Handguard to block debris

CONS

  • Needs an outlet to work
  • Hard to maneuver in tight spaces

3. Greenworks 20312

Product Highlights

This chainsaw seeks to be the electric alternative to gas, with an elongated cutting bar and extra battery life to match with fossil fuels.

Features

  • 16” cutting bar
  • 4 Ah
  • 10lbs
  • Battery powered electric

What We Like About Greenworks 20312

This saw’s brushless motor cuts vibrations and noise by over 30%, making it a more comfortable experience for newcomers and seasoned users alike.

What We Don’t Like About Greenworks 20312

The automatic oiling system is highly inefficient, to the point where it may seem to be leaking at times.

PROS

  • Cutting bar on par with gas models
  • Lower vibrations
  • Brushless motor lasts 80% longer than standard motors
  • 150 cuts per charge
  • Battery and charger interchangeable with all Greenworks tools

CONS

  • Oiling system is poorly designed
  • Hard to find replacement chains

4. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12

Product Highlights

This saw offers the power and reliability of a gas engine in a compact size ideal for smaller jobs.

Features

  • 12” cutting bar
  • 11.9lbs
  • 32 cc fuel tank
  • Gas powered

What We Like About Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12

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What We Don’t Like About Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12

This saw’s fuel tank will rapidly become more expensive to fill than an electric model’s batteries.

PROS

  • High endurance parts
  • Reliable in all weather
  • Does not need a power supply
  • Exceptionally powerful cutting
  • Impressive seven-year warranty

CONS

  • Expensive to fuel
  • Requires more maintenance than electric

5. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

Product Highlights

Black and Decker’s long history of great tools at affordable prices make them sure to come up in any serious discussion of power tools and this chainsaw is no exception.

Features

  • 10” cutting bar
  • 3 Ah
  • Weighs 7lb
  • Battery powered

What We Like About BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

This tool is compatible with all Black and Decker batteries and maintenance products, allowing you to put it right into your garage with no extra gear.

What We Don’t Like About BLACK+DECKER LCS1020

At only three amperes, the battery included with this device is on the small side.

PROS

  • Trusted manufacturer
  • Compact and maneuverable
  • Automatic lubrication
  • External tension knob for tool-free adjustment
  • Oil tank window to monitor lubricant levels

CONS

  • Included battery is smaller than other models
  • Does not have the staying power for thick trunks or long periods of cutting

Final Verdict

These saws are sure to make your yard work a breeze, whether clearing shrubbery or pruning rogue bushes away from your house. Find one that meets your needs and suits your budget, and you’ll have your yard looking great in no time.

In terms of maintenance products, these chainsaws will need a little more attention than their larger relatives. A shorter chain means that every tooth is exposed to more individual wear and tear, so be prepared to change chains more frequently if you will be using this tool on a daily basis.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while several of these tools offer automatic lubrication, that feature can turn out to be only marginally functional. Make sure to check for yourself whether or not your saw’s chain is really oiled well, and be prepared to supplement the machine’s system with a manual oil can at need.

Since many of these models are electric, take care that they will be dry both during and after use. Moisture can corrode the contact points and interfere with proper battery connection, rendering your tool unusable. If water gets inside the motor housing, don’t use the saw again until you are certain it has dried out.

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