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If you have a few trees on your property, you'll probably need to use a chainsaw sometimes. Having the best small chainsaws may be a big help whether it's because a storm knocked down some branches or you want to get a bit more sunshine in your garden.
Small chainsaws come in a variety of sizes and styles. Choosing the best one among them may be a quite difficult task. As a result, this review will highlight the respective features of the chainsaws, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, to ensure you find the best small chainsaw the next time you go shopping.
A small chainsaw's suitability for a yard is determined by how it’s intended to be used and the property’s size. If cutting firewood is the aim, a larger, more powerful chainsaw may be more appropriate. If it’s a large yard with big trees, a windfall might be difficult to cut with a chainsaw bar smaller than 20 inches.
Chainsaw experts are well-versed in these instruments, but that does not mean that everyone is. Here are some key factors to consider before purchasing for those who are not skilled woodcutters. These considerations will help your search for the best small chainsaws.
1. Types of Small Chainsaws
When most people think of chainsaws, they think of gas chainsaws. These noisy, occasionally smoky machines can rip through wood easily - if they’re correctly maintained. A gas chainsaw requires considerably more maintenance than an electric chainsaw. Users must keep the air filter clean, use the proper fuel and oil mixture, and replace the spark plugs.
They also have carburetors, which require fuel and air mixture changes, making a gas chainsaw finicky. On the other hand, a gas chainsaw may be the ideal small chainsaw if the property is on the bigger side or if the intention is to use a chainsaw frequently.
Provide a lot of flexibility. They're low-maintenance, like an electric chainsaw, but they're also portable, like a gas chainsaw. Today's options are rather strong while also being considerably quieter than equivalent gas-powered models. The disadvantage is that these saws' batteries are often expensive, thus having a few on hand might cost as much as the saw itself.
Battery-powered saws are excellent for DIYers who don't have a lot of property and just plan to use the saw once in a while. They're one of the greatest compact chainsaws for these situations because of their low maintenance requirements and portability. Another advantage of a battery-powered chainsaw is that many of the leading power tool manufacturers offer saws that use the same batteries as their power tools.
Corded Electric Chainsaws:
Need very little maintenance other than a quick cleaning & maintaining the bar-lube levels. Many corded electric saws rival the power provided by gas chainsaws. A corded electric chainsaw has the disadvantage of being limited to where its chord can reach, thus it's best suited for small yards that don't require frequent chainsaw use. An extension cord is frequently required for larger areas. However, as long as there is a power supply, they can do most of the same duties as a gas-powered saw.
What is the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on a chainsaw? Obviously, the chainsaw you choose must be within your budget. The best part is that, with so many chainsaw options to choose from, it's safe to say that there's something for everyone.
If you're only going to use your small chainsaw a few times a year, it's best to choose a cheaper model rather than a strong, durable, and costly one. However, if you want a good chainsaw that will be long-lasting, you can pick one from Makita, Greenworks, or any other chainsaw brands. Although products from such brands are generally more expensive, they are usually very durable.
3. Motor or Engine Size
The size of a small chainsaw’s motor (electrical versions) or engine (gas-powered saws) significantly impacts its intended capabilities. It may also decide if the bar can be upgraded to a longer one or whether it is heavy-duty. Engine capacity for most small gas-powered chainsaws ranges between 30 and 40 cubic centimeters (cc), which is suitable for anything from a 10- or 12-inch bar to a 16-inch bar.
For electric saws, consider amperages. The amp rating of an electric motor indicates how much power it can handle before the internals begins to break down. Saws with a 14-amp rating are more than suitable for most household applications.
4. Bar Length
The length of a chainsaw’s bar decides the sort of work it’s best suited for, but there are several things to keep in mind. Longer bars (24 inches and longer) may appear intimidating at first, but they're actually very manageable. Top-handle saws with short bars (typically 10 inches) look like mini chainsaws. They are small and seem more approachable, but they can be unpredictable and dangerous for a beginner. They’re ideal for arborists who have to climb trees.
Weight can be the most important consideration of all, depending on the sawyer's physical strength. The fuel source or bar length won't matter if someone can't properly handle a saw because it's too heavy. The lightest chainsaws on the market are usually corded electric and battery-powered saws. They don’t need a full tank of fuel mix, and their motors are smaller, which makes them lighter and easier to operate in a range of situations.
6. Safety Features
There's no denying that chainsaws can be dangerous. Many saws now have features that aid in user safety. The most essential feature of a chainsaw is that it can have an inertia chain brake. These clutch-style brakes detect kickback's fast change in inertia and lock the chain to stop it from running. The brake will engage if there is kickback, helping to keep the user safe.
Low-kickback chains are now standard on most small chainsaws, and they help to reduce kickback significantly. Regardless, wear proper protective gear, consisting of chainsaw chaps, sturdy boots, eye and ear protection, and a pair of well-fitting work gloves.
1. DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw is a lightweight and strong battery-powered chainsaw. Gas-free operation eliminates the cold starts, fumes, carburetor problems, and maintenance involved with gas-powered chainsaws. This battery-operated small chainsaw is built for tough construction and outdoor jobs like cutting beams, managing tree limbs, and demolition work.
- Weigh just 9 lbs when fully assembled.
- Low kickback 12-inch bar and chain for construction and outdoor cutting tasks.
- High-efficiency brushless motor maximizes runtime and motor life.
- Up to 90 cuts per charge on 4x4 pressure treated wood (with a 20V MAX* 5Ah battery).
- Tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob for optional bar clamping force.
2. Makita XCU06Z LXT Chainsaw
With zero emissions, lower noise, and significantly less maintenance, Makita XCU06Z LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Chainsaw is a welcome solution for cutting and trimming applications, and the small top-handle design makes it perfect for the professional tree care industry.
- Weigh only 7.2 lbs with battery for operator comfort.
- Outer Rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive system provides high power efficiency that is equivalent to a gas chainsaw.
- High chain speed (0-4,720 FPM) and variable speed trigger for improved cutting performance.
- Torque boost mode for cutting thick materials.
- Guide bar nut chain tensioning with captured nut.
- Adjustable automatic chain lubrication with big oil reservoir.
3. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Chainsaw
BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Max Lithium-Ion Chainsaw is a battery-powered electric chainsaw that is great for light use. Its development is anchored on the convenience of its users. The chainsaw is ideal for light-duty home-based tasks.
- Come with a 10’’ bar and a 20V lithium-ion battery.
- Tool-free tensioning system for improved ease of use and quick adjustments.
- Improved oiling system with a clear window to gauge oil level.
- All-round handle ensuring a firm and comfortable grip.
- Convenient automated functions.
4. Greenworks 40V 12-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
Greenworks 40V 12-Inch Cordless Chainsaw is a medium performance chainsaw that can comfortably handle all your ranch chainsaw needs. It provides higher efficiency and enhanced performance to get yard work done well.
- G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion battery provides fade-free power without memory loss after charging.
- 3/8-inch chain pitch delivers the proper amount of capability to trim and chop those limbs with minimal kickback.
- Robust 12-inch steel chain and bar with tool-less chain tensioning provides ease of use while delivering the highest cutting performance.
- Automatic oiler ensures durability and optimal use with a translucent oil tank for a clear view of oil level.
5. WORX WG322 20V Chainsaw
Powered by a 20V battery, WORX WG322 20V PowerShare 10" Cordless Electric Chainsaw is one of the best small chainsaws for home-owner. It's strong enough for most backyard chainsaw chores, but it's also small and simple to operate, so you don't need to be a lumberjack to use it.
- Lightweight and compact design (weigh only 6.2 lbs).
- Tool-free chain tension system and automatic chain lubrication system make for smoother cuts and extend the life of the tool.
- Rechargeable battery powers the motor driving the 10 inches chain bar and chain, which makes it cut cleanly and fast.
- Fast chain speed (12.5 ft/s) tears through any reasonably sized log or branch.
1. How lightweight do small chainsaws come?
Small chainsaws can weigh anything from 6 to 20 pounds. The weight is determined by the power source, the number of batteries used, and their construction materials.
2. Do I need to wear special gear while using a small chainsaw?
There's no denying that chainsaws can be dangerous. When using a chainsaw, please wear chainsaw chaps, sturdy boots, eye and ear protection, and a pair of properly fitting work gloves.
3. What can I cut with a small chainsaw?
Various situational factors can limit what a chainsaw can cut, but generally, a small chainsaw can cut woods like pine, birch, cedar, and oak.
Whether it’s for property maintenance or cutting little logs for a backyard campfire, owning a small chainsaw may help you get the job done faster. While many people may not require a real professional tool, the key is to find the perfect balance of power, size, weight, and safety. Our final recommendations for the best small chainsaw under $200 are as follows:
- The best small chainsaw under $200: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw
- The runner-up: Greenworks 40V 12-Inch Cordless Chainsaw
- The best for light use: BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V Chainsaw
- The best for heavy tasks: Makita XCU06Z LXT Chainsaw
- The budget choice: WORX WG322 20V Chainsaw
I hope you find this advice useful in selecting the best small chainsaws for your work.