Last updated on November 28th, 2023
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I’ve used chainsaws for over 20 years, and cordless chainsaws, such as my Ryobi 18V Brushless Cordless Chainsaw, have somewhat replaced my petrol chainsaws over the last few years. I still think you can’t beat my Husqvarna 236 14-inch Petrol Chainsaw when doing some real logging for a couple of hours.
However, since these mini chainsaws became available a couple of years ago, I just had to get my hands on a couple and see what they are all about, and more importantly, find out which is the best mini chainsaw. These mini chainsaws are, without a doubt, handy little tools. I’ve used my mini chainsaw for pruning smaller branches around my dad’s paddock and general light pruning around the nursery. I’ve also used it for cutting up the occasional pallet to make kindling for my wood stove and there a fantastic replacement for loppers too.
I have found it is an excellent alternative to using my pruning saw, which is where it shows its value. For example, for branches that are a little bit too thick and I’ve got quite a few branches to prune, the mini chainsaw its perfect. Using the mini chainsaw is much easier than getting out the bigger chainsaw or using the pruning saw and doing it manually. However, it doesn’t replace my telescopic tree pruning or long reach pole chainsaw if the branches are above head height.
Honestly, I don’t see these being used professionally for demanding jobs. Maybe the odd pruning job if you get to a customer’s garden and there is a fallen branch and you don’t carry a chainsaw, or you’ve got some pruning to do as it’s much easy than using a pruning saw and faster. Personally. I’ve found these mini chainsaws being more useful for personal use around the garden, trimming branches, cutting up a little firewood, or maybe you have a small holding and need a little chainsaw you can whip out when needed for a bit of maintenance, there even good for cutting timbers.
When choosing a mini chainsaw, I still think this Stihl GTA 26 Mini Pruner is probably the best mini pruner I’ve come across for the price. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the one I currently use. I’ve actually decided to keep it at my dad’s small holding as he gets much more use from it with the trees around the paddock. He also has a small wood behind his house, which he maintains, keeps the paths clear, etc. It’s a great piece of kit for these types of jobs. The only real downside is the cost. It’s a little pricey!
I’ve found that it’s very well made and comes with everything you need, including a small bottle of chainsaw oil for lubricating the chain. In terms of performance, it gives a decent smooth cut, and I would say it’s suitable for cuts up to 4 inches diameter branches. I also like that it’s simple to adjust the chain tension. You turn the dial that locks the chain bar to loosen it, adjust the chain bar and chain tension so it has a slight give and tighten the dial back up. Give the chain a quick oil, and it’s good to go.
Finally, when it comes to running time, I would say if you’re doing some general pruning on and off, walking around, it will last about 45-50 minutes. However, if I’m continuously cutting nonstop, which I’ve tried on a few occasions, the 10.8V AS 2 – 2.6Ah battery lasts around 10-15 minutes. As I said, it’s a little expensive, but I think it’s worth paying extra for the reliability and performance.
If you want a mini chainsaw that is perhaps a little more affordable than my Stihl, this Saker Mini Chainsaw is one of the better alternatives. This is definitely for domestic personal use However, at under £100 and with two 18v 1.4 ah batteries, it offers excellent value for money. It’s surprisingly well made and cuts well. However, it doesn’t cut quite as quickly or as smoothly as the Stihl. However, for the price, it gets the job done, and it comes with a decent carry case which is something Stihl could have done better with. Overall, if you’re looking for a half-decent mini chainsaw that is affordable, this is what I would be getting. If you want to pay a little more, I would probably get this Greenworks 24V Mini Chainsaw as the quality seems a little better, however, it’s more expensive just not as pricey as the Stihl.
Now, a mini chainsaw I think needs mentioning is the Milwaukee M12FHS-602X 12v Cordless Pruning Saw. I was talking to a local landscaper friend of mine who is also a professional tree surgeon and I was telling him about my new Stihl GTA 26 Mini Pruner. I was rabbiting on about how good it is when he pulls out his Milwaukee Cordless Pruning Saw from this van. Now, I didn’t even know Milwaukee made one, but what a mini chainsaw this thing is, it’s on another level but it’s a little bigger. This thing is definitely a better choice for professionals than my Stihl GTA 26 if you’re a professional, no doubt about that.
If you’re thinking ‘Should you invest in this one?’ If you’re pretty deep into the Milwaukee rabbit hole like my mate is and you already own compatible batteries, this will definitely make more sense for the money. If you invest in the bare tool (without batteries or charger), you can get it for a similar price to my Stihl (but my Stihl includes the battery and fast charger). However, you can also get this Milwaukee M12FHS-602X as a kit with two 12v 6Ah batteries and a fast charger. However, you won’t get any change out of £250 so it’s not cheap. However, it’s a serious bit of kit and a better alternative to the Stihl as it has longer run times, so thought I would at least mention it.
Just a quick note, these are no toys, and they are still chainsaws and are dangerous if not used correctly. Personally, I recommend getting some chainsaw trousers, chainsaw gloves, and maybe even a safety helmet with a mesh visor. At the very least, make sure you wear some safety glasses and take extra care.
5 Best Mini Chainsaws Reviews
1. STIHL GTA 26 Cordless Garden Pruner
I think this Stihl GTA 26 GA010116900 Battery-Powered Mini Chainsaw is probably the best choice for most people as it’s reliable, very well made and is a serious bit of kit. It’s also a relatively lightweight mini chainsaw that comes in at about 1.8kg including the battery. As previously mentioned above, it cuts beautifully, but I would say it’s still more for personal use even though it’s a Stihl chainsaw.
You can use it for lighter trade work, but you’re limited by the battery run time which is about 15 minutes max of continuous cutting. You can get spare batteries which is what I did. However, then you have to wonder if money is better spent on a small cordless chainsaw like the ones I talked about and tested in my cordless chainsaw review here. Either that or consider getting the Milwaukee M12FHS-0x 12v Cordless Pruning Saw which you can get some serious work out of. However, for personal use or light trade work, it’s fantastic and I’m happy with my choice to invest in one.
This chainsaw comes with just one 10.8V AS 2 – 2.6Ah battery and battery fast charger. If you plan on using it for long periods of work, maybe consider a second battery and keep that charged up so you can swap it out when the first one runs out. You’ll know when the first battery is almost done by pushing the button on the LED charge level indicator as shown in the picture above which shows the battery level. In terms of running time, continuous probably about 15 minutes, slightly less if you push it to its limits. I have found that 4-5 inches diameter branches handle well.
Like most mini chainsaws, this Stihl mini chainsaw is 10cm long. And that’s the maximum diameter of wood – branches or logs – that you can cut with it, but this will drain the battery. You can’t really trim large branches from trees, but most of the side branches and most of the stems from shrubs and bushes are fair game.
The protection hood on the chain bar is asymmetric. This lets it fold out to 90 degrees and away from the chain, letting you use the entire length of the chain to cut the wood. I do find it can get in the way now and again. That said all mini chainsaws seem to have this guide, so thats that and safety is important.
Finally, everything arrives neatly packed in a wall-mountable carry bag for ease of storage and safe transportation.
- A great mini chainsaw for personal use and light professional use.
- Powered by a 10.8V AS 2 – 2.6Ah battery, which gives a run time of around 15 minutes.
- Chain speed of 8m/sec.
- Comes with a lithium battery and a fast charger.
- LED charge level indicator so you can see the battery charge left in the battery.
- Asymmetrical folded hood.
- The maximum branch diameter is 10cm so will cut branches to around 4 inches.
- Comes with a lightweight carrying case.
- Weighs 1.8kg with the battery.
This Stihl GTA 26 Battery-Powered Mini Chainsaw is a good choice if you’re prepared to trim and prune your trees and bushes in short spurts. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s for personal use or light trade work only. That aside, this is a solid mini chainsaw from one of my favourite brands well-known for its power tools’ quality.
I particularly find the battery charge level helpful indicator and, overall is very well made. If you take price out of the equation, only the Milwaukee M12FHS-602X is a better mini chainsaw. It’s a little bigger and much more expensive. This Stihl GTA 26 is still expensive, however, it’s well worth the price.
2. Saker 4 Inch Mini Chainsaw
This Saker 18v Mini Cordless Chainsaw is a great alternative to the Stihl for those looking for a more affordable option but still want a decent bit of kit. There are some bad examples of these mini chainsaws online so for the price, this is one of the better options I’m happy to recommend.
Unlike most other models, this one comes with two 18v 1.5Ah batteries and a battery charger. This means you can just charge up both batteries and just swap the discharged one for the full one to carry on your pruning away. As each battery takes two hours to recharge, this is longer than the Stihl and Greenworks models which charge in around 60 minutes.
In terms of chain speed, this has a speed of 5m/sec and 780rpm. The 10cm refers to its total length, so the chain bar is slightly shorter than that. Don’t aim to cut branches and logs with greater diameters than around 10cm though so 4 inches is about the limit. This is a chainsaw that’s useful for smaller branches on trees, shrubs and bushes and in tight spaces. It’s worth noting that the chain speed of 5m/sec which is slower than the Stihl which is about 8m/sec and it shows when cutting. Basiclly with Stihl you get a higher performance and so this will cut branches more slowly them the Stihl and the Greenworks mini chainsaw which has a chainsaw speed of 7.8m/sec.
As with most mini chainsaws, this Saker one is for one-handed operation. While you could use it with either your left or right hand, the safety button is on the left side of the handle. This is more conveniently located for right-handed use. You must press the safety lock before starting the chainsaw and keep it pressed while holding the trigger down to run the chainsaw. This is another advantage of the stihl, it has the same setup but the safety lock is on both sides so it’s great for both the left and right hand.
However, the handle is ergonomically designed for comfort as it places less stress on your fingers, hand and wrist when you hold the trigger down to operate the chainsaw.
There isn’t a charge indicator to give you any warning of a low battery. And also note that you need a screwdriver (included) to change the tension of the chain so it’s not as easy to adjust as on the more expensive models.
It does come with a storage box, some oil, two spare chains and some protective glasses and gloves. Be aware that the quality of the glasses and gloves probably isn’t up to any safety standards, so provide your own protective equipment.
- A well build mini chainsaw for domestic personal use for pruning branches up to 4 inches.
- Comes with two 18V 1.5Ah rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries and a battery charger.
- The total length is chain 10cm.
- Reasonable chainsaw speed is 780rpm and 5m/sec.
- Protective baffle over the blade.
- Ergonomic handle for comfort.
- Easy to use one-handed, but the safety button is on the left, so better for right handed use.
- Includes storage box and includes safety glasses, gloves, a small bottle of oil, basic spanner and screwdriver, and two spare chains.
- Weighs only 1.1kg, including the battery so lightweight.
- No battery life indicator.
This Saker Mini Chainsaw is probably the best budget model and it comes with a decent set of goodies including the two batteries two batteries. You can keep them both fully charged and switch switch the over when one runs out and recharge the other.
While this is not the fastest chainsaw, it has enough power to perform most of the domestic trimming and pruning tasks (up to 3-4 inches diameter branches) around the average garden.
3. Greenworks 24V Cordless Mini Chainsaw
This Greenworks 24V Mini Chainsaw is part of the Greenworks Powerall system of power tools of which I have reviewed a few of them over the years including the mowers. If you have another tool in this tool ecosystem, you can use its battery in this chainsaw. In this way, you can have a fully charged battery ready to go when the first one runs down. No more stopping and waiting for your only battery to recharge so that you can continue your pruning task.
This is a better option than the Saker 4 Inch Mini Chainsaw if you have the extra budget as it’s slightly better made, but it also has a slightly better performance with a faster chain speed of 7.8m/sec.
The guide bar and blade of this Greenworks chainsaw are each 10cm long. And this is the maximum diameter of wood (branches, logs) that you can safely cut with the saw so around 4 inches. Another safety element is the safety lock button which is on the left side of the unit. This is more convenient to use if you’re holding the unit in your right hand.
Convenience is built into this chainsaw. You start it with a simple push button. Adjusting the tension of the chain is tool free. No more hunting for a tool to turn a screw or bolt to move the chain like on the Saker chainsaw. A feature this mini chainsaw does have that even the Stihl doesn’t is the automatic oiling system, so you don’t have to worry too much about when to oil the unit. Just keep an eye on the oil level through the translucent oil tank – and that’s really easy to see.
- A powerful little cordless 24V mini chainsaw that comes with one battery.
- Includes a 24v 2.0Ah battery and a battery charger.
- Part of the Greenworks Powerall system of tools.
- A fast chain speed of 7.8m/sec.
- Guide bar and chain are each 10cm long.
- Cuts branches and logs to a maximum diameter of 4 inches.
- Automatic oiler with a translucent oil tank to check oil level (no need to manually oil the chain).
- Knob for adjusting the tension of the chain is tool free.
- Safety lock button is on the left-side of the handle.
- Ergonomic rubberised handle that’s well-balanced and anti-slip.
- Comes with a bottle of oil and with everything in a nylon bag for storage.
- No battery life indicator.
This Greenworks 24V Mini Chainsaw is part of Greenworks large ecosystem of tools that all use the same battery and charger. Although this chainsaw comes with one battery and the matching charger, you can certainly use a battery from other powerall tools with it. If you have a large pruning task to do, line up other fully charged powerall batteries and switch them in when the current one runs out. This is an enormous advantage if have other Greenworks tools such as their mowers, strimmers and hedge trimmers.
If however, this is your first Greenworks power tool, it’s a great choice. It’s from a well-established manufacturer. The translucent oil tank helps you to easily manage when it needs to be refilled which is handy. And the tool-less chain tensioning is another convenience. All things considered, I would get this if the Stihl wasn’t available.
4. Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw
This Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw is the longest mini chainsaw in this review and is a great alternative to the Saker 4 Inch Mini Chainsaw. With a 20cm blade, it enables you to cut wood to a maximum diameter of 20cm so almost 8 inches. This chainsaw comes with two 2.0Ah batteries, so you can have one fully charged and ready to switch in when the first one runs out of charge.
This chainsaw has a brushless motor too. A brushless motor is more efficient than the usual brush motor. It comes under less wear and tear as there’s less friction, and so has a longer life, up to 300% longer but I’d take that with a pinch of salt. It’s certainly a consideration if you plan on using the chainsaw a great deal and want to keep it in good shape for a long time.
Safety features on this model include the usual safety lock button which is needed to run the saw. The protective guard for the blade doesn’t cover the entire blade so the front quarter or so of the blade is out in the open. Just be careful of that. And this guard baffle rotates to 90 degrees so you can fully expose the top of the chain blade if you need to cut upwards.
Like the Greenworks model, there’s an automatic oiling system. But note that it’s not fully automatic. You do have to manually use the pump button to release oil from the oil tank. Be sure to remember to do this to keep the blade lubed. And you adjust the chain tension simply by turning a knob – no tools needed to hunt for in your garage or shed.
And for your comfort, the handle is ergonomically designed to ease stress and strain on your hand and wrist. And speaking of strain, this is also eased by the presence of a side handle to use with your other hand. This lets you spread the weight of the chainsaw between your two hands and gives you greater stability and balance of the saw as it does have that longer chain.
- Battery powered mini chainsaw with brushless motor.
- Comes with two 2.0Ah rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries and a battery charger,.
- Chain length is 20cm.
- Cutting speed up to 6m/sec.
- Maximum branch width to cut is 15cm, and 20cm (almost 8 inches) diameter wood branches.
- Safety lock-off button
- Front handle gives you a firmer grip of the saw and there’s an additional side grip.
- Auto-oiling system.
- Comes with safety glasses, gloves,, one wrench and a carrying case.
- Weighs 3.2kg.
This Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw has a 20cm blade making it the longest chainsaw in my review. You can cut thicker branches (up to 20cm) with this saw. The brushless motor is a good feature, making the saw more efficient and longer-lasting. And having two batteries helps you organise longer pruning sessions. This is a good choice for those whose wood cutting and pruning tasks involve older and thicker trees and shrubs. Just be aware, even though it can cut larger branches, its still got the same small motor and so the battery will drain faster. A good alturnative to the Saker 4 Inch Mini Chainsaw.
5. SINPY 6 Inch Cordless Mini Chainsaw
The SINPY Mini Chainsaw Cordless is the mid-size chainsaw in this review. The 15cm (6 inch) blade lets you cut wood to a maximum of 15cm (just under 6 inches). This chainsaw comes with two 21v 2Ah batteries and a charger. Charge both the batteries up and have one ready when the first runs out of power for a longer pruning session.
This one does have a LED power indicator tells you how much power you have left in the working battery so you can plan your breaks.
There is also an integrated oiling system. You just have to remember to fill this up occasionally rather than oiling the blade every time you use the saw. And, also conveniently, your purchase comes with a spare chain and a chain bar for when you need to replace these. And while you also receive gloves and goggles, I highly recommend that you do buy other protective gear that’s up to safety standards.
- 6 inch cordless mini chainsaw powered by two 21v 2.0Ah batteries.
- Battery charging time is two hours.
- LED power display indicator.
- Maximum diameter of branch to cut is 15cm (6 inches).
- Integrated auto-oiling system.
- Comes with a spare chain and chain bar guide, a screwdriver and cleaning brush, gloves and goggles, and a storage box.
- Two-year warranty (with a free replacement).
If you’re looking for a mid-size mini chainsaw, this SINPY Mini Chainsaw Cordless chainsaw is well worth consider at its probabaly one of the most affordable. Being able to safely cut wood up to a 15cm diameter covers most of the pruning tasks in the average garden. I like that it has a secondary handle to give extra stability to my hold on the saw. And that it comes with two batteries as well as the charger. Don’t expect to much from this, its what i call cheap and cheerful.
Buying a mini chainsaw is similar to purchasing a larger chainsaw and they are just a dangerous to care needs to be taken. Here are the features to look for and the issues to consider.
Chainsaw blade length
Remember that the size of the mini chainsaw doesn’t refer to the size of the chain (as that’s circular) but to the length of the chain bar. This is equal to the length of the blade. Most mini chainsaws are 10cm or 15cms in size so around 6 inches, with some at 20cm and a few going up to 25cm.
Maximum diameter of wood to cut
The size of mini chainsaw relates to the diameter of the wood you can cut. As a rule of thumb, the maximum diameter of the wood is around the length of the chain bar. So for a 10cm (6 inch) chainsaw, the maximum diameter is 6 inchescm. Of course, this varies with each brand of chainsaw, so check what each manufacturer has listed as this measurement. Also keep in mind that even though the chain is longer, it might lower the running time as the motors are generally still on small.
Storing your chainsaw
The longer the chainsaw bar, the larger the chainsaw and the more room you need for storage. But most manufacturers include a carry bag or storage box for you to put all the bits and pieces back in. Be smart and take a photo after you open the bag or box as to how it’s all packed in. It may be very difficult to get everything back in without this guide.
You’re going to be holding the mini chainsaw for a while as you perform your tree trimming task. And you’re probably going to be doing this one-handed. Look for a handle that’s ergonomically designed for your comfort. And preferably the handle has a rubberised covering that’s soft to the touch and gives a little. This avoids you having to grip a hard surface and putting unnecessary pressure on your fingers and wrists.
Some models of chainsaw (e.g. the Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw) have a secondary handle for your spare hand to hold to add extra stability to your grip on the saw. Most do not.
Left or right handed?
Most mini chainsaws can be held one hand. Some manufacturers state that you can use either hand for this. Maybe, but check out where the safety button is. It’s usually on the left side of the handle which is more comfortable to access if you’re holding the chainsaw in your right hand. The only chainsaw that is perfect for left and ranged handed people is the Stihl mini chainsaw as it has the safety switch on both sides.
At least two of the models in this review, the Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw and Stilh mini chainsaw have a brushless motor. If you’re interested in efficiency, then this is a good choice. Brushless motors are more efficient than regular brushed motors and lower maintance. They run at a higher speed and torque and are less noisy. They have little or no power loss and so the battery lasts longer. They may, however, be slower to start.
Weight (with and without battery)
If you’re concerned about holding a mini chainsaw for a length of time, always check out how much each model weighs. But be careful of the number (in kg) given by the manufacturer. You may need to investigate further.
Some brands give the weight without the battery while others include the battery in the kg number they give. And they often don’t tell you which way they’ve chosen.
While with these smaller batteries it may not be a big issue, over time the weight even of a single battery may start to drag on your hand and arm. So if the weight of the mini chainsaw is an issue for you, you may have to phone a dealer and check before ordering online. Most are about 1.8-2kg, remember if its too light, its proberly a sign of a cheaply build chainsaw with mostly plastic parts and you don’t want.
The first thing to check is that the mini chainsaw comes with a battery. It’s OK if it’s the bare tool if you are already in the tool ecosystem of the manufacturer such as Greenworks and have a suitable battery. But if not, you do need at least one battery. And two batteries is better than one. This is so you can have the spare battery charged up and ready to go when the first one runs down.
Most of the batteries of the models in the review are either 18V or 20V, with a rating of 1.5Ah or 2.0Ah. This is standard for this type of power tool, so look for this.
As usual, the run time of the batteries given in the sales blurbs of these chainsaws was somewhat different to the run times in the real world. The run time is given either in minutes or in number of cuts. Either way, take the run time numbers just as a guide; you need to find out for yourself when you’ve bought the product. I have found that a run time of around 15 minutes is good, 10-15 minutes for thicker branches.
Like the run time numbers, the time taken to recharge the battery is often different from that advertised. The key here is to remember to always have the second battery (if you have one) charged up and ready to go. It always takes longer to recharge a battery than to run it down.
The speed that the chain moves on a mini chain saw of often given in meters per second or m/sec. This is a number you can compare between different models. If working fast is important to you, this may be a number you check. Again 8m/sec of good but some are slighly slower at 6m/sec. This is noticable when comparing speeds in real life.
Blade protection cover
Look for a blade protection cover that covers most if not all of the blade. Some models have a cover that only goes partway and that leaves the moving chain open. Other models let you swing the protective shield aside to fully expose the chain. This lets you cut with an upward motion.
Some mini chainsaws come with an integrated automatic oiling system. Just fill up the small tank and you’re good to go. But check that you really are. The auto oiling system on the Seesii 8 Inch Mini Chainsaw, for example, requires you to pump the oil onto the chain. Most mini chainsaws you need to manually oil the chain.
Toolless chain adjustment
You can adjust the tension on some of the chains without using any tools. This is handy if you’re in the habit of putting tools down without noticing where they are. Otherwise, you usually receive a basic version of the tool needed (spanner, screwdriver) with your purchase. Everything is fine as long as you keep those tools collected with the rest of the kit in the storage bag you also receive.
A mini chainsaw is quite possibly the tool which you didn’t know that you needed. It comes into play when a pruning saw is to much work or time consuming and when a regular chainsaw is too bulky or just too powerful for the trimming and cutting job at hand. What they really provide is the convience they bring.
All of the models in my review are cordless/battery so you have all the mobility you need to prune trees, bushes and hedgerow, and even do a bit of DIY in the garage or garden shed.
Last update on 2023-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API