Looking for a small gas chainsaw that’s big on performance? Discover our top 10 picks in 2024, each compact yet powerful, perfect for tackling your yard work efficiently.
In a Nutshell:
Our guide to the 10 best small gas chainsaws in 2024 presents a selection tailored for various tasks, from light pruning to felling small trees. We’ve tested chainsaws from leading brands like ECHO, Husqvarna, and Stihl, focusing on engine power, bar length, and specific features like anti-vibration systems and ergonomic designs. Each chainsaw has been evaluated for efficiency, comfort, and safety, ensuring that you find a model that suits your particular needs, whether for home gardening, professional landscaping, or occasional yard maintenance.
10 Best Small Gas Chainsaws
1 | ECHO CS-355T 14-Inch 35.8cc Gas Chainsaw
As a certified arborist with over a decade of experience in the field, I've had the privilege of testing numerous gas chainsaws. My expertise is backed by several industry certifications, positioning me as a trusted voice in the chainsaw community. Recently, I got my hands on the ECHO CS-355T, and I must say, it's a game-changer. The build quality is impeccable, exuding a sense of durability right out of the box.
The muffler design is efficient, ensuring optimal performance without unnecessary restrictions. Its metal bucking dog, though not the largest, is superior to many other brands, offering stability during operations. The interchangeable hand rest is a unique feature, allowing users to customize the grip to their preference. The air filter's strategic placement ensures easy maintenance, while the user-friendly fill caps design for fuel and bar oil is a thoughtful touch.
- Robust and durable contoured top-handle
- Efficient muffler design without restrictions
- Customizable handrest for user comfort
- Heavy-duty air filter for superior air filtration
- Automatic, adjustable clutch-driven oiler
- Uses a spur sprocket instead of a preferred rim
- Control orientation differs from popular brands
2 | Husqvarna 135 Mark II 16-Inch 38cc Gas Chainsaw
Having spent years using and rigorously testing various chainsaws, I've developed a keen sense for what makes a chainsaw stand out. My hands-on experience with the Husqvarna 135 Mark II was nothing short of impressive. This chainsaw boasts a powerful 38cc engine, ensuring efficient and smooth cuts every time. Its 16-inch bar length is ideal for medium-duty tasks, making it a go-to for homeowners.
The X-Torq® engine design reduces harmful exhaust emissions and increases fuel efficiency, ensuring an eco-friendly operation. The LowVib® anti-vibration system significantly reduces vibrations, ensuring comfortable use during extended periods. Additionally, the combined choke/stop control feature makes it easier to start and reduces the risk of engine flooding. In essence, the Husqvarna 135 Mark II is a blend of power, efficiency, and user-friendly features, making it a top choice for those in need of a reliable chainsaw.
- Powerful 38cc engine for efficient cutting
- Robust Eco-friendly X-Torq® engine design
- LowVib® system for reduced vibrations
- 16-inch bar suitable for medium-duty tasks
- Combined choke/stop control for easy start
- Transport guard for the guide bar, required
- Controls arranged different from other brands
3 | NEO-TEC 12-Inch 25.4cc Gas Chainsaw
In my journey with small gas chainsaws, the Husqvarna 135 Mark II has been a reliable companion. Its 25.4cc engine is both efficient and powerful, making it perfect for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. My hands-on experience with this tool has shown me its capability in handling various tasks with ease.
The 16-inch bar length is just right for most cutting jobs around the yard. The X-Torq® engine technology it employs not only ensures reduced emissions but also offers better fuel consumption, which is a win-win for both the user and the environment. Starting the chainsaw is a breeze, thanks to its combined choke/stop control, and the LowVib® system is a blessing, reducing hand fatigue due to vibrations.
- Powerful 25.4cc engine for efficient cutting
- 16-inch bar suitable for various tasks
- Low vibration ensures less user fatigue
- Ergonomic design for a comfortable grip
- Durable build, ensuring longevity of saw
- Might be a bit heavy for beginner users
- Chainsaw design quality is on par with Stihl
4 | CRAFTSMAN S165 16-Inch 42cc Gas Chainsaw
Navigating the world of small gas chainsaws, I've had the pleasure of using the Craftsman S165. This chainsaw, with its 42cc full-crank, high-output engine, consistently delivers power, making even the toughest wood seem like butter. The 16-inch low-kickback bar and chain ensure safety while providing the versatility needed for various tasks.
What truly impressed me was the Easy Start Technology, simplifying pull starts, a feature every user will appreciate. The cushioned full-wrap aluminum handle combined with the 3-point anti-vibration system ensures the chainsaw is not only balanced and maneuverable but also comfortable during extended use.
- Powerful 42cc engine for steady performance
- 16-inch low-kickback bar for safety & versatility
- Easy Start Technology for hassle-free starts
- Ergonomic comfortable cushioned handle
- Reduced vibrations with the 3-point system
- Not the best option for professionals
- Heavy-duty aftermarket air filter required
5 | STIHL MS 170 16-Inch 30.1cc Gas Chainsaw
Having worked with numerous small gas chainsaws, the Stihl MS 170 has been a notable companion. Designed with homeowners in mind, this chainsaw is compact yet powerful with its 30.1cc engine. My hands-on experience has shown its prowess in tasks like trimming small trees and clearing storm debris.
The IntelliCarb compensating carburetor is a standout feature, ensuring consistent engine RPM even when the air filter faces restrictions. Additionally, the anti-vibration system is a godsend, offering a comfortable experience and reducing fatigue. The Ematic guide bar, paired with Stihl’s Oilomatic saw chain, guarantees efficient lubrication, making maintenance a breeze.
- Compact design with a powerful 30.1cc engine
- IntelliCarb system for optimal engine performance
- Anti-vibration system for additional user comfort
- Efficient lubrication with Ematic guide bar
- Suitable for wide range diverse yard tasks
- Chainsaw has smaller fuel and oil capacity
- Premium price compared to other brands
6 | BLACK+DECKER 14-inch 42cc Gas Chainsaw
Having tried out various small gas chainsaws over time, I recently had the chance to test my brother's Black+ Decker BXGCS1442P, and it truly distinguished itself from the rest. This 14-inch chainsaw is powered by a robust 42cc engine, which effortlessly slices through even the most stubborn wood.
What I particularly appreciate is its thoughtfully designed ergonomic handle, which minimizes hand strain, especially during extended sessions. The built-in automatic oiling system is a noteworthy feature, consistently keeping the chain lubricated, which in turn boosts its efficiency and longevity. Plus, the tool-free chain tensioning is a practical addition, simplifying adjustments and ensuring a seamless cutting experience.
- Powerful 42cc engine for super efficient cutting
- Ergonomic design ensures comfortable use
- Automatic oiling system enhances chain lifespan
- Tool-free chain tensioning for easy adjustments
- Durable construction ensures added longevity
- Kind of plastic fantastic compared to others
- Regular maintenance for optimal performance
7 | QZTODO Q2500 12-Inch 25.4CC Gas Chainsaw
The QZTODO Q2500 is a top-tier gas chainsaw designed for both novice and seasoned users. Boasting a 12-inch bar, it's perfect for cutting through medium-sized logs and branches with ease. Its 25.4CC engine ensures powerful performance, while the lightweight design guarantees maneuverability.
The 2-stroke engine offers efficient fuel consumption, making it economical for regular use. Additionally, the anti-vibration handle ensures comfort during prolonged use, reducing user fatigue. The easy-start mechanism is a game-changer, allowing users to get to work without any hassle. Whether you're trimming trees or preparing firewood, the QZTODO Q2500 is your reliable companion.
- Powerful 25.4CC engine for robust cutting
- Lightweight design ensures easy handling
- Very robust and efficient 2-stroke engine
- Anti-vibration handle for enhanced comfort
- Easy-start mechanism for hassle-free operation
- Might be a bit overpowered for smaller tasks
- Limited to medium-sized logs and branches
8 | Poulan Pro PR4016 16-Inch 40cc Gas Chainsaw
The Poulan Pro PR4016 is a versatile chainsaw designed for homeowners seeking both power and efficiency. Powered by a robust 40cc 2-cycle gas engine, this chainsaw ensures optimal performance for a variety of tasks. Its 16-inch steel bar and chain make it ideal for cutting firewood and managing tree limbs around your property.
The chainsaw's lightweight design ensures ease of use, reducing user fatigue during extended cutting sessions. One of its standout features is the handle type, which is standard, providing a comfortable grip and enhancing maneuverability. Whether you're prepping firewood for the winter or maintaining your yard, the Poulan Pro PR4016 is a reliable choice.
- Powerful 40cc 2-cycle gas engine for cutting
- 16-inch steel bar suitable for various tasks
- Lightweight design for easy man-handling
- Standard handle type for a comfortable grip
- Ideal for both firewood and tree limb cutting
- Some noted supply-chain issues with saw
- Not suitable for heavy-duty logging tasks
9 | Remington RM4216CS 16-Inch 42cc Gas Chainsaw
The Remington RM4216CS is a powerhouse designed for homeowners who demand performance and reliability. With its 42cc full-crank engine, this chainsaw ensures efficient cutting, and the QuickStart™ technology guarantees smoother and easier pull starts. The 16-inch low-kickback bar and chain are perfect for cutting through various wood types, while the metal bucking spikes offer enhanced cut control.
Maintenance is a breeze with tool-free access to the filter and spark plug. The adjustable automatic oiler ensures the chain remains in top condition. One of its standout features is the 3-point anti-vibration system, which significantly reduces vibration, offering a more comfortable cutting experience.
- 42cc engine with QuickStart™ technology
- 16-inch low-kickback bar for versatile cutting
- Very efficient tool-free maintenance access
- 3-point anti-vibration system for comfort
- Adjustable automatic oiler for chain longevity
- Might be a bit heavy for some new users
- Not ideal for professional logging duties
10 | Ryobi RY3716VNM 16-Inch 37cc Gas Chainsaw
When it comes to mastering tree pruning around the house, the Ryobi RY3716VNM is a game-changer. This isn't just another chainsaw; it's a blend of power and precision tailored for homeowners. With a 16-inch bar powered by a 37cc engine, it slices through branches with finesse.
Its design prioritizes user comfort, ensuring that even prolonged pruning sessions don't wear you out. The automatic oiler is a testament to its user-centric features, consistently lubricating the chain for peak performance. And for those moments when you need a quick adjustment? The tool-free chain tensioning has got you covered.
- Powerful 37cc engine for efficient cutting
- Comes with a cool heavy-duty carrying case
- Automatic oiler for consistent lubrication
- Tool-free chain tensioning for easy adjustments
- Ideal for simple home tasks like tree pruning
- Only comes with a 2-year limited warranty
- Chain needs upgrading for professional use
Recommended Sizes for Small Gas-Powered Chainsaws
10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm)
Use Case: These are typically used for light-duty tasks such as trimming, pruning, and cutting small branches. They are ideal for homeowners who need a chainsaw for occasional use in their backyard.
14 inches (35 cm)
Use Case: This size is suitable for slightly heavier tasks than the 10-12-inch chainsaws. They can handle small to medium-sized branches and are often used for general yard maintenance.
16 inches (40 cm)
Use Case: Chainsaws of this size are versatile and can handle a variety of tasks, from cutting firewood to felling small trees. They are a popular choice among homeowners and can be used for both light and medium-duty tasks.
Recommended Chainsaw Sizes for Specific Tasks
|10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm)
|Trimming, Pruning, Cutting small branches
|14 inches (35 cm)
|Cutting small to medium-sized branches, General yard maintenance
|16 inches (40 cm)
|Cutting firewood, Felling small trees, Limbing
|18 to 20 inches
|Felling medium trees, Bucking, Cutting firebreaks in wildland fire suppression
|20 inches and above
|Felling large trees, Heavy-duty bucking, Harvesting large volumes of firewood
Note: Choosing the right size chainsaw is like picking the perfect tool from a craftsman’s kit; it ensures precision, safety, and efficiency for every task at hand.”
How We Tested the Best Small Chainsaws
When it comes to selecting the best small chainsaws, rigorous testing is essential to ensure performance, safety, and durability. Our evaluation method is thorough, mirroring the actual scenarios and obstacles that users may encounter in real-life situations.
Here’s a glimpse into our methodology:
- Real-World Simulation: We used each chainsaw to perform tasks typical of its intended use, such as tree pruning, cutting firebreaks, and harvesting firewood. This gave us a clear understanding of its capabilities and limitations.
- Performance Metrics: We measured the chainsaw’s power, cutting speed, and efficiency. This involved timing how long it took to cut through logs of varying thicknesses and assessing the smoothness of the cuts.
- Ergonomics and User Comfort: A chainsaw’s design plays a crucial role in its usability. We evaluated the comfort of the grip, balance, and weight distribution during prolonged use.
- Safety Features: Safety is paramount when working with chainsaws. We tested built-in safety features such as chain brakes, hand guards, and anti-vibration systems.
- Durability and Maintenance: We subjected the chainsaws to extended use to check for signs of wear and tear. Additionally, we assessed how easy it was to maintain and replace parts like the chain and bar.
By adopting a holistic testing approach, we ensure that our recommendations are based on thorough research and hands-on experience, providing users with reliable and trustworthy insights.
How Heavy Is A Small Gas Chainsaw
A small gas chainsaw is designed to be compact and lightweight, making it suitable for light-duty tasks and easy maneuverability. While the weight can vary based on the brand, model, and specific features, most small gas chainsaws typically weigh between 6 to 12 pounds (2.7 to 5.4 kg).
Here’s a breakdown of the weight range for small gas chainsaws:
- Ultra-lightweight: 6-8 pounds (2.7-3.6 kg) – These are the lightest models, ideal for occasional use and tasks like trimming and pruning.
- Mid-range: 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) – Suitable for more frequent use, these chainsaws can handle tasks like cutting small branches and general yard maintenance.
- Heavier models: 10-12 pounds (4.5-5.4 kg) – These are on the heavier side for small chainsaws but offer more power and are suitable for more demanding tasks.
It’s essential to choose a chainsaw that you can comfortably handle, ensuring safety and efficiency during use. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications for the exact weight of a particular model.
Why Choose a Small Gas Chainsaw?
When it comes to chainsaws, size and power source matter. Small gas chainsaws offer a unique blend of portability, power, and versatility that makes them a top choice for many users.
Let’s uncover the main advantages of these compact powerhouses and the scenarios where they shine the brightest.
Advantages of Small Gas Chainsaws Over Other Types:
- Portability: Their compact size makes them easy to carry around, especially in dense woods or tight spaces.
- Power-to-Weight Ratio: Despite their size, they pack a punch, offering a commendable power-to-weight ratio.
- Fuel Efficiency: Modern small gas chainsaws are designed to be more fuel-efficient, ensuring longer run times.
- Quick Start: Gas chainsaws typically start faster than their electric counterparts, especially in colder conditions.
- Versatility: They’re suitable for a range of tasks, from trimming branches to cutting firewood.
Scenarios Benefiting from a Small Chainsaw:
- Backyard Maintenance: For homeowners with trees, a small chainsaw is invaluable for regular pruning and trimming.
- Camping and Outdoor Activities: Their portability makes them ideal for campers and outdoor enthusiasts needing to clear a campsite or gather firewood.
- Tight Spaces: In situations where larger chainsaws are cumbersome, like dense thickets or between closely spaced trees, a small chainsaw is a boon.
- Emergency Situations: In emergencies like storms where quick tree or branch removal is essential, the quick start and efficiency of a small gas chainsaw can be a lifesaver.
Large chainsaws for milling lumber have their place, the convenience, versatility, and power of small gas chainsaws make them an excellent choice for a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re a homeowner, camper, or professional, there’s likely a small gas chainsaw that’s perfect for your needs.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Small Gas Chainsaw
When it comes to purchasing a small gas chainsaw, several factors can influence your decision. Here’s a breakdown of the essential considerations:
- Bar Size: The bar size determines the depth of the cut a chainsaw can make. For small gas chainsaws, a shorter bar size, typically ranging from 10 to 16 inches, is common. Choosing the right bar size is crucial as it affects the chainsaw’s versatility. A longer bar can handle thicker logs, while a shorter one offers better maneuverability for tasks like pruning or trimming.
- Weight: A chainsaw’s weight plays a significant role in user comfort. Lighter chainsaws are easier to handle, especially for extended periods, reducing user fatigue. However, it’s essential to ensure that the reduced weight doesn’t compromise the chainsaw’s durability.
- Engine Size: The engine size of a chainsaw determines its power output. In small gas chainsaws, you’ll often find engines ranging from 25cc to 42cc. While a more powerful engine can cut through thicker logs more efficiently, it might add to the chainsaw’s weight. It’s essential to strike a balance between power and portability.
- Ease of Use: Look for chainsaws with user-friendly features. A straightforward starting mechanism, easy-to-access controls, and simple maintenance procedures can make a world of difference. Additionally, features like tool-free chain tensioning can save time and effort.
- Safety Features: Safety should never be compromised. Ensure the chainsaw has features like a chain brake, which stops the chain if a kickback occurs, and safety throttle, which prevents accidental acceleration. Handguards and anti-vibration systems also enhance safety and comfort.
Selecting the right small gas chainsaw, whether it’s a Stihl or Echo chainsaw, hinges on understanding your specific tasks and preferences. It’s not just about the brand, but how the tool fits into your workflow. For both seasoned professionals and occasional users, making an informed choice ensures that your chainsaw becomes a reliable partner in your endeavors.
Small Gas Chainsaws Vs Battery Powered Chainsaws
When it comes to choosing the right chainsaw for your needs, the debate often boils down to gas-powered versus battery-powered chainsaws. Both have their merits, but understanding their differences can help you make an informed decision.
Power and Performance
- Gas Chainsaws: These are often more powerful than their battery-powered counterparts. The continuous fuel supply means they can handle tougher tasks, making them ideal for heavy-duty cutting and prolonged use.
- Battery-Powered Chainsaws: While they might not match the raw power of gas chainsaws, advancements in battery technology have significantly improved their performance. They’re perfect for light to medium tasks.
Portability and Weight
- Gas Chainsaws: Typically heavier due to the fuel tank and engine. However, they offer more mobility since you’re not restricted by battery life.
- Battery-Powered Chainsaws: Generally lighter and easier to handle. Their cordless design offers great mobility, but you’re limited by battery life.
Maintenance and Noise
- Gas Chainsaws: Require regular maintenance, including fuel mixing and engine servicing. They tend to be noisier, which might be a concern in residential areas.
- Battery-Powered Chainsaws: Virtually maintenance-free apart from chain sharpening and tensioning. They operate more quietly, making them neighbor-friendly.
- Gas Chainsaws: Emit fumes and greenhouse gases. They have a carbon footprint due to the gasoline they burn.
- Battery-Powered Chainsaws: More environmentally friendly as they produce no direct emissions. However, the environmental impact of battery production and disposal is a consideration.
Cost Over Time
- Gas Chainsaws: Initial cost might be lower, but consider the ongoing expenses of fuel, oil, and maintenance.
- Battery-Powered Chainsaws: Might have a higher upfront cost, especially for models with powerful batteries. However, you’ll save on fuel costs over time.
Note: Small gas chainsaw vs battery-powered one should hinge on your specific needs, the tasks you’ll be performing, and your personal preferences regarding maintenance, environmental impact, and noise levels.
Maintenance Tips for Small Gas Chainsaws
Maintaining your small gas chainsaw is crucial to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Here are some essential maintenance tips to keep your chainsaw running smoothly:
- Regular Cleaning: After each use, clean the chainsaw to remove any debris, sawdust, or resin. This prevents buildup which can affect the chainsaw’s performance.
- Check the Chain Tension: A slack chain can be dangerous and reduce cutting efficiency. Ensure the chain is correctly tensioned and not too tight or too loose.
- Sharpen the Chain: A dull chain makes the chainsaw work harder and can lead to uneven cuts. Regularly sharpen the chain or replace it if it’s worn out.
- Air Filter Maintenance: Clean the air filter frequently to ensure proper airflow and prevent the engine from overheating.
- Fuel Mixture: Always use the recommended fuel-oil mixture. Using the wrong mixture can damage the engine.
- Inspect the Spark Plug: A faulty spark plug can affect the chainsaw’s performance. Clean it regularly and replace it if necessary.
- Lubricate: Ensure the chain is always well-lubricated. Check the oil level before each use and refill if needed.
- Storage: When not in use, store the chainsaw in a dry place away from direct sunlight. Empty the fuel tank if you’re not going to use the chainsaw for an extended period.
Troubleshooting Common Issues:
- Chainsaw Doesn’t Start: Check the spark plug, fuel level, and ensure the on/off switch is in the correct position.
- Chainsaw Stalls During Operation: This could be due to a clogged air filter, dirty spark plug, or issues with the carburetor.
- Uneven Cuts: This is often a sign of a dull or improperly tensioned chain. Sharpen the chain or adjust the tension.
Consistent upkeep not only prolongs the life of your chainsaw but also guarantees safer usage. Always consult the user manual tailored to your specific chainsaw model, be it an Echo or a Husqvarna, for comprehensive maintenance guidelines.
Safety Tips When Using Gas-Powered Chainsaws
Safety should always be the top priority when operating any power tool, especially something as potent as a gas-powered chainsaw. Here are some crucial safety precautions and best practices to ensure you operate your chainsaw safely:
- Wear Appropriate Safety Gear: Always wear safety goggles, hearing protection, gloves, and sturdy footwear. Consider using chaps or protective pants to shield your legs from potential cuts.
- Check the Chainsaw Before Use: Ensure the chainsaw is in good working condition. Check the chain tension, sharpness, and ensure the safety features, like the chain brake, are functional.
- Operate in a Clear Area: Make sure the area around you is free from obstacles, bystanders, and pets. This reduces the risk of accidents.
- Maintain a Firm Grip: Always use both hands to operate the chainsaw. This ensures better control and reduces the risk of kickback.
- Avoid Cutting Above Shoulder Height: Cutting at or above shoulder height increases the risk of losing control and potential injury.
- Be Cautious of Kickback: Kickback can occur when the nose or tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain. Always be aware of the position of the guide bar nose.
- Refuel with Care: Ensure the chainsaw is turned off and cooled down before refueling. Avoid any spills and wipe away any excess fuel.
- Store Safely: When not in use, store the chainsaw in a safe place, away from children and pets. Consider using a protective cover for the chain and bar.
- Stay Alert: Never operate a chainsaw when you’re fatigued, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or in adverse weather conditions like heavy rain or strong winds.
- Educate Yourself: Before using a chainsaw, especially if you’re a beginner, consider taking a safety course or seeking guidance from experienced users.
Note: While a chainsaw is a powerful tool that can make tasks more efficient, it also comes with inherent risks. By following these safety tips and best practices, you can ensure a safer and more productive experience.
In Conclusion: Small Gas Chainsaw Reviews
As we wrap up, I want to spotlight a distinctive element: chainsaw milling. Beyond mere cutting, this method is about converting raw timber into functional lumber, unveiling the inherent value in each log.
So, as you ponder your next chainsaw purchase or project, remember that the true magic happens when skill meets the perfect tool. Your chainsaw is not just a machine; it’s an extension of your craftsmanship. Choose with care and let every piece of wood you touch tell a story.