Many homeowners view chainsaws as heavy-duty tools meant only for professionals taking down large trees.
However, what many people don’t realize is that lightweight chainsaws exist specifically for household use on smaller yards and properties.
As someone who owns a modest-sized home with several trees and a backyard vegetable garden, I know the struggle of wanting to trim branches or cut fallen logs but being intimidated by traditional bulky chainsaws. That was, until I discovered the world of lightweight chainsaws.
Weighing in at under 12 pounds, these chainsaws are easy for anyone to comfortably handle and maneuver around the yard. They pack enough power for typical residential tasks while being significantly easier on the body compared to larger chainsaws.
In this guide, I’ll break down the best lightweight chainsaws on the market based on first-hand testing on my property. I’ll provide specs, pros and cons, buying considerations, and maintenance tips. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to pick the right saw to suit your needs and budget.
For those in a hurry, here’s a quick comparison of the 8 best lightweight chainsaws based on user reviews and expert opinions:
Top 7 Lightweight Chainsaws
The market is flooded with numerous chainsaw models, each boasting unique features and benefits.
To simplify your decision-making process, we’ve curated a list of the top 7 lightweight chainsaws based on performance, durability, and user reviews.
1. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Chainsaw Kit
When in search of the best lightweight chainsaws in the market, the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Chainsaw Kit certainly grabs attention.
As part of BLACK+DECKER’s renowned line of power tools, this 10-inch cordless chainsaw stands out with its blend of functionality and design.
The chainsaw promises ease of use with its tool-free blade tension system, making on-the-go adjustments straightforward.
Weighing only 6.8 pounds, maneuverability is one of its standout features. Users won’t have to strain when tackling those tricky branches or logs.
The improved oiling system, with a clear window to gauge oil level, is another worthy addition. Plus, being battery-powered eliminates the hassle of fuel or cords, streamlining the cutting process.
However, a neutral standpoint reveals the product isn’t without its minor pitfalls. Some users have raised concerns about the battery life, which can be a limitation for extended tasks. Regardless, with a 4.5-star rating from over 8,000 users, the general consensus leans positively.
In summary, the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Chainsaw Kit proves to be one of the best lightweight chainsaws for those looking to tackle small to medium-sized tasks without the bulk of traditional chainsaws.
- Lightweight and easy maneuverability.
- Tool-free chain tensioning.
- Transparent oil level window.
- Cordless design offers flexibility.
- Potential concerns about battery life for prolonged tasks.
- Brand: BLACK+DECKER
- Power Source: Battery Powered
- Weight: 6.8 Pounds
- Chain Length: 10 Inches
The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Chainsaw Kit is ideal for users seeking a lightweight, user-friendly saw for smaller tasks.
Its unique features cater to convenience, but battery life could be a limiting factor for extended use. As always, potential buyers should weigh their needs against the product’s capabilities.
2. Greenworks 40V 16
In today’s age, when consumers are pivoting towards environment-friendly and portable tools, the Greenworks 40V 16″ Brushless Cordless Chainsaw makes its mark as one of the best lightweight chainsaws in the market.
Designed for homeowners seeking convenience without compromising on performance, this chainsaw boasts of its TRUBRUSHLESSTM MOTOR TECHNOLOGY.
This technology ensures not only an extended motor life but also delivers more power and longer runtimes. Additionally, the push-button start eliminates the typical hassles associated with traditional chainsaws.
The safety features, including the chain brake and automatic oiler, add to the user experience by ensuring secure operation and proper chain lubrication, respectively.
However, some users have expressed concerns regarding chain tensioning, especially when working with harder woods.
- Lightweight and easy to handle.
- TRUBRUSHLESSTM MOTOR TECHNOLOGY ensures quiet operation and longer motor life.
- Safety features like the chain brake are commendable.
- Environmentally friendly with no gas or fumes.
- Chain tensioning can be challenging for some users.
- The necessity to buy bar & chain oil separately.
- Power Source: Battery Powered
- Weight: 10.36 Pounds
- Dimensions: 31″L x 9″W x 8.5″H
- Chain Length: 16 Inches
- Voltage: 40
- Battery Type: Lithium-Ion
The Greenworks 40V 16″ Brushless Cordless Chainsaw has positioned itself as a formidable contender in the market of lightweight chainsaws. Its eco-friendly nature, coupled with advanced technology, provides users with a seamless experience.
While it excels in multiple departments, addressing the chain tensioning issue might help it achieve unparalleled dominance in its category.
3. WORX WG305.1 8 Amp 14
The WORX WG305.1 Electric Chainsaw is emerging as one of the best lightweight chainsaws for both amateur and semi-professional garden enthusiasts.
With its compact design, this chainsaw is highly efficient for tasks like pruning and post-storm clean-ups. Running on a corded power source, it boasts a horsepower of 5.3 hp, ensuring that it cuts smoothly through varied thicknesses.
Its Auto-Tension Chain System is an innovative feature that maintains the chain at an optimum tension, enhancing the lifespan of the bar and chain.
This reduces the frequent maintenance often required with other chainsaws. Its 14-inch chain length is apt for backyard tasks, making it a favorite for those who prefer efficient and hassle-free equipment.
However, some users reported an oil leakage issue, which is essential to consider for long-term storage.
Nevertheless, with its overall positive reviews, especially for value for money and lightweight design, the WORX WG305.1 is a worthy contender in the best lightweight chainsaws category.
- Brand: WORX
- Power Source: Corded
- Horsepower: 5.3 hp
- Chain Length: 14 Inches
- Voltage: 120 Volts
- Product Dimensions: 17.7″L x 9.6″W x 8.1″H
- Compact and lightweight design
- Efficient Auto-Tension Chain System
- Value for money
- Oil leakage when stored
The WORX WG305.1 offers an excellent balance of performance and price for those looking for a lightweight chainsaw. Its innovative features like the Auto-Tension Chain System give it an edge over competitors.
However, potential oil leakage can be a concern for some users. Overall, its merits make it a reliable choice in the lightweight chainsaw segment.
4. Poulan Pro PR4016 40cc
The Poulan Pro PR4016, with its 40cc 2-cycle gas-powered engine, stands out as one of the best lightweight chainsaws suitable for medium-duty tasks. Built to aid in storm clean-ups, firewood cutting, and tree felling, it pairs utility with ease of use.
Its compact size, weighing just 13 pounds, ensures it’s manageable for most users, aligning with its “lightweight” title. The 16″ bar length offers an ideal balance between cutting reach and maneuverability.
However, like every product, the Poulan Pro PR4016 has its strengths and setbacks. While it offers powerful cutting, there have been reports of oil leakage and idling issues. It does require meticulous maintenance, which might be a point of contention for some users.
- Lightweight at 13 pounds.
- 40cc, 2-stroke engine offering decent power.
- Versatile with its 16″ bar, suitable for various tasks.
- Generally offers good value for money.
- Some users reported oil leakage issues.
- Possible idle inconsistencies.
- Carb adjustments might be needed for optimal performance.
- Brand: Poulan Pro
- Power Source: Gas Powered
- Horsepower: 2
- Product Dimensions: 22″L x 10″W x 11″H
- Chain Length: 16 Inches
The Poulan Pro PR4016, as one of the best lightweight chainsaws, offers a combination of power and portability.
However, prospective buyers should be prepared for potential maintenance needs and ensure they’re comfortable addressing any minor issues that might arise.
Given its price point, it still stands as a competitive option for those seeking a reliable chainsaw without breaking the bank.
5. Makita-UC3551A Chain Saw
The Makita-UC3551A Chain Saw is among the best lightweight chainsaws available in the market. With its corded electric power source, it ensures a consistent and reliable performance.
Boasting a chain speed of 2,900 FPM, this model facilitates efficient cutting and trimming. One of its standout features is the “Tool-less” blade and chain adjustments, which offer convenient operation and straightforward maintenance.
The large trigger switch with soft start ensures smooth startups, eliminating the hassles often encountered with gas-powered models. A built-in current limiter is ingeniously designed to protect the motor from burnout, a feature crucial for prolonging the saw’s lifespan.
However, some users have pointed out issues with the tensioning wheel and the oiling system. Priced at $278.79, it might seem a bit steep for some, but considering its features and the brand’s reputation, it might be a worthy investment for many.
- Power Source: Corded Electric
- Horsepower: 3.2 hp
- Chain Length: 14 Inches
- Chain Speed: 2,900 FPM
- Weight: 12.1 Pounds
- Reliable corded electric power source.
- Efficient cutting with a chain speed of 2,900 FPM.
- “Tool-less” adjustments for ease of use.
- Built-in current limiter for motor protection.
- Zero emissions.
- Issues reported with the tensioning wheel.
- Possible complications with the oiling system.
- Price might be on the higher side for some users.
The Makita-UC3551A is a strong contender among the best lightweight chainsaws. While it comes with a plethora of features that cater to both beginners and professionals, potential buyers should be aware of its few shortcomings.
Overall, it’s a product that promises efficiency and longevity, making it a suitable choice for various cutting needs.
6. Oregon CS1500 18-Inch
When diving into the vast market of chainsaws, the Oregon CS1500 18-inch stands out among the best lightweight chainsaws. This corded electric chainsaw, embedded with a unique PowerSharp self-sharpening system, ensures minimal interruptions.
With an 18-inch guide bar powered by a robust 15A electric motor, it promises efficient and quick cuts. Its ergonomic design, coupled with the Chain Brake, prioritizes safety without compromising on performance.
An added advantage is the tool-less tensioning system, allowing quick adjustments and maintaining ideal tension for perfect cuts.
However, while its automatic oiling system is a boon, the chainsaw’s reliance on a power outlet may pose limitations for some users. The UL Certification adds a layer of trust, and the 2-year warranty ensures peace of mind.
- PowerSharp self-sharpening system for convenience.
- Lightweight design for easy maneuverability.
- Automatic oiling system for consistent lubrication.
- Safety features including Chain Brake.
- 2-Year Oregon warranty.
- Corded, requiring proximity to an electrical outlet.
- Some users reported a short power cord.
- Dimensions: 18 x 37.5 x 10.5 inches
- Weight: 12.6 pounds
- Power: 15A electric motor
- Guide Bar: 18-inch
The Oregon CS1500 18-inch proves its worth in the realm of lightweight chainsaws. With advanced features like PowerSharp, it optimizes user experience.
However, being corded may limit its versatility in extensive outdoor operations. A balanced consideration of its pros and cons is essential for potential buyers.
7. Echo CS-310 14-Inch
The Echo CS-310 14-Inch stands as a formidable contender in the realm of best lightweight chainsaws.
Echo, a renowned brand, offers this gasoline-powered saw that boasts impressive specifications like a 2 horsepower engine and a 30.5cc engine displacement.
The product dimensions are compact, measuring 24″L x 15″W x 15″H, making it an optimal choice for homeowners seeking both power and convenience.
The automatic adjustable oiler is a noteworthy feature, ensuring consistent chain lubrication, while the inertia type chain brake adds a layer of safety, minimizing kickback risks.
Despite its prowess, the chainsaw isn’t without criticisms. Some users found the power lacking for more intensive cutting tasks, and the inclusion of some flimsy parts raised concerns over durability.
Still, with an impressive 4.5-star rating from 288 reviews, the consensus remains largely positive.
- Compact and lightweight design.
- Trusted brand with a reputation for quality.
- Features like automatic oiler and inertia type chain brake for safety and efficiency.
- Some users found the power lacking for heavy-duty tasks.
- Concerns over the durability of some parts.
- Brand: ECHO OPE
- Power: Gasoline-powered
- Horsepower: 2
- Weight: 8.1 Pounds
- Dimensions: 24″L x 15″W x 15″H
- Chain Length: 14 Inches
The Echo CS-310 14-Inch chainsaw is an excellent choice for those looking for a blend of power and lightweight convenience.
While it may not be ideal for heavy-duty tasks, it’s undoubtedly one of the best lightweight chainsaws for homeowners and occasional users.
The mix of safety features and user-friendly design elements makes it a valuable addition to any toolshed. However, potential buyers should weigh the pros and cons to ensure it meets their specific needs.
Buyer’s Guide: Making the Right Choice
Choosing the perfect lightweight chainsaw can be a daunting task, especially with the myriad of options available.
This buyer’s guide aims to simplify the process, providing you with essential factors to consider before making a purchase.
When is a Chainsaw Necessary?
Before diving into the specifics of chainsaws, it’s crucial to determine if you genuinely need one.
- Trimming and Pruning: For those with gardens or properties with trees, a chainsaw can be invaluable for regular maintenance.
- Firewood: If you rely on wood heating, a chainsaw is essential for preparing your winter stockpile.
- DIY Projects: For woodworking enthusiasts, a chainsaw can be a versatile tool for various projects.
- Professional Use: For arborists, landscapers, and construction workers, a chainsaw is a daily necessity.
A survey by Home Gardeners Association found that 65% of homeowners who purchased chainsaws used them primarily for trimming and pruning.
Electric vs. Gas-Powered Chainsaws
One of the primary decisions you’ll face is choosing between electric and gas-powered chainsaws. Each has its advantages and drawbacks:
|Electric||Quieter operation, Eco-friendly, Lower maintenance||Limited power, Corded models restrict mobility|
|Gas-Powered||Powerful, Suitable for heavy-duty tasks, Mobile||Noisier, Requires regular maintenance, Not as eco-friendly|
“Electric chainsaws have come a long way in recent years, offering power and convenience in an eco-friendly package.” – Eco Tool Review
Key Features to Look For
When browsing for a lightweight chainsaw, certain features can significantly enhance your experience:
- Bar Length: Determines the size of wood the chainsaw can cut. For light tasks, a 10-14 inch bar is sufficient, while heavier tasks might require 16 inches or more.
- Fuel Source: As discussed, choose between electric (corded or battery-powered) and gas.
- Noise Level: Especially important if you live in a residential area. Electric models are generally quieter.
- Chain Tensioning and Oiling: Look for models that offer tool-free tensioning and automatic oiling for convenience.
- Price vs. Quality: Don’t compromise on quality for a lower price. It’s better to invest in a reliable model that will last.
Safety First: Using a Lightweight Chainsaw Safely
Safety should always be a top priority when operating any power tool, and chainsaws are no exception.
Despite the convenience of lightweight chainsaws, they can still pose significant risks if not used correctly. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you use your chainsaw safely and efficiently.
Essential Safety Precautions
- Wear Protective Gear: Before starting your chainsaw, ensure you’re wearing the right protective equipment:
- Safety goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes from flying debris.
- Ear protection, especially when using gas-powered models.
- Sturdy gloves to enhance grip and protect hands.
- Steel-toed boots for foot protection.
- Chainsaw chaps or pants to protect against accidental cuts.
- Inspect Your Chainsaw: Before each use, inspect your chainsaw for any signs of damage or wear. Ensure the chain is sharp, properly tensioned, and the oil reservoir is full.
- Work in a Clear Area: Ensure your working area is free from obstacles, bystanders, and pets. Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Use Both Hands: Always operate your chainsaw using both hands. This ensures better control and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Avoid Cutting Above Shoulder Height: Cutting at or above shoulder height can lead to loss of control and increases the risk of kickback.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospitals for chainsaw-related injuries every year.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Ignoring Safety Gear: Never operate a chainsaw without the necessary protective equipment.
- Starting the Chainsaw Incorrectly: Always start your chainsaw on the ground or between your legs, never in mid-air.
- Using a Dull Chain: A dull chain requires more force, increasing the risk of accidents. Regularly sharpen your chain or replace it if necessary.
- Ignoring Maintenance: Regular maintenance ensures your chainsaw operates efficiently and safely. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
“Safety doesn’t happen by accident.” – Safety First Organization
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The world of lightweight chainsaws offers a blend of convenience, efficiency, and versatility. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a homeowner looking to maintain your property, there’s a chainsaw tailored to your needs.
This guide has delved deep into the top picks for 2023, offering insights, reviews, and essential buying tips.
Remember, while the allure of a lightweight chainsaw lies in its ease of use, never compromise on safety. With the right protective gear and a keen awareness of safety protocols, you can harness the power of these tools without risk.
In the ever-evolving world of power tools, lightweight chainsaws have carved a niche for themselves, offering a perfect balance between power and portability.
As technology advances, we can only expect them to become even more user-friendly and efficient.
Choosing the right chainsaw is not just about the specs and price. It’s about understanding your needs, the tasks you’ll be undertaking, and ensuring safety at every step. With the knowledge from this guide, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision.