Mini Chainsaws: Perfect for Camping and Overlanding

/ / Car Accessories
Small handheld chainsaw in use

With nicer weather around the corner, many people will venture out into nature, whether that be through truck bed camping in the middle of the woods or simply setting up a tent and hammock by a stream. However, after the brutal ice and snow storms of winter, there’s a good chance that many smaller trees have fallen and paths have been blocked. Not to worry, though, because there is a solution.

Having a mini-chainsaw can help alleviate many wooded obstacles you may find in your way, or allow you to cut up already fallen trees for firewood — though it’s important to remember, if you do not have the proper permits, many national forests or other places do not allow you to cut down established trees. Because of their size, these smaller chainsaws don’t take up much space. Based on a variety of reviews from users — as well as SlashGear’s own experience with using chainsaws to reach campsites — these are five mini-chainsaws that could come in handy during your next trek out into the wilderness. The methodology used to select these mini-chainsaws is explained in more detail at the bottom of the article.

Ryobi One+ HP 18V Brushless 8 in. Battery Compact Pruning Mini-Chainsaw

Man using chainsaw on cut tree

Mini-chainsaws tend to be in the bar length range of four to eight inches. Ryobi’s One+ HP 18V Brushless 8-Inch Battery Compact Pruning Mini-Chainsaw hits the higher end of that scale and gives you more cutting capability than that of a four-inch chainsaw — the cutting capacity is six inches. With a 2.0Ah battery, you can get over 65 cuts per charge. The higher the Ah battery, though, the more cuts you can get, which is an important thing to think about if you plan on going deep into the woods. You never know how much tree trimming you may need to do to get through the off-road trails.

This mini-chainsaw is still a new product from Ryobi as of February 2024, so there are not many reviews on it yet. However, the reviews gathered for promotional purposes through Home Depot do state that it works great for light trimming and the safety features do not get in the way. Just know that you won’t be able to cut down giant logs with this mini-chainsaw.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18V Brushless Battery 8 in. Hatchet Pruning Saw

Man using Milwaukee chainsaw in woods

It’s important to use tools that aren’t too heavy, so you can have constant control over them without getting tired. Milwaukee’s M18 FUEL 18V Brushless Battery 8 in. Hatchet Pruning Saw only weighs five pounds without a battery attached. The weight will be slightly altered depending on which battery size you opt to use. The leverage ability of this chainsaw is impressive as well. It has a full house chain which helps minimize vibrations and delivers clean cuts quickly and effectively. It also comes with an automatic oiler to keep your chain greased for multiple uses.

At Home Depot, this mini-chainsaw received a 4.9/5 star rating from 564 buyers. Many talked about how easily the chainsaw cuts through all different sizes of limbs, even bigger ones broken from a tornado. However, there was a complaint explaining how starting the chainsaw could use some improvements because you have to use your thumb to push down the release lever, causing you to only have your fingers grabbing the handle. However, you can always use both hands to start the chainsaw if that bothers you.

Kobalt 24V 6 in. Brushless Battery Chainsaw

Close up of Kobalt chainsaw being used

Kobalt offers many essential tools you should own, and the 24V 6 in. Brushless Battery Chainsaw is one of them if you are invested in the battery line and plan on cutting up some firewood for the camping season. Sold at Lowe’s, this mini-chainsaw comes with a 4.6/5 star review from over 100 buyers. Many state how they’ve gotten their money’s worth out of the tool. Additionally, this tool is great for people with smaller hands since larger chainsaws tend to need larger hands with stronger grips to have more control.

It’s a smaller bar than some of the other mini-chainsaws, but the six-inch compact design allows you to get into some of the harder-to-reach places, so you can cut at more difficult angles more easily. With a 2Ah battery, you can get approximately 120 cuts per charge and cut up to three-inch pieces of wood. There are even adjustable speed capabilities, so you’ll always have control of the tool.

Dewalt 8 in. 20V Pruning Electric Chainsaw

Person holding Dewalt chainsaw

There are pros and cons to using an electric chainsaw, but when you’re out camping and just need to cut up some firewood, not having to deal with gas and more maintenance is a plus. Dewalt’s 8 in. 20V Pruning Electric Chainsaw is the tool manufacturer’s smallest chainsaw, but it is still a beast. It comes with a brushless motor, so it’s likely to last and requires less maintenance than brushed motors. The tool itself weighs only 4.6 pounds, but it can get up to 70 cuts per charge depending on which Ah battery you are using within the Dewalt 20V battery line.

This mini-chainsaw has a 4.6/5 rating from over 300 reviewers. Many comments have stated that having the ability to easily start the electric tool, cut what’s needed, and be done quickly is a huge time-saver, especially compared to handling a gas chainsaw. However, one negative that was pointed out for left-handed users. The trigger is not ambidextrous, so you have to use your right hand.

STIHL Battery-Operated Cordless 4 in. Pruning Saw

Man using small chainsaw on tree limb

Sometimes, you may only need a smaller chainsaw bar instead of something bigger that takes up more room. STIHL offers a much smaller pruning saw that is great for getting at the smaller pieces of debris. The STIHL Battery-Operated Cordless Pruning Saw has a four-inch bar and is handheld, so you can easily grab sticks and branches with one hand while operating the tool in the other. It has a runtime of about 25 minutes on one 10.8V battery, which helps to give the tool its lightness.

From Northern Tool, this mini-chainsaw comes with a battery, a battery charger, and a case to keep the tool protected while sitting in your at-home shop or on the move in your overlanding vehicle. In terms of reviews, it comes with a 4.7/5 rating and with mostly good reviews about how great the saw works. There are some negative insights, though — mostly about the life of the battery, but that’s to be expected from such a small battery within a tool that needs a lot of power to cut through limbs.

How these mini-chainsaws were chosen

Person using small chainsaw on wood

The mini-chainsaws contained in this article were selected based on reviews and from personal experience of using a mini-chainsaw on fallen trees in national forests to get to dispersed campsites. Reviews from the website Pro Tool Reviews, which uses its knowledge to analyze products from many well-known tools brands and gives honest reviews of them, were analyzed and compared. Additionally, customer reviews on the sites were the tools are for sale were taken into consideration. Each of these mini-chainsaws listed comes with a rating no lower than 4.6/5 stars. SlashGear encourages you to do more research on the mini-chainsaws — especially if you are investing in a new battery line or if you haven’t used a chainsaw before. Take a look at the other battery-powered tools from each of the major power tool brands to see if it’s the best choice for you in the future.

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