Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
I used to have this impression that a chainsaw would always be a large tool that weighed far too much and was only wielded by loggers. I now know that’s not the case, and it’s partly because I’ve discovered that many lightweight chainsaws exist on the market.
Now, I don’t want you to think that because these chainsaws are lightweight, they are vastly inferior to their heavier cousins. That’s not the case. Instead, I want you to see them as highly versatile while also making your life much easier.
To help, I’ve pulled together a list of five different chainsaws that won’t break your back or tire out your shoulders when in use. It will mean you can experience the chainsaw’s power without worrying too much about aching muscles.
Finally, I will also give you a few valuable tips designed to make your life so much easier when selecting the right lightweight chainsaw for your needs. I promise you will then find it substantially easier to make your decision.
- Best Small Lightweight Chainsaw – Makita XCU02PT
- Best Stihl Lightweight Chainsaw – Stihl MS-201-CM
- Best Lightweight Chainsaw for the Money – Black & Decker LCS1020
- Best Value Lightweight Chainsaw – WORX WG305
- Best Powerful Lightweight Chainsaw – Greenworks 20312
How I made My List
When creating my list, I had to think about certain key elements to see if each chainsaw would make the grade. First, there was obviously the weight. After all, the title even tells you that I’m talking about lightweight chainsaws.
Aside from the weight, I also wanted to ensure it was powerful enough to complete the job at hand. Other features, such as reliability and whether it had automatic chain tensioning, also played a role. Finally, I looked at what previous owners were saying about the chainsaw before deciding if it made the grade.
After all of that, I was then left with this list of five different lightweight chainsaws that I do feel are the best on the market right now.
Best Small Lightweight Chainsaw – Makita XCU02PT
- Power: 2 x 18v batteries
- Bar Length: 12-inch
- Weight: 10.1 lbs
I think the Makita XCU02PT is the best small lightweight chainsaw on the market right now, and I believe this for several reasons.
First, it is powered by not just one 18V battery but two of them, which deliver an immense amount of power with a maximum of 1650 RPM. That does mean this chainsaw makes light work of those branches you will be cutting down around your yard.
But I also love that even though it has those two batteries that it still only weighs a fraction over 10lbs when the batteries are attached. I see that as being super lightweight, as batteries usually increase the weight by a crazy amount, so having two of them at this weight is impressive.
With a 12-inch bar, cutting through reasonably sized branches is straightforward. Also, this model comes with tool-less chain tensioning and an auto-oiling mechanism.
Furthermore, the model has an electric brake, offering better control. Overall, I’ve found this chainsaw to be exceptionally easy to use, and at just over 10 lbs, it also won’t tire you out too quickly either.
- It packs a punch when it comes to power
- It only weighs 10.1lbs
- It is straightforward to use
- It’s comfortable to hold
- It has an auto-oiling mechanism to keep things running smoothly
- The battery life could be slightly better for prolonged use
Best Stihl Lightweight Chainsaw – Stihl MS-201-CM
- Power: 2.4 HP
- Bar Length: 12-inch
- Weight: 8.6 lbs
If you want a quality brand name, then Stihl is undoubtedly one you need to consider when it comes to chainsaws. I see the MS-201 CM as not only being one of the best in their product range but also showing what’s possible with a gas-powered chainsaw.
This model comes with 2.4 HP and a 12-inch bar. It also only weighs some 8.6 lbs, which is seriously low when considering everything packed into this chainsaw.
Aside from the apparent power, this model also looks to be as efficient as possible. It carefully monitors and controls the amount of fuel it uses depending on the task, so you don’t burn through gas just for the sake of it.
Also, they state their chainsaw produces 70% less emissions than other models, which is something else I appreciate about this model.
But for me, one thing that stands out here is the anti-vibration technology. Even though this chainsaw has so much power, Stihl has managed to keep vibrations to an absolute minimum.
They do this via a number of both buffers and springs that act like shock absorbers. It means the vibrations don’t get the opportunity to travel along your arms, making you feel exhausted in no time.
Overall, I think this is an excellent chainsaw, and the fact it weighs so little is just a real bonus.
- It has a massive amount of power behind it
- You get a 12-inch bar, and a 14-inch model is also available
- It has a fantastic anti-vibration mechanism included
- It is very efficient when it comes to the fuel it uses
- The power does mean this is perhaps not for a beginner
Best Lightweight Chainsaw for the Money – Black & Decker LCS1020
- Power: 20v battery
- Bar Length: 10-inch
- Weight: 7.2 lbs
Black & Decker has long had a strong reputation for producing quality tools, and this particular chainsaw is no exception. The LCS1020 is powered by an impressive 20V Lithium-ion battery, and the entire thing only weighs some 7.2 lbs.
I’m impressed by that because you still get a chainsaw with a 10-inch bar, and with that power, it should mean you make quick work of most things. Also, it’s cordless, so moving around your yard while using this model should be straightforward.
But this model does come with several other features that I enjoy. For example, it has a simple oiling mechanism, which does help keep things running smoothly, along with a tool-free tensioner that actually works.
Also, they have included an easy-to-use window that lets you see where the oil level is at, so your chainsaw will never run dry.
Overall, this Black & Decker chainsaw is very easy to operate, won’t exhaust you because of its weight, and does an above-average job in cutting.
- It really is lightweight at just over 7 lbs
- The battery is powerful and can also fit other Black & Decker products
- It has a tool-less chain tensioning system
- The window to see how much oil is left is a fantastic idea
- The entire chainsaw does run smoothly
- The oiling mechanism is not automatic, so you must keep an eye on things
Best Value Lightweight Chainsaw – WORX WG305
- Power: 8 Amp motor
- Bar length: 14”
- Weight: 6.6 lbs
I love this lightweight chainsaw developed by WORX, and the fact it weighs only 6.6 lbs is just a bonus. With a 14-inch bar, it does mean the cutting power associated with this chainsaw is impressive, and it does over-perform in certain ways.
This model comes with a cord, but you also get an 8 Amp motor capable of delivering an impressive amount of power. I feel you certainly won’t struggle to cut through various branches around your yard with this model.
But something else I appreciate with this model is the handle. It feels very comfortable in your hands, and that does also make a difference when it comes to user experience. You feel you can have a solid grip of the chainsaw, and you never struggle to hold onto it or get the impression is slipping out of your hand.
Overall, this chainsaw by WORX does not attempt to do anything too fancy or elaborate in an attempt to keep the price low. However, they have also managed to keep the weight low, which is why I see it as one of the best value lightweight chainsaws on the market.
- It is exceptionally lightweight at 6.6 lbs
- It feels comfortable to hold and use
- It has a 14” bar, which is impressive for a lightweight chainsaw
- It’s perfect for people who are new to chainsaws
- It is corded, so it comes with some limitations on moving around
Best Powerful Lightweight Chainsaw – Greenworks 20312
- Power: 40V battery
- Bar Length: 16-inch
- Weight: 10.4 lbs
The Greenworks 20312 is an outstanding chainsaw. It comes equipped with a stunning 40V battery and a 16-inch long bar, and you will get up to 150 cuts off a single charge with this particular model.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking such a large and powerful chainsaw will be too heavy. This model comes in at 10.4 lbs, and that’s almost nothing when it comes to chainsaws.
The model also has a brushless motor, which equates to less maintenance. I prefer this with power tools as there’s nothing worse than a motor effectively breaking down at any point. So, this chainsaw should simply not do that, thanks to the quality of the motor.
But it also comes with several other features that I feel any quality lightweight chainsaw should have. That means it has an auto-oiling mechanism for smooth use, auto chain tensioning, and even a chain brake.
Overall, that means this chainsaw is very safe to use and delivers outstanding performance. I don’t think there is anything bad to say about this model.
- It has a very powerful motor
- It has a large 16-inch bar
- The motor requires little maintenance
- It has a chain brake, which is great for safety
- It feels comfortable to hold
- You need to keep recharging the battery
How to Choose the Perfect Lightweight Chainsaw
I have a lot of confidence in the different chainsaws listed above, but I know you could easily be wondering how on earth you will choose between the different options. So, I’m here to help.
I will provide you with several tips designed to make your life easier when it comes to choosing. By the end, you will find yourself in a much better position and feel far more confident in deciding.
If you want to keep things as light as possible, I suggest staying away from most gas-powered chainsaws. With a chainsaw powered by gas, the motor is larger, along with additional reservoirs for the gas itself.
That all adds weight, so you should look at a corded chainsaw or one that uses batteries. However, you want to generally have the equivalent of 18V or higher for the power aspect. Anything lower than that will not really translate into a chainsaw capable of doing much.
Regarding bar length, you should look at anything from 10” to 14”. You can get chainsaws with longer bars, but the weight increases as they will often use more power.
But for general use around your yard, I would suggest sticking between those lengths. You should find this sufficient to do all the jobs you need.
Here is the thing about weight with a chainsaw, you need some weight to make it easier when guiding that bar through whatever you need to cut. For me, I would see a lightweight chainsaw is something that sits between 7 lbs and 12 lbs in weight. I believe this strikes a balance between enough weight to deliver ample power without it becoming overbearing.
I love my chainsaw to have a good handle and also to avoid sending too many vibrations up through my arms. Therefore, each chainsaw on my list will feel comfortable holding it.
That means each one has a good grip that won’t put too much stress on your hands. Stress on your hands, and those vibrations, will quickly exhaust you just as if you were holding a heavier chainsaw.
However, even if you look at a model out with those that appear here, I still strongly suggest you pay attention to how comfortable it is to hold.
I do want to make one thing very clear. Just because you plan on purchasing a lightweight chainsaw does not mean you miss out on certain features. The heaviest parts of a chainsaw tend to be connected to the source of power, hence why gas-powered chainsaws tend to come with the most weight.
So, when looking for a lightweight chainsaw, do look out for features such as an oiling mechanism, an auto version being the best, and tool-less chain tensioning. Safety features should include an automatic stop should something happen and you let go of the chainsaw.
None of these things will add that much weight, so there’s no reason for them to be missing.
As you can see, you don’t have too many things to think about when choosing a lightweight chainsaw. I think the main thing is the power and weight. As long as you keep the weight below that 12 lbs figure and the power above 18V, then you should find that the chainsaw works pretty well in most conditions.
Owning a lightweight chainsaw does not mean giving up on some power. The different chainsaws listed above are all fantastic examples of what is out there on the market without weighing too much.
I find that having something that weighs less means I’ve used it more than I initially thought I would, and that’s great. I feel I can just take out the chainsaw and get the job done in next to no time, and I don’t even have to feel fatigued at the end.
If the idea of manhandling a chainsaw was a bit too much, then don’t stress, as other options are available for you. It’s just a case of going through the different lightweight chainsaws you see above and deciding which one sounds right for your own circumstances.