The 9 Best Small Gas Chainsaws In 2024

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From landscaping to tree trimming, a reliable home chainsaw can save you a lot of trouble maintaining your yard and can present you with more ways to get a job done.

We’ve gathered the 9 Best Small Gas Chainsaw choices we believe can help you in your day-to-day.

Quick Overview


Stihl MS 170

Stihl MS 170

Powerful and fuel-efficient STIHL 2-MIX engine

Straightforward design

Stihl Ematic lubrication and vibration mitigation system


Echo CS-2511T

Echo CS-2511T

G-Force Engine Air Pre-cleaner filters the air

Echo Fast Choke system gives easy starts

Easy access fuel tank system and chain tensioner

Our Top 9 Choices For Best Small Gas Chainsaws

Best Small Gas ChainsawsPowerBar LengthPrice
1. Stihl MS 17030.1 cc16″Check Price
2. Echo CS-2511T25 cc12-14″Check Price
3. Remington RM 4214CS Rebel42 cc14″Check Price
4. Husqvarna 120 Mk II38.2 cc16″Check Price
5. Poulan PL331433 cc14″Check Price
6. Poulan Pro PR5020 Gas-Powered Chainsaw50 cc20″Check Price
7. Stihl MS 1812.0 bhp16″Check Price
8. Husqvarna 135 Mk II2.1 hp16″Check Price
9. Stihl MS 151 C-E1.41 bhp12″Check Price

Our 9 Picks for the Best Small Gas Chainsaw

#1 – Winner – Stihl MS 170

Quick Facts

Powerful and fuel-efficient STIHL 2-MIX engine

Straightforward design

Stihl Ematic lubrication and vibration mitigation system

Stihl MS 170
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 16″ | Power: 30.1 cc | Weight: 8.6 lbs

One of the best small chainsaw manufacturers out there has to be Stihl, with their 90 years of experience in the industry.

Their most popular model, the MS 170, embodies their capabilities in creating a reliable and powerful chainsaw.

You can use the Stihl MS 170 for any one type of home task, such as cutting small trees to trimming hedges, all while experiencing the same features found in many professional-level chainsaws.


It combines a lightweight and compact design with its STIHL 2-MIX engine for fuel efficiency and cutting power.

You can expect to save up to 20% of fuel while reducing emissions exhaust by almost 70%.

The MS 170 also includes an internal compensator controller for its carburetor to keep fuel mixtures from getting imbalanced.

The fuel mixture inside the motor is often too rich with fuel and not enough air due to clogged air filters.

Hence the carburetor helps lessen the amount of fuel that gets into the mixture by monitoring air passing through the filter. This keeps the fuel mixture, and hence the engine power, constant.

Stihl also included their Anti-Vibration system within their MS 170. This keeps the engine and saw vibrations minimized, resulting in a smoother user experience and less operator fatigue overall.

Lastly, the MS 17o small gas chainsaw uses the Stihl Ematic lubrication system, which can reduce lubricant consumption by up to 50% while keeping your chainsaw from effectively heating up.

This lubrication system is made from more than one Stihl product and comprises the Ematic Guide bar, Stihl Chain Oilomatic saw chain, and a variable-flow pump.

The result? No lubrication is wasted in this carefully designed system.


The Stihl MS 170 is a small gas chainsaw best for homeowners who are looking for a powerful landscaping tool for their home.

The MS 170 is a 12-16 inch chainsaw inches and comes in at a total 4.1 kg weight. The MS 170 has surprising portability without sacrificing too much cutting power.

You’ll find that this fuel-powered small chainsaw is good for both experienced and amateur chainsaw users alike.

Stihl MS170 Review - Over 1 Month Of Heavy Use

Our Verdict

It’s easy to see how the Stihl MS 170 is the best small gas-powered chainsaw we have on this list.

It’s simply made, can go from a compact 12-inch bar to a mid-sized 16-inch bar, and delivers reliable power when you need it.

If one were to get a small gas chainsaw, one should have the Stihl MS 170 at the top of their consideration list as one of the best chainsaw options out there.

Here’s what you’ll love

Fuel efficient and strong motor


Here’s what you might not like


#2 – Runner-Up – Echo CS-2511T

Quick Facts

G-Force Engine Air Pre-cleaner filters the air

Echo Fast Choke system gives easy starts

Easy access fuel tank system and chain tensioner

Echo CS-2511T
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 12-14″ | Power: 25 cc | Weight: 5.2 pounds

Echo has been around for almost 40 years in the chain saw market.

Part of the Japanese manufacturing company Yamakibo, Echo has a large footprint for the company in North America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

They bring Japanese design techniques with a solid American foundation with their Echo CS-2311T. The CS-2311T fits professional power within a compact gas chain saw design.

You can expect this ruggedly portable chainsaw to handle any job you throw at it.


Within the engine is Echo’s G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner.

The engine is designed to filter out larger particles of dirt from the air before even getting to the air filter properly, giving you less downtime to change out your filters for the correct fuel mixture ratio.

Despite being a professional level, the CS-2311T uses a fast choke system with a fine grid cover for easy pull starts. Along with the textured handle, you should have optimal control in handling and operating the CS-2311T.

In keeping with getting work done fast, the CS-2511T eliminates a lot of downtime with its clutch-driven oiler and side-access chain tensioning lever.

Lubrication will only go on your chain during operation to reduce oil wastage, and the chain adjuster can reapply tension without removing the entire chain.

Last, the Echo CS-2311T has a durable double-post chain so you can reliably stop your chain from malfunctioning due to chain break or kickback.


The Echo CS-2311T uses a powerful 25 cc 2-stroke engine, giving the chainsaw quick acceleration and stable RPM.

It can extend from a 12-inch bar to a 14-inch bar for easy maneuverability than standard 16-inch guide bars. This chainsaw comes in roughly at 5 kg weight with the bar and chain.

It also includes a tool-less fuel tank system for easy refueling. You don’t need any extra tools to get the most out of this chainsaw.

Our Verdict

If you are a professional-level woodcutter and are looking for something compact without losing power, the Echo CS-2311T is the chainsaw for you.

It’s lighter weight than other professional-level chainsaws and can compete with some of the strong small chainsaws out there.

Here’s what you’ll love

Easy to maintain

Efficient Self-lubricating

Here’s what you might not like


#3 – Remington RM 4214CS Rebel

Quick Facts

Quickstart Fast Crank for easy chainsaw starts

Three-point vibration system

Tool-less air filter and spark plug access

Remington RM 4214CS Rebel (2)
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 14″ | Power: 42 cc | Weight: 14.72 pounds

You need not spend like crazy to get a reliable chainsaw by your side.

Remington has been making chainsaws for almost 100 years now, starting off with both gas and electric power tools.

Their first chainsaw came out in 1954, showcasing their durable design for professional loggers.

The Remington RM 4214CS Rebel is a product of their years of experience crafting some of the market’s best gas chainsaws.


The RM 4214CS Rebel keeps its operation lightweight and easy with the Remington Quickstart technology fast crank.

Additionally, the RM 4214CS Rebel has a great three-point anti-vibration system. This keeps the chainsaw smooth by deferring the motor’s vibration and the chain throughout the chainsaw.

Its automatic oiler keeps the chain lubricated while you use it, while its chain tensioning side-chain adjuster can keep the chain in tension without having to disassemble the whole chainsaw manually.

This is especially vital if you find yourself working long hours in the yard.

The RM 4214CS Revel tool-free access to both the air filter and the spark plugs give you easier maintenance when the time calls for it.


The Remington RM 4214C Rebel uses a strong 2-cycle engine with a large capacity 42 cc fuel engine, keeping your chainsaw running much longer. 

The bar and chain are compact with a 14-inch range, but its power rivals gas and electric chainsaws around 20 inches in length.

Despite the power, it has a low-vibration chain system to keep operation smooth. It has metal bucking cutters to keep kickbacks at a minimum.

Our Verdict

The Remington RM 4214C Rebel is a great chainsaw with multiple premium features that can rival other heavy-duty chainsaws.

What’s best is they offer this at a low price of $129.99, so you can get the reliable small gas chainsaw you need without having to burn a hole in your wallet.

If you’re looking at top-rated small gas chainsaws, it will be hard to resist the value you get from the RM 4214C Rebel model for its price point.

Here’s what you’ll love

Easy to start and maintain

Low vibrations

Affordable price for the value

Here’s what you might not like

Standard motor lacks compared to other chainsaws

#4 – Husqvarna 120 Mk II

Quick Facts

Unique air centrifugal filtration system

Good chain and powerful, efficient X-Torq Motor

Ergonomic handle design

Husqvarna 120 Mk II
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 16″ | Power: 38.2 cc | Weight: 4.22 pounds

Husqvarna is another name you should know if you’ve been working with a chain saw for a while now.

Husqvarna may have been around the longest amongst our list of manufacturers, coming in at around 300 years now.

The Husqvarna 120 Mk II is part of their homeowner line of chain saw, giving its users more control over their land with powerful and efficient tools.

While they have plenty of battery-powered and electric chainsaw options, the 120 Mk II sticks to classic performance through its gas-powered operation.

The 120 Mk II is another reliable addition to your tool collection when you need a powerful cutter by your side.


The Husqvarna 120 Mk II uses a unique centrifugal air system that technically acts as a secondary pre-air filter. It uses a strong spinning force to remove any larger debris in the air before hitting the chainsaw’s primary air filter.

Husqvarna’s new X-Torq engine provides robust performance while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Despite being gas-powered, the Husqvarna aims to reduce its own carbon footprint through improved technologies.

The 120 MK II model keeps things simple through the one-handle operation system, with the choke and stop control integrated into one handle area.

This makes the starting of the gas saw much easier while giving you quick control to avoid any chainsaw flooding.

Additionally, the Husqvarna chainsaw also comes with their low-vibration system, mitigating generated vibrations to lower fatigue with the operator.


The Husqvarna 120 Mk II has a nice mid-range 14-inch guide bar but can be extended to 18 inches if need be, making this small chainsaw able to cut longer if need be.

Despite the additional power this has over other chain saw variants, it still weighs light enough to be carried with ease at roughly 5.5 kg, even with a large 38 cc engine.

Our Verdict

The Husqvarna name is almost synonymous with different chain saws, so we had to include one of their staple products in this list.

Despite being a small chainsaw, it still manages various heavy-duty tasks.

It’s simple enough to use, especially with the multiple features that make start-up and operating much smoother.

If you need a good reliable chainsaw and don’t mind paying something middle-of-the-line, the Husqvarna 120 Mk II is a good chainsaw choice for you.

Here’s what you’ll love

Powerful gas chainsaw

Easy to start and maintain

Low vibration

Here’s what you might not like


#5 – Poulan PL3314

Quick Facts

Ergonomic start and stop system

Treated chains increase chain durability

LED flooding indicator

Poulan PL3314
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 14″ | Power: 33 cc | Weight: 17 pounds

Poulan might be a brand more familiar to those experienced in working with timber and general logging.

They have been making industrial level saws, from the humble gas chainsaw to massive timber cutters, for about 60 years.

The Poulan PL3314, despite being small in design, is still a reliable gas chainsaw to come out of the Poulan brand. Most heavy-duty tasks are manageable with a Poulan by your side, and the PL3314 is no exception.


Poulan is a straightforward chainsaw. Its significant features focus on its lightweight design and small domestic guide bar size.

Its handle has both choke and easy stop features near the handle, so you have better control over starting the chainsaw and stopping its operation.

It also has an LED light just in case for heat-flooding, which monitors your gas chainsaw’s status as you use it so you can see when your chainsaw is overheating.

Despite its simplicity, the Poulan PL3314 uses premium materials like hard-chromed and heat-treated chains and their own trademark fuel mixture for 2-cycle engines.


The Poulan PL3314 is a strong gas chainsaw that uses a 2-cycle motor with a good 33 cc fuel tank for continuous use. It’s a bit heavier in weight than other chain saw types, at around 8.5 kg total.

The 14-inch guide bar is one way Poulan manufactured a chainsaw with homeowners in mind, keeping the chainsaw maneuverable for cutting wood and trimming branches.

Our Verdict

The Poulan PL3314 gives a solid enough performance when doing chores around the house.

While you may not expect it to handle all heavy-duty tasks in mind, it’s hard to beat how useful its weight and size is when managing yards.

If you aren’t fussy with features and just need something that cuts well, the Poulan 3314 should be good enough for you.

Here’s what you’ll love

Affordable and reliable cutting performance

Here’s what you might not like

Lacking in modern chainsaw features like oil lubrication and vibration systems

#6 – Poulan Pro PR5020 Gas-Powered Chainsaw

Quick Facts

70% fewer emissions

20% lower fuel consumption

Protected purge bulb for easy starting

Poulan Pro PR5020 Gas-Powered Chainsaw
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 20″ | Power: 50 cc | Weight: 17 pounds

Despite being a professional gas chainsaw with a 20-inch blade, the Poulan Pro PR5020 is still in a small, compact, and light design.

It also has a massive engine that is more than enough for this small chainsaw.


The Poulan Pro PR5020 is a saw that is built for felling trees, bucking trunks, and splitting firewood.

Despite its power, it comes at a reasonable price, a low weight of 13 lbs, and a lower noise level of only 102 dB.

The Special OxyPower Engine Technology allows you to save money for the long term. It creates 70% fewer emissions and 20% lower fuel consumption than other gas chainsaws.

The Poulan Pro PR5020 gas chainsaw will allow you to breathe more easily and avoid the adverse long-term effects of inhaling all those fumes.

As a plus, this chain saw helps filter air out more efficiently, lessening the time and effort required to clean it!


This Poulan Pro PR5020 includes an Inertia-Activated Chain Brake to keep you safe during use. It has an effortless pull starting system that reduces the pull force you will need to use by as much as 30%.

The Poulan Pro PR5020 also has a purge bulb, which supplies the carburetor with fuel and makes it easier to start with fewer pulls.

The Poulan features an Automatic (Fixed Flow) Oiler to keep your saw well-lubricated. Some may prefer an oiler with an adjustable flow; this depends on your preference.

Finally, it has a user-friendly combination choke/stop control that allows you to start these gas chain saws faster.

This Poulan Pro PR5020 feature will ensure you are given excellent reliability by lowering the risk of engine flooding if any stalling occurs.

Our Verdict

Despite some of its flaws, the Poulan Pro PR5020 is the top chainsaw for you if you want excellent value for your money; likewise, if you need a reliable chainsaw without stepping into the professional chainsaw market.

Here’s what you’ll love

Automatic (Fixed Flow) Oiler

70% fewer emissions

20% more fuel efficiency

Effortless pull system

Easy start-up

Purge bulb is protected

Here’s what you might not like

Manual Tensioning System

Prone to flooding

No adjustable flow oiler

#7 – Stihl MS 181

Quick Facts

Minimal weight while using the same Stihl 2-Mix Engine

Advanced air filtration system lessens the need for filter changes

A side-mounted chain tension adjuster can adjust the chain on the fly

Stihl MS 181
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 16″ | Power: 2.0 bhp | Weight: 10.1 lbs

Another great small chainsaw out of Stihl is their MS 181, using similar features to the MS 170 but with some changes done with its internal systems for an impressive performance around all garden-level jobs.

Despite designated as a “home gas chainsaw,” you’d be surprised with how much of a punch this chainsaw can bring.

Expect the work you normally found hard to be done much quicker with this chainsaw around.


The Stihl MS 181 uses the Stihl 2-Mix engine mentioned above.

This gives more power than traditional battery-powered and electric chainsaw types while using 20% less fuel and 70% fewer emissions.

The advanced combustion system within the 2-mix engine allows fuel and air to be mixed to the right levels, assisted by Stihl’s pre-separation air filtration system.

This acts as a buffer filtration for air intake, keeping your air filters lasting longer and managing airflow into the fuel.

The MS 181 also has a side-mounted chain tensioning feature that gives this gas chainsaw the ability to reapply tension on the chain without dismantling the bar and chain.

The Stihl Ematic lubrication system is present in the MS 181 as well, saving up to half of your oil through its even lubrication system that works with its Oilomatic chain grooves.

Stihl’s anti-migration system and single-lever master control keep the operation of the MS 181 easy and smooth.

Both systems are in place to lessen your fatigue while operating the chainsaw and give you better control over its functions.


The MS 181 is a 12 to 14-inch chainsaw. The Stihl 2-mix engine is a 2-cycle engine that keeps operations efficient while having a stable performance over an extended period of use.

It has a lighter weight than the other chainsaws on our list, coming in at around 4.3 kg weight-wise only.

Our Verdict

A highly portable small chainsaw, the MS 181 still delivers reliable performance on a traditional fuel power source.

Given its weight and advanced motors, this Stihl Model is as good a choice as their earlier MS 170.

Choosing this model depends on how each power tool feels for you and what you’re comfortable with.

Here’s what you’ll love

Lightweight but reliable motor

Good air filtration

Easy maintenance

Here’s what you might not like

May be too similar to MS 170

#8 – Husqvarna 135 Mk II

Quick Facts

Lightweight mid-sized home chainsaw

Strong 38cc X-Torq motor

Low-vibration technology reduces operator fatigue

Husqvarna 135 Mk II
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 16″ | Power: 2.1 hp | Weight: 4.7 pounds

Husqvarna still has more products that deviate from the standard 20 inches found on professional loggers.

Their 135 Mk II is designed for the best performance you’ll need when cleaning up and managing your home-stead.

Whether doing tree pruning, hobby work, or other light tasks, the 135 Mk II can manage work with ease.


The Husqvarna 135 Mk II uses their X-Torq engine like the 120 Mk II, giving you better fuel efficiency and fewer emissions for a cleaner operation.

Like the 120 Mk II, the 135 Mk II uses an Air Injection system that can remove larger debris particles from the gas chainsaw air intake through centrifugal force.

This acts as a secondary filter before hitting your main air filtration system and clogging them.

The low-vibration system and combined choke/stop control gives you a smooth operation and better control over your chainsaw. The inertia chain brake system also protects you from strong kickbacks or chain snapping.

A fuel pump and chain tensioning socket can keep your chainsaw running optimally through easy tension recalibration and fuel management at start-up.


The 135 Mk II is larger than other small chainsaws (which average at 12-inch bar length) on this list, coming in as a mid-sized 16-inch chainsaw.

Despite its larger size, its weight remains manageable at roughly 5 kg.

It has a strong 38cc motor that runs on Husqvarna’s X-Torq system, giving you a lot of power for a 2-cycle motor. It has a spacious 0.793-liter fuel tank for longer continuous running.

Our Verdict

Though not as “small” as other chainsaws, the 135 Mk II still knocks a lot of larger electric chainsaw types despite its size. It’s average weight and straightforward design keeps it useful without generating too much fuss.

All the aspects that make a Husqvarna chainsaw special is found inside the tool itself, so one shouldn’t be surprised that many of their chainsaws forgo unnecessary features.

Here’s what you’ll love

Powerful cutting motor

Mid-sized for larger trees

Here’s what you might not like

A bit big for amateurs

#9 – Stihl MS 151 C-E

Quick Facts

Lightest chainsaw on the list

It uses the same 2-Mix Stihl motor found on other Stihl chainsaws

Easy to start with ErgoStart and Manual Fuel Pump

Stihl MS 151 C-E
Type: Small Gas | Bar Length: 12″ | Power: 1.41 bhp | Weight: 6.1 lbs

To finish this list, we’ve looked at one of Stihl’s unique offerings, the MS 151 C-E. This version of a Stihl chainsaw probably has the lowest weight compared to everything else on this list.

Yet it performs just as well with its 2-Mix Stihl Motor, giving you professional cutting in one compact and low-weight chainsaw.


The Stihl MS 151 C-E uses their standard homeowner 2-Mix engine system for better work efficiency. One uses less fuel and emits less exhaust over time with the way their advanced combustion system works.

The MS 151 C-E also simplifies your chainsaw start through its ErgoStart and Manual Fuel Pump purger.

Not only does one need to pull less, but one can also control the fuel pumped during start cord pull.

Air-filters are also designed to be easily removed and replaced, while its tool-less fuel tank and side-chain tension control minimize downtime usually reserved for chain saw recalibration.

Stihl’s anti-vibration feature also mitigates the vibrations caused by the chain saw chain and the motor body. Vibrations usually tire one during prolonged periods of use, so a decrease in vibrations can lower your usage fatigue with the chain saw.

The MS 151 C-E uses the standard Stihl Ematic lubrication system limiting oil usage while still providing an even lubrication coating.


The MS 151 C-E is the lightest chain saw on this list, coming at a total body weight of 2.1 kg. It uses a minimal 12-inch guide bar with an easy-guidance chain to keep your cuts accurate.

Despite being small, it can still manage a 23.6 cc 2-cycle motor. This chain saw is probably the best in terms of power-to-weight ratio. 

Our Verdict

If weight is a big issue for you, then the MS 151 C-E should be your leading choice. It’s extremely lightweight compared to the other saws on this list and can make a chain saw work a breeze.

Whether it’s a weight issue or just need more body control, the MS 151 C-E can meet your light cutting tasks.

Here’s what you’ll love

Easy to start

Lightest weight for easy handling

Here’s what you might not like

May lack inertia cutting power

Advantages of Gas Chainsaws

Picking a good fuel-powered chainsaw gets you a more reliable source of cutting power than an electric chainsaw.

They are also likely to weigh lighter than electric chainsaws, at least regarding saws with similar cutting power.

Despite being louder and requiring more experience to use, gas chainsaws can make the most wood and cutting tasks easy without losing too much power with tougher materials.

Trying to cut thicker wood can drain a battery-powered chainsaw much faster than gas-powered fuel tanks.

So, if you find yourself doing challenging cutting tasks and don’t mind the extra noise, a gas-powered chainsaw would be the best chainsaw choice for you.

What to Keep in Mind When Picking a Chainsaw

Before buying any chainsaw, you must know how to use and maintain one properly. 

For a quick overview, here are a few things to remember when buying a chainsaw:

Safety and Protection

It’s important to understand two things when considering protection while using a chainsaw: Kickbacks and Equipment.

A kickback is a sudden jerk of a chainsaw due to its rotational cutting behavior. These can be dangerous with those unfamiliar with how to use chainsaws as the chainsaw often bounces back towards the operator.

Kickbacks occur due to chainsaw misuse or a dull saw chain. If you strike dirt and rock at times when cutting felled wood, you may have a likely chance to experience a kickback.

Many modern chainsaws now have at least one type of anti-vibration system to keep the chances of kickback low and have specialized ANSI-standard low-kickback saw chains.

In line with protection, make sure you are wearing the correct gear when operating a chainsaw. Make sure your clothes are durable yet not movement restricting.

Chainsaw Parts

Most people would say there are ten parts of a chainsaw that you must keep an eye on.

You’ll need to make sure these parts are in working order through regular maintenance and checks to get the most out of your tool.

It’s also important to note that OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requires all work chainsaws to have the proper safety parts in compliance with the Department of Labor.

The 10 parts are:

  1. Chain Saw Catcher – A protective guard to shield the operator if a chain break occurs.
  2. Flywheel – A weighted wheel that controls engine speed and cools the engine.
  3. Clutch – Attached to the chain sprocket, allowing for control of the chain drive.
  4. Decompression Valve – Releases chainsaw compression for chainsaw start.
  5. Anti-vibration system – OSHA recommended for lower operator fatigue while in use.
  6. Handguard – A protective guard for the operator’s hands in-case of kickback.
  7. Muffler – Reduces noise on a gas chain saw.
  8. Chain Break – Required chainsaw feature that stops the chain if kickback occurs.
  9. Throttle – Regulates chain rotation by controlling fuel intake.
  10. Throttle Interlock  – Stops throttle from activating before interlock activation.

If you want a home type chainsaw, try keeping the bar and chain length to around 12-16 inches long, with the ideal size usually falling under a 14-inch bar.

Keep the chainsaws that have guide bars of 20 inches away from your choices, as it’s doubtful you’ll need that much cutting space.

Types of Chainsaw Motors/Engine

Without getting too technical, a gas chainsaw would generally come in two motor types: 2-cycle and 4-cycle.

2-Cycle Motors/Engine

A 2-cycle, or 2-stroke, is a type of motor that mixes gasoline fuel with oil for its internal ignition process. This gives you a lighter weight chain saw motor and a faster RPM acceleration.

This is good for thinner woods as the gas chain saw operates proficiently at its optimum max speed.

The chainsaw won’t generate as much torque when it spins at slower rates. This translates to lesser cutting power for more resilient wood types.

4-Cycle Motors/Engine

A 4-cycle motor, as the name suggests, uses four movements to ignite the fuel and air mixture of its internal combustion.

A 4-cycle motor is for times when looking for increased torque with no high rotation or RPM.

The 4-cycle acceleration for saw rotations builds up slower than the lighter weight 2-cycle engines. Use this for tougher wood that needs stronger initial torque to cut.

Types of Chains

Even the chain should be considered when buying a chainsaw, as this is made of different parts that can affect performance. We will focus on two parts: Cutters and Drive Links.

The drive links (called the chain part in the gas “chain saw”) connect each cutter.

These often come in different arrangements or spacings for the cutters. They operate similarly to tank-treads and rotates around the guide bar.

Cutters are better understood as the “saw” part of the gas “chain saw.” It comprises multiple individual edged points around the chain that serves as the main cutting parts.

Depending on what you need, these cutters can come in Full Chisel, Semi-Chisel, and Low Profile.

Full Chisel

Full chisel cutters use sharp, square-edged corners. This is the most aggressive type of chain meant for tough hardwoods and normally comes with chainsaws with a strong 4-cycle engine.

Though you need to take note that the sharp corners dull out quickly. A dull chain can pose many issues, namely dangerous kickbacks that can damage bark or injure those nearby.

Go for a full chisel chain if you are experienced using chainsaws and regularly find yourself cutting tougher wood types. Just make sure you file your chains often to avoid any mishaps.


Semi-chisel cutters use rounded edges compared to the full chisel’s sharp square edges. Though it isn’t as strong as full chisel cutters, they generate less kickback and stay sharp longer.

Most home small chainsaws come with semi-chisel cutters as they are usually designed with safer operation in mind and come with ANSI’s standardized low-kickback specifications.

If you need a good general-purpose chainsaw that requires a minimum amount of maintenance, go for the semi-chisel chains.

Micro Chisel

Micro Chisel cutters are smaller versions of semi-chisel cutters, often also with smaller rounded curves.

Like the semi-chisel, you can expect the micro chisel gas chainsaw to give low kickback and generally remain easy to control.

Keep using micro chisel on small gas chainsaws for softwood detail cutting and finishing. You can use it on harder woods but don’t expect it to get the job done quickly.

Low Profile

A low profile chainsaw chain is more often found on newer chainsaws. While they are technically counted as a type of semi-chisel chainsaw, the lower height of the cutters sets this chain apart.

A lower cutter height generates lower resistance when cutting, giving an even lower risk to kickback compared to the previous two cutters.

You must note that low profile chains often cut slower than regular height chains as a compromise for its lower kickback risk.

Go for this cutter if you’re a beginner or are looking for extra safety with a chainsaw.

Special Chainsaw Features

A few distinctive features are found on specific chainsaws that can help your saw run effectively.

Self-Sharpening Chainsaws

Some specialty chainsaws include self-sharpening functionalities so you can keep your chain sharp as you use it. It works by having retractable sharpening steel controlled manually by a lever.

When the lever is pulled, the steel comes out and sharpens the cutters using the chainsaw’s rotational movement. This reduces the downtime often needed to file and sharpen chainsaw chains.

Though you shouldn’t rely on this function all the time, as overuse can remove too much metal.

Too much metal removal can cause your chainsaw to become dull quickly and risk kickback while in use.

Self Lubricating Chainsaws

Lubrication is important in operating a chainsaw. It used to be that older chainsaws require manual input of lubrication oils to avoid heat and friction build-up.

Most modern chainsaws now have self-lubricating systems that can lubricate your chainsaw chain during use through small oil reservoir tanks found near the guide bar.

Best Practices to Take Care of your Chainsaw

Your new chainsaw will only be as good as how well you take care of it. Popular chainsaw manufacturer Stihl has come out with a simple guide on how to maintain your chainsaw. We’ve summarized the steps here:

Practice Proper Storage

Storage is everything with power tools. A well-ventilated and UV protected area is standard for anyone serious about keeping their tools safe.

As an extra safety measure, always keep the chainsaw stored away from pets and young children as accidents may occur with unsupervised tools.

Empty The Fuel Tank

Keep the fuel tank working properly by draining it every now and then for proper cleaning. You want to avoid any build-up that may occur from old oil, fuel, and air.

Part of this is making sure the carburetor is clean and drained, keeping the internal mechanisms working properly.

Regular Dismantling

You have to know the ins and outs of your chainsaw to properly keep it in working shape. This means regularly dismantling the chainsaw for proper cleaning.

For additional protection, consider using mineral grade oil to coat each part with a protective shield against corrosion, friction, and other environmental factors.

Chain Sharpening

As we mentioned a while ago, regular chainsaw use entails knowing how to file and sharpen your chainsaw.

You need to make sure your chainsaw cutter edges remain sharp and sturdy. You’ll need to take a simple flat and round file to ensure that the cutter edges are not deformed from usage over dirt and rock.

Top Picks

Here are our 3 top picks of small gas chainsaws.


Stihl MS 170

Stihl MS 170

Key Takeaways

Powerful and fuel-efficient STIHL 2-MIX engine

Straightforward design

Stihl Ematic lubrication and vibration mitigation system


Echo CS-2511T

Echo CS-2511T

Key Takeaways

G-Force Engine Air Pre-cleaner filters the air

Echo Fast Choke system gives easy starts

Easy access fuel tank system and chain tensioner


If you were looking to upgrade your lawn management capabilities, then getting a small gas chainsaw is an effective way to amp up your cutting capabilities.

Just remember that a chain saw is also a serious investment and will require proper maintenance to ensure it continues to work well.

Whichever you may choose, properly train yourself to avoid any issue with chainsaw kickback or malfunctions that may occur.

Why You Can Count on Backyard Mike's Reviews

At Backyard Mike, we take pride in providing honest and unbiased reviews of the best chainsaws, log splitters, and pole saws for your specific needs. Our team of experts thoroughly researches and tests each product before recommending it to you. In addition, we take feedback from users of the product into consideration when writing our reviews. We believe in transparency and always disclose any potential biases or conflicts of interest. You can trust our reviews to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next outdoor power tool.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.