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Best Pocket Chainsaws 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

a pocket chain saw

There’s no question; chainsaws are the best tools for cutting down trees and limbs. But they’re big, expensive, heavy, and difficult to take with you when you’re going somewhere. Can you imagine carrying that cumbersome saw along every time you go camping?

Luckily, you don’t have to lug that big behemoth around to make quick work of limbs and small trees. Instead, you can pack a pocket chainsaw into your pocket or pack, adding only a few ounces of weight to your total load.

But if you do a search for pocket chainsaws, you’ll quickly be inundated with results. It can be overwhelming, which is why we set out to do the hard work of testing them all and comparing them in the following five reviews. We hope that they will streamline the decision-making process for you, allowing you to pick a tool and get back to your favorite backwoods activities.


A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2020:

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw
  • 36-inch chain
  • Resharpenable
  • Fast cuts
  • Second place
    Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw with Paracord Handle Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw with Paracord Handle
  • Paracord handle
  • Bi-directional teeth
  • Includes belt pouch
  • Best Value
    Third place
    SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw
  • Self-cleaning teeth reduce binding
  • Chain can be sharpened
  • Weighs just 5 ounces
  • Paracord 36-Inch Pocket Chainsaw Paracord 36-Inch Pocket Chainsaw
  • Paracord handles are very versatile
  • Tested to withstand 550 pounds
  • Fishing line in the paracord
  • Homyall Limb Rope Hand Chainsaw Homyall Limb Rope Hand Chainsaw
  • 48″ length cuts
  • Double-sided blades
  • The 5 Best Pocket Chainsaws:

    1. Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw – Best Overall

    Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw

    Most of the pocket chainsaws we tested had short chains of about 24 inches. This makes for a more time-consuming cut using very short strokes. But the Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw has an extended 36-inch chain, not including the handles. This made for far more efficient cutting since you could pull much farther with each stroke.

    Thankfully, this chain cuts in both directions. You’ll be making progress with each pull left and right, helping to speed up the process even more. When the blade starts to dull out and slow down, you can sharpen it with a regular chainsaw file to return it to peak performance. Since it’s protected by a lifetime guarantee, you can be sure that it will continue to function like new or you can get it replaced.

    This package includes a small fire starter; unnecessary, but a nice touch nonetheless. Our only real complaint was that the webbing on the straps can cause blisters, so you might want to wear some gloves or replace them with something more comfortable.

    In short, we think that this is the best pocket chainsaw of 2020.

    Pros
    • 36-inch chain
    • Resharpenable
    • Lifetime guarantee
    • Fast cuts
    Cons
    • Better on green than dry wood
    • The webbing can cause blisters, you might want gloves

    2. Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw with Paracord Handle

    Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw

    Rather than using straps that can’t serve any other purpose, the Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw utilizes paracord handles instead. This makes them infinitely more useful. If you get in a bind, you can unravel the paracord and use it for all sorts of things.

    This chain is made from industrial-grade heat-treated steel so it will hold up to repeated abuse. It’s so small that you can take it anywhere with you; just four inches when folded. And since it weighs less than half a pound, you’re unlikely to notice the extra weight in your bag.

    But this tool isn’t perfect, and we have two minor gripes. The 24-inch chain is perfectly adequate, but it didn’t cut as fast as the longer 36-inch pocket chainsaws. We also weren’t very impressed with the lackluster one-year warranty. But it’s more reasonably priced than other models we’ve seen, so we can forgive the mediocre warranty period.

    Pros
    • Paracord handle
    • One-year warranty
    • Bi-directional teeth
    • Includes belt pouch
    Cons
    • Jamming issues

    3. SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw – Best Value

    SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw

    While none of these pocket chainsaws are exactly expensive, the SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw is still far more affordable than the rest, which is why we think it’s the best pocket chainsaw for the money. It’s less than half the price of some other models we tested, though it performs just as well.

    This chain features self-cleaning teeth that help reduce instances of binding. But they’ll still get dull over time. Thankfully, they can be sharpened again very simply using a regular ⅛-inch round chainsaw sharpener.

    One of the biggest draws of a pocket chainsaw is the portability. At just 5 ounces in weight, this one is definitely portable and easy to pack. It’s only five inches by four inches when folded into the pouch, so you can stuff it just about anywhere.

    We did notice that some of the links occasionally jam together. It only happened to us once, but they were quite difficult to get separated again. Still, for the price, we think the SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw is the best value.

    Pros
    • Very affordably priced
    • Self-cleaning teeth reduce binding
    • The chain can be sharpened with a chainsaw sharpener
    • Weighs just 5 ounces
    Cons
    • Links may occasionally get jammed together

    4. Paracord 36-Inch Pocket Chainsaw

    Paracord 36-Inch Pocket Chainsaw

     

    We’re always partial to tools that have expandable usability. That’s why we liked the Paracord Pocket Chainsaw. The paracord handles work well as intended, but if you end up in a situation, you can always pull them apart to make use of the paracord. And this paracord is tested to withstand 550 pounds, so you can rely on it in hard times. It even has fishing line inside!

    To make for more efficient cutting, this chainsaw has an extended chain of 36 inches. Combined with the comfortable paracord handles, it makes for a nice cutting experience. But you’ll want to keep an eye on those handles because they do tend to unravel. Once unraveled, it’s difficult to get them tied up tight again, so it’s good to be preemptive.

    This pocket chainsaw is quite a bit more expensive than some of the others we tested. We like the paracord handles, but they don’t justify the price, especially since they come apart. If it were more reasonably priced, this tool might have broken into our top three.

    Pros
    • Paracord handles are very versatile
    • Tested to withstand 550 pounds
    • Fishing line in the paracord
    • 36″ chain makes cutting easier and quicker
    Cons
    • More expensive than other options
    • Paracord not trustworthy

    5. Homyall Limb Rope 48-Inch Hand Chainsaw

    Homyall 48-inch

    We like the extended chains that allow for more efficient cutting, so we were excited to give the Homyall 48-Inch Limb Rope Saw a try. It’s twice as long as many competitors, and we expected it to make short work of limbs. It did, but the extra length created extra problems, making it more difficult to trim smaller branches.

    One thing we really liked about this chain was the double-sided blades. Most chains have blades on just one side. But this chain can cut either way. It doesn’t matter how it lands on the branch, just start tugging and it will start cutting.

    But the included wrist straps are tiny and far from comfortable. The holes on the chains are too small to fit ropes through though. You’ll need to add some D-rings if you want to add ropes to make for a better cutting experience. If these had been included, then the Homyall Limb Saw Rope might have been a top contender.

    Pros
    • 48″ length cuts very quickly with less effort
    • Double-sided blades
    Cons
    • Uncomfortable T-handles
    • Underwhelming rope quality
    • Struggles with hard woods
    • Can’t run a rope through the chains without D-rings

    Buyer’s Guide

    Still unsure of which pocket chainsaw to buy? Don’t worry, that’s why we wrote this short buyer’s guide. Hopefully, it will help you to narrow down the choices and focus on the traits that matter the most.

    RELATED READING: Our reviews of the best backpacking saws in 2020

    Choosing a Pocket Chainsaw

    So, what traits should you prioritize when looking for a pocket chainsaw? After using quite a few of them, we’ve figured out which things make a big difference, and we think those are the places you should focus your attention.

    Length

    a pocket chainsawPocket chainsaws come in various lengths. The average size is about 24 inches, but you can find them as long as 48 inches. Why would you choose one over the other?

    A shorter chain will be less efficient at cutting. It takes longer because each stroke is shorter, so you’ll get less from each pull. On the other hand, the shorter throw makes for an easier time when cutting smaller branches.

    Longer chains make for quicker, more efficient cutting, especially on larger limbs. You get a lot more distance with each pull, so more blades are passing through the cut. But the flip side is that you’ll have a more difficult time pulling all of that length across smaller branches.

    Warranty

    Pocket chainsaws are asked to perform a pretty difficult task. Over time, they can get dull, links can get jammed, and they can even break. To make sure this doesn’t leave you toolless, some of the better saws include warranties.

    We’ve seen short warranty periods of one-year or even six months. That’s better than nothing, but it’s not great. On the other side of the spectrum, some companies offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. We’d recommend looking for the saw with the best warranty so you can be sure that your investment is protected.

    SEE ALSO: Our reviews of the best camping saws in 2020

    Blades

    Each chain has a different number of blades and may use different types of blades entirely. Some of our favorites used bi-directional blades that cut when being pulled from either direction. This makes for much more efficient cutting since each stroke will be removing wood.

    Most of these chains only feature blades on one side. While this isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, it’s a bit of an inconvenience. Alternatively, you could opt for a pocket chainsaw that has double-sided blades. That means that both sides of the chain have blades so it doesn’t matter which side lands on the branch. Just keep an eye on your fingers!

    using a pocket chainsaw

    Price

    No matter which pocket chainsaw you choose, they all perform the same duties. But they can go for drastically different prices. Some of the more expensive models we tested cost around three times as much as the cheapest ones! Is there a justification for the higher price?

    You can expect to pay a bit more for a longer chain or better wrist straps. Likewise, the products that are protected by better warranties tend to cost a bit more as well. But the truth is, we had great luck with some very affordable models. Just because a particular tool is more expensive doesn’t mean that it performs better.

    Conclusion:

    Pocket chainsaws are incredible tools that can make short work of limbs and trees in places where a full-sized chainsaw would be difficult to bring. After reading our reviews, you’ve seen how some of the best pocket chainsaws compare to each other. But we actually tried them, so we’re going to leave you with our final recommendations.

    The Sportsman Pocket Hand Chainsaw was our best pocket chainsaw overall. The elongated 36-inch chain makes for quicker cutting, aided by the bi-directional blades. If it gets dull, you can sharpen it with a regular chainsaw file and the tool is protected by a lifetime guarantee.

    Our runner-up was the Skyocean Pocket Chainsaw. This one has a paracord handle that can be repurposed for many different uses if needed. It’s made from heat-treated industrial-grade steel, folds down to just four inches, and weighs less than half a pound.

    Finally, for the best value pocket chainsaw, we recommend the SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw. It performs admirably, though it’s considerably cheaper-priced than the others we tested. Plus, the self-cleaning teeth reduce binding and the chain can be sharpened with a regular chainsaw sharpener.

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