Best Pocket Chainsaws (2020 Guide)

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​Pocket chainsaws may sound a bit ridiculous, but these are some of the best tools in the business for clearing trails and having on hand as an emergency supply.

Read on to learn about the best pocket chainsaws available and how these tools can improve your hiking, camping, and bushwhacking experience.

Comparison Chart of the ​Best Pocket Chainsaws

Product

Our Rating

​Price

Nordic Pocket Saw Survival Chainsaw

Best Overall

Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw

Runner-up

SOS Gear Pocket Chainsaw

Best for the Money

BlueSaw Survival Chainsaw Pocket Hand Saw

Best Hard Grip Pocket Chainsaw

SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw

Editor's Pick

What is a Pocket Chainsaw?

A pocket chainsaw is just what their name describes: these are chainsaws that you are able to fold up small enough to be stored in your pocket. They would probably be more accurately described as “pocket chains.”

​These chainsaws lack most of the components of regular chainsaws, such as an engine, a plastic housing, a gas tank/battery/electrical cord, and even a bar. They are chains with teeth that fold up and are stored in small pouches that are usually easily strapped to your belt.

How to Choose a Pocket Chainsaw

Here is what makes a good pocket chainsaw:

Comfortable Handles

Pocket chainsaws are operated by gripping their handles and pulling them back and forth. You want to make sure the handles are comfortable and will not leave chafe marks on your hands.

Lighter Weight

A pocket chainsaw would hardly be handy if it were so heavy it could not be carried along with you conveniently, would it? Make sure you invest in a saw that is not overly heavy or bulky.

Versatility

Pocket chainsaws are mostly intended for trail work and other times when you need to cut something in a setting that would not be advantageous to bring a full blown chainsaw to. But that does not mean they can’t cut a variety of stuff! Invest in a saw that can cut everything from limbs to trunks to logs.

Quick Take: Best ​Pocket Chainsaws

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best​ pocket chainsaws:

  1. Nordic Pocket Saw Survival Chainsaw
  2. Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
  3. SOS Gear Pocket Chainsaw

Review of the Best Pocket Chainsaws

We have compiled a list of the most standout pocket chainsaws available on the market today:

​Best Overall:
Nordic Pocket Saw Survival Chainsaw

PROS

  • Has 33  teeth
  • About 65 cm long
  • Has a five year limited warranty
  • Comes with a carrying case that can be hooked onto your belt for easy access
  • Can easily be stored under the saddle of snowmobile or next to your car’s spare tire

CONS

  • Does not come with​ operating instructions

Our Review

This pocket chainsaw stood out as our top choice for a number of reasons. Its chain is made of heat treated high carbon steel which is specifically intended to be as resilient as possible, no matter how harsh the external conditions may be. 

Every single chain link has double cutting teeth, which makes the whole cutting process much faster and more efficient. Many users report that it can easily be used by folks without a lot of strength or who may be unfamiliar with the process of using any chainsaw, let alone a pocket one.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We were particularly impressed with the nylon handles on this pocket chainsaw. They are extra large, much bigger than many of their competitor brands. They are also heavy duty and made of high quality material that provides a steady grip, even if they become wet.

​Runner-up:
​Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw​​​

PROS

  • ​Self cleaning
  • ​33 inches long
  • ​Easy to sharpen
  • ​Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • ​Sportsman is a reliable outdoor gear brand that you will be able to count on

CONS

  • ​Does not have as many teeth as some of its competitor brands

Our Review

Thi​​​​s saw is ideal if you are looking for something versatile, that can handle pretty much anything you are able to throw at it. Users report that it is small and nimble enough to cut through thinner branches, yet also tough and durable enough to be able to handle cuts all the way up to thicker tree trunks. 

​Additionally, the handles are fortified with metal brackets, so you will never need to worry about them wearing out or tearing. The brackets add more power to each of your pulls as well, to make the overall cutting process much faster.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We were big fans of the bi-directional cutting capabilities on this little saw. If you can position it properly, it is able to cut through three sides of a limb all at the same time! You really can’t beat that in terms of cutting efficiency.

​Best for the Money:
​​​​SOS Gear Pocket Chainsaw

PROS

  • Does not rust
  • Great for carrying along on quad rides to clear up trails
  • Has a double purpose – both a pocket chainsaw and a fire starter
  • Can choose between a chain that is 24 inches long or 36 inches long

CONS

  • Does not have as many teeth per inch as other models on this list

Our Review

This product has it all! When you buy from SOS Gear, not only do you receive a pocket chainsaw, but also a fire starter with a built in compass, a whistle, and a camouflage pouch with separate storage areas for each of the individual pieces. If you are looking for a complete survival kit, look no further than this package.

It has been endorsed for use by avid backpackers, hunters, campers, fishermen, and even (for the pocket chainsaw component at least) by at home gardeners! The saw is efficient and effective, and the rest of the kit will aid you greatly in any sort of emergency situation.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We were blown away when we saw the price tag on this little saw. We figured that for such a low price, the saw would probably be useless, or break on the first try, but we were pleasantly surprised! This saw is remarkably durable for such a low cost.

​Best Hard Grip Pocket Chainsaw:
Blue Saw Survival Chainsaw Pocket Hand Saw

PROS

  • Not laborious to use
  • Weighs less than half a pound
  • Comes with an included fire starter
  • Easily cuts through limbs and small logs

CONS

  • Some users report the handles separated from the saw fairly easily

Our Review

We will cover the hard grip handles in the section below, but this saw really stood out to us for a variety of reasons. First, it is incredibly tough – multiple users have reported that it is strong enough even to cut through dead wood that is hard and in some cases frozen through.

Despite being super heavy duty, it is not actually heavy in weight. It is one of the lightest models offered on this list, coming in with a weight that is just under half of a pound. This quality also makes it one of the easiest chainsaws to use that we have reviewed.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We loved the intentional handle design on this model. Yes, they are made of plastic, which some folks may worry is less comfortable than nylon, but in actuality, they are more ergonomic thanks to their thoughtful design. Your hands will not be sore after using this saw!

​Editor’s Pick:
SUMPRI Pocket Chainsaw

PROS

  • Makes smooth cuts
  • Has a 30 day warranty
  • Durable, will last for a long time
  • Well made of high quality material

CONS

  • Users with big hands report that they had difficult fitting their hands inside the strap handles

Our Review

This saw is the longest on our list, coming in at 36 inches, which makes it long enough to not get bound up in shorter strokes. The length also adds efficiency to its cutting time – one user reported cutting through a log that was 10 inches in diameter in just a matter of minutes!

Like some other models, it comes with an included fire starter, but this fire starter stands out from the rest in that it is waterproof, shatterproof, and fireproof. The chain also comes pre-sharpened and will not need to be sharpened again for quite a long time.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

We appreciated the versatility present with this model. If you need it to be longer in order to cut a branch or a tree trunk that is wider in diameter, you can simply extend the saw length by adding the extra paracord which is included with every purchase.

Pros and Cons of Pocket Chainsaws

Why should you go with a pocket chainsaw over more conventional models? Here is a breakdown:

Pros

Convenience

Pocket chainsaws are incredibly convenient. They eliminate a lot of the more annoying aspects of traditional chainsaws, such as heavy weight and loud noise. 

Safety

Chainsaw are one of the most dangerous power tools you could ever operate. But with pocket chainsaws, you significantly reduce your personal risk.

Environmentally Friendly

If you want to be environmentally friendly, you can’t really do better than a pocket chainsaw. They are emission free and do not require any electricity to operate.

Cons

Manual Labor

One of the main pros of the pocket chainsaw is also its biggest con – no emissions and no electricity means that these bad boys are purely powered by your own manual labor. These saws can be tiring to use after a little while. 

Complicated Operation

Pocket chainsaws can sometimes be complicated to use when you need to find the best angle to cut. They are also not as efficient as traditional chainsaws at setting up and getting cuts done.


Pocket Chainsaw vs Folding Saw – Comparison Overview

Similarities

If you are familiar with the world of portable chainsaws, you may be wondering why you should go with a pocket chainsaw over a folding saw.

A folding saw is similar in structure to a penknife, where you can pop out the saw blade and use its teeth, and then pop the blade back in for safe transportation.

Like a pocket chainsaw, it is lightweight and easy to transport. 

Differences

We would argue that pocket chainsaws are generally more versatile and can get the job done much quicker than folding saws. Folding saws can be difficult to navigate in weird angles because their blade is inflexible, while pocket chainsaws are just a chain, so they can fit pretty much anywhere they need to go.

You can also cut things much more quickly with a pocket chainsaw because you are using two hands to power it. The two hand requirement could potentially be seen as the folding saw’s only advantage over the pocket chainsaw – you only need one hand to use it.

How to Use a Pocket Chainsaw

  • ​Unfold your pocket chainsaw’s chain.

  • ​Wrap the chain around the tree or limb you are intending to cut.

  • ​Move the handles back and forth to “saw” the chain against the limb. You can brace yourself against the limb (if it is large enough to support your weight) using your foot to allow for more leverage and faster cutting.

  • ​The teeth on a pocket chainsaw’s chain can be sharpened using the same tools you use to sharpen the teeth on your regular chainsaw chains, such as round files.

​Note! If you have a pocket chainsaw where the teeth are designed to cut in both directions, just remember to sharpen both edges on each tooth!

  • ​Remember to store your pocket chainsaw back in its pouch when you are all done with it, to prevent it from bouncing around in your bag and potentially cutting your hand if you reach into your pack to grab something.

The video below provides a more thorough overview of the above outlined steps:

Conclusion

Pocket chainsaws are honestly awesome. You can carry them around pretty much everywhere you go, and you will always have a handy tool ready to take out any limbs or logs that may be in your way. Make sure you invest in a saw that will best suit your needs in terms of length and ease of use. You will not be able to go wrong with any of the models on our list.

People Also Ask

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about pocket chainsaws:

Are Pocket Chainsaws Hard To Keep Clean?

They really are not any more complicated than a regular chainsaw blade to clean, except that you might forget to clean them as often as you should because you just put them back in their pouch when you are done using them.

How Long Are Pocket Chainsaws?

Pocket chainsaws range in length, just like regular chainsaw blades and chains. They can usually be found anywhere from 24 to 48 inches in length.

How Many Teeth Are On A Pocket Chainsaw?

Again, this number can vary depending on what pocket chainsaw you are using, and particularly the length of the chain. Longer chains obviously require more teeth.

Do Pocket Chainsaws Need Oil?

Yes, pocket chainsaws should be maintained using oil the same way you would try to maintain the blade on a regular chainsaw. The plus side of a pocket chainsaw, though, is that you do not need to also oil the saw’s motor, because it does not have one!

What Can A Pocket Chainsaw Cut Through?

Pocket chainsaws are intended to be used when out in the forest and potentially to be part of someone’s survival gear kit. They can cut through large limbs and small trees.