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5 Best Pocket Chainsaws: Small in Size, Big in Cutting Power

A reliable cutting tool can make all the difference in an outdoor adventure. No, a pocket chainsaw is not a powered saw like this picture, but one that can actually fit in your pocket! A pocket chainsaw, while compact and portable, is a surprisingly powerful tool. Whether you’re a hiker, camper, or survivalist, this tool can tackle branches, small trees, and other woody obstacles, making it an essential companion for any outdoor enthusiast.

We love and have chainsaws of all types for our adventures, so today, we are taking a closer look at our list of five best pocket chainsaws, perfect for packing in your outdoor kit. Let’s dive in!

Pocket chainsaw blade in a pocket

What Is a Pocket Chainsaw?

A pocket chainsaw is a compact and portable cutting tool for outdoor use. It consists of a chain with sharp cutting teeth attached to handles at each end. The compact size makes it convenient to carry and store the pocket chainsaw, making it a useful tool for yard work and camping kits. While these tools are lightweight, they can still cut through branches, small trees, and brush. 

What is Pocket Chainsaw?

Do Pocket Chainsaws Work Like Regular Chainsaws?

Pocket chainsaws differ from regular chainsaws in terms of their operation. While regular chainsaws typically run on electricity or gasoline, pocket chainsaws are manual tools relying on physical force to cut through wood. By holding the handles at each end and moving the tool in a back-and-forth motion, its teeth cut with ease. 

Pocket chainsaw chains are not quite the same as a powered unit either. Pocket chainsaws have cutting teeth that alternate directions. This is so that they are less aggressive in cutting (they are human-powered) and so that the cut in both directions. A pocket chainsaw cuts with a back-and-forth motion and is most efficient when it can take cuts in each direction of pull.

While they may not match the cutting power of a standard chainsaw, their portability, convenience, and ease of use give them a leg up. The compact size and manual operation make them ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and campers. 

Pocket chainsaw in a hand

What Can a Pocket Chainsaw Cut Through? 

A pocket chainsaw can usually cut through various types of wood, like branches and small trees. The sharp-cutting teeth handle materials you’ll encounter in outdoor settings. However, the cutting capacity of this tool typically depends on the model and the user’s strength. Some models can cut through wood up to fifteen inches thick.

From deadwood and fallen branches to overgrown vegetation, a pocket chainsaw can effectively cut through outdoor obstacles. It is a practical tool for clearing trails, preparing firewood, building shelter, and other outdoor tasks. 

While they can cut through large materials, they do require quite a bit of work, so don’t expect to replace your powered chainsaw with a pocket unit. These are mainly for carrying while hiking or as an emergency for remote adventures. That being said, we have found these pocket saws a far better choice for backwoods cutting than most hand powered saws and they take up far less space.

Cutting with pocket chainsaw
A pocket chainsaw may be lightweight, but it can still cut through thick branches and brush.

Things to Consider When Buying a Pocket Chainsaw

When purchasing a pocket chainsaw, there are several important factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look at what you should keep in mind while you buy.

Number of Teeth 

The number of teeth on the chain affects the cutting efficiency and speed of the chainsaw. More teeth will result in a smoother and faster cut. However, too many teeth may lead to clogging or reduced cutting performance for the pocket chainsaw. 


The material of the chain and the handles you use to maneuver the tool are vital factors. High-quality steel or durable alloys can ensure longevity and resistance to wear. Sturdy handles, like nylon or rubber, can provide a comfortable and secure grip, and stop blisters from forming from use. 

Chain Length

The length of the chain determines the cutting capacity of the chainsaw. Longer chains allow you to cut through thicker branches or trees, while shorter chains are better for smaller cutting tasks. Consider your intended use and select a chain length that best suits your needs. The handle positions are sometimes adjustable with the chain, but many times they are not.

Pro Tip: Before you head out on your outdoor adventure, make sure you read our article on Bushcraft 101: How to Build a Survival Shelter in the Wilderness

Using pocket chainsaw
The blade length, number of teeth, and durability of the material of your pocket chainsaw will impact its performance.

5 Best Pocket Chainsaws

Whether you want to do some yard work or are building a survival bag to take with you into the wilderness, the following pocket chainsaws can quickly cut through brush and branches. 

CAMPNDOOR Pocket Chainsaw

The CAMPNDOOR Pocket Chainsaw is the ultimate portable power tool. With forty-eight full tiger claws and clog-clearing bulldozer teeth, this pocket chainsaw can easily cut through tree branches without getting stuck. For those looking to do extensive pruning projects, the manganese-infused steel and ergonomic comfort handles allow you to cut for hours.

This tool measures ‎50 inches long by half an inch wide and high. It weighs half a pound, making it convenient to pack up and travel with. The comfort handles help prevent blisters. The ‎36-inch blade never dulls, making it unnecessary to resharpen it over time, even after cutting through dense bush.

CAMPNDOOR Pocket Chainsaw 36 Inch - 65Mn Heavy...
  • THIS HAND SAW WON'T QUIT - 4000N Testing on this 65Mn MANUAL...
  • LESS EFFORT, CUTS FAST, WON'T GET STUCK - 2x Faster Cut&Clear...
  • SLICE LIKE BUTTER, RETAINS & RESHARPENS - No Chainsaw Sharpener...

Nordic Pocket Saw Premium

We really like the saw, but its a bit pricy and performs similarly to lower-cost models. However, it comes with some really nice leather handles and a carrying pouch.

For rugged outdoor adventurers, the Nordic Pocket Saw Premium is the perfect tool to pack in your survivalist bag. With thirty-three double-cutting teeth, this pocket saw can cut in both directions. It can cut through logs up to fifteen inches thick, making it a suitable tool for cutting firewood while camping or clearing brush while on the trail. 

The Nordic Pocket Saw Premium has a unique design with premium organic Swedish leather handles and carrying holster, for comfortable use and durability. The blade is heat-treated carbon steel for extra resilience under harsh conditions. The chain measures 65 centimeters long.

Personally, we love leather pouches when it comes to chainsaw protection as the blades rarely cut it and it holds up long-term.

Nordic Pocket Saw - Pocket Chainsaw 25.6" - Made...
  • This pocket chain saw is a versatile and lightweight tool...
  • The case and handles are made from 100% organic and certified...
  • The pocket saw chain is outfitted with bi-directional teeth on...
dont replace your powered saw with a pocket saw
Ditch the expensive professionals and use a pocket chainsaw to prune tree branches in your yard.

Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw

Quickly build a shelter or remove a fallen tree blocking a trail with the Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw. This tool has a high carbon 65mn thick chain that you can easily re-sharpen with a 5/32 round. It is smaller than the pocket chainsaws with sixteen teeth and is 4.7 inches long, 3.4 inches wide, and 1.8 inches high. This tool can tear through a three-inch tree limb in ten seconds. The blade has a special treatment to help prevent rust and corrosion over time.

The Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw is a useful addition to any Bug Out Bag. Weighing 4.9 ounces with a heavy-duty nylon storage pouch, this tool packs away easily for emergencies. In addition to the chainsaw, the kit comes with a free firestarter for extra survival assistance in the wilderness.

Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw 36 Inch Long Chain With...
  • LENGTH MATTERS - While other 24 inch saws are too short, too...
  • QUALITY DOES COUNT - Our saw rips through anything from thin...

SKYOCEAN Pocket Chainsaw with Paracord Handle 

This is one of our favorites for its price and usability. Some people choose to just replace their saw blades when they wear out, and a more cost-effective option like this is a good choice.

Whether you’re doing yard work or going camping, the SKYOCEAN Pocket Chainsaw is a potential addition to your toolkit. You can fold the thirty-six-inch chain down to 6 inches and it weighs less than half a pound. The blade has sixteen teeth with bi-directional cutting abilities. It has an industrial-grade heat-treated steel chain, making it durable.

This pocket chainsaw has strong paracord handles you can untie and extend to a maximum of 275 inches. The ability for extra length makes this tool useful for cutting out-of-reach tree branches.

Pocket Chainsaw with Paracord Handle 36 Inches 16...

Panzheng Rope Saw

Enhance your outdoor experience with the Panzheng Rope Saw. This sixty-two bidirectional tooth saw can slice through natural objects with precision. Cut through branches up to sixteen inches in diameter in a matter of minutes. This pocket chain saw is manganese stainless steel and weighs 1.3 pounds.

The Panzheng Rope Saw kit comes with two twenty-three-foot-long emergency control ropes, 2 sturdy woven nylon handles, 4 stainless steel spring buckles, and one aluminum snap hook. It also comes with a throwing weight pouch to help secure the chainsaw over out-of-reach branches. 

Upgrade 48 Inch High Limb Hand Rope Saw Chain Saw...
  • [ Unique Patent ] A close comparison with other brands of rope...
  • [ Unique Patent ] A close comparison with other brands of rope...
  • [ Quick Cutting ] The 48 in chain has a two-way cutting effect....
Cutting firewood with pocket chainsaw
A pocket chainsaw is must-have gear while backcountry camping or hiking.

Are Pocket Chainsaws Safe to Use?

Using a pocket chainsaw is no more dangerous than using a regular chainsaw. However, safety is paramount when using any type of tool. While these compact and versatile tools offer convenience and efficiency, the best way to stay safe when operating one is to use it responsibly.

Wear protective gear like sturdy gloves and eyewear to shield yourself from potential injuries. Clear the area of any obstructions and maintain a stable stance while operating the pocket chainsaw. Stay aware of your surroundings to keep a safe distance from others when using it. 

A proper cutting technique is essential for safety. Maintain a controlled motion, use it at the correct angle, and avoid using excessive force to prevent accidents. Keeping your pocket chainsaw in peak condition by sharpening the blade if necessary can also ensure the extra force is not necessary when using your tool. 

We also do not recommend cutting down trees with these saws, but if you choose to do so, be aware of falling dangers and how to properly avoid being crushed.

Do Pocket Chainsaws Need Maintenance

Yes, pocket chainsaws need to be maintained. Unless you plan to replace your blade regularly, these saws need to be oiled and sharpened. Powered chainsaws constantly oil the chain because it keeps them running smoothly over the track and keeps moisture in the wood from damaging the blade. After every outing, we recommend oiling the chain with any medium-weight oil you have around. This could be a household oil or even a motor oil.

If you use your saw a lot, it will also begin to dull. If you purchased a less expensive model, you might choose to just replace it, but you can sharpen these blades. Most blade types are the same as a regular chainsaw, so you can use any chainsaw sharpener to sharpen.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to pack one of these 6 Best Survival Knives for Wilderness Adventures and Bushcraft on your next adventure.

Nordic pocket saw - how to use, test and review

You Never Know When You’ll Need a Pocket Chainsaw

While pocket chainsaws can be useful for yard work, having one at home is not the only time it may be of use. While hiking, biking, and camping, this tool can help you prep firewood, clear brush, or remove fallen trees blocking your path. You may not always need this survival tool, but when a situation arises, you will be glad you packed a pocket chainsaw. 

Do you have a pocket chainsaw in your survival tool kit? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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