May 1

The 5 Best 12-inch Chainsaws w/Reviews

There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes a chainsaw could come in.

Let’s focus on chainsaws that are on the lighter end of the spectrum. These are used occasionally in general maintenance and pruning trees or shrubs.

Here are the 5 best 12-inch chainsaws you could buy now.

​Top Choice


Makita XCU02PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® 12' Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)

Quick and quiet is this saw’s motto. It has zero emissions and reduced maintenance: there's no engine oil to change, no spark plug to replace, and no air filter or muffler to clean.

​4.6 of 5 Stars

In other words, here are novice-friendly chainsaws that will make the task of pruning trees a walk in the park.

These picks were chosen according to their weight, power, and unique features.

The best way to describe this chainsaw would be small but powerful. It has two LTX lithium-ion batteries that are included with the saw.

Each battery is 18V, meaning that the saw runs on 36V.

Makita XCU02PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® 12' Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)

It’s well-sealed to prevent debris and dust from affecting the chainsaw as it cuts through various types of wood. It also channels water away from the internal key components of the chainsaw to protect them.

Quick and quiet is this saw’s motto. It cuts through wood quietly, producing only 87 dba. It’s great for non-professionals because of its high speed. A chain with a speed of 1,650 FPM gets the job done quickly and easily.

With the batteries included, the saw only weighs 10.1 lbs. This decreases the user’s fatigue, which in turn improves the quality and the quantity of the wood they cut.

It has a huge oil reservoir to accommodate the automatic chain lubrication feature it has.

This means that you won’t have to prime before cutting. It also means that your saw won’t be jammed midway through your work.

The rubberized and soft top handle makes it easy to manage. It doesn’t stop there, the saw has a built-in electric brake system that allows for fast and optimal stopping.

These features combined make the saw suitable for using in tight spaces.

Makita XCU02PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® 12" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)
  • Makita-built motor delivers 1,650 FPM chain speed for faster cutting
  • Tool-less chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance
  • Cordless for reduced maintenance; no need to change engine oil or spark plug, clean air filter or drain fuel for storage

This chainsaw weighs only 9 lbs, with the batteries included. Because it’s light, the user has a better grip on the saw and can use the saw effortlessly.

It runs on 20V yet still has a striking chain speed of 25.2 feet per second.


The reason behind that high speed may be attributed to its brushless motor. The brushless motor doesn’t only increase the speed of the chain, but it also enhances the run time and motor life.

It’s built to endure harsh conditions outdoors. You could use it for cutting down trees or even in construction. Constant use could ultimately loosen the chain around the bar. In case that happens, there's a toolless chain tightening system in this chainsaw that allows you to tighten it again easily.

It’s equipped with an automatic oiling system that constantly keeps the chain and the bar lubricated.

Once you notice that the level of the oil is below a quarter full, remove the batteries and add the right type of oil.

You can substitute the oil with a non-detergent SAE30 weight motor oil. Never use waste oil, and try to steer clear from very thick oil. These two could potentially damage your chainsaw.

When pruning trees, a vegetable-based oil is recommended. On the other hand, mineral-based oils aren’t recommended because they may harm the trees.

One of the main features of this chainsaw is its G-max 40V lithium-ion battery. Its long-lasting battery life enables it to perform up to 75 cuts per single charge, specifically on 4x4 lumber.

Greenworks 40V 12' Cordless Compact Chainsaw (Great For Storm Clean-Up, Pruning, and Camping), Tool Only

In other words, it could run for 60 minutes straight. The number of cuts and the time vary as the thickness and materials change.

Nonetheless, it still saves a huge deal of money and time. The battery and the charger are sold separately.

You could also use other 40V batteries that are compatible with the saw if you’d like.

Checking the oil levels could be a challenge with an opaque oil tank. With this chainsaw, the oil tank is translucent. That means that you won’t be taken off guard when the oil runs out.

The chainsaw has low kickback, which makes it safer than some other power tools. The wrap-around handle allows you to cut at different angles comfortably.

That’ll come in handy when cutting branches that are placed at awkward angles.

With constant use, the chain may become a little loose. The tool-less chain-tensioning feature allows you to tighten the chain around the Oregon bar once more. It could be done in under 2 minutes at home!

Greenworks 40V 12" Cordless Compact Chainsaw (Great For Storm Clean-Up, Pruning, and Camping), Tool Only
  • G-MAX 40V Li-Ion Battery System powers multiple tools for complete yard system-Battery and Charger sold separately
  • 12-Inch Oregon bar and chain, perfect for cutting branches and limbs with ease
  • Tool-less chain tensioning for quick adjustments so you can get back to the task at hand

The best thing about this chainsaw is its ease in use and practicality.

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch (LCS1240)

Like its counterparts, this chainsaw has the toolless chain-tightening feature. To use it, rotate the inner dial to unlock the bar. Then to adjust the chain’s tension, rotate the outer dial. That way, when the chain loosens, you won’t have to stop cutting.

Its Oregon bar has a low kickback, which makes it easier to handle. This is especially useful because the chain could run up to 5 meters per second. This high speed needs to be managed.

On top of that, it’s light, 8.3 lbs, and has a full wrap-around handle to make the cutting application more comfortable.

You don’t have to prime before sawing anymore because the saw has an automatic oiling system. Its see-through oil chamber makes it possible for you to know when you should add in more oil.

Its battery generates enough power for up to 65 cuts on lumber wood. The compact lithium-ion battery comes with the chainsaw. You can replace the battery with another type, but it should fall within the range of 36V and 40V.

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw, 12-Inch (LCS1240)
  • 12-INCH CORDLESS ELECTRIC CHAINSAW - 40V MAX battery-powered chainsaw with extended runtime
  • SMOOTH, FAST CUTS - OREGON low-kickback bar and chain for easy and efficient cutting
  • TOOL-FREE CHAIN TENSIONING - Quickly and easily adjust chain tension

When it comes to DIY projects and occasional sawing work, a light, easy to use chainsaw comes to mind. That’s the case with this one. In terms of longevity and compactness, this saw deserves to be one of your top choices.

However, this product was not designed for sawing thick trees or other heavy-duty work. I’m not saying that it won’t work, but constant misuse may damage the saw eventually.

Metabo HPT Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine

Low-kickback is an important feature that most chainsaws have; this applies to this one too. On top of that, the handgrip is easy to clutch and doesn’t slip, even in wet conditions.

The handgrip is padded with a thick layer of serrated rubber. So when the saw is in use, its vibrations are kept to the minimum.

For novice users, this is great news. Limited vibrations will make it easier to manage the saw.

Like the others, the saw has a toolless chain tension feature. Also, you won’t need to do any priming before using the saw because it has an automatic lubrication system.

Unlike the other electrical saws, the Tanaka TCS33EDTP has a commercial-grade pure fire engine. It holds up to 9.9 ounces of fuel. When using the chainsaw, it won’t take long before the fuel is heated up.

Metabo HPT Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine
  • 12-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine to provide a clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption
  • Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start and warm up. Fuel Capacity (fl oz) : 9.9. Fuel Mix Ratio : 50 : 1
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain tensioning providing quick and convenient chain adjustment

The Final Verdict

If you’re not going to be using your chainsaw on a regular basis, it’s recommended to buy a chainsaw that doesn’t have a long chain and bar. Chainsaws with a 12-inch bar are perfect for those who would sporadically use them.

Out of the 5 best 12-inch chainsaws, I strongly recommend the Makita X​​CU02PT Electric Chainsaw. It’s crucial to be in full control when using a chainsaw. The compactness and design of the saw give the user optimum control over it.

Another budget-friendly alternative is the Greenworks Cordless 40V Chainsaw. It has great battery life. So, don’t worry about the chainsaw running out of power during your cutting session. 

About Me.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Cut The Timber. On this site, I share everything that learned and continue to learn about wood. From grains, to projects, to saws, and everything in between. 

I grew up camping with my family and ended up becoming an Eagle Scout. Currently, my family and I live on a ranch outside of Montana with tons of trees and fire pit fun. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me:

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