If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
So what are you doing during those idle lockdown weekend days when you’d normally be out socializing or getting a haircut? Probably doing a fair amount of looking around your yard, noticing little things that had escaped you. Dangling limbs, unruly trees, all sorts of little natural imperfections, all conspiring to drive you insane.
Maybe you don’t have a chainsaw to go hack the hell out of those stray branches, or they don’t quite rise to the level of a power tool. Do you just want something small and portable that isn’t reliant on gas or other fuel, maybe? Then it’s time to discover the pocket chainsaw, one of our favorite yardwork hacks. These hand tools can chew through small branches and build up your woodpile. What else do you have to do?
Eat your Wheaties, get your elbow grease ready, and check out these four manual chain saws. And, when things go back to normal, two of these are smart additions to your car’s emergency kit (think big limbs blocking the road or a sudden need for firewood) or bugout bag.
1. Chain-Mate 36-Inch Manual Chain Saw
It’s a simple and effective device—a long flexible blade with a handle on each end. Take one in each hand, take a deep breath, and get a good rhythm going. Before you know it, the blade is through whatever branch or limb you needed to cut down. The Chain-Mate is one of the best of the bunch, with razor-sharp carbide steel teeth lining the blade, hearty fabric handles, a belt-loop carrying pouch, and backed by a lifetime guarantee. It’s utterly portable and has proven itself for years among professional forestry organizations and the military. Now it’s a fast and convenient tool for you, and one you’ll find yourself using way more than you expect.
2. HighLimb 48-Inch Manual Chain Saw
The Chain-Mate is awesome … unless what you’re looking to cut is waaaaay up in a tree. For instance, that big limb that looks like it’s barely attached, and yet even after every windy day or big storm, the damn thing is still there. No, put that ladder away, you’ll break your neck. The HighLimb rope Chain Saw is what you need. It’s the same concept but with two 25-50 ft polypropylene ropes, and a bag weight. Tie the bag weight to one end of the rope, heave that sucker up over that branch, replace the weight with the other handle, and start sawing. It’s by far the safest and least expensive way to take down a big limb from a tall tree, and the HighLimb has been doing it since 1972.
3. The Friendly Swede Folding Hand Saw
If the whole two-handed rope-saw puts you off, The Friendly Swede’s folding hand saw is for you. It’s like the folding knife may carry with you every day for those little cutting jobs, but this one has an 8-inch steel blade sporting seven rugged teeth per inch. It can tackle dry and green wood with equal effectiveness, along with plastic or pretty much anything else. Prune your perennials and bushes, or attack the big stuff beyond the grass line. The ergonomic handle will keep you from gassing out, and when you’re done the blade locks into the handle for max safety.
Folding Hand Saw with Ergonomic TPR Handle and 8-Inch Blade by The Friendly Swede
4. Pocket Chainsaw With Paracord
This pocket chainsaw from Skyocean is perfect for camping trips and car emergency kits. This portable chainsaw features two ultra-durable military-style paracord handles. The chain itself is 24 inches long with 11 steel cutting teeth. When not in use it folds up for easy packing.