A pocket chainsaw is an extremely useful tool if you’re a hiker, survivalist, outdoors enthusiast, hunter or anyone who finds themselves spending time in isolated locations. A pocket chainsaw is a step up from a wire saw; the type of tool that you’ll typically find in survival kits but the reasons why people desire these tools is exactly the same – to cut wood with a compact cutting tool.
Pocket chainsaws are quite handy when you find yourself away from home and the need for cutting wood is absolutely necessary for survival purposes. For example, when you’re out camping and you need to cut wood to make a fire or perhaps you find yourself on a trail with a fallen tree blocking your path. Or even worse, you find yourself in a major disaster and need to build shelter. Either way, a pocket chainsaw is a fantastic tool but it’s certainly no replacement for a real chainsaw.
Essentially, a pocket saw is made by taking a chain similar to one used on a chainsaw and attaching a handle on both ends, making you the engine to power the chain and manually cut the wood.
It’s well-suited for situations where you can’t have your chainsaw with you, but I see no reason why you’d use one otherwise. They require a fair amount of energy to get the job done so you wouldn’t use it for an extended period of time, but they will cut trees or branches in a relatively short amount of time. In many ways they’re invaluable and very inexpensive as well.
The beauty of these pocket saws is their compactness and the fact that they’re so light weight. Although, there are alternatives for you to consider which are only slightly bulkier, but not by much, and far more efficient, such as the Bahco 396-LAP and the Sven Saw. Again, I’ll touch upon these at the end of this article.
The SaberCut pocket chainsaw is made Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST), a subsidiary of Revere Survival Inc, which has been in business since 1936. I mention this because the company behind this saw is reputable and they design and manufacture a full line of survival products. I like companies with expertise in a particular industry as it shows their commitment to their industry.
The SaberCut pocket chainsaw is a bi-directional chain, which is precisely what a chainsaw has. Although it’s a non-binding blade it does occasionally get stuck in the wood, especially during the last phase of cutting a branch, when the blade starts to cut over a smaller diameter. This can be alleviated spreading your arms farther apart but this can be tiring for most people, but it would temporarily help.
Either way, once you make a chainsaw human powered you’re going to have trouble with binding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how strong or fit you are, there will always be sticking points with survival saws. That’s the tradeoff – convenience over efficiency.
An easier way to use the SaberCut saw is to have one person at each end, allowing you to stand a distance apart and cut with far greater efficiency. Obviously this is only an option if you have someone else to help you but if you do, then this is the way to go.
The chain can be sharpened like any other chainsaw chain which means it should last a long time – probably longer than the handles will, but those can easily be replaced if they fall apart. Another nice bonus is the fact that it comes with a durable pouch for carrying and storage, and a belt clip so you can easily take it with you on your adventures.
UST makes a wide range of useful products such as their 60-day lantern, which strangely enough – lasts 30 days. A practical 122db whistle for emergency situations or personal safety: JetScream Whistle. And lastly, but not least, they have a waterproof lighter that also floats. Impressive! You can browse their product line if you like.
It’s easy to recommend the SaberCut saw because you get a quality tool that you can depend on and it’s inexpensive. Also, it’s backed by a lifetime limited warranty, which is worded this way:
Revere Survival warranties its Revere Survival PFDs to be free from defects in material and workmanship for two years from the date of purchase. Warranty does not apply to abused products or normal use, wear and tear.
The SaberCut survival saw is an excellent tool with a fast cutting speed – faster than the other brands – and it costs very little money. If you’re looking for the perfect compact pocket chainsaw then look no further, but there are other options for you to consider.
Watch this short video by Going Gear to see the SaberCut pocket chainsaw in action:
Buy from Amazon: SaberCut pocket chainsaw
- Flexible 24” blade.
- Chain can be sharpened with a conventional 1/8″ chainsaw sharpener.
- Includes a carrying case for safe transport.
- Option to extend the chain by adding more cordage to the handles.
- Highly durable. Easy to maintain.
- Teeth are self-cleaning.
- Saw weight: 4.3 oz. (122g).
The Chainmate pocket chainsaw is a very popular compact saw but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. It has a bi-directional chain as well but the teeth are thinner than the SaberCut saw and the overall quality of the metal is not as precise or refined.
I’m not sure what more to say about the Chainmate survival chainsaw. It’s a good product but just not as good as the SaberCut. If you look closely at the chain you’ll notice many rough spots on the chain edge as opposed to the smooth consistent edges of the SaberCut – and more importantly the carbon steel is thinner overall.
It’s not just the chain that’s inferior but also the materials for the handles are not as thick and the stitching is not as good. The same holds true for the pouch. Look, it’s all there, it’s complete and it’s a good product but it’s not excellent. It’s not in the same class as the SaberCut chainsaw. But it’s very popular on Amazon so the Chainmate brand obviously has many satisfied customers. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s important to you.
I highly recommend spraying this saw, and any other pocket chainsaw, with WD40 to prevent rust while keeping it well lubricated at all times.
Also, you should read the thorough review by Walden Labs to learn more about the Chainmate survival saw.
Buy from Amazon: Chainmate pocket saw
- Carbon steel chain makes cutting easier.
- Compact, lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Made in the USA.
- Comes with a convenient pouch with attached belt clip.
The Sportsman pocket saw is also an excellent choice if you’re looking for that perfect survival tool that will allow you to cut wood in emergency situations. I can sit here and write about it at length but let’s face it, these pocket chainsaws aren’t complicated products. The proof is in the cutting, so watch it in action and decide for yourself.
A nice bonus when buying the Sportsman chainsaw is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Buy from Amazon: Sportsman Pocket Chainsaw
- Lifetime Guarantee.
- Handles made with strong nylon and metal brackets.
- Can be sharpened with existing chain sharpeners.
- 36″ bi-directional chain.
This PokeTech 48″ pocket chainsaw kit proves to be an invaluable package for anybody who needs a highly versatile and effective cutting tool wherever you go. The double sided chain makes it extremely efficient and easy to land properly.
- Double-sided chain. Doesn’t matter how it lands.
- Improved Ropes and Throwing Weight Bag.
- Includes: Blade Sharpener, Ropes, Throwing Weight Pouch, Extra Handles, and Carrying Case.
- Cut limbs 25-feet, or add more rope for higher cuts.
- Portion of Proceeds Donated to Charity.
- Quick cutting with blades reaching 3 sides of limb at once.
- Comes with sharpener to make your investment last
- Saw through branches, limbs, or fell trees.
- Easy to carry. Small size. Fits in your Camping or Emergency Pack.
- Essential Tool for survival, camping, emergencies, yard work.
My vote for the best portable saw is the Sven Saw for many reasons. I know it’s not a pocket chainsaw but if you’re camping, hiking, hunting or doing anything where you have a little extra room then this is the portable saw that I recommend. The main reason is because it’s far more efficient than a pocket chainsaw and when you’re in a survival situation preserving energy is of the utmost importance.
It cuts quickly, it’s portable, compact, lightweight and efficient. What else do you want. If you need something to fit into your pocket then get the SaberCut pocket chainsaw, but for almost every other survival-type application I suggest the Sven Folding Saw. Learn more at their company page.
Watch it in action against the Bahco Laplander folding saw – which happens to be my next recommendation for an alternative option to pocket saws.
You can also buy a 15″ Sven Saw if you need something more compact and replacement blades are available as well.
Replacement: 15″ blade
Replacement: 21″ blade
Buy the Sven Saw from Amazon: Sven Folding Saw
- Comfortable and smooth tubular handle allows for a variety of grips.
- A very rigid frame created by its triangular design.
- Highly portable; weighing less than a pound.
- Steel blade imported from Sweden.
- Cuts through a 6″ tree in under a minute.
- Stored safely with its innovative folding design.
- Comes in two blade sizes.
- 21″ size: 24″ x 1 3/4″ x 5/8″. Weight: .85 lbs.
- 15″ size: 17″ x 1 3/4″ X 5/8″. Weight: .6 lbs.
The Bahco Laplander is an exceptional folding saw in a compact form. It’s a unique tool that has a very strong following amongst outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists. Why? Because it’s highly portable and capable of cutting wood, bone and plastic. It has XT toothing which means it cuts in both directions, making it very efficient. and did I mention the blade is extremely sharp. This tool cuts like nothing else.
The Bahco 396-LAP has a smaller cutting surface than the other saws on this list but don’t be fooled by that. It’s a very capable pocket saw that will tear through anything you throw at it. When folded it’s only 9″ long so it’s easy to take with you on an outdoor excursion.
Buy from Amazon: Bahco Folding Saw
- Size: 11″ x 4″ x 2-inches. Weight: .42 lbs.
- Practical folding saw with an 8-inch blade. Ideal for cutting green and dry wood, plastic, or bone.
- Blade has a special coating to prevent rust and reduce friction while cutting.
- Ergonomic handle for a comfortable grip and a leather strap.
- Engineered for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, campers and hikers.
- Safety lock for extra protection.
Which Pocket Chainsaw is Right for You?
Well, if you read the full article you already know what I think. If you want the best portable pocket chainsaw with ultra-portability as your main requirement then you should definitely consider the SaberCut pocket saw.
We recently added the PokeTech 48″ pocket chainsaw to this article and considering how much value you get with this package, I highly recommend it as well.
On the other hand, if you want the most efficient portable saw that’s compact and portable but a little larger than a pocket saw then I wholeheartedly recommend the Sven Saw and the Bacho Laplander as a close second. But remember, these saws are only for situations where taking a real chainsaw isn’t practical because nothing can compete with a chainsaw when it comes to tree and branch cutting.
A pocket chainsaw is an invaluable tool to have around for a variety of reasons. Whether you love to go camping, or spend a lot of time in the great outdoors hunting or fishing. It’s a practical tool to have around. Or, perhaps you may want to keep a pocket chainsaw in storage just in case of an emergency, or for survival reasons, like an earthquake or storm.
Although, if you want to take care of fallen trees after a major storm I recommend a good quality chainsaw. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good chainsaw. I’ve written a chainsaw buying guides if you’re new to the world of chainsaws, but if you just want to know what some good chainsaw options are I’d suggest starting with these articles: