We Tried Pruning Trees With A Mini Chainsaw - It Was A Bloody Mistake

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On our half-acre lot in town, we have many large trees and bushes. Our house was built in the 1950s, and in the decades since, previous owners have planted oak, pecan, sweet gum, and other types of trees. Since we have lived here, we have added fruit trees and large ornamental bushes. All of this beautiful greenery requires pruning. On top of that, we are in a constant battle against invasive and aggressively growing plants like privet, Japanese honeysuckle, and trumpet vine. We certainly get a good workout using loppers to try to keep everything under control, and we have a chainsaw for the large branches; however, we felt we needed something in between to cut greenery that's over an inch in diameter but not big enough to require the heavy-duty chainsaw. A battery-powered mini chainsaw seemed like a good solution.

There's another reason we wanted to try the mini chainsaw. For those of us who are a little afraid to use the full-sized version, this is less scary. We also like that this handheld option is battery-operated, so there's no need to worry about dealing with oil and gas and the maintenance those tools require. We hoped this tool will make maintaining our outdoor space more manageable.

Choosing a mini chainsaw

For our winter pruning, we purchased the Tingmengte 6-inch Cordless Mini Chainsaw. This option was appealing because it weighed less than 3 pounds and came with many accessories, including two batteries, two chains, and safety equipment. The list price for this product is $85.99, but we were able to get it on sale. Since it comes in 4-, 6-, and 8-inch sizes, we were not sure what we needed, so we opted for the 6-inch option since the product page said it could cut through a limb that is 5 inches in diameter in 4 seconds. That seemed like more than enough for us.

Putting the mini chainsaw together was pretty simple. We needed to charge the batteries, which just involved plugging the included charger into the battery. Next, we had to install the chain. We removed the sprocket cover, placed the chain on the guide plate, lined up the holes, and replaced the sprocket cover. Using the included screwdriver, we adjusted the chain tightness as instructed and installed the charged battery. Next, it was time to see if this thing really lived up to our expectations.

Doing some pruning

We wanted to try our new mini chainsaw on a few different types of branches. First, we started with our apple tree. We had a branch that was too low, and since it was about 3 inches in diameter, it was too large for the loppers. Time to break out the mini chainsaw! The first thing we noticed was that the saw jumped around a lot on the branch before it established a cut. That was a surprise since it's supposed to be powerful enough to essentially cut through a 5-inch branch like a hot knife through butter. Instead, it was like trying to cut a tough steak with a dull knife while someone was shaking the table. For safety reasons, this was concerning — it turned out our concerns were valid.

Moving on to some drier wood from small weed trees we cut down last year, we thought the mini chainsaw might work better on that. We were wrong. The jumping was so bad it caused an injury. Our partner was holding the branch steady with his left hand and cutting with his right hand. When he started making the cut, the mini chainsaw bounced and hit the outside of his left hand between the thumb and forefinger. While it wasn't serious, it was a fairly deep cut that ruined the thin glove. Thankfully, there is a safety button on this tool, so once he was cut, it was easy to let go and the mini chainsaw immediately stopped. 

What we would do differently

We still love the concept of using an electric mini chainsaw for all the pruning we need to do around our property, but we suspect part of the problem is that this specific option wasn't powerful enough to get a solid cut the first time. Another possibility is that the chain was dull because it felt like using a dull knife to chop vegetables. At first, we thought perhaps we installed the chain incorrectly, but we checked everything, and it was right. We will shop for a more powerful mini chainsaw and hope that works better for us.

Considering the injury caused by this product, it's important to mention that the safety equipment included in this product was not effective enough to spare us from injury. The material used for the gloves was barely thicker than a pair of tights, and the goggles were far from sturdy. Overall, while we loved the idea of being able to use a mini power tool to take care of our pruning, we will try something a little different next time and make sure we have high-quality safety equipment.