Stihl GTA 26 Mini Chainsaw Review: A Small Handheld Saw For Garden Pruning

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 Is the Stihl GTA 26 mini chainsaw any good?

Mini chainsaws are really helpful to have on hand for pruning branches or even cutting down small trees. I’ve got three or four of them and use them all the time.

Mini saws are great for cutting branches that are slightly too large for your manual pruners and they are so much faster than regular manual garden saws.

I recently tested out Stihl’s Mini Handheld Chainsaw and it’s definitely one of the best ones out there. It certainly beats the cheap Chinese-made saws available on Amazon.

Stihl Mini Chainsaw

Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner

  • Stihl's handheld battery powered mini chainsaw
  • Comes with 4" blade, 1 chain, bar oil, blade cover, and bag/case
  • Weighs only 2.6 lbs with a small compact size
View On Acme ToolsView On Ace Hardware

Milwaukee M12 FUEL Hatchet

  • Very good mini chainsaw for garden pruning
  • One of the safest and toughest handheld saws
  • Has bucking spikes, lanyard loop, auto oiler, scabbard
View On AmazonView On Northern Tool

Stihl MS 170 Chainsaw

  • Stihl's smallest entry level full sized chainsaw
  • 30.1cc, 1.7 hp, 12 - 16" bar, good for more regular pruning
  • Lightweight at 8.6 lbs
View On Acme ToolsView On Northern Tool

The Stihl GTA 26 is a really nicely designed handheld chainsaw for home use.

It’s not designed or intended for commercial use as the run times are too short and it’s not a heavy-duty tool.

stihl battery powered mini chainsaw
What you get with the Stihl GTA 26

There are a lot of cheap mini chainsaws for sale on Amazon and Walmart, like the one I listed in the table above, but Stihl’s model is superior.

It’s made of higher-quality components and has been designed for both comfort and performance. It just looks, feels, and works on another level, especially compared to the other mini saws I use.

It has really great rubber grips which make holding onto it really easy, even in damp conditions.

The other thing that really stands out about this saw is how well-balanced it is. It has a much smaller battery which means it’s lighter and not bottom-heavy.

Compare Stihl with these other mini chainsaws I’ve reviewed:

  1. ORHFS Mini Chainsaw review
  2. Denqir Mini Chainsaw review
  3. ASJMREYE Mini Chainsaw review

You’ll see that these other saws have a much larger 20-volt battery at the bottom of the handle. This isn’t totally negative, but they are heavier and quite different to hold. They’re bottom-heavy.

The main downside to Stihl’s smaller 10.8-volt batteries is that the run time is much shorter. Also, Stihl’s mini chainsaw only comes with a single battery, whereas the other cheaper saws on Amazon usually come with two.

While I haven’t fully tested the run times, the GTA 26’s battery can run out after only 15 – 20 minutes of use. I definitely get longer from my other ones.

Stihl GTA 26 Specs And Features

This promo video gives a number of the Stihl GTA 26 features.

It’s stated as being low noise, easy to grip and carry, well-balanced, and performing with a high chain speed. They are obviously also marketing it toward women as a “good chainsaw for women.”

It can be used on tree branches, shrubs, and large leaves (palm fronds, etc), and you can also cut lumber with it. While these mini chainsaws don’t always leave the cleanest finish on lumber, they’re definitely capable of doing it on a small scale.

stihl gta mini handheld chainsaw review
It also comes with an instruction manual and charger

Stihl GTA 26 technical specifications:

  • 2.7 lbs – very comfortable to hold and use
  • 4″ or 10 cm bar – very small and a 6″ additional bar would be good
  • 10.8-volt battery – only comes with 1 but additional batteries can be bought
  • 20 – 25 minute run time – though some find it’s less than this
  • ¼ PM3 saw chain – perfect for pruning
  • Safety trigger switch – making it safer than many other saws
  • Top chain cover – protects against a chain jumping off the bar
  • Scabbard – great for storage to stop it scratching or catching
  • LED battery indicator – you know how long you have left
  • Rubber grips – make it easy to hang on to

The saw also has something of an anti-vibration system that makes it really easy to use. This system is better than the alternatives which leave my hands shaking severely!

In most cases, it is sold with a single bar and chain, a scabbard, a single battery and charger, some chain oil, and a carry/storage case (see on Ace Hardware).

Stihl GTA 26 Review

is the stihl mini chainsaw good
See the remaining battery indicator lights below the chain tensioner

Compared to other mini handheld chainsaws, the GTA 26 does have many extra little features that make it special and, overall, better.

You can see how much charge is left on the battery, it has a decent sawdust exit, toolless chain access, a small lightweight battery, a chainsaw scabbard, and so on – features that you won’t find on most.

Plus, it just looks really good and feels better than many other mini saws.

However, the run time isn’t that great (20 mins) and the saw can get bogged down a bit depending on what you’re doing.

It’s important not to force it through a piece of wood or a branch, as it will stall. But if you just let it do its thing without pressing down too firmly to cut, it’s pretty decent.

Personally, I would buy one just because I do like Stihl products, no matter what they are. However, simply as a cost/benefit calculation, I think you’re better off getting an entry-level Stihl chainsaw like the MS170 or MS230.

I own many Stihl products like the FS45, MS180 c011 AV, or this Stihl moisture meter, but the GTA 26 is more gimmicky than anything else.

I love mini chainsaws, but they really are quite limited tools. They’re great for infrequent, light use, but if you plan on using it all the time you’re better off with a larger battery saw.

Even the battery-powered Stihl MSA 140 would give you a bit more flexibility for not a whole lot more money.

GTA 26 Pros:

  • Easy and comfortable to use
  • Great design and safety features
  • Lightweight and well balanced
  • Effective cutting with a sharp chain
  • Will perform better for longer over the course of it’s life

GTA 26 Cons:

  • Expensive for what you get
  • Short run times compared to other saws
  • Only comes with a single battery

Stihl Handheld Chainsaw

stihl chainsaw mini review
Stihl GTA 26 power switch and trigger

The Stihl GTA 26 is a fun little tool for light home use, but it shouldn’t be expected to be used for anything too serious.

Many people use them for cutting branches for their wood-burning fire pit or for breaking garden waste down to fit in the car, trailer, or compost for disposal.

It’s great to have on hand for quick light tasks but shouldn’t be relied upon for heavy work. As listed in the table above, the gas-powered Stihl MS 170 or a battery-powered MSA 161 would be a better option for more power and much greater run times.

It’s a good battery-powered garden saw for infrequent use, but personally, I prefer my DEWALT 20V Chainsaw for most tasks. It’s just as easy to pick up and use, but you get much longer battery times and it’s more powerful overall.

Or, if you really wanted a mini saw, the Milwaukee M12 mini chainsaw is another good option.

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2 thoughts on “Stihl GTA 26 Mini Chainsaw Review: A Small Handheld Saw For Garden Pruning”

  1. If I could find one it would be great for my wife in her garden. But impossible to find and if you find one it can’t be shipped

    Reply

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