Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner | Handheld Chainsaw Pruning
Stihl GTA 26: Chainsaw or Garden Shears?
Have you ever wondered what the result would be if a battery-powered chainsaw had an illicit love affair with a pair of pruning shears? We didn’t either, but Stihl has come up with an answer to that particular pairing anyway. The Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner showcases the prominent features of both “parents”. Essentially, it’s a 12V chainsaw that fits comfortably in your hand to tackle your more demanding pruning needs.
- Tackles branches that could cause problems for typical garden shears
- Pretty fun to use
- Lightweight at 2.6 lbs
- Taking safety precautions seems especially important
- Doesn’t seem altogether necessary
- Limited availability of replacement chain
RecommendationThe Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner is lightweight and comfortable to use. With its 4-inch bar, it’s well-suited to provide quick and clean cuts for branches that fall into that weird no-man’s land of being too girthy for garden shears and too insubstantial to justify breaking out a legitimate chainsaw.
Is it strictly necessary? Probably not. You can get by just fine with the tools you already have. But, it is helpful for pruning thicker branches. It’s also quick to set up and fun to use in the same way that chainsaws are fun…only it’s much, much smaller.
Pruning in Fast Forward
Setup and Go
The Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner sets up quickly. Basically, all it requires is its battery, a few drops from the included bottle of bar oil, and perhaps a quick tensioning from the easy-to-use dial on the side of the housing.
Chainsaws are inherently dangerous and violent tools, and that danger doesn’t go away just because someone has gone and made the chainsaw pocket-sized. As adorable as it is, it can still take off fingers, and you’ll want to make sure that the size of this saw doesn’t lull you into a state of carelessness.
With that said, Stihl has added some safety features to keep you from inadvertently hurting yourself. The GTA 26 features a two-stage safety trigger that requires you to press up or pull down on a thumb tab to engage the chain. There’s no soft-start feature, however, so you’ll need to make sure that when you pull the trigger, you really mean it.
The Stihl Garden Pruner also has a blade guard to protect you from the top of the chain. It functions similarly to the blade guard on your circular saw. As you cut downward, the spring-loaded guard moves out of your way.
We found cutting with the Stihl Garden Pruners to be pretty comfortable. Sometimes with 12V tools, you’re stuck with a thick handle that has to accommodate the girth of the battery pack. Rather than doing that, Stihl extended the handle. From where the battery pack is housed, the handle tapers down for a slimmer profile.
The GTA 26 has a section on the top of the motor housing for you to put your other hand safely. In fact, Stihl suggests doing this in the owner’s manual. Because it only weighs a mere 2.5 lbs, it’s certainly easy to cut one-handed, but Stihl doesn’t recommend it. This saw has enough power that we didn’t feel tempted to really bear down on it, instead, letting the chain do the work.
We found that for these small- to medium-sized branches, the Stihl Garden Pruner worked pretty quickly, ejecting chips from a chute underneath the bar and chain.
Overall, we found that the Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner was quick and easy to use. It can tackle thicker branches than even your long-handled pruning shears would. It also leaves a cleaner cut.
More than likely, you’ll find this as a speedier alternative to using a hand saw or going through the hassle of busting out your 12″ chainsaw. After a couple of weeks with the tool, we have to admit—it is pretty fun to use.
It should also be noted that, due to the novelty of the bar and chain, finding a replacement chain at your local hardware store may prove difficult. In general, you want a 10-inch long chain with 1/4″ pitch. Your local Stihl dealer can always help you order a replacement.
The Stihl GTA 26 comes with a 12V battery, charger, oil, case, and 3-year limited warranty. You can find it at your local Stihl dealership for around $149.95.
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The Stihl GTA 26 Garden Pruner is lightweight and comfortable to use. With its 4-inch bar, it’s well-suited to provide quick and clean cuts for branches that fall into that weird no-man’s land of being too girthy for garden shears and too insubstantial to justify breaking out a legitimate chainsaw.
Is it strictly necessary? Probably not. You can probably get by just fine with the tools you have. But, it is helpful for pruning thicker branches, it’s quick to set up and go with, and it’s fun to use in the same way that chainsaws are fun…only it’s much, much smaller.