2020 Buyer's Guide

The Best Small Chainsaw of 2020

2020 Buyer's Guide

The Best Small Chainsaw of 2020

by Ollie Robinson

One of the types of chainsaws that you will find out there is the small chainsaw. Small chainsaws have become fairly popular for certain types of tasks – especially for people that enjoy doing their own landscaping and need a chainsaw for this type of work. Whether you need a small chainsaw or not all depends upon what you plan on doing with it. If you are cutting down trees, then a small chainsaw isn’t going to work. However, if you are trimming hedges, cutting smaller branches or doing carpentry work in your garage, then a small chainsaw will have plenty of power and get the job done.

In a hurry? Our best gas chainsaw recommendation is:

BLACK+DECKER Lopper Chain Saw, 4.5-Amp (LP1000)
  • 4.5-Amp motor for innovative clAmping jaws that grab and cut in one easy motion
  • Heavy-duty cutting bar and chain deliver fast cutting of thick branches and logs that are too big for
  • 4-inch cut capacity. Bar Length-6 in

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Benefits & Disadvantages of Small Chainsaws

There are definitely some benefits to small chainsaws, but there are disadvantages as well. Let’s take a look at both of these side-by-side so that you can make a decision as to whether a small chainsaws going to meet your needs or if you should go with the big brother of chainsaws – the full-size model.


  • Portability: First, small chainsaws are definitely a lot more portable than large chainsaws. You can carry around a small chainsaw with you as you go hiking, something that is possible with larger chainsaws but as they can weigh 20 or 30 pounds, this can get pretty uncomfortable after a while. Small chainsaws are going to weigh a lot less and you are barely going to notice the weight of them.
  • Very Little Maintenance: They also require very little maintenance in comparison with larger chainsaws. This really depends upon what type of chainsaw you get. For example, gas-powered chainsaws are going to require more maintenance than battery-operated chainsaws, but it still holds true that smaller chainsaws are going to need less work done on them than larger ones because you are not doing as strenuous of jobs.
  • Least Expensive: Small chainsaws are the least expensive of the chainsaw family. While you might spend anywhere from $200-$500 on a good full-size chainsaw, the small chainsaws are going to be a lot lower. In fact, you can find many small chainsaws for under $100. If you’re looking for a budget item that doesn’t have to be that powerful, then small chainsaws is definitely the way to go
  • Easier on the Body: Small chainsaws are easier to manage and that makes them easier on the body. Using a large chainsaw and all of the upper body strength that is required to fell trees and cut through thick wood can be pretty hard on your back in other parts of the body. Smaller chainsaws are a lot easier to manage and you are going to take a lot less of the end of the day.
  • More Maneuverability: Smaller chainsaws are also much more maneuverable. It is difficult to get large chainsaws turned the way that you want, and sometimes it can even be unsafe, but smaller chainsaws are easier to turn and can get into tight spaces where you wouldn’t be able to get a large chainsaw in.


  • Less Reach: However, smaller also means that you’re going to have less reach and that means that you are going to be somewhat limited when it comes to cutting down thicker objects. For example, if you are trying to cut down a tree that has a thick trunk, having less reach means that you are going to have to move around the trunk more and do more work to cut through the trunk completely. This is probably not much of a concern if all you’re doing is construction work or tree branches.
  • Limited Cutting Power: These types of chainsaws can sometimes have limited cutting power. Smaller chainsaws have smaller motors and that means that the cutting power is going to be less than if you are using a full-size chainsaw. However, since most of what you will be cutting is also probably smaller than you would use the large chainsaw for, this sort of evens out anyway.
  • Cannot be used on Trees: Smaller chainsaws also take forever to cut through a tree, so you should leave that job to the big chainsaws. Smaller chainsaws are intended for things like trimming your hedges, cutting off branches on overgrown trees, doing home improvement projects and various other smaller tasks. When it comes to cutting down a tree, it takes a while to get through a big heavy trunk even with a full-size chainsaw.
  • Takes Some Getting Used to Using a smaller chainsaw does take some getting used to, particularly if you are used to using larger chainsaws. However, that is going to be the same on pretty much any small chainsaw that you get and the good news is that most people adapt very quickly.
  • Limited Selection: There is also a reduced selection of smaller chainsaws; since most people buy larger chainsaws so that they can do the big jobs when they need to, there are less smaller chainsaws made and as such, there are fewer smaller chainsaws available in stores. However, buying online pretty much negates this problem since there is a large selection on many of the online retail sites out there.

Our 2020 chainsaw recommendations

There are a number of terrific smaller chainsaws out there that you have to choose from. We have done the research and narrowed down the wide selection out there to five of the best smaller chainsaws on the market. You may be able to find the perfect small chainsaw for the job you need to do with one of the five listed below.

Black & Decker Alligator Lopper Electric Chainsaw

This is one of the top chainsaws on the market, and one of the safest to use. That’s because it works a lot like a pair of hedge clippers. That means that the outside is protected so that chances of serious injury are much reduced. This is actually a cross between an electric chainsaw and a lopper and it certainly is useful for Yardwork. It features a 4.5 Amp motor with a four-inch cut capacity that will get around just about anything that you would want to cut with this small chainsaw.


  • Much safer than any other type of chainsaw out there
  • Powerful 4.5 Amp motor
  • Wide jaws that will grip large branches
  • Portable enough to be carried around easily for hours
  • Requires very little maintenance


  • Takes a fairly significant amount of strength to use
  • Not powerful enough for really thick branches
  • Not suitable for construction work

You can read our full review of the Black & Decker LP1000 chainsaw right here.


This is definitely a great small chainsaw for light work. It has a four-inch jaw that will fit around some pretty big branches and the motor is powerful enough to cut through quite a bit. However, this is probably not going to do well with construction work because it doesn’t always cut straight. Still, this is one of the safest small chainsaws on the market.

BLACK+DECKER Lopper Chain Saw, 4.5-Amp (LP1000)
  • 4.5-Amp motor for innovative clAmping jaws that grab and cut in one easy motion
  • Heavy-duty cutting bar and chain deliver fast cutting of thick branches and logs that are too big for
  • 4-inch cut capacity. Bar Length-6 in

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim Electric Chainsaw

This is a terrific small chainsaw that you are going to be able to use easily. This is an actual chainsaw model, unlike the previous combination of chainsaw and lopper, and it has some pretty great features and specifications that you will really like. This chainsaw was designed to cut limbs and very small trees. It is an electric chainsaw that is rugged and long enough to do the job, with a powerful 8 Amp engine as a 14” inch cutting reach.


  • Powerful 8 Amp motor that will cut through thick branches and small saplings
  • Easy to manage design that makes it suitable for tight spaces
  • Long 14” reach that will let you get to the highest branches
  • Low kickback bar and push-button oiler


  • The chain comes loose frequently and needs to be tightened before every use
  • This will have trouble cutting through particularly hardwood

You can read our full review of the Remington RM1425 chainsaw right here.


This chainsaw definitely has some pretty amazing features. The 14-inch chain gives you plenty of reach to get to high branches and make sure that you are safe while using the saw, and the 8 Amp motor will cut through some pretty thick branches. It also keeps you safe by minimizing kickback and you can oil the chain with the push of a button. It also comes with a 2-year warranty, which makes it a very good purchase to make.

Remington RM1425 Limb N Trim 8 Amp 14-Inch Electric Lightweight and Corded Chainsaw with Handle Guard, Black
  • LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: At just over 6 pounds, the compact, easy-to-wield designed chainsaw is perfectly suited for your small limb trimming needs.
  • POWERFUL TRIMMING: Squeeze the trigger to engage the 8-amp electric motor and cut through small branches or saplings.
  • PUSH BUTTON OILER: Avoid the mess and quickly disperse the right amount of oil to lubricate the 14-inch, safety-conscious, low-kickback bar.

DeWalt DCCS670X1 Electric Chainsaw

You probably already know that DEWALT is one of the best brands out there when it comes to tools, and this chainsaw definitely gives you an idea of why that is. This is a brushless chainsaw that is operated by a 60-volt battery in features a low kickback 16 inch Oregon bar and chain. You can make adjustments with no tools, with the bar tightening knob and clamping and it also has auto oiling so that your chain is continuously lubricated. It comes to do-it-yourself construction projects and working with wood in your garage, this is definitely the best choice out there.


  • 60-volt battery means that you will be able to use it for a long time without recharging
  • Tool-free adjustments with a bar tightening knob and more
  • Auto-oiling so your chain always stays lubricated
  • 16” high-quality Oregon chain
  • Quality brand name and warranty from DEWALT


  • Does not come with a case and there is no case that is designed for it
  • Can sometimes overheat and needs to rest between cuttings to cool down

You can read our full review of the DeWalt DCCS670X1 chainsaw right here.


this chainsaw definitely has some features that you will like including the high-quality Oregon chain, which as anyone who is familiar with chainsaws knows is a really good chain. In addition, it comes from one of the best brands in the business when it comes to tools. But besides all of that, it features a 60-volt battery, tool-free adjustments, auto oiling and a powerful motor that will get the job done.

DEWALT FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Chainsaw Kit, 3-Ah Battery, 16-Inch (DCCS670X1)
  • Tool-free chain tensioning for quick and easy chain adjustments of the cordless chainsaw
  • Auto-Oiling with Lubrilink and Lubriwell for continuous lubrication of the battery chainsaw. Quarter-turn oil cap for quick oil re-fills
  • Chain brake for kick back protection of battery powered chainsaw

Makita 14″ Electric Chainsaw

if you want the perfect small chainsaw to do landscaping projects and do-it-yourself woodworking are construction projects in your garage, then you have definitely come to the right place. This Makita small chainsaw provides you with everything that you need to quietly trim trees and carve bushes, but it is still powerful enough to give you the kind of torque that you need to cut down even the thickest branches.


  • An 18-volt x2 (36-volt) brushless chainsaw kit
  • Very quiet and barely noticeable from a short distance away
  • Powerful brushless motor with a direct drive system
  • Very little maintenance
  • Extremely lightweight and easy to use


  • Takes a little longer to cut thicker pieces of wood than gas counterparts
  • Safety switch will shut off after a few seconds and you have to keep your finger on the trigger

You can read our full review of the Makita chainsaw right here.


This chainsaw definitely has some great features including two different 18-volt batteries that will provide you with plenty of cutting power even if you are out in the field away from a place where you can charge your chainsaw. In addition, it has a very powerful brushless motor and plenty of reach. This is truly one of the top landscaping chainsaws currently available and is quiet, lightweight and easy to use.

Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14" Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries (5.0Ah) , Blue
  • 2 Free Batteries with qualifying X2 kits for a limited time (4 batteries included)
  • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3, 940 FPM) For improved cutting performance
  • "Tool-less" chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance. Chain pitch : 3/8 inch

Tanaka TCS33EDTP Gasoline Chainsaw

The Tanaka chainsaws a great choice for those that needed top-handle chainsaw without a lot of reach; this is a great chainsaw for doing your own construction projects are cutting lumber, but it may not be suitable for projects where you need a long chain, like landscaping projects or tree trimming jobs. However, with all of the features that this includes, this is one of the best small chainsaws for the price and it will work for many of the commercial applications that you need to chainsaw four.


  • Top handle chainsaw with Pure Fire engine
  • 32 CC 2-stroke commercial-grade engine
  • Uses less fuel than other small gas-powered chainsaws
  • High-quality Oregon chain with sprocket nose bar
  • Easy, tool-free adjustment on the fly


  • Not as easy to handle as most of the small saws out there
  • The back cover can sometimes come off – seems like a design flaw

You can read our full review of the Tanaka TCS33 chainsaw right here.


There are plenty of features that you should be aware of with this particular small chainsaw. The 32 CC 2-stroke motor is one of the best features, and it also includes a high-quality Oregon chain and useful features like the sprocket nose bar, tool-free adjustment, a Pure Fire engine and pretty much everything that you would want from a high-quality chainsaw that will do the job – all while still being offered at a great price.

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine
  • 12-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine to provide a clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption
  • Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start and warm up. Fuel Capacity (fl oz) : 9.9. Fuel Mix Ratio : 50 : 1
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain tensioning providing quick and convenient chain adjustment

Features to Consider

Let’s look at some of the features that you want to be thinking about when it comes to choosing your own chainsaw. You may not want any of the five that are listed above, but instead, you may want to choose something for yourself. If that is the case, then you definitely want to take a look at these features and evaluate each of them carefully to choose the best chainsaw for the money. Some chainsaws will have most of these features, while others will only have a few. Understanding what they are is the first step in deciding what you want in a small chainsaw.

Guide Bar Length

The length of the guide bar is one of the most important factors when it comes to small chainsaws because most of the guide bars are not going to be that long. If you are doing landscaping with just bushes and various other easy to reach shrubbery to manage, or not to need a great deal of reach. However, if you are doing tree trimming as part of the landscaping, or for some other reason you need to be able to reach more than a few inches, then you might want something that is a little longer. The guide bar length has a great deal to do with how efficient your small chainsaw is and whether it will do the job you intend for it.


You still have to be concerned about kickback with small chainsaws, even though kickback is a lot less pronounced. Don’t forget, small chainsaws can be just as dangerous as large chainsaws, and you can cause serious injury or death with the chainsaw if you are not careful with it. Kickback is one of those things that is inevitable with chainsaws, but it is also something that causes many injuries every year. Any safety features that a chainsaw has that minimizes or eliminates kickback should be carefully considered when you are choosing a new small chainsaw. The kickback may not be as pronounced as with the large chainsaw, but that does not mean that you should ignore it altogether.


Smaller chainsaws do not typically make as much noise as larger chainsaws, but they still make noise. However, this will depend upon the type of chainsaw that you have. For example, a battery-operated chainsaw – either large or small – is going to make less noise than a gas-operated chainsaw. Whether the noise is a concern depends upon where you are going to be using your chainsaw. If you are going to be using in a home most of the time, then you may want to go with the quieter chainsaw so that you do not disturb your neighbors. If you are going to be using it out in the woods, then it is likely no one will care how much noise it makes.

Weight & Comfort

How much the chainsaw weighs and how comfortable it is to use are also two considerations that you should be looking at. Smaller chainsaws are going to weigh less than larger chainsaws, and they are going to be more comfortable to use as well. This is actually quite beneficial because a chainsaw that you can manage more easily is going to be simpler to use in tight corners and for hard jobs. Since smaller chainsaws weigh less, there often the choice of construction workers who have to fit into a tight space and cut something down with a chainsaw. Smaller chainsaws are simply more manageable than their larger counterparts.

Tool Free Adjuster

You want your chainsaw to easily be adjusted without having to worry about carrying around a bunch of tools with you. Tool-free adjustment is something that is offered on many of the chainsaws out there. Obviously, if you can adjust your chainsaw without any tools, then you’re going to be better equipped for the unexpected when you take your chainsaw out into an area where you cannot access your tools or access electricity for that matter.

Chain Brake

You also want to check out whether your chainsaw has a chain brake or not. A chain brake is a safety feature that allows you to stop the chain from moving around the guide bar so that you can easily prevent accidents from happening. Many good chainsaws out there have chain brakes, and you want to look for this particular feature if safety is a concern for you while you are using your chainsaw. The chain brake may not be the most important feature on a chainsaw, but it is something that you should try not to do without if you can. There are a couple different types of chain breaks, so you should look into them and decide which one you prefer.

Blade Cover

The blade cover is another feature that you want to consider. There are several reasons that you want to have a blade cover. The first reason to have a blade cover is that the chain is pretty sharp and you do not want to injure yourself. Having a blade cover in place can protect you from this. However, there is also the danger of your blade damaging whatever surface you happen to set it on. For example, if you’re transporting your chainsaw on the back of your car, you want to have a blade cover in place because it will prevent from damaging your upholstery. Finally, there is the possibility of oil leaking from your chainsaw and a blade cover can help to collect that oil and prevented from dripping on whatever surface the chainsaw happens to be sitting on.

Chain Type

Another consideration is the type of chain that you have. There is no one-size-fits-all vest chain type out there because most people prefer a specific chain and opinions vary on which one is the best. One of the most common types out there is the full chisel side chain. The full chisel side chain has square-cornered teeth that make it very easy to cut through wood and other fibers. The semi chisel side chain is also a popular choice and one that can work better with some types of material that you’ll cut through. Some of the other chain types include the low-profile full complement chain and the skip chain. You will have to make a decision on which type of chain you prefer. Two other less common types include the semi-skip chain and the gauge chain.

Cutting Performance

Cutting performance is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a small chainsaw. In most cases, even with smaller chainsaws, the gas-powered chainsaws going to be more powerful than the battery-powered chainsaw; however, the battery-powered chainsaw offers many advantages over the gas-fired chainsaw, and if you can get the same power from a battery-operated one, then you may want to consider it. When it comes to cutting performance though, the thing that you want to look at is the motor. Gas-powered motors are usually measured in terms of cubic centimeters or horsepower. On the other hand, battery-operated motors are usually measured in terms of amps. You will have to do your research and figure out how these two fit together to decide whether you want to go with a battery-operated or a gas-powered motor for your own projects.

Battery Run Time

Obviously, battery runtime is a big concern when it comes to chainsaws that are powered by a battery, but it might not be as much interest to someone who is more interested in buying a chainsaw that runs on gasoline or is powered by electricity and is plugged into the wall. But for those who prefer to run their chainsaw on battery, the runtime is a pretty big concern. If you are buying a chainsaw that runs a battery, then you want the longest battery run time as possible. Going out into the woods with the battery-operated chainsaw and finding that you do not have enough power to complete the job is a major problem. Unfortunately, in some areas, there is simply no way to charge the chainsaw. That means that you need to have enough charge for the chainsaw to finish the job before you leave your house.

Small Electric Chainsaws vs. Small Gas Chainsaws

Small electric chainsaws are pretty amazing devices. If you get a small electric chainsaw, you are going to have a lot more power behind your chainsaw then a standard battery-operated chainsaw, because being plugged into electricity is going to give you that power. However, that doesn’t always mean that you are choosing the best chainsaw. Having to plug into an electrical outlet also has a number of disadvantages as well. Understanding how small electrical chainsaws compare to gas-powered chainsaws is going to give you the best information when it comes to making a decision between these two types of chainsaw.

The electrical chainsaw also has certain disadvantages that you may not even have thought of. For example, you know that you are already restricted by the length of cord that the electrical chain neat into the wall – or by the length of extension cord that you need – but what you may not know is that electrical chainsaws are a lot less powerful than gas-powered chainsaws. You may not even be able to do the job that you want to do with the electrical chainsaw. Gas-powered chainsaws simply have a lot more bite for their bark. They are going to be able to cut down large trees and do heavy-duty jobs whereas an electrical chainsaw cannot.

The first thing that you have to understand is that gas-powered devices give you a good bit of room if you want to roam around when it comes to using rural this type of chainsaw, but they also have a number of disadvantages as well. For example, while you might be able to go anywhere you want with the gas-powered chainsaw, what you are not going to be able to do is work quietly. That’s because gas-powered devices are a lot louder than most of the other chainsaws on the market. In addition, you are going to have to buy gasoline. After all, that’s what the gas-powered chainsaw works upon. There are other disadvantages as well, but these should give you enough to be going upon.

Small gas-powered chainsaws also have certain advantages that you want to be aware of. For example, gas-powered chainsaws are a lot more powerful than their electrical counterparts. They can cut down trees, do heavy duty jobs and get a lot more done. Gas-powered chainsaws may be noisier, but you do not have to find an electrical outlet to plug them into. That means you can take them with you wherever you go and as long as you have a gas can with you, you can keep them running forever. These are all things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing between electrical chainsaws and gas-powered chainsaws. We are not necessarily identifying which one is right and which one is wrong because the one that you choose is the one that is best for you. For each person that is unique.

Small Cordless Electric Chainsaws vs. Small Gas Chainsaw

Small cordless chainsaws are terrific chainsaws for certain types of jobs. If you are doing landscaping in your yard or if you are cutting down tree branches, then this type of chainsaw might do you really well. These chainsaws do not have enough power to cut through a big tree, but they certainly have enough power to cut through thick branches, to trim off hedges and to do any landscaping work that you have to do within your business or your personal use for your own yard. But using a small electric cordless chainsaw has lots of other benefits in addition to being able to trim your hedges and do branch trimming.

For example, cordless electric chainsaws are great for reducing noise. If you have a gas-powered chainsaw, then you probably already know how noisy gas-powered chainsaws can be. If you are using them in your own yard or garage, then you’re probably going to be annoying your neighbors with the noise. In addition, cordless electric chainsaws are not able to be taken out into the field because the charge eventually runs out. With gas chainsaws, you do not necessarily have that problem because once the gases it used up, you are able to put in more gas and begin using the chainsaw again. This is not the case with electric chainsaws that have a battery. Plus, another consideration is power. Even though gas and electric chainsaws may look similar, you are going to be able to cut through a large tree a lot faster and with much more skill in finesse then you can with an electric chainsaw.

Small gas chainsaws are less common than other types of small chainsaws – including gas-powered chainsaws and battery-operated chainsaws – but they are still out there and they certainly give you a few advantages over their gas-powered companions. For one thing, as you might have expected from the previous description, gas-powered chainsaws are going to be a lot more powerful than battery-powered chainsaws. In fact, you might be able to find gas-powered chainsaws are able to do most of the jobs that full-size chainsaws can do. That means that if you need to chop down a thick tree, you can find a small gas-powered chainsaw that will do the trick, even if it takes a little longer then you would take to do the job with a gas-powered chainsaw that is full-sized.

In addition, gas-powered chainsaws have the advantage of lasting as long as you need them to run. If you run out of gasoline, all you have to do is refill the tank and you will be able to start work again right away. Electrical chainsaws may have a number of advantages, but when it comes to pure work horsepower, the gas-powered chainsaw definitely has the advantage. Gas chainsaws are simply able to perform better than most of the other chainsaws on the market. Even if you’re only talking about small chainsaws, they are still able to outperform most of the battery-operated chainsaws on the market whether they are full-size or small size.


  1. What type of branches can small chainsaw cut? Smaller chainsaws can cut lots of different branches, but the exact thickness of the branch that you want to cut will depend upon the power of the chainsaw in question and how hard you’re willing to work. However, if you need a hard and fast rule, then you can expect a battery-operated smaller chainsaw cut wood of up to 12 inches in diameter at the very maximum, while 8 to 10 inches in diameter is much more manageable. Gas-powered smaller chainsaws will be able to do the job no matter how thick the branches, but inmates take a lot longer for the saw to cut through, of course, larger chainsaws that are operated by gas are going to be much more efficient at cutting through really thick branches.
  2. Do all small chainsaws come with oil? This is a pretty standard question when it comes to smaller chainsaws, and the answer is no. However, it comes upon what you are asking. For example, if you are asking whether smaller chainsaws come with chain oil, the answer is still no, with the caveat being that you need to provide your own oil in order for the chainsaw to function properly. However, sometimes when people ask this question they are asking whether or not the smaller chainsaws are able to oil the chain automatically. Just like with full-size chainsaws, the answer is, it varies. Some of them have this feature while others do not.
  3. Which type of house jobs are small chainsaws best for? There are a lot of household jobs that are terrific for smaller chainsaws. For example, if you want to trim your own trees instead of paying a service to do it, then a smaller chainsaws going to be your best choice. Not only is the smaller chainsaw less expensive than the larger one, it is also going to be more maneuverable. In addition, most home improvement projects are going to benefit from the smaller chainsaw instead of the larger one. With the small, you can cut wood more accurately and have more freedom to create the house of items that you want to make.
  4. Are smaller chainsaws less dangerous? The fact is: that all chainsaws are dangerous no matter what power source they run on or whether they are large or small. However, smaller chainsaws are less dangerous than larger ones. The reason for this is simple: they do less work and have more maneuverability which means that you have less chance of moving them wrong to cause an accident. In addition, battery-powered chainsaws and electrical chainsaws usually are spinning at a much less rapid pace than gas-powered chainsaws. This can also affect how serious an accident is. However, whether or not a smaller chainsaw is dangerous depends mostly upon how the operator uses it and whether they are able to accomplish the goal they are trying to achieve with that particular chainsaw. If you are trying to be successful and safe with a chainsaw, then smaller chainsaws do have a lower chance of causing an accident.