This paper presents the elastic buckling behavior of nonlocal micro- and nano- Timoshenko rods/tubes based on Eringen’s nonlocal elasticity theory. The critical buckling loads are obtained using the theorem of minimum total potential energy and Chebyshev polynomial functions. The present method, which uses Rayleigh–Ritz technique in this paper, provides an efficient and extremely accurate buckling solution. Numerical results for a variety of some micro- and nano-rods/tubes with various boundary conditions are given and compared with the available results wherever possible. Through the comparison of the results and the appropriate discussion, the knowledge of the level of capability of the developed method is promoted. The small scale effects on the buckling loads of rods/tubes are determined and discussed.