Chainsaw Rating Sources
Total of 21 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org tests a large number of chainsaws in its ongoing testing program. The latest ratings chart includes a total of 26 gas and electric chainsaws from 10 major brands, rated and ranked based on objective tests of cutting speed, safety, ease of use and ease of maintenance. The ratings chart also specifies whether or not the chainsaw has any of 11 desirable features. However, editors don't rate chainsaws for sound level or even specify it in decibels. Some models have been discontinued since these ratings were published.
Chain Saw Comparison Field Test
by Roy Berendsohn
Our AssessmentThis comparison review is based on field tests of five gas chainsaws, all relatively high-end, ranging in price from $370 to $709. Interestingly, the least expensive saw, the Stihl MS 290 Farm Boss, is picked as the best of the five. All are judged very good, however; Berendsohn says they all performed so well that it was hard to pick a winner. In the end the Stihl saw won because the testers could find no flaws; as Berendsohn puts it, "It seems that the company lavished attention on every square inch of the saw."
7 New Chain Saws Reviewed: Comparison Test
by Thomas Klenck
Our AssessmentTo test seven gas chainsaws with engine sizes from 35 cc to 38 cc, a Popular Mechanics team "spent three days pruning an ancient orchard, felling trees and crosscutting them into logs." Each of the seven chainsaws is given a rating of up to 5 stars (none has less than 3). The top three are the Husqvarna 240 e-series, Stihl MS 210 C-BE (now MS 211 C-BE) and Echo CS-370. A short write-up lists the pros and cons of each model tested, and the review is followed by comments posted by chainsaw owners. There is also a chart comparing the noise levels of the seven chainsaws, though the ratings do not take noise level into account. The Echo CS-370 and the Solo 636, which placed fourth in the ratings, are the quietest. However, because even the Echo is rated at 99 decibels, the editors recommend that users wear noise-reducing earmuffs.
by Michael Springer
Our AssessmentThis is the most informative review we found; it explains how each feature of an electric chainsaw affects its safety, maintenance, performance and ease of use. The reviewer put nine of the most powerful electric chainsaws through objective tests that include cutting two sizes of square timbers. Chain brakes are tested to see whether they activate easily by inertia; each chainsaw is also tested for balance and grip torque. Michael Springer says the Stihl MSE 180 C-BQ "just seemed to get everything right" and names it his overall winner. Next on his list are the Stihl MSE 220 and Husqvarna 316 chainsaw. Springer writes that he also likes the Makita 5012B, and gives the Craftsman 34118 "the special designation of Value Choice among its competition."
The Ultimate Landscaper Saw
by Roy Berendsohn
Our AssessmentIn this single-product review Roy Berendsohn writes that he borrowed a Stihl MS 230 C-BE to use for a volunteer landscaping job and found that it "can easily withstand that momentary brush with the ground or handle dirty tree roots (a job so awful that I normally use a reciprocating saw and a bimetal blade)." He describes other features that he says make this an ideal landscaper saw, and gives it a positive review overall.
by Joseph Truini
Our AssessmentIn this blog post, Joseph Truini reviews the Oregon PowerNow Chainsaw, which operates on a 40-volt Li-ion battery. Truini writes that he used the PowerNow on a locust tree that had fallen after a hurricane. Using an extended-run battery, he was able to make 60 cuts through branches that were 4 to 8 inches in diameter. He concludes that the Oregon PowerNow "has more than enough power and run-time to handle light- to medium-duty tree cutting, including trimming limbs and cutting down damaged branches."
No-Fuss, No-Muss Chainsaw
by John Diggers
Our AssessmentJohn Diggers reviews the electric Worx WG303, writing that "I used it to chop up a 14-inch-diameter ash tree, and the saw didn't stall or hiccup once." He notes that the Worx WG303 has many of the features found on most high-quality chainsaws, as well as one unique to Worx chainsaws: a patented automatic chain-tensioning system. Diggers also praises the WG303's low price (*Est. $99). All in all, he gives it a very positive review.
Chainsaw Buyer's Guide: How to Pick the Perfect Chain Saw
by Mike Sawisch
Our AssessmentMike Sawisch, a product expert for ChainsawsDirect.com, recommends the best among the cordless, electric and gas chainsaws this online retailer sells. Recommendations are based on his experience and knowledge of the products. Husqvarna gas and electric chainsaws are recommended, along with a GreenWorks cordless that uses a Li-ion battery.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com publishes owner-written reviews and ratings of the chainsaws sold here, listing the average rating and the number of reviews right on the list of models. Several gas and electric models have enough ratings and reviews to provide a good first-person perspective on them, based on their use over time.
by Contributors to Sears.com
Our AssessmentOwners can post ratings and comments at Sears.com, and because Craftsman chainsaws are only sold at Sears, this is one of the few spots to read user reviews for that brand. Of the chainsaw models that have a significant number of owner reviews, the Craftsman 34118 (electric), Craftsman 35170 (gas) and Husqvarna 455 Rancher (gas) chainsaws get the highest ratings, each earning an average overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
by Contributors to Lowes.com
Our AssessmentLowes.com publishes owner ratings and reviews of the gas and electric chainsaws sold here. The only electric model with enough ratings to make them meaningful is the Worx WG303, which gets very high ratings. Husqvarna gas chainsaws, including the 455 Rancher, get significantly higher ratings than Poulan models. Lowes.com uses its own model numbers for two Husqvarna saws, but doesn't give the corresponding Husqvarna model numbers. It appears, though, that the current models to which they most closely correspond are the 445 and the 435.
by Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Our AssessmentHomeDepot.com publishes owner-written reviews and ratings of the chainsaws sold here -- among gas-powered models, mostly Echo and Homelite. Most of the Homelite models get very low ratings, although there are not very many for any single model; among the Echo models, the CS-400 with an 18-inch bar gets the most and best ratings. The cordless Ryobi P542 gets the best ratings of any electric chainsaw, with an average overall score of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Is a Quiet Chainsaw an Oxymoron?
by Editors of Noise Pollution Clearinghouse
Our AssessmentThis useful review provides a good overview of which electric chainsaws are best suited to different uses and budget requirements. In addition, electric chainsaws are rated and ranked based on the results of tests conducted by a team that included a professional logger and an acoustical expert. In the end, the review recommends the Husqvarna 316E and Makita UC 4000 as "exceptional cut quality saws" that are also quiet. We'd rate this review higher if it were more recent.
Joining the Chainsaw Gang
by Gwendolyn Bounds
Our AssessmentThis comparison review is interesting because it's written from the point of view of a novice chainsaw user. Gwendolyn Bounds tests three gas chainsaws and one electric model with the help of two professional landscapers familiar with 15 brands. Comparing the gas chainsaws, she finds the Stihl MS 180 C-BE MiniBoss by far the easiest to start and names it "my favorite saw overall." Bounds also tries out an electric saw, the Husqvarna 316, and likes its performance and ease of use. She concludes that "if you don't have much property and can tolerate an extension cord, an electric might be the chainsaw to cut your teeth on."
Black & Decker 18-Volt Cordless Chainsaw
by Diana Forbes
Our AssessmentThis single-product review rates the 18-volt Black & Decker cordless chainsaw based on testing, recommending it for pruning branches no larger than 7 inches in diameter. Reviewer Diana Forbes gives this chainsaw high marks for ease of use and value. Although it requires manual oiling, its 6.2-pound weight makes it easy to maneuver, she notes.
Electric Chain Saws
by Neil Soderstrom
Our AssessmentNeil Soderstrom, the author of a book on chainsaw use and maintenance, tests three electric chainsaws at different price points but doesn't compare them with directly competing models. Based on the reviewer's personal experience, the Stihl 180C is judged as powerful as a midsize gas chainsaw. The Remington is light and inexpensive but hardest to maintain, and the midrange Husqvarna 316E offers good safety features.
Chainsaws on the Cutting Edge
by Mike McClintock
Our AssessmentIn this older review, Mike McClintock, a columnist for The Washington Post, recommends four chainsaws ranging in cutting power from entry-level to pro. The descriptions are detailed, making this review a good buyer's guide, and we'd rank it higher if it were newer and made it clear that competing models were tested.
by Harry Sawyers
Our AssessmentTool expert Harry Sawyers recommends four gas chainsaws, one corded electric chainsaw and one cordless model, but descriptions are very brief and no testing is documented.
Chain Saw Stuff Guide
by Editors of ConsumerGuide.com
Our AssessmentConsumerGuide.com provides single-product reviews and ratings of nine chainsaws, with four recommended as Best Buys. The reviews are out of date, however; of the models named Best Buys, only the Husqvarna 455 Rancher has not been discontinued since the review was written. Though ratings seem to be based on actual testing, the testing methods aren't documented.
by Contributors to ReviewCentre.com
Our AssessmentThis British site invites consumers to rate and review different products. The site itself doesn't sell any products, and the only reviews are those posted by consumers, so it's a credible source of information. Unfortunately, most chainsaws haven't gotten many reviews, but the Husqvarna 455 Rancher and the Stihl MS 361 have.
Best Chain Saw for the Money?
by Contributors to GardenWeb.com
Our AssessmentThis discussion thread has been going on for about five years now; contributors to this forum share firsthand experiences with consumer and pro models of chainsaws. Stihl, Echo and Husqvarna chainsaws seem to get the most recommendations. This is a good forum for asking detailed questions, not only about the best chainsaw for your needs, but about problems and repair issues. It's also searchable, so you can look for discussions about a particular model.