Chainsaw Rating Sources
ConsumerReports.org tests 37 chainsaws -- gas, plug-in, battery-powered and power loppers -- by cutting through a 10-inch square oak beam. Testers rate each model based on cutting speed, safety, ease of use, and handling. Eighteen models earn recommendations, and six are named as Best Buys.
As the name suggests, this retail site specializes in chainsaws and their accessories. Along with star ratings from customer reviewers, the site gives each model a letter grade based on a combination of "manufacturer ratings, expert analysis and customer reviews." It also provides a helpful summary of users' top pros and cons for each chainsaw. Gas chainsaws have the most reviews here; we found three with high ratings from 50-plus reviewers.
This magazine's DIY experts describe the most important features of a chainsaw, then test seven lightweight and medium-duty gas models hands-on by "making hundreds of cuts." Each model gets a brief write-up outlining its strong and weak points compared to others in the same category. The piece also recommends three heavy-duty chainsaws, but there are no reviews for these.
Each of the five top chainsaws in this article receives a brief review, with a decent balance of praise and constructive criticism. Write-ups are obviously based on hands-on testing — Vaglica mentions sinking one saw into "a 17-inch diameter log" — but he doesn't mention any other chainsaws he tested that didn't make the grade.
Although about 35 chainsaws are sold on this site, none of them gets very many reviews from owners. However, this is a great source for reviews of chainsaw sharpeners. Three models get positive overall ratings from 50 users or more, and one has close to 500 comments. The individual reviews are generally short, but the site makes it easy to sort them by date, rating, and helpfulness.
Amazon.com sells hundreds of gas, electric and cordless chainsaws, and shares a wealth of user feedback. Electric chainsaws get the most reviews, but there are also some gas chainsaws with ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5 or better from at least 125 owners. Chainsaw sharpeners are covered on a separate page, and only one top-rated model has more than 100 reviews.
Lowes.com sells a limited selection of chainsaws, including about 50 gas, corded electric, and cordless models. Gas chainsaws get the most reviews from users, with several Husqvarna chainsaws receiving hundreds of reviews and ratings of 4.5 stars or more. One thing that makes the site tricky to use is that model numbers are not shown on the main page, so you have to click on each individual listing to see exactly which chainsaw it covers.
HomeDepot.com's selection of chainsaws includes more than 100 gas, corded, and battery-powered models. However, many well-reviewed brands, such as Husqvarna, Stihl, and Jonsered, are not sold here. It's a good place to find reviews for brands like Echo and Ego, however, which aren't widely covered elsewhere. We found several models with 4.5-star ratings from 100 users or more. Chainsaw sharpeners get fewer reviews, but we found one with high ratings from over 60 users.
Sears itself sells fewer than 50 chainsaw models, and most of them have few or no reviews. However, this is the best site to find reviews of Craftsman chainsaws, which are sold only at Sears. Two Craftsman chainsaws and two WORX chainsaws have ratings of 4 stars or better from at least 150 users. There are also a variety of additional chainsaws sold by other retailers listed here, but those rarely get any feedback.