What every best Chainsaws has:
- A trigger lock.
- An anti-kickback chain.
- A chain brake.
For this report, Doug Mahoney puts six cordless and gas-powered chainsaws through a series of tests. He runs them through 4-by-4s in the workshop, tests them on a variety of soft and hard trees out in the woods, and lends them to a pro to use on the job for three days. He then names his top picks based on battery life, speed, comfort, maneuverability, and overall ease of use.
Consumer Reports tests 41 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. This report is over four years old, but so far only one of the recommended models is discontinued.
Michael Springer tests four cordless chainsaws that run on 36-volt batteries. He runs the models through fresh-cut, 6-inch cottonwood limbs to test their power and run time. He also takes them to the woods to prune limbs and remove small trees. Each saw gets three to four paragraphs evaluating its features, handling, and overall ease of use.
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. However, three of the tested saws are discontinued. The piece also mentions three heavy-duty chainsaws, but there are no reviews for these.
As the name suggests, this retail site specializes in chainsaws and their accessories. Along with star ratings from customer reviewers, many models get a letter grade from Dale Vogelsanger, the site's chainsaw expert, who has spent over 20 years in the small engine and power equipment industry. The site 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.
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 — Sal 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. Three of the five recommended saws are now discontinued.
Amazon 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 150 owners. Chainsaw sharpeners are covered on a separate page; we found two top-rated models with more than 150 reviews.
Home Depot's selection of chainsaws includes more than 150 gas, corded, and battery-powered models. Many well-reviewed brands, such as Husqvarna, Stihl, and DeWalt, are not sold here, but it's a good place to find reviews for brands like Echo and Ego, 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 two with high ratings from over 50 users.
Lowes.com sells a limited selection of chainsaws, including about 40 gas, corded electric, and cordless models. Gas chainsaws get the most reviews from users, with a few models receiving hundreds of reviews and ratings of 4.5 stars or more. One problem with this site 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.
This site sells about 30 chainsaws, including gas, electric, and cordless models. However, most models don't have that many reviews from owners. We found only one gas chainsaw with high ratings from 100 owners or more. The site also has about a dozen chainsaw sharpeners for sale; one highly rated model has over 100 comments. Individual reviews are generally short, but the site makes it easy to sort them by date, rating, and helpfulness.
Sears itself sells only around 40 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. There are also a variety of additional chainsaws sold by other retailers listed here, some of which receive substantial feedback -- though that's sometimes drawn from the manufacturer's site. Altogether, we found four chainsaws with ratings of 4 stars or better from at least 150 users.