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What's behind our chain saw Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 41 models in chain saws to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based on cutting speed, safety, ease of use, and handling.
  • Cutting speed
    How fast a saw cut through a 10-inch-square oak beam.
  • Safety
    Consists of kickback intensity, the potential for burn due to inadvertent contact with the muffler, and storage safety--how well protected the cutting chain is from accidental contact during storage.
  • Ease of use
    Based on engine-starting convenience (the average number of pulls to start), primer and choke location and operation, and the ease of adjusting the cutting chain’s tightness, checking and adding fluids, and accessing the air filter and spark plug.
  • Handling
    Denotes horizontal cutting, vertical cutting, saw weight, and vibration (as measured with a vibration meter).
  • Weight
    The weight, to the nearest pound, for a fully assembled saw with bar and chain but without any gas or oil added.
  • cc/amp
    Engine cc (cubic centimeters), amps (for corded electric motors), and volts (battery-powered electric motors) are from manufacturer.
  • Bar length tested
    Length of the bar tested from all available lengths.


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Recommended chain saws

Recommended chain saws are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Chain saws range from small, light-duty electrics to large gas-powered models intended for forestry work. The kinds of jobs you plan to do should dictate the type of chain saw you buy. Expect to pay more if you need more power. If you're looking for information about chain saws, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ chain saw reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our chain saw buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and chain saw reviews to help you choose the best chain saw for your needs.

Chain saw buying guide

Chain saws are handy for quickly removing dead tree limbs and sawing fire wood. They can also clear fallen trees after a storm in a fraction of the time you'd spend with a hand saw. Here's what you need to know before you shop.

Chain saws range from small, corded and cordless electrics to large gas-powered models intended for heavier work. Prices are often tied to engine size for gas saws and voltage for electric saws, along with cutting-bar length. But higher specs aren't necessarily better.

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