Most and Least Reliable Chainsaw Brands

CR members sound off about their experiences with more than 13,000 gas, battery, and corded-electric chainsaws

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A person using a chainsaw to cut a tree Photo: iStock

A chainsaw is the tool of choice for clearing brush, trimming limbs, or prepping firewood. A good chainsaw is one that is safe, cuts well, and, of course, works reliably. That’s why Consumer Reports is now assessing reliability for chainsaws.

In our recently updated ratings, you’ll now see brand-level predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings for every chainsaw we test. The ratings reflect our analysis of what more than 11,000 CR members told us about 13,109 gas, battery, and corded electric chainsaws they purchased new from 2010 to 2020.

More on Chainsaws

“Problems with chainsaws are pretty pervasive, and members reported everything from difficulty starting the tools to bar oil leaks to cutting chains popping off,” says Simon Slater, CR’s associate director for survey research. “Adding predicted reliability scores to our chainsaw ratings really arms consumers with a critical piece of information, so they can make a more informed choice.”

The results of our survey inform our predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings for each brand and chainsaw type—gasoline chainsaws, corded-electric chainsaws, and battery-powered chainsaws. And those ratings factor into each model’s Overall Score, along with performance ratings based on our exhaustive chainsaw tests.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the winners and losers from our survey, across the various categories of chainsaws. The results cover a variety of brands, including Craftsman, DeWalt, Ego, Echo, Jonsered, Husqvarna, Makita, and Stihl. If a brand receives an unfavorable reliability rating of Fair or Poor in a given chainsaw category, its models in that category are not eligible to be recommended by CR—no matter how well they cut in our performance tests.

Gasoline Chainsaws

Gasoline saws have been the default option for decades, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that battery-powered saws caught up in terms of performance. Gasoline chainsaws account for 63 percent of the chainsaws covered by our survey. In our performance ratings, we divide the tools into both regular and light-duty saws, but our reliability data looks at all gas saws from each manufacturer as a single group. 

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.