If you own property with a lot of trees or brush, or you cut your own firewood, then a good chainsaw, whether gas, battery-powered or corded-electric, is a must-have. These powerful tools make quick work of pruning tree branches, felling trees, slicing logs into firewood or lumber, or cutting through thick brush.
There are numerous brands of chainsaws on the market, so when choosing which is best for your needs, it can be helpful to know which brands are considered the top of the field, as well as what the various top brands have to offer. To help you get started, we spoke with three landscapers who are no strangers to chainsaws: Dan Morris, owner of chainsaw website Fire and Saw, Coleman Cosby, a project manager and landscape design specialist at Yardzen, and Aaron Barnett, landscaper, carpenter, and owner of DIY website Banging Toolbox. The three were unanimous in naming legendary chainsaw brands Stihl and Husqvarna as the best options for professionals. Dan Morris commented, “These two brands are innovators that manufacture the most powerful saws on a level that's unmatched. Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws can last for many decades when looked after, even if they are used frequently.”
The landscapers also praised several other brands as being well-suited to the average homeowner, including Makita, EGO, DEWALT, Milwaukee, and ECHO.
We evaluated several factors for each brand, including the types of chainsaws they manufacture, their reputation, the quality of their chainsaws, the ease of finding their products for purchase, and the overall value of their products. Based on our research, as well as the input from our three chainsaw experts, here are the best chainsaw brands available today.
Gas, corded, and battery options
Can only be purchased at licensed dealers
One of the top-selling chainsaw brands in the world, Stilh was founded in Germany in the 1920s by Andreas Stihl, who invented the first electric chainsaw to speed up forestry work. Since then, the company has gone on to become one of the top sources of gas, electric, and battery chainsaws for both professional users and homeowners, although they are especially renowned for their powerful gas tools, including the very popular MS 250 18-Inch 45.4 cc Gas Chainsaw, which is suited to professionals and home landscapers alike.
Dan Morris, owner of the chainsaw website Fire and Saw says, “Overall, I would say Stihl is the best gas chainsaw brand. It's what most loggers and professional tree-care workers use for good reason. The resale value can also be very good. Collectors are always looking to swipe up even very old and vintage Stihl saws.”
Stihl also manufactures excellent battery chainsaws, including their newest offering, the MSA 300 C-O, which is their most powerful battery chainsaw to date.
Stihl sells chainsaws with bars as long as 28 inches for professional arborists and loggers, as well as much shorter chainsaws for home use, but all have state-of-the-art technology to maintain power and performance, as well as reduce vibration, keep the tool well-balanced while in use, and extend the tool’s lifetime.
One downside of Stihl, however, is that they only sell their products through licensed dealers; you can’t simply buy a Stihl chainsaw online or at a big-box home improvement center. Plus, their chainsaws are quite expensive, with their least-expensive models starting at $200. Still, for the professional user, this is a must-consider brand. Stihl chainsaws are covered by a two-year warranty.
Gas, corded, and battery chainsaws
Founded as the Jönköping Rifle Factory in 1620—yes, the company is over 400 years old—Husqvarna started as a maker of weapons, but over the centuries has branched out to manufacture a diverse range of products, including sewing machines, wood stoves, microwave ovens, bicycles, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and of course, starting in 1959, chainsaws. Since then, Husqvarna has established itself as one of the foremost brands of chainsaws, including gas, corded electric, and battery-powered models. Coleman Cosby, a project manager and landscape design specialist at Yardzen notes, “I'm partial to Husqvarna. They have a legendary reputation and are one of the only two (the other being Stihl) brands I would seriously consider as a professional for gas or battery-powered chainsaws.”
We especially recommend the Husqvarna 455 Rancher, which is one of their best-selling gas chainsaws. But if your preference is for a smaller, battery-powered tool, then we are partial to the Husqvarna 120i, which has a 40-volt battery and 14-inch bar.
Husqvarna chainsaws are notable for their powerful performance, reduced noise and vibration, relatively light weights, easy startup, and superior safety features; Husqvarna invented the automatic chain brake back in the 1970s. This feature immediately stops the chain from spinning should the chainsaw experience kickback, where the tool jerks back toward the user. Today, this is a standard feature on just about all chainsaws from every brand.
Unlike Stihl, you can buy Husqvarna online at many sites, as well as at some large home improvement centers. But like Stihl, Husqvarna tends to be one of the most expensive brands of chainsaws. Husqvarna also gives a two-year warranty on its chainsaws.
Especially good for top-handled chainsaws
Advanced battery technology
Only a 1-year warranty
Japanese company Makita was founded in 1915 as a manufacturer of electric motors. Over the following decades, they established themselves as a top maker of electric tools, both corded and cordless, including drills, grinders, sanders, and of course chainsaws. In the 1990s, Makita acquired Sachs Dolmar, a leading German manufacturer of gas chainsaws, which are now made under the Makita name. But it’s still their corded-electric and battery chainsaws that make them the most renowned. Coleman Cosby says, “I'll add Makita in for corded electric—Makita has been making trusted pro-grade electric tools for decades.” We especially like Makita’s corded UC4051A 16-inch chainsaw, which is a powerful, easy-to-use tool.
Makita also makes some excellent cordless top-handle chainsaws, including the XCU08PT 14-inch 36-volt battery chainsaw. Aaron Barnett, landscaper, carpenter, and owner of DIY website Banging Toolbox notes that this is one of his favorites, as its design makes it safer for work while on a ladder or perched on a branch.
Overall, Makita chainsaws, especially their electric models, are favored for their excellent power-to-weight ratios, advanced battery technology, and reliability. While Makita’s chainsaws might not be quite as powerful or durable as similar models from Stihl or Husqvarna, they are much more reasonably priced and are easy to find online or at many home improvement centers. The company has a one-year warranty on their chainsaws and a three-year warranty on their batteries.
Reliable battery chainsaws
Not as heavy-duty as some other brands
No gas chainsaws
Founded by Raymond DeWalt in 1924 as a company producing electric woodworking machines, DEWALT went on to revolutionize the tool industry with their introduction of several battery-powered tools in the mid-1990s. Although DEWALT does not make any gas chainsaws, they do have several corded models, but they are especially renowned for their battery chainsaws, which are strong contenders in the DIY and homeowner market. Aaron Barnett especially praises DEWALT’s cordless chainsaws as well-suited to backyard use.
While we like the DEWALT DCCS620P1 20-volt 12-inch chainsaw for basic yardwork, the company now makes 60-volt battery chainsaws for users who need power that resembles what a gas tool could produce. Like other DEWALT tools, these are mid-priced products that give excellent performance and can be counted on for innovative designs and features. While not likely to be used for professional forestry or landscaping, DEWALT’s chainsaws are reliable choices for the homeowner, DIYer, camper, or homesteader who wants a chainsaw for felling small trees, cutting up firewood, or clearing out brush. You can buy DEWALT tools online or at most home improvement centers. They offer a three-year warranty on their chainsaws.
Reliable cordless chainsaws
Good for use around the yard
Not for heavy-duty applications
No gas or corded chainsaws
Founded in 1924 as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, the company mostly focused on tool repair in its earliest days, although over the coming decades, it rapidly expanded to become a prominent name in many types of electric tools, most notably various types of drills and sanders. They came out with the Sawzall Reciprocating Saw in 1951, which is still one of their best-selling products. But it was in the 1990s that the company became established as a leading manufacturer of battery-powered tools, with a focus on powerful, long-lasting batteries that were interchangeable between most of the brand’s tools. Aaron Barnett lists Milwaukee as one of the best brands for battery-powered chainsaws for use around the yard or homestead, thanks to their easy maintenance, quiet performance, reliability, and power.
While Milwaukee makes quite a few small chainsaws, including the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hatchet Pruning Saw, that are ideal for pruning shrubs and trees, they also have some more powerful options, including the M18 Fuel 16-inch chainsaw, which is their largest model. While not as powerful as gas chainsaws geared towards the professional arborist, landscaper, or logger, the battery chainsaws from Milwaukee are very reliable options for users who just want a mid-price, mid-size, reasonably powerful tool for use around the backyard or extended property. You can buy Milwaukee chainsaws online or at many home improvement centers. They are covered by a three-year warranty.
Good power for light-to-medium tasks
No gas chainsaws
Not for heavy-duty applications
Compared to many other brands on our list, Chinese company WORX is a newcomer, having been founded in 2004. Focusing mostly on lawn care and gardening products, including lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and of course chainsaws, WORX also manufactures a few other power tools, including drills, sanders, and power saws. All of their products are electric, with most being battery-powered, and are generally quite reasonably priced. However, these are not burly chainsaws for use in felling large trees or sawing through big logs. Instead, WORX chainsaws are for light-to-medium use around the yard, carrying out such tasks as trimming shrubs or pruning small branches.
We especially like the WORX WG322 for lightweight use. However, the company does offer a few more robust chainsaws, such as the corded 15-amp, 18-inch WG304.1, which reliably chews through trees as large as 18 inches in diameter or even larger logs on the ground. Still, for most buyers, a WORX chainsaw is a reasonably priced tool for occasional use around the yard, extended property, or homestead. You can buy WORX chainsaws online, directly from the manufacturer, or at many home improvement centers. They are covered with a three-year warranty.
Gas and battery options
More expensive than some other options
Japanese brand ECHO has been around since 1963 and produces some of the most powerful gas chainsaws after Stihl and Husqvarna. Coleman Cosby recommends ECHO gas chainsaws for homeowners, calling them “A reputable brand that has been around for a while and has a proven track record.” ECHO’s professional gas chainsaws are beasts—the CS7310P has a 73.5 cc engine and is available with bars up to 32 inches in length—but for use around the yard or homestead, we recommend the CS-400-18, which has a more reasonable 18-inch bar and 40.2 cc engine.
ECHO also produces battery chainsaws, including their new line of eFORCE 56-volt chainsaws, which have professional-level power and features in a lightweight design. In fact, ECHO is known for their lightweight chainsaws that don’t sacrifice a bit of power just because they aren’t as heavy as some other brands. Plus, generally ECHO chainsaws are easy to use, very reliable, and quite durable. On the downside, you’ll pay more for an ECHO chainsaw than for some of the other brands on our list. Still, if you want superior performance and power, but don’t want to spend quite as much as you would for a Stihl or Husqvarna tool, ECHO is a great option. You can buy ECHO chainsaws online or at many home improvement centers. They offer a 5-year warranty on their chainsaws.
Powerful and reliable performance
Advanced battery technology
Batteries are interchangeable between all EGO products
No gas chainsaws
More expensive than some other options
Owned by international conglomerate Chervon, EGO has been around for over a decade and is one of the preeminent brands of battery chainsaws, as well as other battery-powered outdoor tools, thanks to their POWER+ 56-volt battery system, which gives their chainsaws power similar to what you would expect from a gas chainsaw. Along with considerable power, EGO chainsaws are known for their sturdy construction, reliable performance, long battery run-time, and quality features like metal bucking spikes, which help keep a log in place while it’s being cut.
We especially recommend the CS1611 16-inch chainsaw, which chews through small-to-medium trees and logs with ease. Plus, the battery is compatible with all other EGO products. On the downside, the battery is somewhat heavy, meaning that EGO chainsaws can be tiring to use for long stretches. Plus, these are somewhat more expensive than many other battery-powered chainsaws. Still, if you want the power of a gas chainsaw without the smelly fumes and noise, an EGO POWER+ chainsaw is one of your best options. EGO tools are sold online and at many large home improvement centers. They offer a five-year warranty on their chainsaws and a three-year warranty on their battery packs.
Very powerful 80-volt options
No gas chainsaws
Batteries can only be used with other same-voltage Greenworks products
Established in 2002, Greenworks has quickly become one of the leading brands of battery-powered outdoor tools for both commercial and residential use, including snow blowers, lawn mowers, trimmers, edgers, and chainsaws. The company offers chainsaws for light-to-medium tasks that run on 20-volt and 40-volt batteries, but also offers chainsaws with impressive 80-volt batteries; that gives you the power equivalent of a 45 cc gas engine, minus the smelly fumes or struggling with a pull cord to turn the tool on. You can even fell trees up to 34 inches in diameter with the powerful Pro 80V 18-Inch Chainsaw. And once you have a Greenworks battery, you can use it with all of their other tools that run off the same voltage.
Greenworks chainsaws tend to be a little less expensive than similar models from EGO, but one downside is that unlike EGO, you cannot use a Greenworks battery with any Greenworks tool, but only with tools set to the same voltage as the battery. That makes Greenworks a little less versatile than EGO overall. Still, if you want a battery chainsaw with the utmost in power, it’s worth giving Greenhouse a look. You can buy their products online or from many home improvement centers, as well as directly from the Greenworks website. Their chainsaws are covered by a three-year warranty.
Reliable chainsaws for light-duty applications
Not for heavy-duty applications
No gas chainsaws
Founded as a machine shop by S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker in 1910, BLACK+DECKER patented the first electric hand-held drill in 1917 and was the first company to offer electric outdoor tools for homeowner use in the 1950s. They were also one of the first companies to produce battery-powered tools for everyday users, starting with their cordless drill in 1961. Today, BLACK+DECKER is one of the most popular tool companies for the home workshop, thanks to their very reasonable prices, extensive range of products, and good quality.
When it comes to chainsaws, this isn’t the brand for powerful tools that can fell large trees, however. Instead, BLACK+DECKER is a reliable source of budget-priced, small-to-medium corded or battery chainsaws that are ideal for small jobs around the garden, such as pruning and trimming shrubs and small trees. We especially like their 20-Volt MAX 10-Inch Cordless Chainsaw, which is easy to use and light in weight. You can use the battery with other BLACK+DECKER 20-volt tools, as well. You’ll find this budget brand online and in most home improvement centers. They have a two-year warranty.
Gas, corded, and battery options
Not for heavy-duty applications
First established in 1927 as a premium-quality tool line for Sears department stores and purchased by Stanley Black & Decker in 2017, Craftsman produces a very wide range of hand tools, such as wrenches and hammers, as well as extensive lines of power tools, both corded and cordless. Unlike many other lower-cost brands, Craftsman offers gas chainsaws as well as corded and cordless models. While not professional tools for heavy-duty use, Craftsman chainsaws are excellent tools for use around the home garden or homestead. We especially like their S165 16-inch Gas Chainsaw, which is easy to use and reasonably powerful. When it comes to cordless chainsaws, most of Craftsman’s offerings run on 20-volt batteries, although they do now have a few more powerful models that use 60-volt batteries.
Generally, Craftsman’s battery chainsaws are reliable, have plenty of power for light-to-moderate pruning and trimming, and are quite reasonably priced. Their gas chainsaws are also very popular with homeowners and homesteaders, thanks to their high quality for the price. You can buy Craftsman chainsaws online and at some home improvement centers. They are covered by a two-year warranty.
What to Look for In a Chainsaw Brand
Types of Chainsaws
There are three basic types of chainsaws, based on their power source: Gas, electric, and battery. While gas-powered chainsaws are undeniably the most powerful options, they also tend to be noisy, difficult to start, require you to keep fuel on hand, and in many cities, are banned or restricted due to their smelly and polluting emissions.
Corded chainsaws, which require you to plug them into an electrical outlet, are also powerful tools, but the tether of a cord makes them inconvenient when using them anywhere but in a small yard. As battery-powered options become more powerful, corded chainsaws are slowly becoming obsolete, but there are still some people who like them for occasional use.
Battery-powered, or cordless chainsaws, are quickly becoming the most popular option, especially for use around the backyard or small property. As manufacturers improve their battery technology, these tools are becoming increasingly powerful and their run-times are getting longer. Still, cordless chainsaws are not yet near the power level of the top gas chainsaws, and generally, you’ll only get half an hour or so of use before you need to recharge the battery.
Some chainsaw brands offer all three types of chainsaw, which gives you the most options. However, some of the newer brands only offer cordless chainsaws. Before deciding on a preferred brand of chainsaw, make sure it offers the type you want.
Dan Morris offers further advice, “ You should consider how often you’ll use the chainsaw. If it's going to be used regularly, get a better brand like Stihl or Husqvarna. If it's only for infrequent use, then there's no point spending so much money, and you'll be fine with a cheaper chainsaw brand."
He continues, "Determining whether you want a gas or battery-powered chainsaw is another choice you need to make. Gas saws can go all day and are best for heavy-duty work, whereas battery-powered chainsaws are good for brief periods (up to an hour) of light work. The benefit of battery-powered is that there are no fumes and they are much quieter. However, you are a lot more limited in what you can cut with them.”
Chainsaws are undeniably dangerous tools if used incorrectly or carelessly. That’s why all chainsaws from all manufacturers, whether gas or electric, have several built-in safety features. These are the most common:
- Chain brakes immediately cut power to the chain should the tool experience kickback. Kickback happens when the chainsaw becomes caught on a bit of wood and is sent forcefully back toward the user.
- Chain catchers catch the chain should it become loose or slip off the bar.
- Trigger locks prevent the chainsaw from being accidentally turned on. Generally, you need to unlock the trigger as well as depress it to power up the chainsaw.
- A top handguard prevents your hand from slipping forward towards the bar.
- The control to shut off the chainsaw’s power must be easy to access without having to reposition the user’s hands.
Aaron Barnett offers these further general safety tips: “When using a chainsaw, it is essential to wear good quality PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Wear a face shield or eyeglasses, earmuffs, and long thick trousers at the very least to help protect your ears, eyes, and legs in case the saw kickbacks."
"Chainsaws are much louder than most other tools and can damage your ears quickly. To prevent this, I use both earplugs and earmuffs at the same time when I'm doing log-cutting work on the ground. Otherwise, for single cuts when up high, I wear only ear muffs, which allows me to hear smaller creaks or sounds that indicate when and how a tree branch is falling."
"It is vital to learn how branches fall and how to cut correctly on smaller jobs before going to bigger, more dangerous situations. As is knowing when to get in a professional when the job is beyond your skill level and experience.”
Chainsaws of all types are generally rated by the length of their bar, which is the part of the tool that holds the chain. All three types of chainsaws come in a wide range of lengths, but you’ll find that the longest chainsaws by far are gas-powered models used by professional loggers, arborists, or landscapers. When choosing your chainsaw, consider the size of the logs, branches, or tree trunks you’ll be cutting. Generally, a chainsaw can tackle a log that’s roughly two inches less than the chainsaw’s bar length. So for example, a chainsaw with a 18-inch bar could cut through a 16-inch log.
As a very rough guideline, an 8 to 10-inch bar is sufficient for light pruning in the yard, while a bar that’s 10 to 14 inches long is the most versatile option if you expect to cut through branches and small logs. For larger logs, you’ll want a chainsaw with a bar that’s 18 or 20 inches long. Beyond that, chainsaws become more difficult to wield safely, so it’s best to leave the longest tools to professionals.
All manufacturers of chainsaws offer their tools in a range of lengths, but you’ll typically find that the brands geared more towards professionals offer the longest chainsaws, while the brands that target homeowners, as well as the cordless-only brands, typically have mostly short-to-medium
Chainsaws are hardworking tools that have to withstand considerable abuse as they power their way through logs, tree trunks, branches, and brush. When choosing a brand of chainsaw, look for one that’s known to manufacture durable, reliable tools that can stand up to the type of work you’ll be doing, whether that’s some light pruning and trimming around the yard, cutting logs into firewood, or felling trees. Generally, brands that offer professional chainsaws, as well as homeowner-friendly tools, will be the most durable and reliable options.
Where You Can Shop
Other than Stihl, which is only sold through licensed dealers, you can buy all of the other brands of chainsaws on our list online through websites such as Amazon or the websites of the major home improvement centers, such as Home Depot or Lowe's. Many other tool and hardware websites, including ACE Hardware, Acme Tools, and Chainsaws Direct also provide online buying and home delivery.
You can also buy some chainsaws, including Greenworks and WORX, directly from their manufacturers' websites. And of course, many home improvement centers carry a selection of chainsaws that you can touch, hold, and evaluate in person before making your purchase.
How many years should a chainsaw last?
The lifespan of a chainsaw depends greatly on how well you take care of it, as well as the types of tasks you use it for. Generally, you’ll find that the most prestigious chainsaw brands, such as Stihl or Husqvarna, produce tools that can last well over a decade if properly maintained. Don’t expect that type of longevity from a low-cost chainsaw, however, nor from a brand that mostly focuses on the home user, rather than the professional. Still, you can expect several years of use from even a low-cost chainsaw if you care for it properly and don’t use it for tasks beyond its capabilities.
How often should you sharpen a chainsaw chain?
Coleman Cosby notes, "If you start seeing smoke while cutting and see burn marks on the cuts, it’s time to sharpen the chain. A dull chainsaw chain is more dangerous to use than a sharp one, as it is harder to control and likelier to slip.”
How often you’ll need to sharpen the chain depends on how often and how vigorously your chainsaw is used. For the average user, it’s a good idea to sharpen the chain after a few hour’s use, whether that use is all in one day or spread out over a year. You’ll need to sharpen the chain right away should it hit a rock or another hard object that causes a dull spot, but a truly damaged chain needs to be replaced. Also note that you can only sharpen a chainsaw blade a few times before it needs to be replaced, as each sharpening wears away some of the metal.
What type of maintenance does a chainsaw need?
Like any tool, chainsaws need regular maintenance to perform their best. Before using your chainsaw, whether it’s gas or cordless, you should always take the time to check the chain for any signs of damage as well as check that the chain is tightened appropriately. You’ll also need to sharpen or replace the chain periodically.
You also want to be sure that the oil reservoir is full; most chainsaws have automatic oilers that dispense small amounts of oil onto the chain as it spins, which helps reduce friction and heat. If your chainsaw runs out of oil, it can damage the chain or overheat the tool’s motor or engine. A gas-powered chainsaw needs fuel in the tank, while a cordless chainsaw needs a fully charged battery.
You should also take the time to wipe down your chainsaw after every use, cleaning away sawdust, tree sap, and other grime from the chain, bar, and body of the tool.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, who is a writer specializing in home and garden products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers. To choose the best chainsaw brands for this article, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews, as well as websites specializing in chainsaws and landscaping.
She evaluated each chainsaw brand based on its reputation, the types of chainsaws offered, the size and power of its chainsaws, safety features, durability, overall value, and customer feedback. She also received considerable advice and input from Dan Morris, owner of the chainsaw website Fire and Saw; Coleman Cosby, a project manager and landscape design specialist at Yardzen; and Aaron Barnett, landscaper, carpenter, and owner of DIY website Banging Toolbox.