We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

4 August 2021

Which chainsaw brand to buy in 2021

We survey owners of Stihl, Husqvarna, Bosch and Black and Decker chainsaws to find out the reliable brands that have the happiest customers
Alice Williams
Petrol chainsaw rested on planks

The chain breaking is one of the most common faults experienced by the chainsaw owners we surveyed.

Other common faults also relate to the chain, including the chain guard or the chain brake failing. Keeping your chain in good condition is vital for to keep your chainsaw safe to use and performing well.

Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when buying a new hedge trimmer. That’s why we asked 799 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy with their chainsaws, or have experienced problems, in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.

Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults, and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest chainsaw manufacturers – including Stihl, Husqvarna and Bosch – and have calculated a reliability rating and customer score for each, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.

To guarantee a top performer, choose from one of the best chainsaws we've tested.

Best vs worst chainsaw brands compared

We’ve found huge differences between how satisfied owners are with their chainsaws.

The most reliable chainsaw brands

The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend that brand. The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

Only logged-in members can view which brands are the most and least reliable, and which ones members are most satisfied with. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Corded electric chainsaws

Brand
Reliability score
Customer satisfaction score
94%
75%
92%
80%
90%
62%

Cordless hedge trimmers

Brand
Reliability score
Customer satisfaction score
87%
87%
82%
76%

Table notes: The above data is based on a survey of 799 Which? members in January 2020.

Which chainsaw brand stays fault-free for longest?

The graph shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, and the overall average across corded and cordless chainsaws. 

Common chainsaw problems

The chain breaking is one of the most common faults on a chainsaw. Luckily, you can usually buy a replacement.

Choosing the wrong chain, or installing it incorrectly, could damage the chainsaw or make it unsafe to use. You'll need to choose a chain with the correct pitch, gauge and number of chain drives. You can contact the manufacturer to help you track down a replacement part.

When it comes to installing the chain, read your user manual carefully. If you have any doubts, it's best to ask a professional to supply and fit it for you.

Top three common corded chainsaw faults

  1. Chain broke (32%) Keep your chain oiled and tighten it before use to keep it in good condition. If it does break you can usually buy a replacement.
  2. Electrical failure (11%) This is a pretty major failure. You'll likely need to get it professionally repaired, or replace it.
  3. Chain guard broke (4%) It's best to take this to a professional to avoid throwing out the whole chainsaw.

Top three common cordless chainsaw faults

  1. Engine won't start (17%) In a cordless chainsaw this is usually due to the battery having degraded. You can buy a replacement battery to get it working again.
  2. Chain broke (13%) Keep your chain oiled and tighten it before use to keep it in good condition. If it does break you can usually buy a replacement.
  3. Chain brake failed (7%) The brake is an important safety feature, so you should get this repaired before you use it again.

For the best chance of buying a chainsaw that doesn't break down, you should choose from one of the more reliable brands in the table below.

Only logged in Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a six-year period in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Corded chainsaws

Brand name
% fault-free after six years
93%
93%
80%

Cordless chainsaws

Brand name
% fault-free after six years
84%
72%

Table notes: The above data is based on a survey of 799 Which? members in January 2020.

How long will my chainsaw last?

There's not much difference on average in terms of how long the different types of chainsaws last. Both corded and cordless chainsaws in our survey were kept on average for around eight years.

This is based on the experiences of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance before they had to replace it, either because of a fault or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.

As you can see from the graph below, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst chainsaw brands last.

Which? members can log in to see which chainsaw brands last the longest before they need to be replaced. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

How we measure faults and reliability in chainsaws

Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor faults don't affect the hedge trimmer's performance significantly, or only occur occasionally with minimal impact. The issue may be irritating or annoying, but isn't frequently problematic, and you can easily work around it.
  • Major faults have a noticeable effect on the hedge trimmer's performance. They affect how you use it, and can be problematic.
  • Catastrophicfaults will render the hedge trimmer unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before you can use it again.

Chainsaw brands rated

Find out more about how good each brand is, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its hedge trimmers in our reviews.

  • The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey, conducted in January 2020. 
  • The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and the reliability score is based on members’ experience of that brand. Last updated June 2020.

Only logged-in members can view results. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Head to our chainsaw reviews

Know which hedge trimmer brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite garden-tool brands. Every two years, we ask Which? members to tell us about the garden products they own - from how likely they'd be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 5,000 members told us about more than 11,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our biennial survey.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best chainsaw you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer's Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless it shows a marked improvement in reliability.