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Brake the chain: why all chainsaws must have a chain brake

All chainsaws on Trade Me must have a working chain brake. Including ones that are second-hand and listed as parts.

By Trust and Safety 21 August 2023

Selling a chainsaw? It needs to have a chain brake, like this one, or it can't be sold in Aotearoa.

What is a chain brake?

In a nutshell, a chain brake stops the chain instantly if the chainsaw 'kicks back'. Without a brake, 'kick-back' from a chainsaw can strike the user, causing serious, life-threatening injuries.

For this reason, there's an indefinite Unsafe Goods Notice under the Fair Trading Act for 'Chainsaws without a Chain Brake'.

How a chain brake works

What this means for sellers

You can only list a chainsaw if it has a chain brake.This includes second-hand chainsaws, which is where members often get caught out by the Notice.

All chainsaws offered for sale must have chain brakes that comply with the safety standard known as 'ISO 6535:2008 Portable chainsaws – chain brake performance'. This means all those old ones sitting in the back of some shed can't be listed.

Listings for chainsaws without this mechanism will be removed by Trade Me. If you see a listing on site that doesn’t have one, please report it using Community Watch at the bottom of the listing.

This applies to any powered machine that:

  • drives an exposed chain for the purposes of cutting
  • is operated by being hand-held.

This includes electric-powered chainsaws.

Any driven chains which are operated at the end of a pole and which are generally referred to as 'pole pruners', 'power pruners' or 'long reach pruners' are excluded from this Notice.

What if the chainsaw doesn’t work?

We also consider chainsaws sold as 'parts' to also come under the Notice, as this can be used as an attempt to work around the law. This means a busted chainsaw without a chain brake, that could be repaired, can't be listed on site.

If you want to sell chainsaw parts, each part needs to have a separate listing. If it looks like a seller is trying to work around the law, we'll always err on the side of caution and all listings will be removed.


Trust and Safety
Trust and Safety