The suspect, Alejandro Alvarez, was arrested in Chula Vista around 2 p.m. Thursday with assistance from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and Chula Vista police.
He was still in possession of a vehicle that was stolen shortly after the attack, Whittier police said.
Police say the attack happened Wednesday afternoon. When officers arrived, they found a woman suffering from traumatic injuries they believe was inflicted on her with a chainsaw.
Investigators said the 32-year-old suspect attacked his wife, Gloria Mojica, in front of their three young sons.
Witnesses described seeing Alvarez afterward covered in blood.
He fled in one vehicle and then crashed a short time later, fled on foot and stole an unattended 2004 Mercury Mountaineer SUV, police said.
The chainsaw was recovered at the scene.
Mojica went into surgery Wednesday night and is expected to recover from her injuries, Whittier police said.