Cationic polysaccharides have been receiving more attentions and used as nonviral gene delivery vectors. In this paper, quaternized hydroxyethylcellulose (QHEC) derivatives were studied as gene carriers for their efficient DNA binding abilities. All QHECs could form stable QHEC/DNA complexes and resist the degradation of DNase I. And the dynamic light scatter (DLS) results showed that all QHEC/DNA complexes could form compact particles. These QHEC/DNA complexes exhibited effective transfection abilities in comparison to the naked DNA. The cytotoxicities of QHEC and QHEC/DNA complexes were also evaluated in four cell lines which were relatively low compared with 25 kDa bPEI. All results indicated that these quaternized hydroxyethylcelluloses could be used as potential gene delivery vectors.