Your chainsaw is the power tool of choice when it comes to tackling heavy duty home improvement projects like trimming branches, pruning limbs, or even cutting down a tree. You are going to need the best chainsaw chain to keep it spick and span. Whether you are a homeowner tackling home improvement landscaping projects in your yard or professional users such as an arborist or landscaper, if you’re cutting heavy wood (use a metal cutting saw for metal instead), your chainsaw is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. For electric chainsaws click here.
But if you’re sawing away with the wrong chain, not only is the job going to be tough and take forever, you also run the risk of the chain binding or experiencing a dangerous kickback. That’s why choosing the right cutting chain for your tool is so essential.
But with how many options out there, how do you know which product is the top chainsaw chain for you? Several brands claim that their chainsaw chains are the best around. And with options like chisel, semi-chisel, and skip chisel chains available, figuring out which chain to buy for your chainsaw can be a pretty intimidating task. Luckily, we took a look at the top chainsaw chains on the market.
We evaluated them based on their performance, design, construction, reviews, and check price and came up with our list of the top 10 chainsaw chains for cutting firewood on the market today. After reading through our list, and chains buyers guide; we’re pretty sure that you’ll be able to find the chainsaw chain that’s perfect for your needs.
View the Best Chainsaw Chain on the Market, Below.
- Husqvarna 531300439 18Inch H3072 95vp Pixel Saw Chain
- Husqvarna H4684 24-Inch Saw Chain
- Oregon S56 16Inch Semi Chisel Chain
- Oregon S52 14Inch Chain
- Oregon R34 8″ Micro Lite Pole Saw Chain
- Oregon D70 20-Inch Vanguard
- Oregon S45 12Inch Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain
- Husqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H8072 Saw Chain
- Oregon L68 18″ ControlCut Saw Chain
- Husqvarna 531300372 H36-52 (91VG) Chain
1. Husqvarna 531300439 18Inch H3072 95vp Pixel Saw Chain
Husqvarna has established a reputation for making exceptional outdoor power tools and accessories and their chainsaw chains are known for their high-quality design. The Husqvarna 18inch H3072 95vp Pixel Saw Chain is one of the best chains for your 18" chainsaw, delivering impressive performance and durability.
Specs and Performance
This 95vp pixel saw chain was designed with a .325" pitch and 0.050" gauge that is perfect for cutting through most demanding projects with ease. It was designed to retain its cutting edge remarkably well, allowing it to stay sharp even after hours of heavy use. And since it cuts smooth and doesn't stretch during operation, you don't have to worry about excessive vibrations or kickback.
The Husqvarna H30-72 is designed for use with several of the brand's top chainsaws. So if you own a Husqvarna 41, 45, 49, 51, 55, 336, 339XP, 340, 345, 346XP, 350, 351, 353, 435, 440, 445, or 450e, it's one of the smartest purchases you can make.
The H30-72 is designed to cut through branches and trees easily and, as long as you oil it regularly, the teeth will stay sharp over hours of demanding use. At just under $20, it's very reasonably priced and is a great value for homeowners and professional users looking for a high-performance chain for their 18" Husqvarna chainsaw.
If you're looking for a great everyday chain for your Husqvarna chainsaw, you can't go wrong with the H30-72. It performs remarkably well when tackling most small and medium projects, making it perfect for many homeowners and professionals. It is fairly durable and will withstand hours of use without sharpening as long as you avoid contact with the ground, concrete, stone, or ice.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Husqvarna H4684 24-Inch Saw Chain
A 24" chainsaw is a true wood-cutting beast but you need the right chain if you really want to get the most out of your tool. The Husqvarna H4684 24" Saw Chain offers you the cutting performance that you need for even the most demanding tasks.
Specs and Performance
This cutter chain is perfect for your large chainsaw, featuring a 3/8" pitch and 0.050" gauge. With 84 drive links, it is built to cut through wood quickly so that you can finish the job in record time. Designed to cut clean, it eliminates the need to clean up chips and debris when you're done operating. Plus, it cuts smooth, with minimal kickback and vibration, reducing user fatigue and safety concerns.
The H4684 is perfect for anyone who owns a 24" Husqvarna chainsaw. So if you own a 288XP, 298, 357XP, 359, 362XP, 365, 371, 372XP, 380, 385XP, 394XP, 390XP, 395XP, 2100, 2101, 3120XP, 455 Rancher, 460, 460 Rancher, 560XP, 565XP,570, 575XP or 576XP, it's one of the best accessories around for your tool.
At just under $30, this is one of the most expensive chains on our list but it is perfect for cutting even the hardest wood without losing its sharpness. The sharp teeth retain their cutting edge very well, reducing the need for sharpening and allowing you to finish any job in record time.
It delivers the high-performance required for professional work but its ability to cut smooth and clean while requiring minimal maintenance make it perfect for beginners as well. While there are cheaper options out there, it offers some tremendous value, making it a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants their 24" chainsaw to perform at the highest level.
The Husqvarna H4684 is one of the best options out there if you want to cut through any type of wood quickly and easily. Its ability to make clean, clear cuts means less clean up. And its smooth, fast performance means less vibration and kickback. While it might cost a few dollars more than some other options on the market, its ability to retain a sharp cutting edge is unparalleled, saving you time, money, and effort in the long run.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Oregon S56 16Inch Semi Chisel Chain
As you go through our list of the top 10 chainsaw chains of 2020, you're going to see the name Oregon come up quite frequently. The brand has earned their reputation for making high-quality, high-performance lawn tools and accessories. And the Oregon S56 16inch Semi Chisel Chainsaw Chain is simply one of the best options available for your 16" chainsaw.
Specs and Performance
The Oregon S56 is heat-treated and hard-chromed to deliver fast, precise cuts with less kickback and vibration. The 16" 91VG low-profile chain features 56 drive links and its twin cutting corners deliver exceptional performance. Plus, it features semi chisel teeth which allow it to tackle hard wood with ease while adding durability and easy maintenance.
While some brands on our list are only compatible with their own chainsaw models, Oregon chains tend to be far more versatile. This means that you can purchase this cutter chain whether you own a 16" Oregon, Husqvarna, Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Remington, or Poulan remington chainsaw.
Oregon offers tremendous value and durability when it comes to their chains and the S56 is a surprisingly great deal at just over $10. Its semi chisel teeth make quick work of soft or hard wood and the chain is incredibly durably and retains its sharpness remarkably well, even over hours of heavy-duty use.
The S56 16" Chainsaw Chain is designed with the quality, sharpness, toughness, and speed that we've come to expect from Oregon. It's easy to install and, once in place, helps smaller 16" chainsaws tackle tasks with the speed and precision that you might expect from larger models. While the semi chisel design means that it cuts hard wood a bit slower than square chisel options, it also makes it far more durable. This means that you can hit the ground while doing stump work without worrying about the teeth losing too much of their sharpness.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Oregon S52 14Inch Chain
Owning a 14inch chain saw doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice performance and with the Oregon 14inch Chain equipped on your tool, your 14inch chain saw can tackle some jobs that were once only possible with its larger rivals. This chain makes smooth, fast cuts with great chip flow, making it perfect for a wide-variety of trimming and cutting applications.
Specs and Performance
The Oregon 14inch chain saw chain is designed with 52 drive links, a 3/8" pitch, and 0.050" gauge, making it perfect for a variety of wood-cutting applications. It features chamfer chisel cutters that offer the speed, precision, and durability of semi chisel chains.
It's heat-treated and hard-chromed for added toughness and resistance to corrosion. It cuts smooth, clearing debris and chips away from your cut while reducing vibration and the risk of kickbacks. Plus, its chamfer chisel cutters' twin cutting corners deliver exceptional performance.
If you own a 14inch chain saw made by Oregon, Craftsman, Homelite, Poulan, Echo, or Remington, this is one of the best chains that you can purchase. It's capable of making your smaller chainsaw perform comparably to some of its larger rivals.
This chain is one of the best values around for anyone who owns a 14" chainsaw. It performs remarkably well, cutting through soft and hard wood with ease. And since it's made from hardened steel and chrome, not only will its teeth stay sharper longer than some other options on the market, but it's corrosion-resistant too.
The Oregon S52 is a great option for most 14inch chain saws on the market today. It delivers impressive performance in a variety of conditions and is perfect for both homeowners and professional users. It's impressively durable and easy to maintain and will allow your small chainsaw to tackle projects normally reserved for larger models.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Oregon R34 8″ Micro Lite Pole Saw Chain
A pole saw is a versatile tool but to really reap the benefits, you need a high-quality cutter. That's where the Oregon R34 8" Micro Lite Chain comes in. The chain delivers the performance and quality that we've come to expect from Oregon and is one of the top chains out there for homeowners and professional users.
Specs and Performance
The R34 8" Micro Lite Pole Saw Chain is made specifically for these lightweight, versatile power tools. The 8" chain has a narrow kerf 0.43" gauge that boosts efficiency and requires less saw power than standard chains on the market since it is designed to remove less wood fiber while operating.
It is designed for smooth performance and less downtime. The teeth retain their cutting edge very well and it operates with low vibration and minimal kickback, so you never have to worry about your tool bouncing back when cutting distant limbs.
Oregon's R34 is designed for use with some of the top names in power tools today. If you own a pole saw made by Oregon, Poulan, or Remington, then this is one of the best purchases you can make if you're looking for high-performance and superior reliability.
With superior design, this chain requires less power than standard cutting attachments to make the same length of cut. Plus, it makes smooth, clean cuts with minimal vibration and kickback. It retains its cutting edge remarkably well, so you don't have to worry about your chain binding or needing frequent sharpening. At under $10, it's one of the best values around.
Homeowners and landscapers who own a pole saw can't go wrong buying the Oregon R34. It's one of the most durable, high-performance chains on the market and is compatible with some of the best brands in the business. It makes smooth, fast cuts through soft and hard wood and is sure to retain its sharp edge for hours of maintenance-free use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Oregon D70 20-Inch Vanguard
Oregon makes our list again with one of the best 20" chainsaw chains on the market today. This chain features innovative design, allowing it to deliver unrivalled durability, performance, and safety.
Specs and Performance
This low-vibration, full chisel cutting chain delivers premium performance and a smooth cutting experience thanks to its patented bent-over depth gauge. One of the best 3/8" pitch chains available for part-time and commercial users, this is a great option for arborists, commercial cutters, loggers, and farmers looking for high-performance and reliable safety.
This low-profile 20" chain is compatible with most Oregon, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, Craftsman, and McCulloch 20" saws. It's the perfect way to get truly professional performance out of your tool.
Designed to cut through any type of wood easily and without excessive noise, the D70 20" Vanguard Chain will retain its edge over hours of use for less downtime and less sharpening. Plus, it was designed to never present any stretching problems so you never have to worry about an issues arising when strengthening this chain.
For less than $20, Oregon delivers a truly impressive chainsaw accessory that offers exceptional performance, safety, and durability, making it the perfect home improvement option for both homeowners and professional users.
The Oregon D70 20" Vanguard Chainsaw Chain is one of the best options around for anyone looking for professional performance with their 20" chainsaw. It was designed to tackle the toughest tasks easily while retaining its cutting edge over hours of heavy-duty use. And its quiet, low vibration performance ensures that even the most grueling cutting applications can be tackled easily and with impressive results.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Oregon S45 12Inch Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain
Another phenomenal chainsaw cutting accessory from Oregon is the Oregon S45 12" Semi Chisel Saw Chain. It's a high-performance option made with safety and quality in mind and is perfect for anyone who owns a small 12" chainsaw but wants to tackle jobs that would normally require a larger chainsaw model.
Specs and Performance
This exceptional, precision cutting chain is heat-treated and hard-chromed for improved performance and durability. Its unique cutter design delivers smooth, fast cuts while keeping kickback at a minimum. And its semi chisel design allows it to retain its cutting edge longer, even when used on hard wood or tough tasks like stump work.
This 12inch 91VG Low-Profile Xtraguard Premium C-Loop Chain is designed with 45 drive links and is perfect for anyone looking for high-performance, with low sound, minimal vibration, and enhanced safety.
If you own a 12inch Oregon, Homelite, Husqvarna, McCulloch, Remington, or Poulan remington chainsaw, then Oregon's S45 Semi Chisel Chain is perfect for you. This chain is perfect for getting the most out of these smaller power tools, allowing them to tackle tough jobs that would usually call for a larger chainsaw.
This semi chisel 12" cutter chain delivers exceptional cutting power and increased durability. Plus, thanks to its design, it's also relatively easy to sharpen and maintain. It's compatible with a variety of the top brands and offers long-lasting sharpness and smooth, low-vibration performance. It is one of the best bargains around for anyone looking to boost the performance of their smaller 12" chainsaw.
If you own a 12" chainsaw from any of the brands above and want a high-performance chain that can tackle the toughest wood cutting jobs while retaining its cutting edge sharpness, the S45 is perfect for you. It was designed to deliver smooth, fast results in any work condition while its ability to reduce kickback and vibration deliver a safer user experience. It comes at a terrific price and is sure to withstand hours of heavy use without maintenance or sharpening.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Husqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H8072 Saw Chain
Husqvarna has been building high-quality lawn power tools and accessories for years and the 20" H8072 72v Saw Chain is another amazing product offered by the brand. It's a durable, high-performer that's capable of making quick work out of any cutting task.
Specs and Performance
This 3/8" pitch, .050" gauge chain cuts through the toughest wood with ease. And since this high-performance chain was designed to produce low vibrations and a minimal amount of kickback, it ensures safety while reducing user fatigue. Engineered for 20" chainsaws, this cutting chain is designed with power and fast cutting in mind, making it perfect for large diameter wood.
The H8072 72v is compatible with most of Husqvarna's 20" chainsaws. So if you own a 55 Rancher, 257, 261, 262 XP, 359, 455 Rancher, 460, or 460 Rancher, it's one of the best purchases you can make to ensure that your tool can perform at the highest level possible.
This is a relatively new chain from Husqvarna but is one of the best values around. It is incredibly durable and lightweight and can slice through hard wood quickly and easily. It retains its sharpness very well and performs with low vibration and minimal kickback. At under $20, it's one of the best investments that you can make to boost the performance of your 20" Husqvarna chainsaw.
You expect Husqvarna to offer quality products and the H80-72 is no exception. It provides a generous depth of cutting, making it perfect for tackling thick limbs and trees. And its sharp teeth are perfect for cutting though heavy-duty tasks with impressive speed and power. While it provides the performance that most professional users crave, it's also easy to install, making it perfect for amateurs interested in a high-performance product for their yard.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Oregon L68 18″ ControlCut Saw Chain
Another fantastic cutting chain from Oregon is the 18" ControlCut Saw Chain. This is the perfect option for anyone in need of a high-performance, precise cutting chain for occasional property work or even regular commercial use.
Specs and Performance
The low-vibration Micro Chisel cutters of this chain are designed with small radius working corners that deliver impressive performance and easy maintenance. And with 68 drive links, a .325" pitch, and .063" gauge, this ProGuard Chisel C-Loop Chain is perfect for tackling tough conditions quickly and easily.
It features LubriTec that helps keep your chain and guide bar oiled for less friction and a longer life. And its specially-designed Blued Cutters are built to offer impressive corrosion protection. This chain is built from OCS-01 steel for exceptional durability and its Top-Plate Filing Indicators ensure that you can sharpen this chain easily and accurately.
While most Oregon chains are capable of being installed on a wide-variety of models and brands, the L68 is limited to use with 18" Oregon and Stihl chainsaws. While the compatibility is limited, it's one of the best options for anyone who owns a chains manufactured by one of these two brands.
The L68 id designed to cut through hard wood with a minimal amount of kickback and is impressively durable, safe, and efficient. It retains its cutting edge well over hours of use and, when the teeth do dull down, it's relatively easy to sharpen. It's a great value for anyone who owns an 18" Oregon or Stihl chain saws.
Oregon is featured heavily on our list of the best cutting chain options for your chainsaw because they make high-performance products that deliver the speed, durability, and cutting power that you need for tough wood-cutting tasks and the L68 18" Chain is no exception to this trend. Its Micro Chisel cutters make quick work of heavy-duty tasks while also being relatively easy to maintain. And its low-noise, low-kickback design will reduce user fatigue while delivering power and safety.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Husqvarna 531300372 H36-52 (91VG) Chain
Husqvarna makes our list of the top 10 chainsaw chains of 2020 again with the H36-52 Saw Chain. It's one of the best low-profile cutting chains on the market and is perfect for anyone who wants optimal performance from their 14" Husqvarna chainsaw.
Specs and Performance
This chamfer chisel cutting chain delivers the same cutting performance and durability of comparable semi chisel products and is ideal for smaller chainsaws used in high-production environments. The 52 drive link chain is designed with a 3/8" pitch and .050" gauge that is perfect for most models offering around 42cc's of power or less.
The H36-52 is designed to tackle tough cutting jobs with minimal kickback and vibration, reducing user fatigue while enhancing safety. And a bumper tie strap and ramped depth gauge ensure accuracy and ease-of-use.
Like most Husqvarna cutter chains, the H36-52 is only comparable with chains manufactured by the brand. But if you own a 14" Husqvarna chainsaw like the 136, 137, 141, 142, 235, 240, 316E, 334T, 335XPT, 336, 338XPT, or T435, it's one of the top accessories if you're looking to truly boost your tool's performance.
This chamfer chisel cutting chain is strong, durable, and capable of impressive performance under demanding conditions. It is incredibly affordable but will retain its cutting sharpness for hours while providing quick, clean cuts with less vibration and kickback than many comparable options. It's a great value for anyone looking to tackle heavy-duty jobs with a smaller 14" chainsaw.
The Husqvarna H36-52 is one of the best options for anyone using a smaller, 14" Husqvarna chainsaw under demanding, heavy-duty conditions. It delivers the performance, durability, and speed you need to make quick work out of any task. It is compatible with some of the most popular 14" chainsaws on the market and delivers smooth, fast results with low vibration and a minimum amount of kickback.Check Price on Amazon ➞
What to Look For When Buying a Chainsaw Chain?
Your chainsaw is a versatile power tool, allowing you to tackle a variety of projects like pruning trees, cutting through branches, toppling trees, and removing stumps. But you’re not going to get the results you want without the right cutting chain. But choosing the right chain can be confusing because there are a lot of different things to consider.
Before you choose a chain, it’s helpful to look at the different things that make up a chainsaw chain so you know what to look for. We’re going to explain everything you need to consider right here.
About the Chainsaw Chain
The chain of your chainsaw is the component that actually performs the cutting action. While it’s important that the cutting chain cuts as deeply and quickly as possible, it’s important that it doesn’t cut too deeply into the wood. When a tooth cuts too deeply into the wood, it can get stuck and cause the tool to kickback and possibly injure the user. This is why smooth, controlled performance is an attribute that is just as important as speed when it comes to choosing the right chain.
Chainsaws come in a variety of lengths. You can find models that are as short as 10″ and as long as 24″ online and at most hardware stores.
It’s important to take this measurement into account since chains are not “one-size-fits-all” accessories and a chain that is too snug or too loose won’t perform properly and can present a major safety hazard as this study suggests.
If you’re unsure of the guide bar length of your tool, the best thing to do is measure your chainsaw. Simply run a tape measure from the tip of the guide bar to the point when the bar protrudes from the tool casing.
Whatever number you arrive at, simply round up to the next even number and that’s your measurement. Some of the most common guide bar lengths today are 16″, 18″ and 20″.
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The gauge of your chain is a term used to describe the thickness of the chain’s drive links. If you want your chain to perform safely and efficiently, the chain’s gauge must be an exact match to the gauge of the chainsaw’s guide bar. If the chain is too thin, it will slip and cut poorly. And a chain that is too thick won’t even fit your tool. A pair of good chainsaw chaps is also a good idea!
Most chains today are designed from .050″ to .063″ but there are some other sizes available. This number is usually printed on the guide bar of your tool but if you are having trouble finding it, you can consult the instruction manual.
Drive links are the bottom parts of the chainsaw chain that fit into the guide bar of your chainsaw. These segments are used to get a more accurate measurement when it comes to choosing a proper-fitting replacement chain for your tool. While some chainsaws might have the number of drive links required printed somewhere on the guide bar, most will not.
If you’re unsure of this measurement, the easiest thing to do is take the chain off and simply count the drive links. By having the gauge, bar length, and drive link measurements required for your chainsaw, you now have all the information you need to find a replacement chain that will fit your tool perfectly.
The next step is to consider the performance of the chain. When it comes to performance, you mainly want to consider the design of the chain’s teeth. Each style has a few advantages and disadvantages.
The tooth type is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a replacement chainsaw chain since it will have the largest influence on your tool’s capabilities and performance.
The three most common styles of teeth available today are chipper, semi chisel, and full chisel teeth. Check out these chipper shredders.
Chipper chains were once the most common style of chain available but today, they are mostly used for dirty tasks and are perfect for quickly pruning thinner branches and limbs.
Semi chisel chains are a great all-around option and feature rounded chisel teeth that cut through both soft and hardwood.
These teeth can take slightly longer to tackle heavy-duty tasks but are known for their superior durability and for retaining a sharper cutting edge longer than the other styles.
Full chisel chains feature square-shaped teeth that can make quick work out of even the hardest wood. They are great for quick, demanding jobs but the square teeth lose their edge faster than semi chisel chains, making them inefficient for prolonged use or for cutting dirty or frozen wood.
By noting the measurement requirements of your chainsaw and taking how you plan on using your tool into consideration, finding the perfect replacement chain for your chainsaw is incredibly easy. With the right chain installed, you can count on your chainsaw to perform quickly, efficiently, and safely.
What is the Top Chainsaw Chain?
Determining the top chainsaw chain is difficult. Chains are designed with different applications in mind. One that’s designed to tackle softwood might not be a reliable performer when it’s time to do some heavy duty stumpwork. Plus, there is a variety of sizes available, allowing chains to be compatible with chainsaws with bar lengths ranging from around 10 inches up to around 24 inches. But there are some brands that stand above the rest of the pack when it comes to performance, reliability, and versatility.
Looking at these categories, it’s safe to say that Oregon makes some of the best chains available today. Oregon has been making chainsaws, guide bars, chains, and other outdoor equipment since 1947. Produced by Blount, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, the brand has been manufacturing high-performance forestry tools and accessories that are sold in over 100 countries worldwide. Oregon’s chains are designed with hard-chromed, heat-treated cutters that allow for an optimum wood bite, faster sharpening, and impressive durability.
Plus, unlike other comparable brands like Husqvarna, many of the best Oregon chains are designed to fit well on a variety of makes and models. This means that you can use many of their cutters with some of the most popular chainsaw brands on the market. Oregon chains are priced fairly, making them a great deal for anyone interested in value. And when it comes to performance, they are noted for their smooth, reliable cutting power with low vibration and minimum kickback.
Oregon chainsaw chains are known for their ability to retain their sharp cutting edge for long durations and when it’s time to hone their teeth, they’re also incredibly easy to sharpen. With options available for almost any chainsaw make and model on the market, purchasing an Oregon chainsaw chain is one of the best investments that you can make.
What Size Chainsaw Chain Do I Need?
The length of your chainsaw chain is based on the tool’s guide bar length. You can try and purchase chainsaw replacement chains based solely on the guide bar measurement. But if you want a chain fits perfectly on your chainsaw, it’s best to take two other factors into account.
The first thing that you should do is measure the distance from your guide bar’s tip to the spot where the bar protrudes from the chainsaw’s housing.
Round the number up to the nearest even number and this will give you the chainsaw’s guide bar length. The most popular lengths are 14″, 16″, 18″, and 20″, though you can find models as short as 10″ and as long as 24″ pretty easily. Next, take off your old chain and lay it out on your workbench. Count the drive links that protrude from the underside of the chain. These drive links are the mechanisms used to power the chain and you should make note of how many are present if you want the perfect fit.
Then, note the pitch of your chain. This is normally displayed on the guide bar of your tool. But if you can’t find the number, simply measure the distance between 3 consecutive rivets on your chain and then divide this number by 2.
Since the ideal chainsaw replacement chains’ length is a combination of the pitch and number of drive links, the sum of these two numbers is what you need to look for if you want to buy the perfect replacement chain for your tool.
What is the Top Rated Chainsaw Chain for Hardwood?
Sawing through hardwood might be a tough task but not if you equip your chainsaw with the right chain. Some cutter chains are designed specifically to rip through hardwood quickly and with minimal effort. If you’re looking for one of the top rated chains for heavy-duty work, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality semi chisel chain like the Oregon S56 16inch Semi Chisel Chainsaw Chain or, depending on the size of your chainsaw, a similar semi chisel chain that’s compatible with your tool.
Some people will swear by full chisel chains when it comes to cutting through hardwood. While these chains are designed to rip through hardwood easily, they can grow dull very quickly. This means that you’ll need multiple chains or you will encounter serious downtime since you’ll have to stop and sharpen your chain during longer periods of operation (read the study).
And if you’re cutting through dirty hardwood, your chain will lose its cutting edge more quickly since the square shape of teeth tend to take big bites out of wood but wear down easily. That’s why many experts recommend a good semi chisel chain for hardwood work.
While the rounded cutting edge of the teeth might take slightly longer to cut through tough materials, these chains offer much more durability since they retain their sharpness very well. This means that most high-quality semi chisel chains can get through heavy-duty tasks without losing their sharpness.
This improved durability means less downtime and smoother operation during long periods of demanding work. While choosing the right semi chisel chain for you will depend on the size of your chainsaw, an excellent example for anyone who owns a 16″ model is the Oregon S56.
These chains are designed to offer exceptional durability thanks to them being heat-treated and hard-chromed. Its semi chisel teeth cut through hardwood with ease while retaining their cutting edge better than a full chisel option. And its twin cutting corners are designed to deliver exceptional performance with low vibration and minimal kickbacks.
For anyone with a smaller chainsaw or larger chainsaw, simply look for a comparable semi chisel chain that meets the measurement requirements of your particular tool. By equipping one of these fast-cutting, durable chains on your tool, tackling even the hardest wood is surprisingly simple.
How Long Does a Chainsaw Chain Last?
A high-quality chainsaw chain can last you for years as long as it is maintained properly. Most chains are made from durable materials that can resist corrosion and rust. This means that the area of the chain that will see the most wear and tear will be the teeth. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your chain will withstand years of frequent use.
Since there is a high amount of friction placed on the chain when cutting through wood, the first thing to do is ensure that you are feeding enough bar and chain oil to your chain. This will prevent excessive friction and heat buildup, prolonging the life of your chain while allowing it to retain its sharp cutting edge longer. The next thing you need to pay attention to is how you use your tool.
If you are doing stumpwork and causing your chain to hit to ground, debris or rocks, the teeth can wear or even be permanently damaged. But with a little experience, you’ll be able to handle your chainsaw with more control, allowing you to cut through hardwood and tree stumps without accidentally digging your tool’s chain into the ground.
You should also recognize when your chain is growing dull. Proper maintenance and sharpening will ensure that every task will be performed as quickly and safely as possible while also extending the life of your chain. The best way to determine when your chain needs sharpening is to gauge its performance.
A sharp chain makes thin, large chips as it pulls itself through the wood. A dull chain will produce sawdust and require you to force the saw through the wood. If you find that it is taking a considerable amount of effort to cut through wood and the chain is discharging sawdust instead of chips, it’s time to sharpen your chain’s teeth.
By ensuring that your chain is well-oiled with the right chain oils, preventing it from striking solid objects, and keeping it sharp, you can count on using it for years without the need for replacement.
What Do the Numbers on a Chainsaw Chain Mean?
When purchasing a new chainsaw chain, there are three measurements that every user should know if they want to purchase the right size chain for their tool. These three numbers-the pitch, gauge, and a number of drive links can be found on the packaging of every cutter chain on the market.
The pitch refers to how close together the links on your chain are. If you’re having difficulty finding the pitch of your current chain, you can simply measure the distance between 3 rivets on your chain and then divide that number by 2.
Pitch sizes are available in 1/4″, .325″, 3/8″, 3/8″ low profile, and .404″. The most common measurement you’ll find is low profile 3/8″, followed by regular 3/8″ pitch chains. The 3/8″ low profile chain features a narrow cutting width or kerf which reduces the power needed for cutting.
This pitch is commonly found in most chainsaws marketed towards homeowners or semi-professionals – see the top chainsaws for professionals here. On the other side of the spectrum is the .404″ pitch chain.
These chains feature a larger distance between links, allowing them to cut through wood more aggressively. This measurement is normally found in commercial-grade chainsaws as well as in models used by first responders and rescue workers.
The gauge refers to the thickness of the chain’s drive links. These drive links fit into the saw’s guide bar and it is important to match the right chain gauge to your saw so the chain will fit into the guide bar. Chainsaw chains come with a gauge of .043″, .050″, .058″, and .063″ with .050″ being the most common. You can normally find the gauge measurement on the user-end of the chainsaw’s guide bar.
Number of Drive Links
The final number that you need to consider is the number of drive links. Taking an overall length measurement of your chainsaw chain isn’t accurate when shopping for the right chain because the overall length is actually determined by a combination of the number of drive links and the chain’s pitch.
Because of this, chains manufactured now use the drive link method since it is a more accurate way of keeping their chain sizes in order. Unlike pitch and gauge, the number of links isn’t displayed on your tool so, if you don’t know how many drive links your chain has, the smartest thing to do is count them.
Top Chainsaw Chain
Now that you know what to look for in a quality chainsaw chain, let’s take a look at some of the best products out there today. These chains scored high marks based on performance, durability, reviews, versatility, and value. Equipping your chainsaw with any compatible cutting chain featured in our list will turn your tool into a wood-cutting powerhouse.
Finding the Right Chain for Your Chainsaw
Your chainsaw is a versatile power tool capable of handling a number of tasks from pruning branches and limbs to cutting down trees. But to get the best performance, durability, and safety out of your chainsaw, it’s important that you select the right cutter chain. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are buying a new chain. The first thing to consider is the length of the chain needed. Once you know how the proper length, you should consider the compatibility of the chain.
Some chains can be installed on a variety of makes and models while others can only be safely mounted to a specific brand of tools. The next thing to consider is the type of demands that you’ll be placing on your saw, the the types of chainsaw used. A low profile cutter is great for basic pruning and landscaping work.
Semi chisel chains cut slower than chisel chains but retain their edge longer, making them ideal for cutting through soft woods. And full chisel cutters cut faster than semi chisel products but dull faster, making them the preferred weapon of choice when tackling hard wood.
Sharpening your chain is relatively simple. But with so many teeth, keeping track of which teeth you’ve already sharpened can be pretty confusing. A great trick is to simply mark each tooth that you sharpen with a marker. This will ensure that you are sharpening your chain as efficiently as possible.
Did You Know?
Determining when it’s time to sharpen your chain is pretty easy. A sharp chain will cut through most wood with very little pressure place on the tool. But a dull chain will ride along in the cut instead of deepening it. If you find yourself trying to force you tool into the wood to cut it, or if your chainsaw is spitting out sawdust instead of wood chips, then it’s time to sharpen your chain.