to reviews

BEST CHAINSAW CHAIN ON THE MARKET

Michael Boyer by Michael Boyer

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
Loading...

Last Updated January 7, 2019

You know that if you are going to cut through wood cleanly and maximize your efficiency on every project that you take on, you need to put some thought into the tools that you use. The higher-quality tools you have at your disposal, the better you can prepare to do the work that you need to do.

There is perhaps no tool that is more confusing to people than the chainsaw. What makes a good one? What separates the good ones from the great ones? I am going to let you in on a secret: there is a chainsaw on the market superior to all the rest.

In this article, I will introduce you to the last and only chainsaw you will ever need to buy, explaining to exactly what it is that makes this chainsaw so perfect for every job. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, this chainsaw will have you cutting like a master!

Best Value
Husqvarna H30-72 95VP
Husqvarna H30-72 (95VP)

Pros

  • High-performance
  • Ideal for working in demanding conditions
  • Works with a variety of Husqvarna chainsaws
  • Fits many 18 inch chainsaws
  • Low vibration
  • Excellent performance on softer woods

cons

Chain gets somewhat loose when it heats up

Cuts a little bit slower through hard wood

Husqvarna H80-72 72V
Husqvarna H80-72 (72V)

Pros

  • The chain is very easy to install
  • Teeth are easy to sharpen
  • Deep and fast cutting power
  • Very minimal kickback and vibration

cons

Not compatible with earlier chainsaw models

STIHL 26RS 81
STIHL 26RS 81

Pros

  • Extremely fast-cutting chainsaw chain
  • Best for extraordinary cutting needs
  • Has a setting that reduces kickback and vibration
  • Compatible with many models

cons

Requires regular maintenance and sharpening

Best Overall
Oregon S40
Oregon S40

Pros

  • Reduces kickback when sawing
  • Compatible with Poulan, Craftsman, and Remington models
  • Has a smooth cutting action and good chip flow

cons

Compatible with a few chainsaws

Oregon S52 14-Inch Chain
Oregon S52 14-Inch Chain

Pros

  • Heat treated for durability
  • The chain fits many 14-inch chainsaws
  • High rate chip flow
  • Minimum kickback during use

cons

Not good for super hard wood

Chainsaw Chain Buying Guide

Here we explain what a chainsaw chain is, how it works, who uses them, questions to ask when buying a chainsaw chain, factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw and other important information you need to know about these chains.

What is a Chainsaw Chain?

Chainsaw Chain Buying Guide – All the Details You Need to KnowA chainsaw chain is a set of sharp teeth attached to a rotating metal chain connected to a guide bar. This is the component of a chainsaw that actually cuts through trees and branches. Usually, the main function of a chainsaw chain is to cut the wood as deeply and quickly as possible; however, it is an added advantage to you if each individual tooth of a saw chain does not cut too deeply into the tree or branch. If a chainsaw has a tooth that cuts too deeply, the chances of it getting stuck in the wood or striking you back during use are very high.

How Does a Chainsaw Chain Work?

The power head provides power which rotates the metal chain at a fast speed. When this chain is rotating at a speed, it effectively and efficiently cuts trees and branches, and accomplishes other tasks such as tree pruning, bucking and limbing.

Parts of a Saw Chain:

  1. Sharp metal teeth-The sharp metal teeth are the most important part of a saw chain as they perform the actual cutting. They are usually made from high quality and durable chromium-plated steel alloy. Most chainsaw chains manufactured nowadays normally alternate between left and right facing teeth.
  2. Drive links- This component of a chainsaw joins the metal teeth together. Their ultimate role is to carry a special lubricant around the tool’s guide bar and as well as to engage with the head power’s sprocket in order to transfer power from the engine’s motor to the metal cutting chain.

Types of Chainsaw Chain Teeth

The majority of chainsaw chains manufactured today come with one of the following two types of teeth.

  1. Full chisel teeth: These teeth have sharp angled square corners. These corners can be sharpened to different edges to cut trees and branch fibers very easily and quickly.
  2. Semi-chisel teeth: These have rounded corners. Their design makes them less sharp compared to full chisel teeth. However, these semi-chisel teeth can maintain the required level of sharpness even when splitting hard wood or cutting through frozen or dirty wood.

How to Choose a New Chainsaw Chain

Because chainsaw chains are available in different varieties with different features, it is important for you to consider all aspects before making a purchase decision. Some of the important aspects you need to consider include the type of wood you want to cut, the condition of the wood, the desired cutting result, dimensions of the chainsaw and the specs of the chainsaw chain itself.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying a Chainsaw Chain

1. Will the chain actually fit the chainsaw?

When purchasing a chain for your chainsaw, the first question to ask yourself is whether the chain will actually fit the chainsaw exactly. A chainsaw will only work with saw chains of a specific pitch, gauge, and length. For efficient operation and safety, the chainsaw chain gauge you choose must exactly match with the gauge of the guide bar. If your tool already has a chain, you need to purchase a replacement chain with the same pitch, gauge, and length as the original one.

2. What are the dimensions of the chainsaw chain?

The dimensions of the chainsaw chain also play an important role in choosing a tooth arrangement for your needs. If you are shopping for a full skip or semi-skip saw chain, make sure the chainsaw’s guide bar is at least 24 inches long. Many users prefer this type of chain because they can work on longer chainsaws and consume less power during operation.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Chainsaw Chain for the Job

  1. Gauge: The gauge is the thickness of the saw chain’s drive links. Don’t confuse this terminology with depth gauges, they mean two totally different things. Most chainsaw chains have gauges ranging from 0.05 inches to 0.063 inches. To ensure efficient operation and safety, the chainsaw chain gauge you choose must exactly match the gauge of the guide bar. If you choose a chain that is too thick, it will not fit on the chainsaw’s guide bar. On the other hand, if you choose a chain that is too thin, it will not fit tightly on the edges of your chainsaw.
  2. Pitch: This is the average distance between any two rivets. In a chainsaw chain, all rivets don’t have the same distance. This chain’s pitch is therefore calculated by measuring the distance of three or more rivets and dividing the result by the number of rivets considered. In fact, most chainsaw chains on the market today have a pitch of 0.325, 0.375, or 0.404 inches. However, there are specialized brands with a pitch of 0.75 inches.
  3. Length: The length of a chainsaw chain is measured by calculating the number of drive links. You need to choose a chainsaw chain with an appropriate length in order for it to fit perfectly on your chainsaw’s guide bar.
  4. Tooth type: This is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best chain. Chains with full chisel teeth are a good choice for soft clean wood. They have sharp angled square corners which can be sharpened differently to cut trees and split wood fibers very effectively and quickly. Their only problem is that they tend to degrade quickly when used to split dry, frozen and hard wood. Semi-chisel teeth are a better choice for abrasive or very dirty tasks.
  5. Tooth arrangement: The type of tooth arrangement to choose depends on the type of wood you want to cut. Full skip and semi-skip chains have a greater amount of space between teeth which allows debris and chips to clear out from the cutting area. They, therefore, work best when cutting through large trees or dirty tasks. Choose chains with fewer teeth or less space between teeth for tasks that requires less cleaning of chips and debris.
  6. Type of wood to be cut: When you are shopping for the best chain for your chainsaw, it is also important to consider the type of wood to be cut and the desired smoothness of the cut. For fine sawdust and smooth cuts, chains with a full complement of teeth will work perfectly for you. On the other hand, if you want to leave rough edges and produce thick sawdust, semi-skip and full skip chains are a better choice.

Caring for a Chainsaw Chain

A chainsaw is potentially one of the most dangerous tools in your homestead. In fact, most of its dangers come from the rotating chain and the sawdust the tool produces. Accidental contact with the rotating chain can cause serious cuts or even death. Keeping the chain sharp, lubricated and clean maintains efficient performance and helps to prevent potential accidents.

  1. Lubrication: Keeping the chain lubricated when the equipment is in operation can be a challenge because the lubricants fly off due to the high speed. To overcome this challenge, you need to mix the chain oil with a special adhesive. This adhesive ensures that the oil remains on the chain while the chain is rotating. If you don’t have enough money to invest in chain oil, ordinary motor oil can be used instead. The only problem when using motor oil is that it is watery and tends to fly off quickly. The oil must, therefore, be re-applied regularly for efficient operation.
  2. Sharpening: It is very important to keep the chain’s teeth sharp at all times for efficient performance. If the teeth become too blunt, it will take more time to accomplish your task. Blunt teeth also increase the risk of dangerous kickback. Make sure you have a quality chainsaw sharpener or mechanical sharpening stone to sharpen the chains when they become blunt.
  3. Chain covers: A sharp chain is likely to cause an injury even when the chainsaw is not in operation. It is therefore important to cover the chain with a special chain cover to prevent such injuries from occurring. A plastic scabbard is recommended during transportation or storage to prevent bodily injuries and keep the teeth sharp.

Note: Chainsaw chaps should always be worn when using a chainsaw.

Conclusion

Besides the engine, the second most important part of any chainsaw is the chain. When shopping for a replacement chain for your existing chainsaw, you need to factor in the type of wood to be cut, the desired smoothness and the dimensions of the guide bar. It is also important to consider the pitch, gauge, and length of the chain itself. Purchasing the right product for your equipment and that task you need to accomplish will maximize efficient performance and helps prevent potential accidents.

Reviews

01

Husqvarna has proven to the world that it is not only good at making effective chainsaws but also good at designing high-quality replacement chains.

You can use this chain on Husqvarna chainsaws and products from other companies. It is a good choice for small to medium size tasks in any working conditions.

It can work well for homeowners and for professional users in demanding conditions.

This chain tends to cut down trees and branches on vibration and helps minimize any risk of kickbacks. The teeth can stay sharp for a very long time so long as they are oiled regularly.

We recommend this chain because its price is fairly reasonable compared to other options on the market today.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
72
Bar Length (inch)
18
Pros
  • High-performance and low vibration chain
  • Ideal for professional users working in demanding conditions
  • Works perfectly with a variety of Husqvarna chainsaw models
  • Fits many 18 inch chainsaws
  • Low vibration
  • Excellent performance on softer woods
Cons
  • Chain gets somewhat loose when it heats up
  • Cuts a little bit slower through hard wood
Husqvarna H30-72 95VP

Husqvarna H30-72 (95VP)

Check Price
02

This chainsaw chain from Husqvarna was designed with power and fast cutting in mind. The manufacturer says that these two attributes make it one of the best options for cutting wood or trees with large diameters.

With its 050-inch gauge and 3/8 inch pitch, this longer chainsaw chain cuts thick trees and large diameter wood without any hassle.

The Husqvarna 531300441 is also designed to provide greater performance. Many homeowners and professionals prefer this model because of its effectiveness in cutting thick trees and large diameter wood without the effects of kickback and vibration.

This chain is also recommended for amateur users as it is easier to handle compared to other chains.

The chainsaws models that are compatible with the Husqvarna 531300441 include the 55 Rancher, 460 and 460 Rancher, 455 Rancher, 262 XP, 257, 261 and 359.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
72
Bar Length (inch)
20
Pros
  • The chain is very easy to install on the chainsaw and adjust provided that you use a compatible model
  • Teeth are easy to sharpen
  • Deep and fast cutting power
  • Very minimal kickback and vibration
Cons
  • The chain is not compatible with earlier chainsaw models
Husqvarna H80-72 72V

Husqvarna H80-72 (72V)

Check Price
03

The STIHL 26RS 81 Rapid Super is reduced vibration and an extremely fast-cutting chainsaw chain. This chain’s tie strap and cutter design reduce kickback and vibration levels significantly during operation.

The fast cutting performance is due to the sharp square-cornered cutters that reduce friction during operation. With this cutter, you are guaranteed an exceptionally clean and smooth cut when cutting frozen or hard wood.

This chain also has improved cutting and plunge-cutting efficiency. It cuts faster but requires regular sharpening and maintenance for it to continue to perform well.

This chain is ideal for industry and forestry activities such as tree felling, limbing and bucking. They are designed for trained professionals with extraordinary cutting needs.

It is best suited for higher-powered chainsaws and is thus compatible with 028, 034, 024, 026, 036, MS291, MS270, MS271, MS260, MS241, MS261 and MS290 models.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.063
Drive Links
81
Bar Length (inch)
20
Pros
  • Extremely fast-cutting chainsaw chain
  • Best for extraordinary cutting needs
  • Has a setting that reduces kickback and vibration
  • Compatible with many models
Cons
  • Requires regular maintenance and sharpening
STIHL 26RS 81

STIHL 26RS 81

Check Price
04

This chainsaw chain fits Poulan, Craftsman, and Remington brands. Besides its versatility, the Oregon S40 10-Inch Chain is a hard chrome and hard-treated chain.

This design ensures precise, fast and smooth cutting. It is equipped with a notched bumper drive link which enhances good chip flow and minimizes kickback.

Its engineering and design adheres to safety standards, and it provides high performance and reliable quality.

The high performance is due to the sharp double corners of the teeth. This chain is tough and sharp thanks to the latest technology.

This replacement chain also comes with four symmetrical tie straps that make it easier for you whenever you want to join the chain loops.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
40
Bar Length (inch)
10
Pros
  • Reduces kickback when sawing
  • Compatible with Poulan, Craftsman, and Remington models
  • Has a smooth cutting action and good chip flow
Cons
  • Compatible with a few chainsaws
Oregon S40

Oregon S40

Check Price
05

If you have a 14-inch chainsaw brand, this is one of the replacement chains you can consider. Even if your chainsaw model is small in size, this chain can make it perform like its bigger counterparts.

The Oregon 14-Inch Chain produces smooth cuts, clears away debris and chips and minimizes the potential risk of kickbacks.

This chain is made of hardened steel with teeth that stay sharper and stronger for longer use.

This is a replacement chain that was designed not only for efficiency but also for durability thanks to its high amount of chrome which makes it corrosion resistant. With these features, it can last for several years with proper use and maintenance.

The manufacturer says that the chain is designed using a unique cutting design technology. This seems to be true based on what many users are saying.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
52
Bar Length (inch)
14
Pros
  • Heat treated for durability
  • The chain fits many 14-inch chainsaws
  • High rate chip flow
  • Minimum kickback during use
Cons
  • Some chainsaw models require you to remove a chain link in order to fit properly
  • Not good for super hard wood
Oregon S52 14-Inch Chain

Oregon S52 14-Inch Chain

Check Price
06

Not all the chainsaw chains on the market today are able to move and cut faster. Besides, many chainsaw users prefer a chainsaw chain with minimal kickback and vibration.

This is where the Husqvarna H4684 Saw Chain comes in. This chain has sharp teeth which cut wood for several hours without the need for sharpening.

In addition, this is a longer chainsaw chain with a clean cut. So, you don’t have to worry about clearing debris and chips from the cutting areas.

Moreover, this chain can be used by all types of users, both amateur and professional. It is also best for almost all types of jobs.

In fact, the shape and design of this chainsaw chain make it easier to use. They also allow users to achieve any cut they want.

The chain has a 3/8-inch pitch, 0.050-inch gauge, and 84 drive links. With these features, it can fit almost all types of 24-Inch Husqvarna saws.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
84
Bar Length (inch)
24
Pros
  • Stays sharp after many uses even when cutting the hardest wood
  • One of the longest lasting chains on the market today
  • Supported by end level users
  • Clean and clear cut
  • Requires less maintenance and easy sharpening
Cons
  • Fits only specific chainsaw models
  • Less durable than advertised by the manufacturer
Husqvarna H4684 Saw Chain

Husqvarna H4684 Saw Chain

Check Price
07

The Oregon 20-Inch Vanguard is a new invention in the chainsaw chain industry. The performance of this chain from Oregon is beyond compare.

This is due to the attractive design which enables it to perform better compared to other chains on the market today.

This chainsaw chain has very minimal vibration and does not make any high noise when in use. It is able to cut different types of wood for a long time without any problems.

Some of the chainsaw chains on the market today have problems with stretching. This is not the case with the Oregon 20-Inch Vanguard.

You won’t experience many problems when strengthening it, and those you may face while using this chain are repairable.

The Oregon 20-Inch Vanguard chainsaw chain is compatible with all types of saws mentioned on the packaging. In order for this chain to fit perfectly on your chainsaw, you will need to adjust the tension before installation.

Specifications
Pitch (inch)
3/8
Gauge (inch)
0.050
Drive Links
70
Bar Length (inch)
20
Pros
  • Sharp, precise and fast cutting chain
  • Special design which provides greater performance
  • Lower noise level and minimum kick back
  • Lightweight
  • Safety ensured
Cons
  • Takes more time to cut hard wood
  • Less sharp chain
Oregon D70 Vanguard

Oregon D70 Vanguard

Check Price

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

  • 01
    What is chain pitch?

    Chain pitch is the size of the chain, and is defined as the distance between any three consecutive rivets divided by two. Oregon chain is made in several pitches - 1/4" is the smallest, 3/8" is the most popular, 3/4” is the largest. Pitch is important because the drive sprocket must be the same pitch as the chain, and if applicable, the bar nose sprocket. The easiest way to determine the pitch of your chain is to look at the number stamped on the drive link.

  • 02
    What is Chain Gauge?

    Chain Gauge is the Drive Link's thickness where it fits into the bar groove. The gauge of the chain and the gauge of the bar must match. Oregon has several gauges for chainsaws - such as, .043”, .050", .058” and .063". Normal wear can make it difficult to accurately measure chain gauge on a worn chain. Always order by the number stamped on the drive link of your old chain to assure correct gauge.

  • 03
    How long does a chain last?

    That depends on a number of factors including what you are cutting. Cutting with a dull chain will cause the chain and bar to overheat from the increased friction, causing the chain to stretch prematurely. Poor quality chain and bar lube (ie. sump oil) will also cause the chain to overheat and stretch prematurely. A new chain can be destroyed in a couple of cuts if rocks, sand, charcoal are hit with the cutters.

  • 04
    How often does my chainsaw chain need sharpening?

    That depends on what you are cutting, green or dry timber, and the type of wood. Australia has some very hard timbers such as jarrah, karri and sheoak. Chainsaw chains are designed to cut clean timber. Dirt, sand, rocks, nails and charcoal etc will dull a chain almost instantly. But even if you are cutting clean wood/timber, over time, the chain will eventually dull. It is not uncommon for a skilled chainsaw user to sharpen their chain in between re-fuels. If you have to push down on the saw to cut through your timber then your chain is due to be sharpened.

Why you should
trust us

10products
tested
9days
researched
3experts
involved
15consumers
interviewed
Michael Boyer

Saws and Blades

Expert writer

I’m the owner of a carpentry workshop, and prior to that, I was working as a carpenter-for-hire for home remodeling projects. I’ve been very fortunate to always have access to the best tools, such as saws and blades, which has helped me on just about every project I’ve been involved on.

In fact, one project that I’m particularly proud of is when I was able to put these skills to work on the gutting and remodeling of my ranch home. I have taken the time to understand what it is that separates average saws and blades from the very best.

I know that when you are putting your mind to a new project, you want to be sure that you have the right cutting tools available. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously, directing you toward the saws and blades that you can trust.

How we choose & test

We purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.

By purchasing products through normal retail channels, we also avoid the risk of a manufacturer sending us ‘juiced up’ models. We review exactly what consumers buy off the shelf.

How we choose and test