Are you searching for the best chainsaw chain?
There was a time when I replaced a broken chain with a budget model, but that lead to more frequent chain replacements. I’ve found a quality chainsaw chain to last longer and to be worth the investment. With that in mind I have reviewed the most popular models available and after reading this article you will know my recommendations.
Check the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best chainsaw chain picks, or read on for the full review:
- Oregon D70 AdvanceCut 20 Inch Chainsaw Chain
- Husqvarna 20 Inch Saw Chain
- Oregon AdvanceCut 18 Inch Chainsaw Chain
- Husqvarna 18 Inch Pixel Saw Chain
- Oregon AdvanceCut 14 Inch Chainsaw Chain
A chainsaw comes in handy when you’re cutting trees or hedges. But even the most expensive chainsaw will become useless if the chain is worn out.
Every time you use the chain, it should be sharpened. After several sharpening sessions, you must replace it. Installing the best chainsaw chain guarantees better productivity, safety, and quality of the outcome.
So how can you pick the right chain for your chainsaw? I’ll help you find out.
What Size Chainsaw Chain Do I Need?
There are several sizes of chains available on the market, and you should pick the right one for your equipment. The wrong sized chain will either not fit or be too loose. Here is what you need to do.
- Measure the distance between the guide’s bar tip to where the bar emerges from the housing.
- Round up the result to the nearest even number.
You can also count the links on the old chain. Note that different brands could have fewer or more links for the same chain length.
How Often Should I Replace my Chainsaw Chain?
Chainsaw chains are made of durable materials that are designed to resist corrosion and rust. Nevertheless, with regular use, the teeth on the chain will wear out and become useless.
You can maintain your chain by regular oiling to prevent excessive friction. You should also make sure that the chain doesn’t hit the ground or rocks regularly to avoid breaking the teeth. Once you feel that you have to force the saw into the wood and that there’s lots of sawdust, then it’s time to sharpen the chain.
If your chain is overheating, then you’re probably not lubricating it enough or forcing it through hardwood. If you feel that the chain is stretching, you can easily adjust it using the tightening tool that comes with your chainsaw.
How to Choose the Best Chainsaw Chain?
You can use your chainsaw for landscaping projects, collecting wood for the fire, and removing stumps from the garden. But you need the right chain to keep your chainsaw working well. Here are a few things to consider before buying one.
The tool’s guide bar should match the thickness of the drive links. If your chain is too thin, it might slip and injure you while cutting wood. If it’s too thick, it won’t fit your equipment.
There are three types of teeth available when you’re shopping for a new chain.
Chipper chains are widely common, and they’re perfect for cutting thin branches. They aren’t suitable for heavy-duty work, but they can easily cut through dirty wood. These chains are ideal for less experienced users. They require regular sharpening but have less risk of kickback.
Semi chisel chains feature rounded teeth. They cut perfectly through softwood and hardwood. They can handle heavy-duty work, but they aren’t the most robust option on the market. Nevertheless, they’re likely to stay sharp more than any other model. They work well on frozen and dirty wood.
Full chisel chains are perfect for cutting through softwood. They’re suitable for heavy-duty and demanding jobs, but they lose their sharpness quickly. Beginners don’t use these chains because they’re more sensitive to dirt and have an increased risk of kickback.
Good chains come with performance systems that minimize vibration while working. Excessive vibration is wasted energy, so you want your chain to have no or minimum vibration.
Buying a chain with the wrong gauge can cause unnecessary vibration. This is why it’s essential to measure the gauge well before purchasing a new chain.
When you’re cutting through hardwood, your chain might get stuck while using full force. The resulting energy will push you back and might result in a serious injury. Good chainsaw chains have anti-kickback features that guarantee the safety of the user.
Top Rated Chainsaw Chains
I’ve reviewed some of the top choices on the market and highlighted the pros and cons of each one to help you choose the right chain.
Oregon D70 AdvanceCut 20 Inch Chainsaw Chain
Fits Homelite, McCulloch, Poulan, Echo, Craftsman and more. Bigger chainsaws work well with this chain, giving smooth and fast cuts with minimum kickback for safety. It delivers low noise with no wasted energy.
It features heat treated chrome-hardened cutters, and the design keeps the lubrication where it’s needed. The hardened rivets resist wear and tear.
If you’re looking for a chain that can help you cut through hardwood, then this is the right one for you. It’s a good 3/8 inch pitch for loggers and farmers who want an affordable and high-quality chain. The chain suits larger chainsaws between the sizes of 50 and 100 cc. Nevertheless, it gets dull quickly, mainly if you hit dirt often.
- Chrome-hardened cutters and hardened rivets to guarantee durability
- Low noise and vibration while delivering precise cuts
- Easy sharpening and maintenance
- Minimum kickback for user’s safety
- Suitable for hardwood cutting
- Gets dull fast
- Requires regular sharpening
38″ by .050″. This is the right choice for any professional or amateur who wishes to cut through hardwood. It produces low vibration which reduces the user’s fatigue.
It’s compatible with Husqvarna’s 20-inch chainsaws. If you own a chainsaw from a different brand, you should contact the manufacturer to make sure that the chain fits.
It can cut through large-diameter wood easily. The chain is optimized to minimize vibration and kickback to guarantee the user’s safety while cutting through pine. But this affects the chain’s traction, and it doesn’t cut fast. You should make sure not to hit the ground; otherwise, the chain will break.
The chain is a bit more expensive than other models, but I would recommend it for less experienced users who value safety over fast performance.
- Durable chain to cut through large diameter hardwood
- Low vibration and kickback
- Maximum safety
- Suitable for less experienced users
- The anti-kickback system affects the chain’s traction
- It doesn’t cut fast
Fits Echo, Craftsman, Poulan, and more. Although a bit pricey, this chainsaw chain features 62 drive links and is compatible with most models on the market. This is good value for money as you get 2-loop value pack that suits saws up to 42 cc.
This is a good choice for homeowners and amateur users, but it doesn’t perform well with dirty and sandy wood. You can easily sharpen it using an electric sharpening tool, but it gets dull quickly.
The chain is lubricated to resist excessive friction, while the cutters and rivets are hardened to withstand wear and tear. It provides less kickback for more safety.
It might not be a good choice for heavy-duty jobs, but it will help you maintain your garden or farm even if you don’t have much experience.
- 2-loop value pack
- Cuts easily with no kickback
- Hardened cutters and rivets
- Suitable for beginners
- Gets dull quickly and requires regular sharpening
- Not suitable for dirty wood
This low vibration chainsaw chain is the right choice for professional users. It holds its edge well, even when you’re cutting dirty and sandy wood. It works slowly when you’re cutting hardwood like oak, but it delivers good results.
It’s compatible with several chainsaws offered by other brands and can be sharpened easily. The .325” pitch and .050” gauge deliver heavy-duty performance with minimum kickback. You should, however, be ready to adjust it as it tends to stretch especially after the initial use.
If you’re not a professional, you should make sure that it will fit your chainsaw well. It’s advertised that it fits several chainsaws but with practical use, it might not. It’s a good choice for saws between the sizes of 36 and 62 cc.
- Low vibration chain
- Suitable for cutting hardwood
- Works on dirty wood
- Can be quickly sharpened
- Minimum kickback
- It stretches after use and needs regular adjustment
Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, Remington
This is the right chain for any chainsaw up to 42 cc. It features 56 sturdy drive links to cut through 15-inch logs. The chain is compatible with several models including the older ones. It’s a budget-friendly option that’s suitable for DIYers and amateurs.
Amateurs and first-timers love using this chain because it delivers low noise and kickback for maximum safety. The chain is heat-treated and chrome-hardened to guarantee durability.
You can sharpen it easily, but it gets dull quickly, especially if you use it for long periods. I wouldn’t recommend it for hardwood or everyday use, but it’s the right choice for occasional firewood cutting.
- Budget-friendly chain for beginners
- Maximum safety with low kickback
- Compatible with several chainsaws including the older models
- Easy to sharpen
- Not suitable for hardwood cutting
- Gets dull fast
Oregon AdvanceCut 14 Inch Chainsaw Chain
Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, and more. This is a good and affordable choice for trimming and cutting with 52 drive links. The chamfer chisel cutters provide precision and speed with excellent results while using a small chainsaw.
It cuts smooth with a low risk of kickback. This chain is made of steel and chrome, so it’s corrosion-resistant. It can easily cut through softwood and hardwood.
This chain stays lubricated to minimize friction and retain its edge. But the tension might be too much upon initial use. I think that beginners might struggle a little while using this chain.
- An affordable option for smaller chainsaws
- Fast and precise cutting
- Corrosion-resistant teeth
- Cuts through softwood and hardwood
- Not suitable for beginners
- Chain is too tensed at the beginning
For more tool guides and tips read these articles:
- Best Chainsaw Sharpener
- Best Cordless Chainsaw
- Best Pole Saw
- Best Battery Powered Weed Eater
- Best Chipper Shredder
- Best Tile Saw
- Best Miter Saw Stand
- Best Hybrid Table Saw
- Best Table Saw Fence
- Best Miter Saw
After reviewing several products on the market, I’ve found that Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain, .325-Inch by .050-Inch is a great choice for beginners and professionals.
It fits several chainsaw models and handles hardwood and softwood well. Unlike other chains, it’s not sensitive to dirt so it will deliver smooth cuts.
With the right chain, you will cut any wood easily. With the correct information, your chainsaw will always be ready for use.
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness. Contact Fred at [email protected]