One of the most critical components of a chainsaw is the chain itself. Using the right one to reach the best results while keeping low maintenance and reasonable price is essential. Felling trees and pruning branches should come at ease if you own an excellent chainsaw, but the chain will eventually wear off. As all chainsaw models and brands are different – there is more than one type of chain for most of these. Therefore, chainsaw chains replacement might be confusing.
So, to keep things simple and effective – we gathered the best chainsaw chains for your personal use.
Content On This Page
Value for Money
Best for Cutting Firewood
Best Chain for Hardwood
Best for Ripping with Alaskan Mill
Best for Professional Use
Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68
Most Aggressive Chainsaw Chain
An easy to replace, firm, and durable chain, gives an excellent value for money. Well reviewed and recommended by thousands of customers worldwide for its unique design, the Oregon R56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain perfectly fits the Milwaukee M18-16″ and several more models, allowing the user to cut hardwood and firewood in a breeze with minimal kickback. The sharp blades are strong and can withstand good friction without losing control. Constant use affects the chain’s blades, requiring more sharpening. However, sharpening the chain is easy, and it takes time before it gets dull with proper use. Alongside beneficial customer service and a competitive price – it is the best chainsaw chain on the market as of this day and our most recommended chain.
The Oregon R45 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain offers the best value for money. A cheap, solid chain fits several models of leading brands. This semi-chisel chain is reliable and tolerant against dust and tiny woodchips while oiling it is easy and maintaining its quality and longevity. Like all Oregon chains, it is coated in industrial chrome, increasing the strength and lowering the chain’s tension. Adding this to the performance makes the Oregon R45 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain a bit slower than similar chains. Yet, it’s still very worth it for its hard work and aggressive pricing.
A micro-chisel chain designed for lightweight chainsaws. The Husqvarna H30 Saw Chain is not here for its power but for its usability. The fact that it’s a slower and lighter chain makes it safer for the average woodsman, allowing him to cut firewood easily with very low kickback. Wet firewood may be more of a challenge and will wear the chain faster, but still – the easy to use, easy to replace, and safe approach make The Husqvarna H30 Saw Chain a solid product for the DIY crowd.
Oregon S56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain is a multi-purpose one, making cutting hardwood a simple chore. The chrome-plated cutters make the chain’s life longer and the sawing easier, with low kickback. Like most Oregon chains, the S56 is also easy to install and maintain. It May cut slightly slower than other chains on the same level, but it makes up for its safety. Even though it’s a semi-chisel chain, reviewers and craftsmen state that they use the Oregon S56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for cutting hardwood at 4″ diameter with no sweat, making this chain an excellent example of good, strong quality for a very reasonable price.
The Oregon Ripping Chain 72rd072 is explicitly designed for sawmills, with special factory grinds making it an aggressive chain used for ripping. It is beneficial for timbers and logs. A hard worker, the Oregon Ripping Chain 72rd072’s chassis is strong, and the LubriLink tie straps between the links offer easy maintenance, spreading the oil to where it is needed. While compatible with different models and brands, the Oregon Ripping Chain 72rd072 pairs best with the Alaskan mill, significantly speeding up milling time. It is imperative to realize that this chain is aggressive and more brutal to use. Safety-wise – we do not recommend it for hand-held use.
Here’s to pros quality. The Husqvarna H-80 Chainsaw Chain is a brilliant semi-chisel chain with very low kickback and a very efficient cut. This heavy-duty chain performs excellent, fast, and stable while remaining sharp for longer than similar chains. Even though it’s made for lightweight chainsaws, the Husqvarna H-80 Chainsaw Chain is well accepted by commercial users and casual homeowners alike.
The Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68 is a very sturdy and robust chain. A full-chisel chain, Not everyone’s cup of tea, but a sure bet for heavy and professional users. The sharp chains cut at a breeze through hardwood, softwood, wet wood, and more. While the factory quality makes the Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68 a robust product, with minimal maintenance such as sharpening and oiling – it is a very aggressive chain, and you’ll feel the lack of kickback on every use. Still, we easily recommend the Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68 for the right users for its apparent advantages.
While there are loads of different chain types for versatile purposes and many types of chainsaws, we focus on the four main types that are more frequently used. Most of the chains can still be used for various chores but are designed for specific ones. Therefore it is wise to pick the proper chain for your suitable needs.
The full chisel chains target the professional crowd. Usually designed with square-cornered teeth of solid metal, they have more power on account of comfortability. The full chisel chains are suitable for cutting hardwood, with heavy-duty use and longer moves. An inexperienced cutter might find these chains harder to work with, but time makes practice. These chains are known for aggressiveness and low kickback. This should not be your first choice if you’re not cutting through oak or other thick and firm wood.
Opposite the full chisel chains, the semi-chisel ones are designed with round cornered teeth. These edges make the chain cut slower than its big brother, but the first contact with the wood is less aggressive, and the same goes with the sawing itself. Semi-chisel chains offer less kickback and more stability, making them safer for everyday use. Technically, the chain will remain sharp longer than the full chisel chain because of the lighter friction. These chains can take on multiple purposes, such as hardwood, softwood, wet wood, and more, but they will lack the aggressiveness and effectiveness of the full chisel chains.
Similar to semi-chisel chains, but giving more stability and safety thanks to more rounded corners. The results of using micro-chisel chains are smoother and clean than other chains, but the performance is lower, with higher maintenance, slower work, and most importantly – limited use. Even so, if safety is your top priority, and you don’t plan on cutting timber – it is a very reasonable choice.
The name says it all. Low Profile Chainsaw Chain is the lightest and most straightforward of the bunch. Used mainly for shallow cuts and not heavy use. While it’s enough for most daily uses and chores, it will barely leave a dent on thick hardwood and will wear quickly if put to greater tests. Low-profile chainsaw chains are lighter and fit mainly electric saws and low-power saws.
Choosing the right chain length is imperative for proper and safe use of the chainsaw. While many different chain models and brands exist, most manufacturers aim for max compatibility in length and size. The standard bar measurements are 16, 18, and 20 inches. Every chainsaw model has its specific bar size, and the drive links complement the entire chain length, so you should purchase the correct size chain regardless of the brand. Installing the right chain affects the tension, stability, and safety of the chainsaw.
The drive links are the internal links of the chain. These units connect the chain’s straps, usually by rivets. The drive links should integrate perfectly into the guide bar by using the proper chain gauge. The gauge is the measurement of the drive’s thickness. To correctly count the drive links, count three rivets on the chain and measure the distance between them from the center points. Divide it by half, and the result is the number you seek.
As mentioned before – the gauge stands for the thickness of the drive links. The higher number – the thicker the drive links. The chain gauge comes in one of four sizes: 0.43, 0.50, 0.58, and 0.63. the sizes usually appear on the drive links themselves, and you can always find them in the chainsaw’s manual.
The pitch is the distance between three consecutive rivets, divided by two. The larger chain pitch indicates a more extensive and usually more robust chain. The most common pitch size is the 3/8, but the 325″ and the1/4″ are pretty standard as well, so it is advised to verify the chain pitch before purchasing one. The combination of the chain pitch, chain length, and chain gauge determines the weight, strength, and somewhat of the cutting speed of the chains.
Every metal chain needs to be oiled and lubricated for maintaining its usage, while some chains need frequent oiling. The built-in lubricator is a significant part of the chain’s design, and its purpose is to divide and spread the oil on the specific parts that need the most, keeping it there for longer and better use.
The chainsaw chain that cuts the fastest differs according to the purpose, the size, and the chainsaw’s engine. Usually, full chisel chainsaws are more aggressive and with more potent engines, meaning they cut harder and faster. Yet again, there’s a difference if you cut through hardwood or softwood. As we mentioned earlier, our recommendation for all types of wood is the Oregon R56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain, as it meets most of the challenges and needs and cuts excellent and fast.
The most aggressive chainsaw chain will be one of the full chisel chains, and in the list we prepared, The Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68 takes the title. Full chisel chains are designed for heavy-duty use, including cutting through hardwood. The sharp, sturdy square-cornered teeth enable ripping through the wood, making for the aggressive behavior of the chainsaw.
The best chainsaw chain for cutting firewood is the Husqvarna H30 Saw Chain. It is a micro-chisel, lightweight chain, that quickly cuts through dry firewood.
There is no easy way to reach such a conclusion, as both brands are strong and well known. As each chain model suits, a different purpose is more important to match the chain to your specific needs.
Generally, dry wood is easier to cut through as there is less dirt dulling the chain. Yet, it depends on the chain’s quality, proper use, and maintenance to determine how long it will last.
A wide variety of chainsaw chain brands, types, sizes, and models may confuse the typical user. We tried to narrow down the most recommended chains for you under the different needs. The Oregon R56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain is our pick, but other great chains give an excellent value for money, excellent user experience, and much more.
David has been a woodworker for most of his life — in his dad’s cabinet shop. After using the tools himself, he decided to share it his woodworking and power tools knowledge with DIYers. Read more about him