How do you know when it is time to change out your chainsaw chain? Are you seeing more dust than normal? Is your chainsaw having problems overheating or have you noticed your chainsaw laboring more? When your chainsaw’s performance and speed are suffering, these can all be signs that you need to buy a new best chainsaw chain.
When choosing a replacement chain for your chainsaw, make sure to get one that is high-quality and will perform well. It’s a pain to have a chain that gets dull quickly and to have to keep wasting a lot of time sharpening your chain again and again. Here are a few tips on what to look for in a chainsaw chain and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
Chainsaw Chain Reviews
If you are looking for advanced grind geometry, the Oregon S62 will give you better out-of-the-box sharpness, increased speed, and cutting efficiency over its competitors. It also features a notched bumper drive link that provides low-kickback performance as well as smooth cutting action and good chip flow. The 91VG saw chain is perfect for commercial cutters as well as the occasional user.
The small size and low profile of the lightweight S62 give users durability, good performance, and easy maintenance. The ramp-shaped depth gauge help to lessen kickback without disturbing the chain’s performance while bumper tie straps with slots provide low-kickback functions. The LubriLink tie straps also help to keep oil on the chain where it is needed, and the LubriWell oil holes make sure to transport the oil around the entire length of the guide bar’s groove.
The Oregon S62 also features a Vibe-Ban chassis design that lessens vibrations over 25% while the S-Series saw chain uses four-way symmetrical tie straps to streamline the linking of the chain loops. This low-profile design also complements the kickback effects of its kickback-reducing features which results in less chain material pulled through the kerf.
Final Verdict – This is a pretty cheap replacement option that work well. Its low kickback features and durability make it the type of high-performance chain you want instead of just having to sharpen your old one.
If you want a product from a well-known brand name, Husqvarna makes great products to give you exceptional looking yards. Husqvarna is known throughout the industry form its range of lawn and garden equipment allowing you a lot of versatility among its products to make your yard the best in the neighborhood.
Final Verdict – If you like a brand name, the Husqvarna is functional with low vibrations. It’s a good replacement chain that will fit well.
Featuring a notched bumper drive and Chamfer Chisel cutters, the Oregon S52 14 inch saw chain offers low kickback performance along with smooth cutting action and good chip flow. It also features four-way symmetrical tie straps that make it easy to join the chain loops while the twin corners of the cutters on S52 chain give you excellent performance on many of the popular saw models.
Final Verdict – Another low kickback design, the Oregon S52 cuts though material easily with its smooth and tough design. Its advanced technology ensures that you always have sharp cutters making it a great replacement chain choice.
Perfect for professionals, this pixel chainsaw chain has both a .325-inch and a .050-inch gauge making it an ideal chain for professional users with very demanding job conditions. This is a great chainsaw chain to use on hedge trimming, especially in demanding condition
Final Verdict – Compatible with all Husqvarna chainsaws, this chains cuts fast and sharp. It also features low vibrations and kickback, plus it works great in harsh weather conditions.
Loaded with tons of features, the Stihl 26RS68 works in the harshest cutting conditions and features the Oilomatic drive link lubrication slots which takes oil right to the rivet to lessen the amount of wear on the chain. The chain is also stretched while it is in the factory helping to reduce the break-in period. This is a fast cutting chain that has low vibrations and works best in clean cutting conditions.
Final Verdict – This is an impressively fast chain that works well and sharpens easily. The Stihl also features low vibrations and is a good option for upgrades.
If you are looking for the best replacement chain for a Worx WA0158, the Worx 16” Oregon Chain Saw features advanced chisel grind geometry that improves the sharpness of the chair and increases cutting efficiency and speed improvements.
Final Verdict – This is a good value chain with low kickback. The Worx chain fits saw securely and helps to increase your worktime efficiency.
Stihl chainsaw chains are created to withstand some of the most demanding cutting conditions. Perfect for professionals, the Stihl 16” Chainsaw Chain Loops (61 PMM3 55 Drive Links 3610 005 0055) has tons of professional features including Oilomatic drive link lubrication slots that take oil right to the rivet to lessen wear.
Stihl also features chain that is pre-stretched at the factory helping to get rid of extra adjustment when you are breaking it in. As part of the Stihl Picco Micro Mini 3 series, this chain lessens vibrations and kickback, plus it has a narrow kerf that is perfect for pruning saws and lightweight chainsaws. With the combination of fewer vibrations and kickback, the Stihl 16” Chainsaw Chain Loop has improved cutting efficiency making it popular with arborists.
Final Verdict – Great choice for professionals, the Stihl 16” works fast and sharpens easily. With its narrow kerf, this is a great chain for arborists and for pruning trees.
Chainsaw Chain Buying Guide
When you think about it, the part of the saw that does the cutting is really the most important part of your saw. This is a job that needs to be done reliably and safely, so you need to make sure that the chain fits well and isn’t too loose, but you also want to make sure it doesn’t have too much tension. When making sure that you have the proper fit, you will need to know you chainsaw’s measurements and also be familiar with all the key features of your saw.
Choosing the Best Chainsaw Chain
When considering replacing your chainsaw chain, you will need to be aware of a few requirements. Here are a few features you need to keep in mind as you choose the best chainsaw chain replacement for your saw.
You will find that there are four main types of chains including the following:
Chisel chains – Chisel chains have square cornered teeth and are the fastest in cutting materials. They also have the highest number of teeth which makes them the fastest saws with the smoothest cuts, and they are found on most domestic chainsaws.
Semi-chisel chains – Featuring less than half of the number of teeth on a full chisel chain, semi-chisel chains have rounded cornered teeth. Half of these teeth are spread out and half are close together. This means that it cuts at about a 10% slower speed than a full chisel chainsaw. However, the semi-chisel chain stays sharper for a longer period of time and they become dull as quickly which makes them a great choice for cutting hardwood, frozen wood, and tree stumps.
Skip chisel chains – This chain has the least amount of teeth and is the best choice when you need to make a big cut. This is a good choice when you need to cut down a tree because the chain will need to carry the wood chip for a while before spitting them out. When there are bigger spaces between teeth, they cut slowly and are able to keep their sharpness. This also makes them more versatile and they work well in the dirt. They, unfortunately, do have strong vibrations when you use them and also have high kick-back risks.
Chipper chains – Similar to semi-chisel chains, chipper chains only differ in the size of the radius at the working corner. A chipper chain is often used for dirty work since they have a very large working corner that allows it to stay sharp for a long time in abrasive conditions.
Features of a Chainsaw Chain
When considering the performance of a chainsaw, it is easy to forget that most of the saw’s performance really lies in the chain. So, when you are considering a replacement, you want to make sure that you use an efficient and high-quality performance chain. When you use a poor quality chain, you run the risk of inefficiency, overheating, and creating a lot of dust, plus a bad chain can eventually damage your chainsaw.
Drive lugs are found on the chain that passes over the cog which is powered by the chainsaw motor. Lugs, also called drive links, give you a way to measuring the length of the chain. When you have the chainsaw off and the spark plus is disconnected, the chain can be lifted away from the bar and you can see the lugs underneath. When you count the number of drive lungs on the chain, you can determine the chain length.
When considering the chain gauge, you are really thinking about the thickness of the chain’s drive links. Chain gauges usually run from between.05 inches to .063 inches.
When you are considering the gauge on your own saw, make sure that it matches the gauge on the chainsaw’s guide bar. You will have problems with it not fitting if the gauge is too thick and it will slip off sideways if it is too thin. The correct chain length makes sure that the replacement chain fits properly around the bar and that the chain will glides around the bar without binding while the chainsaw is running.
Around the edge of the chainsaw bar, the drive lugs will slip into grooves milled into the edge preventing the chain from coming free while the saw is operating. You can measure the drive lugs thickness in millimeters using a dial caliper to get an accurate reading.
The chain length is measured in the number of drive links that range somewhere around 52 to 62. This length determines the kickback for the chainsaw.
Chainsaws are also measured by their bar length, i.e. a 16 inch chainsaw has a 16 inch bar. This means that it is not a measurement of the full bar, but just the part where the bar meets the chainsaw’s tip.
You will find that chainsaws are sold in even-numbered lengths and the most common sizes are between 16 to 20 inches. You can choose a replacement chain just on the bar size, but you may need a few other measurements to make it fit your saw exactly.
The average distance between two rivets is the pitch. Keep in mind that no two rivets are the same distance apart or have the same measurements, so you determine the pitch by measuring the distance between three of the rivets and then dividing that by 2. You will find that most chains will range from .325, .404, or .375.
For the smoothest cut surface, you will want to find a chainsaw chain that has a full chisel-shaped teeth as the closeness of the teeth gives you an even cut with powder-fine sawdust.
Sharpness can be lost quickly depending on the type of teeth found on the chain. For example, with a full-chisel chain, you will need to sharpen a lot more frequently compared to skip chisel chains.
It is also important to maintain a certain level of lubrication on your chain. As your saw moves at high speeds, the oil on your chain is lost, you need to make sure that you compensate for this by included a special additive that will keep the chain oiled at high sawing speeds.
As you start shopping, you will find that there are many replacement chainsaw chains on the market, so it is important to know which one is right for you, your chainsaw, and your projects. Make sure that the chainsaw chain you choose is compatible with your saw and that it has low kickback and is ANSI certified. Once you find a good one, make sure to take good care of it so you don’t have to go through the whole replacement process again soon.