What Are the Best Chainsaw Chains? Mechanopedia’s Top Picks

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Chainsaws are very handy tools that can be used to tackle heavy-duty tasks that require a lot of power. Whether it’s trimming hedges, cutting down trees, or limb pruning, a chainsaw – even one that costs less than 200 bucks – will do the trick.

With that said, there are different types of chainsaws, each requiring a certain type of chain in order to function optimally. Equip the wrong chain on your chainsaw, and you’re going to have a hard time doing whatever you want to do. You’ll also be putting yourself at risk since using the inappropriate chain can increase the chances of it getting bound.

In order to help you choose the best chainsaw chain, we’ve made a list featuring five of the best chainsaw chains on the market along with a detailed feature review. Here goes the list.

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The Best Chainsaw Chains – Our Picks

#1 – Husqvarna 531300439 18-inch Chainsaw Chain

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This chainsaw chain is designed to fit with different 18-inch chainsaws. It provides excellent performance and will ensure that your chainsaw works at its best condition. It’s also an easy chain to install.

When it comes to the features, this chain has a couple of great ones. For starters, the guide links fit very well into the chainsaw guide, and it also has very little kickback.

Additionally, you can use this chain with any chainsaw. It doesn’t have to be made by Husqvarna in order for it to fit. Just keep in mind that this is meant for 18-inch chainsaws.

The sharpening process is also quite easy and simple. Add on top of this the minimal kickback and a low price, and you’ve got yourself a great deal and a chain that is hardly rivaled on the market.

Using this chain, you’ll be able to cut effortlessly through lumber, and the chain is good at holding an edge, which means it’s quite reliable.

What we like about it

One of the things that stood out with this chain is the fact that it could fit on multiple types of chainsaws, though it’s not the only thing that makes it one of the best chainsaw chains out there. The fact that it has minimal kickback, coupled with being high-performance and easy to sharpen makes it an excellent product.

#2 – Husqvarna H4684 24-Inch Chainsaw Chain

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Husqvarna is known for producing high-quality products. No wonder two of their brands figure on the list of the best chainsaw chains out there.

This chain is designed to work with the different 24-inch chainsaws which are beastly when it comes to cutting down trees, and with a chain like this one, you’ll be able to get out their true potential. There’s hardly any rival to this chain when it comes to performance and ease of use which makes it one of the best chainsaw chains that you can get for a 24-inch chainsaw.

Thanks to its 0.050-inch gauge and a 3/8-inch pitch, this beauty will have to issue cutting through wood. Additionally, not unlike its predecessor, this chain has minimal kickback and vibrations, which is good for both safety and comfort.

You’ll also be able to perform immaculate cuts with little to no debris, so you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning up after you’re done. This is a chain that is great for both beginners and professionals as it can make extremely clean cuts and require little to no maintenance.

Another thing worth mentioning is that this chain is built to last and will hold an edge for quite some time, and even when you have to sharpen it, you’ll find that it’s an easy process.

While this chain can fit in most 24-inch chainsaws, it might be a bit too loose on some bars, so make sure it fits perfectly before you buy it for your chainsaw.

What we like about it

There’s a lot to like about this chain. For starters, it can fit in a lot of different chainsaws. It can also deliver clean cuts with minimal kickback and debris, and it’s able to sustain rough conditions. It’s also quite easy to maintain and sharpen. Easily one of the best chainsaw chains you can get for a 24-inch chainsaw.

#3 – Oregon 2 PACK 71-3619 S62 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain

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As the name implies, this pack includes 2, 18-inch high-quality chains. Known as one of the best chainsaw chains on the market, the Oregon S62 is a formidable chain with a 0.050-inch gauge, 3/8-inch pitch, 62 links that weight 5.6 ounces.

This is a semi-chisel chain that is perfect for accurate cutting. It’s uniquely designed to have very little kickback. It’s also a heat-treated cutter which means that it can deliver cut with an extremely smooth finish.

The chain has a file diameter of 5/32 is best for 30-degree sharpening. This is a technologically advanced premium chain that is hard-chromed.

This is one of the, if not THE, best chainsaw chain out there, being able to produce very smooth cuts with high precision and little to no kickback. It’s also surprisingly lightweight and quite potent for woodcutting.

The only caveat we have with this chainsaw chain is that it doesn’t fit with all of the chainsaws mentioned on the package. Other than that, it’s a formidable product and among the best chainsaw chains out there.

What we like about it

This chain’s hard-chromed semi-chisel cutters are very potent. This chain is also among the most accurate among its kind. Additionally, it’s built to resist high power levels. It’s also easy to maintain and sharpen. There’s a lot to like about this chain.

#4 – Husqvarna 3-Piece 24-Inch Professional Chain

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This chainset is especially great if you happen to run a tight budget. It offers quite the amazing value. Not only will you be getting 3 chains for 24-inch chainsaws, but they’re also made by Husqvarna which are known for making amazing products and already have two chains on this list. There’s just no better guarantee than this.

These chains have a 0.050-inch gauge, a 3/8-inch pitch, and 84 drive links. They are high-performance chains that have a low amount of vibrations. They come with square corner chisel cutters. As you’d expect from Husqvarna, these chains are quite efficient. They are meant to be used for clean-cut wood high production.

What we like about it

These chains will be able to cut through any type of wood effortlessly. They are low-vibration and deliver a smooth performance. Additionally, they are quite durable, and you won’t have to sharpen them as much, and even if you have to, the sharpening process is quite easy.

#5 – Oregon Poulan S62 AdvanceCut 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain

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Last but not least, we have the Oregon S62 ControlCut chainsaw chain which is perfect for handling small jobs. This chainsaw chain will make short work of any small task you might throw at it. Whether it’s trimming bushes or cutting branches, this chain will make short work of it.

It can also be sued for more complex jobs thanks to its micro-chisel ad semi-chisel style, which makes it able to cut through tree limbs.

This chain is also full of neat features. For starters, it has Lubritec reservoirs which are meant to keep the chains properly lubricated with no need for you to intervene. It’s also low-vibration, which is neat. And lastly, this chain is equipped with chrome-plated cutters which make it durable and able to resist wear and tear better than a lot of other chains out there.

One thing to keep in mind when getting this chain is that it doesn’t perfectly fit with all of the chainsaws that are mentioned on the package, so make sure that it fits with your chainsaw before you buy it.

What we like about it

This is one of the best chainsaw chains for small jobs. It’s also user-friendly and requires little to no maintenance, and the sharpening process is quite easy.

Choosing the Best Chainsaw Chain – Mechanopedia’s Buying Guide

Just like any other accessory, such as chainsaw chaps and chainsaw bars, when you’re out to buy a new chainsaw chain, there are a couple of factors that you need to consider before you make your purchase. We’ve made a buying guide that should help you make the best decision when buying the best chainsaw chain.

Types of Chainsaw Chains

There are four main types of chainsaw chains. However, you need to know what your chainsaw needs. Make sure you know the specs of your chainsaw, so you don’t pick the wrong type of size of the chain.

  • Low-profile cutters – This is the most popular type on the market since cutters of this type tend to fit in numerous chainsaws with no issue. They’re also user-friendly and easy to get the hang of. You can also count on them holding an edge for quite some time. You’ll find that these cutters are suited towards softwood stand cutting.
  • Semi chisel cutters – These chains are very similar to their low-profile counterpart. However, they tend to hold their edge longer than full toolchains.
  • Full chisel cutters – These cutters are the fastest among all of the types. They are mostly used for general cutting purposes due to their speed. You can find ones that come with square radius edges and other with round grind profiles. With that said, these cutters require more upkeep and will need to be sharpened more often
  • Square chisel cutters – These cutters are similar to full chisel cutters, but they’re oriented towards professional use. While they cut fast, they tend to require the most maintenance, which makes them unsuited for beginners and amateurs as they need faster sharpening.

Factors to Consider

Chain Size

You need to make sure that the size of the chain matches the size of the chainsaw to ensure that it tightly fits with it. It’s rather simple: A 20-inch chainsaw requires a 20-inch chain. You can get this information by reading the packaging.

Chain Gauge and Pitch

The gauge and pitch of the chain are used to determine the vibration and tension levels of the chain. These specifications are usually found on the packaging along with the recommended type of chainsaw to use it on. With that said, you also have to take into account the brand of the chainsaw as some chains might not be compatible with certain brands. You’ll want to make sure that the chain you’re buying is compatible with your chainsaw.

Anti-Vibration

Chain vibrations are not a good sign. These vibrations usually mean that there’s some energy being wasted and the chains are not working to their fullest potential. With that in mind, you’re going to want a chain with as little vibrations as possible. This is where anti-vibration comes in. In order to ensure as little vibration as possible, it’s imperative that you get the proper chain gauge that goes well with your chainsaw.

Anti-Kickback

When working with chainsaws, safety should be your top priority. One of the things you should seek to minimize other than vibrations is the kickback. Kickback happens with a chain cutter gets stuck in a piece of wood while in full motion. This creates a pushback or kickback force that can cause you to momentarily lose control of the chainsaw if you’re not careful. This is why you need to get a chain that has some sort of anti-kickback feature in order to stay safe when working with the chainsaw.

When to Replace Chainsaw Chains

It’s important to know when you need to replace a chain. Working with a worn chain might incur damage to the chainsaw and is highly ill-advised as it can even pose a hazard to the user. This is why you need to be able to tell when a chain needs to replace. Here are the signs that you need to look for:

  • One of the first things that you need to look for is whether or not the teeth of the chain are still intact. If you notice that several ones are broken, then you’re probably better off replacing the chain.
  • If the chain dulls exceptionally quickly, then it’s probably time for a change. The size of the teeth on the chain can also indicate its condition, the smaller the teeth, the worse the situation is.
  • Another way to gauge the condition of the chain is by looking at the rectangular cutters in the front of the teeth. Worn chains usually have smaller rectangular cutters. This is mainly due to the sharpening process, which reduces the size of the teeth and cutters over time.
  • Lastly, if you notice that the chainsaw becomes less efficient overall, then it’s probably time to change the chain. An inefficient chainsaw will require you to push it into the wood. This is not how it’s supposed to work as a chainsaw in good condition should not require you to push it into the material you’re cutting. If you notice something along these lines, then it’s probably time for a chain change.

With that said, the chain of the chainsaw is not the only part that needs to be looked after. In order to keep your chainsaw in good condition, you need to take a look at the bar and make sure it’s still in good condition.

What You Should Avoid

When examining the chainsaw bar, here are a couple of red flags that you need to watch out for:

  • If you notice that the bar is bent, then it’s definitely a bad sign
  • Cracks and wear on the bar means that the chainsaw is in rough condition
  • If the chain moves too much, then the rail is probably getting loose.

Repairing the chainsaw bar generally requires fixing the rails and making sure their work well enough for the chains to stay relatively fixed. You’ll also want to great the bar, but this depends on which type of bar is on the chainsaw.

Picking the Best Chainsaw Chain – Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Vibrations in the Chain?

Chain vibrations can either be caused by a bad chain or, more likely, the chain gauge not being compatible with the chainsaw. In order to avoid this, you need to make sure that the chain is in line with the specifications of the chainsaw.

How to Ensure Safety When Working with a Chainsaw?

Safety is of the utmost importance, and when it comes to chainsaws, you need to be wearing proper protective gear. You only need to be fully aware of any potential kickback and also be working with a chainsaw that has some degree of anti-kickback, so you don’t risk losing control.

Is the Chain Supposed to Stretch?

The stretching is entirely regular. The more you use the chainsaw, the more the chain is going to stretch. However, if you notice that the chain has become long to the point of it impeding the chainsaw, then it’s probably time to get a new one.

Conclusion

Now that you know all about chainsaw chains, you should be able to make the right choice confidently. As long as you know what to look for, then you’re all set. Just make sure that you’ve read through the buying guide and understood how to choose the appropriate chain for your chainsaw.

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t get a lousy chain for your chainsaw, as it would greatly affect your work – negatively, that is. After all, you wouldn’t, but a bad miter saw blade for your 12-inch miter saw or circular saw blade for your cordless circular saw now, would you?

Well, the same applies to the best chainsaw chain, so choose yours wisely!

References:

  • https://www.fs.fed.us/eng/pubs/html/98511316/98511316.html
  • https://www.sahanpuru.com/blog/howtoidentifyachainsawchain/
  • https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/chainsaws-101-how-to-maintain-and-sharpen-a-chainsaw/
  • Our own experience