Guide to buying the best chainsaw chain

best chainsaw chain brandThe best chainsaw chain will slice through logs, branches, and tree trunks with ease. Saws make cutting firewood and hardwood to size fairly easy, but when the chain gets dull it can be a risk.

The risk is kickback. Kickback occurs when a tooth bites too deep in the lumber, gets stuck, and the saw recoils, which makes it dangerous and a possible cause for an accident.

Because my chain was worn and need replacement, I did some research into buying a good saw chain and thought I’d share.

Best-selling chainsaw chains on Amazon

SaleBestseller No. 1
Oregon S62x3 3-Pack AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chains for 18-Inch Bar - 62 Drive Links – Low-Kickback, Fits Husqvarna, Echo, Poulan, Craftsman and more
  • 3 x durable, low-kickback, low-vibration chains help reduce user fatigue for increased periods of work- For all chainsaws brands that run 3/8 inch pitch, .050 inch (1.3 mm) gauge, 62 drive link chain
  • Fits these chainsaw models with an 18" bar: Atlas 56937, Craftsman CMXGSAMCN4218, S185, ECHO CS310, Ego CS1800, CS1804, Greenworks GCS80420, Husqvarna 240, 120 Mark II
  • Also fits: Homelite ZR43100, Masterforce 2000094ME, Poulan PR4218, Remington RM1645, Ryobi RY3818, RY40580, RY40580, Sun Joe SWJ701E, and more; see product images and description.
  • Precision, heat-treated semi-chisel chain cuts smoothly with a higher tolerance for debris. Tough, long-lasting chrome outer layer and hardened rivets help reduce wear and chain adjustments
  • Tough, long-lasting chrome outer layer and hardened rivets help reduce wear and allow for fewer chain adjustments
SaleBestseller No. 2
Oregon S56x3 3-Pack AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chains for 16-Inch Bar -56 Drive Links – Low-Kickback, Fits Husqvarna, Echo, Poulan, Wen and more
  • 3 x durable, low-kickback, low-vibration chains that help reduce user fatigue for increased periods of work. For all chainsaws brands that run 3/8 Inch Pitch, .050 Inch (1.3 mm) gauge, 56 drive links. For saw sizes up to 42 cc
  • Fits these chainsaw models with a 16" bar: Craftsman:CMECS600, S160, S165, CMECS600; Earthwise CS30116, CS33016; Homelite ZR43100, UT43123; Husqvarna 240, 135, 120 Mark II
  • Precision, heat-treated semi-chisel chain cuts smoothly with a higher tolerance for debris
  • Tough, long-lasting chrome outer layer and hardened rivets help reduce wear and allow for fewer chain adjustments
  • Built-in Lubri-Tec automatic oiling system extends the life of your chain by delivering oil to key parts of the chain so you can work smarter with less downtime and maintenance
Bestseller No. 3
KAKEI 18 Inch Chainsaw Chain 3/8" LP Pitch, 050" Gauge, 62 Drive Links Fits Poulan, Kobalt, Echo, Ego, Greenworks and More- S62 (3 Chains)
  • 【SPECIFICATIONS】 3 Pack 18 Inch, 3/8" LP Pitch, .050" Gauge, 62 Drive Links, semi-chisel. This low-kickback saw chain meets the kickback performance requirement of ANSI B175.1-2012 when tested according to the provisions of ANSI B175.1-2012.
  • 【FIND YOUR CHAIN】Please check the product description for compatible models, or you can also contact us with your chainsaw/bar specifications and we will try our best to find the right chain for you. (Tips: Visit the KAKEI amazon store for all sizes of saw chains.)
  • 【Features】 Germany steel with heating temperature control and punching system make better toughness, Flatness. All saw chain rivets hardened and quenched, resists wear and improves strength, reducing chain tension changes.
  • 【Features】Japanese chrome-plated technology creates better durability for cutters, and each of them was grinded and cold-headed with Rotary machines, becomes sharper than ever.
  • Saw chain comes with protective oil, resists corrosion.

Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Anatomy of a saw chain

The chain is made up of different parts, including drive links, rivets, and cutters. More importantly, a few dimensions are important when getting the correct chainsaw chain for your unit. They include gauge, pitch, and length.

Gauge refers to how thick the drive links are and is determined by the bar gauge. Common gauges include .05″ through 063″. It’s important to make sure chain and bar gauge match.

Pitch is the distance between two rivets. Chain pitch needs to match the sprockets.

Length refers to the length of the full chain loop. It is the number of drive lengths and is determined by bar type and length, as well as sprocket sizes and saw setup.

Many saws will have the pitch, number of drive lengths (length), and gauge stamped, etched, or engraved on the guide bar. If it’s not, check with the manufacturer.


The core power of a chain are its teeth, which are often formed from a blend of chromium-plated steel alloy.

There are different tooth cutter profiles: Chipper, semi- and full-chisel. Each have their pros and cons.

Full chisel configurations have teeth with square edges. Semi-chisel configurations have rounded corners, as do chipper tooth profiles. The difference between semi-chisel and chipper are the corner radii.

According to wikipedia, full chisel designs work well for cutting softwood because they easily split wood fibers, and semi-chisel designs excel at dry, frozen, dirty wood — as well as hard wood or stump work.

Round designs don’t cut as fast as square designs, which lose their edge in dense, hardwood, and in dirty environments. Square designs tend to be faster because their profile is more aggressive.

Arranging those teeth

The teeth are arranged on a chain in a designed way. Arrangement does not have anything to do with teeth type and refers to the teeth spacing.

A few different arrangements include skip, semi-skip, and full complement.

Full complement means that the chain has a left cutter, then a drive link, then a right cutter, and then another drive link, which is pretty common setup.

Skip has two drive links between every left and right cutter, whereas full complement only has one. Generally, these are used when the bar length is quite long for the engine power. The idea is that less teeth means the saw can operate at a higher RPM avoiding it from bogging.

Semi-skip is a combination of full and skip. It alternates back and forth between using one or two drive links between cutter pairs.

Read customer reviews of the best chainsaw chain in 2023 on Amazon.

A little history …

Chainsaws, which were put on the market in the late ’20s, use to require two people to use. But after advancements around the World War II time frame, saws became more portable and designed for use by one person.

Like the saw itself, cutting chains have changed, too.

Scratcher teeth were different than the style of teeth mentioned above. Whereas modern designs reduce the number of teeth, scratcher designs had lots of teeth very close.

Close teeth meant that they would not “bite” deep into the wood — i.e., they were inefficient, slow, and required extra need cleaning and sharpening.

The chipper chain improved the scratcher design. The chipper chain design featured left and right teeth that alternated, along with a depth gauge.

The depth gauge reduced kickback because it did not allow the teeth to cut very deep.

Also, the extra space in the teeth gave the wood chips to clear out of the chain quickly.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

The first rule when buying a chain for your saw is this: Make sure it will fit your saw!

Remember, you want to make sure the correct length, gauge, and pitch are used.

An easy way to make sure it will fit is to look on the bar, which may have the information on it. Another way is to check the owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer, or look on the manufacturer’s website.

Depending on your bar length, you may not need to choose between skip or semi skip. Your only choice may be a full complement chain.

Remember, skip and semi skip configurations require a minimum guide bar length of 24 inches long and are preferred on longer chainsaws to maintain a higher RPM and eliminate that bogging.

Once you have the correct pitch, gauge, and length determined, you have options on what style tooth you want.

The saw chains tooth type should be matched to the job. For instance, full chisel teeth have an aggressive square edge, which can make quick work of clean and soft wood.

One caveat: Full chisel teeth will wear quickly when using cutting hardwood, dry wood, or frozen, dirty wood.

Tasks like tree trunks, stumps, firewood may call for semi chisel teeth profiles or chipper profiles.

But what about arrangement?

Maintenance and cleaning are important. That’s one of the benefits of a semi-skip or skip setups: They allow the chain to throw wood chips and debris out of the extra spaces in the saw chain.

A semi-skip or skip chain won’t provide nice smooth cuts; instead, the cuts will have edges that are jagged and the sawdust will be messy and thick. But, if you’re cutting firewood, it doesn’t matter.

A full complement chain is best if you want a smooth edge on your cuts.

Tips for taking care of your saw chain

Chainsaws can be dangerous if improperly kept or used. Although kickback is an issue when operating the saw, another issue is unmaintained equipment. You should keep your saw chain sharp, well-lubricated, and clean and covered when not in use.


A sharp chain is important to the safety of your saw. When the teeth dull, they increase the risk for kickback. Kickback can cause serious harm if you are not accustomed to it.

Besides, a dull chain reduces efficiency.

A good electric chain saw chain sharpener or sharpening stone is all it takes to keep the chain in good shape.


It sounds counter-intuitive to lubricate a chain that’s spinning at high RPMs because the lube will surely fly off it. However, chain-specific oil will stick.

Chain oil has additives in it that keep the lubricant on the chain even while it is moving at high RPMs.

I know most people will use motor oil in a pinch, but it flies off and requires frequent application. Motor oil is not the best chainsaw chain oil to use.

It’s important to use the right chain oil, which will keep your saw working correctly and efficiently — not to mention help reduce possible accidents.

Chain covers

A plastic scabbard covering the chain can prevent injury when the saw is in storage or transport. The scabbard can also protect the bar and chain from accidental damage.

Parting thoughts about the best chainsaw chain

Although the gas motor may be the loudest part on a chainsaw, the chain is just as important.

When replacing or buying a new saw chain, you should take into account saw’s configuration, type of wood you’ll be sawing, and the type of cuts your looking to achieve.

Find the best chainsaw chain on the market in 2023 on Amazon.

Originally posted 2023-01-06 18:05:31.