Best Chainsaw Chains to Keep Your Project Going

After using your chainsaw for a long while, eventually you will need a new chain for your chainsaw. That doesn’t mean you need to get the exact type of chain that originally came with the chainsaw. Instead, you can get something better. In fact, you may even want to immediately replace the stock chain with a better replacement.

Obviously, a new chainsaw is generally better than the old one. It comes with sharper teeth, after all. But depending on your pick, they may come with additional advantages.

Perhaps your new chain may come with a more aggressive configuration. That makes the chain more effective for cutting hardwoods like maple and oak. Or maybe you get a much safer chain, with a lower potential for kickbacks. 

You may look for additional features that weren’t present in your old chain, such as built-in lubrication that drips small amounts of oil on the chain constantly and evenly. This will keep the chain running more effectively for a longer period of time.

Some chains even come with a self-sharpening feature, which saves you from the tedious task of sharpening the blades yourself every now and then. With this feature, you can just pull a lever while running the chainsaw. This action activates a rasp that applies just enough pressure on the tips of the blades to make them sharper.

There are even chains that are so affordable they’re basically disposable. That is, you can replace them very cheaply, so you may not even care to sharpen the blades to let them last longer.

Best Chainsaw Chains Comparison Table

The most crucial aspect of picking the right chain is that it should fit your chainsaw perfectly. If the chain is too small, then you simply won’t be able to put them on the chainsaw.

But you can’t put in a chain that’s too big, either. A chain that’s too big won’t cut effectively. More importantly, it may sit too loose on the chainsaw and fly off, which can cause injuries to anyone around.

To get the right fit, you must make sure you get the right pitch, gauge, and number of drive links. Here’s a quick look at the Top 10 chainsaws so you can quickly find which ones can fit your chainsaw.

Product Picture

Product Name

Pitch

Chain Length

Price

Oregon S56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 16-Inch Bar

3/8-inch, low profile

16 inches

Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 14-Inch Bars

3/8-inch, low profile 3/8

14 inches

Trilink Saw Chain CL15062X2TL2 18" Twin Pack S62

3/8-inch, low profile 3/8

18 inches

Oregon R34 AdvanceCut 8-Inch Micro Lite Chainsaw Chain Fits Poulan, Remington

3/8-inch, low profile 3/8

8 inches

Oregon D72 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 20-Inch Bar

3/8-inch

20 inches

Husqvarna chainsaw chain 18-Inch .050-gauge .325 pitch low kickback low-vibration

.325-inch

18 inches

Husqvarna 531300624 H4684 Chainsaw Chain

3/8-inch

24 inches

STIHL 26RM3-74 Oilomatic Rapid Micro 3 Saw Chain, 18" 3689 005 0074 - 2 Pack

.325-inch

18 inches

8TEN Chainsaw Chain for Stihl

.325-inch

18 inches

SUNGATOR 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain SG-S62

3/8-inch, low profile 3/8

18 inches

Top 10 Chainsaw Chains Reviews

We went for a wide variety of sizes, so that you can probably find one of the Top 10 chainsaw chains on our list that will fit your chainsaw. Here’s a closer look at each of them, telling you why you may want to get these for your chainsaw.

Oregon S56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 16-Inch Bar

The packaging is quite nice here, especially at the back. There you’ll find a list of chainsaw models that can accommodate this chain. If you find your model here, you’re good to go.

This semi-chisel chain has been designed and manufactured to meet the ANSI and UL low-kickback requirements for your safety. It uses a special cutter design that offers fast, smooth cutting while minimizing the kickback.

This also features the LubriTec feature, which applies oil on the chain efficiently. It’s also designed to work better despite dirt and dust.

This won’t require frequent sharpening, as the blades stay sharp longer. The blades have this outer layer of industrial chrome so the surface is more durable. The hardened rivets also give you a tougher load-bearing surface that boosts the strength, reduces the wear, and reduces the need for frequent tension adjustments.

The chain doesn’t even vibrate as much as the other chains, as the design also keeps some of the vibration from reaching the user. This reduces the vibrations by as much as 25%.

Pros
  • Meets safety standards
  • Oils the chain efficiently
  • Blades stay sharper longer
  • Reduces vibrations
  • Lasts a long while
Cons
  • Won’t last long with daily use on hardwoods

Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 14-Inch Bars, Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, 52 Drive Links

This offers the same set of advantages that you also get with the S56. It’s just that this time, it features a different length. If you have a 14-inch bar on your chainsaw, then this is what you get.

Once again, you have a semi-chisel chain here, which balances low kickbacks with great cutting performance. This meets the ANSI and UL requirements for low kickbacks.

The blades remain sharp, thanks to the layer of industrial chrome on the outside. It comes with automatic oiling for better performance and wear resistance, and it also lasts longer due to the hardened rivets. These rivets lead to less frequent tension adjustments. Using this chain leads to reduced vibrations, which minimizes user fatigue along with the chainsaw wear and tear.

There’s really nothing wrong with these chains, which is why they’re so popular. Unfortunately, scammers know this too. You better make sure you know who you’re buying from when you get the Oregon S52, as you may get something else upon delivery.

Pros
  • Meets low kickback industry standards
  • Blades remain sharp for longer
  • Efficient automatic oiling
  • Reduced vibrations
  • Hardened rivets for greater strength
Cons
  • Chances of scammer sellers

Trilink Saw Chain CL15062X2TL2 18" Twin Pack S62

When you want a more efficient cutting chain for more challenging projects, then you may want to take a look at this Trilink chain. This cuts very quickly with its rather aggressive design, which does have its pros and cons. It cuts quickly even when you’re dealing with hardwoods, but it may not be the best option for trimming if you want smoother cuts. You should also know what you’re doing—this isn’t all that great with chainsaw newbies.

For its efficient cutting capabilities, it is actually quite affordable. For that aggressive cutting capability alone, lots of people think the price is a bargain. The semi-chisel design also offers terrific wood chip clearance. This is UL-certified to meet ANSI standards for low kickback safety.

This even comes with the Centri-Lube oil-ways on the drive links. These oil-ways allow the oil to spread more efficiently all through the drive links and rivets. This really reduces the friction, which leads to better wear and tear resistance. In addition, it also minimizes the chain stretch so that you don’t have to do tension adjustments too frequently.

The chain is also rust-resistant, so don’t worry when you work in more humid conditions.

Pros
  • UL-certified to meet low kickback requirements
  • Very effective cutting design
  • Oilways for better oil lubrication
  • Rust-resistant chain
Cons
  • This may not be the best option for newbies
  • It may be too aggressive for smaller jobs

Oregon R34 AdvanceCut 8-Inch Micro Lite Chainsaw Chain Fits Poulan, Remington

This small 8-inch chain is designed for pole saws, mainly those made by Remington and Poulan. Despite the small size, this is still an AdvanceCut model, which means it offers terrific performance with dependable durability. It’s made right here in the US, in an ISO-certified facility. It’s also UL-certified for low kickback.

As an AdvanceCut chain, you get the Lubritec oiling system for efficient lubrication, ensuring consistent performance and better resistance to wear and tear. The design minimizes the vibrations by 25%, again helping the chain (and the user) last longer.

The blades stay sharp for a longer time, due to the chrome plating on the cutter for better wear resistance. The hardened rivets on the chain also minimizes the wear and chain stretch, so you’ll need to do fewer adjustments.

This is quite affordable, which is surprising given the quality of the chain. If there’s anything wrong with this, it’s the fact that it won’t fit all the small chainsaws and pole saws out there. A lot of the complaints aren’t about the chain’s performance. It’s about how it won’t fit models like the Harbor Freight 62896 pole saw or the Homelite 8-inch.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Chrome plating on the blades (the blades remain sharp for longer)
  • Minimal wear and chain stretch
  • Minimizes vibrations
  • UL-certified for low kickback
Cons
  • Picky when it comes to the chainsaw it fits

Oregon D72 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 20-Inch Bar

Okay, by now you probably realize that we really like the AdvanceCut chains from Oregon. Check at the back of this package to see if your chainsaw model is listed here. If it is, then go ahead and just get this chain, pronto. Or you can just make sure your chainsaw accommodates a 20-inch chain with 72 links, along with a ⅜-inch pitch and a 0.050-inch gauge.

Don’t worry too much about kickbacks with this chain, since it meets the UL and ANSI requirements for low kickbacks. Yet you also get a smooth-cutting semi-chisel design that works well enough even with dirt and dust issues.

The blades stay sharp because of the chrome plating on the blades, while the hardened rivets boost the strength of the chain so you need less frequent tension adjustments. This even gives you automatic oiling, so your chain moves more smoothly while it also lasts longer.

This even minimizes the vibrations by 25%, which is great for user fatigue and wear and tear for the machine.

There have been complaints, though, regarding the quality control on some products. It seems that some people received chains with 1 or 2 extra links, so that the chain didn’t fit properly.

Pros
  • UL-certified for low kickbacks
  • Blades stay sharp for a longer time
  • Less frequent tension adjustments
  • Better resistance to wear and tear
  • Reduced vibrations
Cons
  • Semi-chisel design isn’t meant for constant use on hardwoods
  • Quality control issues regarding the number of links

Husqvarna chainsaw chain 18-Inch .050-gauge .325 pitch low kickback low-vibration

When you’re an arborist who’s using a smaller lightweight chainsaw, you don’t need a monstrously aggressive cutter. You’re better off with this one instead.

This is a very safe chain to use in these instances, due to the fact that it minimizes the kickback. It also reduces the vibrations, leading to better control over your lightweight chainsaw. You’re better able to make accurate cuts, while you don’t suffer user fatigue too quickly due to the vibrations. The reduced vibrations also lead to a longer lifespan for the chainsaw itself.

This is not a heavy-duty chain that offers very fast cutting. Those faster chains tend to make them less safe for regular folks due to the higher potential for kickbacks. But this works nicely, when you’re cutting green or dry wood, or rotting wood.

Are you a chainsaw user who cuts about 4 to 5 cords of firewood per year? If that’s the case, then this is what you want and need. You won’t have any problems with this, and it’s easy enough to sharpen.

Pros
  • Low kickbacks
  • Minimal vibrations
  • Works for arborists and occasional users
Cons
  • Doesn’t cut quickly

Husqvarna 531300624 H4684 Chainsaw Chain

With 84 links, this is meant for a larger chainsaw, obviously. In fact, lots of people consider this the ideal chain for heavy-duty work. When you do a lot of cutting (especially hardwoods), then you really ought to consider this chain.

This features the square-corner “chisel” cutters that give you the terrific performance you don’t normally get with other chains. This will cut really fast, and smoothly too. If you have the powerful chainsaw in your tool shed, this is the perfect match.

However, this model has now been discontinued. Not because it doesn’t work right, since it works great. It’s just that it only works with certain Husqvarna chainsaws. The new replacement works with more Husqvarna chainsaw models.

There’s no word if there’s going to be a chain model with the same level of performance that can fit in non-Husqvarna chainsaw models. That means if you want to use this chain, you’re going to have to switch to a Husqvarna chainsaw.

Pros
  • Great for heavy duty
  • Matches perfectly with powerful chainsaws
  • Cuts fast and smoothly
Cons
  • Only works with Husqvarna chainsaws

STIHL 26RM3-74 Oilomatic Rapid Micro 3 Saw Chain, 18" 3689 005 0074 - 2 Pack

This isn’t exactly dirt cheap, but you may want to get a 2-pack nonetheless. That’s because it’s so good. In fact, the vast majority of people who have tried this only have good things to say about it.

This chain features small, rounded cutters, and it’s meant to give you the smooth and accurate cuts you want. The micro-chisel design here is great when you’re using the chainsaw for trimming a tree. When you do a smooth cut on the tree, it’s less likely to get a disease due to the cut.

This works very well for softwoods. It works even for hardwoods, though you may need a longer time to cut through. This is extremely safe to use, and it meets the ANSI standards for low kickback requirements.

You’ll also like the Oilomatic lubrication on this chain, as the drive links all have the channels that let the oil spread evenly though the length of the chain. In fact, next to these channels there are small pockets that fill up with oil. These pockets then release the oil slowly, using the centrifugal force generated by the spinning chain.

Pros
  • Offers really smooth cuts, as it cuts like it’s cutting through butter
  • Meets low kickback standards
  • Fantastic lubrication system
Cons
  • Takes a longer time to cut through hardwood

8TEN Chainsaw Chain for Stihl

Are you an experienced chainsaw cutter who needs a chain for big jobs involving lots of hardwoods? If that’s the case, then you may want to go with this full-chisel chain. This is not a Stihl chain, if that isn’t clear. It’s an 8TEN chain, but it’s designed for Stihl chainsaws.

Take note that this isn’t ideal for newbies. There’s simply a high risk of kickback if you don’t know what you’re doing.

This is a super tough chain, and the blades really do the job. Even with lots of hardwoods, the blades stay sharp for a longer time. The squared edges make for quick work. What makes this special is that this chain also works with softwoods. A lot of full-chisel designs aren’t good for those things.

Pros
  • Offers fast work
  • Works for hardwoods and softwoods
  • Great for pros
  • Blades stay sharp
Cons
  • High chance of kickback

SUNGATOR 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain SG-S62, 3/8" LP Pitch - .050" Gauge - 62 Drive Links, Compatible with Craftsman, Ryobi, Homelite, Poulan and More

This semi-chisel is extremely affordable, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting low quality. At the very least, this is UL-approved as it meets ANSI standards for low kickback. The semi-chisel design also stays sharp for a longer time than usual, and it’s not too sensitive to dust and dirt.

In fact, this chain seems to prioritize durability. This starts with the steel that’s imported from Germany. This steel is extremely tough and comes with terrific anti-fracture qualities.

The cutters have all been plated with premium chrome, with industrial-grade hardness. This means the cutter really lasts, with better resistance to wear. Even the rivets here have undergone a special heat treatment so you get a better and tougher connection between the links of the chain.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Meets low kickback standards
  • Extremely durable with long service life
Cons
  • No special lubrication system

Blade Configurations (Chisel Angles)

The chisel angle configuration determines the cutting effectiveness of the chain. Keep in mind that having a more aggressive cutting design may increase the chances of kickback.

Full Chisel

This configuration will give you terrific cutting speeds, with sharper blade tips and a really aggressive design. Pair this with a powerful chainsaw, and you get a tool that can easily deal with maple, oak, and other hardwoods.

On the other hand, you get a higher chance of kickback. This is when the chain somehow becomes pinched, or when the spinning blade tips touches the wood wrong. It results in a violent backward jerk of the chainsaw, which is obviously dangerous.

Semi-Chisel

This offers a slower cutting speed than the full chisel. But it’s less aggressive leading to a lower chance of kickback. It works nicely for both hardwoods and softwoods. It also works better in “dirty” conditions, like when cutting logs on the ground. These chains also don’t dull as quickly as the full chisel version.

Micro Chisel

This is what you get when you want very smooth and accurate cuts. These often meet ANSI standards for low kickback. It’s just that it cuts slower than even the semi-chisel configuration.

Low Profile

This is a special design, using either semi-chisel or micro-chisel cutters. It’s just that you have a lower cutter height here. This lower profile is meant to really reduce the chances of kickback.

The drawbacks include a slower cutting time, and the blades tend to dull more quickly.

Tips on Maintaining Your Chain

It’s best if you don’t buy chains too frequently, and that means you better take care of the current chain you have.

  • Either go with a self-lubricating chainsaw, or you don’t forget to manually oil the chain. The oil reduces the friction for smoother performance and longer durability
  • Always keep the chain sharpened.
  • Are you storing the chainsaw away for a few months? If that’s the case, take out the chain from the chainsaw. Clean the chain, and then spray it with protective anti-corrosion oil. Then you can store this separately or put it back on the chainsaw for storage.

How to Change the Chain on Your Chainsaw

Some chainsaws may have special ways of removing the chain from it, so always consult your manual. Still, the normal procedure is similar to these steps:

  • Start by taking out the side panel that covers the chain bar. You normally have 2 nuts securing this side panel.
  • Move the chain bar to the outside to release the chain tension. The chain will then sag away from the bar.
  • With the chain now loose, work the chain off the bar. Wear gloves and use your fingers.
  • Set the replacement chain on the bar and around the sprocket at the back. Check that the pointed drive links fit nicely into the groove on the chainsaw bar.
  • Engage the tension pin by pulling the bar to its forward position. This will tighten the chain on the chainsaw.
  • Put back the side panel, and you’re done.

FAQs

Q: How do you know that the chain will fit into your chainsaw?

You have to check these 4 specifications: pitch, gauge, number of chain links, and chain length. All of these things must be right.

Q: How frequently should you sharpen the chain?

Normally, you just check out what’s going out of the chainsaw. When you get dust instead of wood chips, that means the chain is dull enough to need sharpening.

It all depends on the chain you get, and the thickness and the hardness of the logs you’re cutting. This can happen after several hundred cuts, or even after only just a hundred cuts.

Q: How long will the chain last, before you need to replace it?

That depends on the quality of the chain your using, the toughness of the logs you normally cut, and how often you use the chainsaw. Most casual homeowners who only prune trees a few times each year may not have to replace the chain for up to ten years.

On the other hand, if you’re a pro who uses a chainsaw daily, the chain may only last for 6 months before it needs a new one. That’s especially true especially when you work with lots of hardwoods.

Conclusion

The best chainsaw isn’t really worth a damn when you’re using a subpar chain on it. First make sure that the chain actually fits your chainsaw, then make sure its design fits your normal woodcutting jobs.

With the right chain, you either work more efficiently or you can work a lot safer with lower chance of kickbacks. You can also make sure you get smoother and more accurate cuts, which lessens the chance of disease when you’re pruning your trees.

With the best chainsaw chains, you optimize your chainsaw while you make sure you remain safe!

Leave a Comment