Looking For The Best Chainsaw Chain? We Review The Top Choices

chainsaw sharpening review

Looking to replace your chainsaw chain? Keeping a sharp chain will increase performance significantly. We look at the 10 best chainsaw chains available.

Chainsaws are incredibly powerful saws designed to effectively cut through lumber, branches or even tree trunks. For those who are not familiar with the mechanics behind chainsaws, they operate by propelling a razor-sharp cutting chain around a metal bar. Taking this into consideration, the chain can be considered one of the important parts of this heavy-powered machine.

Being able to match the ideal chain to a chainsaw can prove to be as easy task. However, it is important that you have the right measurements. There is a unique way that chainsaw chains are calibrated, and if you’re not an expert, it won’t be as easy as finding other power tool extras.

That’s why the following article will outline the most vital things to consider when looking for the best chainsaw chain, and most importantly, it will provide an overview of the top products available on the market today.

Overview of the Top Products

ImageNameFeature
Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, RemingtonOregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, Remington
Jane's top choice
Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, Remington
Special Features
  • For saw sizes up to 42 cc
  • Cuts smooth and fast with minimum kickback
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Husqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H80-72 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-InchHusqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H80-72 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-Inch
Great professional choice
Husqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H80-72 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-Inch
Special Features
  • Fits: 55 Rancher, 257, 261, 262 XP, 359, 455 Rancher, 460 and 460 Rancher
  • High-performance, low vibration chain
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Oregon R52 AdvanceCut 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain, Fits Husqvarna, Echo, RyobiOregon R52 AdvanceCut 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain, Fits Husqvarna, Echo, Ryobi
Low kickback choice
Oregon R52 AdvanceCut 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain, Fits Husqvarna, Echo, Ryobi
Special Features
  • For saw sizes up to 42 cc
  • Low kickback design
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Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement Pole Saw Chain 29072Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement Pole Saw Chain 29072
Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement Pole Saw Chain 29072
Special Features
  • For most GreenWorks pole saw models
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Husqvarna 531300443 18-Inch H80-68 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-InchHusqvarna 531300443 18-Inch H80-68 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-Inch
Husqvarna 531300443 18-Inch H80-68 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-Inch
Special Features
  • 3/8-Inch Pitch
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Stihl 33RS3-72 20-inch Chainsaw Chain 3/8 Pitch, .050 Gauge, 72 Drive LengthsStihl 33RS3-72 20-inch Chainsaw Chain 3/8 Pitch, .050 Gauge, 72 Drive Lengths
Stihl 33RS3-72 20-inch Chainsaw Chain 3/8 Pitch, .050 Gauge, 72 Drive Lengths
Special Features
  • 3/8 Pitch, .050 Gauge, 72 Drive Lengths
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BLACK+DECKER RC800 8-Inch Saw Chain for CCS818 and NPP2018BLACK+DECKER RC800 8-Inch Saw Chain for CCS818 and NPP2018
BLACK+DECKER RC800 8-Inch Saw Chain for CCS818 and NPP2018
Special Features
  • Compatible with Black & Decker cordless chain saw models
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EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain for EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Models CS1401/CS1400EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain for EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Models CS1401/CS1400
EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain for EGO 14-Inch Chain Saw Models CS1401/CS1400
Special Features
  • Low kickback design
  • 3/8 in. low pro pitch
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Poulan 952051209Poulan 952051209
Poulan 952051209
Special Features
  • Color match system to ensure the right size is met
  • Low kick back 3/8-inch pitch chain with .050 gauge
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Oregon S62 AdvanceCut 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Homelite, PoulanOregon S62 AdvanceCut 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Homelite, Poulan
Oregon S62 AdvanceCut 18-Inch Chainsaw Chain Fits Craftsman, Homelite, Poulan
Special Features
  • Unique cutter design cuts smooth and fast with minimum kickback
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Oregon S56

This Oregon Semi Chisel Chainsaw Chain has integrated Chamfer Chisel cutters, and is highly known for its bumper drive link. The reason for which the latter feature is popular is the ability to significantly reduce kickback when sawing. In terms of compatibility, the product fits quite a few different brands. Some names include Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, and Remington. However, it’s not compatible with the WORX chainsaw.

When it comes to using this chain, you should ideally use it for precision cutting. This means that you will be able to transform wood into a smooth and beautiful surface. The product also allows for the chainsaw to be fast and precise, even when cutting firewood. Usually you may need a different type of saw for this task; however the Oregon Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain seems to be quite versatile. Additionally, the cutter is incredibly sharp and tough, so remember to purchase a cover for your chainsaw.


Husqvarna 531300441

This low-vibration chainsaw chain has been particularly designed for professionals who need a chain they can rely on in different situations. The genuine Husqvarna 531300441 is a product which follows the brand’s main goal: high-end performance.

When it comes to usability, the model is compatible with 55 Rancher, 257, 261, 262 XP, 359, 455 Rancher, 460 and 460 Rancher. This means that it accommodates for a variety of Husqvarna chainsaws, but not other brands.

In terms of the product's measurements, the chain is 20-inch H80-72 (72 drive links); with a 3/8-inch pitch x .050-inch gauge. In other words, the product is ideal for lawn and garden work, providing you with the ability to master the landscape within a short amount of time.


Oregon R52 Advance Cut Saw Chain

The Oregon R52 Advance Cut Saw Chain is a genuine replacement for your chainsaw. The incorporated Micro-Lite narrow kerf chain has been designed to create a clear cut and beautiful finish. In other words, the chain is able to remove less wood fiber when cutting, and this means using significantly less power than other chain counterparts.

In terms of its usage, the Oregon R52 fit brands such as Ego, Echo, and Husqvarna. This seems pretty handy, especially considering the popularity of the latter brand. When it comes to the actual specifications of the chain, this heat-treated and hand-chromed cutter provides a smooth and popular finish. This is all achieved with very little kickback. This is a product which will stay sharp for a long time, meaning that you won’t need to concern yourself with sharpness. The chain has 52 drive links, 3/8 in. pitch, and 0.043 inches gauge.


GreenWorks 29072

For those who are in love with GreenWorks and are looking for a replacement part, this is your best bet. Considered one of the most genuine replacements available, this product features an 8-inch steel pole chainsaw chain. In terms of its compatibility, the chain fits the 20192, 20302, 20352, and 20672 models. In other words, both the cordless and electric corded models can now have the perfect replacement part.

Appearance wise, the product seems quite lightweight, and that may be due to it weighing only 4.8 ounces. This makes it ideal for cleaning or trimming the yard, patio, garden, or even the law. And that’s because customers swear by it, further mentioning the sharpness of the chain and the low kickback. All in all, this is a genuine and affordable product which can be purchased as a spare for your existing chainsaw.


Husqvarna 531300443

Designed for trimming yards, this exceptional product is definitely a helping hand. Although the brand is famously known for its mowers, they also produce chainsaws. The Husqvarna 531300443 is an ideal fit for a wide variety of different models.

Don’t let the fact that it’s used in yards fool you. The .050-inch gauge makes this chain usable for professionals, in spite of any demanding job conditions. Another impressive feature is the low vibration chain, which helps control both noise and performance. Although most chainsaw chains are heavy, the Husqvarna 531300443 only weighs 9.6 ounces. All in all, this is a professional, lightweight and efficient product.


Stihl 33RS3-72

When tested in comparison to other chain saws, the Stihl 33RS3 appears to not only meet the performance requirements of ANSI B175.1, but is also considered a green labeled low kickback chain. This Swiss made product is designed for high-demanding cutting conditions: oilomatic drive link lubrication slots transport oil to the rivet in order to reduce potential wear.

Additionally, the reduced kickback and low vibration characteristics made this product incredibly easy to use. However, in harsh environmental conditions (i.e. mud, dirt) or with abrasive materials (i.e.dirty tree trunks), the Stihl 33RS3 doesn’t perform as well. The chain is designed for clean cutting conditions, so make sure you appreciate what you’re using it for.


Black & Decker RC800

Measuring 8 inches and 3 pounds, this chain is compatible with Black & Decker 18-volt cordless chain saw models NPP2018 and CS818. This makes it lightweight, compact and comfortable.

If you’re wondering what the product is suited for, it can handle most yard projects. This means anything from cutting wood to pruning.

Moreover, it’s essential for cleaning for maintaining the yard.

If we were to poke at what could be improved, we would go for the limited brands it fits. Because it’s only compatible with Black & Decker, it limits the exposure it could have on the marketplace. In addition, it appears that the battery life is quite short. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, since it is a cordless chainsaw.


EGO

The product was designed as a replacement chainsaw chain for the EGO Power+ 14 inches. Manufactured by Oregon, which is known for its high-quality product, it incorporated the Micro-Lite Narrow-Kerf cutting system.

This means that precision cutting is at your whim. You will now be able to transform wood into smooth surfaces, leaving a gorgeous clear-cut design. The EGO 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain can also be used for cutting firewood, as it’s made to be both fast and precise. Additionally, the low kickback design provides extra user safety.


Oregon S62

This Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain is absolutely ideal for high-precision cutting. The brand rarely disappoints, and this is no exception. The heat-treated cutter chain has a unique design which allows for almost no kickback and smoothly finished cuts.

But this is no random achievement. The low kickback strongly relates to the bumper drive link on the 91VG chainsaw chain, in addition to the 3/8” gauge and the bumper tie. More specifically, the LubriLink tie straps help keep oil where it is needed. Another characteristic which separates the Oregon S62 from others is the fact that vibrations are reduced by up to 25% due to the Vibe-Ban chassis design.

Featuring 18-inch drive links, the Oregon S62 chain saw chain is designed for high cutting speed. The product fits a variety of brands, including Homelite, Poulan, Poulan Pro, and Craftsman.


Poulan 952051209

Called the Poulan Weed Eater, this 14 inch saw chain features performing Chamfer Chisel cutters and a bumperdrive link for low kickback performance. Clearly important for safety reasons, customers seem to agree that the brand has done a great job in regards to that.

The Poulan 952051209 allows for smooth cutting action. Just adding to that, the twin corners of the cutters chain deliver superior performance on the low profile of 3/8 inches pitch. Used a replacement chain for the 14-inch chainsaw, the product fits the 1420, 1425, 1800, 1950, 2000, 2050, 2100, and 2300 models.

Bear in mind that the product is 8.1 inches and weighs a mere 2.4 ounces, making it the most lightweight product on today’s list.


Buying Guide

Type of chain

When it comes to choosing the right chain, there are four main types which you should know about. Chisel, semi-chisel, skip chisel and chipper chains are your options. Diving a bit deeper, chisel chains feature square cornered teeth. Their main advantage is speed and smoothness.

Semi-chisel chains have polar-opposite teeth, meaning that not only are they rounded, but also twice as few in numbers. These chains are impressive due to their sharpness, making them ideal for cutting heavier and stronger items (i.e. tree stumps).

The main characteristic of skip chisel chains is the fact that the teeth are separated by big spaces. Although this does make the chainsaw a big slower, it adds value in terms of versatility (i.e. works well in dirt conditions).

In other words, full chisel teeth can be extremely useful for clean and soft wood, as their sharp edges cut through wood fibers. However, bear in mind that these teeth degrade quickly when used for harder surfaces (i.e. dry or hard wood).

If you’re dealing with these types of surfaces, opt for semi-chisel teeth, as they are designed for abrasive surfaces such as dirty or frozen wood. These teeth will guarantee cutting sharpness for a long time; and so you won’t need to worry abound sharpening them as often.

Tooth Arrangement

This aspect is also dependent on the type of wood you’re planning on cutting. Debris and other rough surfaces require full or semi-skip chain. These teeth can cut through tree trunks and stumps, making them heavy-duty.

Smoothness

Those who consider themselves artists with wood should opt for the smoothness effect guaranteed by chains with a full complement of teeth. They produce smooth and even cuts, leaving the beautiful soft finish you imagine. On the other hand, full or semi skip chains are the complete opposite. They leave a rough and messy finish (i.e. firewood), as no aesthetic effect is needed.

Safety

Needless to say that safety is paramount when using a chainsaw. This means that whether the item is new or old, it should never put your life or that of others in dangers. Nonetheless, as a precaution, it’s advisable to sharpen the chain, should you feel that’s needed. Otherwise, simply replace the chain, or the chainsaw itself!

Performance

It’s not uncommon for many of us to focus on the performance abilities of the chainsaw, rather than the performance of the saw. However, since you’re reading this right not, try to pay attention to any replacements. Purchase only high-quality and reliable items, even if this means spending an extra dollar. That’s because poor quality chains tend to severely overheat, produce more waste and dust, or can impact the work you’re attending to. Ultimately, if you fail to understand the importance of a good chain, you will probably end up having a broken chainsaw.

Length

When we speak of length in chainsaws, we mean the number of drive links. As usual, the marketplace does not fail to disappoint. There are many chains available (i.e. 52, 55, 62, etc.), and the drive links will determine the chainsaw’s kickback.

Sharpening

Buying a chainsaw is only half the fun, or maybe half of the expense. When it comes to sharpness, the teeth of your machine will determine how long the chainsaw will stay sharp and effective. According to experts, skip chisel chains are going to require sharpening less often to full-chisel chains, so make sure of what you’re buying before clicking buy.

How Often Will You Use It?

As with any other product, there are multiple things to consider when making the purchase. For example if you’re only going to use the item a couple of day per year, or maybe once-in-a-while, buy an electric chainsaw and its needed replacement chains. This is a great purchase for your needs considering that you won’t need to stress over maintenance costs (as opposed to gas chainsaws).

What Are You Using It For?

This is probably one of the important things to think about. Due to the fact that electric chainsaws have a short battery life and cord length, you won’t be able to use them on large plots of land. Thus if this is your plan, choose a gas chainsaw which will allow you movement freedom.

Lubrication

While you may be doing your best to care for your chainsaw chain, lubrication can be tricky. Due to the chain moving at increasingly dangerous high speeds, lubricants fly straight off. However, there is a potential solution: chain oil.

This little miracle oil actually contains a special adhesive which helps the oil remain on the chain, even when in movement. Don’t be fooled though, ask a specialist about the right viscosity. Otherwise, consult the owner’s manual or manufacturer.

Chain Covers

Although most people are aware of the dangers of using a chainsaw when in full speed, there still dangers to consider when fully switched off. For example, a well-maintained saw chain is sharp enough to endanger you or your family. It’s absolutely vital that you cover the chain with scabbard while storing or transporting.

Gauge

The gauge of a saw chain refers to the thickness of the previously mentioned drive links. Most saw chains range from .05 inches to .063 inches in gauge. In order to avoid any potential accidents, the gauge of the chain should match the gauge of the guide bar, to the bone. There is no one-size-fits-all, so make sure not to choose chains that are too thick or too thin.

Pitch

The definition of a saw chain pitch is the distance between the two rivets of the machine. A point which should be made is that no two rivets are at equal distance from each other. And so the pitch is typically calculated by measuring the distance between three rivets and dividing the number by two. Most saw chains have a pitch of .325, .375, or .404 inches. However, if you’re looking for higher pitch, more specialized chains can accommodate for a .75 inches pitch.

Conclusion

There is no denying that purchasing a chain saw chain is an important investment. While none of the products listed above will break the bank, there are many things to consider before clicking buy. Starting from safety and ending with smoothness, there are many products which can satisfy your needs.

However, choosing the right one seems increasingly challenging since the marketplace is continuously growing and creating new products. Make sure you consider all the factors which go into the decision (i.e. performance, tooth arrangement, sharpening needs). That is important in order to not only save yourself unnecessary stress but also in order to keep your chain saw chain as well-maintained as possible.

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