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I still love my Swedish boutique axes that I inherited from my dad. But since I have been introduced to my veritable chainsaw, I have been sold. However, I learned the hard way that you should never work with a dull chainsaw chain.
While my chainsaw may be the ultimate cutting power tool, cutting any material with a dull chain is both careless and dangerous. I almost lost my leg in a kickback accident when my blunt chainsaw chain caught in the wood and flew back at me.
Thanks to the durable chainsaw chaps I was wearing, I escaped unscathed, but badly shaken by the incident. Since then, I made sure to only buy the best chainsaw chains on the market.
While you can buy cheap chains, they quickly dull, lose tension, and snag and break easily. And to top this off, a poor-quality chain reduces your performance and productivity AND increases the risk of life-altering accidents.
There are plenty of horrific stories out there of what a chainsaw can do to you.
But if you are ready, I have put together this best chainsaw chain review for you. The buyer’s guide talks about the durability, design, longevity, and performance of chainsaw chains so you know exactly what to look for. I also review the 5 best chainsaw chains you can buy to ensure you don’t have an life-altering accidents because your chain was dull.
Table of Contents
- The Top Choice
- Chainsaw Chain Buying Guide
- Factors To Consider When Buying A Chainsaw Chain
- Types Of Chainsaw Chains
- Five Best Chainsaw Chains
- Final Thoughts
- Best Overall
- Best Value
The Top Choice
The Husqvarna H3072 is the best chainsaw chain in this review. It’s tough, durable and delivers precise, smooth, and fast cuts. It has low vibration and low-kickback features and delivers an impressive cutting action with hardwood and softwood tasks.
Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Chainsaw Chain Buying Guide
What is the best chainsaw chain for your tool? A chainsaw delivers astonishing amounts of cutting power, but it won’t be effective if the chain is dull or low quality.
When shopping for a saw chain, it’s important to consider certain features such as the weight, design, lubrication, tasks you intend to do with the tool, and more. You also need to buy a chain of the right sharpness and length for optimal performance and efficiency.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Chainsaw Chain
The following factors are essential when buying a new chainsaw chain.
The power tools market is full of different varieties and designs of chainsaws. Many chainsaws can use generic chains from companies such as Oregon and Husqvarna. However, a few can only work with custom-made chains from their manufacturer or vendors.
So, it’s vital to know whether your tool is compatible with generic chains or if you need an OEM-supplied cutting surface. For example, a company like Stihl produces its own special chains for all its chainsaws.
The bar is the component that supports the chain, so the chain length depends on the bar length. Before you buy any chain, make sure it can fit the bar perfectly. For that, you need to measure the bar length.
Depending on the type of chainsaw you use, the bar can be anywhere from 8″ to 30″. The ideal chain length will cover the bar length with a little space which you can adjust with the tensioner. An oversized chain will be loose and fall off the bar while a shorter chain will fit too tightly on the bar and restrict movement of the chain.
You don’t want to risk using a chainsaw with a chain that does not fit the bar snugly, as it reduces the chainsaw’s efficiency and increases the risks of kickbacks. Your chainsaw’s user manual should come with the specifications of your bar length. But you can measure the bar from the tip to the point where it emerges from the chainsaw to get an accurate measurement of its length.
The work environment is also an important factor when choosing a chainsaw chain. If you work outdoors in damp or hot environments with high humidity, get a chain with corrosion protection. Homeowners can make do with general type chains as long as they perform regular maintenance.
A chainsaw is powerful and dangerous regardless of your skill level. If possible, buy a chain with the following safety features.
Anti-Kickback: Kickback is one of the most serious accident causes you can experience with a chainsaw, and the results are often disastrous. However, you can minimize the risk of this when you buy anti-kickback chains designed to lower the chances of the cutting edge getting stuck in the wood. You will find this feature in most generic chains on the market.
Anti-vibration: A chainsaw that produces a high level of vibration causes operator fatigue and lowers productivity. It also increases the risk of accidents because the vibration lowers your level of control. However, if your chain fits the guide bar perfectly, you experience much less vibration. Thankfully, some chains are optimized to produce a smooth and low-vibration performance, so you can work in comfort and confidence for longer.
Price is also a vital determinant of your chain choice. There are tons of top quality affordable chainsaw chains on the market, but don’t go looking to buy the cheapest chainsaw chain you can find. That is why this review provides different chain brands to make your shopping faster and easier.
You want your chainsaw to be reusable for maximum value. Some chains, such as carbide plated types, require specialist equipment for sharpening. If you buy one of these, it may be more affordable to buy a new chain every time rather than going through the troubles of searching for a person with the right equipment, unless you have the required sharpening tools.
It’s better to go for a chain you can maintain easily with a file. That way, you get more service and value out of your investment.
Chain Drive Links
The drive links of a chainsaw chain are the parts that fit into the guide bar. It is an essential parameter to know about before buying a new chainsaw chain, because the number of chain drive links is one of the most accurate measurements of the chain length for your chainsaw model. You can count the number of drive links on the chain manually or check the tool to see if the figures are printed on the body.
This is the thickness of the drive links mentioned above. Make sure the gauge of the chain you buy matches the guide bar gauge, as this is important for a smooth and efficient performance of the machine.
If you buy a chain with a smaller gauge, it will slip off the guide bar, making it difficult to cut through materials. Conversely, an oversized chain gauge will not sit at the bottom of the guide bar.
Chainsaws often have 0.50″ to 0.63″ chain gauges, although many other sizes are available for specific chainsaw types. You will find information about the chain gauge on the guide bar of your tool.
The chain pitch is the distance between three consecutive rivets on a chainsaw chain divided by two. The most common chain pitches are 0.325″ and 3/8″, but there are many other pitch sizes. The bigger the chain pitch, the bulkier the bar length and chainsaw size.
Compact chainsaws used for domestic and farm applications often use the smaller 0.325″ pitch, but professionals love the exceptional cutting power, balance, and durability of the 3/8″ pitch. While the two pitch types provide excellent cutting results and high speeds, make sure you choose the type that is compatible with your tool and the work you do.
Types Of Chainsaw Chains
There are several types of chainsaw chains for a wide range of applications. The most popular types include:
Low-profile chainsaw chains are one of the most common on the market as they are compatible with many chainsaw brands. These chains feature low cutters with safety elements between the teeth. They are easy to sharpen and install, making them popular among homeowners.
The top and side plates of this chain feature rounded corners. It is perfect for all levels of chainsaw users and has anti-kickback mechanisms. They are best suited for cutting softwood. Semi-chisel cutters stay sharper longer.
This powerful cutter has square corners that enable it to cut through wood quickly with little resistance. It is commonly used for professional projects and delivers a high-speed performance. However, the chain has a high risk of kickbacks and does not retain its sharpness for long. Plus, it needs precision sharpening if you want to use it for longer.
Five Best Chainsaw Chains
Below is a review of the best chainsaw blades based on durability, performance, and user reviews.
The Husqvarna H3072 saw chain is designed for heavy-duty applications. This cutter combines a premium performance with impressive safety features for smooth and fast operation.
- Pitch: 0.325″
- Length: 18″
- Gauge: 0.050″
- Drive links: 72
The H3072 delivers a smooth and powerful cutting action with its high-performance chain. This durable and long-lasting chain features anti-kickback technology and holds its sharpness for longer. It is perfect for demanding jobs in professional applications, making it ideal for landscapers, arborists, and tree surgeons.
This blade is compatible with several Husqvarna models including the 41, 45, 49, 51, 351, 440, 445, and 450e, among others. Not only is this chain strong and durable, but its anti-kickback design allows you to work with peace of mind.
Whether you are tackling big branches or stubborn stumps, the H3072 makes short work of heavy-duty cutting tasks. Plus, it’s still affordable considering the superior performance it delivers in professional and DIY projects. This chain will stay sharp as long as you lubricate it and avoid contact with rocks, ice, concrete, and dirt.
Many customers believe this is one of the best chains for the money. Some advise that it needs some tensioning and lubrication at first but cuts through wood like butter afterward.
- Compatible with most Husqvarna chainsaws
- Reasonable price
- Excellent performance
- Ideal for soft wood
- Works with only Husqvarna chainsaws
- A bit more expensive than some others
- May not be suitable for hardwood
The H3072 is a powerful chainsaw chain for professionals and homeowners. If you need a premium-grade cutter for your Husqvarna chainsaw, this is it.
Overall rating: 5/5
This 18″ Oregon Poulan chainsaw chain is the ideal blade for handling hardwood jobs. It is perfect for a variety of chainsaw models and delivers a smooth cutting performance.
- Pitch: 3/8″
- Length: 18″
- Gauge: 0.050″
- Drive links: 62
The Oregon Poulan features best-in-class performance thanks to its tough, sharp cutters that deliver maximum cutting power and easy sharpening. This heat-treated, hard-chromed chain is engineered to deliver precise and fast cuts in hardwood, so you can work for longer with ease and spend less time sharpening the chain.
Its 62 drive links come with hardened rivets for increased load-bearing and optimal wear resistance. This chain features low vibration for increased operator comfort and control, while the Lubritec Oiling System ensures the chain and bar is constantly bathing in oil for a smooth and incident-free operation.
If you are a suburban homeowner, this sturdy chain has enough grit to handle small- and medium-scale jobs, and the low-kickback design ensures a safe operation. This chain is compatible with Poulan, Poulan Pro, Homelite, Craftsman and other chainsaw models.
Users praise the S62 for its excellent cutting power, but some people complain it does not hold its sharp edge well after sharpening. Overall, this is a great chain considering the solid build and super affordable price. Make sure to check the Oregon website for the type that fits your chainsaw model.
- Low-kickback design
- Low vibration
- Hard-chromed cutter
- Smooth performance
- May dull quickly after sharpening
The Oregon S62 is a versatile and affordable chain that delivers a smooth cutting performance. Its high-tech construction and safety features make it a top choice among homeowners.
Overall rating: 4.9/5
At a little over $10, the Oregon S56 is a steal. This durable chain is sharp, tough, and cuts at astonishing speeds.
- Pitch: 3/8″
- Length: 16″
- Gauge: 0.050″
- Drive links: 56
Oregon is the leader in top quality chainsaw bars and chains that deliver premium performance at a bargain, and the S56 does not disappoint. This heat-treated and hard-chromed cutter is designed to deliver precise, smooth cuts with minimal vibration and kickback.
With 56 drive links and a low-profile 3/8″ pitch, the S56 features twin cutting corners for seamless performance in all conditions. Its Chamfer Chisel teeth make light work of hardwood and sharpening easier.
The Oregon S56 is strong and long-lasting. It is compatible with 16″ models of Oregon, Echo, Homelite, Husqvarna, Poulan, Remington, and others. While this chain performs like a pro, it is surprisingly affordable and works well with soft or hardwood.
This chain has received overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. However, make sure your chainsaw is listed on the back of the pack before choosing this blade.
- Durable chain
- Holds sharpness for longer
- Delivers precise and fast cuts
- Low vibration and kickbacks
- Extremely affordable
- May be slower with hardwood
- The listing on the pack may be confusing. Make sure the exact model number of your chainsaw is written on the pack.
If you need a durable, affordable and versatile chain for your small 16″ chainsaw, the Oregon S56 is a powerful cutter for soft and hardwood species.
Overall rating: 4.8/5
If you use a powerful chainsaw like the Husqvarna 460 Rancher, the H8072 chain is the perfect cutter for your beastly machine. This high-performance, low-kickback chain makes heavy-duty tasks fast and easy.
- Pitch: 3/8″
- Length: 20″
- Gauge: 0.050″
- Drive links: 72
The Husqvarna H8072 is the ideal chain for cutting tough, professional-grade hardwoods. With a low-kickback and anti-vibration design, you can use this chain for the most tasking projects for extended periods with minimal fatigue. It makes fast, smooth, and clean cuts and is optimized for larger diameter hardwoods.
The H8072 is the OEM chain that comes with your 20″ Husqvarna chainsaw. So if you own a 460 Rancher, 455, 359, 261, 261P, or 55 Rancher, buy this chain to add more bite to your old chainsaw for enhanced performance.
A lot of users say that this chain performs well and stays sharp as long as you don’t hit a stone or dirt during operation. Others recommend using it on dry wood to get the best out of the chain.
- Perfect for larger trees
- Low vibration and kickback
- Retains sharpness for longer
- Ideal for demanding tasks
- May not be suitable for green trees
- May be slower that comparable alternatives
The H8072 is a lightweight and durable chain for demanding jobs. It’s the perfect fit for professional Husqvarna chainsaws.
Overall rating: 4.7/5
The Oregon R34 is the ideal cutter for small-sized chainsaws like the pole saw. At 8″, this chain brings out the best in your power pruning tools.
- Pitch: 3/8″
- Length: 8″
- Drive link: 34
If you own a pole saw, you will appreciate the versatility and maneuverability of the tool. It makes cutting high branches safer, faster, and hassle-free. But you need a reliable chain to achieve the true potential of your pole saw or any similarly sized chainsaw.
Oregon’s lightweight R34 is designed to work with a wide range of such tools from numerous brands. The cutter’s fast and smooth cutting action and low-vibration design makes it an excellent tool for pruning overgrown bushes and tree branches from the relative safety of solid ground.
This high-efficiency chain has anti-kickback features and cuts for longer with its sharp teeth;s sturdy cutting edges, while its narrow kerf (blade thickness) makes it energy-efficient. Most users are pleased with the smooth cutting performance of this chain. It is compatible with many pole saw brands including Greenworks, Remington, Black+Decker, Oregon, Portland Electric, and more.
- Narrow kerf
- Power efficient design
- Low vibration and kickback
- A bit expensive for its size
The R34 is an excellent blade for homeowners and landscapers who work on trees. It is lightweight, sharp, and safe to use for extended periods.
Overall rating: 4.7/5
The Husqvarna H3072 is the all-around best cutting chainsaw chain in this review. The cutter features the durable and reliable design common to Husqvarna products and holds its edge for longer, provided you lubricate it and avoid stones and dirt. At this price point, this chain is one of the best on the market.
The Husqvarna H3072 is the overall best on this list. The chain checks all the boxes regarding performance, durability, edge retention, and safety features. It might not be as versatile as other models on the list, but it stays sharper for longer and delivers exceptional cutting power.
The Oregon Poulan Advance Cut S62 delivers the best value for money. This chain is extremely affordable and works with a dizzying number of chainsaw brands on the market. Plus, it is fast and precise and features a low-vibration and anti-kickback design.