7 Best Chainsaw Chains by Type (For Sharp & Precise Cuts)

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Barry Gray

High quality chainsaw chains are an absolute must when it comes to home improvement projects. I have made the mistake of buying the wrong chain sometimes, only to realize chain binding issues and a lot of kickback.

It wasn’t pleasant, I can assure you. Chainsaw chains tend to run their course due to regular use. Replacement is inevitable.

So, I have put together a list of the best chainsaw chains that I think personally are top of the notch in the market.

sharpening chainsaw chain

Best 18 Inch Chainsaw Chain – Oregon S62 AdvanceCut

Oregon is a popular and sought after brand that is well known for making chainsaws. It also manufactures chain replacements for their chainsaws.

The Oregon S62 AdvanceCut chain is one of the largest chains available in the market, at a length of 18 inches. There is the standard pitch of three-eighth inches and can be a perfect option if you are on the lookout for a low profile chain. 

This arrives in a single pack and is meant to be a singular replacement for your chainsaw. Yet, the price is justified. Even at its low price point, it offers accurate and precise cutting due to the hard chrome and heat treated surface.

It is the best quality chainsaw chain in terms of overall capabilities and pricing. The semi chisel chain from Oregon is geared for high levels of safety, while delivering sharpness and performance.


  • Chain length of 18 inches
  • Chain pitch of three-eighth inches
  • Cutting chain offers precision
  • Singular chain pack
  • Hard chrome and heat treated surface
  • Good value for money 


  • Needs frequent sharpening 

Best Chainsaw Chain for Husqvarna – Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch Pixel Saw Chain

Husqvarna  is a sought after brand when it comes to chainsaws. The company has been manufacturing gas chainsaws for a long time. They also have chain replacements such as the option mentioned here.

The Husqvarna replacement chain arrives in a 2 pack, which provides an excellent alternative for most users. The pricing is on the higher side, but it delivers on its build quality, which makes the price justifiable. 

The chain length is 18 inches, and the pitch is 0.325 inches. The gauge rating is 0.050 inches. Therefore, it is compatible for usage with many different kinds of chainsaws. It is even compatible with some chainsaws not manufactured by Husqvarna. 


  • Chain pitch of 0.325 inches 
  • Chain length of 18 inches
  • Chain quality is superior
  • Two chain pack
  • Easy installation
  • Compatible with many models


  • The chain may not fit an 18 inch bar at times

Best Chainsaw Chain for Echo – SUNGATOR 16-Inch SG-S56

Sungator is not that popular of a brand when it comes to chainsaw manufacturers. Pertaining to this, it does manufacture quite a few chain replacement models as the one mentioned here.

This chainsaw chain is one of the cheapest options present in the market currently, especially if you want to opt for a single pack. Despite the low pricing, it’s still a fantastic option for various types of chainsaw models

You can use it with the Homelite, Remington, Echo, Greenworks, as well as Poulan chainsaw models. The chain length is 16 inches, and the pitch is three-eighth inches. With that said, it’s a good low profile chain alternative. It is the best 16 inch chainsaw chain for most purposes. The chain has a drive link of 56, as well as a gauge rating of 0.050 inches, which is common compared to many other models in the market.


  • Chain pitch of three-eighth inches
  • Chain gauge of 0.050 inches
  • Chain length of 16 inches
  • A singular chain pack
  • Pricing is affordable
  • Comparable with many other chainsaw models
  • Arrives with ANSI and UL safety standards


  • Can get dull quite fast

Best Chainsaw for Milling – AR-Pro 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain

AR-Pro is a popular chainsaw manufacturer, and also manufactures other products such as inner tubes and tires, patio and outdoor equipment, automotive parts, kitchen as well as products used in the home.

The main feature of this chain is compatibility it has. It has a fit design that is universal, which means it is compatible with most chainsaws of 14 inches, such as Husqvarna, Oregon, Craftsman, Echo, and Homelite.

The chain length is 14 inches, and is made up of carbon steel, which ensures precision cuts. Several chains tend to cause vibrations when cutting trees. Moreover, this chain does not cause such an issue. You get low vibrations even when you cut hardwood. It is the best chainsaw chain for milling as well.

The carbon steel is heat treated and chrome plated, which lends durability and sharpness. It also has hardened rivets, which can take the load. The chain itself has easy adjustability, and can be repaired with no downtime. It is the best chainsaw chain for dry wood due to its low vibrations. 


  • Chain length of 14 inches
  • Carbon steel make
  • Widely compatible with 14 inch saws
  • Low vibration
  • Chrome plated and heat treated
  • Rivets resistant to wear and tear
  • Low downtime


  • Can skip the bar quite easily

Best 16 Inch Chainsaw Chain – Oregon S56 AdvanceCut

Oregon manufactures plenty of replacement chains not just for the Oregon line of chainsaws, but also from many other brands. This chain is specially meant for electric chainsaws rather than gas powered ones.

This 9056 chainsaw chain from Oregon has a length of 16 inches, and can easily work with the electric chainsaw versions from Dewalt.

Similar to other chains for the gas-powered chainsaws, this one also has a chain pitch of three-eighth inches. The gauge rating is 0.043 inches.

Since it is manufactured by Oregon, the build quality is superb. The tie straps of LubriLink help to contain the oil across the crucial points on the chain.

So, the chain is able to stay lubricated while offering a sharp and clean cut. There are also lower vibrations from this chain while using it to cut trees. 


  • Chain pitch of three-eighth inches
  • Chain length of 16 inches
  • Gauge rating of 0.043 inches
  • Singular chain pack
  • Low vibration
  • LubriLink for proper oiling of the chain
  • Sharp and clean cuts 


  • Does not work with the Greenworks 20132 chainsaw model

Best Chainsaw Chain for Stihl – Stihl 26RS68 18 Inch

Stihl is one of the leading brands that manufactures chainsaws, and has been in this industry for over hundred years. The brand is known for its innovative ideas and detailed craftsmanship to provide highly durable power equipment for outdoors, with tremendous longevity.

The Outdoor Stihl chain has a length of 18 inches and is compatible with most heavy duty chainsaws used for large cutting projects. In terms of performance, this chain delivers an aggressive delivery compared to other chains in the market. 

The chain complements heavy duty chainsaws that can easily rip through hardwood. It is the best chainsaw chain for cutting firewood and hard varieties of wood.

The chain pitch is of 0.325 inches, and the gauge is 0.064 inches, with drive links of 68. Despite cutting through large projects, the chain retains its sharpness. This means less time spent on sharpening the chain and more time spent cutting wood. 

The aggressive performance of the chain is ideally meant for heavy duty cutting tasks and needs an experienced hand to operate. In fact, it’s the best chainsaw chain for cutting dirty wood due to its heavy duty performance. Pertaining to this, the kickback can be significant when cutting lumber, so you need to exercise caution. 


  • Chain length of 18 inches
  • Drive links of 68
  • Chain pitch of 0.325 inches
  • Chain gauge of 0.063 inches
  • Is suited for heavy duty cutting
  • Delivers clean and smooth cuts
  • No need to sharpen frequently


  • The blade can go dead sometimes after a few cuts

Best Chainsaw Chain for Pole Saw – Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement

Greenworks is well known for its electric power tools, such as electric chainsaws. It also manufactures chain replacements for their chainsaws.

The chain length is 8 inches, and represents the smallest option out of all the alternatives mentioned above. The chain pitch is three-eighth inches, which makes it suited for a low profile chain. 

It is compatible for usage with other 8 inch chainsaws from Greenworks. It is also compatible with saw tool models from Greenworks, such as 20352, 20302, 20672, and 20192. If you possess any of these models, you can use this particular chain without any hassles.

The build quality on this chain is also superb, since Greenworks is a reputed manufacturer of chainsaws and associated accessories.


  • Chain pitch of three-eighth inches
  • Chain length of 8 inches
  • Singular chain pack
  • Designed for safety
  • Offers precision cutting
  • Surface is hard chrome and heat treated
  • Good value for money


  • Chain length is on the shorter side, which limits usage

The Right Way to Choose Chainsaw Chain

chainsaw cutting dry wood

Chainsaws are a versatile tool that can help you prune trees, cut branches, topple trees, and remove stumps. The chain on the chainsaw delivers proper cutting action, with quickness and depth.

The right chain gives you a controlled and smooth performance without kickback and it getting stuck. Here are some tips on how to choose chainsaw chains for your requirement. 

Type of chainsaw chains

The tooth type needs to be factored in when purchasing replacement chains because it can significantly impact the capabilities and performance of the tool.

There are three main tooth styles, namely chipper, semi-chisel, as well as full chisel.


The square cornered angular teeth enable you to cut through softwood efficiently and quickly. It is designed for use on tough exteriors.

You get comfortable speed along with safety, as otherwise, the chain would be a high risk option.

In the olden days, these styles were common, but nowadays, they are used to prune thick tree limbs and branches. The bar lengths of this chain are recommended to be up to 24 inches.


The round cornered style of this tooth creates a radius between the side and top plates. It is 10% slower compared to chisel chains but still manages to retain sharpness.

It is suited to cut wood covered with dust, hardwood, and for cutting stumps or frozen wood. This type of tooth is prevalent on the chainsaw chain for dry wood. The round chisel style can cut through both soft and hardwood. The bar lengths for this chain are recommended to be between 24 to 32 inches.  

Semi-skip and skip

This kind of chain has fewer teeth compared to standard chains. It’s often used on chainsaws over 24 inches in length.

As it has fewer teeth, it can operate on less power.

The bar length recommended is 32 inches or longer. 

Chain length

Chainsaws are available in different bar lengths, measured in inches. The length ranges anywhere from 10 to 24 inches.

Chain length is crucial because not all lengths will fit all chainsaws. If the chain is too snug or too loose, it may be loose or fit incorrectly. This can result in safety hazards during operation. If you are not sure about the bar length, you can just measure the saw using a tape. 

Do as follows: (a) Measure from the guide bar tip to the place where the bar juts out from the tool casing; (b) Round this measurement to the next even number. This provides the ideal bar length. Common bar length measurements are 14, 16, 18, and 20 inches.

Chain pitch

The chain pitch provides an idea of the closeness of chain links next to each other. To find the pitch, measure the distance between 3 of the rivets on the chain and divide this number by 2.

Most pitch sizes are usually 0.250 inches, 0.325 to 0.375 inches, as well as 0.404 inches. The 0.325 inch chain pitch is the most common variety. 

It usually features a narrow kerf, which reduces the power needed for cutting. The chainsaw chain for professional use has a chain pitch of 0.404 inches, while occasional users and hobbyists prefer a pitch of three-eighth inches. 

Chain gauge

The chain gauge refers to the thickness of the drive links on the chain. It refers to the hole size on the drive links where the sprocket teeth will enter. This helps to keep the chain locked in place, and avoid kickback and vibration.

The chain gauge needs to exactly match the gauge on the chainsaw guide bar, as otherwise it can result in a dangerous situation. 

If the chain gauge is too thick, it won’t fit, and if too thin, it will slip or cut poorly. Usual chain gauge sizes are 0.050 inches, 0.043 inches, and 0.063 inches, out of which the 0.050 inch gauge is the most popular. This number is usually printed on the chainsaw guide bar. 

Drive links

The chainsaw chain comprises 4 parts: rivet, cutter, tie strap, and drive link.

The drive links refer to the bottom part on the chain, which fits into the guide bar. They are needed for accurate measurement to appropriately choose a replacement chain. 

  • Drive links number: This number will depend on the number of sprocket teeth, which is readily found on the chainsaw manual. The number of drive links will be seen on the pack in which the chain arrived. If the count does not match, the chain will not fit into the chainsaw. Modifications can even affect the fitting.
  • Drive link thickness: Chains that have drive links of thickness 1.1 mm are used on curving and domestic chainsaws. Chains that have drive links of thickness 1.6 mm or 1.5 mm are used on semi-professional and professional chainsaws. Chains with drive thickness of 2 mm are rare and are used on powerful professional chainsaws. 

Tooth cutting design/ cutter types

Cutters are categorized into different types such as, semi-chisel, chipper, micro-chisel, and chamfer chisel. These cutting teeth have a round shape or square shape.

Chisel chains tend to cut faster because the round chisel can recut the end grain many times till the desired kerf is reached.

The chisel chains are used on the cutting chainsaw chain varieties. In comparison chisel cutters have a square shape and cut a full width kerf on every pass. 


The teeth on the chainsaw chain will impact its performance. 

  • Chipper chains: The teeth are used for cutting branches.
  • Semi-chisel: The teeth lend versatility and are used to cut hard and soft wood easily. 
  • Full chisel: The teeth are square in shape, and provide efficiency, durability, and sturdiness. They are used in heavy duty cutting such as cutting hardwood. Make sure to check the teeth to determine your unique requirements.

In the final analysis, choose the best chainsaw chain after evaluating the features as well as pros and cons of different makes and models. Don’t forget to consider your budget, but priority quality over price for long-term benefits.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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