20+ Types of Chainsaw Chains Every Homeowner Should Know

Patrick McMann

Knowledge Based

different chainsaw chain types explainedBeing a vital part of a chainsaw, having enough information about the different types of chainsaw chain is a must for every beginner chainsawer.

That said, being my first post on Chainsaw Guru, I, aka Patrick McMann has decided to make a detailed guide on different chainsaw chain types based on multiple factors.

A general categorization of the chains is full, semi, and micro chisel, but there’s more to that and I am here to discuss them all.

Be with me and read the guide till the end to understand every minute detail about chainsaws and their chains as follows:

20+ Chainsaw Chain Types and their Functions in 2024

The different types of chainsaw chains depend upon various factors. We do have a wide range of options in the chainsaw chain based on those factors. They include; Shape of the cutters, Pitch of the chain, Chain gauge, Arrangement, and Material of the cutters. Considering all these factors I will tell you the varieties of chainsaw chains.

Types of Chainsaw Chains Based on Cutters

Chainsaw chains come along with different types of cutters. Some chains have square cutters some have round, slightly round, slightly square, narrow, and so on. All of these types have different effects on cutting wood.

These different cutters’ style also affects the purpose and targets different users. Such as, some are used by professionals, and others are suitable for homeowners. And then, some are good to be operated on small chainsaws while others are designed for heavy saws.

Mainly there are 4 types, such as Chisel, Semi chisel, Low profile, and Square chisel. However, further categories of these types are also available in the market. So, let us discuss these types in detail.

1. Full Chisel Chainsaw Chain Cutters

Full chisel chainsaw chain is the well-known type and is considered to be the best of chains. It has square cutters which are good for cutting as they cut well.

However, one thing that should be considered is that it is not much safe. The most common and fatal injuries caused by chainsaws are associated with chainsaw kickbacks. A full chisel chain is in greater danger of causing chainsaw kickback. Thus, you must be careful while dealing with this type.

If we consider the durability, it is not long-lasting. Though it is very sharp and cuts hardwood with greater efficiency, it is not much durable. Moreover, you should not cut porous wood with it rather it works best on fibrous wood.

2. Semi-Chisel Chainsaw Chain Cutters

Semi Chisel chainsaw chain is also a good option for cutting all types of softwood. It is a safer option as compared to a full chisel chainsaw because of its round-cornered teeth. You can easily identify the two types by looking at the shape of teeth.

This type of chain has reduced the risk of causing chainsaw kickbacks. Which means it offers safety. However, it is not good for cutting hardwood. Also, it may take a little long t cut because it is less sharpened than that a full chisel chainsaw chain.

Learn More: Why They Invented Chainsaws?

3. Low-Profile Chains Cutters

Low-profile chainsaw chains are considered to be one of the best choices for new users. The reason is that it is the safest chain that minimizes the risk of kickback to a greater extent.

These chains are good to use and are the most popular. However, there are some downsides to this which include the less durability of the chain. Also, the chain might get blunt quickly and you need to sharpen it more frequently as compared to other types.

4. Micro Chisel Chains Cutters

A micro chisel chain can be said to be a better version of a full chisel chainsaw. The reason for this is that it has a slightly round shape of cutters that is not either square like a full chisel or completely round like that of a semi-chisel chain. Also, it is safer than a full chisel chainsaw as it has less danger of kickback.

Moreover, it is good for users who are not much proficient. In terms of cutting and performance, it may not be as powerful as a full chisel, but it can cut wood and it cuts smoother than a full chisel chain.

An additional advantage is that it does not get blunt quickly. Also, the sharpening of a chisel chain is easier than others. So, if are not a much-experienced user of a chainsaw, this chain type is good for you.

5. Chamfer Chisel Chains Cutters

If you got a bit disappointed by semi and full-chisel chainsaw chains because of their drawbacks, do not worry. A chamfer chainsaw is a good option as it can operate on both dry and green wood. Also, there are fewer chances of chainsaw kickbacks.

So, in a way, it combines the best properties of both types. It resembles a semi-chisel chainsaw chain but there are little differences such as it has a slight chamfer between the plates.

6. Square Chisel Chain Cutters

Square chainsaw chain cutters are a specialized version of full chisel chainsaw chains. However, no ordinary users use this type, it is only used by professional users of the chainsaw. The reason is that they require frequent sharpening and they need to be sharpened technically.

This chain’s type cutters are square, with both the edges and the grinding profile. They are the most aggressive of all the types of chains. The only drawback they have is that they get blunt very quickly and their sharpening is not easy.

7. Chipper Chains Cutters

It is the version of a semi-chisel chainsaw chain. The only difference noted is that chipper chains have full round teeth while semi-chisel chains have only rounded edges. Chipper chains make a loop-type shape.

8. Narrow Kerf Chains

As the same suggests, Narrow Kerf chains are used to make thinner cuts. Which means that you will be having smooth and faster cuts. So, if you want to remove little wood, thin enough to match the size of a string, then it is the best option.

In addition, it uses less power because it makes thin cuts. Thus, you can also use a larger bar because it uses less power. You will be delighted to know that this type of chainsaw chain comes with low-profile chains as well.

It makes the chainsaw light in weight and easy to use at a greater speed. However, you need to be careful while using such a type of chainsaw chain. It is better to use a guide for this. Moreover, for your information, you can get this type of chain under the name of Husqvarna Pixel Chain.

Types of Chainsaw Chains Based on Cutting Material

Though the chainsaw chains are made up of steel alloy the teeth are further coated with different materials to make them sharper. Thus, chains come along with different coatings and they make a huge difference in their cutting ability. Following are some of the types of chains on the basis of the material used for coating.

9. Carbide Chainsaw Chain:

Chainsaw chains with this type of material are used for industrial purposes. They are resilient and have the ability to run in the long run. Compared to a standard chainsaw chain, this type of material proves to be better for cutting dirty wood. The reason is that it works perfectly even when the wood is highly covered with mud and dirt.

10. Titanium Chainsaw Chain:

Titanium-based chains are faster in cutting. Additionally, these chains have a special system of lubrication that each of the drives takes oil from the bar and the chain remains well lubricated. Resultantly, the friction is reduced and thus it cuts smoothly.

11. Chrome Tipped:

This is the most common material that is used in most chainsaw chains around the world. The material is suitable for cutting wood. Also, provides resistance against rubbish.

12. Diamond Tipped:

Highly professional chainsaws have special chains that are made up of diamonds. They are extremely expensive because they have diamond pieces in them. Such types of chains are used for cutting concrete material. Diamond-tipped chains can cut through the hardest of materials with ease.

Types of Chainsaw Chains Based on Pitch

Chain pitch is another matter of concern aspect of chainsaw chains. It is the space between the drive links of the chain. They make a huge difference because the pitch of the chain, bar, and drive sprockets, all should match.

Therefore, I am going to cover this point as well. It will provide you with quick and handy information regarding what pitch size of the chain is best suitable for your chainsaw. However, a suitable match of pitch is mentioned on the chainsaw itself.

13. 1/4 Inch Pitch:

Chains with this size of pitch are light in weight and they make neat cuts on the wood. Additionally, this pitch is used for the engine of up to 38cc.

14. Pixel 3/8 Mini Pitch

Pixel 3/8 is also a lightweight chainsaw chain but along with this quality, it offers a reduced risk of chainsaw kickback. Other than that, these chains require less power to operate. Thus, it is recommended to be used for battery-operated saws.

15. 3/8 Mini Pitch

This size of the chain is used for smaller and mini chainsaws, therefore, never try to use this size for an engine higher than 45cc. Mostly, they are used for high-production areas which means they can work for longer hours.

16. Pixel .325 Pitch

Pixel .325 pitch chain should be only used for engine that is between 35cc to 55cc. Do not use these chains for higher or lower than the mentioned engine power chainsaws. These chains are narrow so they perform thin cuts.

The other quality of these chains is that they have low vibrations. The risk of kickback is also reduced for these chains. However, they are not designed for heavy-duty tasks such as cleaning trees.

17. .325 Inch Pitch

This type of chainsaw chain has the quality that they are capable of being more powerful while keeping the vibrations reduced. As compared to the pixel .325 pitch, they can be operated on a greater range of chainsaw engines such as between 35cc to 60cc.

18. 3/8 Inch Pitch

A 3/8” pitch chainsaw chain is ideal for commercial purposes as it can bear high production tasks. It is flexible and strong enough to work for a long period. Additionally, it is light in weight and has a normal speed of cutting. It can work on high-power engine chainsaws ranging from 50cc to 100cc.

19. .404 Inch Pitch

This is the biggest pitch of all the chains. Such chains are used for professional purposes by harvesters. They are highly aggressive and can perform heavy-duty tasks. It is a good option for cutting timber. Not only it is the fastest chainsaw chain out there but also, it is durable.

Types of Chainsaw Chains Based on Gauge Size

Another factor that is responsible for bringing variety in chainsaw chain types is gauge size. It is basically the thickness of drive links on the chain. Not all chains get fit on all chainsaw bars. In order to find a perfect match, the thickness of the drive links should match the size of the grooves on the guide bar.

Getting the wrong size causes problems as it can be too tight or too loose that either it causes friction or it will not get a good grip. In both cases, it is problematic therefore, choosing the right chain is necessary. For knowing the gauge of your chainsaw, you can see the user manual.

Mainly, there are 4 variations of gauges available for chainsaw chains. Here are the chainsaw chain types chart according to the different sizes of gauge for chainsaw blades.

0.043” Chainsaw chain
0.050” Chainsaw chain
0.058” Chainsaw chain
0.063” Chainsaw chain

Types of Chainsaw Chains Based on Arrangement

Arrangement of chainsaw chains has also different types. Based on these variations, three more types of chainsaw chains are found. You can choose an arrangement based on the chainsaw you are using. Also, it affects performance, so you need to choose according to the type of task you want to do.

20. Full Skip Chain Arrangement:

A full skip chainsaw chain has a small number of teeth in it because the arrangement is like it leaves to tie straps after every tooth. As a result, you cannot anticipate such a chain to cut finely. These chains are designed to just fall trees without being concerned about the finishing of the cut.

They are helpful only when you have to fall trees or limbs of trees to get the area cleared. Moreover, these chains are used only on larger bar sizes. The reason is that if you will use a small bar for such a chain type, it would not be having sufficient teeth for cutting. Thus, it is recommended to use a 24” bar or even larger size.

21. Semi Skip Chain Arrangement:

Semi-skip chains also have less number of teeth than a standard chain but it has more than a full skip chain. Its arrangement is alternately by having one tooth after two tie straps and then other teeth after one tie strap.

As a result, it has finer cuts than a full skip arrangement-based chain. It is commonly used by woodcutters for cutting hardwood. Also, it is used on a chainsaw bar that is 24” and longer.

22. Standard Chain Arrangement:

A standard chainsaw chain has a regular arrangement of teeth by having a tooth after each strap. Thus, it has maximum teeth on it and so it cuts very smoothly and finely.

This type of chainsaw chain arrangement can be used on all bar sizes up to 24”. It is commonly used by most chainsaw users. Mainly, it is used for jobs where finishing cuts are required such as for carving and other related tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of chainsaw chain should I get?

Making the decision of getting a chainsaw chain depends upon the size and type that is supported by your gas chainsaw. Then, the second factor that you would be considering most is the type of task you have to do.

These are the two main things that help you choose the best chain for you. Thus, get the chain that compliments your job and fits best on your chainsaw.

2. What type of chainsaw chain cuts the fastest?

A full chisel chainsaw chain is considered the fastest chain out there. Moreover, a skip chain is also known for fast cutting. However, a skip chain does not cut neatly but yes it is fast and can work for you if you are looking for clearing some timber quickly.

In addition, if your bar size is smaller than 24” then you can go for full chisel chains. They will cut super-fast as they are the most aggressive chain types. While if you are having a larger bar size over 24” then full skip chain type is a god option.

3. How do I identify my chainsaw chain?

You can identify your chainsaw chain by following up on the information provided to you with your chainsaw. Usually, it is printed on the saw like a 3/8” pitch, and gauge size is also mentioned there. Through that information, you can find the best suitable match of chain for your chainsaw.

4. What are the different sizes of chainsaw chains?

Chainsaw chains come in different sizes of gauge. There are four gauge sizes found in chains such as  0.043, 0.050, 0.058, and 0.063 in inches. These sizes in millimeters are 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, and 1.6 respectively. You must be careful about these sizes when getting a new one for your chainsaw. Mostly, the smaller sizes are more common than the larger ones.

5. What type of chainsaw chain is most comfortable?

A full chisel chainsaw chain is one of the most comfortable chainsaw chains. The reason is that it is fast in cutting and has sharp square teeth. They are used by professionals due to their aggressiveness. However, for new users, a semi-chisel chainsaw chain is also a good option as it has a reduced risk of kickback and is light in weight.

6. What type of chainsaw chain is strongest?

A carbide tip chainsaw chain is the strongest chain. It is durable, it can cut through hardwood and it is not affected by heat. Moreover, a carbide-tipped chain can cut objects which are tough to be cut through by a standard chainsaw chain. These attributes make the carbide-tipped material chain the strongest.

7. What chainsaw chains do professionals use?

If we talk from the perspective of cutter type, then professional chainsaw users use full chisel chains. Because full chisel chains can cut hardwood easily and are fast in cutting.

Moreover, from the material perspective, professionals use diamond and carbide-tipped chains. They are mostly used for cutting concrete and they are the most powerful chains. Also, they are durable.

8. What’s a better full chisel or a semi-chisel chain?

So the answer to this question that whether a full chisel chain is better than a semi-chisel, depends upon the purpose and nature of the task. If you have to work in a frozen area or you have to deal with dirty wood, then a semi-chisel chain is good. Because it has a good grip and has a lower risk of kickback.

However, if you have to clean up large timber, then a full chisel is a better option. It cuts fast in big chunks and you will get your job done quickly. But they are not ideal or even good for working in dirty wood.

Final Takeaways:

This was a detailed write-up for you regarding the types of chainsaw chains. The topic was a bit complex due to the involvement of multiple factors affecting the chain types. But hopefully, you find this information quite helpful and worth knowing.

You must utilize this information for buying a chainsaw chain next time. Keep in mind all the factors and your purpose and the major task you need a chainsaw for. Then, buy the chainsaw chain accordingly as it makes a huge difference.

Patrick McMann