Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an everyday professional, the chainsaw you use is only as good as its chain, which is why you need the best chainsaw chain available in your price range. Even if you have the most powerful chainsaw in the world, if you replace the chain with an inadequate model, you’ll find your chainsaw spitting and sputtering, which is not only annoying and inefficient but can also be extremely dangerous. To help you avoid the pitfalls presented by poor-quality replacement chains, we’ve conducted a search for the best chainsaw chains we can find.

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

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We’ve narrowed down our results to a list of our 5 best chainsaw chains, which you can find below. And, to help you get started and to provide some helpful background information, we’ve also included answers to some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about replacement chainsaw chains and how they can decide which is the best chainsaw chain for them.

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Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Oregon 14″ Replacement Chain for Stihl Chainsaw

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Longer Brand 14″ Semi-Chisel Replacement Chainsaw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

UpStart Components 6-Pack 18″ Semi-Chisel Replacement Chainsaw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Best Chainsaw Chains FAQ

Finding the best chainsaw chain can be a confusing and time-consuming process. Aside from selecting the right model for your needs and price range, one also needs to make sure that the particular chain is the right size and shape for your particular chainsaw. Beyond that, there are numerous features like cutter shape, cutter coating, and vibration dampening that can make for a dizzying array of options to stay on top of. Here are some of our readers most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about replacement chainsaw chains and our (hopefully) helpful answers. 

1. Why Does It Matter What Kind of Replacement Chainsaw Chain I Use?

Your choice of chainsaw chain can matter just as much as your choice of chainsaw. Why? Because chainsaw chains are designed for a wide variety of different purposes, which makes determining the best chainsaw chain a highly subjective process.

As we explain in more detail below, some chains are made to allow a saw to maintain high RPMs while cutting through thick pieces of wood, but they tend to produce a rougher cut. Conversely, some chains are made to produce a smoother cut, but they may run into problems on particularly thick pieces of wood. In order to determine the best chainsaw chain for you, you first need to decide what you need your chain to do.

2. What Are the Different Kinds of Chainsaw Chains? What Is Each Kind for and What Is the Best Chainsaw Chain for My Purpose?

There are at least six major kinds of chainsaw chains, including standard chains, full-skip chains, semi-skip chains, semi-chisel chains, chisel chains, and safety chains. Each chain type exists for a reason with, in some cases, a highly specified purpose.

Standard Chains 

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Most often used by professionals with powerful chainsaws, standard chains produce fine sawdust and cut even hardwood very smoothly.

Full-Skip Chains

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Full-skip chains get their name from the pattern of their chains, which skips every other chain tooth as compared to a standard chain. This produces less drag when cutting large pieces of wood such as thick wooden planks, poles, or beams, allowing the saw to continue to operate at high RPMs.

Semi-Skip Chains

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

A step between full-skip chains and standard chains, semi-skip chains contain one-third fewer teeth than a comparably sized standard chain. While not as strong and creating a harsher cut than a standard chain, a semi-skip chain still does not create as rough a finish as a full-skip chain.

Chisel Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

A chisel chain like the kind used by professional loggers is designed to be strong while producing a smooth cut. A chisel chain rapidly removes saw chips, and the shape is designed to limit recoil.

Semi-Chisel Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Working well on both hardwoods and softwoods, a semi-chisel chain is better able to withstand abrasives like dirt and sand than a chisel chain, and the teeth of a semi-chisel chain are shaped to produce less bounce during cutting.

Chipper Chains

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Not as popular now as they once were, chipper chains were once the preeminent form of chain. Today, chipper chains often are used in pruning.

Safety Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Sometimes called a low kickback chain, a safety chain is legally mandatory on smaller chainsaws. Safety chains significantly reduce but do not completely eliminate a chainsaw’s rebound effect, making them safer to operate, particularly for inexperienced users. However, no chain can render a chainsaw completely without risk, so it is important to use the utmost care at all times when operating any chainsaw with any type of chain installed.

3. What Are the Different Tooth Shapes for Chainsaw Chains? What Are Their Advantages and Disadvantages? 

Chainsaw chains can come with teeth in a wide variety of teeth shapes, which fall somewhere on a spectrum between a round tooth shape on the one end and a square tooth shape on the other. The shape that will make for the best chainsaw chain for you depends on how you intend to use it.

Round-Tooth Chains

Round-tooth chains, the most commonly seen on the market, are easiest to use, which makes them popular among casual, nonprofessional, users. Round teeth typically require less sharpening and other maintenance than do square teeth though they do not quite match the raw performance of square-tooth chains.

Square-Tooth Chains

Square-tooth chainsaw chains typically are reserved for more experienced users, as they tend to cut more quickly but also less precisely, which can obviously lead to a dangerous situation for a novice user. Square-shaped teeth also require more frequent sharpening, making them less convenient for the weekend-warrior-type home landscaper, but which may serve the professional well.

While there are a variety of other chainsaw chain shapes on the market, they tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum between a round tooth shape and a square tooth shape. Many are proprietary designs that are the exclusive intellectual property of their manufacturers.

4. What Other Parameters Do I Need to Consider When Selecting the Best Chainsaw Chain for Me? 

There are so many factors one can consider when trying to select the best chainsaw chain that it can make even an experienced user’s head spin. From bar length to gauge to drive links to the cutter design, each ultimately will impact the usefulness of the chain, and whether it even fits your chainsaw at all. Here’s a quick rundown on what some of these various terms mean, for when you come across them in search for the best chainsaw chain for you.

Gauge

The gauge of the chain describes the thickness of the chain’s drive links. A chain’s gauge should match the gauge of the chainsaw’s guide bar. A chain with the wrong gauge will be too thin or too thick to fit your chainsaw correctly. The best chainsaw chain will undoubtedly be of the appropriate gauge for your chainsaw.

Drive Links

The drive links are the part along the bottom of a chainsaw that fit into the chainsaw guide bar. In some instances, the required number of drive links will be printed somewhere on the chainsaw near the guide bar.

Cutter Design

The cutter design is another way of describing the shape of the teeth on a chainsaw chain. Popular cutter designs include chipper, semi-chisel, and chisel (see above).

How We Reviewed

To come up with our list of the 5 best chainsaw chains, we looked over scores of different products and options, boiling it down to the products we thought offered the most bang for your budget. We also relied on the opinions of dozens of different users of all levels, learning directly from them what they think makes for the best chainsaw chain and what they think of various different models. 

Overall Price Range Of Our Five Best Chainsaw Chains 

The replacement chainsaw chains on our top 5 list range in price from about $6 apiece to a little over $20 each. 

What We Reviewed

  • Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain
  • Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain
  • Oregon 14″ Replacement Chain for Stihl Chainsaw
  • Longer Brand 14″ Semi-Chisel Replacement Chainsaw Chain
  • UpStart Components 6-Pack 18″ Semi-Chisel Replacement Chainsaw Chain

Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Features

This high-performance, low-vibration chain is identical to the model that comes with Husqvarna saws, avoiding the frequent drop-off in quality when it comes to replacement chains.

Price

The Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain can be found on Amazon for about $20.

Pros

  • High-quality chain with low vibration
  • Micro chisel cutters
  • Same chain that comes with new Husqvarna chainsaws
  • Can be adequately resharpened with just a file
  • Holds an edge well

CONS

  • Is a bit slower when bucking hardwoods like hickory or oak
  • Does not fit all saws

Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Features

This versatile semi-chisel chainsaw chain fits chainsaws made by a variety of manufacturers including Homelite, Poulan, Remington, Craftsman and Echo.

Price

The Oregon S56 AdvanceCut 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain can be found on Amazon for about $13.

Pros

  • Works on chainsaws made by a wide range of brands
  • Cutter design reduces kickback
  • Hard-chromed cutters
  • Fits saws up to 42 cc
  • Low price

CONS

  • Not as high-quality as some chains we reviewed
  • Likely would not hold up to professional use

Oregon 14″ Replacement Chain for Stihl Chainsaw

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Features

This chain from the reputable Oregon brand is 14″ in size and works with a variety of chainsaws made by the Stihl brand.

Price

The 14″ Oregon replacement chain can be found on Amazon for about $15.

Pros

  • Decent quality replacement chain
  • Fits a variety of models from Stihl, a top name in chainsaws
  • Cheap price

CONS

  • Most likely will not hold up to professional use
  • Requires more maintenance than other replacement chains

Longer 14-Inch 52DL Semi Chisel Chainsaw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Features

The Longer brand 52DL 14-inch chainsaw chain features chrome-plated covers and hardened rivets for long-lasting sharpness and durability.

Price

The Longer 14-inch 52DL replacement chainsaw chain is available on Amazon for about $14.

Pros

  • Decent quality replacement chain
  • Fits a variety of models from Stihl, a top name in chainsaws
  • Cheap price

CONS

  • Most likely will not hold up to professional use
  • Requires more maintenance than other replacement chains

UpStart Components 18″ Semi Chisel Saw Chain

Best Chainsaw Chain? Top 5 Revealed

Features

The UpStart Components 18″ replacement chainsaw chain is made to fit the Echo CS-400 Chainsaw. It offers average quality at an unbeatable price.

Price

A six-pack of UpStart Components 18″ replacement chainsaw chain can be found on Amazon for about $36, or about $6 per chain.

Pros

  • Price is undoubtedly the biggest factor in favor of this replacement chain
  • Bulk packaging means chain can be replaced more often, reducing need for maintenance

CONS

  • Does not fit as many chainsaws as some other replacement chains
  • You get what you pay for

What We Reviewed

Of course, the most important consideration when choosing a replacement chain is its compatibility with the chainsaw or saws that you already own. Beyond that, among the replacement chainsaw chains we looked at, the Husgvarna and the Oregon chains stood out for their quality and durability. While costing a bit more in the short run, these chains remained sharper longer than their competitors and responded better to light sharpening with a file.

However, for the weekend warrior just looking to do some yard work and would rather throw on a new chain than go through the trouble of sharpening the existing one, the budget-priced bulk replacement chains offered by Upstart Components may prove more convenient and perfectly adequate to the task.

In any event, what ultimately proves to be the best chainsaw chain for you will rely on a wide range of factors, from which chainsaw you already own to how you intend to use your new chain. That’s why there is simply no substitute for doing your homework and making an informed purchasing decision.