A Guide to Chainsaw Chain Types: When to Use Different Kinds
What could be worse than choosing the wrong chainsaw for the job? Picking the wrong chain.
When it comes to completing a job professionally, you don’t want to cut corners with your chainsaw’s chain. There are several options out there but only one that will fit your needs.
Check out our guide to chainsaw chain types. You’ll be glad you reviewed all the options when it comes down to the final cut.
Guide to Chainsaw Chain Types
It’s important to know which chain to use for different projects. If you don’t use the right chain, you run the risk of breaking it. This can not only cost you money but is also dangerous.
When using a chainsaw safely, you must know about your different chain options and when one is better to use than another.
Square Chisel Cutters
These types of chains are reserved for professionals only. That’s because they require more frequent and accurate filing than any other chain. They get dull quickly but are also the fastest chain saw chains out there.
The square chisel cutters have square radius edges and square grind profiles. They are known for being a speciality class of professional full chisel cutters. Professionals use a chisel chin grinder to accurately file these chains back to optimum performance.
Full Chisel Cutters
When using a full chisel cutter you should note that while it is great at cutting clean, hardwood, there is also a high risk of kickback. Full chisel cutters have square-cornered teeth that are very efficient but not durable.
It also lacks the safety elements that other chains have, so be careful if it kickbacks. Kickback is the most common cause of chainsaw-related injury and occurs when the rotating blades stop suddenly when making contact with an object. This causes the saw to fly back toward the operator.
You don’t want to use this chain when cutting dirty or softwood, which tends to be more fibrous than porous. It excels at cutting limbs or trees and is powerful but you should always be alert.
You can recognize the semi-chisel cutters because of its teeth which have rounded corners. The great thing about this chain is its reliability. Despite its slower speed, the semi-chisel cutters can handle all types of softwood.
You’ll find that this chain is more durable and can handle dirty or frozen wood. It takes a little more time to get the job done but it is versatile and also safer than full chisel cutters because it can prevent kickbacks.
These types of chains are the most common on the market. This is due to their quality as well as the fact that they are very safe to use. They are specifically designed with safety elements around the teeth to prevent kickbacks.
While durability is somewhat of an issue with this chain, it is highly recommended for anyone who isn’t familiar with using a chainsaw. If you’re newer to using a chainsaw then this is a good chain to go with. Just note that it may require frequent sharpening.
Which Chain Arrangement Is Right?
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of chains, let’s discuss the different chain arrangements. These can work differently depending on the size of your chainsaw as well as what work you are intending to use it for.
Full Skip Chain
This type of chain has fewer teeth on the chain which means they are wider and more spread apart. The effect is a chain that takes large rough cuts out of the wood. This chain arrangement is intended for anyone looking to clear large timber quickly and efficiently.
You will need a much larger chainsaw to use this chain, 24 inches or preferably longer. Larger bars work better with these chains because of the small number of teeth.
Plus, don’t expect smooth cuts with this chain. It’s meant for clearing fallen trees and getting the job done without much finesse.
The next type of chain arrangement has slightly more teeth that are closer together than the full skip chain. This means it can’t tear through wood with the same speed or power.
In addition, the semi-skip chain results in a cleaner cut. It’s used by woodcutters for specific projects that don’t require the intensity of a full skip chain.
Full House or Standard Saw Chain
This type of chain has the most amount of teeth in its arrangement. It can cut through wood very smoothly and is common on all guide bars that are up to 24 inches long.
These types of chain arrangments are most commonly used for milling timber. This is because it can produce smooth planks.
Choose Your Chain Pitch
Chainsaw chains can also come in different pitch sizes. Here is a quick guide to determining which size is right for your project. We’ve organized them by size from least to greatest.
1/4 Inch Pitch
These chains are recommended for chainsaws with engines up to 38cc. They are extremely lightweight and will help you create smooth, clean cuts due to their Micro Chisel cutters.
Pixel 3/8 Inch Mini Pitch
These chains are low kickback and are lightweight. They are recommended for battery chainsaws because they require less power.
3/8 Inch Mini Pitch
These chains are designed for smaller chainsaws. They are used by woodcutters in a high production environment. Do not use these chains on chain saws with a higher than 45cc engine power.
Pixel .325 Inch Pitch
These chains are still on the more lightweight end and have Micro Chisel cutters. They shouldn’t be used on chainsaws without an engine power between 35cc-55cc. They are narrow and have nice low vibrations and kickbacks.
They’re not recommended for heavy-duty work such as clearing trees or large branches.
.325 Inch Pitch
This chain can handle a chain saw with a larger engine and power between 35cc-60cc. The nice thing about these chains is that they offer more power while still maintaining lower vibrations. They also come with Micro Chisel cutters to cut through demanding material with ease.
3/8 Inch Pitch
If you’re working in a high production environment then this chain offers Professional Chisel cutters to keep you moving. They also offer Semi Chisel cutters for easier sharpening and quick cuts. This chain can handle the power of a 50-100cc chainsaw engine.
.404 Inch Pitch
This is the largest and most powerful chain for heavy-duty work. It is used by professional woodcutters who are cutting through the timber on a large scale. It comes with Micro Chisel cutters which are easier to sharpen and a fully rounded chipper variant.
It is durable and capable of fast cutting for overall excellent performance.
Cut with Confidence
There are so many different chainsaw chain types out there. We hope this guide to some of the most commonly used chains will help you tackle the job at hand.
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