When you cut wood, are you getting more dust than wood chips? Is your chain saw laboring and overheating more than usual? One of two things are happening, either you need to sharpen your chainsaw chain or you need to get a better quality one.
When I bought my first chainsaw I knew very little about cutting chains. I was able to cut down two trees (firs) before I started struggling. It got to the point where I couldn’t even buck a few tree limbs. What was going on? I sharpened the chain but was not able to achieve the same cutting power I had than when I first bought my saw. That day I learned a valuable lesson about the different cutting chains and quality.
In our experience here at Pro Chainsaw Authority, most saw chains sold in box stores are going to be trash. These “factory” chains are built to be dulled easily, which is done more for liability reasons than anything. These chains are usually of very poor quality, being made of soft metal so that the chain will not break or chip if you hit something hard, instead it will roll over and bend.
Do yourself a favor and get the right cutting chain for your needs. Its time to dump the OEM chain and upgrade. In our search of finding which chainsaw chain is best, we measured performance, price vs quality and overall customer satisfaction. The two brands that kept ranking high on our lists were Oregon and Husqvarna.
Oregon Brand Chains
We found out rather quickly that the chains we purchased from Oregon are harder and stay sharper more than any of the other brands. Unlike some of the other competitors, the chain was simple to put on and did not come off after running hot for bit.
As for price, this is one of those brand of cutting chains that probably should be more expensive than it is. Its amazing the quality you get for the price you pay.
Another enduring quality of Oregon chainsaw chains is that they have chains for just about every brand of chainsaw. They have a great tool on there site that can be used to find an Oregon brand part for your particular chainsaw, chains included.
Most Oregon chains come in two different flavors, either as professional or low kick back chains. If your going to be doing a lot of firewood gathering, I would recommend going for a professional chain. If you’re a newbie or not wholly comfortable with saws in general, stick with the low kick back chains.
In our testing we were able to run a saw for about 5 hours without having to sharpen. Not too bad since we were cutting a lot of green wood.
Best Selling Oregon Chainsaw Chains
- Oregon S40 10-Inch Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain, Fits Craftsman, Poulan, Remington
- Oregon 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain Fits Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, Poulan, S52
- Oregon S62 18-Inch Semi Chisel Chain Saw Chain Fits Craftsman, Homelite, Poulan
Husqvarna Brand Chains
Like most of the chains we looked at, the Husqvarna chains stayed sharp as long we used them properly. Meaning, try to stay out of the dirt and rocks. These chains are little smaller than the Oregon counterparts.
I own a Husqvarna saw and find that its own brand of chains work best. I was able to last a whole summer cutting about three cords of firewood on one chain. It was a mixture of oak, madrone, pine and fir. I did have a few issues trying to cut through green oak, but that could be due to an under powered chain saw and not the chains fault. Overall I feel that these chains tend to stay sharper longer than the Oregon chains. But again, it depends on what you’re trying to do with them.
Most Popular Husqvarna Chainsaw Chains
- Husqvarna 531300439 18-Inch H30-72 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain, .325-Inch by .050-Inch
- Husqvarna 531300441 20-Inch H80-72 (72V) Saw Chain, 3/8-Inch by .050-Inch
- Husqvarna 531300437 16-Inch H30-66 (95VP) Pixel Saw Chain, .325-Inch by .050-Inch
Chainsaw Sharpening Kits
If you are still using the “factory” chain that came with your saw, its time to upgrade. Most of the time it wont be worth the amount of time and effort you will spend sharpening and re-sharpening a poor quality chain. If you have upgraded and find that your chain is getting dull again, you have two choices. Save some money and sharpen it yourself or have it professionally sharpened (overkill imo).
The higher quality the chain, the less you will have to sharpen it. Your mileage will vary. If your constantly sawing into roots and dirt there is a good chance any chain will dull after some time.
Most high end chains will let you know when its time to either be replaced or sharpened. If you are seeing more dust than wood chips, that’s a telltale sign that your chain needs to be sharpened. Oregon chains have depth gages to let you know when the chain is past its prime for being sharpened and needs to be replaced out right.
Learning how to sharpen a chain takes time and practice but is well worth the effort. When you do sharpen your chain, be mind full of the size of the file that you are using. Using the incorrect file size can damage your chain. Always check with the manufactures’ recommended file size when sharpening your chain. We recommend using a chainsaw sharping kit and not just a file, unless you know what you are doing.
Best Selling Chainsaw Sharpening Kits
- Husqvarna 531300082 .325-Inch Pixel Chain Saw Blade File Kit For 340, 345, 346XP, 350, 351, 353
- STIHL 5605 007 1028 Complete Saw Chain Filing Kit For .325-Inch, 3/16-Inch (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
- Oregon 541220 PowerSharp Starter Kit For 14-Inch Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, And Poulan Chain Saws
Our Vote On Which Chainsaw Chain is Best
More times than not, if your chain saw is not cutting like it use too, it’s not because the chain saw is defective, it usually means the cutting chain needs to be sharpened or replaced. If you are still using the OEM cutting chain that came with the chain saw, replace it with a higher quality chain asap.
Of all our testing and calculating the overall high quality reviews and pure bang for the buck, Oregon chainsaw chains are the best in our humble opinions.
Finding out which chainsaw chain is best for your needs it easy, keeping that chain sharp is easy. What ever you decide to get, just remember to keep your chain saw out of the dirt, snow, ice and rock. Keep an eye on the kind of shavings your chain is spitting back out at you. Take care of your chain and it will take care of you.