Parts Lookup    Parts by Category

Chainsaw Chain Types


Determining the best chainsaw chain depends on the specific needs of the user and the type of cutting tasks they intend to perform. Chainsaw chains come in different styles, sizes, and materials, each designed for specific applications. The following are common types of chainsaw chain.


Full Chisel Chain

A full chisel chain is a type of chainsaw chain that is characterized by square-cornered teeth. These chains are designed for aggressive cutting in demanding situations, making them well-suited for tasks that require high cutting speeds through hard or dense wood. Full chisel chains are known for their aggressive cutting performance. The square-cornered teeth bite deeply into wood, making them effective for tasks that require a high level of cutting speed and efficiency. Due to the design of the teeth, full chisel chains tend to have a faster cutting speed compared to other types of chains. This makes them suitable for professional logging, felling large trees, and other heavy-duty applications.
Full Chisel Chain
While full chisel chains excel in speed and aggressiveness, they typically have a trade-off in terms of sharpness retention. The square corners can wear out faster than the rounded corners of other chain types, especially when cutting through abrasive materials.

Full chisel chains have a higher kickback risk compared to low-profile or safety chains. Kickback is a sudden, upward motion of the chainsaw, and safety precautions are essential when using full chisel chains.

Regular maintenance, including sharpening and proper tensioning, is crucial to ensure optimal performance and safety. Due to the aggressive nature of full chisel chains, they may benefit from more frequent sharpening compared to other chain types.

Suitable for a variety of cutting tasks, including hardwoods and softwoods.

Semi-Chisel Chain

A semi-chisel chain is another type of chainsaw chain with distinct characteristics. Unlike the square-cornered teeth of a full chisel chain, the teeth on a semi-chisel chain have rounded edges. This design provides a balance between cutting efficiency and durability. Semi-chisel chains are versatile and well-suited for a variety of cutting tasks. They can handle both softwood and hardwood, making them a popular choice for general-purpose use. The rounded corners on the teeth of semi-chisel chains make them more durable than full chisel chains. They can maintain sharpness longer, especially when cutting through abrasive materials.

Semi-chisel chains have a lower risk of kickback compared to full chisel chains. The rounded corners reduce the likelihood of the chain digging into the wood too aggressively, resulting in a safer cutting experience. These chains are considered more forgiving for less experienced users. The reduced kickback risk and balanced performance make them suitable for a wide range of chainsaw operators.

While not as aggressive as full chisel chains, semi-chisel chains still offer a good cutting speed. They strike a balance between cutting efficiency and the ability to maintain sharpness over time. Semi-chisel chains are commonly used in situations where a mix of cutting conditions is expected. They are a good choice for tasks such as pruning, limbing, and general tree maintenance.

Regular maintenance, including sharpening and tensioning, is still important for semi-chisel chains. However, they may require less frequent sharpening compared to full chisel chains.

Suitable for a variety of cutting tasks, including softwoods and hardwoods.

Low-Profile Chain

A low-profile chain, also known as a low-profile cutter chain, is a type of chainsaw chain designed for specific cutting applications. This chain type is characterized by its reduced kickback risk and is often used for lighter-duty tasks. One of the primary features of low-profile chains is their design to minimize kickback. Kickback is the sudden upward motion of the chainsaw and is a significant safety concern. The reduced kickback risk makes low-profile chains suitable for users who prioritize safety.
Low-Profile Semi-Chisel Chain
Low-profile chains are typically used for light-duty tasks such as pruning, limbing, and general tree maintenance. They are not as aggressive as full chisel chains and are well-suited for situations where precision and control are important. The design of the low-profile chain results in a smoother cutting action. This can be beneficial when working in situations where a clean and controlled cut is essential, such as when trimming branches close to buildings or other structures.

These chains are often recommended for less experienced chainsaw users. The reduced kickback risk and smoother cutting make them more user-friendly and forgiving, particularly for those who may not be accustomed to handling powerful chainsaws. Low-profile chains may be specific to certain chainsaw models, and it's important to ensure compatibility with your particular chainsaw. Check the manufacturer's recommendations and your chainsaw's manual to select the correct chain type.

Some low-profile chains may include additional safety features, such as anti-kickback links, to enhance user safety during operation.

Designed for light-duty tasks, such as pruning and limbing.

Micro Chisel chain

Micro Chisel chain is a type of chainsaw chain that combines features of both full chisel and semi-chisel chains. It is characterized by smaller, rounded-cornered teeth, offering a compromise between the aggressive cutting ability of full chisel chains and the durability and safety of semi-chisel chains. Micro Chisel chains have smaller, rounded-cornered teeth, providing a balance between aggressive cutting and increased durability. The rounded corners help maintain sharpness longer than full chisel chains.
Micro Chisel chain
These chains are versatile and suitable for a range of cutting tasks. They are often used in applications that require a combination of cutting efficiency and durability, making them a good choice for general-purpose use.

While not as aggressive as full chisel chains, Micro Chisel chains still have a moderate kickback risk. However, the rounded corners on the teeth help mitigate the risk compared to full chisel chains. Micro Chisel chains offer a moderate cutting speed, making them suitable for various cutting tasks. The balance between cutting efficiency and safety is a key characteristic of these chains.

The design of Micro Chisel chains allows for better durability compared to full chisel chains. The rounded corners on the teeth contribute to a longer lifespan and better performance in abrasive conditions.

Regular maintenance, including sharpening and proper tensioning, is crucial for optimal performance. While Micro Chisel chains offer increased durability, routine care is necessary to ensure consistent cutting performance.

Ripping Chain

A ripping chain is a specialized type of chainsaw chain designed specifically for ripping wood along the grain. Unlike standard chains, which are optimized for cross-cutting or cutting across the wood grain, ripping chains are engineered to efficiently cut parallel to the grain of the wood. Ripping chains typically have larger, squared-off teeth with a wide cutting face. This design allows them to remove material more efficiently when cutting along the length of the wood fibers.

Ripping chains often have larger gullets, the curved recesses between the cutting teeth. The larger gullets help remove chips and sawdust more effectively during the ripping process. Ripping chains are designed to minimize kickback risk. They achieve this by having a less aggressive cutting action compared to some other chains, such as full chisel chains. This makes them safer for the operator when cutting with the grain.

The design of ripping chains allows for efficient material removal along the length of the wood fibers. This makes them ideal for tasks like chainsaw milling, where logs are cut into lumber along their length.

Ripping chains are not well-suited for cross-cutting tasks or cutting across the grain. Attempting to use a ripping chain in this manner may result in a slow and inefficient cutting process. Ripping chains are considered a specialty chain and are typically used by those engaged in woodworking or milling activities. They are commonly used with chainsaw mills to turn logs into lumber.

Specifically designed for chainsaw milling and cutting along the grain.

Micro-Lite Chain

A Micro-Lite chain is a type of chainsaw chain that is designed to be lightweight and is often used with smaller chainsaw models. These chains are characterized by their thinner gauge and narrower profile, making them well-suited for applications that require less power and a more maneuverable chainsaw. Micro-Lite chains are designed to be lightweight, which is advantageous for users of smaller chainsaws. The reduced weight makes the chainsaw easier to handle, making it suitable for tasks such as pruning and limbing. The chain has a narrower profile compared to standard chains, allowing for finer and more precise cuts. This is beneficial when working in tight spaces or when precision is crucial.
Micro-Lite Chain

Micro-Lite chains are designed to have a lower kickback risk, which enhances safety during operation. This feature is particularly important for users who may not have extensive experience with chainsaws. Micro-Lite chains are versatile and can be used for a range of light-duty cutting tasks. They are suitable for pruning branches, trimming hedges, and other applications where a smaller, more agile chainsaw is preferred.

It's important to ensure that the Micro-Lite chain is compatible with the specific chainsaw model. Always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations and your chainsaw's manual to select the correct chain type.

Regular maintenance, including sharpening and proper tensioning, is essential to ensure optimal performance. While Micro-Lite chains are designed for lighter tasks, proper care will extend the life of the chain.

Micro-Lite chains are commonly used with small chainsaw models intended for residential or light-duty use. They are not suitable for heavy-duty cutting tasks or for use with larger, more powerful chainsaws. As with any chainsaw chain, users should follow safety guidelines, wear appropriate protective gear, and adhere to proper maintenance practices to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Ideal for tasks like limbing and pruning where maneuverability is crucial.

Safety Chain

A safety chain is designed with features to reduce the risk of kickback—the sudden and potentially dangerous upward motion of the chainsaw. Kickback can occur if the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar contacts an object, causing the bar to pivot upward. Safety chains are engineered to minimize this risk, making them a safer option for chainsaw operators, especially those who may be less experienced. Safety chains are designed to have a reduced kickback tendency. The chain typically incorporates features such as rounded-cornered teeth and a lower-profile depth gauge to minimize the risk of the chain biting too aggressively into the wood.
Safety Chain
Some safety chains include bumper links, which are specially designed links that act as a buffer to reduce the impact of kickback. These links help absorb some of the energy, making the kickback less abrupt.

Safety chains may have a slightly reduced cutting speed compared to more aggressive chain types, such as full chisel chains. This trade-off is intentional to enhance safety during operation. Safety chains are suitable for a variety of cutting tasks, making them a good choice for general-purpose use. They are often recommended for users who prioritize safety or those who are less experienced with chainsaws. Due to their lower kickback risk and versatility, safety chains are considered more user-friendly. They are often recommended for homeowners, hobbyists, and those who use chainsaws for occasional tasks.

Regular maintenance, including sharpening and proper tensioning, is important to ensure optimal performance. While safety chains are designed to reduce kickback, proper care is essential for safe and effective operation.



When choosing a chainsaw chain, consider factors such as the type of wood you'll be cutting, the intended use (e.g., professional logging, home use, or light pruning), and your experience level. It's essential to match the chain to your chainsaw's specifications, including pitch and gauge.

Popular chainsaw chain brands include Oregon, Stihl, Husqvarna, and others. Always refer to your chainsaw's manual and the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Additionally, keep safety in mind and follow proper maintenance procedures for your chainsaw and chain.





Privacy Policy       |       Contact       |       Terms and Disclosure       |       About

Order parts
© 2009 - 2024 Barrett Small Engine
All use of part number, specs, pdf manual, parts diagram or third party trade marks are for reference purpose only.