Best Chainsaw Chains: Top Options for Cutting Hardwood and Firewood

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Chainsaws are the perfect tools when it comes to tough wood cutting tasks. But they only work well when they have the right chains.

Not only does the right chainsaw chain save you time, but it will also save you work-related frustrations. The best chain holds its edge for longer and will easily rip through wood like a hot knife through butter.

But not all chains work well, and you will find a wide variety of them at varying prices. This can be really challenging, right? It gets more confusing because not every expensive chain works well, and not all low-priced ones work poorly.

We went into the market, selected the top chainsaw chains, and reviewed them. So, go through our best chainsaw chain reviews and select the one that will enliven your experience.

The Oregon D70 is our top pick. It is strong, tough, and comes with features that make it easy to rip through even the toughest firewood fast and easily.

Our Best Chainsaw Chains Are:

ProductDetails
1. Oregon D70

  • Weight: 13.3 ounces
  • Pitch: 3/8"
  • Gauge: 0.050"
  • Drive link count: 72
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2. Husqvarna 531300439

  • Bar length: 18 inches
  • Pitch: 0.325″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces
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3. Oregon S40 Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight: 5.4 ounces
  • Bar length: 10″
  • Pitch: 3/8″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 40
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4. Husqvarna H4684 Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Bar length: 24″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 84
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5. Oregon S56 Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Bar length: 16″
  • Number of drive links: 56
  • Pitch: 3/8″
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6. Stihl 26RS Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight:11.2 ounces
  • Bar length: 20″
  • Pitch: 0.325″
  • Gauge: 0.063″
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7. Oregon S52 Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight:4.2 ounces
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Bar length: 14″
  • Drive links: 52
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8. Husqvarna 531300372 H36-52

  • Weight: 8.0 ounces
  • Chain length: 14″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 52
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9. Oregon L68 Chainsaw Chain

  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Gauge: 0.063″
  • Bar length: 18″
  • Drive links: 68
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1. Oregon D70 Best Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Firewood

This Oregon D70 chain takes the first position in this review because of its unique design and outstanding performance. It is a tough and durable chain designed to work with a wide range of chainsaws. So, no matter how tough the firewood logs are, the Oregon D70 will rip them with amazing prowess.

The chain is designed with semi-chiseled and chrome plated cutters that make every cut powerful and precise. Furthermore, the chain is heat-treated to make it strong enough for cutting tough logs. When we tested the chain on big logs of wood, it delivered beyond our expectations.

Another outstanding thing about the chain is that it comes with perfectly contoured drive links that fit well on the chainsaw guide. Therefore, you can enjoy cutting tough logs, firewood at home, or tree limbs with no kickbacks. The vibrations are also negligible, and the cutting experience will be awesome.

You will also like the self-lubricating system that uses LubriTec to keep the chain well-oiled for better performance. Furthermore, when it comes to sharpening, the top-plate filling indicators make it pretty easy, so you will not waste a lot of time getting it in the best shape.

Specs

  • Weight: 13.3 ounces
  • Pitch: 3/8″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Drive link count: 72

Pros

  • Designed to operate with minimal vibrations and zero kickbacks
  • Can be used on many types of chainsaws
  • The chainsaw is strong and durable
  • Designed to deliver powerful and accurate cuts
  • Maintaining the chain is easy
  • Self-lubricating

Cons

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2. Husqvarna 531300439 — Best Chainsaw Chain for Hardwood

Coming closely in the second position is this Husqvarna 531300439 chain, which is specially designed for tough and heavy-duty cutting tasks. It is a tested and proven high-quality chain that knows no bounds when it comes to cutting wood, including old tree logs and
firewood.

Since it is made by Husqvarna, we were not surprised by its state-of-the-art features because the brand has made a name for crafting exceptional tools.

The most notable thing about the 531300439 chain is its outstanding performance. The chain is designed with a 0.325-inch pitch and a 0.050-inch gauge, which we found very effective for cutting tough materials.

It retains the cutting edge pretty well such that you can still enjoy top-performance even after hours of extensive cutting. Furthermore, it cuts smoothly so that you do not have to worry about excessive vibrations and kickbacks.

The chain is made to work with different top chainsaw models, such as Husqvarna 41, 45, 51, 336, 345, 351, 440, and 450e.  So, if you have a chainsaw with an 18-inch guide bar, this could be the ultimate chain for you.

Specs

  • Bar length: 18 inches
  • Pitch: 0.325″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces

Pros

  • Works well with most Husqvarna chainsaws
  • Designed to last
  • Cuts smoothly with minimal vibrations
  • Priced affordably
  • Light

Cons

  • Expensive

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3. Oregon S40 Chainsaw Chain

This Oregon S40 is another high-performance chainsaw chain carefully crafted for top performance. Indeed, it comes close to our top two picks but falls short in the sense that it is relatively small. So, if you have a chainsaw with a relatively short bar of 10 inches, this chain will not disappoint.

This chain comes with chrome-plated cutters designed to stay sharp for longer. They are designed with a layer of industrial-grade chrome meant for optimal resistance. With the S40, you are sure of spending more time cutting your wood instead of sharpening.

Like other Oregon chainsaw chains, the S40 uses the LubriTec Oiling System that helps to keep the chain and bar well lubricated. This means two things: the chain will not suffer from unnecessary friction, and will last longer.

To make the chain stronger, Oregon uses induction hardened rivets that guarantee more strength. The hardened rivets work with the automated lubrication system to reduce wearing and minimize the need for regular tension adjustments.

Specs

  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Bar length: 10″
  • Pitch: 3/8″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 40

Pros

  • The chainsaw chain has minimal kickbacks
  • Comes with strong and precise cutters
  • It is one of the easiest chainsaw chains to maintain
  • Compatible with a lot of chainsaws

Cons

  • The chain is small and will not work with longer bars

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4. Husqvarna H4684 Chainsaw Chain

If you have a 24-inch chainsaw, there is no doubt it is a cutting beast. So, you will need an equally strong and powerful chain like this Husqvarna H4684, which is designed to handle even the toughest cutting tasks. It also works well with most chainsaws having 24’’ guide bars.

The chain is perfectly crafted for use with big chainsaws, especially those with a 0.050-inch gauge and a 3/8-inch pitch. Designed with a total of 84 drive links, this chain can rip through wood fast so that you can finish the cutting tasks quickly. We were also impressed by the chain’s ability to make clean cuts, and eliminating the need for clearing chips after operations.

Although one of the most expensive chains in the market today, it has become very popular because it requires less maintenance. We liked the teeth’s ability to retain the edge for longer because you do not have to take a lot of time sharpening it.

Specs

  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Bar length: 24″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 84

Pros

  • Works well with most chainsaws having 24’’ guide bars
  • The chain makes clean and clear cuts
  • It retains a sharp cutting edge for a long time
  • It is very easy to sharpen, clean, and maintain
  • One of the most durable chains today

Cons

  • Very expensive

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5. Oregon S56 Chainsaw Chain

This Oregon S56 is another awesome chainsaw chain that does not disappoint. Although it is sold as a moderate-performance chain, we found it equally effective for handling tough applications. Just like other top Oregon chains, this one is designed with features that make cutting easy and enjoyable.

When working on tough tasks, such as cutting firewood or clearing dry wooden logs, Oregon engineers knew very well that the cutters are very crucial. This is why they designed this chain with semi-chisel cutters that allow you to rip wooden grains for a smooth cut easily.

Because the chain is chrome plated, it holds the edge very well, and you can expect to use it for a long time with awesome results. This implies that even if you hit the ground when doing some stump work, there is no need to worry that it will lose its edge easily.

This chain is also designed with a special focus on safety. Created with a 3/8-inch pitch and hardened rivets, the chain cuts smoothly with little or minimal vibrations. This is why we recommend it, especially for beginners and professionals who target top performance.

Specs

  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Bar length: 16″
  • Number of drive links: 56
  • Pitch: 3/8″

Pros

  • This chain can handle even very tough cutting tasks
  • It delivers very powerful and precise cuts
  • Sold with an automated lubricating system for top performance
  • Easy to sharpen and maintain
  • Designed to work in different chainsaws
  • Cuts smoothly and with little vibrations
  • Light

Cons

  • Expensive

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6. Stihl 26RS Chainsaw Chain

If you have a Stihl chainsaw, one of the top chains for cutting hardwood is this Stihl 26RS. Although it is only limited to Stihl, it is incredibly strong and will deliver more than you expected. We were particularly impressed by the chain’s hardened cutters that make it a great option for cutting tough logs and hardwood.

This chain is long and works well for chainsaws with 20-inch bars. Besides, it comes with hardened cutters that make it the perfect option for the most difficult cutting tasks. We were especially impressed by the ability of the chain to hold the edge for a long period. No need to sharpen it after every tank!

To make the chain easy to use, it also features carefully contoured drive links that match very well with most Stihl bar guides. Besides, the links are hardened and fitted well to make cutting with this chain smooth and with minimal kickbacks.

Specs

  • Weight:11.2 ounces
  • Bar length: 20″
  • Pitch: 0.325″
  • Gauge: 0.063″

Pros

  • The chain is made with hardened materials for extra durability
  • Works with most Stihl chainsaws that have 20-inch bars
  • Easy to sharpen and maintain
  • Operates effectively with little to minimal vibrations
  • Great for strong and accurate cuts

Cons

  • Its performance can easily be impacted by dirt
  • The chain only works with Stihl chainsaws

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7. Oregon S52 Chainsaw Chain

If you have a 14-inch chainsaw, it is true that it is relatively short; but you do not have to sacrifice the performance. Using this Oregon S52, you can easily tackle the toughest jobs, just like those with larger chainsaws. The chain rips through branches and logs smoothly, which makes it a perfect option for many trimming and cutting applications.

Like other top-rated Oregon chains, this chain is designed to deliver top performance no matter your cutting task. The chain is constructed with 52 drive links and a 0.050-inch gauge that makes it a perfect option for your cutting applications. Furthermore, the cutters have a chamfer chisel shape that helps to make cuts fast and precise.

The chain is also heat-treated and hard-chrome plated to make it tougher and resistant to corrosion. And this is not all. We really liked the chain’s ability to clear debris and chips, thereby reducing the danger of the guide bar getting stuck. The cuts are also smooth and free of kickbacks.

Specs

  • Weight:4.2 ounces
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Bar length: 14″
  • Drive links: 52

Pros

  • The chain fits and works well with most 14-inch chainsaws
  • Cuts smoothly with low vibrations and minimum kickbacks
  • Designed with tough materials that make it long-lasting
  • Ideal for both professional and DIY tasks
  • Light

Cons

  • Not suitable for very tough cutting tasks

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8. Husqvarna 531300372 H36-52

Husqvarna makes our best chainsaw chain list again with its high-performance H36-52 model. We found it a perfect low-profile option, and it is ideal for those seeking optimal performance from their 14-inch chainsaws.

The chain has a unique chamfer chisel shape designed for top performance and durability. It is made with 52 drive links and a 3/8’’ pitch that make it a good option for most 40cc chainsaws.

When using chainsaws, one of the main issues is fatigue. So, Husqvarna thought about that and designed this chain to help minimize vibrations to reduce fatigue. To enhance user safety, the chain also cuts with minimal kickbacks.

Whether you are a professional or a DIY person with a lot of cutting tasks in the yard, this is one of the best chains for high-accuracy. With its bumper tie strap and ramped depth gauge, you are sure of high accuracy when cutting wood.

Another amazing thing about the chain is that it is long-lasting. The construction with tough materials does not just help to make the chain strong and maintain the edge, but it also ensures it can last over a long time.

Specs

  • Weight: 8.0 ounces
  • Chain length: 14″
  • Gauge: 0.050″
  • Number of drive links: 52

Pros

  • A perfect pick for both professional and home use
  • Strong and durable
  • Designed for high-performance even in highly-demanding conditions
  • Durable and easy to maintain

Cons

  • Not suitable for chainsaws with guide bars of more than 14 inches

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9. Oregon L68 Chainsaw Chain

Do you have occasional property or regular cutting work that requires a high-performance and precision chain in your chainsaw? Well, look no further than this Oregon L68 chain. When we tested the chainsaw chain, the performance was satisfying.

This chainsaw is designed with low-vibration micro chisel cutters of small radium that help to deliver not just awe-inspiring performance, but also make maintenance easy. The chain is constructed with 68 drive links and 0.325-inch pitch that makes it a great option for handling even the tough cutting jobs fast and easily.

When you fit this chain on your chainsaw, it uses Oregon’s advanced LubriTec system that helps to keep both the chain and guide bar for less friction. Therefore, you are assured of less friction when cutting tough wood and corrosion protection, which guarantees a longer lifespan.

With a bar length of 18 inches, we liked the fact that it works perfectly well with Stihl and Oregon chainsaws. While it is true that the compatibility is limited, the two brands, Oregon and Stihl, have many 18-inch chainsaws in the market. So, if you own one, it is time to grab this L68, and you will not be disappointed.

Specs

  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Gauge: 0.063″
  • Bar length: 18″
  • Drive links: 68

Pros

  • Works with low vibrations and minimum vibrations
  • Comes with a micro-chisel for high-performance
  • Great for both personal and professional use

Cons

  • Only works with Oregon and Stihl chainsaws

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Buying Guide

After reading through the nine chainsaw chain models above, you are now only a step away from identifying the model that will completely change your life. To further narrow down to the perfect one, here are the main considerations to factor:

The Chain Compatibility

One of the mistakes that you cannot afford to make is selecting a chain that is not compatible with your chainsaw. If you do, you are likely to get stuck with a chain that cannot work and incur huge losses.

So, start by confirming that the selected chain can work with your chainsaw. But if you are still unsure, consider checking with your chainsaw manufacturer for the chains that are compatible.

Bar Length

Chainsaws are designed with bar guides of varying sizes, from 10″ to 24″. This measurement is very important because there is no one-size-fits-all chain. If you choose a chain that is too loose or snug, it will not work well and could become a serious safety hazard.

If unsure about the guide bar length, simply pick a tape measure and measure from the bar tip to the point where it starts protruding. Then round up the number you get to the next even number. That is the number to guide you when looking for the perfect chainsaw chain.

Gauge

The gauge of a chainsaw chain refers to the thickness of the chain drive links. For the chain to be more efficient and safe, go for the model with a gauge that matches the guide bar. If the chain is too thin, there is a danger of slipping and cutting poorly. But if it is too thick, the chances are that it will not even fit in your chainsaw.

Today, most chains have 0.050″ to 0.063″ gauges. This number is always printed on the guide bar of the chainsaw. You can also get it on the instruction manual.

Drive Links

Drive links are the lowest sections of a chainsaw chain that fit it into the chainsaw’s bar. When selecting the chain, you need to pick the one with the right number of links.

Although some chainsaw models have the number of links printed on the guide bar, many are those that do not. So, simply take off the chain and count them. Then, select a chain that comes with similar counts.

The Tooth/Cutter Design

The type of teeth in a chain is another crucial factor that you must consider when looking for a replacement. Indeed, it has one of the most significant influences on your chainsaw’s performance. The cutter design comes in three main types:

Chipper Cutter Design

Chains rocking this design are considered the ideal options for dirty tasks, and quickly pruning thin tree branches and limbs.

Semi Chisel Cutters

Chains with these cutters are considered all-around models. Therefore, they are ideal for cutting both soft and hardwood.

Full Chisel Cutters

These chains come with square-shaped teeth designed to rapidly rip through even the toughest tree logs and firewood. Notably, these cutters require regular sharpening for greater efficiency.

Brand

As more brands release chainsaw chains into the market, identifying the right models is a serious challenge. We have seen numerous cases of people who got poor-quality chains, although they were marketed as “the best” in ads.

The sure way to get it right is sticking with the top brands, which have been in the market for years, and the quality of their chains proved beyond doubt. Good examples include Husqvarna, Oregon, and Stihl.

Final Thoughts

Getting the right chain for your chainsaw is the primary determinant of the performance, durability, and safety that you can enjoy out of a chainsaw. Therefore, you cannot afford to get it wrong!

Our reviews above have captured the leading chainsaw chain pieces on the market to help you pick the perfect one. They have remarkable designs and state-of-the-art features that make cutting hardwood easy, fast, and safe. So, no matter your budget for a chainsaw chain replacement, be sure of getting the perfect one in our list.

While all the nine chainsaw chains we reviewed above are among the very best (we enjoyed using them so much), the Oregon D70 was the most outstanding. It is strong and rocks semi-chiseled chrome plated cutters that make cutting, even the tough hardwood easy.

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