Different Types Of Chainsaw Chains – Choose The Right One

One of the most crucial components of a chainsaw is the chain. You couldn’t cut into the wood if you didn’t have them. However, you probably get confused by the display of different types of chainsaw chains while browsing the Internet.

They appear in a bewildering array of sizes, configuration and functionalities, and are tailored to a certain use.

Your first point of contact should always be your unique manufacturer’s handbook, but this basic guide will help you out.

Different Types Of Chainsaw Chains Choose The Right One

Different Types Of Chainsaw Chains 

Chainsaw Chain


Chainsaw chain differences result mostly due to three distinct variations:

  • Type of cutter
  • Chain arrangement
  • Other measurements

We’ll take a closer look at all of these distinctions. The type of cutter would be the first element we’ll look into.

Different Types Of Chainsaw Chains

Type Of Cutter 

The chain’s “shape” is the cutter kind. It presents the angle of a chain’s cutting blade. There will be four different kinds of shapes. Let’s take a closer look at these designs.


The square-cornered tooth of chisel cutters makes them particularly effective for cutting with full speed. If the fineness of the cutting is not critical, they’re the ideal choice in cutting hardwood. This chain is great for limbs, trees, and also cutting wood.

While the full-chisel cutter is a useful chain, it has some disadvantages. First off, they may not be the most robust chain and cannot deal with tough materials like unclean wood.

Second, because they work at a great velocity, there seems to be a higher chance of kickback. As a consequence, they don’t use any of the safety features that some chains offer.

Finally, as previously said, they do not excel in making clean cuts. As a result, we don’t recommend using them for cutting softwoods.


Semi-chisel chains have rounded edges, so they run slower and can cut through softwood logs.

A semi-chisel makes it ideal for cutting into both dirty and dry areas. Thus, this type of chainsaw’s chain works well with many wood species and trees in virtually any setting. They outcompete chisel cutters in terms of durability.

Due to the low cutting speed, kickback is considerably less likely to happen. In comparison to a full-chisel cutter, a semi-chisel chain is less aggressive, making it a  beginner-friendly solution.


The micro-chisel chains are another popular chain type. They are identical to semi-chisel types but with smaller rounded corners. 

Micro-chisel chains are tolerant of unclean surfaces and capable of delivering smooth and clean cuts. They’re also simple to sharpen.


The low-profile cutter is one of the most frequently used chain types available. Just like a semi-chisel, all teeth of the chain have rounded shape. 

The teeth of the chain have parts between them that minimize kickbacks. These can work with many wood types, but they can’t achieve the same speeds as a full-chisel.

This chain is ideal for people who have never used a chainsaw before. Because it needs to be sharpened more frequently than other varieties, longevity can be a concern. Nevertheless, when you’re just getting started, this is a great chain for your projects.

Chain Arrangement 

Let’s check out different chain configurations to better understand various kinds of cutting chains. The distance between the teeth on the chains refers to the chain sequence or layout. 

It’s vital to remember that it’s not the same as the chain’s pitch. Pitch refers to the distance between links, although not every link has a cutter. The spacing between the cutters of a chain is the chain arrangement.

Full Skip

The skip tooth chainsaw chain is the full skip chain. On this chain type, two drive links separate the two cutters. The result is an aggressive, high-speed chain that can effortlessly rip large chunks of wood.

A full skip chain configuration is for people wishing to remove heavy lumber swiftly and effectively with a 24-inch blade or beyond.


The semi-skip chain has relatively more teeth than the full skip chainsaw chain. It essentially alternates between single tie straps between both the teeth and two tied straps between teeth. 

This layout allows for further wood shavings that exit the cut while still providing extra cutter than for a standard skip chain.

Full House

A Full House chainsaw chain has more teeth on its configuration, and it can cut into the wood with ease. This chain type is compatible with all guiding bars of up to 24 inches in length.

Milling lumber is the most popular application for a chainsaw with this arrangement due to its ability to produce smooth boards.

Other Measurements 


A pitch is a distance between 3 consecutive rivulets on a chain (the studs which keep the chain connected). Measure the gap from the middle of a first rivulet to the middle of a third rivulet and cut it in half to get the pitch. 

According to many users, 3/8” or 0.325” chain pitches are the most prevalent. Ensure you buy the chain that fits the pitch on your chainsaw’s bar.


  • .325″ Pitch Chains

A saw with a bigger engine and a power range of 35cc-60cc can use the .325′’ chain. The advantage of these chainsaws is that they provide more power with reduced vibration.

  • 3/8″ Pitch Chains

The 3/8 chains offer great flexibility, decent strength, lightweight, and great cutting speed whenever users work in such one high-production setting. A 50-100cc engine is compatible with the 3/8 chain.

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Chainsaw Depth Gauge

The width of the groove, mostly in bars which the chain goes into, is the gauge. You could use a clever way to figure it out. All you need now is a penny, a quarter, and a dime.

Clean off any muck or debris from the groove of the chainsaw bar, start to push coins in, and see which one fits most tightly.

If you don’t pick the chain with the right gauge for the bar, it won’t be running properly. In most cases, the bar will display the gauge and pitch specifications.


When you do not understand how to determine some crucial specifications, finding a proper replacement for a chainsaw’s chain can be challenging. Considering different types of chainsaw chains out there, you can never solely rely on the chain’s length to decide the appropriate one. 

Furthermore, choosing the right replacement by evaluating the chain is not a trustworthy procedure. You will never get lost while shopping for cutting chains if you grasp the three major parameters: cutting types, chain arrangements, and sizes.

Reference Source: Chainsaw Chains, what is the difference? Full chisel, Semi-chisel, Square filed, Round filed?

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