Best Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Hardwood in 2021

When you work with hardwood are you looking for the low kickback or a faster cutting time? It’s really hard to choose between them. I prefer quickness in everything. What makes the best Chainsaw chain for cutting hardwood for you?

Recently, one of the most common things that I have noticed in the features of the new Chainsaw chains available in the market is the feature of low kickback.

But is it any good? So far, I have had mixed feelings about this. And I am not alone.

Having the low kickback feature certainly helps. However, professional hardwood cutters are doubtful if loss of efficiency is worth the sacrifice of fast cutting motion and bore cutting. Well, you and I are going to discuss these and more in this article.

10 Best Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Hardwood

These are the top 10 Chainsaw chains selected from among hundreds. Good chainsaw chains can have a variety of features, and that they aren’t homogenous at all, as you’ll see in this section of the article.

1. Oregon R56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain

Oregon R56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain

Oregon is known for making good quality products, and they produce good chainsaw chains for budget buyers. I put this chain on the list not because it’s the best but because it performs well enough for the price.

In terms of build quality, there are no complaints from us. It’s made of heat-treated metal and a hard-chromed cutter chain. Thanks to that, I noticed only minimal damage to the characters after a one full tank continuous performance session.

The cutter design is very aggressive with a 90-degree angle on the chisel, and it has a full chisel which gives it a faster cutting time than most of the other brands.

Just like most of the new chainsaw chains, it also has a low kickback feature. And fortunately, they have managed to bring a balance to the cutting time and the looking back feature. I certainly appreciated what they have done with it.

For the price, you can consider it the best Chainsaw chain for hardwood. But there are better options, as you’ll see down below.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Aggressive cutter design
  • Durable cutter
  • Balanced low kickback design
  • Good cutting rate

Cons

  • Low kickback feature results in a lower cutting rate than what it could have

2. EGO Power+ AC1400 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain

EGO Power+ AC1400 14-Inch Chain Saw Chain

When you first see that Ego Power is recommending this change to use with their 14″ chainsaw, you would generally think they are just trying to sell the products. However, after using this chain, I was proven wrong. It does hold its own just like the original chain that came with the tool.

They have built this chain quite well for the price. It holds its edge for quite some time before you need to sharpen it. You can compare it with Oregon’s chainsaw chains. To ensure safety for the users, they have included the low kickback design.

That might be a good reason for getting this change as it maintains the original chain’s quality in performance and in terms of durability.

I found that it has a very low vibration. Thanks to the low vibration, it doesn’t try to shift away from its spot. And that makes it a very friendly tool.

Here’s what I have for complaint; after 4 -5 sessions of sharpening, it becomes close to unusable. That was my experience. It depends on the intensity of usage. Yes, the metal isn’t the best, but you aren’t paying for the best.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good cutting rate
  • Low vibration and kickback design
  • Holds its edge for hardwood
  • Replaces the original Ego Power chain perfectly

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold its edge well

3. Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain 18-Inch

Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain 18-Inch

Our third pick is the Husqvarna Chainsaw chain for their 18-inch chainsaws. This isn’t a standard chain. Rather it’s a safety chain saw chain, also known as a low kickback chain. Keep notice of this chain as this might be the best chainsaw chain for hardwood.

Why am I saying that? Well, it’s not for no reason. I was looking for the Perfect Combination of a looking back design as well as a great cutting rate. And somehow, most of the cutting chains were failing to deliver the promise.

When trying out the Chainsaw chain from Husqvarna, the first thing I noticed is that it is a great chain for getting those deep bore cuts.

Arborist folks are going to love this chain as this is a perfect tool for achieving smaller and faster cuts. If you have a lightweight chainsaw, this Chainsaw chain with the low kickback feature is going to make your life easy.

Well, how about the build quality of this chain? There are no complaints from me. The heat-treated metal edge holds its own quite well. And there shouldn’t be any complaint because this isn’t a cheap chainsaw chain.

Pros

  • Low kickback design is great for lightweight chainsaws
  • Maintains a great cutting rate
  • Good for bore cuts
  • Durable chain
  • Low vibration means there’s less sound

Cons

  • It’s not a cheap option

4. SUNGATOR 3-Pack 18 Inch Chainsaw Chain SG-S62

SUNGATOR 3-Pack 18 Inch Chainsaw Chain SG-S62

Another top pick for this list is the Sungator chainsaw chain. It’s one of the most durable chainsaw chains I have ever seen. According to SUNGATOR, they have used imported German steel to manufacture these chain links. Although we aren’t equipped enough to test it out, the performance speaks volumes.

The SUNGATOR chainsaw chains have a rounded top plate, unlike the sharp design of Oregon or STIHL. It’s called a chipper design. This design protects the tooth edge better, giving the chain a greater level of durability. However, it also means that it won’t have a great cutting rate.

Water won’t be damaging this heat-treated and hard-chrome chainsaw chain as long as it’s not severely deformed.

Moreover, we loved the fact that it’s compatible with many common chainsaws like Husqvarna, Greenworks, Echo, and Poulan, etc.

About the price, before you get scared, notice that it’s a 3-pack bundle. So, if you compare it with other products on this lineup, it’s actually one of the cheapest. We say, overall, it’s a great deal.

Pros

  • Low vibration design
  • Rounded top plate gives it better edge retention
  • Water-resistant material
  • Hard chrome plating
  • Good enough for cutting hardwood

Cons

  • Slow cutting rate

5. STIHL 61PMMC3-55 Oilomatic Picco Micro Mini Comfort 16-Inch Saw Chain

STIHL 61PMMC3-55 Oilomatic Picco Micro Mini Comfort 16-Inch Saw Chain

You don’t have to look elsewhere if you are looking for the chainsaw chain with the fastest cutting time. STIHL’s chainsaw chains have the highest cutting rate. It seems to have a much more aggressive cutter design which certainly helped it to rise to the top.

The cutter on this chainsaw chain has a sharp full-length chisel at a 90-degree angle. It also has a square grind which gives it an aggressive edge.

That’s not all. We noticed that it holds its edge quite well, considering the sharp edge. After a full-tank worth session of cutting, it only lost a bit of its sharpness.

Unlike the Husqvarna chainsaw chain, this one doesn’t have the safety tag with it. That means it doesn’t focus much on the trendy low kickback feature. We noticed that it delivers a minimal kickback thanks to a low vibration design.

Now, the big question. Is it worth the hefty price tag? It certainly is. This long-lasting product will give back every penny you spend. It costs 2-3 times more than Oregon or Husqvarna, but it lasts longer as well.

The verdict: Hands down, it’s the best chainsaw chain for cutting hardwood.

Pros

  • Fastest cutting time
  • Sharp 90-degree chisel
  • Better at retaining sharpness
  • Low vibration
  • Lasts long

Cons

  • Expensive

6. BLACK+DECKER RC800 8-Inch Saw Chain

BLACK+DECKER RC800 8-Inch Saw Chain

At number 6 of our lineup, we have the Black+Decker RC800 chainsaw chain. As a brand, BLACK+DECKER doesn’t need any introduction. We always expect high-quality products from them.

If you need a small 8-inch chain, it’s the smallest chainsaw chain here. It’s only recommended as a replacement for the original chain. However, you can use it with other brands as long as the measurements match.

In terms of design, it has a semi-chisel, i.e., a rounded top plate and a round grind. By definition, it’s a chipper cutter. And this type of cutter has a higher average life.

It’s great for small tasks such as cleaning up yards and small trees. I found it as a swift cutter with little vibration. So, there’s minimal noise. But for hardwood? You can do a few small-scale cutting, but unfortunately, it’s not a great tool.

If you want a dedicated low kickback feature, this isn’t it. Fortunately, its comparatively slower cutting rate delivers minimal kickback, which isn’t as dangerous.

This chainsaw chain is a great buy for those looking for a cheap chain intended for small tasks.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Moderate life
  • Low vibration
  • Efficient in small tasks

Cons

  • Slow cutting rate

7. Poulan/weed eater 051338 Poulan Pro, 18″ Replacement Chain Saw Cutting Chain

Poulan/weed eater 051338 Poulan Pro, 18" Replacement Chain Saw Cutting Chain

Here we have the weed eater or Poulan pro chainsaw chain. It’s supposed to be the replacement chain for the original chain that comes with the Poulan pro machine. But if you have an 18-inch chainsaw from any brand, this one should fit right in.

If you are to compare this with any other brand, I’d say it falls right between Oregon and Husqvarna. It’s also the same price-wise.

For tasks like clearing out the trees in the yard on the fence, this chain works perfectly. However, I felt it could have been improved if they used a sharper edge.

It has a rounded edge on the top plate. These are called semi-chisel teeth. Semi-chisel tooth makes for a great, long-lasting chain that doesn’t need a lot of sharpening.

I would suggest this to anyone who only needs a chain saw chain for light works around the house and yard. But if you’re a heavy tasker working with logs of large sizes, this won’t work for you.

For the price, it is a great budget chainsaw chain, but it’s far from being the best.

Pros

  • Lasts long
  • Cuts smoothly
  • Works great with small trees
  • Low kickback chain
  • No need for frequent sharpening

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy hardwood cutting

8. Trilink 3/8 LP .050 Gauge 62 Drive Links 18-inch Chainsaw Chain

Trilink 3/8 LP .050 Gauge 62 Drive Links 18-inch Chainsaw Chain

Looking for a great 2 value pack for the price of one? Look no further than this chain. Trilink isn’t a renowned brand in terms of making tools; true! But it makes great budget aftermarket tools for your branded chainsaws.

After seeing the list of compatible chainsaws of different brands, one would think their only purpose is to make aftermarket solutions. Yes, it’s no joke. This pack of chainsaw chains will work with almost every brand there is from Poulan pro, Eco Power, BLACK+DECKER, Greenworks, Husqvarna, Kobalt, and many more.

If the branded chainsaw chain replacements feel too pricey, you have just the right product from Trilink.

When reviewing the chainsaw chain, I felt little to no kickback from the chainsaw. So it receives a tick mark from me in the low kickback design.

That being said, like most low kickback chains, it has a lower cutting rate. It might be a deal-breaker for you or not. For its price, I can ignore its downsides.

Pros

  • High value per dollar
  • Low kickback design
  • Durable edge design
  • Works as an aftermarket solution for many brands
  • Centrifugal lube oil distribution system in the chain link design

Cons

  • Low cutting rate
  • Doesn’t perform great bore cuts

9. Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement Pole Saw Chain 29072

Greenworks 8-Inch Replacement Pole Saw Chain 29072

This is the second 8-inch chainsaw chain on this list. And for me, this chain from Greenworks is the better one. I know what you’re thinking. No, it’s not only because of brand value! It has better durability than its competitors. I mean, that should be a given for the price you’re paying.

Yes, for a rounded top edge, it’s a little bit more expensive than I’d have liked. But it is what it is. This semi-chisel chipper cutter outperforms the likes of STIHL and Husqvarna in terms of longevity and withstanding high-intensity cutting sessions.

Despite that, it falls short for me due to its slower cutting rate. I like things fast, even if it means frequent sharpening. If you’re not like me, this won’t be an issue whatsoever.

Greenworks mentioned that it’s only compatible with Greenworks’ own pole saws. But I found that you can use it with other brands such as Sun Joe and Remington pole saws.

All in all, the only complaint I have is the price. If you get it in a sale, it’s a no-brainer. Even without a discount, it’s a great little replacement chain.

Pros

  • Great for its purpose
  • Highly durable product
  • Low vibration design is great for a pole saw
  • Compatible with other brand’s pole saws

Cons

  • Costlier than it should be

10. Replacement (9040) Chain for Black & Decker LCS1020 20V Max Lithium Ion Chainsaw, 10-Inch

Replacement (9040) Chain for Black & Decker LCS1020 20V Max Lithium Ion Chainsaw, 10-Inch

This product is a replacement chain made by Forestar.. It’s a 10-inch chain supposed to be used in Black & Decker battery-powered chainsaws.

Is it any good? That’s what I thought when I reviewed it. From the outside, it’s a rather generic chain. There’s nothing on the package to indicate that it’s recommended or accepted by Black & Decker.. And it works pretty well, some say it performs even better than the original Black and Decker chain.

Regarding design, it has semi-chisel teeth on it with a rounded grind. That’s a common characteristic of most small purpose chains. They don’t cut fast, but they last long.

Compared with the other chains on this list, this Forestar chain has the slowest cutting rate. So, keep a note of that.

The good news is that I didn’t have to worry about the initial stretching and looseness that I faced with a few chains. So, it’s definitely a pre-stretched one.

There is no low kickback design integrated into it. So, this should be handled by someone who knows how to maintain safety.

Pros 

  • Pre-stretched chain
  • Works better than the original Black & Decker
  • Affordable
  • Durable edge
  • Great for small tasks

Cons

  • One of the slowest cutting rates
  • Not great for cutting huge logs

Things to Check Before Getting One

Do you think buying a well suitable chainsaw chain is easy? You couldn’t be more wrong. Buying a chainsaw chain needs a much closer look than just looking for fast cutting time or durability. For hardwood cutting, you need a special piece. Check if your chosen chainsaw chain meets your needs.

First, let’s understand how chainsaw chains are built.

Understanding Saw Chain Cutter Teeth

The bit that cuts into your pieces of wood is called a cutter tooth. There are two basic styles of cutter teeth. One is round, and the other is square. The round cutter tooth has a round shape known as the “chipper,” and the other has a square shape with a 90-degree angle known as the “chisel.”

Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Hardwood

Both of them have a round grind on them. There is one other type of cutter tooth. It’s also a square tooth but with a square grind.

What’s the difference between them? The difference is in their ability to cut through the material.

Round Grind Chipper Cutter

A chipper round cutter is the slowest cutter of the three. And it’s also the easiest to sharpen. It has a more durable cutting edge, so it holds the edge better than the rest.

Round grind Square Tooth

This chain cuts much faster than the chipper cutter, thanks to its square tooth edge. However, it also makes it more vulnerable to damage. You’ll need to sharpen it more often compared to the previous one. I prefer this over the chipper cutter for hardwood.

Square Grind Square Tooth

This has the highest cutting rate as its cuts 30% faster than a round grind. It’s because of having squared teeth and square grind. Although this is the most vulnerable tooth, it’s the most suitable tooth for cutting hardwood.

Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Hardwood

Stay-Sharp Ability vs Fast Cutting

What do you need? A chain that lasts long but cuts slower or one that cuts faster but lasts less? Remember, a chain’s stay-sharp ability will not work if the chain hits the hard metal. Both round grind and square grind will be damaged.

Kickback during Cutting

The sudden kickback from a chainsaw can be dangerous. This is one of the main safety issues taught to apprentice woodcutters. To counter this problem, manufacturers now engineered low kickback chainsaw chains. However, this also degrades the cutting rate and limits the style of cutting, such as bore cuts.

So, try to select a chain that has a good balance between low kickback design and cutting ability.

Do You Need a Separate Chain for Cutting Hardwood?

When someone faces this type of wood for the first time, they don’t know the reason why we keep a separate chain for them. I mean, it’s wood, right? Why the need for special treatment?

Well, first of all, hardwood is hard wood It’s hard to cut. You can’t possibly cut it with an ax comfortably. And if you don’t use a separate chain, you’re likely to waste money on buying chains for the rest of your life.

Keeping a separate chain serves two purposes.

a Separate Chain for Cutting Hardwood

The first one is keeping track of the times you used the chain specifically for this purpose. This helps to know when you need to keep a replacement chain close to you. Using a single chain for different types of wood will certainly mess up the tracking.

And then the second purpose is to keep the intensity of use as low as possible. The best chainsaw chain for hardwood herein is a special bunch. You don’t want to waste them on easier types of wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best chain for cutting hardwood?

If there is no bar for budget, we think the deserves the praise. Oregon and Husqvarna come pretty close with their offerings. For low kickback designs, Husqvarna seems to hold the first place.asc0020

  1. Can you cut hardwood with a chainsaw?

You can certainly cut hardwood with a chainsaw. There are a few opponents of chainsaws like the seasoned hedge or the seasoned dogwood. But even these can be cut with chainsaws.

  1. What is the most aggressive chainsaw chain?

Among the best chainsaw chains available in the market, the STIHL seems to have the most aggressive chainsaw chain with its 90-degree angle chisel.

  1. What type of chainsaw chain cuts the fastest?

A full chisel chain with a squared top will cut any wood in the fastest of times. The Oregon and STIHL both have this type of chain.

  1. Is it better to chop wood wet or dry?

From experience, I can tell that wet wood builds up resistance due to the moisture present in the wood. Dry wood is the complete opposite. You can cut it faster, but it also needs time to dry.

Final Verdict

The verdict is out. STIHL’s chain is the best chainsaw chain for cutting hardwood just for its aggressive design and the fastest cutting speed. You do have to keep a file with you to sharpen it frequently.

If you need a chain that has the perfect blend of low kickback safety and a good cutting rate, it’s the Husqvarna chain. I loved these two. They are great investments.

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