Best Chainsaw Chains for Cutting Firewood – 2020 Guide

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Cutting firewood is a common chainsaw use. But picking the wrong chain can give you a hard time even with the best-rated chainsaw! Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this detail! More often than not, it can make a huge difference.

Read on to find out why and how. 

Comparison Chart of the​ Best Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Product

Our Rating

​Price

Husqvarna 20" .050 Gauge 3/8 Pitch

Best Overall

Oregon S56T

Runner-up

Tallox 16" Chainsaw Chain

Best for the Money

Oregon S62T

Best Oregon Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Firewood

Stihl 3610 005 0055

Best Stihl Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Firewood

What Makes a Chainsaw Chain Great for Cutting Firewood?

The ideal chainsaw for cutting firewood must fit your current bar (size and length). But also feature the right tooth style for handling firewood. 

Size (pitch & gauge) and length (number of drive links) are usually stamped on your chainsaw’s bar. Whereas the tooth style sums up to only three options (only one of them is ideal for cutting firewood). 

Pitch Size 

Can be one of the following values ¼, 3/8, .325, or .404. It represents the distance between the rivets of a chain strap. The larger this distance, the bigger will be the cutters, and the volume of wood carved with every chain rotation.

A 3/8-inch chain pitch will take bigger wood chips than a .325-inch model. Thus, the chainsaw will get the job done faster at the same speed, and it will handle hardwoods much easier.

Gauge Size 

Can be .063, .058, .050, or .043. It represents the thickness of the drive links. And it must correspond to the thickness of the guide bar, to fit the bar guide groove. The thicker the drive links, the stronger and heavier they are. But spinning a chain with a bigger, let’s say .063-inch gauge, will impact the chain’s speed performance. It will rotate slower than a chain with a smaller, .050-inch gauge, and need more time to get the job done. 

Drive Links 

Represents the total number of drive links that the chain has. And you can easily count it yourself if it’s not stamped on the bar. 

Tooth Style 

The tooth style dictates the performance of the chainsaw. It is an essential aspect when looking for a chain specifically for cutting firewood. You’ll find chains with teeth in any of the chirper, semi-chisel, or full-chisel styles. The first one is for small softwood. The last one is for hardwood. 

In a nutshell, the semi-chisel tooth style, along with the right size and length, make a chain great for cutting firewood!

Can You Really Find a Quality Chainsaw Chain That’s Affordable?

There is this misconception that quality comes with high costs. While we all search tools from the most reputable manufacturers, we expect them to come with a hefty price tag. And whenever we encounter a product that doesn’t match our price expectations, we’re skeptical. But what if we’re stepping away from a gold mine?

The products we review in the section below will help you remember the essential. The label isn’t everything. You can still find good quality chainsaw chains for affordable price points. You’ll see it in our best-for-the-money selection.

Hopefully, it will help you keep an open mind for whatever you’ll find on your own research starting from here.

Quick Take: Best ​Chainsaws for Cutting Firewood

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best chainsaws for cutting firewood:

  1. Husqvarna 20" .050 Gauge 3/8 Pitch
  2. Oregon S56T
  3. Tallox 16" Chainsaw Chain

Review of the Best Chainsaw Chains for Cutting Firewood

Below, we have selected some of the best-rated chainsaw chains you can use for cutting firewood. You’ll find options from popular brands like Husqvarna, Oregon, or Stihl. But, also, a less-known brand that can offer great value for the money.

​Best Overall:
Husqvarna 20" .050 Gauge 3/8 Pitch

PROS

  • OEM chain for Husqvarna chainsaws
  • Safe to use, thanks to its low kickback
  • Comfortable to operate with for extended periods
  • Compatible with nine different Husqvarna chainsaw models
  • Features an accurate bore cut with great overall performances
  • ​Suits both occasional, less-seasoned users and commercial cutters

CONS

  • Tends to stretch over time
  • Requires careful maintenance for optimal functioning

Our Review

This is the H80 (72V) chain type from Husqvarna, the 20-inch model. It is compatible with the 55 & 455 Rancher, 257, 261, 262 & 357 XP, 359, 460, and 460 Rancher chainsaws. And it weighs 12 ounces, at 20 x 0.2 x 0.5 inches.

It’s a 72 drive links chain with a 3/8-inch pitch and .050-inch gauge. Incorporating the LowVib technology, it stands out as a comfortable addition to your chainsaw. It facilitates low-vibration operation and makes for a low kickback.

From the occasional user looking to get some quick firewood at home to the arborists with more intense needs, it can make a versatile choice.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

For a genuine part, this 20-inch chain from Husqvarna brings in great value. And it is usually quite intuitive and straightforward to install. Out of the package, it is incredibly sharp and will last long, provided you always make sure to keep it clean.

​Runner-up:
Oregon S56T

PROS

  • Suits chainsaws of up to 42CC
  • Includes two chains in the pack
  • Reduces vibrations with at least 25%
  • Stays lubricated longer, thanks to the LubriTec oiling system
  • Stays sharper for longer, thanks to the chrome-plated cutters
  • ​Meets the ANSI and CSA safety requirements for low kickback

CONS

  • Not an OEM model
  • Manufactured in China

Our Review

This is a double loop package, including two 16-inch chains. Since it is not a genuine part, it is compatible with several different chainsaw products, which gives you more flexibility. The chain is sized with a low-profile 3/8-inch pitch, a .050-inch gauge, and 56 drive links.

The special design features that it comes with make it a durable choice. Take the LubriTec oiling system, for instance. It allows oil to linger longer on the parts where it is most needed. That’s a handy feature for chainsaw that's main purpose is to cut firewood.

Then, all of its rivets are hardened and quenched. This detail makes the chain’s surface more resistant to wear and tear. Thanks to it, the chain will also require fewer tension adjustments.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The chain is specifically designed to stay sharper for longer. The cutters are chrome-plated, thus having a harder surface and an increased wear resistance. As long as you use it properly and maintain it just the same, you’ll have to sharpen it only once in a while.

​Best for the Money:
Tallox 16" Chainsaw Chain

PROS

  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Boasts above-average cutting performance
  • A package of three chainsaw chains at a great price
  • Quite easy to install and set up for optimal functioning
  • Provides compatibility with an impressive range of chainsaws
  • ​Well sharpened, with more cutting teeth than some original chains

CONS

  • Tends to get dull somewhat fast
  • No language instructions, only diagrams

Our Review

The best value for the money comes from a Tallox package with three chains. Styled at a 3/8-inch pitch, .050-inch gauge, and with 56 drive links, it fits many different chainsaws. From Echo and Poulan to Craftsman and Remington, if it’s a 35-45CC engine, it will work very well.

The chains are made of high-strength German steel and feature a low profile. They work best on light and mid-weight chainsaws. And each one measures 7.2 x 4.4 x 2.4 inches at 1.45 pounds. Thanks to the tooth design, a Tallox chain will cut faster, throwing bulkier bigger chips.

All in all, it features a profile that works best for cutting firewood, especially if it’s soft to moderately hardwood.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Well sharpened and set up correctly, this chain can easily outrun its competitors. The oversized teeth cut through the wood so naturally that it puts incredibly little strain on the operator.

​Best Oregon Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Firewood:
​Oregon S62T

PROS

  • Provides good value as a two-chain pack
  • Carries a design that reduces the kickback
  • Has semi-chisel teeth for optimal firewood cutting
  • Works with a wide range of chainsaws sized up to 42CC
  • Features a low profile, so it requires less torque for cutting
  • ​Keeps the bar well-oiled with the LubriTec lubrication system

CONS

  • Not an OEM product
  • Might stretch faster if not properly used

Our Review

Those familiarized with Oregon’s spare parts know what to expect from this chain for cutting firewood: an equally dependable option for both beginners and more advanced operators. For extra safety, it meets the ANSI and CSA requirement standards in terms of kickback intensity.

Naturally, it features Oregon’s AdvanceCut profile, which gives it decent durability along with the much-coveted LubriTec system. The low vibration, the chrome-plated cutters, and the hardened rivets are also part of the deal.

All in all, you get a pack with two 18-inch chains, the low-profile kind of pitch at 3/8-inch. The gauge is .050-inch, and it has a 62 drive link length. Judging by all these, it would pair chainsaws with sizes of up to 42CC.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

As always, Oregon knows how to sell its goods. With this chain set, one can get all of the AdvanceCut handy features, handling firewood as if cutting through butter.

​Best Stihl Chainsaw Chain for Cutting Firewood:
​Stihl 3610 005 0055

PROS

  • Makes a great option in terms of longevity
  • Designed with a low-profile, for a lower kickback
  • Two chains in one package, all genuine OEM Stihl parts
  • ​Super easy to install and make it cut firewood in an instant
  • Stands up to the quality standards that have made Stihl famous
  • Comes with a narrow kerf for superior cutting performance and efficiency

CONS

  • Works exclusively with Stihl chainsaws
  • Dirt will quickly impact its performances

Our Review

Working with a Stihl chainsaw, you will want to try out this particular chain of 16 inches. It’s a narrow kerf model with a low-profile and, consequently, a just as low kickback. It measures 6.3 x 4.1 x 3 inches and weighs 12.3 ounces. And it totals 55 drive links with a 3/8-inch pitch and a .043 gauge.

Since the kerf is the width of the chain’s cutting face, it’s great that it has a narrow profile. It will face less resistance when cutting. It moves faster through the wood, at least compared to chains with a standard kerf.

This chain works very well, it is built with high quality, and it won’t disappoint you through cutting firewood at all!

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This dedicated Stihl chain makes the perfect choice for cutting firewood. It stands out as a particularly fast and efficient chain. Durability is yet another one of its strengths, something specific to the products belonging to this manufacturer.

How to Put on a Chainsaw Chain

If you put the chain the wrong way and it moves backward, it won’t cut. This is even more frustrating with firewood, which is a relatively tough wood. Since there are only two ways you can do it, you also have 50-50 chances of doing it wrong.

Here’s how to be 100% sure you put on the chainsaw chain correctly. Let’s say you have the 20-inch Husqvarna chain, our best overall choice. What you need to do is to:

  1. ​First, put the bar of your chainsaw on the bar studs

  2. Then, grab the chain and put it around the sprocket and the bar

  3. ​Make sure that it all goes clockwise - the clutch, the sprocket, and the chain - as you look at it from the side of the bar

  4. ​Double-check, by making sure that the sharp part of the chain is moving forward on the top of the bar

And that’s all! The process is quite straightforward and intuitive. Provided you take into account those small details that can make a difference!

Just in case you would like a little bit of extra help, check out the video below. You’ll get the chance to watch the actual steps in action in a full overview of what was just described.

​Conclusion

By now, it is quite evident that picking the best chainsaw chain for cutting firewood isn’t that complicated. You have a few options as the best overall and its runner-up. But, also, the best chain for the price point, and two best picks from reputable manufacturers. Make sure you select a model that is perfectly compatible with your current chainsaw. And put it on, the right way!

People Also Ask

Do you happen to have any more questions that would help you in the process? Take a look at the ones below. Many people looking to buy a chainsaw chain for cutting firewood have these questions, too!

How To Measure Chainsaw Chain

To measure the chainsaw chain, you need to measure its pitch and gauge, and to count the drive links. The pitch is the distance between any three rivets of the chain, divided by half. The gauge is the width of the drive link, a really small value that needs fine measurement.

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

Both a loose and an over tighten chainsaw chain are bad. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific point of reference for this. You should be able to “feel” how much tension you have in the chain. With practice, you will be able to tell when you need to tighten or loosen it.

How To Untangle a Chainsaw Chain

First, find the two most opposite loops from the chain. By grabbing each of these two opposite loops in each hand, the chain should begin to unravel.

When you’ve reduced it to a single loop, move your fingers to its lowest part. Then push it to shoot straight up, vertically. Gravity will play its role, and the links should untangle while they tension in the right position.

What Do The Numbers On A Chainsaw Chain Mean?

The ¼, 3/8, .325, or .404-inch values are the pitch size: the size of the chain.

The .063, .058, .050, or .043-inch values are the gauge size: the thickness of the drive links.

The third number is usually the length of the chain: its number of drive links.

Which Way Does The Chain Go On A Chainsaw?

There are two ways you can put the chain on your chainsaw. Either way, the chain will move, but if you put it wrong, it will go backward, not cutting at all. The correct way for the chain to go is clockwise, as you look at the bar from its wider side!

When To Replace Chainsaw Chain?

There are several different circumstances when you should replace the chainsaw chain. Like when:

  • Some teeth are worn differently or are already broken.
  • You tension it properly, but it doesn’t stay that way.
  • You start noticing smoke when you cut with it.
  • It starts leaving sawdust instead of coarse chips.
  • The chainsaw is acting as if not properly balanced.