Understanding the Different Types of Chainsaw Chains

You may know that there are many different types of chainsaw: cordless, electric, gas-powered.

But did you know that there are also many different types of chainsaw chains?

It’s true. Each type of chain provides you with a different cut, so you need to use the right chain for the right job.
So how do you figure out which types of chainsaw chains are best for you? Just read on!

What follows is a quick and easy guide to chains and their pros and cons.

Types of Cutters

Chainsaw chains are made by attaching a bunch of teeth, or cutters, together. These cutters are made out of different shapes and will be suited for different jobs.

Full Chisel Cutters

Full chisel cutters are square-cornered and make a very efficient chainsaw chain. They are great at cutting through hardwoods like oak and ash. You can use these cutters on branches or for felling trees.

The downside to full chisel cutters is that they aren’t very durable. There is also the chance of a kickback when using a full chisel, so always practice proper safety.

Semi Chisel Cutters

Semi-chisel cutters are more rounded than full chisel. They are great for cutting through softwoods such as pine and they are very durable.

Semi chisel cutters are, however, not as efficient. They will take longer to get the job done, but they don’t need sharpening as often.

Square Chisel Cutters

These are a special type of full chisel cutter. These make up the fastest chains out there, but at a cost. They dull very quickly and require frequent professional sharpening.

Never use these if there are rough cutting conditions, but if you want a job done as soon as possible, square chisel may be the answer.

Types of Chainsaw Chains

So now that you know there are different cutters that makeup chains, you need to know the difference between them. Some are better for certain types of wood than others, while still others are better for different sized chainsaw bars.


These have the most teeth on a chain and are great for a smooth, efficient cut. It is the most common chainsaw chain out there.

It’s ideal for milling lumber that will be used in construction.

Full Skip

Full skip chains have the least amount of teeth and are best on bars longer than 24 inches. In fact, the longer the bar, the better a full skip chain will be.

This is because each cutter takes a bigger bite out of the wood. The upside is that a full skip can chew through wood, but the downside is that it’ll leave rough edges.

Semi Skip

An intermediate chain between standard and full skip. If you have a lot of work to do, this chain will give you the best of both worlds: decent durability with fairly quick cutting.

This is the choice of many professionals who will be doing a lot of cutting.

Get Cutting!

While there are many different types of chainsaw chains, this guide should have helped you to make the right decision.

Remember that each chain is better suited for certain jobs and you’ll be fine.

You can check out our blog for everything you need to know about chainsaws.


  1. Thanks for the article. Pics would have been nice, though.

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