The Best Chainsaw Chain for Hardwood

Best chainsaw chain for hardwood

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Table of Contents

Using a chainsaw to cut hardwood is a wise choice. However, not all chainsaws and chains are made the same and will last you long enough. Therefore I made a list of the best chainsaw chains for hardwood.

I go over 6 different chains that are great to use for hardwoods. They have less chance of kickbacks, the chains are relatively sharper and stronger, and are designed to keep the chain running through bigger pieces of hardwood.

I tested them based on their design, build, performance, and price. Each has its own blend of benefits and drawbacks. I trust you’ll find one that suits your needs.

My best pick is the Husqvarna chain. It is lightweight and keeps the chain sharp even after prolonged use. BUT, I love my Husqvarna chainsaw. I’ve actually listed the best Husqvarna chainsaws in a different post.

However, if you don’t have a Husqvarna chainsaw, then perhaps an Oregon or a Trilink chain is a better fit.

At the end you’ll find a buying guide but for now, let us look at the top 6 chainsaw chains on my list.

ProductMain FeaturesOur ScoreCheck Latest Price
Editor’s Favorite
Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain
  • Weight: 10.8 pounds
  • Power Source: Gas Powered
  • Motor Power: 3.5 HP
  • Bar Length: 20 inches
4.7/5 Stars
Budget for 14″ bar
Best budget chainsaw chain
Oregon S52 AdvanceCut
  • Weight: 10.3lb
  • Power Source: Gas-powered
  • Power: 2 HP
  • Bar Length: 16-inches
4.7/5 Stars
Best Value
Trilink chainsaw chain for hardwood best value
Trilink 18 inch
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Power Source: battery-powered
  • Power: 36 volt
  • Bar Length: 14-inches
4.7/5 Stars
Best quality
Stihl chainsaw chain
Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Power Source: battery-powered
  • Power: 36 volt
  • Bar Length: 14-inches
4.6/5 Stars
Best Affordable for 18″
best affordable chainsaw chain for hardwood
Salem Master
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Power Source: battery-powered
  • Power: 36 volt
  • Bar Length: 14-inches
4.4/5 Stars
Long Lasting
Poulan Pro 18 inch chain for hardwood
Poulan Pro
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Power Source: battery-powered
  • Power: 36 volt
  • Bar Length: 14-inches
4.7/5 Stars

1. Best Overall Chain for Hardwood: Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain, 18 Inches

Great chain but only compatible with Husqvarna tools

The Husqvarna chainsaw chain has an impressive performance and a terrific bore cut. This right chainsaw chain is designed to fulfill the requirements of today’s lightweight chainsaw.

Features of Husqvarna chainsaw chain 18-Inch .050 gauge .325 pitch low kickback low-vibration

  • Pitch: 0.325 Inches
  • Gauge: 0.050 Inches
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces

What I liked about it?

The Husqvarna chain has been engineered for low kickback and low vibration levels. The chain from this popular brand lowers user fatigue and improves safety while in operation. This device is suitable for both heavy-duty applications and inexperienced home users. Thus, making the best chainsaw chain for hardwood is a versatile tool for the money. From my experience, I can say that the chain will not be crushed or stretched, despite the fact that it is made of very rough wood.

What I didn’t like about it?

With very little stretching, this chain does retain an edge properly. However, the guide bar will continue to cut all day long if you keep it off the ground and away from snow, ice and rocks.


  • This best chainsaw chain for hardwood generates a low kickback
  • Lightweight
  • It keeps its sharpness well


  • Does not hold the edge

Who can use the Husqvarna cutting chain

Arborists, users of smaller chainsaws in high-production units can use this best chainsaw chain for hardwood. Commercial cutters as well and occasional users will benefit from this tool. If you are into cutting hardwood, this may seem slower. However, that’s how it has been made. Also, even after long days of hard work, this chain will still need only a little filing. 

2. Best Budget Chainsaw Chain 14″ For Hardwood: Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain

Best budget chainsaw chain
14″ chainsaw chain. Perfect for hardwood

The Oregon S52 chainsaw chain is a long-lasting, low-vibration, and low-kickback chain. This aids in reducing user fatigue over long periods of run time. This hardwood chainsaw chain is compatible with all models of chainsaws. It has a 3/8-inch pitch, .05-inch (1.3-mm) gauge, and 52 drive links.

Features of Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 14-Inch Bar

  • Pitch: 3/8 inch
  • Gauge: 0.050 inches
  • Weight: 7.68 ounces

What I liked about it?

The oil lubrication system on the Oregon S52 chainsaw chain lessens vibrations. This results in a more comfortable sawing operation. The LubriTec oiling mechanism makes it easy to keep the chain in good working order.

The best chainsaw chain for hardwood features a set of guides and ridges that let oil flow under the rivets and into the mechanism. This lubricates the chain adequately. Hardened rivets and a tough, long-lasting chrome outer coating aid to decrease wear and chain adjustments.

What I didn’t like about it?

The Oregon chains S52 do not work well for heavy and high speed applications. Also, another important thing that I have come across is that compared to other chainsaw chains of the same capacity, it also wears down faster.


  • Low kickback
  • Easy installation
  • The semi-chisel chain has a larger debris tolerance.


  • Dulls out faster
  • Does not work well for fast applications.

Who can use the Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for 14-Inch Bar?

Good choice for hobbyists, DIYers, and other homeworkers as it is easy to operate and handle. I would not recommend it for people who would need it in large workshops. That’s because these chains wear down faster. 

3. Best Value: Trilink 18 inches Chainsaw Chain 

Trilink chainsaw chain for hardwood best value
Strong chain that fits multiple brands

The Trilink Saw Chain offers a lot of characteristics that make it a fantastic chainsaw chain at an affordable price. It generates low kickback, which is one of the first things to look for when purchasing the best chainsaw chain for hardwood.

Features of Trilink 3/8 LP .050 Gauge 62 Drive Links 18 in Chainsaw Chain

  • Pitch: 3/8 inches
  • Gauge: 0.050 inches
  • Weight: 0.81 ounces

What I liked about it?

The Trilink chainsaw chains contain self-lubricating functionality. So, you do not have to worry about maintaining them every now and then. Also, I like how you can easily sharpen it. For more info on that topic I’d recommend to read the best chainsaw sharpeners.

It has a Centri-Lube oil distribution system that helps your saw chain to last longer. The semi-chisel cutters add a level of safety. Moreover, the hard chromed and heat-treated cutters offer a weather-resistant chain. This gives a very smooth cut.

What I didn’t like about it?

The Trilink 18 inches chain is a very aggressive chainsaw chain. It is not at all easy to use for an amateur.


  • 1-year warranty
  • Worth the money
  • Easy maintenance


  • Might be tough to use for a new user

Who can use Trilink 3/8 LP .050 Gauge 62 Drive Links 18 in Chainsaw Chain?

This is a very strong chainsaw chain. Thus, it is a great tool for loggers and arborists working in professional setups. The chainsaw chain is not suitable for someone who is new to using chainsaws. It will cut great for professionals who spend longer hours.

4. Best Quality: Stihl Chainsaw Chain 26RS68

Stihl chainsaw chain
Can’t go wrong with Stihl

The Stihl is a high-quality chain at a reasonable cost. I would say it has all of the unique characteristics that make it the best chainsaw chain for hardwood. The chain is 18 inches long, which is ideal and compatible with a variety of chainsaw types.

Features of Stihl Chainsaw Chain- 26RS68- 18 Inch, 68 Drive Links

  • Pitch: 0.325 inches
  • Gauge: 0.063 inches
  • Weight: ‎9.6 ounces

What I liked about it?

The Stihl Chainsaw Chain – 26RS68- 18 Inch is a solidly constructed chainsaw. You can cut hard and rough wood with chains, and the chains stay sharp even after many hours of use. Also, the chains are hard-chromed and don’t vibrate at all.

This chainsaw chain for hardwood  is built for tearing and shredding through logs like a beast. So, you can expect an aggressive cut without burdening down the engine. And, it does not immediately dull and retains its sharpness for a long period.

What I didn’t like about it?

The Stihl chain does not hold the edge well. However, its aggressiveness trades off.


  • Does not dull quickly
  • Puts less stress on the sprockets
  • Durable


  • It does not hold the edge well. 
  • Only fits Stihl equipment

Who can use Stihl Chainsaw Chain- 26RS68- 18 Inch, 68 Drive Links?

It is ideal for arborists and loggers as it can cut aggressive cuts in hardwood. Homeowners who want to cut storm trees can also use this high-performing chainsaw chain. Anybody who wants to cut quickly can surely pick this up.

5. Best Affordable: SALEM MASTER 16 Inch

best affordable chainsaw chain for hardwood
Cheap but an definitely do the trick for you

The SALEM MASTER chainsaw chains are made up of high-quality materials. The build material includes Germany-imported high-grade steel. This adds to the maximum performance on the hardwood.

Features of SALEM MASTER 16 Inch Chainsaw Chains – .050″ Gauge – 3/8 LP Pitch

  • Pitch: ⅜ inches
  • Gauge: 0.050 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces

What I liked about it?

It’s one of the more affordable options, making it more practical if you plan on purchasing numerous spare chains at once. The Salem Master chainsaw chain, despite its low price, does not disappoint. It has semi-chisel teeth, chrome-coated, that maintain their sharpness even when the hardwood is cut.

The rivets treated with heat add to the endurance of this best chainsaw chain for hardwood. I personally liked the low-vibration design that reduces vibration substantially. Also, this keeps the chainsaw in good working order. The Salem Master chain offers low kickback. Thus, if you are not very experienced, using this will be a suitable option.

What I didn’t like about ?

The Salem Master chain may sometimes be not compatible with the intended chainsaws. So, you would need to check the chain’s compatibility list before picking this one.


  • Rust resistant
  • Better wear resistance
  • Durable


  • Not compatible with all chainsaw models

Who can use SALEM MASTER 16 Inch Chainsaw Chains – .050″ Gauge – 3/8 LP Pitch?

Professional workshops, arborists, and loggers looking for a long-lasting chainsaw chain. Even after cutting good size wood, this chain does not wear down. 

6. Best Longlasting Chainsaw Chain: Poulan Pro, 18″

Poulan Pro 18 inch chain for hardwood
Poulan Pro sturdy chain

The Poulan Pro chainsaw chain is made of heat-treated and hard-chromed steel. This makes this 18-inch chain an extremely powerful chainsaw and weather-resistant. Also, even after cutting hardwood, this chain maintains a razor-sharp edge for a long time.

Features of poulan/weed eater 051338 Poulan Pro

  • Pitch: 3/8 inches
  • Gauge: 0.050 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 ounces

What I liked about it?

Because of its semi-chisel teeth, the Poulan Pro chain isn’t the fastest when it comes to cutting performance. But, it performs very smoothly, owing to its vibration-dampening qualities. This chainsaw chain for hardwood should not cause any serious problems as long as the teeth are kept sharp.

Its long-lasting structure makes it a good choice for you if you want to do well-controlled cutting operations. The Poulan Pro chainsaw cutters’ two corners provide the best performance. For sharper and more precise cuts, it incorporates a notched bumper drive link with chamfer chisel cutters.

What I didn’t like about it?

The Poulan Pro chain may have compatibility issues. If you’re considering purchasing this chain, make sure your chainsaw is compatible with it.


  • This best chainsaw chain for hardwood is extremely durable
  • Retains the sharpness of the edge for a long time
  • Smooth and efficient operation


  • Expensive
  • Not that compatible

Who can use poulan/weed eater 051338 Poulan Pro?

Arborists, DIYers, homeowners can make the best use of this. It can also work well for heavy-duty hardwood cutting operations.

My Verdict

I’ve done extensive research to come up with the best chainsaw chain for hardwood options. The first one, a Husqvarna 18-inch chainsaw chain, is, nonetheless, my top pick. It possesses the attributes and features necessary to easily cut the hardwood. If you’re a homeowner, or even a professional, looking for a chainsaw chain to use on a large outdoor project, this is the chainsaw chain for you.

Buying Guide

Best chainsaw chain for hardwood buying guide

I am sure each one of us has used a chainsaw at least once in our lives. We might be homeowners, owners of forested land or professional foresters/arborists. The one thing in common is we all have a chainsaw to cut trees and trim branches. 

As you can see from my list, there are different types of chainsaws available in the market. They differ in their power and size. The wood they are supposed to cut also differs in its type. There is softwood, hardwood, and also firewood. Today, let us discuss a little about the different types of chainsaw chains that are useful in cutting hardwood or firewood.

First, what is hardwood? Wood that comes from broad-leaved trees like ash, oak or beech is called hardwood. It is also the wood obtained from dicot trees. The wood from these trees is harder in its texture. It is used in high-quality furniture and flooring. On the other hand, firewood is wood that is used as fuel. Firewood is also a kind of hardwood, dense in texture. Hardwood contrasts with softwood in that it is of a superior level and more strong compared to softwood. Softwood is lighter, softer and has increased moisture content.

So, let us go back to chainsaws and their chains. Can all chainsaws be used to cut hardwood? The answer is no. The important thing to note here is that hardwood is denser. An ordinary chainsaw might break if used for cutting hardwood and firewood. Hardwood requires a sturdy, more powerful chainsaw with sharper teeth on its chain.

The following are some important features of a chainsaw chain for hardwood. These have to be kept in mind before purchasing the chain.

#1 Types of Chainsaw Chains

There are several types of chains like low-profile cutters, semi-chisel, and full-chisel cutters. Amongst these, only the third type, i.e., the full-chisel cutter chain, is suitable for hardwood and firewood. Professional woodworkers find this an important power tool. These chains are well known for cutting precisely. They also work at a good speed. They go in and cut deeply, even if the wood is really rough and hard. The full chisel cutter chain has a round grind profile. However, this kind of chain needs regular maintenance and upkeep.

This above was the basic factor to consider before deciding to buy that perfect chainsaw chain for hardwood. There are other considerations too. Let us look at them.

#2 Chainsaw Bar Length

Chainsaw chains come in a range of sizes. They are anywhere from 8-10 inches at a minimum to a maximum length of 24 inches. The chainsaws used for firewood and hardwood usually need longer chain bars and chains. 

Another important thing is that the chain you buy should fit your chainsaw correctly. It is paramount that the chain is of the perfectly right size. It should neither be too snug or too loose. That means it should not get stuck nor should it hang from your device. Because if it does, the device won’t function. Always ensure that the chain you are buying fits your model perfectly. As a rule, required chain length is mentioned on pretty much most of the chainsaws.

#3 Gauge

By gauge is the thickness of a chain’s drive links. That portion of the drive link that fits into the portion of the chain’s guide bar determines the gauge. It is expressed as a fraction of an inch. The measurement of a chain’s gauge is important because it indicates to the chainsaw’s user how strong the drive links are.

In order for a chain to fit the chainsaw well, the chain’s gauge and the chainsaw’s bar dimensions should be equal. If this does not happen, your chainsaw won’t function properly. Hence, before purchasing a chain for use on hardwood, check this aspect. 

#4 Safety

Even chainsaws used for hardwood need to have safety features. This is all the more important as chainsaws cutting firewood are mostly on the more powerful and sturdier side. Accidents caused by them are guaranteed to cause serious injury. Ensuring safety mechanisms in hardwood- and firewood-cutting chainsaw should be a top priority. Mainly there are two aspects to safety. These are explained as follows:

A) Anti-Vibration: 

Vibration is the small, short to-and-fro movement of a chainsaw which occurs when it is being operated. This can be harmful as it prevents the user from cutting in a straight line. Sometimes, even visualizing the field of work can become difficult due to this. It would be really beneficial if the chainsaws used for cutting hardwood came with little-to-no vibration. This would enable the user to function smoothly and more efficiently. Vibration also makes the tool lose extra power. This is another reason why it should be kept to a minimum.

The best option here is to look in the market for a chainsaw brand which does not vibrate much. If this is not feasible, then having vibration isolators on your device should help. Vibration will also be less if your power tools are kept in good condition at all times. Accordingly, your chain also will need to be low on vibration.

As an example, the Oregon S52 AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain comes with an anti-vibration handle.

B) Anti-Kickback:

A kickback is a sudden, unexplained motion of the chainsaw chain’s guide bar when it gets stuck in a piece of wood. Sometimes, the chainsaw is jolted upwards suddenly, mainly due to its chain’s guide bar getting stuck somewhere. This is by far one of the most important reasons behind chainsaw mishaps. 

Even apart from mishaps, this kickback motion significantly lessens the speed of your chainsaw. It makes the chainsaw less efficient. The chain you purchase should definitely be kickback-free if you don’t want any untoward incident while using it. The Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain, 18 Inches have an anti-kickback mechanism in place, making them a top chain choice.


Why is my chainsaw burning the wood?

It strongly indicates that the chain is positioned incorrectly. This happens when you have excessive chain rattling, and chain cutting. If this is the case, stop using the chainsaw right away until the chain has been restored properly. 

What is the difference between chisel and semi chisel chain?

The semi-chisel chain’s rounded teeth and grid edge make it simple to file. Even in tough sawing environments, a semi-chain will keep its sharpness longer. This happens despite cutting more slowly than a full chisel chain.

Which chain for a chainsaw is best for hardwood?

Semi-chisel is the best option for chains that work on firewood as well as hardwood. Full chisel chains, on the other hand, are designed specifically for cutting into hardwood and can do it with ease. However, it is well known that the sharpness of their square teeth deteriorate quickly. 

Is it better to cut wet or dry wood with a chainsaw?

Actually, cutting wet wood is considerably simpler than cutting dry wood. Because dry wood is devoid of moisture, there is increased friction when the chainsaw chain touches the wood fibers. The chain slows down as a result of this friction. 

When should logs be split?

In the end of winter or early spring, it is best to chop firewood. This permits a lengthy drying process. Next, the logs’ ends were shaped to be as square and flat as possible so they could support themselves securely during splitting


The best chainsaw chain for hardwood assures quick and clean cuts. Additionally, they also reduce user fatigue and are easy to maintain. You should never underestimate the value of having a sturdy chain. Since it will not get stuck in the wood while cutting, thus, preventing the kickbacks.

My best choice is the Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain. They are the right chainsaw chains for cutting hardwood. They are sturdy enough to work with both hardwood and firewood on a daily basis without wearing off too much. They also self-lubricate, making their maintenance easy. Another amongst the best options for cutting hardwood and firewood is the Husqvarna chainsaw. The Husqvarna 61 is a classic all-rounder chainsaw. It is reliable and tough enough for both hardwood and firewood. It also comes with a powerful, excellent performance engine.

The right chainsaw chain for hardwood will make the process a lot easier for you, as well as safer. The above compilation of different types of chainsaw chains mentions the features, pros, and cons of different chains. The mentioned pointers will help you choose the best chainsaw chain for hardwood. Select one that is compatible with your saw first, and then with your project.

Let me know which one suits you and why.