Saw chains: What differences are there?

Saw chain is not the same as a saw chain. In this article you will find out in detail which different chain forms are available, how they are recognized and what different chains are used for in practice.

Construction of saw chains

Each saw chain basically consists of three parts:

  • the drive links (serve to transfer power from the pinion to the chain and set them in motion)
  • the links and the
  • cutters

There are important differences especially with the cutting links of the individual chains.

Full chisel and half chisel chains

By means of the cutting members one can distinguish half-chisel teeth and full-chisel teeth. Semi-bit teeth have a rounded side edge, and cut slightly less than full-size teeth. In addition they also have a smaller cutting width. For this reason, they also require less power from the chainsaw and cause less risk of a kickback effect during sawing.

Chisel chains, on the other hand, have wider teeth, require more power from the chainsaw, and also carry faster material. Within the two groups, there are still numerous variants, which differ by the exact design of the tooth shape. Each tooth shape produces an exactly predictable cutting behavior, each with different properties in the chain.

The division into half or full chisel chains, however, is a fundamental distinction that is very important.


A kickback effect occurs whenever the tip is sawn and the rear of the saw touches a solid object. The saw is then thrown back on the saws and injured him mostly in the face and upper body hard. Even when sawing live trees or branches, kickback can occasionally occur.

Setbacks can not only occur easily with full chisel chains, but occasionally be favored by incorrect sharpening.

Other differences

In addition to the tooth shape chains can also be determined by the following differences:

  • Chain width (the width of the drive link - it is between 1.1 mm and 1.6 mm, a special form also exists with 2.0 mm)
  • Chain length (either in cm or in number of chain links)
  • Chain pitch (calculated from the distance of 3 rivets divided by two, expressed in inches), common here are quarter inch, three inch inch and some other dimensions

special chains

Chains can also be carbide-tipped designs - such chains are used primarily for sawing rescue services, which can also cut through sandstone and other materials. A few chains of American manufacturers are also special chains with a special appearance and special tooth shape. But they are otherwise not very common.

Tips & Tricks

Always store the packaging of a saw chain well - it also contains all the angles and adjustments you need to know to sharpen it. Always wear cut-resistant gloves when handling the cutting attachment!

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