You have grown a beautiful garden in your backyard and are proud of it.
The hours you have spent tending to your plants has been paying off. You feed them, give them water, and prune them to health.
And one of the best gardening tools you have is your trusty small chainsaw that helps you prune small trees and branches.
But it’s becoming a bit more difficult to use that small chainsaw because the chain seems to be wearing off. You have a great electric chainsaw sharpener and have sharpened the chain several times.
But now it seems the time to retire this chain has come. But before that you need to pick the best chainsaw chain you can replace it with.
What is a small chainsaw?
A small chainsaw is a cutting tool that comes with a guided bar and chain that is driven by a motor. The power source could be electric, battery, or gas.
A small chainsaw is smaller than the conventional chainsaw used to cut huge trees. Usually the bar length is between 12 to 16 inches.It has lesser cutting power and costs less than such professional chainsaws.
That makes the small chainsaw a great tool for gardeners that want to trim or prune small trees and branches in their garden.
Do you need a small chainsaw?
You can cut the branches of small trees in your garden with a pruning saw. But that will take you some time and effort depending on how many trees you have.
That’s where a small chainsaw can help you prune branches of several trees quickly without breaking a sweat.
When do you need to replace your chainsaw chain?
When the chain is new it will cut with great efficiency. You will be able to cut with easy and it will feel like a knife through butter. You won’t need to apply a lot of pressure for cutting the wood.
But after several uses of the chain the cutting efficiency will reduce. It will keep reducing till you need to apply more pressure to cut.
That’s when the chainsaw can get a bit dangerous as well. The dull chain can cause it to get stuck in the wood and cause kickback as you pull it out.
A dull chain can also overheat the chainsaw motor and damage it.
When you feel your chainsaw chain has reached this level of dullness, you can either sharpen it with a chainsaw sharpener or you can replace it with a new one.
What are the components of a small chainsaw chain?
A small chainsaw chain covers a bar that is about 12 to 16 inches in length.
Before you can choose a chain suitable for your small chainsaw let’s take a look at what are the components of the chain.
The drive link is the part that fits around the chainsaw sproket and the guide bar.
The right and left hand cutters are the teeth that cut the wood. The teeth can be full-chisel or semi-chisel. The full-chisel teeth have sharp angled corners that make cutting fast but they tend to wear down faster. The semi-chisel teeth have rounded corners that make cutting a bit slower but they tend to remain sharp longer.
The tie strap connects the drive link and the cutter to each other. The lugs are the parts that connect the other components together.
The depth gauge determines the depth to which the cutters can cut. This can range from 0.043 inch to 0.063 inch.
The chain pitch determines the size of the chain and is the average distance between two sprockets. It usually is 1/4 inch, 0.325 inch, 0.375 inch, or 0.404 inch.
How to choose a small chainsaw chain
It’s simple to know the type of chainsaw chain you need once you know the important factors to look for.
Sometimes you can get lucky and get the exact chain you need based on just the make and model of your chainsaw. But often times this will not be sufficient and you will need to consider three other factors to make your buying decision.
The three pieces of information you need are:
The pitch is the length measured between the rivet on one tie strap and the rivet on the other tie strap.
The pitch will be either of these sizes: 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 0.325 inch, or 0.404 inch.
The drive links are the part of the chain that connect it to the guide bar. You can place your chain on a table and count the drive links.
The gauge size is the thickness of the drive link that goes into the guide bar. The gauge sizes can be 0.063 inch, 0.058 inch, 0.050 inch, or 0.043 inch.
Once you have these three pieces of information for your chain you can buy a replacement chain that matches with them.
Information available on the bar
The first thing you need to do is take a look at the bar. You may get the three pieces of information printed on them.
You need to remove the bar from the chainsaw and the numbers may be on the end of the bar that connects to the chainsaw.
Information not available on the bar
You might have the information printed on the bar or it might have got erased. So you may need to do further investigation to find out the three pieces of required information.
The number of drive links is easy to know because you can just count them.
To get the remaining information you need to check if there are some details printed on the chain. Usually this could be on the drive links or the cutter teeth. Each manufacturer can have their own code to decipher this information.
Then you can search online for the manufacturer and their gauge/pitch information. This could be something that is available as part of their user manual for each of their chainsaw models.
How to maintain a small chainsaw chain
A chainsaw can be a dangerous piece of equipment if you’re not careful with it.
One precaution before using a chainsaw is to ensure that the chain is sharp and free from debris.
You need to ensure the chain is provided the right amount of lubrication. This should be done by adding sufficient chain oil in the reservoir.
The chain oil ensures that the chain is well lubricated and it does not fly off the chain when in operation. You can also use motor oil but the problem is it might not stick to the chain and you’ll need to keep adding it frequently.
With frequent use, the teeth of your chainsaw chain will get dull. Using a dull chainsaw is an invitation to a potential dangerous kickback.
You will need to ensure they remain sharp by using a chainsaw sharpener. This could be done using a round file, a mounted sharpener, or an electric chainsaw sharpener.
When the chainsaw is not in operation it is advisable to cover the chain with a protective cover that will prevent the risk of injury in case children or pets accidentally turn it on.
The Oregon S52 is a 14 inch chain for the small chainsaw. It is a high-quality chain that has low-vibration so your cutting will be less tiring.
It also has a low-kickback design with a notched bumperdriver which means you are better protected from injuring yourself during the cutting.
The Chamfer Chisel cutters have twin cutting corners which gives you excellent cutting performance.
You can use this chain with a chainsaw of the brands Craftsman, Echo, Homelite, or Poulan, that has a profile with 3/8 inch pitch and 52 drive links.
One problem with the Oregon S52 chain is that it tends to get dull after a few cutting sessions and you will need to spend some time resharpening it.
The Husqvarna 531300372 can fit a number of chainsaws of the Husqvarna family.
You can use it on a chainsaw that has a 3/8 inch pitch and .050 inch gauge.
This chain can give you professional level cutting performance for high-demanding jobs especially with it’s low-vibration.
This chain is quite inexpensive for the performance you get from it. It does have the problem that it wears out after a few cutting sessions and you will need to resharpen the blade.
The Poulan 952051209 chain can be used as a replacement for several chainsaw models from Poulan.
It comes with a color match system that can help you be certain that it fits to your particular chainsaw. It can be used for Poulan chainsaw that have a chain with a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.050 gauge and 52 drive links.
This chain comes with Chamfer Chisel cutters which ensures that you get a great cutting performance.
It has a notched bumperdrive link that helps reduce kickback and protects you from getting injured by the chainsaw.
The Poulan 952051209 chain is quite inexpensive and works an an easy replacement in case your existing chain is giving you trouble.
You might find that some of the sockets tend to fit a bit tighter than others but that won’t prevent it from working as expected.
The Worx 14 inch chain can be used as a replacement for the WG305 and WG305.1 Worx chainsaw.
It comes with ramp shaped depth gauges and a bumperdrive link that will help reduce kickback and help protect you from injury.
This chain can fit any chainsaw that can handle a chain with a gauge of 0.05 inch, pitch of 3/8 inch, and 52 drive links.
This chain has the Chamfer Chisel cutters as well which means you get great cutting performance and durability.
It comes with a Vibe-Ban chassis that will help reduce vibrations by 25% at the handles.
You might find that it gets dull after a few uses and you will need to resharpen the blades. The Worx 14 inch chain is pretty inexpensive so you can get a new once if you don’t care to resharpen it.
The thumb screw clamp can give you some trouble and you may need to use a pair of pliers to tighten.
The Greenworks 14-inch chain is a replacement for the 20012 and 29102 models of the Greenworks chainsaw. Though it can be compatible with other 14-inch chainsaws available on the market.
You will need to ensure that the chainsaw can use a chain with a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.050 inch gauge and 52 drive links to be able to use this chain.
The Greenworks chains does tend to get worn out after cutting a few small trees and you will either need to sharpen it or get it replaced.
It has a good cutting performance that should help your Greenworks small chainsaw function for it’s cutting and trimming purpose.
It’s time for you to enjoy your beautiful garden.
You’ll be able to use your trusty small chainsaw to prune trees and branches like you used to.
All you need to do is to get the wornout chain replaced with a new one that will get the small chainsaw working as good as new.
I recommend using the Oregon S52 14-Inch Chainsaw Chain for your chainsaw because it will give you the best cutting performance and durability.