When it comes to chainsaws, one of the most important aspects to consider is the chainsaw chain. A high-quality chain can make all the difference in the performance, safety, and lifespan of your chainsaw.
Stihl is a leading brand in the industry, known for its high-quality chainsaw chains. But with so many options available, how do you choose the right one?
In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when choosing a Stihl chainsaw chain and help you make the best decision for your needs.
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- Importance of Choosing the Right Chain
- Understanding Crucial Chain Specs
- Types of Stihl Chainsaw Chains
- Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain
- Professional Chainsaw Chains
- Wrapping Up
- Frequently Asked Questions
Importance of Choosing the Right Chain
The right chainsaw chain can significantly improve the performance, efficiency, and safety of your chainsaw. It’s important to choose a chain that matches the parameters of your chainsaw, such as chain pitch, guide bar length, and drive link gauge.
Using a chain that’s not compatible with your chainsaw can cause poor cutting performance, increased wear on the chainsaw, and even pose a safety risk.
Understanding Crucial Chain Specs
The chain pitch refers to the distance between the drive links on the chain. This measurement is crucial for ensuring the chain fits properly on the chainsaw’s guide bar and drive sprocket.
There are a few common pitch sizes to choose from:
Common Pitch Sizes
This pitch size is typically found on smaller chainsaws and is designed for precision cutting tasks, such as carving and pruning. It’s ideal for homeowners and occasional users who need to perform light-duty cutting tasks.
3/8″ Low Profile (LP) Pitch:
This pitch size is also used on smaller chainsaws, particularly those designed for homeowners and casual users. The 3/8″ LP pitch is suitable for light to medium-duty cutting tasks, such as trimming, limbing, and small tree felling. These chains often feature low kickback and low vibration for increased safety and comfort.
This is a common pitch size for both professional and general-purpose chainsaws. It is suitable for medium to heavy-duty cutting tasks, such as felling medium-sized trees, cutting firewood, and heavy pruning. The 3/8″ pitch offers a good balance between cutting performance and ease of use.
This pitch size is popular among both professional and semi-professional users, as it offers a balance between cutting speed and power. The .325″ pitch is suitable for medium-duty cutting tasks, such as felling small to medium-sized trees, limbing, and cutting firewood. Chainsaws with .325″ pitch chains are versatile and can handle a wide range of cutting tasks, making them ideal for landscapers, farmers, and experienced homeowners.
This pitch size is typically found on professional chainsaws designed for heavy-duty cutting tasks, such as felling large trees and cutting hardwood. The .404″ pitch provides high cutting performance and durability, making it suitable for professional users and demanding cutting jobs.
The guide bar is the part of the chainsaw that the chain wraps around. It’s essential to choose a chain that matches the length and drive sprocket of your chainsaw’s guide bar.
Guide Bar Length
The guide bar length refers to the cutting length of the chainsaw. To ensure proper chain fit, choose a chain with a length that matches your chainsaw’s guide bar length.
The drive sprocket is the part of the chainsaw that drives the chain around the guide bar. The number of teeth on the sprocket determines the chain’s drive link count.
Make sure the chain you choose has the correct number of drive links to match your chainsaw’s drive sprocket.
Drive Link Gauge
The drive link gauge refers to the thickness of the drive links on the chainsaw chain. This measurement is essential for ensuring the chain fits snugly in the guide bar.
Choose a chain with a drive link gauge that matches your chainsaw’s guide bar specifications.
Types of Stihl Chainsaw Chains
When choosing a Stihl chainsaw chain, it’s important to consider the different chain types available. These chain types are designed for specific applications and offer unique features and benefits.
Picco chains are designed for smaller chainsaws and are ideal for light-duty cutting tasks. They feature a narrow kerf, which reduces the amount of material removed during cutting and improves cutting efficiency.
Picco chains, such as the PM3, are also known for their low vibration and low kickback, making them a safer option for inexperienced users.
Micro chains are designed for medium-duty cutting tasks and are suitable for both professional and occasional users. These chains offer a balance between cutting performance and ease of use.
They are easy to sharpen and maintain, making them a popular choice for homeowners and landscapers.
Super chains are designed for heavy-duty cutting tasks and are ideal for professional users.
These chains offer high cutting performance and durability, making them suitable for challenging cutting tasks, such as felling large trees and cutting hardwood.
Super chains are typically more expensive than other chain types, but their superior performance and longer service life make them a worthwhile investment for professionals.
Humped Drive Links
Some Stihl chainsaw chains feature humped drive links. These chains are designed to reduce kickback and vibration, improving safety and user comfort.
Humped drive links are especially useful for inexperienced users or those looking to minimize the risk of kickback while using their chainsaw.
Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain
Proper sharpening is essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of your chainsaw chain. Regularly sharpening your chain helps to ensure smooth, efficient cutting and reduces the wear on your chainsaw.
Stihl chains are designed to be easy to sharpen, with clear markings on the chain to guide the sharpening process.
Professional Chainsaw Chains
For professional chainsaw users, Stihl offers a range of high-performance Rapid chainsaw chains.
These chains are designed to provide superior cutting performance, durability, and ease of maintenance, making them the ideal choice for professional users who demand the best from their equipment.
Choosing the right Stihl chainsaw chain is crucial for ensuring optimal performance, safety, and longevity of your chainsaw.
By understanding the various parameters, such as chain pitch, guide bar length, and drive link gauge, and considering the different chain types available, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.
Don’t forget to regularly sharpen and maintain your chain to get the most out of your investment.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what chain to buy for my Stihl chainsaw?
To choose the right chain for your Stihl chainsaw, you need to consider the chain pitch, guide bar length, and drive link gauge of your chainsaw. Check your chainsaw’s specifications or consult your owner’s manual to determine these parameters and select a compatible chain.
What’s the difference between RS and RM Stihl chains?
RS chains are Stihl’s Rapid Super chains, designed for professional users and heavy-duty cutting tasks. RM chains are Rapid Micro chains, suitable for both professional and occasional users and ideal for medium-duty cutting tasks.
What do the colors mean on Stihl chains?
The colors on Stihl chains indicate the type of chain and its features, such as low kickback, low vibration, or high-performance cutting. These color codes help users quickly identify the right chain for their needs and chainsaw specifications. Consult your owner’s manual or a Stihl dealer for more information on the color codes and their meanings.
What does the number on Stihl chainsaw chain mean?
The number on a Stihl chainsaw chain typically refers to the drive link count. This number is important because it determines whether the chain will fit properly on your chainsaw’s guide bar and drive sprocket. When selecting a chain, make sure the drive link count matches your chainsaw’s specifications.
How often should I sharpen my Stihl chainsaw chain?
The frequency of sharpening your Stihl chainsaw chain depends on the type of cutting tasks you perform and the type of wood you cut. Generally, it’s a good idea to sharpen your chain after every few hours of cutting or when you notice a decrease in cutting performance. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your chain will help prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal cutting performance.