Reviews

Best 16-Inch Chainsaw Chains: Easily Tackle Light-Duty Jobs

Slicing through the trees is a total breeze with these top-rated 16-inch chainsaw chains.

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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON July 27, 2021

Landscaping your yard shouldn’t be a struggle; and, so long as you have the proper tools on hand, it doesn’t have to be. A 16-inch chainsaw is a versatile tool that is handy for casual use. Sure, if you are going to be a lumberjack, you might want something more heavy-duty. But if work mainly in the backyard, then a 16-inch system is more than sufficient. Plus, since these chainsaws are geared more towards residential use, they are lightweight and easy to maneuver.

 

You can spot a 16-inch chainsaw through its 66 links (or on the saw’s specs). Because of this specific size, it requires a specific type of chain to work properly. Without the correct chain attached, you risk it falling off the bar. At best, it will slow down your workday. At worst, it is a serious safety risk. The good news is that you can avoid these issues by picking out one of the best 16-inch chainsaw chains for your next project. To assist, we’ve broken down the top options, along with some tips on making the right selection.

Best Overall
Sungator Chainsaw Chain
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Summary
Summary

Designed to install easily, this 3/8-inch chainsaw is compatible with any 16-inch bar. Made of quality materials, it is built to last for multiple projects.

Pros
Pros
  • Consists of heat-treated rivets
  • Lubricated to ensure smooth function
  • Made out of tough chrome
Cons
Cons
  • Sharp teeth make it challenging to install
  • May require supplemental lubrication
  • Teeth wear down sooner than chain
Best Overall
Sungator Chainsaw Chain
Best Value
Oregon AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain
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Summary
Summary

Cost-effective and featuring a high compatibility rating, this chainsaw chain is built to work well with most models. It is treated to reinforce its strength and can last for long periods.

Pros
Pros
  • Comes at an affordable price point
  • Lightweight yet durable materials
  • Treated to prevent linkage breaks
Cons
Cons
  • Only includes 56 drive links
  • May be better suited for smaller chainsaws
  • Can be difficult to place on 16-inch bar
Best Value
Oregon AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain
Honorable Mention
Tallox Chainsaw Chains
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Summary
Summary

Built to withstand harsh work environments, this three-pack of chainsaw chains fits on most standard 16-inch bars. It is made out of durable metal and is crafted to prevent slipping. 

Pros
Pros
  • Includes three separate chainsaw chains
  • Reasonably priced model
  • Constructed to stay in place during chainsaw use
Cons
Cons
  • Requires lubrication to work 
  • Not heat-treated to prevent damage to the rivets
  • Wider edge can cause it to get caught during cuts
Honorable Mention
Tallox Chainsaw Chains
Closeup Of 16 Inch Chainsaw Chains
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Benefits of 16-Inch Chainsaw Chains

  • Ideal for renovations and yard work. A 16-inch chainsaw is large enough to tackle big trees and any of the woodcuts you would need for basic renovations. They are more affordable than heavier-duty models, though this type of chainsaw is able to perform expertly in residential repair settings. 
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver. Unlike bigger chainsaws for commercial uses, this type of chainsaw is light enough to handle easily. If you aren’t a chainsaw professional, this adds a lot of value through the extra maneuverability. 
  • Quality chainsaw chains won’t get caught in the tree. Opting for a high-end chainsaw chain with powerful teeth means you are less likely to get it stuck in the tree. That unpleasant feeling of your saw wedged between a splitting tree is best avoided, and a good chainsaw chain does just that. 
  • Treated to prevent issues with the rivets. Even if you don’t get the teeth stuck in the tree, the rivets can still break causing the chain to snap. Quality models are treated with heat so that there is less risk of wear and tear on the chain itself. This keeps it working for longer. 
  • Easy to install on the chainsaw. Because of the reasonable size of a chainsaw chain, it isn’t a big process to install it to the bar. Usually, it takes only a few minutes to properly get it into place on your chainsaw. So long as it’s well-lubricated, it should be fairly simple to get it in place. 
  • Prevents it from flying off the bar. If you’ve ever had a chainsaw come flying towards your face, you know that it’s a situation you don’t want to be in. A well-crafted 16-inch chainsaw is easy to handle, making it safer and easier to use (particularly for those newer to the art of the chainsaw).

Types of 16-Inch Chainsaw Chains

Full Chisel

This type of chainsaw chain features teeth with right-angle corners, meaning it is best at slicing through soft wood like pine, cedar, or spruce. The structure of the chain is meant for hard exteriors because of its speed when chewing through material. These chains are relatively safe at moderate speeds, though can be tricky if it’s sped up. Usually, this type of chain is for bigger chainsaws, but you can find them for 16-inch bars and use them to prune branches.

Semi Chisel

A common type of chainsaw chain, this type features rounded teeth which form a divet between the side and top plate. Though it works more slowly than a full chisel, it stays sharp and provides a more even cutting edge. As a result, you can use this on hardwood trees and stumps. Keep in mind that it is more common to see this type of chain on larger chainsaws. For a 16-inch bar, it may be best to use it on stumps or frozen logs. 

Skip Chain

By using few teeth, thus the skip namesake, these chainsaws require very little power in order to operate. You can find them on larger chainsaws due to the limited cutting area resulting from the skips. This type of chain is well-suited to felling small trees, mainly because the teeth are less likely to get caught between pieces of the wood. Though there are some useful applications for this type of chainsaw chain, it is less versatile than the other types on the market. 

Top Brands

Oregon

Opening its doors in 1947, the Oregon Saw Chain Manufacturing Corporation began its work with one singular focus: chainsaws. Since that time, it has expanded into a global name in the forestry industry. Among its leading products is the Oregon S56 AdvanceCut Chainsaw

Stihl

Focusing exclusively on power tools, Stihl is a reputable business that retails forestry and landscaping products the world over. This brand got its start in Germany in 1926 and has continued to increase its market share since that time. One of its most favored selections is the Stihl Oilomatic Micro Chain.   

Husqvarna

A Swedish manufacturing company that can be traced as far back as 1689, this company is what it means to be well-established in the power tool industry. Originally a craftsman of chainsaws and outdoor supplies, it has expanded its offerings into the masonry sector. A top-rated product from this brand is the Husqvarna 16-Inch Pixel Chainsaw Bar.

16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Pricing

  • Under $20: You can find quite a few chainsaw chains in this price range, usually coming as a single chain. Often, they are pre-lubricated, though not all will be heat-treated and durable. 
  • Between $20 and $50: This is the sweet spot for chainsaw chains, especially if you want it to last. Usually, they come in a set, are galvanized, and lubricated for optimal function. 
  • $50 and up: Though less common, you can find a lot of chainsaw chains in this price range. Generally, you will get at least three well-crafted pieces. However, all chainsaw chains break so the merit depends on your budget.

Key Features

Length

Your chainsaw chain length is directly related to the length of the chainsaw bar itself. There are tons of different sizes available, with the smaller models (as little as 10 inches) being better-suited towards more basic tasks. Larger options like the 16-inch are good for yard work. Finding the right chain involves getting the right size, so measure the bar and ensure that it will fit. Round up your measurement, since finding a looser fit is better than not being able to place the chain at all. 

Pitch

This feature refers to the distance between the links of the chain. A good way to get this measurement is to check how far apart three rivets on your chain are and divide it in half. The most common pitch size is between 0.325 and 0.375 inches. Those who are tackling lower-key projects can opt for a lower pitch, while those focused on heavy-duty tasks may require a more substantial pitch. In short, closer rivets cut more powerfully. 

Gauge

A necessary feature to investigate is the gauge, a reference to the thickness of the drive links themselves. Basically, it is the size of the hole on the link where the teeth go in. It ensures that the chain is held firmly in place. This feature is critical to newer chainsaw operators since it controls the level of vibration and the risk of kickback. Measured in inches, this is a precision metric that’s worth looking at your chainsaw owner’s manual to get the right figure. 

Links

A relatively complex metric, the chainsaw links are both counted and measured. The number of links should be the same as the sprocket teeth on your bar. You can find the corresponding specification on the chain and make sure the two counts line up. Also check the thickness of the lugs, measured in millimetres. Household chainsaws tend to be thinner, while tools for professional use are better with thicker links.  

Other Considerations

  • Safety Features. Once you’ve assessed the necessary components, it’s time to consider the practical aspects of the tool’s use. Anyone who’s used a chainsaw knows the discomfort of kickback and vibration. Look out for anti-vibration tech, chains that are designed to limit this irritating sensation and keep your hands comfortable. Anti-kickback features are built to limit the shock that occurs if your chainsaw gets stuck. Be sure to check for these if you don’t have much chainsaw experience.
  • Lubrication. Applying lubricant to your chain is less than convenient, so opting for something that is pre-lubricated adds a lot of ease. The right lubrication helps the chainsaw work quickly and effectively. When the chain comes lubricated, you know it is the best lubricant for the job. Even if it comes with lubricant, you will still need to reapply as time presses on. 
  • Sharpening. You can find chainsaw chains that have built-in sharpeners, those which keep the teeth sharp when the chain moves along the bar. Though you should occasionally look in on the sharpness, this feature helps the chainsaw work better and for longer. Even if the links get worn down over time, you can still manually sharpen them. This component just makes it a less frequent demand. 
  • Durability. Usually, chains are made out of carbide material, a heavy-duty metal that resists damage. When this is treated with heat, it becomes even stronger. While all chainsaw chains will wear down over time, opting for something that is more durable can save a lot of time and money. Look at the material used in construction as well as the overall design to determine the merit of this feature. 
  • Upkeep: Your last consideration should be the maintenance demands of the chain itself. For these purposes, this includes how easy it is to remove and replace the chain. Check if it comes with a guide bar, if it is simple enough to find the right lubricant, and look at how frequently you will need to manually sharpen the tool. A worthy chainsaw chain should let you tackle a couple projects before requiring maintenance. 

Best 16-Inch Chainsaw Chain Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Sungator Chainsaw Chain

If you are getting ready to tackle a major backyard project, show up armed with the Sungator Chainsaw Chain to ensure good results. With a 0.050-inch gauge and a 3/8-inch pitch, it is the perfect outdoor companion. The chain itself meets all necessary safety standards, featuring a design built to minimize kickback. The 56 links cover the chain evenly, letting you slice smoothly through both hard and soft wood. It consists of imported steel, galvanized to ensure a tough, lengthy performance. The chainsaw chain uses powerful edges to slice evenly; and, thanks to the well-lubricated build, it doesn’t stutter or get chewed up between the pieces of wood. Not prone to breaking or wearing down too quickly, it is a handy tool to keep close by. Powerful and easy to install, this chain makes a terrific option overall.  


One thing worth noting is that this chain is only compatible with some chainsaw models. Be sure to consult the sizing chart to make sure that it is a good fit for your equipment. 

Best Value
Oregon AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain

On the hunt for a tool that will fit with your chainsaw but won’t break the renovation budget? Consider the Oregon AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain for its low price point and high utility value. It is built to fit a wide range of models, and features a 0.050-inch gauge and a 3/8-inch pitch. By incorporating anti-kickback components, it works well for users of all skill levels. Plus, thanks to the semi-chisel structure, you don’t have to worry about its ability to handle whatever your yard throws at it. Concerned about maintenance? This chain features an automatic-oiling feature called LubriTec. It feeds oil into the system so that you get more durability and can work for longer. Featuring a chrome-plated steel structure, the reinforced rivets make it strong enough to handle tension without breaking. Durable and cost-effective, this chain is a great value pick. 


It’s worth keeping in mind that, although it is a standard 16-inch chain, there are only 56 links. Be sure that this is compatible with the saw that you are using to avoid delays in your work. 

Most Convenient
Tallox Chainsaw Chains

When your yard looks like a forest (and you don’t want it to), Tallox Chainsaw Chains make it easy to tackle the job. It comes as a set of three 16-inch chainsaw chains, each featuring a 3/8-inch pitch and a semi-chisel design. The cutting edge is built to ensure smoothness, letting you cut while facing fewer obstructions. Working on both hard and soft wood, the temperature-treated materials are hard enough to remain strong during the whole project. That said, all chains wear out over time, which is why getting three in a pack is so useful. Designed to be used with a five-kilowatt system, you can attach this chain to just about any standard saw and get to work. It’s tough, the chains are easy to get in place, and you definitely get your money’s worth. 


Keep in mind that, despite the value of the chain, it lacks lubrication and anti-kickback features. However, as long as you have enough experience with a chainsaw, you should be good to go.

Most Durable
Stihl Picco Micro Chainsaw Chain

Ever struggled to actually get the chain onto the bar? Briefly considered trying to use the chain manually before gritting your teeth and struggling more? Well, the Stihl Picco Micro Chainsaw Chain makes those issues a thing of the past. The pre-lubricated chains are built to enhance the ease of installation. The set of three chains is lightweight yet surprisingly tough, incorporating durable teeth that slice through flora with ease. Featuring a standard 16-inch design with 3/8-inch pitch and a tough overall structure, these chainsaw chains are meant to last over the long term. Plus, if you are worried about the lubrication wearing away before you get to use them, fret not. These are built for optimal shelf-life and ease of function, working with just about any standard 16-inch chainsaw. 


It warrants a mention that these chains only incorporate 55 links, while most others include 56. However, with the quality lubrication and sharp edges, the value outweighs the negatives for the most part. 

Honorable Mention
Oregon AdvanceCut Chain and Guide Bar

Have you ever struggled to replace your chain after maintenance? Without the proper tools, it can be cumbersome at best. This is why the Oregon AdvanceCut Chain and Guide Bar is such a popular option. Not only does it come with a 16-inch chain that features a low profile and highly compatible overall design, but it also comes with a guide bar. Though it’s simple in design, this component makes maintenance and installation a whole world easier. In terms of function, this chain incorporates built-in lubrication. It limits friction, slows the process of wear and tear, and helps you cut more efficiently. The sharp cutting edges make quick work of landscaping; and, thanks to the kickback prevention found in Oregon products, this model should last for several tasks. 


This chain includes 55 links, so be sure to consult with the specs on your saw before making your pick. It fits the majority of models, but it’s best to check in advance to sidestep any potential issues.

Honorable Mention
Husqvarna Pixel ChainSaw Bar

If you are new to the world of chainsaw maintenance, you’re probably wondering how to get that chain onto the saw. The Husqvarna Pixel Chainsaw Bar is built to make light work of this process, provided you are working with a compatible tool. It is made specifically for 16-inch chains and features a 0.325 pitch, letting you work with most tools on the market. By incorporating a 0.050 gauge in the design, it is ideal for smaller chainsaws. The entire structure is built to make it easier to get your chainsaw chain into place, saving you a lot of time and effort. You can also use it for maintenance work, since it helps to expose the chain for either sharpening or lubrication. Because of its design, it works with all types of chains from skip to chisel. 


Bear in mind that, while this tool is useful, it is meant to work with a separate chain. It is designed to make using a 16-inch chain easier but doesn’t actually come with one. 

Honorable Mention
Stihl Oilomatic Micro 3 Chain

Of course, when you’re using a chainsaw, you should be wearing gloves — but even they can get too greasy. That’s why the Stihl Oilomatic Micro 3 Chain is so handy. It saves you the struggle of manually lubricating the chain, keeping your gloves clean and adding efficiency. The chain itself features a 0.325-inch pitch and a 0.063 gauge. However, to set itself apart from other models, it comes with 62 drive lengths. Not only does this give you extra cutting power, it can actually reduce the kickback. So long as you apply it to a fitting bar, the pre-lubricated design lets you cut through all types of wood smoothly. Lightweight and not prone to snapping or breakage, this chain can chew through everything from birch to cedar with utter ease.  


It’s worth noting that, though the added drive lengths are handy, it might not be compatible with all bars. Check that your saw can support the entire chain to make sure that once you get it, you can go straight to work.

Tips

  • Always wear safety goggles and proper gloves when you are using your chainsaw.
  • Proper lubrication prevents wear and tear due to friction, so make sure you have oil on hand to perform upkeep. 
  • Maintenance involves checking the sharpness of the cutting edges on your chainsaw chain. Take a look before you start a project. 
  • Ensure that the chain is compatible with the chainsaw you’re using in terms of both size and power. 
  • As with all other metal power tool accessories, store your chains indoors in a cool, dark, and dry area. 
  • Always check your surroundings when using a power tool, whether it is a chainsaw, a  band saw, or a drill. 
  • Practice makes perfect when using tools, be they spark plugs, bolt cutters, sanders, or chainsaws, so take your time when learning. 

FAQs

Q: Are chainsaw chains universal?

No, these chains vary in terms of size and length. Look at the pitch, the gauge, the links, and the length to be sure that you are getting a compatible chain. Most specs are clearly displayed on the packaging. Consult the chainsaw owner’s manual to make sure the metrics match up.

Q: What do the numbers on my chainsaw chain mean?

These numbers are identifiers of pitch and gauge measurements on the chain itself. These figures are necessary to ensure compatibility. Depending on where it was made, the numbers will be in metric (ex: 0.375-inch gauge) or imperial (ex: 3/8-inch gauge). 

Q: Can I put a 20-inch bar on a 16-inch chainsaw?

It depends on the chainsaw itself. While many chainsaws can accommodate larger bars, with a lot of 16-inch chainsaws handling 20-inch bars, it is usually better to stick to the indicated size. Unless the brand explicitly says it is compatible, aim for precisely-sized parts. 

Q: How do you tell how long your chainsaw chain is?

Measure the distance between three rivets (round studs that hold the chain together). Divide this number by two. The result is your chainsaw pitch, the key measurement when determining the length of chain you need. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the art and science of picking out the best 16-inch chainsaw chain, you can get to work. Perhaps you’ll opt for the Sungator Chainsaw Chain or the affordability of the Oregon AdvanceCut Chainsaw Chain. There’s a model for every renovation project.

Do you have some chainsaw experience? Hit us up with some tips in the comments below. Happy sawing!