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 March 18, 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.
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.
- Consists of heat-treated rivets
- Lubricated to ensure smooth function
- Made out of tough chrome
- Sharp teeth make it challenging to install
- May require supplemental lubrication
- Teeth wear down sooner than chain
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.
- Comes at an affordable price point
- Lightweight yet durable materials
- Treated to prevent linkage breaks
- Only includes 56 drive links
- May be better suited for smaller chainsaws
- Can be difficult to place on 16-inch bar
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.
- Includes three separate chainsaw chains
- Reasonably priced model
- Constructed to stay in place during chainsaw use
- Requires lubrication to work
- Not heat-treated to prevent damage to the rivets
- Wider edge can cause it to get caught during cuts
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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!