Chainsaw Chains: Which One is Right for You - Full Chisel or Semi-Chisel?

Date Posted: 5 April 2023 

Learn the differences between full and semi-chisel chainsaw chains. Discover the factors to consider when choosing chainsaw chain at Jono & Johno.

If you’re using a chainsaw, then you know that the chainsaw chain is an essential part of the tool. But did you know that there are different types of chainsaw chains available, and choosing the right one can make a big difference in the performance of your saw?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at two of the most common chainsaw chains: the full chisel chain and the semi-chisel chain. We’ll explore their differences and help you determine which one best suits your specific needs!

Full Chisel Chainsaw Chains

Let’s first talk about full-chisel chainsaw chains. These chains are designed with teeth that have sharp, square corners. That’s what gives them their “full chisel” name - because they look like they’ve been chiseled out of the metal. This design allows for fast and efficient cutting, primarily through hardwoods and thicker logs.

The only downside is that the square tooth shape also means that full chisel chains are more prone to dulling than other chainsaw chains. They’re also more likely to kick back, which can be dangerous if you’re not careful.


  • Cuts quickly and smoothly, making it an efficient option for woodworkers who need precise cuts.
  • Provides a cleaner cut with less tear-out than other chains, making it a good option for woodworkers who need precise cuts.
  • More aggressive than other chains, making it a great choice for anyone who needs to cut through wood quickly and efficiently.


  • Can dull faster than other chains, requiring frequent sharpening.
  • More prone to kickback, which can be dangerous for inexperienced chainsaw users.
  • More difficult to control due to its aggressive nature, resulting in uneven cuts or potential damage to your saw.

Full chisel chainsaw chains are an excellent option for experienced chainsaw users who need to make quick work of tougher wood. However, there may be better choices for new chainsaw users or those who need to make precise cuts. When choosing a chainsaw chain, it’s essential to consider the type of wood you’ll be cutting, the size of your chainsaw, and your level of experience.

Semi-Chisel Chainsaw Chains

This time, let’s talk about semi-chisel chainsaw chains. These chains are a popular alternative to full chisel chains, and they’re designed with teeth that have rounded corners. This gives them a more “semi-chisel” shape, hence the name.

Semi-chisel chainsaw chains are designed to strike a balance between cutting speed and durability. They’re not as fast as full chisel chains, but they’re also not as prone to dulling or kickback. This makes them a great choice for a wide range of cutting tasks, including both softwoods and hardwoods.

One of the biggest advantages of using a semi-chisel chainsaw chain is that it’s more durable than a full chisel chain. Because the teeth are rounded, they’re less likely to chip or break.

On the downside, semi-chisel chainsaw chains aren’t as fast as full chisel chains. They also don’t provide quite as clean of a cut. However, for most users, the advantages of a semi-chisel chain more than make up for these minor downsides.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this type of chainsaw chain.


  • Semi-chisel chains are more durable than full chisel chains, thanks to their rounded teeth.
  • They’re less likely to kick back, which is a safety advantage for less experienced chainsaw users.


  • Semi-chisel chains aren’t as fast as full chisel chains.
  • They don’t provide quite as clean of a cut as full chisel chains.

So, what’s the best semi chisel chainsaw chain? That depends on your specific needs. If you’re looking for a chain that’s great for general-purpose cutting, then a semi-chisel chain is probably your best bet. They’re versatile, durable, and easy to control, which makes them a great choice for most users.

However, if you’re working with especially hard or thick wood, then you might want to consider a full chisel chain instead.

Which One is Right for You?

Now that we’ve talked about both full chisel and semi-chisel chainsaw chains, you might be wondering which one is right for you. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two and the factors that should influence your decision.

As we’ve discussed, full chisel chainsaw chains are designed for speed and precision. They’re great for making clean cuts in hard or dense wood, but they’re also more prone to kickback and dulling. Semi-chisel chainsaw chains, on the other hand, are more versatile and durable. They are versatile and can be used for various cutting tasks, and are known for their reduced kickback potential. However, compared to other types of saws, they may not be as efficient or accurate in speed and precision.

So, which one should you choose? There are several factors to consider.

Wood Type

For cutting through hardwoods or dense materials, a full chisel chain would be the ideal choice. However, if your cutting tasks involve softer woods or more versatile applications, a semi-chisel chain would be more suitable.

Chainsaw Size

Full chisel chainsaw chains are typically used with larger chainsaws, while semi-chisel chains are more common on smaller chainsaws. If you have a smaller chainsaw, a full chisel chain might not be the best choice, as it can be more difficult to control.

Experience Level

If you’re a beginner, a semi-chisel chain might be the safer choice. They’re less prone to kickback, which can be a major safety concern for less experienced users.

However, if you’re an experienced chainsaw user and you need a fast, precise cut, a full chisel chain might be the way to go.

Get Quality Chainsaws and Chainsaw Chains at Jono & Johno!

Choosing the right chainsaw chain can make all the difference in your cutting performance and safety. Whether you need a full chisel chain for precision or a semi-chisel chain for versatility, it’s important to choose quality chainsaw chains from a reliable source.

At Jono & Johno, we offer a wide range of high-quality chainsaw chains and other chainsaw accessories to meet all your needs. Shop with us today and take your cutting to the next level!