The Best Chainsaw Chaps in 2020

When you get down to it, a chainsaw is probably one of the most dangerous tools you own. Even with regular maintenance and careful operation, the risk of your saw slipping, or kicking-back still exists.

Leg injuries are the leading cause of chainsaw related hospital visits. Having the right protective gear to keep your legs safe is crucial.

That’s why we’ve researched and put together this list of the best chainsaw chaps.

In this article, we’re going to review the following Chainsaw Chaps:

Why you should use Chainsaw Chaps

More than 40% of chainsaw related visits to the emergency room are for leg and ankle injuries. Keeping your chain sharp can reduce the chances of kickback, but the risk is always there when operating a chainsaw.

Infographic text: On average over 23,000 Americans visit the emergency room for a chainsaw related injury each year. The vast majority of these are for leg or hand hand injuries. Most of these injuries could be prevented by wearing personal protective equipment. Pie chart: Average percent of emergency department visits for injuries related to chainsaws, United States, 2009-2013

Think about it, a chainsaw can cut through a tree so you can imagine what it could do to your leg. Wearing the right protective gear is a necessary precaution that can prevent serious injuries.

Related Article: The 5 Best Cordless Chainsaws

Do Chainsaw Chaps Really Work?

I can understand being skeptical about the actual level of protection offered by a pair of chainsaw chaps. These are more than just a thick pair of pants though. In this video, you can see a demonstration of how a pair of chainsaw chaps can stop a chainsaw from cutting.

 

As you can see, while the chainsaw was able to cut through the jeans with no fuss. The leg with the protective chaps meanwhile jammed the saw before it could even cut the leg of the mannequin.

How do Chainsaw Chaps Work?

The secret to how chainsaw chaps work is the fibers that they’re made with. The outer layer of fabric is tough and slippery, but this just to protect the inner material that makes them tick. The inside of the trousers is made with layers of loosely packed ballistic fibers or Kevlar.

When a chainsaw makes contact with the chaps, it’ll easily cut through the outer layer. That’s when those fibers will spring into action. When the chain grabs hold of the fibers, it draws them out, and they quickly get tangled around saw’s drive sprocket. This locks it in place and stops the chain.

Not only does this limit possible injury to the operator’s leg, but it doesn’t permanently damage the chainsaw. It will be ready to run again after being field stripped to remove the fibers.

What to Look for When Buying Chainsaw Chaps

The most important thing when shopping for chainsaw chaps is the protection they provide. Beyond that, you also want to pick out a pair that fit securely and are comfortable to move in.

Ease of putting on and removing the chaps should also be considered. Struggling to get into or out of chaps is an unnecessary hassle that gets old really fast.

When you invest in a pair of protective gear, you don’t want to regret the purchase. Instead, take the time to choose a comfortable pair that fits well, and you’ll be happy with for a long time. You’ll be more satisfied with the pair you choose, and they might end up lasting you much longer.

Full leg or open back?

A man using a chainsaw while wearing protective gear including chainsaw chaps

The extra layers of fabric inside chainsaw chaps basically guarantee that you’re going to feel warm wearing them. This makes an open back design a popular choice for people who live in a warm climate or do most of their cutting in the summer. But what is the real difference when you compare open-backed and full-leg chaps?

Comfort

Despite offering more air circulation to the back of the legs, temperature complaints are just as common with open-backed chaps. While it may not be enough to say they don’t offer a benefit compared to closed-leg chaps, it does reduce their appeal.

Protection

Most chainsaw related injuries do occur on the front side of the operator’s leg. That doesn’t mean that injuries to the back or side of the leg don’t happen though, the risk still shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Given this info, I would say that the full-leg design would be the better choice for most people.

The temperature benefit of open-backed pairs doesn’t seem to be noticeable enough to write off the safety concerns. Of course, this opinion might still vary from one person to the next. Wearing any kind of leg protection is miles better than none.

How Long Should Chainsaw Chaps Be?

Getting the right fit is a big part of staying safe.

Having the right protective equipment counts for a lot less when it doesn’t fit properly. When it comes to chainsaw chaps, the length of the leg is as important to maximum safety as getting a secure waist.

Chaps are measured by their overall length from the waist down, and standard sizes range from 32 to 40-inches. The USDA forest service recommends that the leg should be long enough to reach 2-inches from the boot top. This distance provides adequate ankle protection.

These chaps by Husqvarna have a wrap-around design that offers front thigh protection and complete coverage from the knee down.

This offers more protection than open back chaps while still meaning less heavy fabric on your legs. Along with providing more coverage for your shins and ankles, the lower leg wrap also makes the closed legs less likely to get caught on any brush.

A nice feature of these chaps is the straps multiple straps to secure them to your legs. There are four straps per leg, one on the thigh and three straps to secure the chaps around the calf. These straps keep the chaps securely fastened, allowing you a full range of motion.

The straps are quick to put on and take off as well, making it easy to take these chaps off when taking a break between cuts.

The waist belt is easy to adjust and fits a wide range of waist sizes up to 46 inches without needing an extender. Most importantly, the buckle won’t slip, and they’ll securely stay at the adjusted size.

Pros:
  • Multiple straps enable a full range of motion.
  • Doesn’t get caught or snagged on brush.
  • An adjustable waist fits most sizes.
  • Quick and easy to put on and take off.
Cons:
  • Despite the partially open back, they are still very warm.
  • Buckles are challenging to use while wearing gloves.

Stihl is a brand that never disappoints when it comes to quality construction. These chaps are made with durable material, and you can tell they are built to last. While they will still need to be replaced if they stop a chainsaw, it wouldn’t be surprising if one pair could last years of abuse.

Even though they’re so sturdy, these chaps still manage to feel lightweight and comfortable to move around in. The straps are easy to adjust and hold the legs securely in place. They won’t get in your way while working, giving you a full range of movement that makes them easy to work in.

The open back to these chaps does make them more comfortable in hot weather, but that comes at a cost. Not having a full leg wrap means the back and sides of your legs aren’t fully protected.

If you’re set on using chainsaw chaps with an open leg wrap, then this is a high-quality option.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and comfortable to work in.
  • The straps are easy to adjust.
  • Doesn’t get in the way and provides a full range of motion when working.
  • Durable materials provide extra layers of protection
  • Easy to take off and put on.
Cons:
  • Open backs don’t provide protection to your whole leg.

These open-back chainsaw chaps are comfortable and offer plenty of room for adjustment for the waist and leg straps. Despite only having two leg straps, they stay in place surprisingly well and won’t bunch up or shift awkwardly. Thanks to this, they offer a great overall range of movement.

These chaps are durable and hold up to heavy use better than expected. They’re also water and oil resistant, so any oil that gets on them from your chainsaw bar should clean up easy.

While the leg straps are good, the waist strap on these chaps is awful. The buckle does not hold the belt and like clockwork, it feels like it needs to be re-tightened hourly.

If you are considering purchasing these chaps, you should be aware product image is deceiving. While they appear to cover the groin in the picture, this isn’t the case. Also, they don’t offer much if any coverage of the inner thigh.

Despite the flaws, these chaps do still offer adequate protection at a price point that makes them an excellent choice for someone on a tight budget.

Pros:
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Made with durable material
  • Water and oil resistant
Cons:
  • Poorly designed waist belt needs to be readjusted frequently
  • Misleading product images

The full leg-wrap of these chaps provide protection to your entire leg instead of just the front. The style also does away with the need for any awkward straps or buckles that can be uncomfortable or movement impairing.

These chaps are water and oil resistant, which is a nice feature to have because it means cleaning off any oil that may get on them from the bar is quick and easy. That’s important to consider since oil stains can reduce the effectiveness of chainsaw chaps.

These chaps have an adjustable waist size and more uniquely an adjustable leg length that provides a good fit regardless of body shape. This is great since having the right fit is an important part of safety gear being effective. The adjustable leg length is especially useful for anyone with shorter legs.

Instead of straps or snaps, these chaps use zippers on the legs. This offers more coverage and is quicker to put on and take off. It does result in the legs being a looser fit overall which while good for comfort, does make them more loose feeling.

A general lack of airflow is likely the reason these chaps are incredibly warm. Its likely these chaps would get to be incredibly uncomfortable if you used them in high temperatures.

Pros:
  • Full lower body protection
  • Water and oil resistant
  • Adjustable waist and leg lengths
  • Great for people with shorter legs
  • No awkward straps means full freedom of movement
Cons:
  • Looser feeling legs
  • Very warm, not a good choice for warm weather

With a front apron style, these chaps provide effective coverage to the entire front of your lower body. The main perk of this design is that they are not as uncomfortably warm as some other pairs of chainsaw chaps can be.

The straps do a good job of holding the heavy chaps in place. This keeps the legs from bunching up or sagging, meaning they won’t get in the way of you working. The straps are also quick to attach and detach. This makes these chaps fast and easy to put on or remove when you take a break from cutting.

The clasps for the straps are low quality, made with thin plastic that wouldn’t be hard to break. The placement of the straps can be uncomfortable as well, depending on your height.

Pros:
  • Comfortable and not too hot
  • Offer protection to the entire front of your lower body
  • These chaps don’t get in your way while working
  • Quick and easy to put on and remove
Cons:
  • The straps can feel uncomfortable on the back of your legs.
  • Thin plastic clasps seem likely to break
  • Does not offer any protection to the back of your legs

Conclusion

Your safety is the most important thing when working, and a chainsaw is probably one of the most dangerous tools you own. Leg injuries are the most common kind when working with chainsaws and, in some cases, can be debilitating or even life-ending. When you get down to brass tacks, It doesn’t make sense not to take a precaution against them with the best chainsaw chaps you can find.

The overall winner of the list and our choice for the best chainsaw chap is the Husqvarna Technical Apron Wrap Chap. These chaps provide excellent overall leg protection without impeding your movement. They might be too warm for my friends from the southern states though.

The pick for best on a budget is Forester Chainsaw Apron Chaps. These chaps can provide more than adequate protection for the front of your legs at an affordable price point.

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