Chainsaw Ripping Chain vs. Crosscut

A chainsaw is a vital tool to have when cutting wood, felling trees, bucking, and more. Before you purchase a chainsaw, you need to consider the purpose of buying it and the qualities of the chainsaw you choose. The ripping chain and crosscut are two types of chainsaw chains that every woodworker should know about; how to use them, the disadvantages, and advantages.

A chainsaw ripping chain is a semi-chisel chain designed to cut along your wood grain at a 10-degree angle.

On the other hand, the crosscut chain is a standard chainsaw chain that crosscuts wood along the grain. It can be a full-chisel or semi-chisel chain.

A significant difference between chainsaw ripping chains and crosscut chains is the smoothness of their finished cut. Ripping chain cuts along the grain and gives smoother cuts, unlike crosscut chains that cut through the grain and create a more rigid finish.

Chainsaw Ripping Chain vs Crosscut

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 Chainsaw Ripping chainChainsaw Crosscut Chain
DurabilityRipping chains are highly durable as they give a minimal kickback and don’t damage easily.Crosscut chains lack durability. They give more kickback than ripping chains and are quicker to damage.
Safety SystemMost chainsaw ripping chains have kickback protection.Crosscut chains have extra bumper links that help reduce kickback when cutting.
DesignRipping chains are round-cornered, micro-chisel chainsCrosscut chains are square cornered chains that can be micro-chisel or full-chisel.
Sharpened teeth angleThe teeth on most ripping chains are sharpened at 10 degrees.The teeth on most crosscut chains you will find are sharpened at 35 degrees.
FinishingRipping chains provide a smooth finish.Crosscut chains give a more rigid finish. This means you will still spend time sanding your finished product.

Differences between Chainsaw Ripping Chain and Crosscut Chain

Cutting Angles

Chainsaws with a wide cutting angle enable your job to be easier and more efficient because you can cut shallow angles without reducing productivity. The crosscut chain has the upper hand when it comes to cutting tips.

Crosscut chains give you a more significant movement range and have a wider cutting angle of 25 to 34 degrees. On the other hand, chainsaw ripping chains have a cutting angle of between 5 and 10 degrees which means you get a smaller cutting angle than crosscut chains.

Cutting Speed

Who would not want to purchase a chainsaw with a fast cutting speed? The faster the cutting speed of your chainsaw chain, the quicker you can finish your project.

Crosscut chains have a much faster cutting rate than ripping chains. This makes it a smart choice for most wood cutting tasks.

Although chainsaw ripping chains can easily cut through wood, they operate much slower than most chainsaw chains. However, their round edges make them very easy to sharpen, and they can maintain their sharpness for a long time while cutting. This is something they have above the crosscut chain.


Their durability is significantly different between a chainsaw ripping chain and a crosscut chain. When purchasing a chainsaw, one of the essential factors is its durability, how long it will last, and how efficient it works.

The design of chainsaw ripping chains ensures that it gives off less kickback and vibration. This means it does not spoil or damage easily. The 10-degree angle keeps the blade sharp for long periods, so you don’t have to sharpen it often.

On the contrary, the steeper cutting angle that crosscut chains offer gives off more kickback. This makes it more susceptible to damage. Crosscut chains also need to be sharpened more often.


Chainsaw ripping jaws are not very versatile and are more suited for cuts that require a smooth finish.

Chainsaw crosscut chains are incredibly versatile and useful. You can use them for any wood cutting and finishing job. The steep angle of the crosscut chainsaw allows it to be useful for different jobs. Some uses for crosscut chains include bucking, limbing, pruning, cutting firewood, and lots more.

However, crosscut chains tend to have a rougher finish than ripping chains. They also need to be sharpened more often than ripping chains.

Similarities Between Chainsaw Ripping Chain and Crosscut


There are little to no similarities between the chainsaw ripping chain and crosscut, except that they are semi-chisel types of chainsaw chains.

All chainsaw ripping chains are semi or micro-chisel. This is a round-cornered chain that makes it easier to cut through wood. They are great for any woodwork but can be very slow to work with.

Full-chisel chains are square-cornered, high-speed, and easy to cut with. Crosscut chains can also be semi-chisel. However, some crosscuts chains are full-chisel as well.


Uses of Chainsaw Ripping Chain

  • It helps to create a smoother, more refined woodcut.
  • It cuts across the grain of your wood.
  • You can use it to cut dirty wood or softwood.

Uses of Crosscut Chain

  • You can use it for milling
  • It can be used to fell and process trees.

Pros and Cons of Chainsaw Ripping Chain


  • It provides a smoother surface compared to crosscut chains.
  • It is capable of retaining its sharpness for a long time.
  • Ripping is more durable and will last longer than crosscut chains.


  • Ripping chainsaws are not fast, which means they will only slow you down.

Pros and Cons of Crosscut Chains


  • Crosscut chains are versatile and can be used for several things such as limbing, pruning, cutting firewood, etc.
  • They have a faster cutting speed when compared to ripping chainsaws.
  • Their wide cutting angles make it possible to cut through tough wood easily.


  • Crosscut chains create a tough finish.
  • You must sharpen them regularly as they cannot retain sharpness for a long time.


In the end, it all depends on the nature of your woodworking job. Are you a seasoned pro or a novice when it comes to chainsaws? Is this a heavy-duty task or something more lightweight? Whatever the case, keep in mind that chainsaw ripping chains are handy if you’re cutting shallow angles and need a smooth cut. Crosscut chains are better for steeper cuts and are great if you need a wider cutting angle.

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