A chainsaw is one of the most dangerous tools you can use. Even the most careful operators face the threat of kickbacks or slips that can bring the chain into contact with their body. When chainsaw injuries occur, the bulk of them are leg injuries. A good set of chainsaw chaps will keep your limbs intact while providing you with enough freedom of movement to get the job done.
These invaluable pants cover either the front of the legs or consist of tough materials such as denier polyester to prevent the chainsaw blade from cutting through the material and into your leg. They also feature Kevlar and ballistic cores that serve as an extra stopgap to clog the chainsaw and bring it to an immediate stop should the blade breach the pants’ outer layer.
If you need a pair of chainsaw chaps to protect you while you conduct post-storm cleanup or annual tree pruning, read on to learn what factors to consider and to find out why these chainsaw chap recommendations make the cut.
- BEST OVERALL: Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps with Pocket
- BEST FOR CLIMBING: Notch Armorflex Chainsaw Protective Pants
- BEST KEVLAR: LABONVILLE Premium Chainsaw Chaps
- BEST REVERSIBLE: Forester Chainsaw Apron Safety Chaps Reversible
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Husqvarna 587160702 Chain Saw Chaps
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chainsaw Chaps
Understanding the material used in chainsaw trousers, the safety standards that regulate these pants, the types of machines you can use with them, and several other factors can help you make the right purchase.
Types of Chainsaw Chaps
When shopping for chainsaw chaps and pants, it’s essential to consider what type of coverage you need to protect yourself while operating a chainsaw. Keep in mind that chainsaw chaps are rated for use with gas chainsaws only because chainsaw chaps are unable to stop electric chainsaw blades.
- Type A chainsaw chaps, also known as apron-style chaps, protect only the front of the legs and are designed to wear over pants. This type is suitable for operating a chainsaw while standing on the ground because of the limited protection.
- Type C chainsaw chaps protect the entire leg and are worn as regular pants with no layer underneath. This type of chainsaw chap is recommended if operating a chainsaw from a ladder or while in an awkward position because the style provides maximum protection.
Chainsaw chaps consist of multiple layers of material. They feature a tough outer layer made of rugged polyester denier designed to endure cuts and punctures with a PVC coating that resists oil and water. If the chainsaw manages to penetrate the first layer, the second layer features dense fibers of ballistic nylon or Kevlar that instantly come apart, clogging the chain and causing the chainsaw to stop functioning. An additional layer prevents the chain from reaching the operator.
Make sure to choose a set of chaps that will meet the maximum chain speed of the chainsaw. Chainsaw chaps use a fabric class rating from 0 to 3. Class 0 fabric is suitable for chainsaws with a max speed of 16 meters per second (m/s), while class 1 can handle speeds up to 20 m/s. Thicker chaps with a class 2 rating are suitable for chainsaws with a 24 m/s rating, and class 3 chaps will protect against chainsaws with a max of 28 m/s. You can find the speed of your chainsaw in the operating manual. Keep in mind that chaps with a higher rating will be thicker and hence hotter, so it makes sense to get chaps that are adequate for the speed of your chainsaw as opposed to going with the highest rating you can find.
Chainsaw chaps also are regulated by Underwriter Laboratories (UL) and OSHA regulations to ensure they provide the protection they advertise. Make sure the chaps you purchase have both safety certifications.
Many chaps are not rated to protect against corded or cordless electric chainsaws. The Kevlar and Tek warp fibers in chainsaw chaps will break apart and clog the chain in the event of an accident, instantly bringing the chain to a halt by stopping the engine or disengaging the clutch. This will not work with electric-powered chainsaws because they use an electric motor instead of a gas-powered engine and do not use a clutch to engage the chain. Manufacturers of chainsaw chaps will not certify their products for use with electric chainsaws.
Apron vs. Wraparound
The main difference between the apron and wraparound chaps is that an apron-style product will cover only the front of your legs while wraparound chaps provide more coverage around your legs. Wraparound chaps might offer better coverage but are bulkier, heavier, and hotter. If using a lower-power chainsaw for household jobs, an apron style should suffice. Bigger jobs with more powerful chainsaws demand the protection of wraparound chaps.
Chainsaw blades need constant lubrication to work properly. As this oil tends to get everywhere, most chainsaw chaps resist oil, water, and fuel, preventing these substances from soaking into and staining the material. Some sets of chaps also include handy pockets for storing chainsaw accessories. Chainsaw chaps also come in bright colors, making you visible, which is crucial when working in a group with several chainsaw operators.
Most chaps include a broad range of fits with waistbands that expand from about 28 inches up to 42 inches to suit various sizes of wearers. Most chainsaw pants also come in different length options that use either inseam or full-leg length measurements from waist to foot.
Comfort and Fit
Chainsaw chaps include waist and leg straps that allow you to tighten or loosen them, so they fit over layers of clothing, making them comfortable to wear in both warm and cold weather. Chainsaw chaps should fit loosely enough that they give you enough freedom of movement to work without restricting your activity.
Our Top Picks
This list considers the above types and features of chainsaw chaps to help you shop for the best chaps for protecting legs while wielding a chainsaw.
The Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap chainsaw chaps feature multiple layers of protection. The tough 1,000-denier polyester outer layer resists cuts, abrasions, and punctures and includes a PVC coating that resists water, oil, gas, and dirt. A Tek warp interior will splinter apart when the blade breaches the outer layer, clogging the chainsaw blade and preventing it from causing serious injury.
The adjustable waist features a variance of 2 inches, while three adjustable straps enable a secure fit around the lower legs. A convenient gear pocket holds a felling wedge. This set of chaps meets OSHA regulations and comes in waist sizes ranging from 36 inches to 42 inches.
- 1,000-denier polyester outer layer and Tek warp interior
- PVC coating; oil, water, gas, and dirt-resistant
- Adjustable waist and gear pocket included
- Fits 36- to 42-inch waists
- Does not provide full-leg coverage
With its four layers of protection, including a 1,200-denier polyester outer shell with a water- and oil-resistant protective coating, the Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps with Pocket meet OSHA safety standards. The wraparound style provides protection around the legs.
An adjustable waist fits sizes ranging from 28 inches to 44 inches, allowing these pants to accommodate multiple chainsaw operators. Length options include short, regular, and long, meeting heights ranging from 5 feet to 6 feet 4 inches. Features include a 6-by-6-inch pocket, which is large enough to hold a felling wedge. These chaps come in a variety of colors, including safety yellow and forest green.
- 1,200-denier polyester outer shell
- Wraparound, adjustable waist
- Fits 28- to 44-inch waists
- Includes large gear pocket
- Does not cover full leg
- Not suitable for use with electric chainsaws
When teetering on the branch of a tree while operating a chainsaw, it’s essential to have full protection, like from Notch Armorflex Chainsaw Protective Pants. Unlike apron or wraparound chaps, these pants provide complete protection for both the front and back of the entire leg. The fabric consists of five-layer Avertic Engtex material that resists cutting and abrasions.
These OSHA and UL-certified pants feature a broad range of sizes from 28 to 38 inches in the waist and 30 to 34 inches in the inseam. Armortex abrasion-resistant shell and Kevlar fibers provide added protection for the knees. These trousers also include four-way stretch fabric for better mobility. Two zippered pockets offer enough room for tools.
- Full-leg coverage
- Five-layer Avertic Engtex material
- Armortex shell and Kevlar fibers on the knees
- Fits 28- to 38-inch waists and 30- to 34-inch inseams
- Can generate heat
For the same material that’s used in bulletproof vests to protect your legs, look to Labonville’s Premium Chainsaw Chaps. These chaps feature a core of five-ply Kevlar and polyester to provide your legs with maximum protection. When the blade cuts into the material, it immediately becomes inundated with the pad material, jamming the chainsaw. The outer shell consists of 1,000-denier Nylon Cordura, which resists cutting and punctures. A urethane coating resists water and oil.
These chaps fit a variety of body shapes with a waist that is adjustable up to 48 inches.
- Blend of Kevlar and polyester
- Adjustable for waists up to 48 inches
- UL Classified and OSHA Compliant
The Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps Reversible in camo/orange are like two pairs of chaps in one. This reversible set of chaps comes with a bright orange side that makes you visible while working and a camouflage side for disappearing into the foliage. They feature multilayered construction that resists cuts and meets OSHA safety requirements for leg protection while also resisting oil and water.
This wraparound style of chaps offers plenty of protection for the front and sides of the leg. A large side pocket is an excellent place to store a chainsaw wrench. A flip adjustment belt allows these pants to fit a wide range of sizes.
- Multilayered construction; Oxford outer layer
- Wraparound design with adjustable belt
- Large gear pocket
- Reversible colors
- Not suitable for use with electric chainsaws
- Does not cover full leg
For some lighter chainsawing efforts, you don’t need a full set of wraparound chaps but can get comfortable protection from the Husqvarna 587160702 apron-style chaps. The chaps meet UL and OSHA safety requirements and provide a thick layer of protection for the front of the upper legs without restricting movement or causing the operator to overheat. They feature a 600-denier polyester outer layer with a PVC coating that resists water. Multiple interior layers of Tec warp will clog the chainsaw drive, stopping the blade if it penetrates the outer layer. An adjustable waist fits sizes up to 38 inches, while straps with buckles keep the chaps secured to the legs.
- 600-denier polyester outer layer
- Water-resistant PVC coating
- Sturdy straps and acetyl delran buckles
- Fits 36- to 42-inch waists
- Partial coverage of legs only
Chosen for its 1,000-denier polyester outer layer with PVC coating and Tek warp interior, the Husqvarna is our top pick for chainsaw chaps. With an adjustable waist and large gear pocket, this option is meant for those heavy-duty projects where powerful electric chainsaws may be needed.
Alternatively, for a light price tag and project, the Forester pick is a great option with a 1,200-denier polyester outer shell and large gear pocket. This wraparound, adjustable design fits 28- to 44-inch waists and comes in multiple lengths for your preference or intended use. Note, however, that this design cannot take on electric chainsaws.
How We Chose the Best Chainsaw Chaps
During intense projects on construction sites, or in backyards or forests, chainsaw chaps can protect from severe injuries. Selection for the best chainsaw chaps depended upon materials used, weather and moisture resistance, and comfortable designs.
The above picks come with strong polyester and Avertic Engtex, Armortex, Kevlar, and Tek warp materials for protection. Many also come with water, dirt, gas, and oil-resistant PVC coating. The above list also prioritizes comfort by coming in a wide range of waist sizes ranging from 28 inches to 44 inches.
Length and adjustability is also covered in this list with a few picks offering partial to full-leg coverage, adjustable waist straps, or wraparound designs. Be advised, however, that some of the chainsaw chaps in the above list only provide frontal coverage and are not suitable for use with electric chainsaws.
Tips for Using Chainsaw Chaps
There are a few things to consider when shopping for a pair of chainsaw chaps. First, get the coverage you need. While a pair of chainsaw chaps will suffice for cutting limbs from the ground, you’ll need full pants if you happen to be climbing. Although chainsaw chaps use breathable, lightweight materials, they’re still hot. With that in mind, it’s ideal to complete your chainsaw jobs in cooler weather, if possible.
When wearing chainsaw pants, make sure they don’t fit too tightly. Chainsaw pants feature straps that allow you to tighten them to your leg, but don’t tighten them too much. Chainsaw chaps should fit loosely, allowing for the range of movement you need when using a chainsaw. The material should have enough give for the saw blade to gather fabric instead of flesh if it makes contact with your leg.
- Make sure you purchase the right chainsaw chaps for the job.
- Chainsaw pants can be hot, so saw in cooler temperatures if possible.
- Chainsaw pants should fit loosely for comfortable range of motion and safety.
If you still have unanswered questions regarding how chainsaw chaps work, their fit, and proper use, look below for answers.
Q: How do chainsaw chaps protect you from a chainsaw?
When a chainsaw blade comes into contact with your leg, the heavy material will resist cutting. Should the blade breach the pants’ outer layer, it will engage a Kevlar or ballistic nylon core, which will shred and instantly clog the drive gears, stopping the chainsaw before it reaches your leg.
Q: What are chainsaw chaps made of?
Chainsaw chaps are made of a rugged shell of denier polyester typically treated with a water-resistant coating. That shell covers a core composed of either ballistic nylon, Kevlar, or Tek warp.
Q: What is the difference between Type A and Type C chainsaw trousers?
Type A chainsaw trousers cover only the front of your legs and fit over standard work pants. Type C trousers function as full pants, protect the fronts and backs of your legs, and don’t require an underneath layer.
Q: How do you measure for chainsaw chaps?
Proper sizing depends on the manufacturer. Though some manufacturers provide inseam sizes, others require that you measure from your waistline to the top of your feet. Most chainsaw chaps feature adjustable waist straps that accommodate a variety of waist measurements.
Q: Can you wash chainsaw chaps?
Some chainsaw chaps should be hand-washed to prevent damage to their protective materials. Others allow you to run them through the washing machine. Check with the manufacturer’s care instructions for specifics on how to care for your chainsaw chaps.
Q: Do you wear pants under chainsaw trousers?
You do not need to wear pants under chainsaw trousers. Since chainsaw trousers are often quite hot due to their multilayer design, you might not want to add a layer under these pants.
Q: What should you wear when using a chainsaw?
In addition to chainsaw trousers or chaps, you should wear other personal protective equipment, including a helmet with a face shield to protect you from kickbacks and projectiles, as well as chainsaw protection gloves and hearing protection.