10 Best Chainsaw Chaps - Top Rated Safety Pants in 2019

10 Best Chainsaw Chaps – Top Rated Safety Pants in 2019

Personal protection equipment (PPE) is an important part of any project requiring the use of power tools. Without proper PPE, the chances of getting injured on the job go up remarkably. This is especially true when working with the more dangerous power tools, like chainsaws.

No power tool is dangerous when used properly. Companies couldn’t sell them if they were. Nevertheless, the reality is that circumstances sometimes get in the way of using them properly. Even a screwdriver can be dangerous if one slips and falls while using it. Uneven footing, working on unstable ladders, and limbs falling off of trees can all turn a normal session with a chainsaw into a dangerous dance with the potential for serious injury.

Over a third of all chainsaw accidents involve the legs, as we typically hold the saw at or beneath waist level, cutting downwards with it. So any slips with the saw will end up with the fast-moving chain heading right for our legs. Blue jeans, the normal attire of choice when using a chain saw are about as much protection as a paper bag, leaving the opportunity for a lot of chainsaw accidents.

Best Chainsaw Chaps – Comparisons

 

Picture Name Length Color Price
Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap, 36 to 38-Inch Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron 21 Speed Orange/Gray Tech Check Latest Price
Stihl 0000 886 3202 Protective Stihl 0000 886 3202 Protective 36-Inch  Orange Check Latest Price
Forester Chainsaw Chaps Zipper Style Orange Short Forester CHAP4 Chainsaw 40-Inch Orange Check Latest Price
Oregon 563979 Protective Chainsaw Chaps Oregon 563979 Protective 36-Inch Black Check Latest Price
Labonville Chainsaw Safety Chaps - Orange Regular Labonville 850KP Chainsaw Orange Check Latest Price
Elvex JE-9136Z ProChapsZ 1000 Denier Wrap Around Calf Protection with Zipper, 36" Length from Waist, Orange Elvex JE-9136Z Zipper Chainsaw 36-Inch Orange Check Latest Price
Chain Saw Chaps A.M. Leonard Chainsaw Chaps 33 to 36-Inch Check Latest Price
Makita 841008-A 38-Inch Chain Saw Chaps Makita 841008-A Chain Saw Chaps 38-Inch Orange Check Latest Price

 

That’s where chainsaw chaps come in. Adding this additional layer of clothing, over your work pants, protects your legs from being seriously cut by the chainsaw in a rather ingenious method.

Chainsaw chaps are more than just thick pants, worn over your normal clothing. They are built with an inner core of ballistic fibers. To my eye, the ones I’ve seen look just like thick Kevlar fibers, although different manufacturers claim to use different materials. The idea is that when the chain saw cuts through the outer layer of fabric, it encounters these fibers, pulling them out of the chaps. The fibers end up getting caught in the chain of the saw and bring it screeching to a halt, all in about one second.

Please note that a single encounter with a chain saw will ruin the chaps, requiring their replacement. But that’s better than a trip to the emergency room and a few weeks out of work while your body fights to recover; not counting the months of painful physical therapy that would follow that.

Since these are chaps and not pants, they are designed to be loose on the leg, over the pants. That means that when the chain grabs the chaps, it pulls them away from the leg, especially if hit in the thigh (where most accidents happen), causing the stopping action to actually happen away from your body. This helps to ensure there is no actual contact between the chain and your leg. The chain doesn’t even cut through the back of the chaps, let along coming into contact with your pants or your leg.

While a fairly simple device, chainsaw chaps are an essential piece of safety equipment, helping ensure that you’ll walk home from using your chainsaw, rather than being carried away on a stretcher. That’s enough to make them a valuable addition to your PPE.

Best Chainsaw Chaps – Reviews

1. Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron

It’s not particularly surprising that Husqvarna would occupy one of the top spots on our list, considering that they are one of the biggest manufacturers of chain saws there is. These apron-wrap chaps are well designed, giving you the safety that you need.

The basic idea behind the apron design is to have something that will tear away easily, should it come into contact with the chain. With a single strap at the waist and three straps for each lower leg, this pair of chaps does that perfectly. The five-layer design provides multiple means of engaging the chain, bringing it to a stop. Heavy 1000 denier (the term denier defines the size of the thread) polyester strands with

PVC coating is the main braking mechanism. While there are two different lengths available, the size is basically universal, adjustable up to a 42-inch waist. The bright orange color provides additional safety, making the wearer highly visible. Pockets are provided for a felling wedge and other gear.

What we Liked

  • Five layer construction
  • Heavy 1000 denier polyester chords
  • Apron wrap
  • Three straps per leg – top strap is higher on the leg, leaving more material free for capture by the saw
  • Felling wedge and gear pockets
  • Meets OSHA regulation 1910-266
  • Safety orange color
  • Available in two lengths
  • Reflective tape at the ankles

What We Didn’t Like

  • Plastic buckles for the straps are a bit weak, can break over time

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2. Stihl 0000 886 3202 Protective Apron Chain

Stihl 0000 886 3202 Protective Apron Chain

Stihl is another big name in power yard and gardening equipment, so it’s not surprising that they have a good pair of chain saw chaps as well. These aren’t two-tone, but rather are available in either a solid safety orange or solid black.

The big difference between this set of chaps is that they are six layers. That gives you one more layer of material to get caught in the chainsaw chain and bring it to a stop. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier in that regard. They supposedly offer a nine-layer version as well, but I couldn’t find any details on it.

The waist strap is the heavier duty on this pair than on the Husqvarna, meaning there’s less chance of the buckle breaking. Interestingly enough, they also offer a waist extender, allowing the same chaps to be worn by men with a 56” waist. On the other hand, it seems that there are only one set of lower leg straps per leg and that they don’t fully wrap around the leg. This could cause problems with them tearing loose if you get the cuffs caught on anything.

What we Liked

  • Six layers of material
  • They use Avertic Pro by Engtex as the main capture material, a material designed just for this purpose
  • Wider waist strap and beefier buckle
  • Cargo pocket on one leg
  • Blaze-orange color for safety
  • Waist up to 42” or 56” with optional extender
  • Available in two lengths
  • Open back design for working in hot climates

What We Didn’t Like

  • Price is a bit steep
  • Only one lower leg strap per leg

3. Forester CHAP4 Chainsaw Chaps

The Forester chaps are great for the guy who needs a set of chainsaw chaps for safety but doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. While discount-priced, these chaps aren’t any slouch; they’ll still provide you with the protection that you need. They’re also oil and water resistant, which should keep them looking good a little bit longer.

Forester saves money on their chaps by going with a simpler, four-ply design, rather than the five or six ply we’ve seen with others. While that does lower the protection they offer a bit. They still meet the requirements for OSHA 1910.266 and ASTM F1897. However, the manufacturer states that these are not suitable for use with electric chainsaws.

It looks like Forester is working on a design change, so it’s unsure whether the chaps you order will come with two or three straps per leg. Either way, it will work fine. These are the straps attached to the edges of the chaps, like with the Stihl, rather than wrapping all the way around, like with the Husqvana. Forester also offers a waist strap extender and replacement buckles, which other manufacturers don’t bother selling.

What We Liked

  • Excellent price
  • Availability of replacement buckles
  • Oil and water resistant
  • Adjustable waist add-on strap for big boys
  • Comes with a cargo pocket for gear
  • Available in three lengths, rather than just two
  • Safety orange color
  • Top leg straps are higher on the leg for greater comfort
  • Meets OSHA 1910.266 & ASTM F1897
  • Good price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Only a four-ply design. While probably sufficient, the idea of more layers is comforting
  • Doesn’t come with reflective tape installed. That’s not a necessity, but it’s nice to have

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4. Oregon 563979 Protective Chainsaw Chaps

Oregon is one of those outdoor tool companies that might not be known in all parts of the country. But like many smaller companies, they produce excellent products. That’s obvious with this pair of chain saw chaps, which have eight layers of protection.

I’ll have to say, eight layers are impressive, even if I don’t know what sort of material they are using. But just thinking about it, that means that before the chain can get to your leg, it has to engage and get tangled up in eight different layers of fabric, each of which is going to be fighting to stop it. Even without the best of materials, the number of layers is definitely to your benefit. For example, the outer layer is a 600 denier Oxford fabric. While not a ballistic fabric, that heavy a thread is going to be harder to break through, than something smaller.

These chaps only come in one length and in black. The length can be adjusted, however, shortening it by use of snaps at the waist. The base chaps fit up to 46” waist, which is an advantage over other units we’ve looked at. For those of us who need to lose a few pounds, that’s an advantage. But there are only two straps per leg, not three, so they’ll fit a bit looser and there doesn’t seem to be a pocket.

What we Liked

  • Simple, yet effective design
  • Eight layers of protection – impressive
  • Great price
  • Adjustable length
  • Heavy-duty outer layer
  • Fits up to 46” waist, without an extender
  • Dual-leg straps are easier to put on, leave chaps loose for better airflow
  • Great price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not available in any safety colors
  • No pocket
  • Buckles are low quality, likely to slip – the problem can be solved by tying a knot

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5. WoodlandPRO BWP AP Arbor Chainsaw Pants

WoodlandPRO is one of those brands that’s hard to pin down, as it’s a product line name used by a marketing company, more than a manufacturer. That means their products are made by a variety of different companies. In this case, the companies who produce the products are clearly companies which believe in making high-quality goods.

What makes this particular pair of chaps so impressive is that the working part of these chaps are two layers of Kevlar. While this material is normally associated with ballistic vests to stop bullets, it has many other uses too, including chainsaw chaps. Kevlar fibers are extremely hard to break, making it an ideal material for this application. The chainsaw won’t be able to break the Kevlar, making it possible for the Kevlar to stop the chain.

These only come in a nice woodland green, so they might not be ideal on a construction site. But for those of us looking for a product to use at home, they are ideal. The caps only have two straps per leg, like the Oregon pair above. But that should be enough. There’s no pocket either. However, they have a heavy, 400 denier ultra nylon covering, which resists stains and is easily washable.

What we Liked

  • The Kevlar; hard to beat that
  • Five layers of construction, including the two layers of Kevlar
  • Nylon outer shell is stain resistant
  • Heavy-duty belt
  • I personally like the forest green color
  • Quick snap fasteners for the leg straps
  • Meets all kinds of safety certifications
  • Waist size up to 44 inches, without an extension
  • Comes in four different lengths, more than any other we’ve looked at
  • Made in Canada, not China
  • Good price; not as low as the Forester, but still good

What We Didn’t Like

  • No pocket
  • Not available in safety orange

6. Labonville 850KP Chainsaw Chaps

If two layers of Kevlar are good, then it stands to reason that four layers of oversized Kevlar fibers would be even better. That’s what this pair from Labonville has, quite possibly making it the toughest pair of chainsaw chaps on the market. the four layers are mixed with polyester for comfort, as straight Kevlar is a bit stiff and uncomfortable to wear.

These chaps are also a full-wraparound design, providing added protection, especially to the backs of the calves. A heavy duty two-inch wide belt is less likely to twist and the buckle is less likely to break than what you encounter on other sets of chaps. The chaps are also reversible, just in case you need to look good for the boss.

Labonville also makes these chaps in a 40-inch length, for the extra-tall lumberjack in your family. While other brands have sizes for tall folks, they don’t reach the heights of this one. The safety orange color is ideal for working on construction jobsites or in forestry work.

What we Liked

  • Four layers of heavy-duty Kevlar, mixed with polyester – can any more be said?
  • Wide belt is stronger and less likely to break
  • Reversible, if needed
  • 1000 denier Nylon covering is oil and water resistant
  • Safety orange color
  • Full wrap-around design for added safety
  • Two leg straps hold the chaps firmly to the legs
  • Good price

What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit pricey
  • No pocket

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7. Labonville 850CKP Competitive Chainsaw Chaps

I don’t normally like touting multiple products from the same company; but in this case, I’m going to make an exception. In addition to the chainsaw chaps I mentioned above, Labonville offers their “competitive series” of chainsaw chaps. I’m not really sure what sort of competition they’re talking about, but these are some impressive chaps. The big thing that stands out on these chaps is that they have 10 layers of Kevlar and polyester. I suppose that’s what makes them competitive. People generally take chances when in competition, so accidents and injuries are more likely. With these chaps, even crazy competitors will be well protected. These are also wrap-around chaps, with protection over the back side of the calves.

Other than the extra layers of Kevlar and the higher price to go with them, these chaps are almost identical to the ones mentioned above. But if you have some reason to want extra protection, this is definitely the way to go.

What we Liked

  • Ten full layers of heavy-duty Kevlar, mixed with polyester – simply amazing
  • The wide belt is stronger and less likely to break
  • Reversible, if needed
  • 1000 denier Nylon covering is oil and water resistant
  • Safety orange color
  • Full wrap-around design for added safety
  • Two leg straps hold the chaps firmly to the legs

What We Didn’t Like

  • High price
  • No pocket

8. Elvex JE-9136Z Zipper Chainsaw Chaps

The Elvex chainsaw chap design is different from others in a number of ways, which make it worth mentioning. More than anything, these chaps are designed for comfort and ease of use. They accomplish that by replacing the leg straps with a zipper for the wrap-around calf portion of the legs. You don’t have to worry about the chaps coming loose or flopping around where they might be a problem.

Elvex uses a proprietary pad of PROLAR polypropylene and polyester. While they don’t say so directly, this sounds similar to Dyneema ballistic fabric. The protective layer is covered by a 100 denier heavy-duty nylon fabric outer shell, which is coated with polyurethane for water resistance.

These chaps come with a gear pocket, hanging at the waist for convenience. There is also an optional wedge pouch, which can be hung on the belt, allowing you to carry a splitting wedge with you. All in all, a very convenient design.

What we Liked

  • Eliminating the belts and replacing them with a zipper
  • Wrap-around calf design for greater safety and protection
  • Velcro thigh closures are replaceable if needed
  • Built-in gear pocket
  • Wedge pouch, even if it is an accessory
  • Safety orange colored
  • Wide, tough belt
  • Heavy-duty 100 denier Nylon cover fabric

What We Didn’t Like

  • Price is a bit high
  • The wedge pouch doesn’t come with it

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9. A.M. Leonard Chainsaw Chaps

A.M. Leonard may not be a household name, but they are well known in commercial circles. Their approach to products is often a bit different than others, as we can see from this pair of chaps. While they do the same job as others, they go about it a touch differently.

One of the big differences between these chaps and others is their asymmetric design. Since most chainsaw accidents happen on the left side, the manufacturer has added extra material on that side of the leg, improving the protection their chaps offer, without having to bump the price up excessively. They also added a series of straps at the waist, allowing much more adjustment of the waist and length than most chaps have.

This set of chaps uses a Prolar weave, made with Kevlar strands, which is designed specifically to unravel on contact with the chain, jamming the chainsaw, just as I mentioned in the introduction to the article. A lightweight Nylon cover keeps the chaps flexible and breathable for comfort.

What we Liked

  • Very adjustable for waist and length
  • Heavier protective material on the left side for increased protection in the higher risk area
  • Made with Kevlar strands for best protection
  • Designed specifically to unravel, providing maximum blocking action
  • Good price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not available in safety orange
  • Takes a bit to get them comfortable the first time you wear them
  • Buckles tend to come loose and need retightening

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10. Makita 841008-A Chain Saw Chaps

As a major tool manufacturer, Makita also provides an extensive line of personal safety equipment for use with their products. While not really known for those safety products, they are as well thought out and designed as the rest of their product line.

Take these chaps, for example. The left leg is intentionally longer than the right, because of the greater chance of an accident on the left leg. Just as the A.M. Leonard chaps are designed with this in mind; so are the Makita chaps, although they take a different approach to solving the problem. An extra-wide design ensures there is enough fabric to go around your leg.

Another way that Makita keeps the user in mind is that these are probably the most comfortable chaps on the market. Lighter weight and greater flexibility ensure that you will be comfortable, while still being protected.

What we Liked

  • Comfortable design easily adjusts to the wearer
  • Light weight for lower fatigue
  • Left leg receives better protection, as most injuries occur in the left leg
  • Safety orange color
  • Well made, quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • A bit more costly than other brands
  • No gear pocket or wedge holder

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In Conclusion

With the high danger factor involved in using chain saws, it only makes sense to take advantage of the safety equipment available to use. The various models of chaps offered here are all designed to make the use of these power tools safer while maintaining operator comfort. Since this is a safety item, you may want to spend a little more money to ensure you have the protection you need, rather than trying to get by for the lowest possible price. While the lower cost units will provide you with adequate protection, as stated by OSHA regulations, there is a clear difference with some of the more costly units. Added layers of protection help ensure your safety, protecting you from potential accidents.

Regardless of which unit you choose, always be sure to wear protective chaps, as well as other PPE, when using dangerous power tools, like chain saws.

Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

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