Whether you’re cutting hedges in your own yard or you’ve just started up a professional landscaping company, a chainsaw is a must-have tool for the job you are planning on doing. You’ve spent a lot of time researching the different types of chainsaws, you’ve narrowed down your choices, and you have decided which one you want to purchase.
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It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen an electric, battery, or gas powered saw, you’re going to want to outfit yourself with protective gear before you start wielding that power tool around. Chainsaws definitely make many jobs a lot easier to complete, but you do have to ensure that you are properly protected when you’re using one.
Even the highest quality chainsaws produced debris, such as sawdust and chunks of wood. If you’re going to be using one of these tools, there’s a chance that a piece of wayward wood could ricochet off the saw and make contact with your person. If that happens, you could sustain a serious injury. Protective eyewear is the most obvious chainsaw safety gear, but your eyes aren’t the only part of your body that could be affected by chainsaw debris; your legs could be, too! A piece of wood could rebound off the saw and lodge itself into one of your legs. Flying debris isn’t the only danger when using a chainsaw; there’s also a chance that your pants could get caught in the saw’s blade, or you could fall and your legs could make contact with the sharp, fast-moving blade. As you can imagine, if any of those incidents occur, you could sustain a serious injury.
How can you protect your legs while you’re operating a chainsaw? By sporting a pair of chainsaw chaps! If you’re wondering what chainsaw chaps are, why they’re important, or you have any other questions about this essential protective gear, you will find the information that you seek in this detailed buyer’s guide.
What are Chainsaw Chaps?
What exactly are chainsaw chaps? They protective pants that are made of specialized fabrics that are intended to protect those who are operating a chainsaw from the blade of the power tool. Typically, the exterior portion of these protective pants is made of a slippery or rough material and the interior portion is comprised of loose fabric.
Chainsaw chaps are meant to be worn over the top of your regular pants. The fabrics used in these chaps are intended to reduce injuries that could possibly occur to your legs while operating a chainsaw.
Why It’s Important to Wear Chainsaw Chaps
When you’re operating a chainsaw, no matter the reason, it’s always important to exercise caution. This power tool contains a fast moving blade that can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, and the blade is covered with sharp teeth. There are a number of injuries that could possibly happen while you are operating a chainsaw.
Why is it important to wear chainsaw chaps, specifically? There are a number of reasons… If you slip and fall while operating this tool, the blade could make contact with your legs, your “regular” pants could get swept up by the moving blade (especially if they are loose-fitting), or a large piece of debris could fly off the saw and potentially get lodged into your leg. If any of these situations arise, chainsaw chaps you will be glad you are wearing a pair of chainsaw chaps. These protect pants will safeguard your legs from any of these possible scenarios, thus protecting you from serious injuries. Therefore, if you are planning on using a chainsaw for any reason and in any capacity, it is important to ensure that you properly protect yourself and put on a pair of chaps before you rev up the engine on this powerful tool.
Chainsaw Chaps vs Pants
Operating a chainsaw could put you at risk of serious injuries. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to ensure you are wearing the necessary protective gear before you power up your saw and start cutting. There are several types of personal safety equipment that you should be wearing when you operate a chainsaw, including safety glasses, ear protection, a face guard, a hard hat, protective footwear, and of course, protection for your legs.
For chainsaw operators, there are two types of leg protection available: chainsaw chaps and chainsaw pants.
Chainsaw chaps are not full pants; rather, they are a type of legwear that is meant to be worn over another pair of standard pants. They feature protective material that covers the front and sides of your legs, while the backs are usually partially open. While chainsaw chaps are not cut proof, they do offer serious protection for your legs. Depending on the type of material the chaps are made of, they can reduce the speed of the blade or catch the teeth of the blade and possibly stop it from running. The material can also prevent debris from getting caught in your legs.
The main benefit of chainsaw chaps is that they are easy to get on and off; in fact, it’s for that reason that many chainsaw operators prefer chaps to pants. Chaps are also a lot cooler to work in, as they feature an open-back design. They can also fit several sizes, making them an economical choice when it comes to purchasing protective leg gear for a crew of workers, as they can be shared by different people.
Chainsaw pants are similar to chaps in that they are also made of fabric that can slow down the saw of the blade or catch the teeth and stop the blade from running. Unlike chaps, however, pants cover the entire leg; there is no opening in the back. While chainsaw pants may be easier to wear while climbing trees, they aren’t as convenient to put on and take off, and they tend to get hot. Plus, they usually aren’t a one-size-fits-most option; which means that if you are purchasing protective legwear for a crew of people, you will likely have to invest in a pair of chainsaw pants for each individual.
Given the fact that chainsaw chaps are easier to put on and take off, they are cooler to wear, and they are adjustable in size, many people prefer to wear chaps as protective legwear over pants when they are operating a chainsaw.
How do Chainsaw Chaps Work?
Chainsaw chaps work like any other type of chaps. They feature a waistband and two legs that have an opening in the back. The user slips their legs through the waistband (over another pair of pants), pulls the chaps up, secures the waist, and then secures the back on the opening of the chaps. Depending on the type of chaps, the back can be secured with hook-and-eye closures, snaps, elastic bands, or some other type of closure.
The material on the front portion of the chaps can be made of a variety of materials, such as leather, thick canvas, or a rubberized type of material, while the inside is comprised of looser fabrics. While chainsaw chaps aren’t completely cut-proof, they materials that they are made of can either slow down the blade if it comes into contact with the wearer’s legs or can catch the teeth on the blade and stop it from running. In the event of an accident and the saw makes contact with the user’s legs, the saw may cut through the exterior layer of the chaps, but it will be drawn in and trapped by the loose fibers on the inside of the chaps. Often, the interior of chainsaw chaps is made of a durable material, such as nylon, polyester, or Kevlar. The materials protect the chainsaw operator by stopping the blade from spinning or by slowing it down enough to give the operator a chance to turn off the power tool before the saw has a chance to make contact with the skin on the legs.
Chainsaw chaps can also protect the user by offering a layer of protection from flying debris. Should a piece of sharp, heavy wood fly off the saw and toward the legs, the chaps will prevent the wood from lodging into the legs.
What are Chainsaw Chaps Made Of?
As mentioned, chainsaw chaps are made of materials that are specifically intended to protect a chainsaw operator from the sharp and fast-spinning blade. Standard fabrics, such as denim, are rendered completely useless as protection against a running chainsaw blade, as the blade will cut through the fabric as soon as it makes contact with it.
The exterior layer of chainsaw chaps can be made of a number of materials. Typically, this material is durable and slippery and provides protection from minor damages that could possibly compromise the interior materials. Also as mentioned, if the blade makes contact with the outer material, it will likely sustain a cut; however, the point of the exterior material is to minimize the impact that the blade will make if it comes before it reaches the interior portion of the chaps.
The inner portion of chainsaw chaps can also be made of a number of materials. These materials contain long, loose fibers and are meant to slow down the blade or catch it and stop it from running. The inner materials of a pair of chainsaw chaps can be made of ballistic nylon, polyester, Avertic, or Kevlar. When the blade of a chainsaw makes contact with the chaps, while the exterior material will be cut through, the inner material is pulled out and it wraps around the drive sprocket of the saw. In doing so, the sprocket locks and the chain will slow down or completely stops. As such, the damage to the chainsaw operator’s leg is minimized.
What to Look for When Buying Chainsaw Chaps?
While a chainsaw can be a very useful power tool, it can also be extremely dangerous. Therefore, in order to protect yourself from the dangers that are associated with using this tool, wearing the proper protective gear while you are operating it is imperative. Chainsaw chaps are one of the most important types of protective gear that you should wear while using a chainsaw, as they protect your legs from any mishaps that may occur, including being damaged by the blade and being injured from flying debris. Each year, more than 36,000 chainsaw injuries occur, and more than 12,000 of these injuries involve the legs, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can easily protect yourself from these types of injuries by wearing a pair of high-quality chaps each time you operate a chainsaw.
Since chainsaw chaps are so crucial, making sure that you pick out a high-quality pair that can properly protect you is vital. Choosing a poor quality pair of chaps could end up making you one of the more than 12,000 people who suffer leg injuries while operating a chainsaw. Since the type of chaps you wear is so important, how do you ensure that you are selecting a pair that you can rely on? Below, we offer some factors that you should take into consideration before you decide which pair of chainsaw chaps to purchase.
The Material the Chaps are Made Of
As discussed above, chainsaw chaps are made of different types of materials. Some of the most commonly used materials include polyester, ballistic nylon, Avertic, and Kevlar. Generally, all of these materials will offer the same degree of protection, so your legs will be well protected in chaps that are made of any of these materials. However, it should be noted that the cost of different materials will vary; for example, polyester chaps are usually less expensive than Kevlar. Also, different materials will require different maintenance; some materials can be machine washed, while others require hand washing to avoid damage, and other materials should not be washed at all, as washing them will destroy the protective fibers they are made of.
When choosing a pair of chainsaw chaps, make sure that you choose a material that you can afford, but that you will also be comfortable maintaining.
The Size and Length of the Chaps
Just like you would want to make sure that the size and length of a regular pair of pants fit you properly, you also want to ensure that the size and length of your chainsaw chaps fit you properly. They should fit snuggly around the waist, but not so tight that they are uncomfortable. The length is important, too. You don’t want them to be too short, otherwise they won’t fully cover your legs and won’t offer the protection you need; however, if they are too long, there’s a chance that you could trip over them, which could be a serious hazard. Ideally, the chaps should sit just below the top of your safety boots so that your entire leg is covered.
Comfort is also an important factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing a pair of chainsaw chaps. Chaps that fit too tightly will not only be uncomfortable, but they could prevent the chaps from doing their intended job, as your leg could be pulled into the blade along with the pants. However, if the chaps are too baggy, they could become a tripping hazard. Select a pair of chainsaw chaps that are comfortable to move in, yet not so baggy that there is an excessive amount of material.
Another factor that will affect your comfort while wearing your chainsaw chaps is their breathability. The chaps should be breathable to prevent heat from building up inside. Being hot while you are working is more than uncomfortable; it can be a distraction that could potentially become a hazard.
Your comfort, while you are operating a chainsaw, should be a top priority.
Certifications the Chaps Feature
You should also consider the certification of the chainsaw chaps. The certification of this protective gear ensures that they adhere to safety standards. There are four different types of certifications for chainsaw chaps, including:
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a not-for-profit American institution that tests and certifies the safety of protective gear, including chainsaw chaps.
- American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials (ASTM), an international organization that tests and certifies the standards and quality of products that are intended to be used for safety purposes.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHL); a certification that ensures the manufacturer that makes the chaps treats those who make them fairly.
- Underwriters Laboratories (UL); a worldwide certification organization that assesses, tests, and certifies the safety of protective gear.
The Water and Oil Resistance of the Chaps
If you are going to be working in conditions that involve water and oil, it’s important to consider whether or not the chainsaw chaps you are considering will be able to resist water and oil. For example, if you are a landscaper, you might want to consider choosing a pair of water-resistant chaps, as it’s likely that you will be working in encounter water while you are using your chainsaw. If your chaps become wet, not only will their comfort be compromised, but there’s a chance that your safety could be compromised, as well. Being uncomfortable itself is a distraction, but the water-logged chaps can weigh you down and restrict your movement, therefore putting you at risk of danger.
Whether or Not they have Pockets
Depending on the nature of the work you plan on doing with your chainsaw, chaps with pockets can be a real convenience. For example, you could use pockets to store accessories and tools, such as measuring tapes, extra ear plugs, and your mobile device. With pockets, you can keep the things you’ll need close at hand while you are working. However, while pockets may be a convenience for some people, not everyone likes the idea of pockets on their chainsaw chaps. Some people would prefer not to be distracted by them.
The Weight of the Chaps
The weight of the chaps is another important factor to consider. They should be a weight that you can easily manage; not so heavy that they restrict your movement, yet not so light that the quality of the chaps is compromised. You want to be able to move freely, but you also want to ensure that your legs are well protected.
The Fit and Adjustability
As mentioned, the size and length of the chaps is a very important consideration, and those two factors tie into the fit. They should fit you properly to ensure comfort and easy movement. You should also consider choosing chaps that can be adjusted, especially if you are going to be changing the type of clothing you wear underneath them or if they will be worn by someone else. For example, in the summer, you may opt to wear lighter weight pants under your chaps than you would in the winter. As such, you’ll want to be able to adjust the chaps so that they fit properly. Likewise, if they are going to be worn by someone else, adjustability will ensure that everyone can achieve a proper fit.
The Best Chainsaw Chaps
Now that you know why chainsaw chaps are so important, how they work, and the features that you should be looking for prior to purchasing a pair, you can start shopping for a pair. But, once you start shopping, you are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from.
While having a lot of options is certainly a good thing, it can also be a bit of a disadvantage. Why? – Because it can be difficult to determine which chaps are high quality and will meet your needs. With that said, to help you find a great pair of chainsaw chaps that are comfortable, easy to work in, and that you can rely on to properly protect your legs, we’ve scoured the market and done some extensive research. We read reviews from users and consulted with experts that use chainsaws and wear chainsaw chaps on a regular basis. We narrowed down the choices and have determined that the following three chainsaw chaps are the best options that are currently on the market.
Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps
First on our list is the Forester Chainsaw Safety Chaps with Pocket, Apron Style. Forester is a highly regarded manufacturer of top quality safety gear, including these chaps. They offer reliable protection at an affordable price. They are lightweight, so you can be sure that you will be able to move about with ease while wearing them, yet they aren’t so lightweight that they won’t prevent a chainsaw from injuring your legs. In fact, they can stop the blade within mere seconds should it make contact with your legs.
These chaps are an apron style, which means that they cover and protect the front of your legs, but not the back of them. They come in three different lengths, including 35 inches, 37 inches, and 40 inches, so whether you’re stature is on the short or tall side, you will have the protection you need when you are wearing these chaps. These chaps are made of 12 layers of protective material, so you can have peace of mind knowing that the fronts of your legs will be well protected from injuries. The exterior part of these chaps is made of 1200 denier polyester and they are coated with PVC, which further protects your legs and helps them resist water and oil. The waistband is easy to adjust and will allow you to achieve a comfortable and safe fit with ease.
- Certified protective safety gear
- 12 layers of protective material
- Adjustable waist
- Available in three lengths
- Available in different colors and patterns
- Oil and water resistant
- Durable fabric
- Convenient pocket
- These chainsaw chaps only protect the front of your legs, not the back
- They also don’t offer full protection for your ankles
- Some users have stated that the adjustable belt slides out while the chaps are being used
- ASTM F1897 certification
- OSHA 1910.266 certification
- UL certification
- Oil and water resistant
- Adjustable waistband
- Available in three different lengths
- Available in seven different colors/patterns
- Weight: 2.95 pounds, so they are lightweight enough to move in, yet not so light that they aren’t durable
- Flexible fabrics allow you to move about with ease
- Convenient pocket that can be used to store tools and other gear that you want to keep within hand’s reach
Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap
Next on our list of the best chainsaw chaps is the Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap. These chainsaw chaps are an apron style that wraps around the front of your leg and partially around the back of your legs, which means that they offer full coverage for the front and partial coverage for the back. As far as length goes, these chaps are 36 to 38 inches long and they extend from the waist down to the top of your protective footwear.
These chainsaw chaps are comprised of five layers of protective material; 100 denier polyester with a PVC coating is used for the outer layer, as well as TEK WRAP, so you can be sure that your legs will be properly protected. The waist is adjustable and can extend to 42 inches, so you can easily achieve a fit that works the best for you. Since they are coated with PVC, these chaps are water and oil resistant, so you don’t have to worry about being weighed down by wet chaps. They are also relatively easy to maintain. They are bright orange in color so you will be easy to spot while wearing these chainsaw chaps. Lastly, they are lightweight, so you can freely move about when you are working in this protective gear.
- Certified for safety
- 5 layers of high quality, durable materials
- Adjustable waistband
- Convenient pocket for storage of gear, tools, and/or accessories
- Bright color for easy sighting
- Lightweight for easy movement
- Oil and water resistant
- Fairly easy to maintain
- Some users have complained that the material isn’t breathable and they get hot while wearing them
- The adjustable waist may not fit all sizes
- ASTM F1897 certification
- ANSI Z1331 certification
- UL certification
- OSHA 1910-266 certification
- Weight: 3.75 pounds
- Adjustable waist
- Length: 36 to 38 inches
- Convenient wedge/ gear pocket
- Acetyl Delran buckles for a secure fit
- PVC coating for oil and water resistance
- 5 layers of protective material
- Covers the front of the legs and partially covers the back
Husqvarna 531309565 Chainsaw Apron Chaps
Last, but certainly not least on our list of the best chainsaw chaps is another pair that comes from Husqvarna. Again, we want to point out that Husqvarna is highly regarded for producing some of the best, most durable, and well-designed power tools and safety gear, and their 531909565 chainsaw apron chaps are no exception.
These chaps are made of five layers of Kevmalimot on the inside and are wrapped with 600 Denier polyester on the outside for superior protection; you can rest assure that your legs will be well protected while wearing these chaps. Should a chainsaw blade make contact with them, it will do minimal damage to the chaps, and the materials will stop the blade dead in its tracks, preventing you from serious injuries.
As would be expected from Husqvarna, these chaps are certified for safety; they meet ASTM, ANSI, and UL certifications, further assuring that they are high quality, reliable protective gear. The waist is fully adjustable, so you should be able to achieve the size that fits you the best with ease. The apron style covers the front of your legs; however, the back of your legs will be exposed while wearing these chaps. A sturdy buckle closure wraps around the back of your legs and secures these chaps in place.
- Certified to meet high safety regulations, thus ensuring your protection
- Made of some of the most durable material around
- Adjustable waist for a comfortable and secure fit
- Buckle straps to secure the front of the chaps in place
- Lightweight design for easy movement and breathability
- Only covers the front of your legs
- The adjustable waist may not be able to fit everyone
- The must be hand washed and hung dry
- ASTM F189 Certified
- ANSI Z133.1 Certified
- OSHA 1910-266 Certified
- Made of durable 600 Denier polyester and five layers of Kevmalimot for outstanding protection
- Adjustable waist
- Available in blue, black, and gray
We’ve found that a lot of people have questions regarding chainsaw chaps. In order to ensure that you are purchasing the chainsaw chaps that will best meet your needs and offer a superior level of protection, in this section of our buyer’s guide, we offer answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this protective gear.
Q: Are chainsaw chaps water and oil resistant?
A: It depends. Not all chainsaw chaps are water and oil resistant; however, many are. Those that are oil and water resistant are made of materials or feature specialized coatings that can resist liquids. When they come into contact with oil and/or water, they will be able to repeal the moisture, thus preventing the chaps from becoming soaked. If you are going to be working in an environment where there is a potential that you could be exposed to oil and water, investing in a pair of chainsaw chaps that are resistant to these fluids is a wise idea. They will improve your safety, as well as your comfort.
Q: Can I wash and put the chainsaw chaps in the washing machine?
A: It depends. To find out if the chainsaw chaps you are considering buying are machine washable and dryable, check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some chaps are not meant to be washed, as they are made of materials that can be damaged when washed, which would compromise their effectiveness and their ability to protect you from the blade. However, there are some chainsaw chaps that are actually designed to become stronger when they are washed.
Some chainsaw chaps may not be washed or dried in a machine, but they can be hand washed and hung to dry. Always make sure you check the care instructions provided and follow them to the letter.
Q: How often should I wash my chainsaw chaps?
A: This depends on the chaps you are using. If they are able to be washed, whether by machine or hand, you should consider washing them whenever they become excessively dirty or sweaty. However, if the manufacturer says that they should not be washed, make sure that you never do so. As we stated above, washing them could damage the protective material and compromise your safety.
Q: Will the chainsaw chaps cover my whole leg?
A: Chaps are not meant to cover your entire leg; rather, they are meant to cover just the front of your leg. With that said, some chaps will extend to the back of your leg and cover a portion of this area. If covering your entire leg is important, you should consider investing in a pair of protective chainsaw pants.
Q: What will chainsaw chaps protect me from?
A: First and foremost, chainsaw chaps will protect you from the moving blade of the saw. If you slip and fall, for example, the chaps will slow the blade or stop it so that you can turn off the tool and prevent serious injuries. They can also protect you from flying debris, such as sharp chunks of wood. Since the a large percentage of the chainsaw injuries that occur each year are injuries to the legs, wearing chainsaw chaps is crucial whenever you plan on operating this power tool.
Q: Can chainsaw chaps be repaired?
A: It depends on the type of damage and the material that the chaps are made of. If the interior layers of the chaps are damaged by a saw’s blade, they cannot be repaired. Even if you do attempt to repair them, they will not be able to offer you the protection that you need. It’s in your best interest to get rid of the damaged chaps and invest in a new pair.
However, if only the outer layer of the chaps are damaged, you may be able to repair them. If you do attempt to repair them, make sure that the interior layers are not damaged, otherwise your attempts at repair will be rendered useless.
Q: Will chainsaw chaps protect my legs from a chainsaw rotating at full speed?
A: It depends on the type of material the chaps are made of. If they are made of Kevlar, for example, they may be able to protect you from a full speed saw. However, there is a chance that your leg will sustain a minor injury, no matter what type of material the chaps are made of.
Q: Can all chainsaw chaps be used with electric chainsaws?
A: Many chainsaw chaps are only meant to protect you from gas and battery powered saws; they are not meant to protect you from electric chainsaws. That’s because electric saws reach higher momentums and higher speeds, which means that most chaps will not be able to protect you from the moving blade. With that said, if you are going to be using an electric saw, make sure that you look for a pair of chaps that state they are made to offer protection from this type of chainsaw.
Chainsaws are powerful tools that can simplify a lot of jobs. However, the speed at which they operate coupled with their sharp teeth can make these power tools extremely dangerous. For that reason, it is extremely important to ensure that you are wearing protective leg wear to prevent injuries to your legs, such as chainsaw chaps.