How to Choose The Right Chainsaw Chaps

Chainsaw chaps come in different styles, weights, and strapping systems. Which kind is right for you?

chainsaw near chopped down tree
Always wear safety chaps when felling trees on your property.Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Assuming your bucket list doesn’t include starring in your own Texas Chainsaw Massacre, your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) includes chaps to protect your lower extremities from an independently-minded chainsaw. Chaps are cheap insurance, with costs ranging $75 to $180 for a quality pair. They should do one thing very well—stop a moving chainsaw before it hits your leg. Here are three things to consider before buying a pair.

1. Styles

Red chainsaw chaps by Labonville
These full-wrap 6-ply safety chaps come in regular, long, extra long, and 2x long sizes. Consider a longer size than you might normally buy so that the chaps will protect the tops of your feet and ankles.Amazon

Styles include trousers/pants, apron-wrapped chaps and simple chaps. Each has pros and cons. Simple chaps may be lighter, but do not protect the backs of your legs. Buckling and strapping systems should feature ease of use, durability, adjustability and should not easily hang up on brush. Weight matters, especially when they'll be used in hot weather and sweaty conditions. Consider whether you might want to wash them. Choosing the right style for your intended use will significantly increase your margin of safety.

2. Fit and Comfort

Forester denim chainsaw chaps
These simple apron-style chaps protect only the front of your legs, and aren’t suitable for use with electric chainsaws, but they don’t weigh as much (or get as hot) as full wrap chaps.Amazon

Fit and Comfort. it's critical to choose chaps that fit you. Too short and your lower leg and ankle are exposed. Too long and you trip on them. Too loose and you lose maneuverability in tight brush, possibly impeding your escape when you need to move fast. Too tight and your range of motion is affected, which can cause you to be less safe as you strain to move.

3. Cut Resistance

Husqvarna
These apron-wrap chaps are coated with PVC and will fit waists from 36 to 42 inches around.Amazon

Cut Resistance. Chaps should be UL certified and meet ANSI, ASTM and OSHA standards for stopping a chainsaw upon contacting the material. Some chaps rely on using Kevlar and similar high denier nylon fabrics, and others rely on a layer system. Look for these certifications to ensure your safety and peace of mind.