Choosing The Right Chainsaw Trousers

October 2021

For anyone who is in the dangerous but rather exciting business of arboriculture, the central issue must always be on safety. Along with helmets and chainsaw boots, chainsaw trousers have become top of the tree surgeon’s list of essential PPE when it comes to chainsaw work.

HOW CHAINSAW SAFETY TROUSERS WORK

Chainsaw safety trousers consist of a tough outer layer with several fibre layers beneath, known as blocking material. If the blocking material comes into contact with a moving chainsaw chain, the fibres immediately unravel and get pulled into the chain, forcing the chain to an almost instant stop and preventing – or at the least, minimising – an injury to the wearer.

This simple but clever blocking system is very effective, and nobody – from a home owner doing odd jobs to a highly experienced professional – should consider themselves exempt from the need of wearing chainsaw pants when using a chainsaw. Along with other good practices, it’s a simple way to significantly reduce the serious risks posed by use of a chainsaw. No matter how great the level of experience, or how quick the job – accidents can happen to anyone.

CHAINSAW TROUSER PROTECTION EXPLAINED

Type A chainsaw safety trousers provide protection only on the front of the leg. They are the most common choice for foresters and other trained professionals using a chainsaw at ground level.

Type C chainsaw trousers have front and back protection, and are recommended for use by tree surgeons, trainee chainsaw operatives, or anyone wishing to take advantage of increased protection.

There are also four different classes of chainsaw protection. The class refers to the resistance to penetration by a chainsaw and is measured by the cutting speed of the chain at metres per second, and is generally governed by the number of layers of protection within the product. Most chainsaw trousers fall into Class 1 or Class 2.

The faster and more powerful the saw, the higher the class of protection required.

CLASS  Protects against max chainsaw speed Most commonly utilised for
Class 0 Chain moving at 16 m/s Chainsaw gloves
Class 1 Chain moving at 20 m/s Some chainsaw gloves, many chainsaw trousers and chainsaw boots 
Class 2 Chain moving at 24 m/s Some chainsaw trousers, some chainsaw boots 
Class 3 Chain moving at 28 m/s  A few chainsaw boots

Diagram showing chainsaw trouser label

SOME FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING CHAINSAW TROUSERS

Choosing the right chainsaw trousers is paramount. As an essential piece of kit, there are many factors to consider when purchasing the right pair of chainsaw trousers for your needs. When deciding, bear in mind the following aspects:

  • Intended use
  • Personal comfort
  • Durability
  • Value for money

Intended Use

Based on the types of activity to be carried out, the saw(s) to be used, and your risk assessment, the first decision should be the type and class of trouser. For example, for a fully trained operative working only at ground level with a chainsaw operating at a maximum speed of 20m/s, type A, Class 1 trousers may be the most appropriate option.

When weighing up whether type A or C is appropriate for your needs, balance your consideration of the additional protection afforded by type C, with the additional weight and potential heat build up. Is the risk of heat fatigue or operational stress greater or less than the benefit of the extra protection?

Personal Comfort

When it comes down to personal comfort and fit, an important element to consider is whether the chainsaw trousers are made with high stretch fabric. The more stretchy the trouser, the greater the ease of movement, and the less fatigue likely to be caused – this is particularly important if you’re a tree climber, or your work requires a high degree of mobility, or you’ll be using them for long periods of time.

Another option is the weight. The lighter the trouser, the more comfortable they will be to wear over a long period of time or in hot weather.

Likewise breathability and ventilation. This will have a significant impact when working in hot weather conditions. If you have deemed that type A (front protection only) trousers are sufficient for your needs, you may wish to consider a trouser with ventilation openings in the back of the legs.

Durability

Thinking about your working conditions, such as how much climbing you’re doing will also have an impact. Individual needs vary from person to person, depending on whether you’re up in the treetops, or down on the ground, or coming into contact with brash and thorns.

Also consider whether you’ll be using them occasionally or daily. If only occasionally, prioritising comfort over durability is an option – whereas for heavy duty daily use in a rough environment, durability is key if you’re wanting a decent wear life out of your chainsaw trousers.

Value for money

When considering value for money options, there needs to be a balance of both quality and value. Put simply, it is not just a matter of opting for the least expensive chainsaw trousers on the market. Whilst considering which trousers are going to be the most suitable for you personally, the following factors need to be weighed up.

How long do I expect my chainsaw trousers last?

How much longer does a better pair need to last before it’s become better value than a cheap pair?

It may not be as long as you think!

Forestry workers and tree surgeons would sometimes get up to a year’s wear out of chainsaw trousers, subject to the type and intensity of work carried out. Infrequent users may get a lot more. If they’re only lasting a few months, then it’s a false economy, as you’ll be buying more frequently. Paying more for quality and durability will likely lead to better value for money in the long run.

Close up of chainsaw trouser

DECISION MAKING TIME!

If after considering the above information and recommendations, you have decided that it’s durability that you’re after then the Pfanner Gladiator Ventilation Chainsaw Trousers would be a great option to consider.

If style, comfort and fit are way up high on your list of requirements, then take a look at the Arbortec Breatheflex Pro Chainsaw Trousers.

For a budget option where demands are lower, then the Solidur Expedition chainsaw trousers are worthy of your consideration. This lesser known brand attracts a lower price tag than similar spec trousers from some of the bigger brand equivalents.

If you need any help choosing your next pair of chainsaw trousers please visit our website Chainsaw Safety Trousers and Leggings - Type A & Type C (landmarktrading.com). Alternatively our experts are standing by to offer advice over the phone or via email. We’re always happy to help you make a great choice for your needs.

For more information regarding the health and safety requirements regarding chainsaw trousers, please follow this this link Chainsaw personal protective equipment (PPE) (hse.gov.uk)