Which chain speed class do I need?

When it comes to choosing adequate chainsaw protection, it’s important to know which protection class you need. It’s not always clear, as it depends on rules and agreements that might differ in different countries. Let’s have a look.

Chain speeds in EN ISO 11393 and EN 381

Both the most recent European standard for protection against hand-held chainsaws EN 11393 and the older EN 381 describe four classes that correspond to the chain speed with which the tests have been done.

The four chain speed classes are:

  • Class 0 : 16 m/s (not allowed for chainsaw trousers)
  • Class 1 : 20 m/s
  • Class 2 : 24 m/s
  • Class 3 : 28 m/s

Your chainsaw protection should be adapted to the maximum chain speed of the chainsaw you’re using.

Sounds easy, but often determining the chain speed class isn’t that straightforward.

A risk analysis is key to determine your actual chain speed

An employer is not required to provide the highest level of protection solely based on the chainsaw speed. He is, however, obliged to do a risk analysis and to use that analysis to select adapted and adequate protection.

The chainsaw’s speed is just one of the test method’s elements. We should also keep in mind the angle, the type of chain, sharpening of the chain, whether the sprocket has been adjusted, the weather circumstances, etc.

For example, when it’s more than 40°C outside, it might be safer to wear chainsaw trousers in a lower class to prevent accidents caused by loss of concentration due to heat stress.

In addition, it’s also very important to know which chain speed you should look at in your chainsaw manual.

Roadmap: How to calculate the PPE class

  • To find out the chainsaw’s actual chain speed, have a look at the machine’s manual.
  • In the manual you will see 2 chain speeds.
  • One that corresponds to the EN ISO 11681 standard, which describes the requirements for portable chainsaws and which is the nominal speed plus 33%.
  • The other one is the actual rated speed. It’s this one you need!
  • If you are unsure, please contact the chainsaw manufacturer or dealer.

An example to clarify the roadmap:

Now that you have figured out which class you need, use our product filters to find your chainsaw protection.