- Kickback is the leading cause of the most severe and traumatic chainsaw-related injuries. As a result, safety standards require chainsaw manufacturers to produce low-kickback saw chain. In order to understand the tradeoffs in current state-of-the-art saw chain, a comparison study was conducted on a custom test apparatus using four different saw chains, all with the same cutter geometry but different low-kickback chain features. Two modes of cutting were studied: nose-clear down bucking and boring. Cutting performance for boring with a chainsaw has not been studied previously. Regression modeling was used to generate cutting force and cutting efficiency trend lines for each of the different saw chains and cutting modes. In nose-clear down bucking, it was found that operator effort and cutting efficiency of a low-kickback chain with bumper drive links was of near-equal performance to that of a non-low-kickback chain (having no low-kickback features). In boring, all types of low-kickback saw chain elements required markedly higher operator effort and had lower cutting efficiency that of non-lowkickback saw chain. Furthermore, a substantial difference in cutting forces was found between differing designs of bumper drive link elements in both nose-clear down bucking and boring, highlighting the importance of proper bumper link geometry. Using these results and considering that the boring mode of operation is for experienced users, the casual chainsaw operator should always prioritize safety by using a low-kickback saw chain while professional users should select the chain that best suits their current cutting needs.