Chainsaw protection classes: cut-resistant clothing for safety

Choosing clothing in the appropriate protection classes significantly improves safety when using a chainsaw. Don’t risk disaster: STIHL has you covered.

A forestry worker in STIHL protective clothing sawing wood in the forest with a STIHL chainsaw

How chainsaw protective clothing works

All work clothing with cut protection generally follows the same principle, based on a need to impede the moving chain of the chainsaw in the event of accidental contact with the user’s body. STIHL chainsaw protective trousers, jackets and shoes do this using special, high-tech fibres which are very long, thin and highly resistant; these fibres are arranged in multiple smooth layers and covered by the outer surface of the clothing. If a saw chain comes into contact with the clothing, it catches and pulls out the fibres in an instant, then the long tough threads wrap around the drive sprocket and quickly stop the chainsaw.

Chainsaw protection classes explained

Each type of protection equipment is not equally suitable for every type of user. Chainsaw protection classes are a way of designating clothing according to the maximum chainsaw speed it can effectively protect against. The four protection classes go from 0 to 3, and the individual designations are further explained below.

Be aware that, because accidents usually happen when a chainsaw is stopping – so at relatively low speeds – chainsaw protection classes can only function as a guide. Factors such as the sharpness of the individual saw chain, its tensioning and the angle of impact cannot be taken into account in the standardised tests used to determine protection classes. Personal protective equipment cannot provide absolute protection from injury, nor is it a substitute for safe working practices. It is therefore essential to follow the instructions in the user manuals for both personal protective equipment and the relevant power tool, as well as any valid national accident prevention regulations.

Chainsaw protection classes: choosing the right level

Each protection class is intended for a specific scenario. Chainsaw protection class 1 is usually suitable for working in the forest or at home, while the higher protection classes are intended mainly for use by trained professionals such as the emergency services.

Chainsaw protection classes: STIHL protective clothing

STIHL offers cut protection clothing across the various classes, so you can be assured of effective protection while working with a chainsaw.

STIHL chainsaw protective clothing is tested by the very prestigious European SMP or KWF testing institutes. That is why you can rest assured that any cut protection textiles you purchase from STIHL will offer reliable, rigorously tested protection. This icon is used to identify cut protection clothing and shoes that have passed safety testing in accordance with EN 381 or EN ISO 11393. In these standardised tests, the saw chain meets the protective inlay at a specified chain speed and must only cut through the inlay; the lining of the cut protection trousers must be completely undamaged.

Icon showing washable at 60 degrees

How to care for clothes in all chainsaw protection classes

Even if is not directly taking any impact, chainsaw protection clothing is constantly exposed to dirt and the stresses of usage, so you should wash it after every use. The best way to care for your chainsaw clothing is as follows:

  • Machine wash at no more than 60 degrees Celsius and spin at 400 rotations per minute or less
  • Do not bleach, do not use chemical cleaners
  • Do not wash chainsaw protection products inside out
  • Close Velcro and zip closures before washing
  • Wash similar colours together
  • Use colour or mild detergent, but do not use fabric softener
  • Air dry after washing
  • Iron at a low temperature to reactivate the dirt- and water-resistance in the outer layer
  • Store clothing in a dry, dark place, ensuring it is thoroughly clean

Protective boots also require special care to stay in good condition for a long time:

  • Clean boots every time they are visibly dirty
  • Use water or a mild soap solution to remove stubborn dirt
  • Do not dry directly beside a source of heat
  • Do not dry in the sun
  • Store in a dry place

For leather protective boots, you should additionally bear the following in mind:

  • Treat with a shoe protection product or leather grease before first use
  • Wear in dry weather the first time – dust seals pores and seams
  • Use care products regularly but not excessively

Summary: chainsaw protection classes

  • There are 4 chainsaw protection classes, numbered from 0 to 3
  • The protection classes represent levels of resistance against different chainsaw speeds
  • Protection class 1 is the standard protection class
  • STIHL offers a range of chainsaw protective clothing
  • Always wear personal protective equipment when working with tools, as directed in your operating instructions, and be sure to check the sizing guide