Chipper (round): The most versatile cutter type. The Chipper chain is the easiest to file and will tolerate the most dirt and dust. Chipper chain cuts smoothly and is sort of an all-purpose saw chain, for most tasks.
Chisel (square): This is the most aggressive chain cutter type. It is a square-cut design used by production logging crews and should only be used by experienced sawyers. Chisel chain requires a file that fits the square shape of the cutting edge, and therefore it is more difficult to file than other types of chain. Chisel chain also dulls very quickly when it is hits dirt. It is not recommended for brushing or limbing out logs because of the potential for kickback.
Semichisel: A less aggressive cutter type than chisel. Unlike the square cut of the chisel, a round file is used with a file guide when filing semichisel chain. The semichisel cutter is more tolerant of dirt and dust and stays sharp longer than the other cutters.
A low kickback chain is an option available for all three primary cutters, and allows safety for new users, or occasional users of the saws (or for anyone who wants to safely cut wood).
In addition to the cutter types, there are characteristics of the sequences of the chain lines, as: Standard, Semi-skip or full skip chain. The cutter sequence is based primarily on bar length, and usage. Standard (most cutters per length) is used on bars less than 24", Full skip on larger bars, and semi-skip for soft or fibrous woods. The antikickback features on saw chains are based on the design of what are called tie straps, which connect between the cutters.