Chainsaws

How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar and Chain

Installing the correct size of bar and chain on your chainsaw is essential for proper function, with incorrect sizes risking damage to both the chainsaw and its user. When looking for either a new bar or new chain for your chainsaw it’s vital therefore to correctly measure all components. In this guide from Sims Garden machinery, we’ll cover simple methods for measuring both chainsaw bars and chains, ensuring safety and performance.


How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar

When you purchase a chainsaw the length that is listed within the product description will be the length of the chainsaw bar, such as 16”, 18”, or 25”. If you have this information easily available to hand or online, then simply buying a replacement bar of the same length will be suitable. You should also be able to see what lengths of bar will be suitable within the manual for your model of chainsaw. If you have a popular model like a Husqvarna or a STIHL you should also be able to find this information online if needed. In cases where measurement is needed, there will actually be two separate measurements you can make, the cutting length and the true length.

How to Measure the Cutting Length of a Chainsaw Bar

The cutting length of a chainsaw is the length from the tip of the bar to the chainsaw body itself. This can be simply gauged with a tape measure without needing to make any alterations to the chainsaw. As chainsaw bars are sold in set measurements, you’ll need to round your measurement up to the nearest set size up to your measurement to get a well-fitted replacement chainsaw bar.

How to Measure the True Length of a Chainsaw Chain Bar

The cutting length of a chainsaw is the length from the tip of the bar to the chainsaw body itself. This can be simply gauged with a tape measure without needing to make any alterations to the chainsaw. As chainsaw bars are sold in set measurements, you’ll need to round your measurement up to the nearest set size up to your measurement to get a well-fitted replacement chainsaw bar.

How to Measure the True Length of a Chainsaw Chain Bar

The true bar length of your chainsaw chain bar will be a little more complicated to measure, as you will need to loosen the bolts securing your chainsaw bar within the body, in order to remove it. The method of accomplishing this may vary depending on the model of chainsaw you are using. Once you have removed the chainsaw chain bar, simply measure it end to end on a flat surface to get a wholly accurate measurement of the bar size.


Closeup View Of A Chainsaw Bar And Cutting Chain. Dirty Blade Of

Your Options For Replacement Chainsaw Bar

When buying a replacement bar for your chainsaw, along with the size needed you’ll have a few options for the type of bar:

  • Solid Chainsaw Bars: These bars will be made from a single solid piece of steel, making them strong but inflexible.
  • Laminated Chainsaw Bars: These bars will not be fully solid, allowing them to be lighter and more flexible. But they will not have the same level of strength as a solid bar.
  • Solid Replaceable Sprocket Nose Bars: These solid bars feature a riveted tip for the chain to sit on, holding it in place. The nose can also be separated and replaced if damaged.

How to Measure a Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaw chains have three separate measurements; The pitch, the gauge, and the number of drive links. The pitch is the length between three rivets of a chain divided by two. The bar gauge will be the width of the drive links (the part of the chainsaw chain connecting to the bar). The number of drive links on the chain is therefore pretty self-explanatory.

Before measuring your chain, you should check the side of the bar for your chainsaw, which may have the size of chain needed stamped on it. This would be at the lower end of the bar towards the body of the chainsaw. There will typically be a fraction on the left of the stamp, which will be the pitch of the chain in inches (so ¼ will be a quarter of an inch). There will be a number with DL next to it showing the number of drive links needed. Sometimes this will be a small picture of a drive link instead. The bar gauge of the chainsaw will be printed in both inches and mm, and there will sometimes be a picture of a bar groove by it.

If this stamp is worn or unavailable, you can measure your own chainsaw chain. Before doing this, you should remove the chain, first removing the bar then using a screwdriver to release the tension on the chain.

How to Measure The Pitch of a Chainsaw Chain

To measure the pitch of your chainsaw chain, simply use a tape measure on a flat surface, measuring the length between 3 rivets on the chain. You’ll then need to divide this number by 2 to get the pitch.

How to Measure The Bar Gauge of a Chainsaw Chain

Using a tape measure to try and find the thickness of a drive link would likely give you an inaccurate result. Instead, you should use a dial calliper, which can help to measure the thickness of any material with pinpoint accuracy. This will allow you to find the accurate measurement of the bar gauge.

How to Measure The Number of Drive Links in a Chainsaw Chain

You should wear safety gloves before counting the drive links to keep safe. Other than that counting the number of drive links is somewhat self-explanatory. To make sure you count correctly, you can mark the first drive link you count with tape or a marker.


Our Range of Chainsaws Chains and Bars For Sale

Once you’ve determined the size of chain or bar needed for your chainsaw, you’ll need to purchase a quality replacement. Sims Garden Machinery sells a range of chainsaw chains and chainsaw bars, alongside a selection of accessories. We also sell a huge choice of quality chainsaws, from brands like STIHL, Husqvarna, and Mountfield, with models suited for both commercial and private gardening. All of our range can be delivered across the UK, with a member of our team assembling and demonstrating any mechanical products upon delivery. Browse our range of chainsaws today.

If you found this article helpful, you may enjoy our look at how to sharpen a chainsaw.

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