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How To Measure Chainsaw Bar & Chain Length-Super Useful Tips

Naturally, anything won’t serve you for a long time particularly the tools become decay over time. We come up with an easy method on how to measure a chainsaw bar. Our discussion will let you measuring chainsaw bar length. 

Once you get the actual chainsaw bar sizes, the replacement becomes quite easy for you. Typically, measuring the chain bar saw is easy, but it doesn’t mean you take the tape and place it on the bar to measure. Now let’s follow the below steps on the chainsaw bar length guide.

How To Measure Chainsaw Bar Length Step by Step

  1. Firstly, make sure your chainsaw is turned off. After that, take a screwdriver or wrench to loosen the chain saw body’s top cover. Under the cover, you will find a black wire plugging into a circular port. So, pull the wire out of the port and it will disconnect power from the spark plug.

Note: If you start measuring without unplugging the spark plug, the chainsaw will have the possibility to start at any time. 

  1. Now, take a tape measure and commence from where the bar goes inside the main chainsaw body. After that, to touch the tip of the bar, you need to extend your tape measure then record your finding measurement. 
  2. Next, to find the bar’s cutting length, you have to round up to the nearest inch and keep the record.

Note: Generally, most chainsaws come in average size like 14 inches or 36 cm, 16 inches or 41 cm, 18 inches or 46 cm, and 20 inches or 51 cm.

  1. Now, you need to remove your chainsaw’s casing with a wrench to find the overall bar length. 

Note: Don’t forget to wear a hand glove to avoid cutting yourself.  

  1. After that, take the tape again and place it on one end of the bar then extend to reach the tip of the other side. Here you will find the true length. 

Note: Typically, you will find the length of the standard chainsaw bar lies in 20 to 61 cm (8–24 inches). And the true length measurement is always greater than the cutting length. 

Related Post: why was a chainsaw invented?

When To Replace The Chainsaw Bar?

As you may notice, the chainsaw bar needs to handle lots of friction and heat that eventually decay the chainsaw. In the following, we enlist some signs that indicate your chainsaw bar needs to be replaced. 

  1. Bent or damaged bar
  2. If the chain’s blades are tilted at an angle instead of pointing straight. 
  3. When the chain is wiggling between the bar’s grooves, it will retard you in straight cuts. 
  4. A damaged or jammed bar nose sprocket.

Proper Maintenance 

After spending a good amount behind the chainsaw, you definitely want to get service for a good amount of time. So, to get a good serviceable life, you have to take proper care of the chainsaw. Although you will find proper instructions from the manual, we give you some general care and maintenance tips to follow. 

  • Prior to each use, you have to frequently examine the bar and chain oil level. 
  • To get efficient cutting and prevent kickbacks, you need to keep the chain sharp. 
  • Never forget to clean the debris from the chainsaw after each time use. 

Sharpen the Blades

  • Firstly, place your chainsaw in a secured place to keep it static during working.
  • Now, you need to engage the chain brake. 
  • Commence the sharpening by cutting teeth. You need to set the file depth gauge on the chain in order that the arrows point to the chainsaw bar nose.
  • After that, you have to keep a file at a right angle to the rollers of the chainsaw.
  • Now, take a smooth and even pushing stroke to file every cutting tooth. 
  • Afterward, change the saw’s direction by turning it around.  
  • Finally, using the same motion to finish filing the left cutting teeth. 

Depth Gauges Filing

It is mandatory to file the depth gauges about every third time you file the cutting teeth. You can locate the depth gauges between the cutting teeth. Now, see how you can file depth gauges:

  • Firstly, set the file gauge on the depth gauge. 
  • Now, select soft or hard based on the wood type that you usually saw. 
  • Finally, you have to file the depth gauge until the file touches the file gauge.

How to Measure Chainsaw Chain

How to Measure Chainsaw Chain

Step 1: Measure the Bar

You can determine your chainsaw bar’s size by measuring the called length. So, to measure your chainsaw’s bar, you need to start measuring from the saw’s front to the furthest cutting tip. After that, you need to round up to the nearest inch. This measurement is known as the “called length” and the manufacturer uses that measurement to refer to a chainsaw like a 24” inch chainsaw.

 Step 2: Measuring chain pitch

This measurement notifies you of the actual distance between the links on the chain. So, to get pitch measurement, you need to find the complete distance between any 3 consecutive rivets then simply divide that figure by 2. 

Notably, 0.325, ⅜, or 0.404 is the common pitch for the chains. Sometimes some pitch may come up in ¼” inch. 

 Step 3: Measuring the chainsaw gauge sizes

Measuring the gauge is slightly complex and here you need an accurate caliper to find the gauge measurement.  Here is some common measurement of the gauge like 0.043, 0.050, 0.058, and 0.063 of an inch.

Step 4: Count the Drive Links

After getting the above measures, you need to count the drive links in order to ensure the exact replacement. This drive link lies underside of the chain. Moreover, the drive link grabs the drive cog that powers the chain. You can easily count it without taking help from any special tools.

Chainsaw Chain Sizing Chart

  • ⅜ x .050’’ (1.3mm)
  • ¼ x .050’’ (1.3mm)
  • ⅜’’ x .043’’ (1.1mm)
  • ⅜ x .058’’ (1.5mm)
  • ⅜ x .063’’ (1.6mm).
  • 404’’ x .063’’ (1.6mm)

Always Use The Right Parts For The Right Chainsaw

As I have noted, the chainsaw bar handles lots of friction and heat that lead to damage to the bar. So, after a certain period of time, you should replace the old one with the new one. Though there are many available brands, the user needs to carefully choose the parts. 

You may already know, Stihl chain can hold a sharp edge but the Oregon chain can’t. Moreover, Husky and Stihl usually use the same length chain. That’s why choosing the exact part is mandatory because anything wrong may cause serious damage. 

The answer is tricky and impossible to give because it depends on multiple parameters. Here those parameters include the chainsaw bar size, tensioner hole, volt slot, oiler hole, etc. As you may know, multiple brands exist in the market, and their internal mechanism is different. 

That’s why you can’t relate one brand with another.  Let’s see an example, the Stihl chain can hold a sharp edge but the Oregon chain can’t and Husky and Stihl usually use the same length chain. 

However, some chain bars allow replacing with another brand when you can exactly match the length, pitch, and gauge. 

Be careful about installing because any wrong match may lead to serious injury or damage to your machine. 


Mechanically, the chain saw wraps around the chain bar that extends from the body. As I have mentioned, the chain saw bars gradually decay over time, so you have to change when required. When you go for replacing the chainsaw bar, you must know the length. A point needs to be kept in mind like here chainsaw bar length indicates the entire cutting length which includes the bar’s top and bottom.


  1. Can I Replace The Chainsaw Chain Without Measurement?

    Actually, the chain from the chainsaw is not universal, and different brands use different chains. For instance, the Husqvarna 460 Rancher usually uses a 20-inch bar and chain. So, you have to find the exact measurement to replace the chain. 

  2. What Do The Numbers Mean On a Chainsaw Bar?

    You may notice the chainsaw comes in a different number, here the number implies the chain’s pitch and gauge. 

  3. How Are Chains Measured?

    To get the chain’s measurement, you need to determine the pitch. For pitch, you need to find the distance between any three consecutive rivets, and then simply divide your findings by 2. 

  4. Can I Put A Bigger Bar On My Chainsaw?

    The answer depends on brands like the user can use a long chainsaw bar (12, 14, 16, and 18 inches in length) in a Poulan 14 chainsaw.  Nevertheless, the Husqvarna 460 Rancher usually uses a 20-inch bar and chain.

Final Thought

Similar to the other tools, a chainsaw couldn’t last forever. With frequent use, a chainsaw can last for more than 5 years. Nevertheless, with the occasional use, it will last for decades. Meanwhile, the user needs to replace the bar and chain because it decays due to handling friction and heat. So, you need to know the measuring chainsaw bar process. This article on how to measure chainsaw bar discuss more on measuring the bar saws length

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