How to Measure Chainsaw Bar

chainsaw barWhen you are buying a shirt for yourself, you want to ensure it fits, right? This is the same case when you are buying a chain or bar for your chainsaw. Measuring is essential as it will ensure you have the fitting chainsaw bar. If you have gone through the manufacturer’s chart, the information presented might look quite overwhelming. However, the process is very simple once you understand about the chainsaw chain and the length of the blade. If you want to know how to measure chainsaw bar, then read along.

The length of the chain is similar to the saw’s bar length. Some manufacturers even sell replacement chains that rely on the measurement of the bar alone. However, the best way to determine the chain’s length relies on two other variables that determine how well the chain fits the saw. These are drive links and pitch.

Follow the steps below to determine the two variables

Determine the distance between the tip of the bar to the point where it first appears from the chain’s casing. You can use a tape measure. Round up the results in an even number if it is fractional or uneven. This number is the bar measurement. Normally, the measures are 16, 18 and even 20 inches. It is vital not to measure the chain from end to end. Instead, take the measurements for the cutting end to the casing. You should take the measurements more than once to double check your result.

Once you have determined the cutting distance, then you can remove the casing. Find the screws that fit the casing into place and unscrew them. After removing the chainsaw casing, take a measurement of the entire bar from one end to the other. This measure should be about 2-3 inches more than the measurement you made of the cutting length.

To come up with accurate information, stretch the chain on a flat surface. Next, find the chain’s lugs or drive links. They are located on the underside of the chain, and they hold onto the drive cog, powering the chain. You can then determine the number of drive links on the chain.

chainsaw chain and bar

Establish the pitch of the chain. The pitch is essential since the chain must have the same pitch as the drive sprocket. In some cases, it should also be similar to the bar nose sprocket. Measure the length between any three successive rivets that link the chain assembly together. The measurement should be from the center of the first and third rivets. The rivets are easily identifiable between the cutters (cutting teeth on the chain) and drive links. To determine the pitch, divide the resulting measurements in half. The sum of the drive links, together with the pitch, define the chain’s length when looking for a replacement.

Analyze the pitch numbers and the number of drive links. The total of these two numbers is the measurement you look for when you want to replace your chainsaw chain. You can use a tape measure to determine the length. A chain that is not well-fitting is a dangerous hazard. If you are not knowledgeable about fitting the bar, then get a professional to do it for you. You can also refer to the manual that came with the chainsaw to guarantee that you purchase the correct replacement.

Some companies have made the process much simpler. Companies such as Oregon chainsaws make the process easier as they include the size of the bar as the model number of the chainsaw. In this case, the forts two digits of the model number placed on the motor end are the length of the bar.


Safety is paramount when you are measuring the chainsaw bar. In this case, remove the spark plug just to be sure it will not start while you are measuring it. You can be injured easily, and it is vital you remove the spark plug. Furthermore, if you have been using it, it is imperative to let it cool down. The chain can be quite hot if you start to make the measurements shortly after you have used it.

You can be rest assured that this process becomes easier every time you do it. The good part is that you only have to take the measurement once, and you can use the data when making purchases for replacement in the future. If you face any difficulties or have questions, the manufacturer or supplier of chains can be of help in assisting you with the information you need to know.

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