Are Chainsaw Chains Universal? A Guide for Chainsawers in 2022

chainsaw chains universalityWith time some parts of a tool are supposed to wear out and usually, people learn to do that themselves.

But a perfectly capable chainsaw requires a perfect chain that you can’t just replace with any other chain.

To answer the question ‘are chainsaw chains universal?’ No, they are not. Chainsaws come in different sizes and bar lengths and the chain varies with that.

There are other factors that are to be considered when replacing the chain and this article is about to help with just that and more.

Are Chainsaw Chains Universal? Answered by Richard

No, chainsaw chains are not interchangeable. They are not universal. Some may be universal with a number of things checked but it is not usually the case. Following are the factors that are to be considered when replacing the chainsaw chain

  • Pitch
  • Gauge
  • Link count
  • Types of chain

These factors altogether provide the size of the chain. A chain can only fit when these requirements are fulfilled. You can find the specifications of these requirements in your user manual. For some models, these are also mentioned on the side of the chainsaw bar as an engraving, a stamp, or a sticker.

Types of Chainsaw Chain

Size is a very important factor but before that, you need to know the type of chain your saw requires. You can’t just put a chain made for an electric chainsaw on a gas-powered one. The types differ with the power source and other factors.

Full-Chisel Cutters

  • Square-shaped teeth that can rip through trees.
  • Made for the professional level chainsaws.
  • Used in heavy-duty tasks.
  • Due to heavy tasks, blades will occasionally go bad and need maintenance.

Semi-Chisel Cutters

  • Blades have round corners.
  • Great for use in all seasons.
  • Made for homeowners.
  • Used for yard work and garden maintenance.
  • Won’t break down as quickly as a full-chisel chain.

Micro-Chisel Cutters

  • Blades have small round corners.
  • Perfect for woodworkers.
  • Better than a semi-chisel.
  • Used for medium and low-duty tasks.

Low-Profile cutters

  • Round teeth.
  • Provide low kickbacks.
  • Made for beginners.
  • Used for small casual tasks.

Get to Know Shocking Facts about Why Chainsaws Were Invented in the first place!

What Size Chain is on My Chainsaw?

Size is a primal factor when it comes to finding the replacement chain for your home use chainsaw or any tool that is chain operated.

The size varies with the model. You check the following to find the size of your chain

  • Check your user manual
  • Check for a sticker on the bar and the casing.
  • Check the side of the bar for engraving. You might need to remove the bar to find the engravings.
  • There is always the internet. Search for chain size for your specific model.

And as your last resort, you can measure these values using a scale and Vernier caliper.

Are All Chainsaw Chain Universal?

All is a big term. All is a lot. Plus no, not all chains are universal. Some can fit several models but that depends on the gauge, pitch, and link requirement of the chain.

Hypothetically, let us assume a Stihl chain offers the following specifications

  • Link count: 62
  • Pitch: 0.325 inch
  • Gauge: 0.063 inch

And this turns out to be the exact requirement of your Husqvarna chainsaw. Since the dimensions of the saw are fulfilled, the chain can be the perfect fit.

That being said, size is the primary element that differentiates battery chainsaws from each other. They might not be brand-specific but they are definitely size specific.

Are Chainsaw Bars and Chains Universal?

Not every chain and bar would go with any mini saw. The whole tool comes with a set of specifications that need to be fulfilled to get your carving chainsaw up and running properly.

As we have discussed so far in this article there are no universal chains that can fit all. Yes, some chains might fit other chainsaws but that is only if the chain requirements are fulfilled for that specific saw.

As for chainsaw bars, there is no ‘one-fit-all’ either. To find a replacement bar you need to know

These are mentioned in the manual and can easily be measured using a measuring tape.

Some saws do accept varied lengths of bars but the performance won’t be the same as with the original length. Imagine using a long bar with a small motor or a small bar with a powerful motor that can turn trees into logs.

Even after that, the question remains ‘would a replacement bar fit your chainsaw?’ The following factors are to be considered to figure out

  • Tension hole
    • Used for adjusting the tension of the bar. Holes on replacement should align with your old saw.
  • Bolt slots
    • Provides attachment points on the saw for the bar.
  • Oil holes
    • If your saw has an automatic oiler make sure the new bar is compatible with that as well.

Are Replacement Chainsaw Chains Universal?

Replacement chains usually fit a number of models but they are not universal either. They are offered by both chainsaw-specific brands and spare-parts-specific outlets.

Are all 16-inch Chainsaw Chains the Same?

Link count gives the size of the chain and it is not the same even when the bar size is the same. Some 16 inches chainsaws may require the same specifications but that is not always the case.

Are all 20-inch Chainsaw Chains the Same?

No, they are not. Even with the same bar length, the link count can vary from model to model. For example, a Husqvarna 20-inch needs a chain with 80 links whereas an Oregon chain offers 72 links for a 20-inch saw.

Here is a video guide on understanding the concept of saw chains by Guilty of Treeson:

Conclusion: Are Chainsaw Chains Universal?

Chainsaw chains and bars are not universal. There is no one perfect fit. For some models, these are interchangeable but only when the requirements are fulfilled.

Every model has its chain requirements based on its gauge, pitch, links, and bar length. Whereas bar requirements are based on tension hole and bolt slot etc. which also vary with models.

There is no right chain or right bar. Figure out what are the requirements of your chainsaw. Note them down and start searching for the right one.


Richard McMann

Richard lives out in the wild with his other half, Diana Richard. He tests chainsaws based on his personal experience and loves to share their nitty gritty details with his audience. Although Richard does focus on other home improvement tools, his focus remains on cutting fallen trees or maintaining his backyard via chainsaw tools. He pledges to come up with new knowledge about chainsaws every once in a while. Explore Details About Richard