How to Measure Chainsaw Bar and Chain in 4 Easy Steps in 2022?

A chainsaw is a cutting tool, and what’s a cutting tool if it can’t cut properly?

Even with proper maintenance, a tool can’t last forever.

Similarly, you can’t expect a chainsaw to work forever, even with proper maintenance and care.

Chainsaw performs its cutting functionalities with the help of its bar and chain wrapped around it. With constant usage, it is bound to wear out. And you can’t just replace them without any measurements.

Each chainsaw requires a specific length bar that supports its motor. That is why most electric chainsaws have bigger blades than small homes. So if you want to know how to measure a bar chain, keep reading this guide.

Tools and Safety Requirements

It is good practice to have your tools on you when working. It saves time and increases efficiency. And safety comes first, so that is a must.

What is Chainsaw Bar and How to Measure It?

The bar is the essence of a chainsaw. It is a long metal piece that holds the chain in place. It is also the first thing that comes to your mind on hearing the word firewood chainsaw and the first thing you notice upon seeing one. Bigger the chainsaw, the bigger the bar.

There are two fundamental concepts when it comes to measuring the bar length;

Effective Cutting Length:

Also known as cutting length or just “length”, it is the length of the bar when it is attached to the motor.

True Length:

The actual complete length of the bar from one end to another out of the home use chainsaw.

Every battery powered chainsaw comes with a user manual that contains all information regarding all its parts, including the measurement of your bar. But if you don’t have it anymore, we got you covered.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar?

Before getting your hands dirty with the work, first put on a pair of work gloves to avoid any unwanted cuts.

1. Remove the Spark Plug Wire

  • Place the mini chainsaw on a flat surface.
  • Turn off the ignition.
  • Remove the top cover with screwdrivers.
  • Locate the spark plug wire behind or above air filters.
  • Remove the black spark plug wire covering the spark plug. This prevents the gas chainsaw from turning on in the middle of measuring.
  • Take out the spark plug for extra prevention.

2. Measure the Cutting Length

  • Place the measuring tape on the bar’s tip and move it to the base of the blade.
  • Round the value to the following number if it’s something in the middle.
  • For example, 18 ½ to 20 inches or 17 ¼ to 18 inches, etc.

3. Take Off the Bar

  • Locate the two nuts on the right side of the chainsaw.
  • Use a wrench to unscrew the bolts.
  • Pull off the cover to expose the bar.
  • Slightly move the bar to release it from the clutch.
  • Place the bar on a flat surface.

4. Measure the True Length

  • Place the measuring tape on one side and drag it on the other.
  • Round up the value to the next nearest inch.
  • For example, 16 ⅓ to 17 inches.
  • True length will always be longer than cutting length.

Once you have your measurements, you are ready to buy a new bar.

Here is a complete guide on how to measure chainsaw bar in simple and easy steps by  a friend at PremiumSawChain:

What is Chainsaw Chain and How to Measure It?

The metal teeth-like blades wrapped around the bar is the chain. The chain is responsible for taking down trees and cutting through firewood. Even with periodic oiling and sharpening, it can’t sustain forever. In order to replace the chainsaw chain, it first needs to be measured.

Before moving to measurement, two concepts are needed to be cleared.

Chain Pitch: Distance between driver links.

Gauge: Width of the groove in the bar where the chain is inserted through its links.

Learn How to Test a Chainsaw Coil in Easy and Simple Steps!

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Measure Chainsaw Chain?

Every chainsaw has different chain size requirements. Its measurement is also complex compared to measuring the bar with a gauge and the pitch. Most brands put all chain-related information on the bar. You can find it when you remove the bar from the case. It has the pitch, the gauge, and the number of links engraved on the side.

In case yours don’t have it, wear your gloves and let’s do this.

1. Remove the Chain

  • Locate the nuts on the right side of the tool holding the clutch.
  • Remove them using a wrench and take off the cover to reveal the whole chain.
  • Unloop the chain carefully from the clutch. Clutch is the cylinder where the bar connects to the saw.

2. Measure the Pitch

  • Measure the distance between any three consecutive rivets using a scale or measuring tape.
  • Divide the number you got by 2.
  • Common pitch measurements are ⅜ inch (0.95 cm) and ¼ inch (0.63 cm).

3. Measure the Gauge

There are multiple ways to measure the gauge.

Caliper Method

  • Place a driver link between the jaws of the Vernier caliper.
  • Slide the jaws closer to close the distance.
  • Note the measurement on the caliper.

Coin Method

If you don’t have a caliper, I’m sure you’ll have coins lying around.

A quarter = 0.63 inch gauge. A penny = 0.58 inch gauge. A dime = 0.50 inch gauge.

  • Take a brush or screwdriver to clean the groove of the bar.
  • Slide each coin one by one
  • See which one fits perfectly without force. That is your gauge.

4. Count the Driver Links

  • The pointed side of the chain is called driver links. It goes inside the bar groover.
  • Mark any of the links and start counting until=l you get back to where you started.
  • Note down your number of links.

Here is a detailed video guide on how to measure chainsaw chain by PremiumSawChain:

How Many Drive Links are on a 20-inch Chainsaw Bar?

The length might be the same, but a width difference can cause a chain difference in different models of the same length chainsaw.

In most models, it is 72 links. But for a Husqvarna 20’’ Pro lite, it’s 78 drive link. Follow our guide to remove the chain and count the link for perfect measurement.

How to Measure Husqvarna Chainsaw Bar Length in 2022?

Husqvarna is one of the most famous chainsaw manufacturers. Their chainsaws are loved both by professionals and homeowners alike. When it’s time to replace its bar, you first need measurements that you can check in your user manual or find on the size guide here. If nothing works, you can follow the steps and do it yourself.

  1. Remove the spark plug wire to avoid any accidental startup.
  2. Place the measuring tape on the tip, drag it to the other end, and note down the reading.
  3. Round off the value to the nearest number.
  4. Remove the covering by undoing the nuts on its side to expose the whole chain.
  5. Measure the true length from one tip to the other.
  6. Round off the value to the next nearest number.

How to Measure Stihl Chainsaw Bar Length in 2022?

Stihl chainsaws are professional chainsaws, small or bigger ones. They are size sensitive, so you can’t just replace them with any bar when required. The user manual contains all the necessary measurements. You can also check their measurement on the size chart here. If that confuses you, follow the steps to measure its bar length yourself.

  1. Remove the casing to reveal the whole thing.
  2. Pull the chain to release some tension and unloop it from the bar.
  3. Inspect the bar if it needs replacement.
  4. Take the bar off and place it on a flat surface.
  5. Measure length from one end to the other using measuring tape.
  6. Round off the value to the nearest number

How to Measure Oregon Chainsaw Bar in 2022?

Oregon is a prestigious chainsaw brand famous for its backyard cleaning and tree hunting chainsaw. In case your chainsaw needs replacement, you first need its measurements.

You can check the side of your bar by exposing the whole thing for its measurements, or you can check its size chart here. And if you want to do it yourself, read this article from above on how to do that.

How to Measure Echo Chainsaw Bar in 2022?

Echo is a Japanese chainsaw brand famous for its lightweight professional chainsaws. Like any brand, this too can wear out even with a longer warranty compared to others.

When you need measurements to replace the bar or chain, check your user manual first. For the second option, check their size chart here. If you are still not sure, follow our guide on how to measure the bar and the chain from above.

How to Measure Homelite Chainsaw Bar in 2022?

According to Wikipedia, Homelite has shifted to the consumer level, and parts for their older models are limited in number. As for the size chart, their website is not much help either. If you find your model there, great. If not, you can follow our guide, which works for almost all the models to measure the chainsaw bar and chain.

Consult a chainsaw seller to find pieces for older models or their replacements.

Final Takeaways:

A chainsaw is a tool, and any tool with any warranty will wear out even with proper care and maintenance. The cutting responsibilities taken on by the bar and chain are no exception. Even with regular oiling and sharpening, they are too bound to wear.

If the problem requires parts replacement, you need the right measures for your model since they may vary. For that, you have many options: check your user manual, reveal the whole bar to read its exposed side, check the size chart for your model or follow our easy step-by-step guide to do it yourself.


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