How are chainsaw bars measured

How Are Chainsaw Bars Measured [Quick + Easy Guide]

Spread the love

Chainsaws are fantastic cutting tools, but their chains and bars can wear out over time. Knowing what your chainsaw bar could do and how to measure a chainsaw bar, you will know precisely what professional or personal tasks you can take care of with your particular model. In this guide, we discuss measuring the bar on your power tool. We speak about what to look for in the best chainsaw on the market and chainsaw pitch.

how to tell if a chainsaw bar is bad

  • A damaged or bent bar.
  • The chain wiggles on the bar.
  • The edges of the blade are tilted at an angle.
  • A stuck or broken bar nose sprocket.

Always inspect your bar and chain to avoid loss or injury. Chainsaws are a big responsibility and require maintenance after every job.

The Importance of Knowing the Length

Many people prefer to replace parts when their power tools give out rather than replace the entire unit. With simple wear and tear, such as the deterioration of a chainsaw blade or bar, you will find that it is far more cost-effective to replace it than to buy a whole new unit.

By determining the length of your chainsaw bar, you will know which size is best for the model you have - making it convenient to replace. If you do not have access to the user guide to measure the bar, you're going to need to know how to measure a chainsaw bar yourself.

How To Measure A Chainsaw Bar

There are 2 main methods to measure a chain saw bar. Either by measuring the length of the chainsaw or measuring the cutting length. Both measurements should be several inches longer. Round off the size to the nearest inch to the end of the bar. This info lets you know the proper length of the chainsaw bar.

What Is The Cutting Length?

When you measure a chainsaw bar, you should notice that the cutting length is the more straightforward measurement out of the two, as all you're going to need is a standard tape measure. This value should be the effective cutting length of the chain saw, which you'll find is shorter than the length of the entire bar. Often, you will find that this measurement is referred to as the chainsaw length.

When getting these values, you will be handling the actual chainsaw chain of the tool, so you must follow the necessary safety steps.

When measuring a chainsaw, make sure the chainsaw is turned off and unplugged. Remove the wire from the spark plug to prevent the chainsaw from coming on at all - even if it's an accident. Once you've ensured the chainsaw cannot be operated, apart from proper divine intervention, you can follow these steps to get the effective cutting length.

Step 1: Find Placement

First, put your chainsaw on the grown and take your tape measure. Place the tape measure straight against the chainsaw's body, starting where the blade comes out of the body or the casing.

Step 2: Measuring

Open the tape measure so that it is slightly past the end of the bar. Write down the measurements to the very end of the cutter. For better accuracy, choose the cutter that is the farthest from the end of the bar. If you do not have a chain on your saw, then you can simply add about half an inch from the end of the bar itself.

Step 3: Rounding

If you find that you have the nearest even number at the end of your measurements, round it up to the nearest inch. For example, if you measured 15 7/8 inch, you can quickly round it up to 16 inches. Measure a chainsaw in whole numbers. Once you've finished those two steps, you have the effective measurement of your chainsaw bar.

What is Chain Gauge?

Chain Gauge is the drive link's width where it fits into the guide bar groove, matching the guide bar gauge. The gauge of the chainsaw chain and the gauges of the bar must be the same.

What Is Called Length?

To locate the called length of your chainsaw bar, use a tape measure and measure it from its front tip all the way back to the cutter nearest to the body of the saw. Round this measurement up to the nearest even number in inches.

How To Measure Chainsaw Bar Length?

Contrary to cutting length, determining the actual size of your chainsaw requires extra steps. You'll need to remove the cover from the chainsaw body so that the entire bar is exposed. It's not as convenient as figuring out the effective chainsaw bar length, but it helps figure out the chainsaw bar length. You're going to need a wrench set or a socket driver, depending on the type of bolts used to close the case. The steps for finding out the exact length of your chainsaw are :

Step 1: Remove The Cover

Before you can get the actual length, you have to remove the cover of your chainsaw. Undo the bolts so that the entire bar is exposed with a wrench or socket driver. Once this is finished, you can remove the bar off of the interior bolts and lie it flat on the ground.

Step 2: Measuring The Bar

When measuring a chainsaw bar, you should ignore the chain length measurement. Measure the distance from one end to the other, and in most cases, you won't even need to worry about rounding up to the next inch. 

Don't measure a chainsaw bar while the spark plug wire is still attached. Remove the spark plug to prevent the saw from starting while you're working on it. When you know how to measure your bar and chain length yourself, you'll be able to find different kinds of new jobs.

Buying A New Chainsaw Bar

With your chainsaw bar measurement in hand, go to a hardware store where they will sell replacement parts for the chainsaw brand and model you own. Replacing a chainsaw bar for your chainsaw is easy to do. When you begin looking at a replacement bar, you'll notice that it features both the chainsaw length and the chainsaw bar length. All you have to do is make sure that the length you have measured matches the replacement measurements.


To measure chainsaw bar length, measure it on a flat surface from its front tip all the way back to the blade closest to the body of the saw. Round this measurement up to the nearest even number in inches. For example, a bar that measure18 3/4 inches will actually have a called bar length of 20.

How Wide Is A Chainsaw Bar?

The average chainsaw bar size is usually between 12-20 inches but can go up to as big as 72 inches. These chainsaw bars generally fit snugly without any hassles.

Can You Put A 20 Inch Bar On A 16 Inch Chainsaw?

When you use the same bar for two different chainsaws, they have to be the same size. A chainsaw is fitted with a tensioner hole that lets you adjust the bar's chain tension. It also has a bolt slot that latches the bar to the chainsaw. You shouldn't see many back-and-forths; however, worn bars allow a lot more movement side to side. Your chain is fitted into your bar in a tongue-and-groove style. A new chainsaw bar's groove will have a U-shape to it, but as it wears down, that U changes into a V-shape.

how to measure a chain saw bar

Tips For Choosing A New Chainsaw Bar

Many people find that one specific bar is best suited for specific tasks. Here are a few tips for choosing your new chainsaw bar.

Bar Types

The most crucial thing to consider when choosing a replacement bar is the length of the new bar as well as the type of chainsaw bars you're looking into. Always consider the size of the bar. Knowing what each type is best rated for can help you choose the perfect model for your most everyday cutting tasks.

Sprocket Nose Bars

Sprocket nose bars are typically referred to as the standard when it comes to a chainsaw bar. You'll find that these designs will have a sprocket at the very tip of the bar, and they will also feature rivets where your chain will be placed. By holding the chain securely, the rivets ensure that the chain moves smoothly across the bar while cutting. With this type of blade, you should have a robust metal design, but unfortunately, the nose is bound to experience the most damage in case of excessive cutting. Luckily, most sprocket noses allow the blade's tip to be removed and replaced as necessary if it experiences damage. When using a sprocket nose, the chainsaw chain moves very quickly, limiting the loss of power and heat on the blade with every cutting session.

Hard Nose Bars

Hard nose bars do not come with any pieces that can be removed or replaced. Alternatively, they are a solid piece of hard metal that is thick and durable all the way through, well suited for continuous cutting. Hard nose bars are exceptional for boring straight into the wood, making quick and efficient cuts. As the blades are solid metal, you can also expect them to have the highest cutting durability rating.

Carving Bars

With a lightweight build and a smaller radius, they are pretty convenient for quick and efficient tasks. Many professional woodworkers will have a carving bar in their shop, as they're ideal for carving and boring into wood. They can go as small as 1/4 inch, which is perfect for someone interested in fine detailing with wood.

Narrow Vs. Wide Nose Bars

When you look at all of the different blades on chainsaws, you'll find that some are narrower than others. If you're someone who prefers to have little kickback, a narrow bar is your best bet, as more extensive variations in chainsaws will be challenging to handle. The wide nose is better for boring and has an overall more robust performance. Determine which one fits into the bar groove snugly without using force.

Solid Vs. Laminated Bar

Choosing between a solid and a laminated chainsaw bar. The Laminated bar is two pieces of metal that are joined together with a sprocket in the middle. Both of them will have a steel core to improve their strength, but they're not as strong as a solid bar. Laminated designs excel in flexibility and portability, making them a favorite of contractors and beginner users. It's important to note that a laminated bar typically isn't too long, as the longer the pieces are, the less resilient they will be. The longest you might be able to find is 24 inches.

What Does The Number On The Drive Link Mean?

The Gauge number dictates the chainsaw drive link thickness. Typically, drive links secure the chainsaw chain. The drive links fit into the guide bar groove. The gauge number is essential for using drive links to replace old chains with new ones.

How To Determine A Chain Pitch On A Chainsaw?

To determine chainsaw chain pitch, measure the distance between any 3 consecutive rivets. Divide this number by 2. The standard sizes for a chain's pitch are 0.375" and 0.325". These consecutive rivets on the chains are the small circular pegs that hold the chain sections together.

Measure from the first to the third, divide that number in half to get your chain's pitch. This can also be done with a pitch gauge- pitch gauges are used as a positioning tool when determining the pitch of a thread on a screw or inside a tapped hole.

How Do You Count The Number Of Drive Links On Chainsaws?

Before determining chain pitch, you must know the number of drive links of chainsaw chains.

Hold the chain and just remember to measure the distance between the middle points of three rivets on the chain, and then divide the number by two.

As an example, for a 3/8 inch chain pitch, the measurement between three links on the chain would be 3/4 inches, which is 3/8 inches when divided by two.

Specialty Designs

As with any power tool, individual manufacturers will also have an extensive collection of their products with patented and innovative technologies. With a basic understanding of a chainsaw bar, you can pick and choose which modern features will suit your needs or be necessary. For example, Husqvarna has its TechLite and an X-Force Pro bar, which may offer better durability, maintenance, and heightened productivity. A few essential features you may want to keep an eye out for when it comes to specialty designs include:


Although you're likely to clean your chainsaw after every cutting job, having an anti-corrosion coating on the metal is a fantastic benefit. This feature helps prevent rusting, improves the integrity of your chainsaw blades and the bar and chain. It's often a coating on the outside of the blade to reduce wear and tear from prolonged cutting.


With advancements in technology, chainsaws are becoming easier to handle, but if you can find a blade that is still durable yet lightweight, you'll get the best of both worlds. The lighter the blade is, the easier it is for tool movement and daily use. 


Similar to the anti-corrosion coating, some chainsaw manufacturers will also offer scratch-resistance on their blades. This feature is ideal for maintaining the unit's durability, but it also helps your saw to look better for longer. Essentially, it's a fantastic way to protect your investment. If you need a chainsaw bar and chain, you should check out one of these deals in the link.


With the help of knowing how to measure the bar's length, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect replacement bar or blade. You can guarantee that the process to measure the bar is much more straightforward than you'd expect, mainly as both measurements of a chainsaw blade can be acquired within a matter of minutes and with minimal tools. In this way, you can go the distance and begin your woodworking project.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *