How To Measure Your Chainsaw Bar: Expertise For You! (2021)

There are a lot of components that go into making a chainsaw, and it is of the utmost importance that a chainsaw user should know everything about them! Oftentimes people want to get a replacement bar for their chainsaw, but they don’t know how to measure a chainsaw bar. Well fear not, we have this entire article to help delve into what will be the easiest way to help you figure out how to measure a chainsaw bar.

chainsaw bar

To properly get into knowing how to measure a chainsaw bar, we’ll need to break down the entire system into all its parts. Let’s look into them now!

The Chainsaw Bar

The Chainsaw Bar

The chainsaw bar is also referred to as the blade of the chainsaw. This allows for the chainsaw to use its raw power, and cut through most things with ease. The chainsaw bar length is an important factor for the optimal use of your chainsaw, and it depends a lot on your chainsaw’s motor. 

For example, most electric chainsaws have a bar length of 18 inches as the highest. This is because electric chainsaws don’t have the most powerful motors, and they can not provide sufficient power to a bar that is any longer. However, if you’re looking at cordless electric chainsaws or battery powered chainsaws, they tend to have an even shorter chainsaw bar length.

Gas chainsaws are the most powerful type of chainsaws out there, and you will find that they have bar lengths that easily pass electric models. Their fuel powered motors can easily power a gas chainsaw’s bar and chain.

Effective Cutting Length

Effective Cutting Length

When it comes to a chainsaw’s cutting ability, you need to factor in the effective cutting length, also referred to as length. As you can see from the picture above, this length includes the distance of the bar from its attachment to the saw, till the tip of the bar itself.

You’ll find it quite easy to make this measurement, as all you’ll need is a tape measure or a yardstick. As useful as a tape measure is to help measure the length, you’ll find that you don’t always get the perfect measurement. If your reading is a whole number, then approximate to the nearest highest number. For example, if it is 13 ¼ inches, then you can assume that it is a 14 inch bar length.

True Length

Chainsaw bar True Length

The true length of a chainsaw bar is the length of the bar from one end to the other, while it is detached from any saw. Unlike the effective cutting length, you do not need to round off the measurement to the nearest odd or even number. The process is the same, as you can use either a tape measure or a yardstick to get the accurate measurements.

Replacing the Bar

Replacing the bar of your chainsaw is now just a matter of mix and match. You have both the effective cutting length and the true length of your chainsaw bar. All you need to do is find a bar that works well with those lengths.

On a side note, while you may be used to using the same chainsaw for a long time, sometimes it is best to just buy a new one instead of fixing up an old one. You may need a whole bar and chain for your current chainsaw, or get more things fixed. At that point, it might be better to find yourself the best budget chainsaw on the market! If you still want a chainsaw bar, then you can look for the best chainsaw bar on the market as well. 

Chain Length Measurement

Chain Length Measurement

While the bar may have been pretty easy to measure, you’ll find that the chain of a chainsaw can be a little harder to work with. However, with proper instructions, you’ll get used to it pretty easily.

Drive Link

The first part to help you measure the distance of your chain, is to count the number of drive links from one end to the other. While counting the drive links may seem tedious, they have a very important function of helping your chain go around the bar around the tip without having it jam up. So, take your time and get the correct number of drive links your chain has.


The pitch of a chainsaw includes the distance between the drive links in your chain. Get the measurement of this distance between three rivets on the chain, and then half that number. There are various different values that can be found by making this calculation.


The gauge of a chainsaw is the groove of the chain, that helps keep the chain on the bar while making cuts. You can use a variety of tools to measure the gauge, a yardstick, tape measure, or even pennies and dimes! 

Get An Accurate Measurement!

A very important thing to remember when trying to find yourself the perfect bar and chain for your chainsaw, is that you should never make unnecessary estimations! One change in your measurement of the length of chain or bar can easily affect the whole calculation, and you’ll have wasted money on something you didn’t need. 

Proper Maintenance

When trying to ensure that the chainsaw chain and the bar are going to last you a long time, the biggest factor is maintenance. This can be done easily if you oil the chainsaw chain on a regular basis. Many modern chainsaws come with an automatic oiling mechanism, and this allows your chain to be regularly oiled when cleaning. The one thing you have to look out for is keeping it filled up at all times. If your one doesn’t have that feature, then you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, and keep a lookout for it at all times! 

The Takeaway

You might have shuddered at the thought of how difficult it could be to measure a chainsaw and its parts, but you’d be wrong to do so! Once you are familiar with the process and how everything goes, you will have learned how to measure the bar and the chainsaw chain with ease. Just make sure you remember to make the correct calculations and take the measurements from the base and tip of the bar. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll easily be able to find the perfect bar and chain for your chainsaw!

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