Even the highest quality chainsaw will need to have the chain replaced eventually. Your chainsaw will only function properly if fitted with the proper chain. So, what chain does my chainsaw need?
To choose the correct chain for your specific chainsaw, you will need to know the following four sets of numbers: Bar length, Pitch, Gauge, Drive Lengths (quantity).
- Bar length
- Drive Lengths (quantity)
These numbers can usually be found printed at the base of the chainsaw’s bar. For the saw pictured to the left, the bar length would be 24”/60cm; the pitch would be 3/8”; the gauge would be .050”; and it has a total of 84 drive links (DL).
Some older chainsaws may not have these numbers printed on their bar, or perhaps the numbers have worn out over time. In these cases, you can find your bar length, pitch, gauge, and the number of drive lengths by using the guidelines below. You can also take your chainsaw to your local dealer.
Left, the bar length would be 24”/60cm; the pitch would be 3/8”; the gauge would be .050”; and it has a total of 84 drive links (DL).
You can find this number by measuring the bar’s length from the front of the chainsaw base to the farthest point on the cutting side of the bar. The “bar length” is always rounded to the nearest inch.
Note: The bar length should be calculated from the main body of the chainsaw to the tip of the bar, not from the base of the bar itself, which sits inside your chainsaw frame.
Number of Drive Links
This number refers to the width of the groove in your chainsaw bar holding the drive links. One way to find this number is to measure your drive links with a tool called a caliper. If you don’t have a caliper handy, start by cleaning one of the grooves using a knife or screwdriver. Then, try inserting a dime, a penny, and a quarter into the groove. The coin that fits snugly without forcing it will tell you the gauge.
Buying your New Chainsaw Chain
Once you have your bar length, pitch, gauge, and drive number, you are ready to buy your new chain. Most chains will have the numbers clearly labeled somewhere on the packaging (see below). Chains come in various models and tooth options, but if the numbers on the chain match the numbers you worked out for your chainsaw, you now have the right chainsaw chain, and you’re ready to get to work.