How To Measure a Chainsaw Bar

What if you need to change your chainsaw bar or chain, but your owner's manual isn't available? At that point, you'd best know how to measure chainsaw bar.

How to Measure Chainsaw Bar

You start by measuring the cutting length (also known as the called length) of the bar. You then round it up to the next even number. Let's look at how you do that in more detail. Then, once you have your answer, we'll talk about what you can do with it.

Safety First

To prevent turning yourself into a remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you should first safe the chainsaw. Begin by making sure the on/off switch is in the off position. Then, remove the rubber cap that clips to your chainsaw's spark plug. This ensures that the chainsaw can't come on, even by accident.

Prepare and Measure the Bar

chainsaw being measured

Image via Flickr

Lay the chainsaw down on its side and get a tape measure. Measure the bar along the chain from the tip of the bar to the cutter closest to the body of the chainsaw.

Round Up

Take the number of inches you got from the measurement and round it up to the next even number. For example, if you measured 13-3/4", round it up to 14. If you measured 16-1/2", round it up to 18.

True Length

Let's say you don't trust the estimate. Is there another way to find out the size of the replacement bar you need? There is, but it involves a little more effort.

You need to remove the cover from your chainsaw. You can accomplish this with a box-end wrench or a socket wrench. Once the cover is off, the entire bar will be exposed and you can measure it directly. There's no need to round up this measurement, as it will be exact.

You now know the replacement size of the bar you need to get. Now, you should also get a new chain for the saw to ensure it's working at peak efficiency.

Measure the Chain

person measuring chainsaw chain

Image via Flickr

Begin by removing one link from the chain and laying the chain out flat. Then, measure it from one end to the other. This is the size of the replacement chain you'll need.

Pitch and Gauge

For an exact fit, also determine your chain's pitch and gauge. The pitch is the distance between two of the chain links, while the gauge is the width of the slot on the top of the chain.

For pitch, measure the distance between any three rivets on the chain, and then divide the result by two. For gauge, see which coin fits into the groove without being forced or not filling the groove.

If the penny fits best, the gauge is .058". If the dime fits best it's .050 gauge, and if it's the quarter, it's .063 gauge.


person cutting wood with chainsaw

Image via Pexels

Now that you know how to measure both the bar and the chain, you're ready to head to the hardware store and purchase what you need to keep your chainsaw running. Good cutting!

Featured Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay