Skip to Content

Are Chainsaw Bars Universal?

Every woodworker or homesteader wants the best chainsaw that money can buy. But even with the many options in the market, there are important considerations to make. For example, you should always find out if there are replacement/spare parts for every component of your chainsaw. It could be your chainsaw bar that gets damaged while working on a sawmill or the spark plug.

Are Chainsaw Bars Universal?

No, chainsaw bars are not universal. There is no one-size-fits-all chainsaw bar. When you have to replace your old or broken chainsaw bar with a new one, brand and model always play a role. In most cases, it is possible to use a bar from a Husqvarna as a replacement for the one you have on your STIHL chainsaw. You could even get luckier and find a chainsaw bar that qualifies as a universal replacement, but it doesn’t mean it fill fit all chainsaws.

If you are a woodworker looking to purchase a new chainsaw this summer, this post is for you. It will shed light on among other things, whether chainsaw bars are universal and if at all, there is a possibility of finding a replacement that would fit onto every saw you ever owned. Read on to learn more.

Important Considerations to Make When Choosing a Replacement Chainsaw Bar

While there is no-one-size-fits-all chainsaw bar in the market, you should always consider the following when you go shopping for a replacement bar:

● The Size of The Bar

You should not just walk into a chainsaw accessory shop nearby to buy a replacement bar for your chainsaw. You must measure the size of your chainsaw bar before placing a purchase order. The catch here is that if you have decided to buy any bar to use it on any chainsaw, size matters. Always measure the width and length of any bar before placing a purchase order. Also, measure the size of the bar you intend to replace and if it is of the same size, you have found a perfect replacement.

However, even with bar sizes that match up, you are not there yet. There are a host of other considerations to make about the perfect replacement chainsaw bar.

● Tension Hole, Oil Holes, and a Bolt Slot

So far, the good news is that you have found a perfect match-up for your chainsaw bar but does it match up in every aspect including tension hole, oil holes, and bolt slot? The tension hole lets you adjust the tension of a chainsaw bar. A bolt slot provides an attachment point to the chainsaw. Also, check the oil holes that make it possible to oil the chain.  If you are looking to put money on a perfect replacement chainsaw bar, all the above features should be identical.

The tension hole on the replacement bar should also align with the one on your old chainsaw bar and so should be the bolt slots. However, a caveat you must note is that some chainsaw bars have auto-oiling functionality, other considerations come to play.

Having taken care of everything to ensure you have found something you would call ‘a universal chainsaw bar’; the next step is testing it. Pay close attention to how the new bar behaves once you power on your chainsaw. It is to ensure you have the best bar replacement for your machine.

Tips on Measuring Chainsaw Bar

Despite making sure the oil holes, bolt slots, and the tensioner are identical; we do not wish that you make mistakes in the future. Thus, every homesteader or woodworker who has a chainsaw should know how to measure the chainsaw bar appropriately. The following tips should, therefore, help you do it right:

● Stage One

You cannot measure the chainsaw bar when the machine is running so start by turning it off. Locate the spark plug and unplug it. To do it right, hold the boot covering and pull it to guard against a possibility of a chainsaw starting accidentally.

● Stage Two

Step two is where the actual measurement begins so grab a tape measure. Put it at the point at which chainsaw bar casing starts. It is to avoid any false measurements that could lead you to buy a replacement bar that does not match-up.

● Stage Three

In stage three, you should stretch the tape towards the other end of the bar. Measure from the furthest point where there is a cutter, usually at the tip of the chainsaw bar.

● Stage Four

An important factor to consider when reading measurements of the chainsaw bar is that you should always round it off to the nearest whole number or inch. Take, for example, a reading of 14 3/8 which you should round off to 15 inches. Always record the measurement you have taken at this point.

● Stage Five

Stage five involves a bit of work, so start by removing chainsaw nuts that hold the bar casing. We emphasize doing it carefully to avoid damaging the nuts or the bar itself. Now pull the casing to expose the entire length of the chainsaw bar.

● Step Six

Step six, which is also the last in our guide is measuring the exposed bar using the tape measure. Now you have the correct measurements for the chainsaw bar. And assuming you have recorded everything, purchasing a replacement part becomes easy. Also, take note of other features on the bar that might determine the type of chainsaw bar you are about to buy.

Is There Anything Like The Right Chainsaw Bar?

Well, if you are a chainsaw rookie, a question of finding a chainsaw that perfectly fits onto your machine can be challenging. However, when it comes to answering the question, is there anything like the right chainsaw bar, many factors play significance. You may also want to find out if a longer bar will be okay or whether a shorter one will be a perfect choice.

The truth is, when it comes to looking for the right chainsaw bar, take note of components such as sprocket nose and kerf. Most importantly, understand that chainsaw bars vary in size. It is why you must know how to measure chainsaw bars to avoid mistakes.

However, when it comes to defining the right chainsaw bar, it varies depending on many things. Let’s explore each one of them as follows:

● The Purpose for Which You Need a Chainsaw Bar

 For example, homeowners’ chainsaw bars usually have a size that ranges between 10 and 20 inches. You may, however, find something longer depending on the brand.

On the contrary, professional or commercial grade chainsaws have bar size that can go up to 60 inches. A perfect example is the NEW Cannon Chainsaw with a bar measuring up 50 inches. Another long bar is the pro bar you will find on Forester chainsaw bar for SITHL that measures 52 inches. They are not the kind of chainsaws bar you would want to use on your yard to trim overgrown branches on fruit trees.

● Chainsaw Bar Material

Another factor that determines the right size of a chainsaw bar is material used to make one. The most common materials are aluminum, steel, chrome-molybdenum. The catch with material construction is the direct impact it has on the tensile strength of a chainsaw bar, not to mention the malleability of any bar you would like to buy out there.

Does Kerf Determine The Length Of A Chainsaw Bar?

The answer is no. Kerf does not determine how long or short a chainsaw should be. Rather, kerfs determine the thickness or narrowness of a chainsaw bar.  Something also noteworthy about the width of kerfs on chainsaw bars is that narrow ones do not remove a lot of material compared to large ones. They have narrow groves, something that plays significance when shopping for either a home grade or professional grade chainsaws.  Thus, narrow kerfs do a perfect job when handling light to medium duty cutting tasks.

Final Thoughts on Universality of Chainsaw Bars

In a nutshell, when it comes to choosing the right chainsaw bar, always take the right measurements on both your old bar and the replacement prospect. It is because there is nothing like one-size-fits-all. Any bar from any chainsaw brand or model can be used as a replacement on a competitor’s brand.

You should also note that when it comes to using long bars, your wood cutting machine should have enough power to run it. A long bar will deliver underwhelming performance on a chainsaw that does not have enough power.  For example, if your chainsaw runs on gasoline and has an engine capacity of 60cc, it needs a longer bar of at least 20 inches. Alternatively, an electric chainsaw run by 80 volts battery needs a bar length of 16 to 18 inches. For a 32cc to 42cc gasoline chainsaw, a bar length of 14 to 16 inches is something we would recommend any day.