How to Measure a Chainsaw Chain?

Approx Reading Time: 8 minutes

Chainsaws are essential tools for a wide variety of jobs including arborists and professional landscaping. This essential tool makes it easier and faster to handle different tasks including heavy-duty tasks and everyday jobs. Just like every other type of power tools and equipment, chainsaws also require regular maintenance and spare parts from time to time. One of the parts that require regular changes is the chainsaw chain. But chains are not universal, they need to fit your machine. Chainsaw chains have three different measurements, the pitch, the gauge, and the number of drive links. This may seem like a lot, however, these numbers are usually located on the side of the chainsaw bar. But if you can not find them you can easily measure them yourself.

How to Measure a Chainsaw Chain?

To meshure a chainaw chain follow these steps:

  • Pitch: measure the complete distance between three rivets at any point on your chain and then divide the result by two
  • Gauge: meashure the thickness or depth of the drive links
  • Drive links: count the total amont
How to Measure a Chainsaw Chain? 1

Replacing the chain on your chainsaw is not a difficult job. However, finding the perfect chain size for your chainsaw can be quite challenging due to the unique manner in which the chains are measured. Do you want to know more about how your chainsaw chain can be measured? Do you need more information regarding chainsaw chains? Don’t look too far. In the rest of this article, you will find out why chain measurements are important and how you can properly measure a chainsaw chain.

Why Are These Measurements Important?

Why are chain measurements important? The answer to this question depends mainly on the different measurements outlined above. Typically, the pitch, gauge, and the number of links of a chainsaw chain will determine the type of cutting method best suited for the chain. That being said, chainsaw chains with a pitch of .404 inches are the best options for heavy-duty tasks. These are the kind of chainsaws that are usually used by firemen and other tasking operations. As the distance between the links gets wider, the cutting becomes much more aggressive. On the other hand, chains with a pitch of .325 inch are more ideal for light or low profile cutting. These chains can be found on chainsaws with bar length not up to 18 inches. The chainsaws are mostly medium-sized and are used in non-professional applications.

The gauge is the measurement that influences how well the chain grips on the bar. The drive link thickness which is responsible for connecting the chain to the bar often requires a caliper. If you do not have a caliper, it is best to take the chain to an expert.

● What Do These Numbers On a Chainsaw Chains mean?

As mentioned earlier, chainsaws often have their pitch, gauge, and number of links stamped on the side of their bar. They simply represent the pitch, gauge, and the number of drive links of your chainsaw chain. Sometimes they may appear to be jumbled up with other numbers but read on to know the exact place to find them.

Finding the Measurements on the Chainsaw

Finding measurements on your chainsaw is quite easy. First, you have to look on the side of the chainsaw bar, near the user end. Wondering what the bar is? The bar of the chainsaw is that long metallic blade around which the chain is wrapped. Also, the user end is the casing that encompasses the motor where the chainsaw handle is located. You’ll find the measurements printed on the right side of the bar (although this varies depending on the manufacturer).

To determine the pitch, check the left-most fraction stamped on the bar. The denominator of this fraction often has an inch symbol inscribed next to it. Another tip is that the pitch is usually located below or immediately after the brand name of the chainsaw. For instance, if the number on your chainsaw bar reads “3/8”, then this simply means that the pitch is 3/8 inch.

To find the number of drive links, you’ll see a number located next to an image that looks like a shark’s tooth or an inverted triangle with two circles inscribed inside the top corners. This image represents the drive links, and the number represents the number of drive links on the chainsaw chain. Also, you may see a number stamped next to the letters “DL” instead of the drive link image- this number also represents the number of drive links of the chainsaw. For instance, if you find “72DL” on the side of your bar, this simply means that your chainsaw has 72 drive links.

Measuring a Chainsaw Chain

If you don’t find any measurements on your chainsaw bar or perhaps it’s faded, don’t panic. Fortunately, every chainsaw comes with an owner’s manual which contains all the information about the kind of chain required as a replacement. Also, if you happen to know the model number of your chainsaw, it can help you find the right replacement chain you need at a hardware store. On the packaging material of most replacement chains, you’ll also find the right chainsaw models they will fit.

It is important to note that the chain size is not the only factor that should be put into consideration when shopping for one. There are different types of chainsaw chains that are required for different types of cutting tasks, and this factor is something that should be put into consideration when shopping for your chainsaw chain. Finding the perfect chain size for your tool is not always as easy as it may seem. Chainsaw chains have three unique measurements that must be taken into consideration when trying to find the perfect chain. While it is not too difficult to find these measurements, you may still be unable to do so. If this occurs, you should take your chainsaw to an expert or simply use calipers to get the right measurement.

1. Measuring the Pitch

The pitch is simply the measurement that defines how close together the links are on your chainsaw chain. This is also known as the average distance between two successive chain links. To get the pitch, measure the complete distance between three rivets at any point on your chain and then divide the result by two. The pitch is often stamped or printed on the drive link. The most common pitches for chainsaw chains are “0.325, 3/8, or 0.404”. The pitch is sometimes displayed on the guide bars, however, this isn’t always the case- this is where direct measurement comes in. The pitch will affect the drive link size, and this will also affect the length of your blade.

2. Measuring the Gauge

The gauge of a chainsaw is the measurement that defines how deep the groove is on a guide bar, that is, the thickness or depth of the drive links. This measurement must be accurate because, if the chain is too loose, you’ll not get enough lubrication to the guide bar. On the other hand, if the Gauge is too thick, then it will not run on your guide bar. These two factors should be taken into account as you may easily cause damage to your guide bar if these are not accurate. The most common sizes for the Gauge are 0.043″, 0.050″, 0.058″, 0.063″ which correspond to  1.1 mm, 1.3 mm, 1.5 mm and 1.6mm on a metric scale. You can also find the gauge on the side of the bar.

3. Measuring the Number of Drive Links

Drive links are the sharp triangular extensions located on the underside of the chain which keeps it attached to the bar. This feature provides you information on how long the chain is, and whether it is going to fit into your bar or not. The measurement is often the easiest to take, but it can sometimes be frustrating. To find the total number of links on your chain, you would have to actually count them. First, remove the guide bar side panel with a wrench, then release the tension on the chain with a screwdriver. The chain would be exposed for you to count the drive links. To make counting the drive links much easier, simply place the chain on a flat surface and arrange it such that the drive links align directly across from each other. By doing this, you’ll be able to count pairs of drive links instead of counting them one after the other.

Final remarks

Getting a replacement chainsaw chain that matches your chainsaw is very important and crucial as a mismatched chainsaw chain can be quite dangerous to both you and your chainsaw. Your chainsaw can become damaged during use or even worse, it may cause an injury. This is why measuring your chainsaw chain and getting an accurate measurement is very important when getting a replacement. If perhaps you have any trouble getting the right measurements, it is advisable to take it to a professional. Finally, always ensure you follow the necessary safety instructions to avoid any injury or mishap. Good luck.