How To Measure A Chainsaw Bar

During the lifetime of you owning a chainsaw, there will be times when your chainsaw chain will need to be replaced. And at moments like that, you need to know how to measure a chainsaw bar to be able to replace the chain on your chainsaw. The measurement will not have to be performed manually if you know the specs. But if peradventure the manual has been misplaced and you do not know the specifications, you will have to perform the chainsaw’s bar measurement.

Sometimes (not often at all) the chainsaw bar may also need to be replaced and you will need to get its measurements too. But those are very rare cases as chainsaw bars are pretty durable. Other than that, some users find it very expensive to replace a chainsaw bar which makes it a rare occurrence.

If you’ve measured a bar before, this procedure will be very straightforward. However, if you have never had a problem like it before, you will have no idea how to move forward. In this article, I’ll be showing you how to measure a chainsaw bar the right way.

In actual sense, there are two (2) ways in which a chainsaw bar can be measured: by measuring the bar’s effective length and measuring its true length.

How To Measure A Chainsaw Bar

To get started, you will be needing a few things.

  • Chainsaw
  • Socket driver and/or wrench set (Cheap durable ones like those linked here is sufficient)
  • A measuring tape


How To Measure The Bar’s Effective Length

This is also called the chainsaw length and it is the easiest way to measure a chainsaw bar. The effective length of the chainsaw bar is the bar’s length from where it meets the casing to the bar’s tip. The effective length is shorter than the bar’s true length.

To get the correct measurement, here are the things you need to do:

  • Lay the saw on a horizontal surface. To get the right measurement, ensure you’re not distracted or making unnecessary movements.
  • Mark the place where the bar’s stump meets the case with the measuring tape.
  • Stretch the tape until it reaches the last tooth of the chain and document the measurement. There are some times when the chain may be broken or lost and is not attached to the bar anymore. If such is the case, then add 1/2 inch to your overall length.
  • Repeat the whole process if you’re not confident of the measurements you took until you’re sure.

Most chainsaws have measurements between 12 and 20 inches. If that is the case with your chainsaw, then make a note of the measurement. Then round the length to a whole number. If that’s not possible, then round up to a full inch. For example, if the length of your measurement reads 14.9, round it to 15 inches. Whatever number you get is the length of the chain you have to buy for your chainsaw.

How To Measure The Bar’s True Length

This is the bar’s measurement from top to bottom. This measurement shows you the bar’s true length.

  • To get this measurement, you will need to remove the chainsaw’s cover completely.
  • Using your socket driver/wrench set, remove the chainsaw’s cover.
  • Release the bar from its casing by removing the bolts holding it in place.
  • Lay the bar on a horizontal surface.
  • Stretch the measuring tape across the bar’s entire length.

how to measure a chainsaw bar

Unlike taking the measurement of the bar’s effective length, there’s no need to take note of the top of the chain. Note down the measurement you got. It is not necessary to round off the figures when taking the measurement of the bar’s true length.

When you go to the store to shop for a new chain, take the measurements along so you can purchase the right size.

Safety Measures

When handling a chainsaw in whatever capacity, you should always be safety conscious. Chainsaws are pretty powerful tools and can inflict the worst kind of injuries if proper care is not taken. You do need to be cautious when using it and have your chainsaw protection glove close to hand.

In this procedure, it is obvious the chainsaw will not be switched on, but for the sake of eventualities, do not discard any safety measures.

The first thing you should do is unplug the chainsaw from the socket. This should not be overlooked because you will be handling the chainsaw’s chain. Also, you should remove the wire that is connected to the spark plug. This will serve to make sure the chainsaw does not come on accidentally.

Final Thoughts on How To Measure A Chainsaw Bar

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, learning how to measure a chainsaw bar is pretty easy especially if you are a frequent user of chainsaws. You do not need to take the measurements every time you have to change the bar of your chainsaw. The first accurate measurement you take can serve you every time so keep it safe.

Using a chain that is not properly fitted for your chainsaw is very dangerous. You have to collect the correct measurement which is why you must keep measuring the bar until you’re sure you’ve gotten the right measurement. This will keep you safe and also prevent your chainsaw from getting damaged.

When you do purchase the chainsaw chain, ensure you buy one that has good quality. Settling for cheap parts will cost you more in the long run so try to avoid doing that as best as you can.