Sumo Gardener

How to Measure Chainsaw Bar

Even if your chainsaw is well-oiled and undergoes regular maintenance, it won’t perform exceptionally if its parts do not complement each other. In particular, the chainsaw owners should notice how well the bar needs to fit with the chain. If either of them is undersized or oversized, your chainsaw won’t operate at its prime.

Understanding that concern, we’ve made this handy guide helping you measure chainsaw bar without seeking and paying for professional assistance.


One of the most common mistakes is that people measure the whole length of the chain itself. You can measure the whole thing, but what we need to focus on is the part of the chainsaw used for cutting. In other words, the right way is to only measure the cutting length.

At this stage, measure the sections at least twice from every direction. You need to size one part in every direction to eliminate the minor measurement errors. As long as the results are not similar, you must repeat the process.

Another thing to take note is the differences in bar lengths. A chainsaw blade can be as short as 10 inches and be as wide as 42 inches. The standard lengths, however, are just at 16, 18, and 20 inches.

For cutting lightweight firewood, the chainsaw bar should ideally be between 14 inches to 16 inches long. If you buck woods, the bar has to be at least 18 inches in length. This is why measuring the chainsaw matters – it allows you to get the right length for the type of wood you will be cutting down.

Here’s a video discussing the different chainsaw bars:

Taking Note of Safety

Before going close to the chainsaw bar, you have to remove the spark plug first. Even if the chances are low, you do not want to risk measuring the bar when it could suddenly become activated and hurt you. A chainsaw is such a heavy and powerful tool that should not be handled carelessly at all times.

Moreover, you should let the chainsaw rest if you just used it. It would still be too hot to touch, so provide enough time to cool down before you conduct any measurements.

How To Measure the Chainsaw Bar

How To Measure the Chainsaw Bar

You will only need a measuring tape to identify the cutting length of the chainsaw bar. All you have to do is to measure from the casing up to the tip of the cutting bar. Remember not to measure from one end of the chain to another. If the resulting measurement isn't exact, you can round it to the nearest inch. Likewise, measure the bar twice to reduce errors.

Once you’ve conducted multiple measurements, it’s time to remove the screws that keep the casing together. After this, you must carefully take away the chainsaw casing. Upon removal, you should measure the chainsaw bar from one end to another.

Similar to the first measurement, you must repeat several times for the best results. The measurement should be 2 to 3 inches greater than the one taken before you removed the casing.

Now that you have taken both the cutting length and the entire length of the chainsaw bar, you have to put the chainsaw casing back. Get the screws you removed. Place them again in their appropriate locations to keep the casing tight. Put the spark plug back in place.

If you have some spare time, check if the chain in your chainsaw is appropriately tightened to adhere to the manufacturer’s requirements. This will ensure that your chainsaw bar and chain are fit for cutting.

As you’ve read from our guide, measuring the chainsaw bar is simple but it requires both patience and precision. Errors in measurements can always be prevented through repeated measurements. If you follow the instructions, you’ll identify the cutting length and the entire length in no time.

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a comment.

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About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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