How To Measure A Chainsaw Bar: All You Need To Know

how to measure a chainsaw barDo you have an old chainsaw in need of replacing? Is the bar of your chainsaw warped, or is the chain dull? You may be able to simply replace the bar on your chainsaw without needing to rebuy a whole new unit.

For you to get yourself a replacement chainsaw bar, you first need to understand how to measure the proper length of the bar. The bar is basically the blade of the chainsaw, and the chain that wraps around the bar are its teeth.

Not all bars fit on all chainsaws. There are a lot of sizes and a lot of different chainsaws, and it all depends on what you have. Keep in mind that cordless chainsaws often have smaller bars, between 10” and 16”, while gas chainsaws have enormous bars.

How Much Does a Chainsaw Bar Cost?

In today’s world, everything is cheaper. There are a lot of really great chainsaws online selling anywhere from $100 to $500. I say this because a new bar is probably going to cost you anywhere from $20 to $100. It depends on the type of material, the size of the bar, and whether you need a chain with it or not.

Sometimes, it is just better to buy a new chainsaw. This is especially true if you are trying to buy parts for an old and outdated chainsaw. If you only need a chain, they are a bit cheaper and easier to replace. But if the entire bar is destroyed and you need a new one, it may be worth it to just buy a small chainsaw for $100.

But at the end of the day, it all depends on you. You can probably get a budget bar for around $20 or $30 at your local hardware store.

How to Measure A Chainsaw Bar

tape measureMeasuring your chainsaw bar is super easy. You can do it without even taking the body of the chainsaw part. Simply take a tape measure, press it against the body of the chainsaw where the bar is coming out, and then measure to the very tip of the bar. This will give you the effective cutting length.

I should point out that you will probably get a weird measurement by doing it this way. If your measurement is something like 18.25”, then the actual length of the bar is going to be 20”. You always want to round upward to the next even number.

If you are interested in getting your measurements exact, you can still measure the true length of the bar rather than the cutting length. To do this, you need to take the casing of the chainsaw apart so that you can get to the full bar. You don’t need to take it out, but you will need to measure the entire length from the base to the tip. You can remove the bar if you want since you are going to replace it anyway. But you will need to take apart the bolts that keep your bar in place, and also take off the chain.

Sizes of Chainsaw Bars

chainsaw barNow that you know all about how to determine the size of your chainsaw bar, you might want to know what size you need for whatever task you are doing. Let’s go through the entire list of bar sizes to determine which one will work best for you.

8” – 12” Bar

These are the smallest sizes of bars. You have 8”, 10”, and 12”. These are best used for removing small branches. If you are pruning a tree, taking the small branches off of larger branches, then you can easily use one of these small chainsaw bars. Any piece of wood that is between 6 and 10-inches thick can easily be cut with a bar that is 8 inches, 10 inches, or 12 inches.

12” – 14” Bar

These are good for felling small trees. If you have small trees around your property and you want to get rid of them, any chainsaw with a bar between 12 inches and 14 inches will get the job done nicely. You can cut anything that is not too thick. Most electric chainsaws will probably come with a bar in this size range.

14” – 16” Bar

This is a good size for splitting logs into firewood. If you have medium logs, you can make quick work of them and turn them into a big pile of firewood. Again, there are a lot of electric chainsaws in this size range.

16” – 18” Bar

This is where we start getting into gas chainsaws. While you can still find some electric chainsaws that come with an 18-inch bar, I would usually want to deal with a gas chainsaw just for power reasons.

An electric chainsaw is going to have a harder time spinning the chain with the amount of power you need to cut down medium trees. But with a gas chainsaw, an 18-inch bar can quickly cut down any medium tree, make firewood, and do a handful of other tasks.

blue max chainsaw 20 inch20” – 72” Bar

You can see that this is a pretty large jump. A 20-inch bar is pretty heavy, and any chainsaw that is this size will be much heftier than any with an 18” bar. Most of the commonly sold chainsaws that are large will come with a bar that is either 20 inches or 24 inches. These chainsaws can be used to cut down larger trees.

When we go up from 24 inches, we are talking about some serious industrial power. Believe it or not, chainsaws do go up to 72 inches, and these are serious cutting machines that they use in logging and other industrial applications. There is no way you need a 72” bar on your home chainsaw.

Even a chainsaw with a 24” bar is going to require some skill and knowledge. These are better left to professionals. Even if you do have a big tree on your property you want to cut down, I recommend hiring a professional, hiring a neighbor, or using a 24” bar & chain and being very careful.

Randy Peterson Cutter Life

Randy Peterson

Randy is a chainsaw enthusiast and an experienced lumberjack. He'll most likely be found cutting, chopping, and trimming trees, usually working with a wide variety of tools. Randy likes the outdoors and socializing with friends.