Measure a Chainsaw

How to Measure a Chainsaw Length?

Chainsaws are powerful tools commonly used for cutting trees and logs. When purchasing a chainsaw or replacing the chain, it’s essential to know the length of the chainsaw to ensure compatibility. In this article, we will guide you through the process of measuring a chainsaw length accurately. Whether you’re a professional arborist or a homeowner who occasionally uses a chainsaw, understanding this measurement technique is crucial. So let’s dive in and learn how to measure a chainsaw length effectively.


Before we get into the specifics of measuring a chainsaw length, let’s understand why it’s important. Chainsaws come in various sizes and configurations, and knowing the length is vital for two main reasons. Firstly, it allows you to determine the right replacement chain for your chainsaw. Secondly, it helps you choose the appropriate chainsaw for specific cutting tasks. Now, let’s delve into the process of measuring a chainsaw length accurately.

Understanding Chainsaw Length

The length of a chainsaw refers to the cutting portion of the chainsaw bar. It is measured from the point where the chain exits the chainsaw housing to the tip of the bar. Chainsaw lengths typically range from 10 to 36 inches, with the most common sizes falling between 14 and 20 inches. Larger chainsaw lengths are suitable for heavy-duty tasks, while smaller ones are ideal for lighter work and increased maneuverability.

Measuring Chainsaw Length

To measure the length of your chainsaw accurately, follow these steps:

  1. Step 1: Remove the Chain – Start by ensuring the chainsaw is turned off and the chain brake is engaged. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts on the side cover and remove the cover. Carefully lift the chain off the bar and set it aside.
  2. Step 2: Locate the Starting Point – Look for the point on the chainsaw where the chain exits the housing. This is the starting point from which you’ll measure the chainsaw length.
  3. Step 3: Measure the Bar Length – Using a tape measure or ruler, place one end at the starting point and extend it to the end of the bar. Make sure to measure the bar itself and not the entire length of the chainsaw, including the powerhead.
  4. Step 4: Record the Measurement – Once you’ve measured the bar length accurately, note down the measurement in inches or centimeters. This measurement represents the length of your chainsaw.

Tips for Accurate Measurement

Here are some tips to ensure accurate measurement of your chainsaw length:

  1. Use a flexible tape measure or ruler to obtain precise measurements.
  2. Make sure the chainsaw is powered off and the chain brake is engaged before removing the chain.
  3. Take the measurement from the starting point where the chain exits the housing to the end of the bar.
  4. Measure in a straight line, following the curvature of the bar, to get an accurate length.
  5. Double-check your measurement to avoid any errors before purchasing a replacement chain or new chainsaw.

Factors to Consider

While measuring chainsaw length is important, it’s equally crucial to consider other factors before choosing the right chainsaw. Some key factors to keep in mind include:

  1. Task Requirements – Determine the type and size of the cutting tasks you will be performing with the chainsaw. Different tasks may require different bar lengths for optimal performance.
  2. Experience Level – Consider your experience and skill level in handling chainsaws. Smaller chainsaws are generally easier to maneuver for beginners, while larger ones require more experience and control.
  3. Safety Features – Look for chainsaws with safety features such as chain brakes, anti-vibration systems, and low kickback bars to ensure safer operation.
  4. Ergonomics and Weight – Consider the weight and ergonomic design of the chainsaw, as it can impact your comfort and fatigue levels during prolonged use.

Choosing the Right Chainsaw

Now that you know how to measure a chainsaw length and understand the key factors to consider, you can make an informed decision when selecting the best chainsaw for the money you need. Remember to match the chainsaw length to the cutting tasks you’ll be performing and consider your experience level and safety requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use a longer chain on my chainsaw?

A1: It is not recommended to use a longer chain than the recommended length for your chainsaw. Doing so can affect the saw’s performance, safety, and may cause damage to the chainsaw.

Q2: How often should I replace the chain on my chainsaw?

A2: The frequency of chain replacement depends on several factors, including usage, maintenance, and the type of wood being cut. Generally, chains should be replaced when they become dull or damaged.

Q3: What is the advantage of a longer chainsaw bar?

A3: Longer chainsaw bars offer increased cutting capacity, making them suitable for larger logs and heavy-duty cutting tasks. They can also reduce the number of cuts required for larger jobs, saving time and effort.

Q4: How do I maintain the chainsaw bar and chain?

A4: Regular maintenance of the chainsaw bar and chain is essential for optimal performance. Keep the chain properly tensioned, lubricate it regularly, and file or replace the chain when necessary.

Q5: Can I measure the chainsaw length with the chain still attached?

A5: No, it is necessary to remove the chain to accurately measure the chainsaw length. The chain can obstruct the measurement and lead to inaccurate results.


Measuring the length of a chainsaw is a fundamental step in choosing the right replacement chain or purchasing a new chainsaw. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can accurately measure the chainsaw length and make informed decisions based on your cutting needs. Remember to consider the various factors discussed, such as task requirements, experience level, and safety features, when selecting the right chainsaw.

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