How to Measure a Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaws are an essential tool for all arborists and landscape professionals. This tool makes it easier to handle heavy duty tasks and simplifies every day jobs. However, like in the case of all other types of power tools, they too require regular maintenance and spare parts.

If you need to replace the chain on your chainsaw, the job isn’t really very difficult. Finding the perfect chain size, however, can be quite challenging due to the specific manner in which the chains are measured.

The Steps To Follow

Here we take a look at how to measure a chainsaw chain:

Finding the perfect chain size isn’t as simple as heading to the local hardware store and knowing that you need a chain for a 20” chainsaw. These chains have three specific measurements that need to be taken into account when determining the appropriate chain.

The three measurements are- the pitch, gauge and the number of links. While it is easy to find these measurements sometimes, if you are unable to, you have to take the chainsaw to a professional or use callipers to get the right measurement.

1. Measuring The Pitch

This measurement describes the actual distance between the links on your chain. In order to measure the pitch, measure the complete distance between three rivets at any point on your chain and then simply divide this figure by two. The most common pitches for the chains are 0.325, 3/8 or 0.404”. Sometimes, ¼” may also come up as the pitch. While some guide bars have the pitch displayed on them, this isn’t always the case.

2. Measuring The Gauge

It’s far more difficult to find a gauge and you would need a pair of accurate callipers in order to get this particular measurement. The gauge is essentially the width of the lugs (sections of your chain that fit right into the guide bar). These are the common gauge measurements – 0.050 & 0.058”, followed by 0.043 & 0.063”. The gauge, just like the pitch is often mentioned on the guide bar.

3. Measuring The Number Of Links

This measurement is the easiest to take, although it can sometimes be quite frustrating and is always worth double checking to make sure you have the correct number. In order to find the total number of links, you would have to actually count them.

Finding The Right Replacement Chains

Every chainsaw comes with an owner’s manual, which would list which kind of chain would be needed as a replacement. In fact, if you know the model number of your chainsaw, that might help you find the right replacement chain at the hardware store. Most replacements chain packaging makes mention of the chainsaw models they will fit.

It’s also necessary to keep in mind that the chain size isn’t the only consideration when buying one. Different types of chainsaw chains are required for different types of cutting, and this is something you need to consider when purchasing your chain.