There are many types of power tools that people use every day, and one of the most common ones is the chainsaw. Chainsaws come in several types, such as corded or cordless electric, or gas-powered models.

One thing all chainsaws have in common is that there is an occasional need for the chainsaw blades to be replaced due the wear and tear from use. This means it’s important that you know how to measure chainsaw bar length so you can change out blades.

If you use a chainsaw a lot you may already know how to accomplish changing the saw blades, but if you need to know how to measure it’s length as well.

Power tools can be incredibly dangerous if not handled properly, and there are 28,000 estimated accidents every year due to improper chainsaw use; so you should know what you are doing before you attempt to work on a chainsaw yourself.

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Image via Flaticon

If you are unsure about your abilities or do not understand what to do, you should contact a chainsaw repair facility rather than attempt to perform these procedures yourself.

If you want to change your chainsaw blades, you are going to have to determine the size of your chainsaw bar before you go about the business of replacing worn blades.

There are some common misconceptions about what constitutes the length, and there are other considerations involved when learning how to measure chainsaw bar length.

Let’s take a look at what’s involved in changing chainsaw blades, specifically, how to measure chainsaw bar length in order to properly determine what parts you will need to keep your chainsaw operating smoothly.

What Is a Chainsaw Bar?

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Image via Pixabay

A chainsaw bar is the long rectangular-shaped part of a chainsaw with rounded edges that houses the chainsaw blades. It is fixed to the body of the chainsaw with nuts and bolts, and it’s an essential part of what makes the chainsaw operate.

The chainsaw blades circle around the chainsaw bar and are powered by the motor of the chainsaw whether electric or gas-powered.

How to Measure Chainsaw Bar Length

A chainsaw bar juts out several inches from where it is secured in the base of the chainsaw.

Chainsaw bars have different lengths usually ranging from about 10 inches to 24 inches. The chainsaw bar is usually made of metal that can withstand all kinds of abuse from the cutting action of a chainsaw.

Chainsaw bars do not typically break as they are designed for heavy-duty applications; but sometimes they do become damaged.

When replacing chainsaw blades, you need to get an accurate measurement of your chainsaw bar in order to get the right size chainsaw blades for your model of saw.

When replacing chainsaw blades you may also need to replace other parts besides just the blades themselves, and if the chainsaw bar is damaged or defective in any way it will also need to be replaced.

You can easily avoid accidents or malfunctions while operating a chainsaw by replacing worn parts when necessary. You should never operate a chainsaw that has dangerous problems with any of the operating parts including the chainsaw bar.

Why It’s Important to Measure Chainsaw Parts

All of the parts of a chainsaw work together, including the chainsaw bar.

In order to have a properly working chainsaw that not only accomplishes the work you are setting out to do, but does so in a safe manner, you will need to determine what parts you will need in order to maintain or repair the chainsaw as necessary.

You may need other replacement parts as well as a new chainsaw blade, so make sure to check your chainsaw and all of its parts over carefully.

All chainsaw parts become damaged or worn over time, and maintenance of your chainsaw is imperative not only in getting your work done but in avoiding serious accident.

In order to determine your chainsaw blade length, you will need to determine several aspects of the chainsaw bar and the parts that hold it together.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the chainsaw bar length is the working length, and only extends from where the chainsaw bar juts out from the housing of the chainsaw.

The full length of a it extends to the interior of the chainsaw where it is bolted on. The cutting length is where the bar extends from the base of the chainsaw out to the tip.

Most people think this is the entire length of a chainsaw bar; but it is not. Determining the true length of your chainsaw bar involves determining the full length not just the cutting length.

This is very important because this is how you will determine what size of a chainsaw chain you will be purchasing to maintain your saw. When you determine the length of the entire bar. You can then use other considerations to replace your chainsaw blades.

How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar

In order to properly measure a chainsaw bar, there are several steps you need to take.

Before measuring  or performing any maintenance or repairs, make sure that the saw has cooled down, if it has been used recently, to the point that it is safe to work on without burning your fingers.

Perform the following operations in a safe clean well-lit area with the proper tools.

Steps to Measure Your Chainsaw Bar

Turn Off Your Chainsaw

Turning off your chainsaw is self-explanatory. You will need to disconnect the chainsaw from a power source if it is electric or disconnect the chainsaw’s spark plug if it is a gas-powered model.

Above all you want to avoid accidental operation of your chainsaw while working on it.

Measure the Cutting Length

Lay a tape measure from one end the cutting length to where it meets the housing of the chainsaw. It should be an even measurement in inches. This will be one length of your chainsaw bar blade you will use to purchase new blades.

Most of the common cutting lengths range from 10 inches to 24 inches. You should use goggles, gloves, and loggers when performing this operation.

Measure the Full Length

At this juncture, remove the casing and the bar from the chainsaw itself. It is time to use the tape measure again to measure the exact full length of the it.

Although you can use the chainsaw bar cutting length to get the right size chainsaw blades, you will want to know the measurements of a full length of it as well.

Finishing Up

Examine all the working parts of the chainsaw and make sure they are in good working order, and if any of them are defective or badly worn it’s time to replace them before you use your chainsaw again.

You can use the cutting length and the full length as measurements when you go to the hardware store to purchase a new chainsaw blade.

Make sure to tell the clerk at your hardware store both measurements so they fully understand the size. This will aid them in determining what size chainsaw blades you need.

If you are unsure of the measurements, perform additional measurements until you are certain you are correct of the length.

Never install a chainsaw blade that is of the incorrect size as this is incredibly dangerous and is a cause of many accidents involving chainsaws.


For most people with average mechanical aptitude and abilities, the changing of chainsaw blades and measuring a chainsaw bar are relatively simple and uncomplicated procedures.

For those who are less mechanically proficient, you may want to leave the entire operation in the hands of professional repair personnel.

Make sure to get experts help you learn how to measure it’s length if you can’t understand the steps outlined here.

If you are confident you now know how to measure of it’s length and replace necessary parts, such as the chainsaw blades, yourself, then make sure you take all the necessary precautions that are outlined here in order to remain safe during the maintenance and repair procedures.

If you follow the steps that were listed here, you should know how to measure of it’s length accurately and determine what length of chain you will need as a replacement.

Also, if you are unsure that you measured your chainsaw bar accurately, do not operate your chainsaw unless you are certain that the chainsaw blades and other parts are affixed properly and are of the proper size.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so use these steps as a guideline and be certain of all the aspects of the measurement of chainsaw bars and the accuracy of the replacement part sizes before you proceed.

Featured Image via Pixabay