Are Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable? Detailed Manual

Are Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable - 7 Useful Tips

The bar, also called the chainsaw bars, is an essential attribute of a chainsaw. Together with the chain it is part of the cutting attachment. The bar serves as a fixed guiding blade on which the chain moves. The cutting attachment bears the main direct load during sawing and its condition determines the speed and quality of the cut. The whole set is a consumable item and the chainsaw bars is no exception. Depending on the intensity of use, replacement with a new one will be necessary in any case. Are chainsaw bars interchangeable?

Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable

When you buy a chainsaw, in most cases it comes with a factory-fitted chainsaw bars are interchangeable. It is usually the optimum size for the particular machine. Therefore, when replacing with a new guide chain saw bars, you have to rely on the version that came as standard. The guide chainsaw bars have to fit exactly with the rest of the chain saw and the saw chain as a whole.chainsaw chain

The easiest way to find a guide chainsaw bars is to take a sample to the store. An experienced salesman can easily identify the right option, even from a sample of a standard chain or the name of the saw. In addition, the manufacturer indicates the dimensions of the guide chainsaw bars are interchangeable directly on the body or in the manual of the tool.

If for some reason neither of these options works, then we offer you two options. First, go into the basic parameters and dimensions that a chainsaw bar has and read this publication further. Second, choose a chainsaw bar by the name of your saw.

The Main Parameters That a Chainsaw Tire Has:

Let’s distinguish four basic parameters of the saw bar:

  • bar length (L)
  • bar thickness (T)
  • groove and sprocket pitch
  • shank type
  • tire length (L).

This is the length, not of the full bar, but of the cutting portion of the bar from the front tire body to the tip. This distance is rounded to the nearest side and measured in inches or centimeters.

If you install a longer bar, you will have to match the chain to it. Note that this will increase the load on the motor because the contact area with the wood will increase. In this case, it is necessary to be more careful and to correlate the length with the power not to ruin the mechanism of the tool. There is an increasing tendency for users to shorten the size of the bar. This is especially true for Chinese chain saws. The cutting length of the bar, of course, will become less, but the load on the engine will be reduced, and therefore its service life will increase.

Chain Pitch Chain Gauges, common
1/4P .043”
1/4” .050”
3/8P .050”
.325” .058” .063”
3/8” .050” .058” .063”
.404” .063”


Chainsaw Bar Thickness (T)

or more precisely the thickness of the guide bar is another key parameter. The thickness of the guide bar groove and the drive link must match perfectly. It helps to achieve a stable structure and prevents jumping even at high revs of the saw when it is properly tensioned.

chainsaw Remington

It is worth noting that the leading link running in the groove plays the role of oil distributor on the whole chain edge and the bar. On the basis of the international classification there are 5 standard dimensions of the bar groove thickness at the guide bar:

1.1 mm (0.043 inch)-not common on low-powered as well as single-handled saws.

1.3 mm (0.050 inch) and 1.5 mm (0.0578 inch)-the most common sizes. Mounted on domestic and semi-professional models of chainsaws.

1.6 mm (0.063) and 2.0 mm (0.080 in) – headsets with a thicker drive link. They are found on high-powered professional chainsaws.

The guide bar must also match the pitch of the chain and drive sprocket. Otherwise the chain won’t fit in the groove and won’t walk on it. This may be more or less, depending on the 5 standard groups bar. Chain pitch) measured in inches: “1/4”, “0.325”, “3/8”, “0.404” and “3/4” (chronology in length order).

“0.325” and “3/8” – most saws are equipped with these chain pitch sizes and all well-known chainsaw and electric saw manufacturers install these popular groups. It is very likely that you will need one of these options.

Chainsaw Bar Shank

has a specific shape and holes with a groove for attaching the guide bar to the studs of the saw body, so that it is rigidly fixed to it. Every guide bar has mirrored sides, i.e. if you turn it upside down you can see absolutely identical pattern. This is made for even wear of the drive bar, by turning it over regularly.

Also on the shank, you can see technological holes – channels. They are used to metered oil to the tire groove and then spread it around the entire bar edge. The groove on the guide bar has to coincide with the groove on the saw, otherwise there will be no oil flow. Therefore, do not underestimate the shape of the grooves and holes that play a role in securing and lubricating the guide bar.

The first three parameters are globally standardized, which is not the case with the last one. Some brands customize the shape of the shank and lubrication channels. Only original tooling can be used for replacement, which is not very convenient and cheap. Therefore, most manufacturers have unified these parameters.

The bar length, groove thickness, and sprocket pitch combined with the chain on the drive sprocket should be mutually applicable and form a “one size fits all” arrangement. Knowing all the standard sizes bar is easy to find the right guide bar and chain.

Some users don’t know how to correctly count the number of drive links in the chain, although it’s pretty easy to do. It is better to count by shanks. In order not to confuse while counting, the shank from which you start counting should be marked. It is possible to do this with a marker, or gluing a piece of paper to it.

The second option – to count the number of connecting drive links. It is faster to count pairs, for this purpose the chain should unwind, fold in half and place on an even surface, for example, on the table.

Important! When calculating is not critical to err on one link in a large direction. If you miss the 1-th link, then in the process of selecting and buying a spare chain make a mistake and buy a small chain, which will be unrealistic to install on a chainsaw.

How to Find Out What Type of Chain on Your Chainsaw

To find the type of chain bar that is installed on the chainsaw, of course, several methods. If the saw bar new, just purchased, the type and size of the chain is indicated in the documents (the user’s manual, in the properties section). If the saw has already had time to work and it is not clear even if the chain-set has changed over the years of operation, it is possible to find the chainsaw chain types by carrying out the following activities:

  • Remove the headset and count the number of links
  • Using a caliper measure the width of the shank
  • Visually define the type of cutting tooth. Sharp side edges – chisel, smooth edges – chipper
  • Measure chain pitch with a ruler or caliper

chainsaw Stihl

Important: Incorrectly taken measurements can lead to the fact that the new chain will not install in the chainsaw bar or will have a pitch different from the pitch of the sprockets, so you need to be more careful when measuring.

Another option for determining dimensions, which does not require the use of a measuring tool, is to look at the markings. The shank width is indicated on the outside of the limiter prong. The values of width on the tooth are shown without unit, i.e. if the number 3 is on the tooth, the shank width is 1.3 mm, the other dimensions are the same.

Some manufacturers, like Oregon, put a model number on the shank of their products. Knowing the number, you can easily determine the characteristics of the chain by finding the model information in the catalog.

Selecting the Length of the Guide Bar in Relation to the Drive Power

The length of the new guide bar is determined by the power and torque rating of the power unit.

  • Chainsaw models in the small and medium power range have guide bars with a length of 30 to 40 cm.
  • Longer sets of bars put excessive loads on the engine and the kinematics of the tool, which adversely affects its traction characteristics and operating life.

The enclosed instruction manual specifies the recommended guide bar length. This means that you can use a shorter bar, but there are some restrictions on the use of a longer bar.

Professional-level chainsaws are equipped with power units whose power allows them to take advantage of guide bars up to 75 cm in length. Often the bar size in centimeters and inches is printed on the side of the bar. Below you can watch a video that will help you understand more about the topic of our article.

Useful Information: The Chainsaw Guy Shop Talk Professional Chainsaw Bars Stihl Husqvarna Oregon And Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable

This video is about the chainsaw guy shop talk Professional chainsaw bars Stihl Husqvarna Oregon. You will learn more helpful information on this topic.

Which Chainsaw Bar Is Better for Your Chainsaw

As a rule, chainsaw manufacturers are engaged in parallel production of guide bars, both on their models, and other standard sizes on units of other manufacturers. Of course, there are companies that are solely engaged in the production of the saw headset, but these are few.chainsaw chain

Every chainsaw manufacturer recommends that you install a chain saw guide bar of your own manufacture, but it is not mandatory. Conventionally, a chainsaw guide bar is divided into 3 quality classes:

  • Hobby-grade
  • Semi-professional
  • Professional

The main difference between the classes is the size. Hobby-class will be the shortest, professional longest of all, respectively, the thickness of the bar is greater. But, it is worth repeating that this is a conditional division and not always the long tire is of high quality, and the short on the contrary.

It is much more reasonable to choose a guide bar by manufacturer. There are not so many famous manufacturers of saw headsets, it is not difficult to remember them.

STIHL, HUSQVARNA and OREGON are the most common manufacturers of not only tires but also chains and other accessories for power tools. Of course, their price is higher, but they will last many times longer than others. Less popular brands for the production of cutting equipment – MAKITA, ECHO have similar excellent quality. Except that you will not find them on the market at all.

The category of Chinese manufacturers is only growing every year, you can find there both good products and bad. Noteworthy are CHAMPION, RedVERG, REZER, ZUBR. They have been in the market for a long time and, along with the affordable price, have proven to be of good quality.

How to pick up a tire for a chainsaw – tips for proper operation. In other cases, it is worth careful selection. After all, a quality tire for a chainsaw and the set as a whole is not only a guarantee of successful work, but also safety. Do not buy tires from unknown manufacturers and beware of counterfeit. Original products almost always come packaged, well-painted. In some cases, the tire has laser engraved parameters on the side.

Installing a Chainsaw Chain Saw Harness

  • Remove side cover with chain brake
  • Install the bar by sliding it into the mounting studs.
  • Slide the chain onto the drive sprocket and then, starting from the top edge of the bar, onto the sprocket.
  • Insert the side cover so that the tensioning groove in the bar hits the tensioning bolt. Fit the nuts and check for correct installation, the chain should run in the groove without jamming.
  • You can tighten the chain until the chain is completely against the bottom edge of the tire.
  • Check the final tension by lifting the chain by hand from the top edge. One chain link should be all the way over the tire and the two adjacent links should be just barely touching. Tighten the side cover nuts firmly.

When installing a new bar, you should keep in mind that a new chain stretches faster and needs to run in. You should check the tension more often, especially after the first cuts. A correctly installed guide bar and chain will give you high cutting quality and last longer.

Use and Reasons for Rapid Tire Wear

Here are some of the reasons for quick guide bar wear

  • Excessive chain tension.
  • Excessive force by the user, especially when cutting hardwood.
  • Sawing with the end of the guide bar.
  • Overheating caused by lack of chain lubrication. Also, poor quality oil (waste) can be the cause.
  • Grooves and oil passages become dirty with sawdust, dirt, sand, etc.
  • Crushing the bar with the barrel or material if it is not properly cut.

chainsaw Stihl

Any of these causes can lead to rapid tire wear. The malfunction can be detected visually, or you will simply notice a deterioration in sawing quality. The chain will start to bounce around in the bar groove or come off the bar. This will cause the bar to be sideways and the cut will be crooked.

To avoid premature wear and to increase the life of the guide bar, it needs care. Here are some rules for proper operation:

Proper Chain Tensioning on The Chainsaw

  • The first thing to do before each use of the saw is to make sure that the chainsaw is properly tensioned and set
  • Fill up with quality oil to lubricate your chainsaw and be sure to check the oil flow to your guide bar at regular intervals
  • Check the chain oil supply
  • Find a bright surface
  • Start the saw and at full throttle point to the lighted end of the saw
  • After a few seconds you should see a trail of oil
  • It is not recommended to cut with the end of the guide bar. This not only puts more strain on the engine but can also damage the drive sprocket
  • A drive sprocket can be a maintenance-free sprocket, where the life of the bar is designed to last the life of the bar. A maintained sprocket has holes for periodic oil application
  • Regular flipping of the bar will balance its wear. By the way, using several sharpened chains one after the other will also extend the life of the guide bar
  • No need to put a lot of pressure on the saw while working, the weight of the tool and a little effort by the user is enough for this


The right guide bar with the right dimensions is the key to good cutting performance and a straight cut. It is not always the customer who goes for a premium brand, such as STIHL or HUSQVARNA, because of the high price. This is because of the high price. Since there is a 15-30% difference between a premium manufacturer’s chains and the Chinese counterpart’s high quality, most people tend to go for the former and the higher quality. A similar cost difference of 2-3 times makes you think, and usually in favor of the cheaper counterpart. Of course, the premium will last longer, but also qualitative Chinese tires CHAMPION or REZER have a decent service life.

Are chainsaw bars interchangeable? Everyone relies on the ability of their own pockets, so it is up to you to decide whether to overpay or not and how much you need this resource.


Serg Cooper
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