There are many different sizes and styles of chainsaw available and choosing the right option for your needs and the requirements of your current project can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Once you have got that sorted, though, you are going to need to make sure that all of your spares and replacement parts are the right size to fit your chosen chainsaw.
One of the most important parts of the chainsaw is the chain and making sure that you have the right size of chain to fit your chainsaw is vital. That is where the numbers on a chainsaw chain come in.
Chainsaw Numbers… What Do They Mean?
Here at Best of Tools, we have put together a full guide to all of the different numbers on a chainsaw chain in order to help you understand what you are dealing with when you are trying to buy a replacement chainsaw chain for your home or professional chainsaw.
There are three different numbers that are usually found on the packaging of replacement chains for chainsaws. These numbers indicate the pitch in the chain, the gauge of the chain, and the number of drive links in the chain. Let’s go through them one at a time in order to get a good sense of what each one means.
Chainsaw chain pitches
The pitch in a chainsaw chain refers to the distance between the individual links of the chain. The number shown has nothing to do with the full length of the chain but refers to the precise difference between the links of the chainsaw chain. Chainsaw chain pitches come in a range of different sizes, from ¼” to 3/8″, and everything in between.
Most chainsaw users prefer the 3/8” low profile pitch option. Most chainsaws take 3/8” chains, and the low profile option helps to keep cuts narrow and smooth. These are ideal for delicate cuts and fine detail work, helping many users to cut with more accuracy than the higher-profile options available.
Chainsaw chain gauges
The chain of any chainsaw is attached to the chainsaw itself with the help of drive links that fit into the guide bar of the chainsaw tool. The drive links can be found on the bottom of the chain, and the thickness of these links is what determines the gauge number of your chain.
You need to make sure that you buy a chainsaw chain with the correct thickness of gauge, as the wrong gauge can lead to your chain either slipping off the chainsaw or not even fitting on in the first place, depending on whether it is too wide or too narrow.
Chainsaw chain gauges are measured in inches, and there are 4 different sizes available. These are 0.043”, 0.050”, 0.058”, and 0.063”. The most popular option is the 0.050” gauge chainsaw chain, and most chainsaws take this size. If you are uncertain about it, then the gauge number can usually be found stamped clearly on the guide bar part of the chainsaw. It can also be found on the packaging of the chain and comparing the two numbers is easy.
Chainsaw chain drive links
The third and final number that you need to bear in mind when you are looking to buy a chainsaw chain is the number of drive links that the chain has. This refers to the number of links that attach to the guide bar of your chainsaw and is closely related to the gauge number of the chainsaw chain.
In general, the guide bar is an important part of the chainsaw drive length. The number of drive links corresponds to the length of the guide bar and making sure that the two matchups is very important! The overall length of a chainsaw can additionally be determined by combining the pitch of the chainsaw chain with the number of drive links in the chain.
Where else to find the numbers?
All of the numbers you are looking for should be clearly visible on the packaging of your chainsaw chain. Obviously, that is not particularly useful when what you need to know is what size of chain your chainsaw requires! Fortunately, there are a couple of other locations you can look at in order to determine what size of chain you need to buy for your chainsaw.
Firstly, the body of your chainsaw is likely to have the numbers you will need clearly written on it. That is the easiest way to find out what size chainsaw chain you need to buy. If your chainsaw is an old and well-used one, though, then the numbers may have worn away, meaning that you’ll need to look elsewhere in order to find that information.
The other option for finding out what size of chain your chainsaw requires is to check the instruction manual that came with your chainsaw. You can’t just estimate the size of the various elements, as the difference between the different options is very small. It is important to ensure that you have an accurate measurement of the size of the chainsaw chain that your particular chainsaw requires in order to operate safely and effectively!
The numbers on a chainsaw chain may look confusing, to begin with, but they aren’t actually all that complicated once you know what you are doing with them. They are, however, very important. As such, you need to make sure that you are buying a chainsaw chain that is correct in regards to all three numbers, and not just one or two of them!
Hopefully, our guide above provides enough information that you ought to be able to fully understand what all of the different numbers on a chainsaw chain mean and how to find and interpret each one of them.
Once you understand what each number is used for, you can confidently pick out the perfect chainsaw chain to fit your chainsaw, ensuring that you can use it safely and effectively at all times without needing to worry about problems caused by incorrectly-sized chains or poorly mounted drive links.