Are Chainsaw Chains Universal? – A Detailed Guide

Are Chainsaw Chains Universal? - A Detailed Guide

Chainsaws are handy tools for any homeowner or professional looking to cut down trees, clear brush, or perform other outdoor tasks. But what about chainsaw chains? Are chainsaw chains universal? Do you need to ensure you get the proper chain for your tool? In this blog post, we’ll deep dive into the world of chainsaw chains and answer the question: Are chainsaw chains universal? – with the help of this detailed guide.

Are Chainsaw Chains Universal?

are chainsaw chains universal

No, there is no such thing as a universal chainsaw chain. This is because different types of saws use different chain sizes and configurations. For example, some saws may require narrow-kerf low profile chains, while others may require full-chains or skip-chain models. The type of chainsaw chain you need will depend on your saw’s size, power rating, and cutting job.

Here are some of the factors that determine which chain is fit for your chainsaw.


Pitch is the distance between three consecutive rivets divided by two. It’s usually expressed in inches or millimetres (mm). Most saws use either .325″ or .404″ pitch chains. The .325-inch pitch is used on smaller saws such as electric pole saws and most homeowner-grade gas-powered saws, while the .404-inch rise is found on larger professional-grade saws like forestry and logging saws.


Gauge is the width of the drive link of the chain measured in thousands of an inch (thousandths). Smaller diameter bars require a low gauge number, while larger ones require higher numbers. A 3/8-inch bar would use a 050 gauge, while a 1/2-inch bar would use a 058 gauge. Make sure you always match up the correct gauge with your bar size, as using incorrect gauges can cause severe damage to your saw and other components like sprockets and bearings.

Link Count

Link count refers to how many drive links are on the chain. This number will vary depending on which type of chain you have, but it should be printed on the box or stamped into each drive link for easy reference. Generally speaking, longer bars require more drive links to ensure adequate coverage along their length when cutting through logs.

Chainsaw Type

The type of chainsaw bar you have is also essential when selecting the proper chain for your saw. Different brands may have their proprietary designs or sizes that may only be universal across some manufacturers. Check your owner’s manual for compatibility information before installing any new chain saw onto your machine. Common saws types include: skip chain, oregon chain, low kickback chain, ripping chain and low kickback chain.

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Types of Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaws are a powerful tool for property maintenance, tree care, and construction. The standard chain attached to the blade affects how well the saw performs each job. Chainsaw bars users can choose between three main types of chains: standard, semi-chisel, and full-chisel. Each type of chain saw has unique features for specific tasks; for instance, standard chains are often chosen for their easy sharpening qualities, while semi-chisel chains provide longer life with greater accuracy.

For robust cutting applications, many users take advantage of chisel chain, semi chisel chain, and full-chisel chain saws whose cuts go deeper and faster than other options. When selecting the proper chain, you must consider what type of project you need to complete with your chainsaw to reap all the benefits of having such a great tool in your arsenal. Here are different chainsaw chain types:

Full-Chisel Cutters

Full-chisel cutters are the most common chainsaw chain type designed for soft and hardwood use. The cutting teeth on a full-chisel cutter are sharpened at a 90-degree angle, giving them a sharp cutting edge that is ideal for cutting through soft and hardwoods. However, the sharpness of the teeth also makes them more susceptible to damage from rocks or other debris.

Semi-Chisel Cutters

Semi-chisel cutters are designed for use on both soft and hardwoods, but they are less common than full-chisel cutters. The cutting teeth on a semi-chisel blade are sharpened at a 60-degree angle, which gives them a less sharp cutting edge than full-chisel cutters. However, the less sharp cutting edge makes them less susceptible to rock or debris damage.


Micro-chisels are the least common type of chainsaw chain and are designed for use on softwoods only. The cutting teeth on a micro-chisel cutter are sharpened at a 30-degree angle, which gives them a very sharp cutting edge that is ideal for cutting through softwoods. However, the sharpness of the teeth also makes them more susceptible to damage from rocks or other debris.

Carbide Tipped Cutters

Carbide-tipped cutters are designed for use on both soft and hardwoods and are the newest type of chainsaw chain available. The cutting teeth on a carbide-tipped knife are tipped with carbide, a rigid material resistant to wear and tear. Carbide-tipped blades are designed to stay sharper longer than traditional steel cutters and are less susceptible to rock or debris damage. Other cutters include: semi chisel cutters.

Also Read: How to Test a Chainsaw Coil?

How To Find The Right Chainsaw Chain For Your Project?

Chainsaw chains and chainsaw parts come in various sizes, shapes, and styles for different applications. This blog post will provide tips on how to find the correct chainsaw chain for your project.

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Use the Existing Chain

The most straightforward way to find a suitable chainsaw chain is to look at the existing one already installed on your saw. All manufacturers stamp their chains with several codes indicating the size and type of chainsaw blade. The first code will be either “Pitch,” “Gauge,” or “Grit”; this specifies the size of the drive link (the part that fits into the sprocket). The second code tells you what cutter teeth are used; this can be anywhere from semi-chisel (SC) to full-composite (FC). It may also notify you what lubrication system it uses; for example, Lubrilink (LL) or Oilomatic (OL). Finally, it may have a letter that designates its file size. Once you know these codes, finding a replacement chain should be much easier.

Use The Guide Bar Stamp

Another method for finding a replacement saw chain is to look at your guide bar stamp. All guide bars are stamped with two codes which tell you what type of bar it is and what kind of saw chain it requires. The first code indicates whether it’s a laminated or solid steel bar; this can usually be found near the mounting hole. The second code will tell you what type of saw chain should be used with that particular bar; this should be located near one end of the bar, usually next to an arrow indicating which direction to mount it onto your saw. With both these codes in hand, finding an exact replacement for your old saw chain should be relatively easy.

Finding a suitable chainsaw chain does not have to be difficult if you know where to look! Using existing chains and guide bars can help narrow down exactly what type and size of chain one needs for their project. Knowing this information allows those who use chainsaws regularly—homeowners or professional loggers—to purchase what they need without any guesswork! Using these simple tips, anyone can find a perfect fit when searching for new chainsaw chains!

Are Chainsaw Bars Universal?

Chainsaw bars are not universal. The size of the chainsaw bar and chain must match the size of the chainsaw. Larger chainsaw bars work best with more powerful saws because driving a chain around a long bar takes more energy. Electric saws use bars 18″ and shorter. Similarly, chainsaw chains are measured to fit certain bars. Trying to fit a chain onto a bar that’s too narrow or too long will cause the saw not to work. To determine which replacement parts you should get, you can measure your bar and chain.

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Using the wrong size bar or chain can damage and injure the chainsaw operator. Chainsaw bars come in all shapes and sizes, but these sizes are not universal among all chainsaws. The most common chainsaw bar sizes are 12 to 20 inches, but they come in sizes as large as 72 inches, typically for professionals. The longer the bar, the more powerful the chainsaw needs to be. The chainsaw chain types also vary according to the type of chainsaw, each good for different jobs. You can measure the true bar length by loosening the bolts that hold the bar to the chainsaw body to get a perfect fit for your replacement bar.

Also read: How Does a Chainsaw Work?


How do I know what chain to get for my chainsaw?

Your chainsaw should also have a power rating that can help guide you when deciding between chains. Different sizes and types of Chains may be available, too, such as Top Plate Square, Semi Chisel, and Full Chisel, so consider which type of cut you are looking for and the wood texture. Finally, check compatibility with your chain saw before purchasing a new chain to ensure it will fit correctly and perform optimally.

Can I put a different chain on my chainsaw?

Several manufacturers produce chainsaw chains, and the different brands are only interchangeable with some models. If you replace your chain with another brand, you must know the old chain’s exact gauge, length, and pitch. Installing the wrong chain can result in bodily injury or damage to the machine.

Does it matter what chainsaw chain you use?

The thicker links will, more often than not, be heavier but much more robust. The cutting speed will be much faster with a lighter machine, so you will need to know what this job requires to get it done right. The chain gauge and bar gauge must match; otherwise, they will not fit properly.

Will a Husqvarna chain fit on a Stihl chainsaw?

Husqvarna uses it as a standard driver width. 058 and Stihl operate .063, so the Stihl chain won’t fit into the Husqvarna bar groove. There are other options and driver sizes, but we won’t discuss that here to keep this instructable straightforward.

Final Thoughts

Chainsaw chains and bars are not universal. There is no one perfect fit. For some models, these are interchangeable but only when the requirements are fulfilled. There needs to be a proper chain or right bar. Figure out what are the needs of your chainsaw. Note them down and start searching for the right one.

Every model has chain requirements based on gauge or chain gauge, chain type, chain length, chain pitch, chain brake, chain size, links, chainsaw part, chain size, and chain bar length. At the same time, bar requirements are based on tension hole and bolt slot, which also vary with models.

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