Are Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable?

Backyard Mike is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Disclaimer

Are you a chainsaw user, and you’re wondering if you can interchange the bars on your chainsaw? If yes, then you are certainly in the right place.

Are chainsaw bars interchangeable is a common thought that chainsaw users have if they have dull or damaged guide bars that need replacing. Unfortunately, chainsaw bars are not interchangeable. The reason chainsaw bars aren’t interchangeable is due to the way chainsaw bars mount to the chainsaw. Further, the size of the chainsaw bar isn’t interchangeable and is actually dependent on the size of the motor. There is no one-size-fits-all thing with chainsaw bars. When you need to replace your old or broken chainsaw bars with new ones, the brand and model will always play an important role.

In this guide, you will get to know all about chainsaw bars, are chainsaw bars interchangeable, the important considerations to make when changing the chainsaw bars, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Are Chainsaw Bars Interchangeable?

Every homesteader or woodworker is looking for the best chainsaw that money can possibly buy. Even with the numerous options in the market, there are many important considerations that you should make. For instance, you must constantly look for the best replacements and spare parts for each component of your chainsaw. This applies to the chainsaw bars as well. Your chainsaw bar could have gotten dull or damaged when working. Then, you will need to change the chainsaw bars, which gets you thinking are chainsaw bars interchangeable.

No, chainsaw bars are not interchangeable. There is no one-size-fits-all chainsaw bar. When you need to replace your dull or damaged chainsaw bar with a new one, it’ll be important to consider the brand and model of the chainsaw. In most cases, it is possible that you could use a bar from Husqvarna as a replacement for the one that you have on your STIHL chainsaw. You might get luckier and find a chainsaw bar that can qualify as a universal replacement, but it doesn’t mean that it fits all chainsaws.

Not all chainsaws are created equal, some of them are more powerful, while some of them run on electricity. With the diverse world of chainsaws, you might start wondering if chainsaw bars are interchangeable in size, brand, and type.

Chainsaw bar brands are not interchangeable due to the way chainsaw bars mount to the chainsaw. The size of the bar isn’t interchangeable, and it depends on the size of the motor. However, chainsaw bar types are interchangeable, and the different types end up changing the durability of the bar.

Are Chainsaw Bar Types Universal?

This question is different from are chainsaw bars interchangeable. Different types of chainsaw bars will not change how the chainsaw bar fits on your chainsaw, but they’ll definitely change how the chainsaw runs.

So, chainsaw bars are universal in the sense that different types of chainsaw bars will fit in the same way (as long as they are the right size). However, they’ll have an effect on the price of the chainsaw bar and the chainsaw’s performance. The primary differences between bars also come from how they are made and the type of nose they have. 

Laminated bar vs. Solid bar

A laminated bar is made up of several layers of steel sandwiched together in a single bar. They are usually connected through welding, rivets, or even a combination of both.

The benefit of having a laminated bar is that it is more lightweight compared to a solid bar while still being rather durable. With that said, laminated bars are much more prone to bending and damage.

Solid bars are made using one solid piece and the bar track is milled into the solid. They are heavier and more expensive than laminated bars, but will offer more durability and resistance to damage.

People who only use their chainsaws occasionally to work around the house would do just fine if they go for a laminated chainsaw bar. If your entire job or life revolves around working with a chainsaw might benefit from investing in a durable solid bar. 

Solid nose vs. Replaceable nose

This is just what it sounds like. Some chainsaw bars are made such that the end nose piece and noise sprocket can be easily replaced. This is great if you have to use the chainsaw often or have an expensive bar. You will be able to replace the nose without having to pay the full price for a new bar. The replacement noses get held together by rivets that you can remove and replace with a new one if there’s any damage to the nose or the nose sprocket.

A solid noise will be the opposite, and the nose is built into the bar directly and cannot be removed. They are less expensive, but if the nose ends up getting damaged, you’ll need to purchase an entirely new bar.

Important Things To Consider When Choosing a Replacement Chainsaw Bar

While there is no one-size-fits-all chainsaw bar out there, there are a few things to consider when you’re out shopping for a replacement bar – 

1. The size of the chainsaw bar

chainsaw bar

You shouldn’t just walk into a local chainsaw accessory shop to purchase a replacement bar for your chainsaw. You need to measure the size of the chainsaw bar before you place the order. The catch here will be that if you’ve decided to purchase any bar to use on any chainsaw, size will matter. You must always measure the length and width of any bar before you place a purchase order. Moreover, measure the size of the chainsaw bar that you intend on replacing and if it is of the same size, you have found the perfect replacement.

2. Oil holes, tension holes, and a bolt slot

The good news for you is that you’ve found the perfect match-up for the chainsaw bar, but does it match up in all aspects including oil holes, tension holes, and bolt slots? The tension holes will allow you to adjust the tension of the chainsaw bar. A bolt slot will provide an attachment point to the chainsaw. Moreover, you should check the oil holes that make it possible for you to oil the chain. If you are looking to put money into the perfect replacement bar, all the above features will be identical.

The tension hole on the replacement bar should align with the one on your old chainsaw bar, as well as the bolt slots. A caveat you must remember is that some chainsaw bars come with auto-oiling functionality, other considerations may come into play.

Having taken care of everything for ensuring you have found something that you’d like to call a universal chainsaw bar, the next step would be to test the bar. Pay close attention to how your new chainsaw bar is behaving once you power on the chainsaw. This will help you ensure that you have got the best bar replacement for the chainsaw.

How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar

Despite ensuring that the bolt slots, oil holes, and tensioner are identical, you wouldn’t want to make any mistakes. Hence, every homeowner or woodworker who has a chainsaw will know how to measure the chainsaw bar properly. The following tips will help you measure the chainsaw bar.

Stage one

You cannot measure the chainsaw guide bar when your chainsaw is running, so start by turning it off. Then, locate the spark plug and then unplug it. To do it correctly, hold the boot covering and pull it to guard against the possibility of the chainsaw starting accidentally.

Stage two

The next step is where the actual measurement will start, so grab a tape measure. Now, put it at the point at which your chainsaw bar casing begins. This is to avoid any false measurements that can potentially lead you to purchase a replacement bar that doesn’t match up.

Stage three

In this stage, you must stretch the tap toward the other end of the chainsaw bar. You need to measure from the furthest point from where there is a cutter, normally at the top of the bar.

Stage four

An important factor will be to consider when reading the measurements of the chainsaw bar is that you need to round it off to the nearest whole number or inch. For instance, take a reading of 14 3/8 which you must round off to 15 inches. Moreover, record the measurement that you have taken at this point.

Stage five

This step involves a bit of work, so start off by removing the chainsaw nuts that are holding the bar casing. It is recommended that you should do it carefully to avoid damaging the nuts or the chainsaw bar itself. Then, pull the casing to expose the full length of the chainsaw bar.

Step six

This step is also the last one for measuring the exposed bar using the tape measure. Now, you’ve got the correct measurements for the chainsaw bar. Assuming that you have recorded everything, buying a replacement part will become easy. Moreover, take note of other features on the bar that may determine the type of chainsaw bar that you’re about to buy.

Is There Anything Called the Right Chainsaw Bar?

If you are a chainsaw beginner, the question of finding the bar that fits perfectly onto your machine can be quite challenging. When it comes to answering the question, is there something called the appropriate chainsaw bar, many factors will be significant. You might also want to find out if a longer bar is okay, or whether a shorter one is a perfect choice.

The truth is, when it comes to finding the right chainsaw bar, you should take note of components like the sprocket nose and kerf. Most importantly, you should understand that chainsaw bars will vary in size. This is why you need to know how to measure chainsaw bars for avoiding mistakes. When it comes to determining the right chainsaw bar, it will vary depending on multiple things.

The purpose for which you require the chainsaw bar

For instance, homeowners’ chainsaw bars generally have a size that ranges between 10 and 20 inches. However, you might find something longer depending on which brand you go for.

On the contrary, professional or commercial gran chainsaws come with bar sizes that can go up to 60 inches. A great example is the new Cannon Chainsaw, which comes with a bar that is 50 inches long. Another long bar is the Pro bar that you’ll get on the Forester chainsaw bar for STIHL, which measures 52 inches. They aren’t the kind of chainsaw bars that you’ll want to use in your yard for trimming overgrown branches on fruit trees.

Chainsaw bar materials

Another significant factor that determines the right size of a chainsaw bar is the material used for making one. The most common materials are steel, aluminum, and chrome-molybdenum. The catch with material construction lies in the direct impact that it has on the chainsaw bars’ tensile strength. Not to mention the malleability of any chainsaw bar that you would like to buy.

How to Purchase the Right Chainsaw Bar

If you have to purchase a new chainsaw bar, or you’re looking to go for a different-sized bar on the chainsaw, you may be wondering how to ensure that you have purchased the right-sized bar. It’ll be important to go over how to purchase a replacement bar and a different bar from what you already have.

Buy a replacement bar

If you are only looking to replace a bar that you already have, then the process is quite easy. There are different ways to do that. If you’ve got a local chainsaw or hardware store that you’d like to go to, you can just take your old bar in and tell them that you’re going for a replacement.

They must be able to give you an exact replacement or order one for you. If you prefer the latter, then you’ll require a few measurements to ensure that you are getting the same size. You can find all this information on your bar information stamp. You will need the length of the chainsaw bar, the pitch, and the gauge.

The pitch is essentially the top number, and it is denoted with the letter “P” after the number. The next number will be the length of the bar. Meanwhile, the third number will be the gauge. The last number is the link count, but you won’t require that for purchasing a bar.

The bar length, the pitch, and the gauge will give you the right-sized bar. However, you should remember that not all chainsaw bars are created equally.

When you’re shopping online for a chainsaw bar, ensure that you’re putting in the brand and model of your chainsaw. For instance, if you’ve got a certain Oregon chainsaw model, then ensure you find a chainsaw bar that is marked as compatible with that particular Oregon chainsaw model. You can do such searches easily using Oregon’s Part Looking Tool. Other major brands also have a similar tool on their official websites. After that, you should double-check the length, pitch, and gauge to ensure that it matches what you are after. 

Purchase a different bar

Maybe you’re looking to change it up a bit and get a different chainsaw bar for your chainsaw. If so, then it is easy, too. 

First, if you are trying to go for a different length, you will want to check the owner’s manual to ensure the size of the bar is compatible with the engine.

Secondly, you will need to make sure that you are purchasing a bar with the same pitch as before. The drive sprocket in your chainsaw has a specific pitch that cannot be changed.

However, you can use a different gauge for the bar. This will only change the width of the bar and as long as you’ve got a chain to match, it can be changed to whatever you prefer.

To recap, you should ensure that the length you want is compatible with the chainsaw motor, match the pitch to the previous chain or bar, and decide what gauge you want for the chain. Now, you are all ready to get a new chainsaw bar.

What Chainsaw Bar Is Right For You? | Wranglerstar


Can I put a different chainsaw bar on my chainsaw?

Most chainsaws can easily operate up to 3 different bar sizes. Guide bars should be measured in length, from the tip of the chainsaw bar to the heel. They should range between 14 inches and 40 inches. You should check the specifications in the model’s owner’s manual to see what size bars you can run on the chainsaw.

Are most chainsaw bars universal?

Unfortunately, chainsaw bars aren’t actually universal. Each chainsaw bar comes fitted to a specific set of chainsaws and isn’t compatible with other types of chainsaws. For determining which chainsaw bar is compatible with a chainsaw, you should consider the chainsaw type, the size of the chainsaw, the position of the tensioner hole oil holes, the bolt slot, and more.

Can I put a 16-inch bar on a 14-inch chainsaw?

Yes, you can. Brands like Stihl and Poulan have 14-inch chainsaws that can operate with a bar that is 12, 14, 16, and 18 inches in length. However, you should remember that a longer bar might not always result in the best cutting performance.

Can I put a Husqvarna chainsaw bar on a STIHL chainsaw?

Husqvarna chainsaws use a standard driver width (0.58) while Stihl uses (0.63). This is why a STIHL chain will not fit into the Husqvarna bar groove. There are other options and driver sizes too.

Photo of author
Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.