Can You Put Longer Bar on Chainsaw?

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Are you a chainsaw user looking to buy a new chainsaw, but you’re wondering if you can put a long bar on it? If yes, then you are definitely in the right place.

Can you put a longer bar on chainsaw is a common question for most chainsaw users. The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, you can easily put a long bar on your chainsaw and no, you cannot put just about any longer bar.

The bar you put on your chainsaw has to work properly and meet requirements like the size of the engine, the size of the chain, the size of the bar, and the sprocket. If the bar is too long, the chain will be unlikely to fit the new length, and you’ll have to buy a new chain too. With the change in the chain, the sprocket might also have to be replaced to fit the chain.

In this article, you will get to know all about chainsaw bar lengths, can you put longer bar on chainsaw, what are chainsaw guide bars made of, what size chainsaws will you need, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Can You Put Longer Bar on Chainsaw?

As a chainsaw user, you must be curious if you can put a long bar on your chainsaw. You should remember that your chainsaw’s engine power and the owner’s manual are the two things you should look for. Aside from that, the chainsaw chain and sprockets are crucial components too, as you have to ensure that the new bar is compatible with your chainsaw.

If you’re looking to find can you put longer bar on chainsaw, then the answer is both yes and no. You can put a long bar on your chainsaw, but you cannot put any longer bar. The replacement bars need to match the requirements of the chainsaw so that it works properly. Before you put the longer chainsaw guide bar, there are a few factors that you should consider.

A longer chainsaw bar will require more power for spinning the chainsaw bar. You can get a longer bar on your chainsaw if the new guide bar matches all the requirements of your chainsaw, including

  • The size of the chainsaw engine 
  • The sprockets
  • The chainsaw bar size
  • The size of the chainsaw chain

You can check these requirements by using the following sequences –

  • Check the compatibility of your chainsaw engine with the bar length 
  • Check the compatibility of the sprockets with the chain
  • Check the compatibility of the chain with the new bar 

The chainsaw engine will determine the bar length that your chainsaw can handle. A smaller or longer chainsaw bar can only be used if your chainsaw engine can spin the chin on the bar. Therefore, you will require a new chainsaw.

The sprockets are tasked with revolving the chain around the guide bar. So, when you’re checking the compatibility of the new chainsaw bar, you might need to replace the sprockets so that they can fit with the new chainsaw.

All these chainsaw components must fit perfectly with each other to deliver optimal chainsaw performance. If any of them is compatible, the chainsaw can either get damaged or might harm the user.

What Chainsaw Bar Size is Perfect For You?

You have to choose the bar size according to the cutting type you intend on doing. This will allow you to decide if you should go for a small chainsaw bar or a long chainsaw bar.

Small chainsaw bars

The small-sized chainsaw will be perfect if you only need mild trimming of a limited area. This is the case because the small chainsaws will be lighter and easier to carry around in your garden. Moreover, a chainsaw with a small chainsaw bar will be easier to maneuver, and you’ll also be able to reach tight places easily.

For light cutting, trimming, and pruning, guide bars between 8 and 14 inches will be ideal. They will work very well for chopping down small trees and trimming branches. The ideal sizes for cutting small trees and removing tree branches will be 16 to 18 inches. They’ll also be useful for cleaning up after storms and for lighter-duty tree chopping.

Long chainsaw bars

On the other hand, if your chainsaw is strong enough, a longer bar will be extremely helpful in cutting through a piece of wood with a bigger diameter with just one cut. To carry out woodworking projects around your house and farm, you’ll be able to use the chainsaw with 20 to 24 inches bar sizes. Chainsaws of this size will be best suited for storm cleanup and chopping down huge trees and firewood.

You should keep in mind that the chainsaw will be heavier if the cutting elements are too long. Bucking logs won’t be a big issue, but you could get tired by performing tasks that need a lot of maneuverability. 

What are Chainsaw Guide Bars Made Of?

There are many light and strong materials used for constructing the guide bars in chainsaws. Some of the common ones are –


The guide bars made of aluminum have good strength and malleability. The lightweight material also tends to be corrosion-resistant.

Chrome-Moly (Chrome-molybdenum Steel)

Numerous modern-day chainsaw bars are made using chrome-only steel, which essentially stands for chrome-molybdenum. This material is less lightweight compared to aluminum alloys, but its malleability and high tensile strength outweigh this disadvantage.

Relation Between Chainsaw Bar Length and Engine Size

The chainsaw engine and the chainsaw are directly related to each other. The cutting performance of your chainsaw will decrease as the chainsaw guide bar’s length is increased. Moreover, the power will end up decreasing as you are reaching the upper end of the chainsaw bar.

Chainsaws require sufficient power for running a specific bar length, which will vary with the power source. Your chainsaw might not work without it. Depending on the power source, the power will be measured in the Cubic Meter (cc) for gas-powered chainsaws and volts (for battery-operated chainsaws).

The power-to-compatibility factor is not particular for any chainsaw brand and mode. You will have to consult the chainsaw model’s owner’s manual for precise responses.

Can You Put Any Size Bar on Your Chainsaw?

The length of the chainsaw’s guide bar will define the timber that it can cut, while the engine size will decide how long the chainsaw bar can handle. The guide bar’s length will also influence the handling and weight. The long guide bar will be heavy and shift its center of gravity away from the operator, which will make it difficult to control. Therefore, due to these factors, the manufacturers recommend a specific number of guide bars –

1. Homeowner chainsaws

The chainsaws used for home-cutting and pruning come with smaller engines compared to heavy-duty chainsaws. These chainsaws can only handle small-sized guide bars. The guide bars between 12 inches and 16 inches are usually recommended for homeowner chainsaws.

chainsaw with long bar

2. Professional chainsaws

The professional-grade chainsaws can be distinguished by features that are designed to make them powerful, reliable, and comfortable while also being able to withstand the rigors of everyday use. The size of professional-grade chainsaws will vary greatly, from the Stihl MS 150, an arborist chainsaw with a 12-inch guide bar to the Stihl MS 880, a chainsaw whose 121.6 cc engine can support a 59-inch guide bar.

3. Heavy-duty chainsaws

These chainsaws are intended to handle bigger projects in non-professional settings. These machines are meant to be both powerful and flexible. The engine sizes for this type of chainsaw, which you might also know as “Farm and Ranch” models range from 50 cc to 64 cc. These chainsaws can easily accommodate guide bars that range from 16 inches to 20 inches.

4. In-tree and electric chainsaws

The chainsaws for professional arborists are intended to be used in trees, and they can use guide bars that range from 12 inches to 16 inches. Many chainsaws in this category can handle the chainsaw guide bars between 12 inches and 18 inches. The exact size will depend on the engine and other factors. The little-battery-powered chainsaws in this group will be able to handle the chainsaw bar of 12 inches.

Running a Longer Bar on a Chainsaw? Follow up.

Tips for Chainsaw Bar Maintenance

It can be difficult to know that the chainsaw-cutting parts have been getting rough treatment. The blade might bend with severe usage or even get pinched in wood. Therefore, you need to check the chainsaw regularly and take the necessary steps for maintaining the bar.

  • Check your chainsaw for potential damage on the upper side of the rails as well as on the surfaces inside the rails
  • You must examine the bar for burrs regularly and if you notice any, you must file them using a metal file 
  • The grooves of the bars must be inspected to see if they are worn severely, as the only solution would be to replace them
  • When you’re checking the grooves, you should make sure that it is clean and if it isn’t, you must clean them immediately 
  • Check if the lubricating hole is unlocked and that the nose sprocket can travel freely 
  • If it is necessary, you should lubricate the chainsaw with grease
  • Modern chainsaw bars are reversible, so you can flip them over periodically for extending their lives

How to Select the Right Chainsaw Size

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you require a new chainsaw as the current one isn’t working properly, there are a few key parameters to help you determine the correct size. Choosing the proper size and type of chainsaw that fits your needs will be essential. Trying to save money and purchasing a smaller chainsaw could end up costing you time later on if it isn’t good enough to handle the workload.

On the other hand, purchasing a bigger chainsaw such that it can perform a wide variety of projects will mean that it’s heavier, more challenging to handle, and can make smaller projects more difficult.

1. Chainsaw sizes and uses

The first parameter is important, as it’ll help you determine the size that will work best for your needs. It will be as simple as understanding the type of workload that you have to complete. Will you be clearing out large trees or just pruning some limbs? Will you use it for cutting trees for firewood or to clean up overgrown bushes? Depending on the type of work you will be doing frequently, the size of your chainsaw will change.

Generally, a chainsaw with a shorter bar of around 14 inches or smaller will be enough for maintenance, trimming, pruning, and cutting down tree limbs. On the other hand, cutting thick branches, small trees, and cleaning up storm damage will require a longer bar around 16 inches to 20 inches to make the job safer and easier. 

You can make use of a smaller chainsaw, but it’ll cost you in the amount of effort and time it takes for you to complete projects, as it’ll be more practical to cut with just one pass. You should remember that while a longer bar may help take care of bigger trees, it’ll also be heavier, which can cause you to become fatigued in a short period of time. Make sure that you are taking breaks and don’t just clean the machine and refuel, but also rest yourself to prevent accidents due to fatigue.

There are larger guide bars from 20 inches and above that are used by professionals for cutting large trees and handling projects of large volumes of work. Due to the longer guide bar, it will have a large and powerful engine. This increases the dangers of kickback and fatigue. Large trees will have to be handled carefully, so if you aren’t comfortable tackling a project, you should hire a professional to maximize the risk of personal or property damage.

2. Diameter of the projects

Adding to the first parameter, the diameter of the wood you’re cutting will also indicate the size of the chainsaw you require. Whether you’ve got small trees that are a safety hazard or you are pruning limbs and trimming, choosing a chainsaw that is too small or too large can make the project both harder and more dangerous. It is recommended that you should measure the diameter of the trees that you’ll commonly cut and choose a guide bar that is two inches longer.

3. Your personal preferences

Regardless of the size and type of project, if you aren’t certain about your capabilities, you shouldn’t try it out. Instead, look for help and tips from professionals. It won’t matter if the tree is large or small, as they both will pose a danger to you and your property. If you’re inexperienced with chainsaws, trying to handle a powerful chainsaw that’s too big will only increase the probability of accidents.

On the other hand, small chainsaws should also be respected as they are tools that can be dangerous and have to be handled with care too. Deciding on the right chainsaw depending on your needs is a crucial balance between power and your capabilities since safety is an important factor.


Can I put a smaller guide bar on my chainsaw?

If the chainsaw engine supports the bar length, you’ll be able to put the smaller guide bar on your chainsaw. Aside from that, the length of the bar should fit the chain and the sprocket. If everything looks compatible, you will be able to use the smaller chainsaw bar on your chainsaw.

How to measure the chainsaw bar?

When you’re replacing the chainsaw bar, it’ll be important to measure the length of the guide bar. However, if you don’t know how to measure your chainsaw bar, it can be an issue. You must measure the chainsaw bar from the front of the bar to the tip of the farthest cutter and get a rough figure to the nearest inch. This way, you will get the “called length”, which is different from the overall length of the bar.

Does the guide bar length affect the chainsaw?

The sizes will vary depending on the type of chainsaw. Each bar size is good for specific jobs. For instance, 12 inches to 20 inches are the commonly used bar sizes. However, you can also find chainsaws with a 72-inch bar that professionals use. You should remember that the longer the bar, the heavier your chainsaw will be.

Does the length of the chainsaw bar matter?

The length of the chainsaw bar will decide the type of work that you can do with the chainsaw. You’ll be able to easily cut through trees of large diameters with a long bar. Meanwhile, with a smaller bar, you could cut the same tree, but it’ll take 2–3 passes.

Do all chainsaw bars fit all chainsaws?

Not every chainsaw bar or chain will be compatible with every chainsaw. For instance, the large chainsaw bars work well with the more powerful engines. The large bars will require more energy for spinning the chainsaw bar and chain. Therefore, electric chainsaws will use bars of 18 inches or fewer, while gas-powered chainsaws will come equipped with bigger bars.

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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.