What Do The Numbers On A Chainsaw Chain Mean

Chainsaws are manufactured in different forms and sizes, and each one has a specific purpose. That’s why chainsaws are also available in a wide variety. Buying a chainsaw can be a really long and hectic process but if you know exactly what you need a chainsaw for, then identifying a machine and machine parts can be easy.

The chain part of a chainsaw is the most important component because it performs the main function. So it is important to understand how the chain works and what the numbers written on the chain indicate.

You’ll especially need to understand the numbers if you are ever going to replace a chain in an old chainsaw. Because each machine works with their specific parts and replacing an old part with something even slightly different means either it will not fit at all or it will be loose and can cause injury to someone if you accidentally use it.

When you are purchasing a chainsaw there are a number of other features too that you have to consider but getting the right kind of chain is the important one. There are three important measurements mentioned on the chainsaw chain packaging that you’ll need to understand before going shopping for a chain. These three numbers are pitch, gauge and number of drive links. You need to make sure that these readings are compatible with a chainsaw so that your machine can work efficiently and safely.

What Do The Numbers On A Chainsaw Chain Mean

3 Numbers On A Chainsaw Chain You Should Know


The pitch is the measurement of the distance between each link of the chain. You’ll find this number stamped on the tool or it will be given in the manual guide. The chainsaw chains are available in several pitch sizes. The measurement varies from ½”, 325″, 404”, 3/8″, and 3/8″ low profile. The most common ones are 3/8” and 3/8” low profile.

3/8” is mostly owned by homeowners because they are suitable for light and medium cutting tasks. On the contrary, 404” is a wider pitch range and hence it is used for heavy cutting tasks and is used by professionals like fire departments, etc. So the greater the pitch size is the faster its cutting speed is.

So before buying a chainsaw make sure the pitch length of the chain matches the requirements of the cutting job. And if you can’t find the pitch length of the chain written anywhere then you can measure it yourself too.

The distance between the links of the chain is calculated through the chain’s rivets. What you’ll have to do is calculate the distance between three consecutive rivets and divide the given number by two. The answer will be your pitch length of the chain. Remember that the pitch length is not connected to the drive links or length of the chain.


The gauge number is the second important thing about a chainsaw chain. The chain of a chainsaw is secured on the chainsaw through drive links that are fitted into the guide bar groove. The gauge number indicates how thick the drive links of a chain are. The gauge number is the most important thing you need to keep in mind when you go shopping for a replacement because over thickness or under thickness won’t be able to cover the chain of the chainsaw.

You’ll find the gauge number written on the bottom of the chainsaw chain, the opposite side of the chain’s cutting teeth. Gauge and guide bar groove are interlinked with each other. One must match the other. There are many different sizes available in gauge as well. There are .043”, .058”, and .063” sizes and then there is the most common one, which is .050”.

Drive links 

Drive links are the most important components of a chainsaw chain because they are responsible for the smoothing functioning and rotation of the cutting teeth. While you can buy the right replacement chain using the guide bar measurement, you can also make sure there is no error and you are getting the correct item by using the number of drive links needed.

You’ll find the number of drive links on the guide bar of a chainsaw chain or you can look it up in the manual guide. But if you are unable to find the number on the tool and are unwilling to open the manual then you can count it on your own easily by taking off the chain from the guide bar and counting the drive links.

The number of drive links is a very important factor to know because it has a solid combination with the guide bar and the pitch.


We tried to cover as much as possible about what the numbers on the chainsaw chain means and mentioned it in this article. Hopefully, this article will be of any help the next time you go shopping for chainsaws. Remember that even a slight difference can make a huge impact and can cause danger to the user so make sure each and every one of the readings is exactly what you need and not even a point up or down.

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