Are Chainsaw Bars Universal?

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If you have been using a chainsaw for a while now, you have probably replaced its chain a few times already. But what about the bar? At some point it has to be replaced, but you are probably wondering if you can use any brand or size. That is what this post will answer so you can avoid mistakes when shopping for a new chainsaw bar.

Chainsaw bars are not interchangeable because the bar must be compatible with the motor power rating. Chainsaw bar brands are not universal either because they mount differently and have unique features.

Chainsaw Power to Bar Length Guide

If you are in a hurry, this chart shows the most common chainsaw power ratings and the suggested chainsaw bar length.

Please keep in mind these are for general information only. Check your chainsaw manual or the manufacturer website. They will provide more specific information about the bar length that should be used with your chainsaw motor.

CC Power RatingBar Length in Inches
25-35 10-12
35-45 14-20
60-75 18-28
75-90 20-32
90-100 24-36

If the power rating is under 25cc, a 10-12 inch bar is ideal. If the power rating is from 100-116, the bar length should be from 26-50 inches. For chainsaws with 116cc or greater, the bar used is 28-84 inches long.

Never use a bar that is larger than the recommended size. Doing so could damage the motor and render the chainsaw inoperable.

  • The motor is responsible for making the chain move on the bar. The longer the bar, the farther the chain has to spin. This exerts more pressure on the motor.
  • If the bar is too long, the motor will have a hard time moving the chain, causing it to slow down. This can result in crooked chainsaw cuts and eventually overwork the system.

In other words, if you have a 25cc chainsaw such as the NEO-TEC 12” , do not put a 32 inch bar on it. The motor will not be able to move the chain fast enough. You should only use what the manufacturer recommends for the motor. If you no longer have the operating instructions, check the brand website and enter your chainsaw model type.

Can I Use Different Chainsaw Bar Brands on My Chainsaw?

So you can only use the bar length that the chainsaw motor can handle. But can you use a bar from a different brand?

In general the answer is no, you cannot. Even if the bar was the same length there is no guarantee that it will be compatible. If you have a Stihl bar and want to replace it with a Husqvarna that is the same length, it will not work. The reason is chainsaw bars have distinct and proprietary features. It might work on some cases but chances are it will not.

At least this is usually the case with brands that manufacture chainsaws and chainsaw parts. However, companies that only make bars are often compatible with the top brands. They usually cost less than buying from the major brand too.

So if you have a Husqvarna like the 120 Gas Chainsaw 38-cc and want to replace the bar, you can buy one made by that brand or buy another company. It will cost less than a Husqvarna but it will not work with a Stihl. The benefit of buying from the same manufacturer however, is you are guaranteed of compatibility.

Are Chainsaw Bar Sizes Interchangeable?

There are two reasons why chainsaw bar sizes are not universal. The first as already pointed out is due to the motor, and the second is the chain. Chainsaws are made up of different parts that must be fully compatible. The most important are the bar, the motor and the chain.

If you have a gas chainsaw, the motor determines how much power it can handle. Your operating manual or the table above gives you an idea of what bar to use. If you have a small motor, use a short bar. If you have a powerful motor, you can install a longer bar.

This same principle applies to electric chainsaws. Their capacity is in amps but you must still use the right chainsaw bar length. A long, heavy bar will be too much for a small motor. This is also applicable to battery powered chainsaws. Check the owner’s guide for the right power to bar length.

How Chains Affect to Chainsaw Bar Size

Apart from the bar and power rating, the chain is another reason why bar sizes are not interchangeable. Chainsaw chains are not interchangeable, so you have to use the right one for your saw. The longer the chain, the longer the bar. This is also true for shorter chains and bars, they have to match.

The easiest way to find the right chain size is to check your owner’s manual. You will also find the pitch, gauge and link count on the bar.

You must only use the right chain to ensure smooth, efficient cuts. The bar has to match the motor and also the chain so the chainsaw can cut. You also have to sure the c\.

Types of Chainsaw Bars

There are four types of chainsaw bars: solid, laminated, solid nose and replaceable nose. These chainsaw bars are available in different sizes and they will fit in your chainsaw provided they match the motor and chain.

Laminated and Solid Bars

Solid bar. Built from a single solid steel piece, it is very durable and not vulnerable to pinching, rail splaying and benching. They have a replaceable nose and are heavy. Solid bars cost more than laminate but are suitable for professional, heavy duty work.

Laminated. These bars are lighter than solid bars and less expensive. 40cc and under chainsaws usually come with laminated bars. These chainsaw bars are made from multiple pieces of steel joined together via welding. Because the bar is lighter, it is ideal for home use. They are however, susceptible to bending

If you have a small chainsaw -40cc and below – and only use it occasionally or for light work, laminated bars are ideal. If you own a large chainsaw and do a lot of heavy cutting, a solid bar is preferable.

Solid and Replaceable Nose Bars

Some chainsaw bars let you replace the nose and nose sprocket only. A solid nose is joined to the bar and cannot be replaced.

A bar with a replaceable nose may be ideal if you use your chainsaw a lot. If the nose gets damaged, you can install a new one. Just remove the rivets connecting the nose to the bar and put the new one in.

The drawback is bars with replaceable noses cost more. But if your chainsaw wears out its bar nose often, this could be a good option.

A solid nose is joined to the bar as a single piece. It is cheaper than the replaceable type. But if the nose breaks you have to replace the entire bar.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Chainsaw Bar

If you need to replace the chainsaw bar, take note of the manufacturer model, gauge, pitch and length. You will need these when buying a replacement similar to the current bar, or if you want to get one that is a different size.

This information is on the manual. If you no longer have it, go to the manufacturer website and enter the model. You should find the specs there.

You can also find this information on the bar. On a Stihl chainsaw you should see the pitch, marked by the letter P. Next are the bar length and gauge. Once you have these figures and your model number, you can purchase a replace online or in a store.

If you want to get a bar of a different size, make sure that the motor can handle it. Refer to the table above or your operating manual. You can buy a bar with a different gauge but the pitch has to be the same.