How to identify a chainsaw chain?

We receive a ton of questions about what chain should I select from your store. In other words, what kind of chain I run in my chainsaw at the moment? Here I try to clarify that to a some degree. Have to mention, just to make sure, that we love receiving questions from you. So if unsure please drop us an email! You need three values to buy a new chain that are pitch, cauge and drive link count. You can start identifying your chainsaw chain from two places. First from the tail of your guide bar. There should be some technical details written on the guide bar right next to the attachment. Second you can see the markings of the chain to identify it. These information can also support each other, if something is not visible anymore. And you can always count the drive links :D

Chainsaw chain inch to metric key

Usually chainsaw chain metrics are presented in inches. Don't ask me why. It makes my head go round some days too. I've learnt to live with it. Pitch is not usually transformed to metric scale,but most manufacturers show cauge in metric, for some reason. So pitch is showed .404, 3/8", .325", 3/8 Low profile (Stihl picco) or 1/4". And cauge is .063" or 1,6 mm, .058" or 1,5 mm, .050" or 1,3 mm and last and the smallest .043" or 1,1 mm. One minor detail worth a notice is that some twisted people tend to use .375" instead of 3/8" and .250" instead of 1/4" pitch marking. Those are of course equal, but that doesn't make things any simpler.

Information on the guide bar

The information is usually written to the guide bar. You can try to look for the following numbers 1/4", .325", 3/8" or .404". If you find one that will be your chain pitch. That number tells the you the distance between every other rivet in the chain, in inches, of course. Second you can try to look for a number like .050", .058" or .063" or same in meter scale 1.3 mm, 1,5 mm 1,6 mm. This tells you your chain cauge, in other words the thickness of the drive link that runs in the groove of the guide bar. And thirdly there should be number that tells the amount of drive links. For 30 to 40 cm guide bars this should be something around 50, for 50 cm guide bar it can be like 72 or 80 and for longer bars there is no limit.

Chain markings on Stihl chainsaw guide bar tail.

In picture above you can see a Stihl guide Bar that is 45 cm (18") long. It runs on .325" pitch chainsaw chain which has 1,6 mm (0.063") cauge. Chain lenght is 74 drive links.

Information from the chain

Chain might have several kind of information on it. Most likely it will read the brand of the chain, like Stihl, Oregon or Carlton. Second your drive links or teeth might have markings on them. You can read the markings and compare those to the table below.

Chain type (Pitch - cauge) Husqvarna drive link mark Oregon drive link mark Carlton drive link mark Stihl tooth mark Stihl drive link mark
1/4" - 043" 1 1
1/4" - 050" 25 E1 3 1
.325" - .050" H22, H23, H30 20, 33 K1 2 3
.325" - .058" H21, H25 21, 34 K2 2 5
.325" - .063" H26 35, 22 K3 2 6
3/8" - .050" H80, H82 72 A1 3 3
3/8" - .058" H42, H58 73 A2 3 5
3/8" - .063" H45, H46, H47 75 A3 3 6
3/8" Low profile - .043" 90 N4 6 1
3/8" Low profile - .050" H35, H36, H83 91 N1C 6 3
.404" - .050" 28, 50, B1 4 3
.404" - .058" 26, 51, 58 B2 4 5
.404" - .063" H57, H64 16, 27, 52, 59, 68 B3 4 6
.404" - .080" 18

If your chain has markings that are not described in this table, please let us know. We would love to add it here!!

Stihl chainsaw chain 3/8 inch pitch and 0.063 inch cauge

In the picture above you propably can recognize a Stihl chainsaw chain. The brand name is quite visible there. There are also visible marking on the tooth (3) and on the drivelink (6). That makes this chain 3/8" pitch and 0,063" (1,6mm) cauge. For the lentgh, you would need to calculate the drive links.

Oregon chainsaw chain markings are on the drivelink. This chain has marking 91 that makes it 3/8 inch low profile pitch and 0.050 inch (1,3 mm) cauge.

Oregon chainsaw chain markings are on the drivelink. This chain has marking 91 that makes it 3/8 inch low profile pitch and 0.050 inch (1,3 mm) cauge.

If everything else fails

You can always take a measure of one rivet to the third rivet. To get the pitch you need to dived that measurement by two. And measure the thickness of the drive link. Caliber is the key here to get precise measurements. And you need to take into the account that your drive links might be a bit worn out. And the you need to count the drive links of the chain loop. Handy tip is to mark one tooth with permanent ink marker. Then you know when you have reached the end.

Chainsaw chain pitch is the distance between every third rivet divided by two. So if the distance is 19 mm, divide that by two you end up with 9,5 mm which is 0.375 inches (inch is 2,54 cm). And 0,375 inches is precisly 3/8 inches when you express it with fraction. And now some of you must have noticed the code A2 on the drive link that would have told us the same information.

Chainsaw chain cauge is the width of the drive link.