Determining Chainsaw Bar Length

Which Size Chainsaw Blade Should You Get

Husky electric vs Echo gas. Steve Nix

The simple answer to the question "What is the best chainsaw bar length to purchase?" is to select a saw bar or blade that can cut the average tree trunk or limb diameter you typically face, primarily from one standing sawing position.

The more complex answer should also include how long a bar is versus the power of the saw's engine displacement in cubic centimeters (CCs), It takes substantial extra power to drive a chain on a longer, heavier bar through dense wood.

The length of your blade should ultimately be determined by the horsepower of you saw's power plant.

You should also consider the type of work you will be doing with your chainsaw. One saw that could be very awkward and unbalanced when working in a tree (an arborist) would be perfect for a sawyer on a logging deck that needs both power and the cutting length.

Possibly the most important safety issues to remember is your experience, physical conditioning and health. Saw size and power should match your level of experience and physical ability. Small saws can still be dangerous but are more forgiving to new chainsaw users.

Chainsaw Blade Size and  Work Expectations

An electric chainsaw: An electric saw comes confined to the length of a cord or is untethered using a strong battery. If you are a beginning user of a chainsaw, you should use one of these saws to gain some practical experience. The standard bar sizes are 8 and 10 inches and can reach 12" on more powerful Li-ion battery saws.

The electric chainsaw is great for yard work which includes limb thinning, trimming and pruning. It works basically just like a small gas power unit which automatically oils the chain and bar and is a must for any chainsaw. This saw is also adequate for larger limb removal and smaller trees. It should not be used for storm damage cleanup, felling larger trees or cutting firewood.

A light duty chainsaw:  This is the best saw for a beginning chainsaw user and is an excellent entry level saw, not only to gain some practical experience but that size may be all you will ever need. The standard bar sizes are 10 to 14 inches on machines with engine displacements of 30 to 45 ccs.

These gas saws are great for yard work similar to the electrics but with notable extra power. They are also adequate for larger limb removal and smaller trees. As with electrics, these should not be used for storm damage cleanup, felling larger trees or cutting firewood.

A medium to heavy duty chainsaw:  You are now entering the saw sizes where experience using a chainsaw is helpful. I Actually learned to saw on this size, but it took a while to feel comfortable. Looking back, I was not ready to use it and had some anxious moments never to be forgotten. New users should work with a smaller bar to gain some valuable practical experience. The standard bar sizes for moderate work are 14 to 18 inches and on machines with engine displacements of 40 to 50 ccs.

Larger heavy duty saws with long blades are adequate for heavy yard work but tend to be over-kill and the larger saws can actually hinder you on a small job.

They do their best work when cutting larger limbs, bucking medium tree trunks for removal and working on storm damage. The longer bars (18 to 20") on a 50 to 60 cc are ranch and forest workhorses to be used for felling larger trees or cutting firewood.

The professional chainsaw:  This saw classification is mainly for those who use a chainsaw every day, usually in the process of performing a regular work routine. If you depend upon a chainsaw for your livelihood, choosing the correct power and size for the type job.

Most professional saws will range from 60 cc-sized engines on up to more than 120 cc. Sometimes property owners choose a professional sized chain saw to match the demands of constantly heavy work or if the cutting jobs on the property require a larger powered saw. They are also used as the power and saw for portable chainsaw mills.

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Your Citation
Nix, Steve. "Determining Chainsaw Bar Length." ThoughtCo, Nov. 8, 2015, Nix, Steve. (2015, November 8). Determining Chainsaw Bar Length. Retrieved from Nix, Steve. "Determining Chainsaw Bar Length." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 19, 2018).