What Size Chainsaw Do I Need

Are you in the market for a chainsaw, but aren’t sure what size to get? Choosing the right chainsaw can be tricky because there are several factors to consider. The size of your saw will depend on what kind of job you need it for and what type of wood you’ll be cutting.

In this article, we’ll answer the question “what size chainsaw do I need” and how to know what size chainsaw chain I need. We’ll also cover the different types of jobs that require various-sized saws and how much power each one provides. By taking all these things into consideration, you can make an informed decision when buying a new saw.

What size chainsaw do I need (Explained)

Choosing the most suitable chainsaw size depends on your experience and needs. If you need to cut trees or logs with large diameters, then it’s smart to choose a longer bar; however, shorter bars are usually safer. Additionally, fitting a saw with a smaller bar will increase its power output.

To ensure your own safety and acquire a chainsaw suitable for the job, multiple elements must be taken into consideration. Allow me to guide you through this process so that you can make an informed decision about which saw is best for your needs.

How do I know what size chainsaw I need?

When trying to decide ‘what size chainsaw do I need,’ you’ll additionally need to think about the following:

What size chainsaw blade do I need?

The size of your chainsaw is dependent on the length of its bar; this dictates what type of work it can do, and how much cutting volume it can manage. Although you could possibly use a smaller-barred chainsaw to take down a tree in two passes, bear in mind that the engine requires enough power for the job.

Considering the longer chain requires more power to function, this leads to a larger engine size and heavier chainsaw. This makes it harder for the user to handle as noticeable vibrations increase with every cut.

Consider the wood’s diameter

Selecting the right chainsaw for your tasks is critical; a saw that is too small or large can make any project more arduous and hazardous.

To ensure you choose one most appropriate, measure the typical diameter of trees you will be cutting and opt for a chainsaw bar two inches larger than this measurement. Doing so will give you greater control over those pesky limbs while still providing protection against potential safety hazards.

Consider your own experience

When it comes to chainsaws, size isn’t everything. Although powerful models might be tempting, choosing one that is too large for your experience or strength can quickly lead to accidents.

However, even the smaller versions need respect and care when you are handling them as they can still cause serious harm if used improperly. Finding the perfect balance of power and safety should be paramount in selecting a chainsaw that fits your needs best.

How do I know what size chainsaw chain I need?

Finding the correct chain size for your chainsaw is simple, just count the number of drive links – those little teeth on the underside. A helpful tip is to place a strip of tape on one link and then carefully count around. Knowing exactly how many there are will give you an accurate chain dimension that fits perfectly with your saw.

What size chainsaw chaps do I need?

The size of chainsaw chaps you need will depend on what size chainsaw you use. Generally, it is best to choose a pair of chaps that extends past your ankles when standing and loosely fits around the waist and hips.

To ensure an accurate fit, measure from your shoulder to your ankle before purchasing a set of chaps. Additionally, make sure the leg circumference measurement matches the waist size for a snug but comfortable fit. The most important factor in determining what size chainsaw chaps you need is safety; so be sure to double-check all measurements before making any purchases.

Consider Your Physical Strength

Although this isn’t the be-all and end-all of assessing your chainsaw, it is still an essential factor to consider. When you take up a chainsaw in hand, there’s nothing else that can substitute for physical might.

When it comes to handling a chainsaw for prolonged periods, homeowners are often keen on choosing an electric one due to its relatively simple design and lightweight frame. Although gas-powered units can pack more power, they tend to cause fatigue much more quickly than their electrical counterparts.

That’s why electric chainsaws have become the preferred choice of many individuals who need reliable cutting capabilities without compromising comfort.

Can You Change The Bar Size On A Chainsaw?

Most name-brand chainsaws boast the ability to switch out their bar, allowing you to cut a variety of tree sizes with just one saw – instead of multiple.

If this feature applies to your model, there are likely specific instructions on how to make those adjustments in your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. Before making any changes, be sure to check if it allows for bar substitutions first.

Can I Put a Shorter Bar on My Chainsaw?

Chainsaws usually have a range of up to three bar sizes, though the specific measurements may differ between companies. For instance, some models can accommodate 14-40 inch bars while others are limited in range.

Best Size Chainsaw For…

Cutting firewood

By utilizing a chainsaw, you can make the task of cutting firewood not just easier, but much more comfortable than if you were to use an axe.

And even better; the size of the device that is required for this job does not have to be overly large – generally, 12-16 inches will suffice. You can head out to Best Chainsaw For Cutting Hardwood, to find out more about the subject.

Property Maintenance

Chainsaws with a length of no more than 14” are often all that is necessary for maintenance on your property, easily enough to handle trimming, pruning, and cutting down broken tree limbs.

Cutting Small Trees

Conversely, for more detailed tasks such as pruning small trees and dense branches or clearing up storm damage, a 16”-20” saw bar is the ideal tool to make the job easier and safer.

Cutting Large Trees

Professional arborists and timber workers take advantage of larger bars, measuring 20” or more in length to make quick work of large trees. However, their longer size necessitates a bigger engine with added power—which can lead to dangers such as exhaustion and kickbacks if not used correctly.

Types of Chainsaws By Size

Electric Powered Chainsaw Sizes

Electric chainsaws boast a bevy of benefits such as low maintenance, ease of use, and weightiness. Plus, they are not too shabby in terms of power either – upper-end models can sometimes even outpace the more compact gas-powered engines.

With corded or cordless options available to choose from, these electric saws make great partners for tackling light to moderate tasks with an occasional heavier job thrown into the mix. And don’t forget – their operation is much quieter than that of their petrol counterparts.

Chainsaws are generally offered in 8 to 18-inch bars, although longer options exist. The engine sizes range from 20 to 60 volts for cordless models and 9 to 15 amps for corded versions.

While higher-powered chainsaws can cut bigger bar lengths more efficiently, it is ideal to stick with shorter ones when doing work around your property.

These tools are great for tasks such as firewood cutting, small tree trimming or bucking, pruning branches, and construction projects alike.

Gas Powered Chainsaw Sizes

Combining fuel and gas, the 2-cycle engine of a gas-powered chainsaw calls for more maintenance than electric models. Notable in size compared to their electric alternatives, some professional logging examples boast bar lengths of 5 feet or more.

For residential use, these hefty machines range from 16 to 24 inches with an engine displacement between 32 and 62cc. With these powerful engines at your disposal, tackle logging jobs like firewood cutting or milling lumber effortlessly.

Video: What size chainsaw do I need and what type of chain to run

This youtube video will help you answer the predicament in hand ‘What size chainsaw do I need’ and what type of chain to run.

Final Thoughts

When in the market for a chainsaw, one must ask the query ‘what size chainsaw do i need’ though it may seem a bit overwhelming, remember to do your research.

Choosing the right size chainsaw for your needs is an important decision. You need to consider what type of work you’ll be doing, what features you may want in a saw, and what kind of budget you have.

By understanding how different sizes affect cutting power, chain length, and other factors, you can make sure that the chainsaw model you choose will meet all your requirements. With this knowledge in hand, it should be easy to figure out exactly the answer to ‘what size chainsaw do I need’ for your next project.


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Jack Williams is a Portland-based chainsaw expert with over 10 years of experience in the field. He completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and has been passionate about power tools ever since. Jack's vision for this site is to provide readers with comprehensive information on chainsaws, including how to choose, maintain, and enhance their performance.
Photo of author
Jack Williams is a Portland-based chainsaw expert with over 10 years of experience in the field. He completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and has been passionate about power tools ever since. Jack's vision for this site is to provide readers with comprehensive information on chainsaws, including how to choose, maintain, and enhance their performance.