How to Determine Chain Saw Chain Size for a Stihl

For most saws, you can easily determine chain size by consulting Stihl's handy chart based on saw model and guide bar length, or by checking the manufacturer's stamp at the base of your guide bar. Older saws may prove a bit more challenging, but with a little detective work

Chain Attributes

Saw chain manufacturers identify chains by certain attributes. Some, such as pitch and drive length, are determined by your saw model or guide bar length. These numbers are not interchangeable. Others, such as chain type or shape, are more a matter of personal preference.

  • Pitch: Saw chains are made up of a repeating pattern of three links -- the drive link, the tie strap and the cutter -- held together by rivets. The pitch is the distance between any two rivets, divided by two.
  • Drive Link Gauge: Drive links are the parts of the chain that propel the chain forward. Each link fits within a groove in the guide bar. The width of the groove and the width of the drive link -- the drive link gauge -- must match exactly for the chain to function properly.
  • Chain Length: The length of the guide bar determines the length of the chain, which is expressed as the number of drive links in the chain, or drive link count.
  • Chain Type: Stihl describes chains as being either 'Rapid' or 'Picco.' Standard chains are generally labeled as 'Rapid,' whereas 'Picco' chains are considered low-profile due to a smaller cutting tooth.
  • Chain Shape: This refers to the shape of the cutting tooth. It may be Duro, Micro, Rescue or Special.

Look at the Bar

Often, all the information you need will be stamped directly on your guide bar.

Determine Model

The model of your chain saw will normally be clearly visible as a decal on the housing of the saw. With older saws, decals may no longer be visible. In this case, check the housing or the inside of the filter cover for a part number. The first four digits of the part number indicate the series of the saw, which can often be useful in identifying the actual model.

Determining Drive Length

Determining Cutting Length

Determining Pitch

Finding Manuals for Older Models