3 Things You Need to Know About Saw Chains

Picture Hold up a STIHL saw chain next to an aftermarket chain and you will immediately see the difference.  The STIHL chain is manufactured to a much higher standard, materials and engineering are outstanding, and it shows.  OK, this isn’t a sales article on STIHL chains, this is more of a guide to finding a replacement chain.  When determining the correct chain for your saw these are the three factors to consider:

Pitch– Is the distance between the rivets that hold the drive links together. Pitch is calculated by measuring the distance between any three consecutive rivets then dividing that number by two.


Gauge– The bottom part of the chain that rides in the cutting bar is known as the drive link.  Gauge is simply a measurement of how wide or thick the drive link is.  Because the gauge measurement is very small measured in thousandths of an inch, it is difficult to measure without special measuring calipers.


Drive links– The entire chain “loop” is made up of individual drive links that need to be counted.  Because pitch can be different for chains, drive link count will not be the same for a given loop size.  For example an 18″ chain can have drive link counts of 68,74,66 depending on the pitch.  This process is tedious because each drive link needs to be counted.


We always recommend using STIHL chain on your STIHL chain saw. Other manufactures chains are not made to the same exact specs STIHL uses.If you find yourself in a pinch and need to use another brand chain to get your job done, make sure you compare the pitch, gauge, and drive links. If these numbers do not match exactly, the chain will not fit.

Some manufacturers will print on the box “fits STIHL chain saws”. This blanket statement may be true for some models but not true of others. Your best bet is to find a STIHL dealer.  There’s probably a dealer closer than you think.  Smart phone users can download the free STIHL app to locate dealers and products.

Want to know what chain fits your STIHL chain saw? Here is the chart.

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