Chainsaw Bars Guides

Best Chainsaw Bars: Ultimate 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Woodcutter saw

Using the best chainsaw bars can have a major impact on your saw’s performance. But choosing the right type of chainsaw bar will heavily depend on the length of your saw’s guide bar and some other factors. If you’re new to using a chainsaw and the bar needs to be replaced, or you simply want to upgrade, then this buyer’s guide can help you make the right decision and choose a model that will boost your saw’s cutting performance. I’ll discuss what factors you need to consider before you buy, so you can make an informed decision and purchase a perfect replacement for your saw.

I’ve also tested out several top selling models and came up with the four bars that can be total gamechangers, the next time you’re cutting through lumber, or thinning or felling trees.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart which lists all of the models that made it onto my list, their best features, and how each model rated.

Chainsaw Bars Comparison chart

Product Type Length Compatible with
other Brands?
Rating
Oregon Chainsaw
Blade Combination 

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Single Rivet 12 InchesYes
Echo CS-400
Chainsaw Bar

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Single Rivet 18 Inches No
Forester Platinum Bar

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Solid 24 Inches No
Oregon Combo
Speedcut Bar/Chain

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Low Profile 18 Inches Yes

Oregon 27857 Chainsaw Blade Combination


Our Rating: (5/5)

Not all bars will work with other brands of saws, but this versatile bar can. The bar itself is reversible, lightweight, and able to instantly improve your saw’s performance. It also comes with an Oregon brand premium chain with the patented low-kick design. The small-radius bar nose improves saw maneuverability and reduces kickback. The combination of bar and chain will work with saws made by Poulan, Echo, Craftsman, and more. The built-in lubricating oil system will keep the bar and chain well-oiled for increased life and reduced friction, offering more cutting power and durability.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Reversible
  • Includes chain
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Can be difficult to put on saw

Conclusion

This model is perfect for small and big jobs around the house or on the job. This bar comes with the patented LubriTec oiling system, chrome-plated cutters, hardened rivets, and low vibration. Really, it’s the total package.

Echo CS-400 Chainsaw Bar


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This package comes with one bar and five chains. The bar and chain combo are designed for Echo chainsaws and offer improved control and reduced kickback for increased safety. The bar is made out of lightweight, durable materials that promote minimum vibration and optimal performance.

Pros

  • Includes five chains
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Low vibration

Cons

  • Included chains break easily

Conclusion

The bar’s design decreases vibration and kickback for a smoother performance and consistent cuts. This package will have a huge impact on your saw’s cutting speed and accuracy and is a great upgrade for your high-performance Echo brand chainsaw.

Forester Platinum Bar


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

If you’re looking for a serious chain for work use, then your search is over.

This package includes a twenty-four-inch bar that’s designed for Husqvarna chainsaws. This is a commercial quality bar that comes with Swiss bearings and a full chisel design. The bar is clear oil coated, laser heat treated, and has a Rockwell hardness rating of 58.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Commercial quality
  • Swiss bearings
  • Blade is clear oil coated

Cons

  • Only works for Husqvarna saws

Conclusion

This model scored well in a variety of areas. It’s built tough and designed for heavy-duty saws designed for the pros. The bar’s durability, ease of installation, and overall quality make it a great choice for home or work use.

Oregon 584408 Combo Speedcut Bar/Chain


Our Rating: (4/5)

This is a brand that has an excellent reputation for producing powerful and innovative chainsaws, bars, and chains. The latest model to hit the market is designed to improve cutting efficiency and sawing speed.

This model fits Oregon and Husqvarna saws and is designed for saws up to fifty CCs. This package also includes a chain that offers serious cutting power. The bar and chain combo are easy to install and have a reputation for durability and improved maneuverability. Upgrading to this bar and chain combo can improve cutting precision and will reduce rail wear.

Pros

  • Improves cutting precision
  • Includes chain
  • Easy to install
  • Low price

Cons

  • Low quality chain

Conclusion

The bar is built tough, yet features a lightweight design, so it won’t add too much weight to your saw. This combo works for saws that are up to fifty CCs and can be used for both jobs around the house or pro use.

Chainsaw Bars Buyer’s Guide

Using the right, high-quality chainsaw bar is a great way to improve your saw’s performance, with this affordable upgrade. But how do you go about choosing a new bar for your saw and what features should you look for? Let’s find out.

Choosing the Right Size Bar for Your Chainsaw

sharpening the bar

If you’re looking for an affordable way to improve your saw’s performance, whether you use it for jobs around the home, or work, then upgrading the bar is an excellent alternative to purchasing a new saw.

The bar, also known as the guide bar or blade, is a metal bar which is what the saw’s chain rotates around. The measurement of the bar is usually displayed on the side, or it can be found online on the product’s spec sheet, or in the product manual.

When you measure the bar for your saw, you’ll be measuring the bar’s useable length, also referred to as the cutting length.

If you own a saw and you’re not sure of the bar’s length, you can easily measure it using the method below.

Take a tape measure to carefully measure from the base where the bar enters the housing of the engine to the very tip of the chain. If the measurement reading you get is an odd number, round to the nearest even number.

Other Important Features

When you’re shopping for a new bar, there are some factors you’ll want to keep in mind. Below, I’ll go over the must-have features to look for that will ensure you choose the perfect bar for your saw.

Upgrading to a Longer Bar

You might be considering changing out the bar on your saw for a longer one, but before you do, make sure you take a look at the manufacturer’s spec sheet to ensure that the saw you have will be able to handle a bar that’s longer. This increase in bar length can help by increasing the saw’s functionality, but it can also make the engine work too hard and can cause the motor to burn out if your saw can’t provide enough power. In most cases, it’s best to replace the bar with one that’s the correct length and the same type that comes with the saw.

Types of Chainsaw Bars

Not all bars are alike. When you’re shopping for a replacement, pay attention to the type of teeth the blade has and the bar design itself.

Semi and Full Chisel

The basic types include semi chisel and full chisel.

If you mostly work with soft wood, then you’ll want to choose full chisel. If most of the wood you cut is dry, dirty, or hard, then you’ll need a semi chisel style bar. These are the bars that you’ll often find on most modern saws. Each type offers their own pros and cons, which is why it’s essential to choose the correct type, based on the material you most commonly work with.

Scratcher

Scratcher blades have teeth that are similar to the type of teeth that you’ll find on hand saws. These teeth are pretty basic and designed to get most heavy-duty jobs done. These bars can be very hard to sharpen.

Chipper

Chipper teeth bars will allow people to cut through tough material with ease, thanks to their deep gauge design which helps to prevent overloading. This is the type of blade you need when you’re taking on a larger job.

Low-Profile

These blades are known for their safe design and ease of use. Most models will come equipped with this type of blade and they’re a great choice for heavy-duty jobs. However, their biggest drawback is their sharpening needs, which can be very complicated and time-consuming.

Solid Bars

Solid bars are designed for hard timber, sooty, dusty, or sandy conditions. This type of bar is coated in order to protect against corrosion and scratches.

Bars with Replacement Tips

Replacement tips should be used on long bars in order to minimize the load on the bar tip. These bars are coated in order to protect against corrosion and scratches.

Laminated Bars

The small nose and gentle curve of this type of bar will minimize kickback and improve cutting control. These bars are also protected against corrosion and scratches.

The Differences Between Laminated and Solid Bars

Laminated bars are made by combining a couple of rails made out of steel, combined with a steel core and a sprocket placed between them. The solid bar is made out of one solid piece of steel. Laminated bars are more flexible, yet solid bars are much more durable.

When choosing between these popular options, you’ll want to determine what’s more important, flexibility or strength. It’s also important to keep in mind that laminated bars are not available in as many sizes as solid, so the longest type of laminated chainsaw bar you’ll come across is twenty-four inches.

Replaceable Nose Bars or Hard Nose Bars

Solid bars can also be divided into a couple of sub-categories: bars that have replaceable sprocket noses and hard nose bars.

Replaceable nose bars are considered the standard. This type of bar comes with a sprocket located at the tip of the bar with rivets, which is where the chain rests. The rivets work by helping the chain to turn smoothly as they hold it in place. While most of the bar is made out of solid metal, the nose can be replaced or separated in the event it becomes damaged.

Replaceable sprocket nose bars are the standard. These bars feature a sprocket at the tip or nose of the bar with rivets on which the chain sits. The rivets are designed to hold the chain in place securely, allowing it to turn smoothly. While most of the bar is made out of solid metal, the bar’s nose can be upgraded or removed if it becomes damaged.

The hard nose bar is one single solid piece of metal throughout the entire bar, which is exactly what you’d expect a solid bar to be. This type of sturdy bar is perfect for tough jobs such as sawing through rough lumber, which would require the user to utilize the nose of the bar in order to directly bore through the wood.

Changing out the Bar

If you still have the multipurpose tool that came with your saw, then you won’t need to use any other tools for this job. The bar will easily slip off the mounting once you have unscrewed the nuts and removed the cover of the sprocket, using a socket wrench or the multipurpose tool. Before you do this, make sure you disengage the brake. It’s important that the chain is still able to turn. On some saws, the cover can be tricky to replace if the brake is engaged when you attempt to remove it. If you loosen the tension, it will be much easier to lift it off the sprocket and bar. This can be done by using the tensioning screw and turning it counterclockwise, using the flat-head screwdriver and the multipurpose tool.

While the chain and bar are removed, take the opportunity to clean out the lubrication port, using a piece of wire. You can also take a rag and remove any built-up sawdust from the bar and sprocket. Next, loosen the tensioning screw all the way, which will allow you to remove the chain easily. After you have set the bar on the mounting bolts and you’ve positioned the bar’s hole over the tensioning pin, you’ll wind the chain around the bar and sprocket with the chain links facing the nose of the bar. Use one hand to support the nose as you replace the sprocket cover, tighten the nuts and then adjust the chain tension. And that’s it. You now know how to replace your new chainsaw bar and adjust the bar and chain correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

saw close up

Why Does My Chainsaw Leak Bar Oil When Not in Use?

There could be a couple of reasons behind this issue. First, the oil could be leaking through the chain’s oiling line, or the fill plug may not be sealing correctly. To learn more, you can take a look at the filler cap to see if it’s worn out or if the seal has broken. If the oil is coming from the delivery line, then the tank vent may be clogged up.

Do You Need to Break in a Chainsaw?

Yes. On average, it will take approximately seven to twelve tanks of fuel use to break in your new chainsaw. You may need to have your carb tweaked during this time, for optimal performance.

How Does Chainsaw Bar Oiler Work?

The chainsaw bar oil should be added directly to the oil reservoir. When the chainsaw is throttled up, the worm drive will engage the pump, sending the oil to a port that will release the oil onto the chainsaw bar. As the chain operates, the oil will be evenly distributed across the bar’s surface, minimizing the heat and friction that will occur when you make cuts.

Final Thoughts

When you’re shopping for the best chainsaw bars, you may be tempted to purchase one that’s the toughest and fastest, or the highest priced model you can find. But even if you do happen to find a top of the line bar, if it’s not designed for your saw and the type of power it operates at, you’re simply wasting money.

Before you buy, consider the type of work you’re planning on doing with your saw. Do you need a bar for work, or do you need it for small pruning jobs around the yard? With these questions in mind, you should be able to find the perfect bar, one that can meet your cutting needs and complement your saw’s power and performance.