Chainsaw Maintenance

How Many Drive Links in An 18-Inch Chainsaw? [Expert Guide]

With their formidable power and adaptability, chainsaws are capable of swiftly slicing through wood and various other substances. However, for your chainsaw to perform optimally and safely, it’s essential to have the correct chain size, which includes the right number of drive links.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explore how many drive links in an 18-inch chainsaw? as well as tips for maintaining your chainsaw and ensuring its peak performance.

How Many Drive Links in an 18-inch Chainsaw?

An 18-inch chainsaw chain typically contains 72 drive links, whereas a 16-inch chain has 66 drive links. It can be inferred that an 18-inch chainsaw chain is equipped with 72 drive links, as the typical number of drive links in a chainsaw chain falls between 66 and 72.

The Role of Drive Links in Chainsaw Operation

The teeth located on the lower edge of a chainsaw chain, commonly referred to as “lugs,” are also known as drive links. They fit into the bar groove and are driven by the chainsaw’s sprocket to move the chain around the bar. There are several reasons why the number of drive links on a chainsaw chain is crucial.


Compatibility: A chain with the correct number of drive links ensures that your chainsaw operates smoothly and efficiently.

Safety: Using a chain with the wrong number of drive links can lead to dangerous situations, such as the chain slipping off the bar or binding during operation.

Performance: The right number of drive links helps maintain optimal cutting speed and power, enabling you to complete tasks quickly and with less effort.

Stihl Chainsaw Chain Size Chart

Pitch (inches)Gauge (inches)Drive LinksChain Type
1/4.04344Picco Micro Mini Comfort 3
.325.05056, 74Rapid Micro
.325.06367, 81Rapid Super
3/8.05050, 61, 62Rapid Micro Comfort
3/8.05062, 72, 84Rapid Micro
3/8.05072, 84Rapid Super Comfort
3/8.05858, 62, 68, 72, 74Rapid Super
3/8,06360, 66, 70, 84Rapid Super

Determining the Number of Drive Links in an 18-Inch Chainsaw


The number of drive links required for an 18-inch chainsaw can vary depending on the specific chainsaw model, as well as the chain’s pitch and gauge. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are a few ways to determine the correct number of drive links for your 18-inch chainsaw:

Consult the owner’s manual

The easiest way to find the correct number of drive links is by checking your chainsaw’s owner’s manual. This documentation will provide specific information on the compatible chain size, pitch, and gauge for your model.

Measure your chainsaw

Measuring the length of your chainsaw’s bar from the tip to the point where it meets the chainsaw’s body is an alternative method in case you don’t have access to the owner’s manual. This measurement, known as the “effective cutting length,” should be approximately 18 inches.

Count the drive links on the existing chain

If you have the original chain that came with your chainsaw, you can simply count the number of drive links it has. This method is especially helpful if you’re replacing a worn-out chain.

As a general rule, 18-inch chainsaws typically have between 62 and 72 drive links. However, it’s crucial to verify this information for your specific chainsaw model to ensure compatibility and safe operation.

Calculation of Drive Links in an 18-inch Chainsaw

Well, it’s a bit complicated to calculate the number of drive links in an 18-inch chainsaw. First, you’ll need to know about your chainsaw’s pitch and chain type.

The pitch of the chain is half of the distance between any three consecutive rivets. The chain type refers to the specific design of the chainsaw chain, which can affect the number of drive links.


Here is a step-by-step guide to calculating the number of drive links in an 18-inch chainsaw:

Determine the pitch of your chainsaw chain: You can find the pitch information in your chainsaw’s manual or on the chainsaw bar. Common pitches include 1/4″, 3/8″ (low profile), 0.325″, and 3/8″ (standard).

Measure the length of the chainsaw bar: Ensure that your chainsaw bar is 18 inches (45.72 cm) long.

Calculate the chain’s length in inches: Multiply the length of the chainsaw bar by two, then add the length of the chainsaw’s sprocket nose (usually 1 inch). For an 18-inch chainsaw, this will be (18*2) + 1 = 37 inches.

Convert the chain’s length to the number of drive links: Divide the chain’s length in inches by the pitch (in inches). For example, if your chainsaw has a 3/8″ pitch, divide 37 by 0.375. This will give you the approximate number of drive links in your chain.

Round the result to the nearest whole number: If the result is a decimal, round it up or down to the nearest whole number to get the final count of drive links.

My Tips for Chainsaw Maintenance and Chain Replacement


Maintaining your chainsaw and replacing its chain when necessary is essential for optimal performance and safety. Follow these expert tips to keep your chainsaw in top shape:

Regularly inspect the chain

Check the chain for signs of wear, such as dull or damaged teeth, stretched links, or excessive looseness. Replace the chain if you notice any of these issues.

Related: Chainsaw Maintenance Checklist

Clean the chainsaw

After each use, clean the chainsaw’s bar, sprocket, and chain to remove debris and prevent build-up. This helps maintain efficiency and prolongs the life of your chainsaw components.

Sharpen the chain

Keep your chainsaw’s cutting teeth sharp by regularly filing or sharpening them using a chainsaw file or electric sharpener. Reducing the risk of kickback and other safety hazards, a sharp chain cuts more efficiently.

Check chain tension

Ensure the chain is properly tensioned by adjusting the tensioning screw according to your chainsaw’s owner’s manual. A correctly tensioned chain should not sag but should still be able to move freely around the bar.

Lubricate the chain

Apply chainsaw bar and chain oil to the chain and sprocket regularly To reduce friction, prevent wear, and ensure smooth operation.

Replace worn components

Inspect the chainsaw’s bar and sprocket for signs of wear or damage, such as uneven or excessive wear on the bar’s rails, or worn sprocket teeth. To ensure peak performance, substitute any necessary components.

Keypoints Selecting the Right Chain for Your 18-inch Chainsaw


When choosing a new chain for your 18-inch chainsaw, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

Drive link count

As previously mentioned, the number of drive links is crucial for compatibility and safety. Ensure the chain you select has the correct number of drive links for your specific chainsaw model.

Chain pitch

To put it differently, the pitch can be determined by dividing the distance between three consecutive chain rivets by two. Common pitch sizes include 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 0.325-inch. It’s essential to choose a chain with the same pitch as your chainsaw’s sprocket and bar.

Chain gauge

The gauge pertains to the width of the drive link that inserts into the groove of the bar. Common gauges are 0.050-inch, 0.058-inch, and 0.063-inch. Be sure to select a chain with a gauge compatible with your chainsaw’s bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Determine the Number of Drive Links on My Chainsaw Chain?

To find the number of drive links, remove the chain and count the links manually. The drive links are the parts of the chain that sit inside the guide bar.

Does the Chain Length Always Match the Chainsaw Bar Length?

No, the chain length is typically longer than the bar length to allow it to loop around. For an 18-inch bar, the chain will be longer but will have a specific number of drive links suitable for that length.

Can I Use a Chain with a Different Drive Link Count on My 18-Inch Chainsaw?

It’s not advisable. Using a chain with a different drive link count than recommended can lead to safety issues and poor performance.

How Often Should I Replace the Chainsaw Chain?

The frequency of replacement depends on usage and maintenance. Regular inspection for wear and damage is crucial. Replace the chain if it becomes dull, stretched, or damaged.

What’s the Importance of Chain Pitch and Gauge in Choosing a Chain?

The pitch and gauge determine how the chain fits onto the chainsaw bar and interacts with the sprocket. They must match your chainsaw’s specifications for optimal performance and safety.

How Can I Extend the Life of My Chainsaw Chain?

Regular maintenance, including proper cleaning, lubrication, and sharpening, is key to extending the life of your chainsaw chain.

Key Takeaway

  • Correct Drive Link Count: An 18-inch chainsaw typically requires 72 drive links for optimal performance and safety.
  • Maintenance is Crucial: Regular maintenance, including proper tensioning, lubrication, and sharpening, is vital to ensure your chainsaw’s longevity and efficiency.
  • Check Compatibility: Always verify the number of drive links along with the chain’s pitch and gauge to ensure compatibility with your chainsaw model.
  • Consult Resources: Refer to your chainsaw’s owner’s manual or count the links on the existing chain to find the correct number of drive links.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of maintenance tips and chain replacement guidelines to get the most out of your 18-inch chainsaw.