Chainsaw Maintenance

What Does 72 Mean On A Chainsaw Chain? [Explain Everything]

Ever scratched your head wondering what the ’72’ stamped on your chainsaw chain means? Well, you’re not alone.

It’s actually a reference to the number of drive links on the chain itself. These drive links are the unsung heroes that keep the chain in sync with the sprocket’s rhythm, dictating the length of the chain and ensuring it matches perfectly with your chainsaw’s guide bar.

Take, for instance, a chain marked as “3/8 inch pitch, .050 inch gauge, 72 drive links” — this is your secret code for compatibility with a chainsaw designed for a 72-link chain.

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what this means and why it’s crucial for your chainsaw’s top-notch performance.

What Does 72 Mean On A Chainsaw Chain?


The number “72” that you may find stamped on a chainsaw chain is an important indicator of its size and type. It tells you how many teeth the chain has, which is essential for knowing what kind of chain you should buy to replace your old one.

For example, if you have a 20-inch chainsaw and the old chain on it has “72” stamped on it, then you’ll need to buy a new chain that has 72 teeth and fits a 20-inch bar.

Different chainsaw chains come in different sizes and have different numbers of teeth, depending on what kind of cutting they’re made for.

If you don’t get the right size chain for your chainsaw, it won’t fit properly or work correctly. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get the right size chain for your chainsaw.

What Does Numbering Mean On A Chainsaw? 

If you’ve read the above-mentioned things carefully, then you must now know what numbers do on a chainsaw. And it’s very important to be aware of the numbering stamped on the chainsaw to buy the right one for you.

Because of the lack of knowledge of numbering, people end up buying the wrong-sized chainsaws for them, which are useless. Let’s understand the numbering in a good way.

The numbering system used for chainsaw chains is actually made up of three parts: pitch, gauge, and number of drive links.


The distance between the centres of two adjacent drive links on a chain is known as the pitch. It’s measured in inches and is important when selecting a chainsaw chain. Common sizes for chainsaw chains are 1/4″, 0.325″, 3/8″, and 0.404″. 

To ensure the chain works as intended and fits properly, the pitch must match the sprocket on the chainsaw. This is why it’s important to be aware of the chain’s pitch before making a purchase.


The gauge of a chainsaw chain is basically the thickness of the drive links, and it’s measured in inches. Different chainsaw chains come in different gauge sizes; 0.050″, 0.058″, and 0.063″ are the most common.

It’s important to make sure that the gauge of the chain matches the sprocket on the chainsaw, as this is essential for the chain to fit properly and work effectively. If the gauges don’t match, the chain won’t fit properly and won’t provide the cutting power you need.

A Number Of Drive Links: 


The number of teeth on a chainsaw chain is critical for a successful cut. The number of teeth must match the length of the chainsaw’s bar. 

This number determines how smoothly the chain moves through the wood and how effectively it cuts. It also impacts the amount of kickback the user experiences when sawing.

The mistake most people make is to choose the chainsaw, which has fewer teeth on it, which is why the chain hardly cuts the wood. Because the fewer the teeth, the harder it’ll cut the wood, and the more teeth, the smoother and faster the cuts. 

The number of teeth also determines the size of the chips produced, with more teeth producing smaller chips. Knowing the right number of teeth for the job is essential for a successful cut.

What Do Letters Mean On A Chainsaw?

Numbers aren’t the only thing that you get to see on the chainsaw. Isn’t it? You also get to see different types of letters stamped on them, like S, C, R, B, etc. So, what do these letters mean on a chainsaw?

What do they show? Learning about letters on a chainsaw is as important as learning about numbers because this helps you choose the chainsaw that you really need. So, let’s learn about all of the numbers that you usually see on chainsaws and know what they really mean.


  • This letter stands for “chisel” and indicates that the chain has a square-shaped tooth with a sharp point. A chisel is basically a type of chainsaw specifically made for those who want to cut tough and hard materials. This is the reason that these chainsaws cut rough materials very quickly and efficiently. For example, a Stihl chainsaw chain with the code “RS” in its name, such as the Stihl RS chain, is a chisel chain that is designed for fast cutting.


  • The S letter shows“semi-chisel,” which is a type of chainsaw used for cutting all types of materials. It’s also called an all-rounder chainsaw. This type of chain has a slightly rounded tooth with a less pronounced point, making it suitable for cutting through a wide variety of materials. The Husqvarna H30 chain is a great example of this type of chain, as it is labelled with the code “H30” in its name. Semi-chisel chains are designed to offer maximum versatility and are often used for both commercial and residential applications. They are also relatively easy to sharpen, making them a cost-effective choice over time. 


  • The letter D stands for “low-kickback,” which is a quite popular chainsaw type among beginners. This type is famous among beginners because of its safety. Low kickbacks are considered the most secure chainsaw type. This type is called a low kickback because the amount of kickback that is created during the cut is reduced in this type so that the injury can be prevented. Thus, if you’re a beginner, I highly recommend you use any low-kickback chainsaw.


  • So, when you see the letter “R” in the name of a chainsaw chain, it tells you that this chain has been designed to reduce the amount of kickback that can occur when you’re using the chainsaw. Kickback can be dangerous because it can cause the chainsaw to jerk suddenly and unpredictably, which can be really hard to control. So, a reduced-kickback chain is a great choice if you’re concerned about staying safe while you’re using your chainsaw.


  • A buffer chain is a type of chainsaw chain designed to reduce vibration and improve the comfort of the user. It does this by using special cushioning features that help absorb the shock and strain that come with extended use. This is especially helpful for chainsaw operators who use the tool for long periods of time. For example, the Echo 20BPX chain is a buffer chain that is designed to reduce strain on the hands and arms while in use. This type of chain is an excellent choice for anyone who plans to use a chainsaw regularly or for extended periods of time.

You now understand what the letters on a chainsaw mean. I’ll now respond to some of your most frequently requested inquiries.

Frequently Asked Question

What does the number on my chainsaw chain mean?

The number on your chainsaw chain usually refers to the pitch measurement, which is the distance between three consecutive rivets divided by two. It’s key to finding a compatible chain.

How is a chainsaw chain length measured?

Chainsaw chain length is measured by the number of drive links. You count the links that fit into the guide bar and match this to the chain’s specifications.

What is the difference between .325 and 3/8 chain?

The difference is in the pitch. A .325 chain has a smaller pitch than a 3/8 chain, leading to different cutting characteristics and compatibility with different saws.

How many cc is a 24-inch bar?

There’s no direct cc-to-bar length conversion, but a 24-inch bar typically pairs with a chainsaw engine between 50cc to 100cc, depending on the model and intended use.

What do the letters mean on a chainsaw chain?

The letters on a chainsaw chain represent features like the type of cutter or safety features. For instance, “S” might denote a safety feature, while “C” might indicate a chisel cutter type.

Final Words

  • ’72’ indicates the number of drive links for proper chain fit and function.
  • Compatibility with chainsaw bar length is critical for optimal performance.
  • Matching pitch and gauge is essential for safe and efficient cutting.
  • Understanding letter codes helps in choosing the right chain type for the job.
  • Always confirm chain specifications for a well-maintained, effective chainsaw.