What Is Chain Pitch? – Everything You Need To Know

The term “chain pitch” probably sounds familiar if you’re a chainsaw user. I’m just wondering if you understand what it means.

Chain pitch is an important factor to consider when selecting or replacing your chainsaw chain – and having a basic understanding of this concept can help ensure that you choose the right size for your particular saw.

So, what is chain pitch?

In this blog post, we will explain exactly what chain pitch is and how to identify the right one. Let’s dive in!

Chain Pitch Explained

The length of the chain cannot be determined by its length, but by its number of drive links.

During chain replacement, we calculate chain pitch which is the distance between the rivets that hold the chainsaw’s chain together, specifically, between any three consecutive rivets divided by 2.

This measurement is important because it determines the chain’s compatibility with the bar and sprocket of your chainsaw.

The chain pitch is often divided into three main categories: low profile (.325″), medium profile (⅜”), and high profile(0.404)

Why is the chain pitch important?

What is chain pitch

Chain pitch is important because it helps ensure that the chainsaw and its components are able to function properly.

The chain pitch must match the size of the sprockets that work with the chain, or else the two will not mesh together correctly.

Having correct meshing ensures that the chainsaw is able to operate without any issues. 

How to find your chainsaw’s chain pitch

How to find your chainsaw’s chain pitch

Most chainsaw manufacturers provide the necessary specifications, which include the correct chain pitch for your model, in the user manual.

Or you can see the number that is stamped on the drive link to identify the chain pitch.

However, suppose you can’t locate this information. In that case, there is an alternative method you can use to determine the chain pitch of your chainsaw:

To find the chain pitch, measure the distance between the centers of three consecutive rivets and then divide that number by 2. 

Chain pitches can range from 1/4″ pitch to 3-inch pitch and come in different sizes and types depending on your application needs.

 Select a chain with a compatible pitch for your application to ensure proper performance and longevity.

Chain pitch and file size

Chain pitch and file size

The larger the pitch, the larger the file size should be to ensure that you can sharpen an entire cutting edge in one action.

For example, if you have a 3/8″ pitch, your file size should be 5/32″ and for a .404″ pitch, your file size should be 7/32.

Additionally, using a round profile file is important as this will help achieve optimal sharpening angles for each cutting tooth. 

Furthermore, it is best practice to keep the file in the same spot and move the cutter links over it as you sharpen. This is because it is best to moving the file around on the links.

Chain pitch Round file diameter

Chain PitchFile Size
325 4.8mm

What is Chain Pitch? FAQs

How do I know what pitch my chain is?

In order to know what pitch your roller chain is, you can use a caliper to measure the distance between the centers of two adjacent links. This will give you an exact measurement of the pitch. Additionally, you can look at the chain’s identification number which will usually include the pitch. 

Another way to measure pitch is to determine the pins of the chain and measure the distance between three pins and divide by 2; this will also give you an exact measurement of the pitch.

What pitch is best for chainsaws?

When it comes to choosing the pitch that is best for your chainsaw, there are a few important factors to consider. 

The most common pitch for consumer chainsaws is a 3/8″ pitch chain, which is suitable for a variety of tasks. 

Professional chainsaws tend to use a .404″ pitch chain, which is more aggressive and designed for heavy-duty cutting. 

The bar length of your chainsaw will also affect the pitch you need – longer bars require larger pitches. 

What pitch is 35 chain?

The pitch of 35 chain is 0.375 inch, which is a standard size that is commonly used in applications that don’t require heavy-duty use. 

How does chain pitch affect speed?

The chain pitch directly impacts the speed at which the chain runs along the sprocket. A larger pitch will create more friction, leading to a slower speed as more energy is required to move it. 

 On the other hand, a smaller pitch will allow for less friction between the chain and sprocket, allowing for higher speeds with less power.

What is a chain gauge?

Chain gauge is the thickness of a chainsaw’s drive lugs. It is important to choose the correct size chain for a specific saw, as it should fit properly and securely into the sprocket of the saw. The most common sizes are 0.050″ (1.3 mm) and 0.058″ (1.5 mm), although other sizes such as 0.043″ (1.1 mm) and 0.063″ (1.6 mm) are also available for different saws. 

The gauge of a chainsaw chain can be measured using a tool called a vernier calliper. A vernier calliper is used by sliding the jaws over the drive lugs of the chain. This will give you an accurate measurement in millimetres or inches, depending on your settings.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right chain pitch for your chainsaw is vital, as it will help to determine that chain compatible with your chainsaw. If you’re unsure what chain pitch is right for your saw, take a look at the number stamped on the chain. 

Choosing the right chain pitch for your chainsaw is important, as it will help determine that chain compatible with it. If you’re unsure what chain pitch is right for your saw, take a look at the number stamped on the chain.

As mentioned above, you can also measure the distance between rivets using a calliper. 

With a better understanding of chain pitch, you will have no problem finding exactly what pitch size you need.

So now that we’ve looked over everything you need to know about chain pitch, hopefully, this has been helpful knowledge for you during your next chainsaw purchase!

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Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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