How Many Drive Links?

When ordering a new chain for your Husky or Stihl chainsaw, you need to know the proper chain length for the bar & saw combination, measured in Drive Links (DL).

Unless you have an old chain to count from, finding out the right drive link count is not always easy. The number of drive links depends mainly on bar length and chain pitch, and is sometimes printed on the bar. However, it also depends on the bar tail mount and sometimes on the saw model, making the count printed on the bar a bit unreliable.

The chain length also varies between brands: a 18”, 3/8” pitch Husqvarna bar, for example, would not have the same drive link count as a 18”, 3/8” Stihl bar (68 vs. 66).

To make this easier, I programmed two chain length calculators – one for Husqvarna and one for Stihl bars – which ask you the bar length (nominal) and chain pitch. As an answer, you get the drive link count.

How do I know the bar length?

Use the nominal length of the bar with the calculators – this is basically the length the bar was sold as. The nominal length may also be printed on the bar.

Note that the nominal length is not the bar total length. Instead it is close to the exposed length when the bar is mounted on a saw.

How do I know the pitch?

Check the chain pitch from the side of your bar or from the saw specs. The pitches by saw model are also listed in my articles on Husqvarna and Stihl bar compatibility.

NB: Do not mix the narrow-kerf, low-profile 3/8″ pitches (Picco, Pixel, etc.) with the regular 3/8″ pitch. The two are not compatible and have different drive link counts with the same bar length.