How to choose the length of a bar

When buying a chainsaw, you’ll probably have a choice of bar length to go with the size power head you’ve chosen. Bar length is measured from cutting tip to where the chain enters the engine housing. Though the standard bar lengths on homeowner saws are fourteen inches, sixteen inches, eighteen inches, and twenty inches, bars can be as short as eight inches or as long as forty-two-inches (but leave anything exceeding twenty inches to the pros). The preference is to put a shorter bar on whatever power head size is needed. A shorter bar is lighter and easier to manipulate and less likely to reach beyond where you want it to, possibly contacting and object and kickback.

You may think that because you can cut from both sides of a log or tree trunk? A fourteen-inch-long bar can cut through a twenty-eight-inch diameter log. That may be, but there is something else to consider here. Is the engine powerful enough to cut through a twenty-eight-inch diameter log? And is it safe? What it takes is the correct combination of engine size and bar length to get the job done efficiently. For safest cutting, the bar should be two inches longer than the largest wood you intend to cut. The effective bar length is reduced when cutting harder wood and when running saw chain with less efficient cutter teeth.


Task Recommended bar lenght
Trimming/removing a hedge No more than 16’’
Pruning trees 12’’ or less
Limbing 12’’ – 14’’
Small tree felling 12’’ – 14’’
Light firewood cutting (under 10’’ diameter) 14’’ – 16’’
Moderate size tree felling 16’’ – 18’’
Medium firewood cutting 16’’ – 18”
Large log cutting 18’’+

The Victar chainsaw can be used for cross-cutting of logs with a diameter of 50 cm or 1 meter if you saw the log both ways.