Understanding Drive Links on Chainsaws

If you’re a homeowner, you might have heard about drive links in the context of chainsaws, but do you really know what they are and why they matter? In this blog post, I’ll explain the role of drive links in chainsaws so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing one.

What Are Drive Links?

Drive links are metal teeth located on both sides of the chain bar that move around as the chain bar rotates. They help to hold the chain in place and provide stability as you cut through objects with your saw.

Drive Links on Chainsaws

The number of drive links on a saw will vary depending on its size; for example, a 16-inch saw may have up to 68 drive links. It’s important to check the drive links on your chainsaw before every use, as a missing or damaged link can impact the performance of your saw and even cause it to break.

Do Drive Links Matter on Chainsaws?

Drive links are an essential component of chainsaws because they help to ensure that the chain bar is properly aligned, the chain is moving smoothly, and the saw is working at its full capacity.

The number of drive links is an important factor to consider when selecting a chainsaw because it affects how quickly and easily cuts can be made. The more drive links there are, the easier it will be to make precise cuts because there is more support for the chain bar.

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More drive links also mean that the saw can handle larger pieces of wood without slowing down or stalling out. More drive links can also reduce vibration while cutting which helps improve user safety and comfort. 

Another benefit of using drive links is that it can increase safety by reducing kickback which can happen if too much pressure is applied during cutting operations. Kickback occurs when the saw blade deflects back towards your body instead of pushing forward into the material being cut.

On the flip side, using a chainsaw without sufficient drive links can cause excessive wear on other parts like bearings and sprockets which will ultimately shorten the lifespan of your chainsaw. 

How Many Drive Links Do You Need for Your Chainsaw?

The number of drive links you need for your chainsaw will depend on both your chainsaw model and the size of your guide bar (the length of metal at the bottom).

Most manufacturers include instructions indicating how many drive links should be used for each type and size of chainsaw, so make sure to refer to these before making any purchases or adjustments. 

As a general rule, larger guide bars require more drive links than smaller ones. 

For light-duty jobs such as pruning trees or clearing brush, fewer drive links (around 40) should suffice. For heavier-duty tasks such as felling large trees or cutting firewood, you’ll want to look for a saw with more drive links (60+).

It’s important to note that higher numbers don’t necessarily mean better performance – it’s important to do your research and carefully consider the various factors that go into choosing the right chainsaw for your needs.

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At the end of the day, drive links are an essential part of chainsaws, and it’s important to keep them well-maintained to get the most out of your chainsaw.


Drive links play an important role in determining how well a chainsaw performs and how safe it is to use. Sometimes, the more drive links present on a given model, the better its ability to tackle heavy duty tasks like felling trees or cutting firewood without stalling out or vibrating excessively.

This is not always the case, however, so it is important to do your research and carefully consider various factors like the size of your guide bar and the different types of tasks you will be using your chainsaw for before making any purchasing decisions.

To ensure your chainsaw runs smoothly and safely with each use, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how many drive links your chainsaw model and bar should have.

You should also take the time to inspect and replace any worn or damaged drive links as needed.