What Step On A Stihl Chain

There are several basic parameters by which a chainsaw is chosen, one of them is the pitch of the saw headset. The step is dependent on the power of the chainsaw, and greatly affects the cutting speed.

How much the step corresponds to the power determines the performance and service life of the chainsaw. Also, fuel consumption depends on its correct selection.

Step concept

A pitch is half the distance between adjacent shanks or between three adjacent rivets.

What Step On A Stihl Chain

There are several sizes, 1/4 inch is the smallest, 3/4 inch is the largest and 3/8 and 0.325 inch are the most popular.

Step. a parameter that is available not only for the headset, but also for tire sprockets and chainsaws.

Important! All three elements, a chain, an asterisk and a bus, must have the same step parameter, otherwise installation and proper operation is impossible.

What is the distance between the teeth?

In the saw chain, the distance between the cutting teeth directly affects its performance. The larger, the deeper the cutting edge can cut into the wood, provided that the limiter is sharpened correctly.

Accordingly, on more powerful chainsaws, it is permissible to install a headset with a large distance between adjacent links and vice versa.

If you put a ¼ inch saw set on a powerful chainsaw, then the performance will drop significantly, and the load on the engine will increase, because the saw will operate in spacing and exceed the maximum permissible speed, which ultimately can lead to overheating and scoring of the CPG.

And vice versa, installing a chain with a large step on a weak chainsaw will lead to the fact that the saw power will not be enough for a normal cut, of course, this will not entail severe consequences, as in the first case, but it is not comfortable to work with such a tool.

Also, the quality and accuracy of the cut depends on the distance between the links. The farther the adjacent cutting teeth are from each other, the stronger the vibration during operation and the lower the accuracy of the cut. For a more accurate cut, you should choose a saw headset with a smaller pitch. This factor should be taken into account by those who are engaged in figured wood chainsaw carving.

The chain pitch has a great influence on the so-called “rebound”. The greater the distance between the teeth, the greater the chance that the chainsaw will rebound.

Important! Most often, a “rebound” occurs when working with the tip of the tire, for example, when performing internal cuts. In this case, you need to be extremely careful, regardless of the step with which the chain is used.

When selecting a chain, the rule applies that the pitch (distance between the teeth) is proportional to the power, but the accuracy of the cut is inversely related, i.e. the greater the distance, the lower the accuracy.

Video: What Step On A Stihl Chain

3/8 or 0.325 which is better and why

It is impossible to determine which parameter is better and which is worse, because each of them has its own characteristics and is designed for chain saws of a certain power. Depending on how the saw set is correctly selected, the tool performance will have different indicators. If the headset is optimally matched, i.e. the distance between the links corresponds to the recommended power, then the performance of the chainsaw will be maximum. If selected incorrectly, the engine will experience overloads that could lead to malfunctions.

Optimum power indicators for 0.325 inches. 1.8-2 kW. For this reason, chains with this pitch are used on the Husqvarna 142/137 chainsaw.

For parameter 3/8, a tool with a power of up to 3 kW is required. In this case, the question arises, why on the Stihl 180, with a power of 1.5 kW, 3/8 inch chains are used. The answer is simple: for Stihl chainsaws, power is not the most important thing, the maximum number of revolutions is of great importance. Stihl 180 produces more than 13,500 rpm, due to this it is able to cut a 3/8 inch headset.

For 0.404 inches, the optimum power is 4.5. 5 kW.

Important! The indicated values ​​of power and chain pitch are not necessarily of a nature, the user himself has the right to choose the parameters of the headset, which he plans to use on a chainsaw.

How to pick up

In the case when it is necessary to choose the optimal chain pitch for a chainsaw, it is best to take into account the manufacturer’s recommendations and, based on them, choose the type of saw headset.

If the manufacturer’s recommendations are not known, then you need to choose according to engine power. Recommended values ​​corresponding to a certain step, we have provided a little higher.

Important! When choosing, do not forget that the distance between the links is not the only parameter that you need to pay attention to.

It is also worth choosing the thickness of the link, the type of cutting tooth, the number of links. Productivity is more dependent on the angle of sharpening, the depth of cut and the shape of the tooth limiter. The sharper the bounding tooth, the higher the cutting speed, and the lower its quality.

Below we suggest watching a video about choosing a chain saw step. The video tells and shows how to determine it, for which chainsaws, which chain step to use.

How to find out

There are several ways to find out the chain pitch:

  1. View step value on the saw bar. The manufacturers of the saw headset must indicate the length of the tire, the width of the groove and the pitch of the driven sprocket on the shank of the saw blade.
  2. Measure the distance between the shanks of adjacent teeth or the centers of three adjacent rivets.
  3. The method that is suitable for chains in the original packaging is to look at the characteristics of the chain on the box.

The Stihl chain branded packaging contains comprehensive product information, which can be used to find out not only the distance between adjacent links, but also the type of teeth, link width, and recommended file size for sharpening.

Chainsaw Chain Chart

In conclusion, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the table, which shows the technical parameters of popular chain models for chainsaws of different power.

Based on the recommendations of the manufacturer of the chainsaw and taking into account the technical parameters from the table, you can find out the model of the chain that is suitable for your tool and not make mistakes when buying.


The distance between the chain links of the chainsaw is one of the most important parameters, which in no case should be neglected. When buying a spare headset, you need to know which step is suitable for the tire and sprocket installed on your chainsaw, or change the chain, tire and drive sprocket kit.