What Size File for 16 Inch Chainsaw? Perfect Fit Guide



The file size for a 16-inch chainsaw

The file size for a 16-inch chainsaw depends on chain pitch: 1/4″ pitch – 4mm file, 3/8″ low profile – 4.5mm file, 3/8″ standard – 5.2mm file, .404″ pitch – 5.5mm file.

Mastering the art of chainsaw maintenance to keep your 16-inch chainsaw in peak condition starts with choosing the right size file for sharpening. Find out how to select the best file size and sharpen your chainsaw like a pro.

Why the Correct File Size Matters

Maintaining your chainsaw includes timely sharpening of the chain to ensure your equipment performs effectively and safely. Using the correct file size for your 16-inch chainsaw is critical to achieve sharp teeth and optimal cutting performance.

Understanding Chainsaw Chain Sizes

Before determining the correct file size for your chainsaw, it’s important to understand the common sizes and types of chainsaw chains. Here’s a brief overview:

Chain PitchChain TypeCommon Uses
1/4″Micro ChiselCarving, detail work
.325″Chisel, Semi ChiselGeneral cutting tasks, some professional applications
3/8″Chisel, Semi ChiselMost common, versatile for homeowners and professionals
.404″Chisel, Semi ChiselHeavy-duty professional use, milling

Once you know the type and pitch of your chainsaw’s chain, you can more accurately determine the file size required.

Determining the Correct File Size for a 16-Inch Chainsaw

The size of the file needed for sharpening your chainsaw depends on the chain’s pitch and gauge, not the chainsaw’s bar length. Here are the steps to find out which file size to use:

  1. Identify the chain pitch and gauge by referring to the chainsaw manufacturer’s guide or by measuring the chain itself.
  2. Use the pitch and gauge measurements to refer to a chainsaw file size chart.
  • 1/4″ Pitch Chain – 5/32” (4mm) file
  • .325″ Pitch Chain – 3/16” (4.8mm) file
  • 3/8″ Low Profile Chain – 5/32” (4mm) file
  • 3/8″ Standard Chain – 7/32” (5.5mm) file
  • .404″ Pitch Chain – 7/32” (5.5mm) file

Note that the gauge of the chain, which refers to the thickness of the drive links, does not typically affect the size of the file needed for sharpening the cutting teeth. However, it’s important to use the correct depth gauge tool for adjusting the height of the depth gauges (rakers).

How to Properly Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain

Once you’ve chosen the correct file size, follow these steps to sharpen your chainsaw chain:

  1. Secure the chainsaw, either in a vise or with the bar and chain locked.
  2. Place the file in the notch on the cutting tooth at the correct angle.
  3. Use smooth, consistent strokes, applying slight pressure only on the forward stroke.
  4. Sharpen all the teeth on one side, then turn the chainsaw around and repeat the process for the teeth on the other side.
  5. Check and adjust the depth gauges if necessary.

Maintaining consistency in your strokes and applying the correct pressure ensures all teeth are sharpened equally, resulting in balanced, effective cutting performance.

Learn more: How to Adjust the Carburetor on a Stihl MS170 Chainsaw


Finding the right size file for your 16-inch chainsaw is crucial for maintaining your cutting tool’s performance. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications or a reliable guide when selecting your file size and remember to regularly sharpen your chain for the best results. Regular maintenance guarantees that your chainsaw is ready to handle any cutting task smoothly and safely.

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