Review: Dewalt DCE511B Jobsite Fan

Friday, May 29, 2020
best work fan for job site - dewalt

The Dewalt job site cordless fan is one of the most popular fans on the market

A hard-working unit, this fan will run off the Dewalt battery system for hours, almost effortlessly - meaning it is a nice and quiet unit. 

Obviously, its rugged design means it works just as well outdoors and indoors and it can take the bolts and jolts that are the usual hazard on work sites

It's not so big that it can't be easily stored away when not in use and it on the pack of your ute or pick up with no worries. 

You can plug in the standard 120-volt cord or connect a Dewalt battery (20-volt maximum)  to it. As the reviews below show, you will get plenty of 'air time' with this Dewalt fan

Here's the specifications from Dewalt:
  • Corded or cordless use (the extension cord will need to be bought separately) 
  • Multiple hanging arrangement options - freestanding, hang hooks, and standard wall mount 
  • Variable speed control - wide-range so you control the speed you want; Airflow - 500 
  • Testing to IP54 standards - meaning it has 'ingress protection' from dust, dirt, splashes of water etc.
The unit has three blades which are 7 inches long and they will turn and turn all day to keep the air moving to keep you cool and to also help expunge unwanted smells such as smoke from soldering or other discharges. 

You can even use it to help dry painted walls, drywall (plasterboard), and plaster mud.

worksite fan battery powered dewalt

But if you want to know if the Dewalt fan truly is worth your time and money, check out these reviews from actual users who have ponied up their cash on Amazon:

"Love this fan so far. The fan pivots back more than 90° as you may see from my picture. I was concerned the bigger flexvolt battery wouldn’t fit in it but it does with ease. I’m currently conducting a run till dead test to see how long it will run at high-speed with Dewalt’s strongest battery the flex volt 9.0 AH battery. Seems pretty well-made, however, I’m going to hang on to the box to carry it in just to protect it.

I hope the DeWALT comes out with a carrying case for this. The hooks pull out from the base allowing you to hang the fan on the job site, which is a nice touch. As many have already posted you can plug it in but not while you have a battery in the battery socket. To use AC will need an extension cord with a female plug on one end just as the DeWALT power pack inverter uses."

"I am very Happy with this unit after day one. I placed a DCB203 20V Max 2.0AH Compact XR Li-Ion Battery Pack (Smallest they make) into the Fan, turned it on low at 10:45am. At 10:28 PM then unit is still running. On Low speed, you can not even hear the unit running. Will be running the unit on Medium speed this weekend, same battery."

So it will run all day. 

"This thing is made STRONG. This last week at the market I was pulling it down and it slipped. It fell from about 6ft and hit concrete. Didn't even scratch it. I'm not saying drop it on purpose but I thought for sure it would have been damaged if work at all. And it turned in and worked perfect! I love this fan!

It's tough and durable. 

This is the 2nd fan I've bought. I love it! I use it for a weekly Farmers market tent. I hang it from the frame and it keep my customers cool while they shop. My original purchase was for the fan, battery set and charger. A full charge battery will run this fan on high from 8:30am-2:00pm and still have over half charge. It creates a nice breeze. Made 100* market days much more bearable. Highly recommend this little workhorse."

It does the business required. 

"I purchased this fan for the specific purpose of having some kind of cooling device available during a power outage. As such, I wanted to know exactly how much cooling time I would get from one battery. I'm using a 60-volt, 6.0 Ah "flex-volt" battery; however, my 20 volt, 4.0 Ah battery also (obviously) works.

I turned on the variable speed fan to half speed; it's VERY quiet. The design of these batteries is such that they don't slowly wear down--instead, they just quit when the voltage drops too much--so, I suppose it could quit at any moment. But, after twelve hours, the fan is still going strong, and the battery still has 2 of its 3 charge level lights on (3 lights would be a full charge). I have to tell you, I am damned impressed! Well done, Dewalt!"

If that doesn't convince you, check out the unit on Amazon.

Dewalt not only make fans, drills and other tools - they make quality safety glasses!

When to clean or replace a chainsaw air filter

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Chainsaws are like cars, the more you use them, the more maintenance they need. A chain sharpen here, a fresh spark plug there and sometimes you need to replace a filter.

You need to replace an air filter when it no longer does its job of preventing dirt and debris entering the chainsaw's engine and out of the carburetor. 

How do you know when to replace the filter? 

dirty air filter chainsaw
You can do a visual check.

If your filter looks anything like the image here, it needs a clean or a replacement!

So here are three factors to consider:
  1. Does your chainsaw lack power when using it?
  2. Is it harder to start than normal?
  3. Does it die and cut out more frequently than it should?
If you have any of these problems, then you might need a new replacement air filter.

Let's look in more detail at how a dirty air filter can hinder the efficient operation of your wood chopper

Your unit's air filter should be inspected often to ensure it is free of grime and dirt especially after a lot of heavy duty operation. This is because an unclean air filter could be clogged to the point that it won't allow sufficient enough oxygen into the engine. These cause the saw to 'lack power' power - think of the engine as a lung - and it needs oxygen to power the chain. 

Just as a distinct lack of oxygen in the lungs causes a body to die, a lack of oxygen in chainsaw will cause it to cut out. 

When do I replace the chainsaw air filter?

Given you should consider replacing your air filter at least once a year. Perhaps at the same time, you replace your spark plug? If you have used your chainsaw quite a lot, or even professionally, then you will need to service your machine more regularly and change the filter often. 

What kind of air filter does my chainsaw need?

 All chainsaws use filters  > Major brands like Poulan, Craftsman, Stihl, and Husqvarna all use them and offer their own branded replacement parts. You can, of course, use aftermarket parts as well. Branded gear will likely be of better quality, perform quite well and for a longer lifetime.

As long as you know the model number of your unit, you can find the part. Simply do a search on Amazon with your engine brand and model number and 'air filter' and you will find what you are looking for. 

Can I clean the chainsaw air filter?

You sure can - you can use a soft brush or rinse off with hot water. If you use water, let the filter dry in the sun before you replace it.

Remember filters can be precious wee things, so trying to blow off all the sawdust and gunk off with an air compressor might not be the best approach.

How to replace a chainsaw air filter

This is a handy tutorial video on how to replace the air filter. You'll need a screwdriver handy - and always engage the chain break before you do any maintenance on your saw:

Grass and the art of Lawn Mower Maintenance

Friday, April 3, 2020
grass and lawn mower maintenance

For some, lawnmowing can be a bore or a chore. For the house proud, green fingered people out there, mowing the lawns is a fun job. The sound of engine and the smell of green cut grass. Or it's a chance to spend half an hour in your own thoughts, with the world shut out underneath the safety ear muffs.

Which is all nice and dandy, but just like a Formula One race cars is tuned and calibrated to it can perform within an inch of its life, if you want your lawn mower to cut grass well and to work a long and happy engine life, you need to maintain it. 

Here's some tips and tricks to help you better understand grass and the art of lawnmower maintenance.

Some lawn mowers NEVER have their spark plugs changed - and it will eventually show when it becomes troublesome to start - you've added fresh petrol but no action on the pull-start? 

Guess what, it's time to change the plug. Here's how to replace a spark plug in a lawn mower.

So after you've mown the lawns a few times, you might be tempted to use your grass cutter to mulch up some thin branches, or maybe an old rose bush, even some flax (here's an idea, don't). Over time the blade will dull and lose its edge. In case it's time on how to sharpen a lawn mower blade safely.

Once you're done for the day, the question becomes, where do you store your engine. If you have a big garage, all good - if you keep it outside, then you might want to consider using a cover to keep dust and debris off your lawnmower

Lawn mowers are obviously small engines but perhaps what's not so obvious is that they do not run well on car engine oil. These smaller engines operated at different temperature levels than cars so the characteristics of the oil required to run an efficient engine need to be different.

So knowing what kind of lawnmower oil to use is really important. Are you going to use a traditional Briggs and Stratton type oil or are you going to use a synthetic engine oil? The answer often lies in the temperature of the climate in which you will use the lawnmower. World renown small engines engine experts Briggs and Stratton advise that "Engines on most outdoor power equipment operate well with 5W30 Synthetic oil. For equipment operated in hot temperatures, Vanguard 15W50 Synthetic oil provides the best protection."

Overall, a standard lawn mower, used in standard back yard conditions will operate very well on standard SAE 30 (sometimes referred to as 30W). Synthetic oil will work continue to work in fringe temperatures - i.e extreme cold and extreme heat. But we reckon if it's that cold, why bust your ass cutting grass anyway?

You might one day find yourself when you need to add oil to the engine and you only have two stroke oil when your engine is a four stroke

I know what your thinking, we've all been there.

Yes, you can add two-stroke to a 4 stroke machine - but it will only work in the short term. 2 stroke is designed to be used with the fuel inside the engine and not in a 4 stroke engine so it's qualities will not be what the engine needs over the long term. So sure, you can do a quick top up, but eventually you will need to replace the oil you added with 4 stroke. 

Don't be that lazy guy that keeps on using it - add proper oil, because that's all part of grass and the art of lawn mower maintenance.

If you've moved your lawns, cleaned the engine up, and re-filled it with petrol, then well done. Sit back and relax with a cold homebrew beer or learn how to re-start a chainsaw that's flooded.

Best solar power chargers for phones and tablets

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
While portable power banks were all the rage during the great 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, you need to be able to charge a power bank from the mains - and as the 'great purge' of 2021 showed when the power's out, you need to use the best solar power charger you can when you want to get some juice into your iPhone or Android tablet or bank.

Maybe that's exaggerating things somewhat.

But, you dear reader, are a sophisticated consumer. You are not rushing out blindly buying all the toilet paper in the fear that the coronavirus will somehow prevent the supermarkets from supplying such necessities of life.

No, you know the real thing you need to save you from Covid-19, is a means to charge your phone when the electricity goes out!

Well, unless the pandemic hits 'Revelations and Rapture' level levels, then it's unlikely the power is going to go out and you're really shopping for the best portable solar charger because you know that you don't want to be caught out if you have to isolate somewhere away from Homebase.

Or you are simply a keen hiker or tramper and want to be able to charge your phone or GPS watch because you are on a 7-day cross country adventure.

There are many kinds of solar power chargers in the market place - they all serve different user needs.
You can have solar heating of water for example, or you can use it to trickle charge a car battery, a simple portable blue tooth speaker or even for charging an electric fence up!

They are also very handy on boats, as there are not many places you can plug into the mains when you're 1000 miles from the shoreline!

In this context, we are focusing on solar charges that are ideal for when you are out and about - portable units that you can fold up and carry around snug in a backpack or the back of a utility.

The more complex chargers on the market will utilize a power bank - this means you can use the panels to charge the bank, rather than having your tablet or other USB charging device plugged in the hole time.

Or you can charge up your own power bank - which is perfect for if you set your device up overnight so it will begin charging as soon as the sun is up and at 'em in the sky - meaning maximum charging time for you.

How do you know what is the best solar charger? We'll if you are are demand versus supply kind of thinker, then the number one seller on Amazon is this unit:

The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is a fine charging option - it features two standard USB chargers so you can charge two devices at once - be they Apple tablets, Bluetooth speakers or Huawei Android phones. They can naturally be used to charge other battery power banks, lights, cameras - anything that will take a charge via a USB outlet.

anker best solar charger for cell phone

Given the surface area size of the unit's solar panels, the Anker charger will generate 2.1 amps in direct sunlight. This compares nearly as fast as regular mains powered chargers under ideal sunny conditions.

Here's a review from an Amazon buyer who has properly road tested the unit and given it the thumbs up:

"I've taken it on eight or ten camping trips and it hasn't let me down yet. The storage panel on the end with the USB ports is excellent, I can hide my cellphone inside the panel while it charges. It rolls up small and beautifully when not in use and is a real space saver compared to some solar panels.

Having two USB ports is one of the best features of this solar panel and make it so much more convenient. It charges two phones on a clear day, albeit more slowly than standard power sources. It will even charge my phone a bit on a cloudy day."

Check out the price and reviews from Amazon.

aimtom solar power USB charger
Power up your next outdoors adventure with the AIMTOM sleek and powerful portable solar charger and make sure that your laptop, cellphone or tablet stays powered up. You can take all the fuss out of charging your action cameras, cameras or portable power stations with our this super-efficient 60W power panel bag!

This unit features an MC4 cable, DC-to-Clamp, DC-to-DC cables - in sufficient variety so that most popular brands of laptops can be charged.

What's the best portable trickle solar power charger?

In our opinion, starting out with a solar-powered 12-volt battery trickle charger is ideal when you need to tick over the charge a car, boat or tractor battery.

Just like this one from Suner Power:
Trickle chargers will keep your battery ready to rock to that it is fully charged for when you need to use it. A good trickle charger will feature a built-in blocking diode that should prevent any power drain / discharge from your battery.

A 12 volt charger can provide up to 1.5W charging power, which is plenty of juice to prevent idle discharge of your expensive vehicle battery.

In case it's not clear, the trickle charger is not for charging up a laptop or phone from zero capacity, it's to keep a little utilized battery in with a full charge so that you can be sure that when you need it, it is ready to perform at full power.

Check out some options on Amazon:

How to solar power charge your android phone or tablet

Saturday, March 14, 2020
The event of a pandemic like the COVID-19 Coronavirus from Wuhan has cost lives, caused panic and wreaked economic havoc in many countries across the globe.

Doomsday preppers are laughing all the way to their hidey-holes knowing they will be well stocked with food and water and probably a means to charge their phones and provide lighting.

But I fancy 99 percent of the rest of the population doesn't have a bolt hole to flee too. 

They may have prepared a basic survival kit, stocked up on toilet paper (did you spy the greed people at Walmart) and stashed some water bottles in the garage (maybe some whiskey too?) but they probably haven't thought about how they are going to charge their android phones if they are away from their homes or gosh forbid, there's a power outage due to the pandemic crisis. 

I simply trick I learned was to use a solar power charger that I used to keep the light bulbs charged in my shed. You see, there's no power in my shed as it's a fair distance from the house. So, I ordered 6 solar-powered lightbulbs from Amazon and they work really well - especially so when I am bottling beer in the late evening and I need to see.  
I did notice the charging port on the light bulb looked like an android port. So I got to thinking and I charged my portable speaker with it - and boom - the learning was made - I could use these solar-powered panels to charge all my devices. 

The key test was my Lenovo android tablet. Sure enough, it worked! On a very sunny day, the panel charged the unit:

solar charger with android tablet

I did wonder if it would be able to charge a tablet that had completely lost it's power and would not turn on. So I added placed the table in the shade and placed the solar panel in the direct sunlight and let things be.

I checked the device after about 45 minutes by turning it back on - boom, there had been enough charging done to allow the device to power on and be at a 2 percent charge. This is probably because this panel is low wattage, needing only to charge two AAA batteries in the light bulb. Camping / tramping style chargers will have 6 - 9 watt chargers as a minimum - over 20 is ideal for fast charging. 

The take away is that the charging rate on a very sunny day is quite slow. However, if this is the difference between texting a message to a loved one during a pandemic like a Coronavirus, SARS, Ebola or worse, you're going to be pretty pleased you had a cheap & simple solar panel on hand to charge your phone. 

You could almost be as smug as a doomsday prepper!

There are of course plenty of other more robust solar charging options out there to charge your phone with during an emergency, or even just when you are doing some standard outdoor activities like hiking or camping. 

The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is a really great option - it comes with two USB chargers so you can charge two devices at once - be they Apple Ipads or Huawei Android phones, you'll have plenty of charging power. If course they can be used to charge other battery banks, lights - anything that will take a charge from a USB outlet. 

best solar power android charger

Given the surface size of the panels, the Anker charger will generate 2.1 amps in direct sunlight, making it nearly as fast as regular mains powered chargers under ideal conditions As pictured above you can have it on your back while hiking the wilderness like Bear Grylls or you can neatly fold it way into your pack.

"This thing is really saving my tail here in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. I bought it after Irma only to have it arrive the day I regained power. Little did I know big sister Maria was lurking."

"I took it on a week long solo hiking trip in the backcountry and am absolutely happy with the performance and product. It charged my phone and a small power bank enough at lunchtime to keep going through the day and top up my GPS watch."

"I've taken it on eight or ten camping trips and it hasn't let me down yet.
The storage panel on the end with the USB ports is excellent, I can hide my cellphone inside the panel while it charges. It rolls up small and beautifully when not in use and is a real space saver compared to some solar panels.

Having two USB ports is one of the best features of this solar panel and make it so much more convenient. It charges two phones on a clear day, albeit more slowly than standard power sources. It will even charge my phone a bit on a cloudy day."

What is the best bar and chain oil to use for a chainsaw?

Friday, March 13, 2020
what is good oil to use on my chainswa?

Just like a car or lawnmower needs its oil to be regularly changed, so does a chainsaw

What's the best to use? 

It's actually a double task for a chainsaw as both the engine oil and bar oils need to be replaced.

It's part of a good chainsaw maintenance regime.

We don't need to teach you to suck eggs on how important it is for the bar and chain to be well oiled, you just want to know what are the best oil brands out there to use.

Let's start with the best bar and chain oils

If you want to take our word for, here are three options which will serve your chainsaw well:

If you want to do things right and by the book in terms of good maintenance, you would do well to consider an oil product that has been specifically designed to be used with a chainsaw.

Choosing the best kind of oil can mean the difference in having a chain that does its job well and for a long period or a chain that is battered and bruised and refuses to cut properly.

There are a few variables to think about.
  • Will the weather conditions dictate what kind of oil is used?
  • How often will the chainsaw be used?
  • What is the temperature at which the saw will operate?
  • How environmentally conscious are you?
  • Price per gallon because let's face it, money talks. 
Do not use car engine oil as it is not designed to 'stick' to a chain.

And most certainly do not use recycled motor engine oil as it is a used product which will have metal pieces in it which will likely damage the internal workings of the chainsaw's engine.

Many famous chainsaw brands (and lawnmower manufacturers too) have their own branded oil and bar products and generally speaking those products will do the job for most chainsaws, let alone the branded item.

If you want to go for a trusted brand name, then Husqvarna's Bar and Chain Oil is what you are looking for:
husqvarna bar and chain oil
Husqvarna Company is known for making the most reliable and durable products to take care of a multitude of outdoor needs.
  • Designed for use with all Husqvarna chainsaw models
  • Premium blend of base stocks and tackifier additives, which reduces high speed throw-off
  • Extends bar, chain and sprocket life by protecting against wear
  • Optimizes cutting performance by reducing heat and friction
  • Is good for all year round use, including winter
Some players who used the product left some sweet reviews on Amazon about this oil:

"Great oil for chainsaw chain, sticks to chain very well"

"Top grade Husqvarna bar oil. I bought a new Husky450 and wanted the best for it. Good price for a top-shelf product as well. Will buy again"

"Does an excellent lubrication job without throwing oil off like some inferior brands. Well worth the price to protect your chain and your saw."

"Really does the job. Stays on the saw bar and chain a lot better than just motor oil."

So if this sounds like Husqvarna's oil is for you, check out the price on Amazon.

It's not a state, it's Oregon oil

Another popular oil is produced by Oregon.

As far as we're concerned Oregon as a brand is up there with Stihl and Husqvarna as a word that means 'quality product'.

Oregon state that their bar and chain oil is specifically compounded to provide extra high tackiness and prevent "throw off" even under adverse weather conditions.

Which is just a polite way of saying they make good oil.

Oregon also claims that their oil's high film-strength prevents wear or scuffing of chain links and bars while protecting metal parts against corrosion and rust.

They also say that it resists build-up of deposits such as pitch, sap or gum.

Here's some reviews from machinists who've bought and used Oregon oil:

"Great for keeping your bar lubed, terrible for making salad dressing."

This makes perfect sense eh? What about a more serious review:

"Saw runs perfectly with this oil. No smoking or anything. Definitely has smooth cuts in the trees I was cutting. No complaints and I'll buy this again when I run out."

"It's Oregon bar oil. Does exactly what it's supposed to. No complaints.

If there was a complaint to be made by users of this product is that it can seem thinner than other oils and this can be off-putting if you are expecting a syrupy goo. 

Whatever, it's Oregon!

Poulan Bar and Oil

The Poulan brand name is used primarily for outdoor power equipment, such as chainsaws, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers, aimed at the mid-level consumer market. Which probably means you, dear reader!

And since you are a dear reader, I'm going to let in on an industry secret >> The Poulan brand is owned by Husqvarna!

Howabout that eh?

This means that you can trust the Poulan brand because Husqvarna trusted it enough to buy the whole damn company.

Here's Poulan's Bar and Chain oil offering:

poulan pro bar and oil chain
By now, you know the drill of what benefits bar and chain oil will give your chainsaw but Poulan want you to know that their product is "formulated for use by the logging industry, this oil helps prevent rust, resists high-temperatures, flows freely at low temperatures and has the ability to resist the extreme pressures bars and chains."

Which sounds like marketing really so what do actual users of the oil have to say in their reviews about its performance in their machines?

"I use this on my Stihl ms280 chainsaw and it works great. Better than Stihl bar and chain oil it seems. With the Stihl oil, I would always notice the chain-smoking after a heavy cutting session. I have yet to see anything like that with this oil. This oil is also tackier and appears a little heavier than the Stihl oil."

"Just what my chainsaws needed a bit of a lube job. Easy pouring and tight seal on the container. No mess. great quality."

"What can you say, it's oil, the viscosity is formulated correctly so it stays on the chain and bar and doesn't run off during operation. It does the function it was designed for."

So there you have it, Poulan's product does the job you need. Check out the price on Amazon.

Look mate, I've read all this guff, I just want some cheap oil!

Well here you go friend:

cheap bar and chain oil

Do I need a thick oil for my chainsaw?

We're talking about the viscosity of your chain oil here. Generally speaking, the thicker the oil, the better it will be at staying on the chain. A key point at play here is that weathers' temperature will have an effect on the oil.

The warmer the oil, the more fluid it will become.

Should I use a 'green' oil on my bar?

In this modern era of environmental practices, one could consider using a substitute biodegradable oil.

This is especially so if cutting near waterways or environments of special significance. We would suggest that if you use a vegetable based oil, you don't mix it with a petroleum-based oil as the mixing can cause gunk to build up.

Can you put motor oil on a chain?

You can do this and your chain will benefit somewhat from the lubrication but in the long term, it's not an ideal solution as it is not designed to be sticky.

Motor oil has not been designed to work on such a chainsaw so you could impede the efficiency of the chain in the long term.

Some keen cost savers even go as far as using used motor engine oil. Again, you will get the effect of lubrication but be warned used motor engine oil can contain fragments of metal which will damage your bar and chain over time, rendering their effectiveness low.

We suspect used motor engine oil will make your chain blunt - leading you to need to sharpen the chain more regularly.

If you do want to save money (and fair enough too!) then some woodsman like to steal their wife's pantyhose and strain the oil through them to help remove any metal parts!

If your lawn mower is thirsty, check out the best small engine oils.

Can you use Husqvarna bar oil in a Stihl chainsaw?

We saw this question asked on the net and at face value, you could think it's a silly question to ask as yes, you can use other brands with other brands - while some manufacturers may state to use only their brand with their products, this is just a sales tactic - if it's the right kind of oil for your chainsaw, you sure can use it - so it is fine to add Husqvarna oil to your Stihl saw, and vice versa.

Finally, you can use these general oils with electric chainsaws as well. 

How to choose a chainsaw bar replacement

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

What's the best chainsaw bar?

There's not much more frustrating than realizing your chainsaw bar needs replacing. It seems like it's the least likely part of a chainsaw that would break down?

Sure, you could expect the chain itself to break, or maybe the pull start mechanism fails, but stihl, the bar really?

There are some genuine reasons why you need to replace your bar - the sprocket breaks or you damage the bar by dropping it or by getting it caught in a tree  (bending it or damaging the groove lines where the chain passes through).

So that we are on the same page, we should really determine that we both know what we are looking for - that is to say, what is the bar?

Well, it’s not an exam you need to pass so you can call yourself a lawyer, no, the barn guides the chain - obviously, you need the chain to stay in one place for the cutting line, to the bar does exactly that - it allows the chain to …saw.

The ideal bar will guide the saw chain precisely with minimal friction losses. Together with the sprocket and the well-oiled chain, the properly chosen bar will translate the saw’s engine power into cutting performance with as little loss as possible.

A well-designed bar (and one that’s chosen according to how it should be used) will reduce the oil requirements of the chain, saving you money in the long run if you intend to be a regular chainsaw user.

One last feature of a chain bar is that it is symmetrical. In terms of science, these means the load forces can be spread somewhat evenly across the unit when in action but the reality of this is that you can use either side, meaning there’s one less thing to be concerned with when assembling the bar to the unit and tightening the chain.

But if you are just here to find out what the best replacement bar is, there's pretty much two real choices which you really won't regret.

Oregan is the hot name in bars and other chainsaw parts across the world. Many branded saws will come with Oregon bars, such is their renown. If your chainsaw came with an Oregan bar, you should simply replace 'like for like'. It will fit your Husqvarna, Craftsman or Poulan saw with no complaints.

best oregon bar replacement

Perhaps the most famous brand name in the world is Stihl - and facts are facts, they are the only chainsaw brand the still makes their own components in house - in factories they control. From an economic point of view, one could argue this is madness as Stihl could outsource to a reputable company in Japan or China, get their units mass-produced at a cheaper rate.

But no, Stihl as a brand wears this cost because they know they have a quality brand and to protect its integrity, they will make their gear themselves to keep it that way.

Which means you can trust Stihl products to do what you ask of them.

So if you're in the market for a Stihl guide bar, have a look at the options on Amazon.

Stihl bars will work on all kinds of saws - Homelite, Echo and John Deere. Pretty much anything because they set the standard.

Length matters

The first thing to consider when thinking of buying a replacement bar is the length of the bar.

First up, you probably should replace like with like, especially as your engine is usually designed with the bar and the intended use activity around the bar. The bigger your engine, the bigger the bar you can use.

If you place a bar on your engine that is too long, you may find the saw performs so poorly it cannot cut wood.

Electric chainsaws do not have the same kind of power as a gas-powered engine (though they will still cut through your chaps) so most electric saws will only ever have a bar that's 18 inches or less.

And the end of the day, the casual chainsaw user should really replace the bar with one of the same length and shape as the original bar. This way you won't have to worry about efficiency and your machine should perform as it did the day you first used it.

Solid or a laminated chainsaw bar?

Weight also becomes an important factor, the lighter the bar, the more you can lift. The flip side is a heavier blade can endure more stress.

Whether a bar is light or heavy depends on how it is designed and there are several methods to their manufacture

Whereas solid bars are made from one solid piece of steel, laminated bars are made by joining two steel rails with a steel core and a sprocket between them. What solid bars offer in sheer strength, laminated bars offer in higher flexibility.

What is a rollomatic chain bar?

rollomatic stihl bar guide replacementRollomatic is simply a trademark that Stihl has for their 'super guide bar'. A Rollomatic bar is described by still as a 'solid-machined bar made of high-grade steel with the groove milled out and a replaceable sprocket nose assembly riveted in place.'

We know that a sprocket is the secret part of the bar that helps the chain kick around the bar well.

Especially when you really get into the technology and practical design of it - the Rollomatic sprocket allows for the bar's nose to be made considerably narrower than standard bars. This is a great innovation for when the bar's nose will be commonly used for limbing and boring. The narrow nose will also help reduce kickback tendencies.

What is a duromatic chain bar?

Again, duromatic is a trademark for Stihl and is intended for use in extreme conditions such as construction or by rescue services. They do not have sprockets (and thus referred to as 'hard nose') and are made from strong steel - they are thus fairly rugged and perhaps not ideal for regular use chopping trees or limbing.

Duromatic bars will get hotter faster than bars with a sprocket tip and the chain will likely stretch more than it would with a sprocket.

What is the best Oregon bar replacement for a Stihl chainsaw? 

This could not be a more tailored question about the relationship between two brands, could it?

It's probably lost on the average woodcutter but Stihl is the only chainsaw manufacturer to make the saw chains and guide bars in-house as well as the engine units in their own production factories.

This means that all the saw's components work together perfectly which of course translates into good cutting performance.

But when that bar dies, instead of following the brand loyalty (and why should you if you want something else a bit cheaper) the world is your oyster when it comes to replacing the bar. The truth is that Oregon bars, for all their renown worldwide as a quality product and a genuine brand name in their own right, is simply just a little bit cheaper than the OEM replacement part.

So, Stihl users like to buy quality replacement parts for their quality product and that often leads to the Oregon brand.

How do I match my Husqvarna chainsaw to the right bar and chain?

If you are unsure of what you have on your machine, you can match your model name to the right bar length. pitch and gauge by using this handy guide.

How do I fix a seized chain bar sprocket?

worn chain bar sprocket
A worn but useable chainbar / sprocket
Jamming your bar's sprocket can be quite an annoying thing - especially if you are in the middle of a day's work chopping up wood. 

First up, the damage may not be physical, It could we be that there's some wood debris that's become caught and thus is the cause of the jammed sprocket.

In such a case, you should be able to clean the debris out with some pressure by way of something like a screwdriver.

If you have a clamp, you would ideally secure the bar and then you can apply some pressure on the sprocket to try and it get it to turn. You can use a clamp or pliers to pull out chips too. 

Another idea is to soak the tip f the bar in kerosene or mineral spirits to dissolve the old grease, bar oil, and loosen any muck. Regrease the sprocket once you get it moving again.

If you're onsite, you can try and drag the chain on wood to help force the sprocket to spin. 

If the guide rails have been pinched together, this could prevent the sprocket from performing as needed. You may be able to cautiously pry them back into their normal position using a screwdriver or similar tool. 

You can lengthen the life of your sprocket by including it in your maintenance regime. Properly sharpening and maintain the chain and ensuring it is fitted properly will mean it aligns with the spaces between the teeth of the sprocket that will reduce wear.  Correct use of the saw i.e. do not do repeated jerky throttle motions but rather using smooth throttle transitions will also help.

Some bars also have a hole in which you can add grease to the sprocket. Stihl bars do not have such holes.

Get some expert guidance here

If your sprocket is actually damaged, you'll need to consider a replacement bar. 
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