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

Monday, December 3, 2018
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


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 engine oil as it is not designed to 'stick' to a chain.

Do not use recycled motor engine oil as it is a used product which will have metal pieces in it.

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 Company is known for making the most reliable and durable products to take care of a multitude of your 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.

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 poring 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 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.

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