How to Measure Chain Size
16th Apr 2024

Accurately measuring the size of a chain is vital when it comes to selecting and replacing roller chains. Whether you’re working with roller chains for your machinery or just curious about the process, we’ve got you covered! 

So, how do you measure chain size? To measure chain size you need to identify the type of chain to be used, locate a straight section of the chain, and measure the pitch, roller width, and link plate thickness.

Let’s get into the details!

Why Measuring Chain Size Matters

Roller chains are precision-engineered components.  Each chain size, identified by a specific code, dictates crucial dimensions like pitch, roller width, and link plate thickness.

Using an incorrectly sized chain can lead to a cascade of problems such as premature wear, reduced efficiency, and chain breakage. Therefore, accurate chain size measurement is paramount to ensure smooth operation, extended chain life, and optimal power transmission.

What You’ll Need:

To measure chain size effectively, you’ll need a few basic tools:

  • Calipers: This is the most accurate way to measure the key chain dimensions. A digital caliper with both metric and imperial units is ideal for versatility.
  • Ruler or Tape Measure: While not as precise as calipers, a ruler or tape measure can be used as a backup if calipers are unavailable.

Optional, but helpful tools are:

  • Chain Wear Gauge: This tool helps assess chain elongation, which indicates wear and tear. A worn chain may require replacement even if the base measurements seem correct.
  • Master Link Removal Tool (if applicable): If your chain has a master link, you might need a specific tool to remove it temporarily for easier measurement.

Measuring Roller Chain Dimensions:

Now that you have the necessary tools, let’s delve into the steps of measuring chain size:

Identify the Chain Type

Familiarize yourself with the type of chain you’re measuring. Most roller chains will have a code stamped on the outer link plate that denotes the size. However, if the code is worn or missing, measurement becomes necessary.

Locate a Straight Section of the Chain

Choose a section of the chain that is free of twists or bends for accurate measurements.

Measure the Pitch

Using your calipers, carefully measure the distance between the center of one roller pin to the center of the next roller pin in line.

Measure the Roller Width

Open the caliper jaws and measure the width of the roller itself, between the two side plates. Make sure to measure at the widest point of the roller.

Measure the Link Plate Thickness (Optional)

For some applications, knowing the link plate thickness might be important. Use the calipers to measure the thickness of a single link plate from one flat side to the other.

Have any questions about roller chains or need help finding the right one for you? Contact our team today!

Article Sources
The Universal Chains uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Our commitment to accuracy and reliability ensures that readers receive well-researched information they can trust.