The 6 Best Chainsaw Bar Oils for Lubrication

Prevent premature wear and damage

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Chainsaw bar oil is a necessary component to operating your chainsaw at peak efficiency and with safety in mind. The oil lubricates the bar and chain, preventing premature wear and possible derailing of the chain. 

Choose from a conventional petroleum-based formula or a biodegradable oil made from vegetable oils. In either case, a good chainsaw oil includes additives to prevent corrosion, reduce the build-up of debris, and in some cases, increase tackiness. Be sure to choose the right weight of oil for the season, since the viscosity of the oil used will differ when temperatures are very cold or very hot. Finally, buy a bottle that is big enough to keep your chain lubricated through the entire job (or season).

Here, the best chainsaw bar oils to buy.

Our Top Picks
In This Article

Best Overall: Husqvarna Bar & Chain Oil, Quart

4.5
Gallon Chain Saw Bar/Chain Oil

 Courtesy of Amazon

Husqvarna makes one of the most popular bar and chain oils, no matter which brand of chainsaw you own. This bar oil is the best overall option in any type of weather, thanks to a carefully blended formula with enough tackiness to prevent excessive throw-off. 

Recommended by nearly every reviewer, this chainsaw blade is reported to run smoothly and resist the tendency to become gummy and gritty like other inferior oil blends. People also find that it maintains suitable viscosity even in the heat, thereby maintaining its effectiveness in reducing friction and wear on your chainsaw bar and components. 

This top chainsaw bar oil is a good option if you frequently tackle large or small cutting projects. People have also used it with success on gas and electric chainsaws alike. 

Best Budget: Poulan Pro Bar & Chain Oil

Poulan Pro Bar & Chain Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

For an affordable chainsaw bar oil, check out the Poulan Pro Bar & Chain Oil. Originally developed with the logging industry in mind, this tacky bar oil will keep your chain coated and operating smoothly even under heat and friction. 

Users commonly find the Poulan Pro Bar Oil to be tackier than expected. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, as it holds well to the bar and chain. However, it may not be the most ideal winter bar oil for this reason. Thinner oil in winter will assist the blade oil in circulating and staying lubricated.

Unlike some other varieties of chainsaw bar oil, this formula doesn’t smoke according to users. Despite being inexpensive, this oil from Poulan Pro is often described as effective. Thanks to its high viscosity and minimal throw-off, you’ll get plenty of use out of this 1-gallon bottle of chainsaw blade oil. 

Best for Summer: MAXPOWER Bar & Chain Oil

MAXPOWER Bar & Chain Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

As summer temperatures rise, you may want to consider a thin and free-flowing chainsaw bar oil. The challenge is to find one with enough tackiness to prevent excessive throw-off. Maxpower’s Bar and Chain Oil is a worthwhile option that flows well while clinging to the chain.

Blended from 100 percent virgin oil, this blade oil is recommended by the manufacturer for all types of chainsaws and has been used with success on both electric and gas models. The anti-wear additives assist in extending the life of the blade and chain. 

Keep in mind that the thinner oil may mean more frequent re-oiling is required. Some users found this to be the case, with one person reporting the need to fill up the blade oil reservoir about once per hour. However, the smooth operation and lack of chain stutter more than made up for the need to lubricate more often than some may expect. Others said that while the oil initially seemed too thin, they found it to be just right with use.

Best for Winter: Stihl Winter Grade Bar and Chain Lubricant

Stihl Winter Grade Bar and Chain Lubricant

Courtesy of Amazon

Cold temperatures can take a toll on your equipment, and you want to make sure that your chainsaw bar oil will flow freely in winter weather. Stihl’s Winter Grade Bar and Chain Lubricant is our top recommendation for a winter chainsaw bar oil. 

Developed with winter weather in mind, this formula of bar oil does flow better and coat the bar well even on extremely cold days, according to users. Like other types of chainsaw bar oil, this one will keep your bar and chain lubricated to prevent dulling or damage. This means you can cut with confidence even in winter weather

While this bar and chain oil for winter weather is a good choice, people do report switching back to a higher viscosity bar oil once the temperatures start to rise.

Best for Cordless Chainsaws: Oregon Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil

Oregon Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil

Amazon

If you have an electric or cordless chainsaw, consider the Oregon Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil. This oil has been formulated to help you maximize engine power by reducing friction on the chain and it’s thinner than many other oils on the market. 

Cordless chainsaws often have reduced horsepower compared to gas-powered models and smaller bars. The thinner formula of the Oregon Bar & Chain Oil is reported to be a good match for the power and size of this type of chainsaw. And while the manufacturer describes the formula as being extra tacky, some users felt the feel of the oil was thinner than expected. Even still, most people found it to adhere well to the bar without excessive throw-off.

By keeping your bar and chain well-lubricated, you’ll reduce friction during cutting operations and reduce the strain on the motor. This preserves the life of the motor and chain but can also increase run times.

Best Biodegradable: NV Earth Biodegradable Bar & Chain Oil

NV Earth Biodegradable Bar & Chain Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

It’s inevitable that some chainsaw bar oil ends up in the environment or on the operator, so many people are searching for more eco-friendly chainsaw oils. The NV Earth Biodegradable Bar & Chain Oil is a popular choice that poses no harm to plants, animals, or people.

This biodegradable chainsaw oil is made from a blend of seed oils grown in the United States, according to the manufacturer. It’s often used by people that need to operate a chainsaw around a body of water or garden, in areas where pets or kids play, or by anyone that is interested in finding an eco-friendly chainsaw bar oil. 

While some users report that it doesn’t work quite as smoothly as conventional bar oils, the biodegradable aspect of the formula makes up for any shortcomings in performance. To maximize effectiveness and prevent gunk, the manufacturer directs you to clear your chainsaw of any petroleum-based blade oil before using this formula.

What to Look for

Formula

Chainsaw bar oils are either petroleum-based or bio-based (formulated using vegetable oil). In the course of using a chainsaw, oil sling is inevitable. This means that the ground and plants in the area you're working will absorb the oil. For this reason, environmental regulations require the use of vegetable-based, biodegradable chainsaw oils in some locations. Even in areas where it's not mandated, some homeowners prefer to use bio-based chainsaw oil.

Oil Weight

Similar to motor oil, chainsaw bar oil is available in various weights. The lightest oil is a 10W formula, while thicker oil may be up to 50W. A 30W chainsaw bar oil is generally considered standard for warm weather usage.

However, you'll notice that most chainsaw bar oil manufacturers don't categorize oil according to weight. Instead, you'll see chainsaw bar oil formulas listed as 'Winter', 'Summer', or 'All-Season.' Chainsaw bar oil for winter is usually 10W. Very hot temperatures may call for a thicker chainsaw oil, in the 40W to 50W range.

Additives

Most formulas of chainsaw oil contain additives. These additives may have a variety of functions, but they're most commonly used to prevent rust and corrosion and to increase tackiness, which reduces sling so you don't have to refill the oil reservoir as often. Other additives keep the oil 'slippery' enough to prevent sap and debris from accumulating in the chain.

Size

Chainsaw bar oil is typically sold in quart-size or gallon-size bottles. When deciding which size to buy, keep in mind that you'll need to regularly use the oil as you operate your chainsaw. Unlike engine oil that lasts for an extended period of time, chainsaw bar oil requires re-application.

FAQ
  • What is chainsaw bar oil?

    Chainsaw bar oil is lubricant that is designed to reduce friction between the chain and bar. An oil reservoir releases the oil onto the bar. It's picked up by the chain as it travels around the bar and then flung off in tiny droplets as the machine runs.

  • How much bar oil should a chainsaw use?

    For each tank of fuel, your chainsaw should use at least half, if not all, of the bar oil in the reservoir. If you run out of bar oil before gas, then you should increase the flow of oil from the reservoir.

  • What viscosity is chainsaw bar oil?

    The viscosity of chainsaw bar oil can vary depending on the formula but 30W is standard. In cold weather, a thin 10W chainsaw oil may be advantageous, while very hot temperatures may require a much thicker 40W or 50W formula.