How Do I Measure Roller Chain?

Single Strand Roller ChainWith the multitude of applications for industrial roller chain, its no surprise that it is available in many types, shapes, and sizes. Here at MDS, we offer double pitch, double strand, single strand, stainless steel, and heavy roller chain.

First, lets clarify what you’re looking for. If you know the chain size but are unsure of its dimensions, you can either use a chain dimensions chart or you can measure it yourself. If you have a chain on hand but are unsure of the size so that you can order more, you will need to measure the dimensions and then use a dimensions chart to locate the correct size.

Measuring Roller Chain

Before we begin, save yourself some trouble and take a good look at the chain. Oftentimes you will find the size stamped on the side of the plate; you may have to clean off some dirt and grease to see it.

Not seeing it? Well, that would be too easy. You will have to measure the roller chain using a caliper and then locate those dimensions on a chart to find the size to order. You will be looking for the chain pitch, roller width, roller diameter, plate height, and plate thickness.

Chain Pitch

To find the chain pitch, you’re looking for the distance between the center of two pins. For larger chains you might be able to find this using a ruler or tape measurer, but a caliper is always your best bet.

Roller Width

The roller is the cylindrical component in between the two plates of the link, through which is the pin. Use the caliper to measure the distance from both ends of the roller, which should extend to the inside of both plates.

Roller Diameter

The roller diameter is essentially the thickness of the cylinder. Slide the caliper against the rounded sides of the roller to determine the diameter.

Plate Height

Each roller chain link has plates on either side. These plates can either be straight (sometimes known as a straight sidebar) or curved (often referred to as a figure-8 sidebar). Lay the chain flat on a table so that the rollers are visible from the top. Looking at the chain from the side, simply measure from the top of the plate to the bottom to determine the height. For a figure-8 plate, measure at the or tallest part surrounding the pin.

Plate Thickness

Keeping the chain flat with the rollers facing up, to find the plate thickness you will be measuring the width of the plate. This is where a caliper is very important as thicknesses can range from 0.03” to 0.218” with plenty of outliers.

Now that you have your roller chain dimensions, simply find them on this chart to locate your roller chain size and order online.