How to measure roller chain – Ultimate Guide 2022

 In the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci sketched a chain with a roller bearing. In 1800, James Fussell patented a roller chain for the development of his balance lock, and in the same century, Hans Renold patented a bush roller chain.

Now the question is what is a roller chain? Have you ever encountered problems while measuring a roller chain? Look no further because in this article you’ll be delivered the exact guideline of how to measure a roller chain.  

What is a Roller Chain?

Roller chain or bush roller chain is the type of chain drive most commonly used for transmission of mechanical power on many kinds of domestic, industrial, and agricultural machinery, including conveyors, wire and tube drawing machines, printing presses, cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

It consists of a series of short cylindrical rollers held together by side links. It’s driven by a toothed wheel called a sprocket. this is used in power transmission applications because it is simple, reliable, and efficient.

How to measure roller chain

Advantages of Roller Chain

  •   Drive efficiency: Roller chains provide an ideal transmission of power with an exact speed ratio. Throughout the entire working life, there is no power loss through friction or slippage.
  •   Durability: Roller chains are comparatively light in weight. They embody great strength. The elasticity of chains absorbs shock and vibration, thereby protecting other machine components.
  •   Flexibility: Roller chains are well suited to a broad range of operating conditions, short or long shaft center distances, multiple shaft drives, slow or fast speeds, light or heavy loads, and frequent starts and stops.
  •   Economy: Roller chains offer maximum operating advantages at minimum cost. They are also easily removed and maintained. These qualities, combined with precision manufacturing, provide trouble-free service.

Disadvantages of Roller Chain

There are many disadvantages of a roller chain and in this section we are going to provide you with a list of the essential ones. They are –

  •   Need lubrication and therefore can be messy.
  •   Dangerous!
  •   Noisier than a belt.
  •   Does not provide a constant velocity ratio during mesh like a gear.

Types of Roller Chains:

There are various types of roller chains. For instance they can be categorized as: –

  •   Single strand roller chain
  •   Double strand roller chain
  •   Triple strand roller chain
  •   Four strand roller chain
  •   Five strand roller chain
  •   Six strand roller chain
  •   Eight strand roller chain
  •   Ten strand roller chain
  •   Twelve strand roller chain
  •   Single strand heavy-duty roller chain
  •   Double strand heavy roller chain
  •   Double pitch conveyor type chain
  •   Double pitch carrier type chain
  •   Double pitch drive type chain
  •   Double pitch duplex conveyor type chain
  •   Double pitch duplex carrier type chain

Components of roller chain and how to measure each one of them 

The easiest way of course is if you have access to the box or package that it came in you. Look at the side of it. It’s going to give us a number and the number tells us exactly what kind of chain you have.

Roller chains have 4 components to measure.

  • Pitch: Chain size is determined by the chain pitch. Pitch refers to the measurement from one roller pin center to the next roller pin center. For measuring pitch we can use a caliper. Caliper is one of the most popular and efficient tools. We have to put the caliper between the two pin centers and then record the number carefully.
  • Roller width and diameter: Just measure the inside width of the inner side plates. Then the diameter of the roller. Using the caliper we can find out the exact number and have to record it for our final goal.
  • Plate height and thickness: Now we are going to measure the plate height and thickness. You can measure either the inside plate height or the outside plate height. Both measurements should match. If your roller chain has inside and outside plates that differ in height this could be an indication of a non-standard roller chain.
  • Pin diameter: Some roller chains will have non-standard pin diameters. The pin diameter is a vital measurement. So we have to measure this pin diameter carefully.


In this modern era roller chains are one of the most useful and efficient tools. If you want to measure your roller chain, it’s not so hard. It is very easy with a caliper. You just have to know the components. Then measure it. I hope this article has provided you with all the necessary information about roller chains. Now you can go freely and measure roller chains without any hassle.  Thank you for reading till the end. Happy measuring and have a good day ahead!

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