Late last summer I switched from a Husqvarna Model 55 with an 18-inch bar to a 346xp with a 16-incher. This summer I've noticed that my chain stays a lot sharper and I don't hit rocks and other other chain-dulling obstacles like I always did with the 18-inch bar, even though I was trying pretty hard not to. On the drive home today, it occurred to me that the shorter bar is probably what's making the difference. Since I do most of my cutting out in the woods where there are all kinds of moss-covered rocks and boulders, I think that extra two inches was getting my chain into harm's way a lot more than the shorter one does. The 346 is also a much lighter, more powerful saw, so that probably means more control on my part. But man, I gotta tell you, having a reliably sharp chain makes a huge difference in my workload. And it's much easier on the saw, too. I'm thinking about getting a 13-incher. You do get more power with a shorter bar. The bottom line is (and has always been): Use the shortest bar you can get away with. Better to have the occasional tree be wider than your bar length than it is to be walking around trying to cut wood with a dull chain.