How Tight Should the Chain be on a Chainsaw? – What is the Proper Chain Tightness?

Chain tension is one of the most important factors in having a smooth-running, efficient, and quiet saw. A chain that is too loose will wear out very quickly, cause the chain to bounce around, and cause the instrument to be extremely loud.

How Tight Should the Chain be on a Chainsaw?
The best way to check it is to grab the drive links (the part of the chain that engages with the sprocket) and ensure that they are tight enough so that you can’t pull the drive links out of the bar nose. If they come out easily, then the chain is too loose. If you can’t pull them out at all, then the chain is too tight. The ideal tension is somewhere in between, where the drive links are snug but not too tight.

A chain that is too tight will cause the chain to wear out very quickly, have problems cutting, and have a huge amount of vibration.

This article will explain how tight should the chain be on a chainsaw and show you the correct way to adjust it.

Why is Proper Chainsaw Tension Important?


The chain is a critical component of a chainsaw. It is the part of the power tool that does the cutting, and it must be kept sharp. It is important to keep the chain tight on the bar so it does not slip while the tool is in use.

If you have a loose chainsaw chain, it will fall off while the engine is running and cause injury. If it is too tight, the chain may not spin properly, and it will put unnecessary stress on the motor.

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be?

The chain should be tight enough to cut the wood without the chain moving up and down on the bar. If it can wiggle side to side, you should tighten it up.

The perfect chainsaw chain tension is when you can lift up the chain, and after you let go of the chain, it will snap back into place without swaying left or right.

How to Test the Tension?

Apart from the “snap test” described above, you can also test the tension by using a gauge that measures the distance between the cutting and non-cutting edges of the chain.

Another way is to pull the chain gently away from the bar with your hand. If it is too loose, the chain will move freely. If it is too tight, it will be hard to pull away. The correct tension will be somewhere in between.

When you pull, the chain should have a little “give”, but should not come completely clear of the bar groove. In this case, the chain is properly tensioned.

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain?

Black and orange chainsaw in the forest

Chainsaws are used for a variety of jobs around the house and in the yard. From cutting down small trees to pruning and cutting firewood, a chainsaw will make the job easier and save your back and energy.

Chainsaws require regular maintenance and sharpening in order to work properly and safely.

Step 1: Find the chain adjustment screw

The location of adjustment screws can vary from chainsaw to chainsaw, but they are typically located on either the side or front of the saw. Most models have a chainsaw tension screw that turns a screw that is connected to a link.

The other end of that link is connected to a spring, which will then push the chain against the side of the guide bar. This is a general picture of how the adjustment screw works.

The screw can be turned counterclockwise to tighten the chain or clockwise to loosen it.

Step 2: Adjust the chain

To adjust the chain on your saw, turn the adjustment screw about a quarter turn at a time until it is tight enough to cut wood but loose enough to be able to move the guide bar.

While doing so, you should hold the guide bar with one hand to keep the chain from moving while you are making the adjustment. Lift the tip slightly up for more precise results.

Step 3: Test the chain

After you have completed the adjustment, test the chain to see if it is loose enough to move the guide bar. Make use of one of the methods described above.


Bosch Chainsaw

Read this section if you want to know more about chainsaw maintenance.

How to put a chain on a chainsaw?

To install a chain on a saw, first, use the chainsaw file to make sure the bar and chain are sharp. Then, loosen the bolt on the bar, remove the chain, and place the new one on the bar. Adjust it to make sure it’s centered, then tighten the bar bolt.

How do I sharpen a chainsaw?

There are several methods to sharpen a chainsaw, you can take it to a shop, use a saw grinder, or do it yourself with a file. You can also purchase an electric chainsaw sharpener, which is easy to use.

You can find tutorials on our website.

How often should I adjust the chain tension?

In general, you should adjust the tension each time you use the chainsaw. As the chain gets worn, the tension will need to be adjusted so that it does not get loose. A loose chain will bounce around, flail about, and dig into the wood. This will also cause the chain to get hot and eventually break.

My chain is too tight, how do I adjust it?

If the chain is too tight, you will need to loosen it by turning the adjusting nut on the bar clockwise. If you can not turn the adjusting nut all the way, try loosening the screw on the side of the bar that holds the chain tight.

What if the chainsaw tension screw is not working?

It is important to identify this problem as soon as possible to avoid potential damage to the chainsaw. You may need to replace the tension spring.

Is installing a chainsaw blade possible?

Yes, it is possible to put a chainsaw blade backward. However, the saw will not work properly and will be very dangerous.

Wrapping Up

Now you know how tight to set the chain on your saw. I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Happy chainsawing!

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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