How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

Wondering if you need to tighten your chainsaw chain?

Whether you’ve been using chainsaws for many years or you’ve just recently purchased your very first one, one of the most commonly asked questions that many chainsaw users find themselves asking is how tight their chainsaw’s chain should be.

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

Even though there is a range of different chainsaws on the market that are each designed to serve various different purposes, one of the biggest safety hazards comes from a lack of proper chainsaw tension, and this is why it is so important to make sure that the chainsaw’s chain is optimally tight.

If you aren’t too sure how tight your chain should be – rest assured that you’ve clicked on the right article.

Below, not only are we going to be taking a closer look at how tight a chainsaw chain should be, but we are also going to be talking you through how to tighten a chainsaw chain, too.

Let’s jump in!

Why Is A Tight Chainsaw Chain Important?

When a chainsaw is used, the chainsaw chain can begin to become stretched from the force, and this can cause the chain to become loose – which is not only a safety hazard but will prevent the chainsaw from being able to work correctly.

When the chain of a chainsaw starts to become loose and is left unchecked, it can mean that there will be a greater risk of the chain popping off the bar while in use, and this can potentially lead to a serious injury to the user.

For this reason alone, it is very important that a chainsaw is regularly checked in-between uses to make sure that the chain is optimally tight.

This is because, when the chain is tight, there will be little risk of the chain popping off while it is being used, which means that the chainsaw will be safe to use.

This is due to the fact that the tightness of the chain will be able to provide proper tension to the chainsaw while it is being used.

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

Now that you know why it is so important to make sure that the chainsaw chain is kept optimally tight, you might now be wondering how tight your chainsaw’s chain should be, exactly.

To help you understand this better, we are going to be breaking down the differences between good and bad tension below:

Good Chainsaw Chain Tension

Good Chainsaw Chain Tension

If a chainsaw’s chain is optimally tight and providing the right amount of tension, then the chain should be a little bit loose across the chainsaw’s guide bar, but tight enough to ensure that the drive links do not come out of the chainsaw’s bar nose.

This should be pretty easy to check, but if you’re not too sure whether or not your chainsaw’s chain has good tension, then we recommend gently tugging on the chain (while the chainsaw is turned off) to see if the drive links are securely fastened or if they are moving.

If they do not move when you tug on the chain, then this means that the chain is optimally tight and has the proper tension.

Bad Chainsaw Chain Tension

If a chainsaw’s chain is not tightened enough and is lacking optimal tension, then this should be pretty easy to spot, as the chain will more than likely look to be very loose.

Still, if you want to double check just to confirm, then we again recommend that you gently tug on the chainsaw’s chain while it is turned off.

If you can see that the drive links move around while you are tugging on the chain, then this is a surefire sign that the chainsaw’s chain is too loose, lacking tension and needs to be tightened up.

This brings us to our next point.

How To Tighten A Chainsaw Chain

If you have never tightened a chainsaw chain before, then the good news is that it’s relatively simple to do, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Still, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing it correctly to prevent injury or damage to the chainsaw, which is why we recommend that you follow the steps below:

  • Loosen the bolts on the guide bar: To begin, start by loosening the bolts on the guide bar, as this will allow you to have enough room to make the necessary adjustments to the chain.
  • Locate the tension adjustment screws: With your screw in hand, locate the tension adjustment screws so that you will be able to correctly tighten up your chainsaw chain. Once you have located the screws, you can then proceed to begin tightening the chain to the desired tension level. If you over-tighten it, simply twist the screw the opposite way to loosen it.
  • Re-tighten the guide bar: After you have tightened the chain, simply re-tighten the guide bar and it will be ready for use.

Wrapping Up

To sum up all of the above, even despite the fact that optimum chain tightness levels can vary from model to model, it’s important to remember that a correctly tensioned chainsaw chain should always have a small amount of looseness across the bar.

However, at the same time, it needs to be tight enough so that the drive links won’t be able to fall out while the chainsaw is in use.

Needless to say, by making sure that you are following the guidance that we have provided you with above, you should find that you are able to correctly ensure that your chain is maintained at the optimum tightness range.

Of course, we also recommend that you refer to your owner’s manual, as in it you will find relevant information on how tight your particular chainsaw’s chain should be, as well as how to correctly tighten it.

Thank you for reading.

See also: How To Tighten Chainsaw Chain?

About the Author David Vieria

David has been a woodworker for most of his life — in his dad’s cabinet shop. After using the tools himself, he decided to share it his woodworking and power tools knowledge with DIYers. Read more about him

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