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How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be

Do you ever need to tighten the chainsaw chain? Then you probably find the task a little bit complicated. We are sure the question has gone through your mind “How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be”? If the chainsaw chain is not tight, it can come out anytime. A come-out chainsaw is risky for leading you to any serious injury. And if the chainsaw chain is very tight, it will grind with the chainsaw motor. This will damage the chainsaw. If you want to avoid this, you need to adjust your chainsaw chain. And the method is easy enough in ensuring the tightness of your chain. Well, in today’s article, you will easily learn about the process of chain adjusting of the chainsaw. Apart from discussing the main point, we will provide you some more important ideas in such a way that you will get a clear chain tightening method.

If you are searching for the answer to ‘how tight should a chainsaw chain be?’, then we are starting to discuss this. In short, the chainsaw chain should be “snap tight”.This term is called by professionals. It means that you can pull the chain while the drive links are exposed partially. But this is not voluntary for the guide bar. If you get the chain in the proper position, this will be snapping back into the place by pulling on. All of this may sound theoretical to you. But, there is an easy way for testing the chain tension, which we are outlining below.

Testing The Chain Tension

Two methods are available for testing the chain tension.

The Snap Test:

To do the “snap test”, smoothly pull the chain out of the bar, as much as it will move. Then, discharge the chain. If it is snapping snugly back into the place, then it is the right sign of perfect tension. If you won’t be able to pull this chain out of the bar, then the chain is very tight. Reversely, if you can pull the chain out of the bar, and it is going to the limp, then the chain is too loose. This test will be helpful, but the second test is more preferable:

The Pull Test:

This test is very effective and straightforward to use. To do the “pull test”, smoothly pull your chain out of the bar. Pull as much as you can do comfortably. While not losing the finger grip of the chain. You have to pull this chain lift out of the bar. Whereas this drive links won’t completely out of the groove of the bar. This means it is too loose. The drive links may pull out slightly. But their end portion will stay within the groove of the bar. This means it is too tight. If the test is revealing that the chain is too loose or too tight, then you will have to adjust this.

How To Make Tighter To The Chain Of Your Chainsaw?

You can easily adjust the chain’s tension by following these simple steps. Before starting, you have to perform 3 things:

  • Find out the tension screw.
  • Gather the proper tool.
  • Make tighter the chain.

Let’s discuss these steps in-depth:

Find Out The Tension Screw:

Depending on the model of the chainsaw, the location of the tensioning screw will be in several places.

The 3 locations are very common:

Side Panel: It is located between the bolts that are holding the guide bar in the right place.

Front Panel: This panel is located at the front of your chainsaw. The situation is on the right side of the guide bar and to the left side of the bucking pins.

Combined Tension System: Many new models have the “easy-tension” mechanism built-in. For this kind of chainsaw, rather than tightening your chain by the screw, you will get a combined handle that you can turn by your hand for adjusting the tension.

Gather The Proper Tool:

For most of the chainsaws, you have to use some proper tools. Scrench is one of them. But if the chainsaw was built-in under the “easy-tension” mechanism, then you probably don’t require any adjustment.

Make Tighter The Chain:

If you know the location of the tension screw, you can easily adjust the chain by using the correct wrench. Hold the tip of the nose of the guide bar by one hand and then revolve the tension screw with your other hand. Continue revolving this tension screw up to the drive links of the chain are hidden by this guide bar. In simple words, you have to tighten up to the chain links that are leveled by the guide bar.​Now you can adjust the chain tension. You should test this again by following these outlined methods above. By practicing, you can learn this properly.


So, this was a brief explanation about how tight should a chainsaw chain be. It is very easy to determine the correct tension of the chainsaw and tighten it correctly! A loose chain is always dangerous. Therefore, you should ensure to check the tension state before beginning your work. Also, always check this before storing it. And avoid excess tightening the chain because this will lead to the breakage. This is all for today, happy sawing!

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About Jose Wilson

Jose Wilson

Hi, I am Jose Wilson. I am an avid DIY woodworker. I love to try out new woodworking tools. In over 6 years I have tried several wood working tools including circular saws, table saws, chain saws, and jigsaw among the rest. My inspiration came from watching my dada work. I also learned that many people didn’t quite understand how to use these tools. Today, I have helped so many people to learn the use, benefits, and how these DIY woodworking tools operate. I have created a number of work-tools related posts, built websites, and developed social media pages. Follow me here to learn more.

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