How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

If you’re new in handling chainsaws or have recently bought one, then you must have a lot of questions. How frequent you should sharpen your chainsaw, where to stand when using it and even how tight a chainsaw chain be. Truth be told though, a lot of problems can arise if you do not know how tight your chainsaw chain should be.

So if you have ever pondered the question, how tight should a chainsaw chain be, then we will answer the question in the article below. If you adjust a chainsaw chain wrongly, then it can end up being too tight or too loose. You should make sure it is adjusted properly because if it goes to the extreme (too tight or too loose), you will be putting yourself in danger and might ruin your chainsaw.

Chainsaws are easily one of the tools you will find in most garages or sheds. They are versatile and very useful in performing a lot of tasks. If you have been using chainsaws for a long time, then chances are that you know a whole lot about how they operate. You know a lot about safety precautions and what to do to maintain them. But the same might not be said for newbies.

I have detailed out everything you need to know about this question in the article. You can keep on reading to find out.

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

If you have looked for answers to this question in a few other places, chances are that you got different replies and opinions. This is because a lot of people (professionals mostly) believe that how tight a chainsaw chain is should depend on how the owners want it.

So, going forward in this article, you will find out that we have laid out two tests that will help you decide for yourself if your chain needs to be tightened or loosened.

So if you do not have one already, owning a chainsaw chain adjuster or a chain tensioner is a handy tool to have in your toolbox.



Is Your Chainsaw Chain Too Loose

There is an easy way to test if your chainsaw chain is too loose, and I call it the lift and release technique. Basically, what you do is to lift the chain from its bar, and then release it. Two things are bound to happen; either it snaps back into its place or it goes limp.

If it snaps back into its place then you don’t have to modify it because the tightness is perfect. But if it goes limp, it signifies that the chain is too loose and you need to tighten it up.

A different way to check if your chain is too loose is to pull it up from the metal bar and check how the drive links are positioned. When you have lifted the chain from the bar and you find out that the separation between the two is noticeable, it means your chain needs to be tighter.

It is extremely dangerous to have a loose chainsaw chain. More dangerous than when it’s too tight. This is because it could come off the metal bar when you’re using it and sling across the room. It puts you and anyone around you in danger. It will also wear down the chainsaw motor. So it is paramount your chain is properly tightened.

How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be? 1

Is Your Chainsaw Chain Too Tight

There are two ways with which you can test if your chainsaw chain is too tight. In both methods, you will have to pull the chain off the bar to check for its tension. If attempting to lift off the bar is difficult for you, then that’s a sure sign that the chain needs to be loosened because it is too tight.

If you somehow manage to lift the chain but most of the drive links are beneath the bar, then its an indication that the chain is tight and needs to be loosened a bit.

An extremely tight chain on your chainsaw can cause a considerable amount of damage to your saw. Your chainsaw will wear down really quickly because due to the added friction, the chain’s tightness will put too much strain on the motor.

This would mean you won’t enjoy using your chainsaw for long before you either have to make huge repairs or just get a new one.


There are reasons why general maintenance tools have to be maintained regularly. It is not only to ensure they are in proper condition, but also to prevent them from becoming hazardous to their users. Chainsaws are no different.

OREGON 4.8mm (3/16-Inch) Chain Sharpening and Bar...
  • Original starter kit for chain and bar maintenance
  • One assembled file holder for chain top plate maintenance
  • One assembled wooden handle and flat file and one depth gauge tool for chain depth gauge...

In fact, chainsaws are dangerous to use and could cause a lot of harm or damage to someone who operates it without sound knowledge on how to (and could even damage your chainsaw). You have to know when your chain needs adjustment so you can use your saw with ease.


Last update on 2023-05-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API