How To Tell If A Chainsaw Chain Is Worn Out

Chainsaws are one of the most useful tools you can find in a shed. There’s so much that can be done with a chainsaw, including cutting of trees, stumps removal, bush pruning, branch trimming, etc. But as powerful and useful a chainsaw is, its real power is the sharpness of the chain.

There are not a lot of persons who know how to tell if a chainsaw chain is worn out. A worn-out chainsaw chain will show a couple of signs with which you can tell when it is worn out and need replacing or sharpening. Signs like inefficiency in cutting, smoking, etc.

If your chainsaw chain is not sharp, wood cutting will be really hard, inefficient, and very dangerous. As a matter of fact, your saw will have no more value if the chain is blunt. This means that working will be near impossible if you do not have your blunt chain sharpened or replaced.

No matter how durable a chainsaw chain is promised to be, soon, it will begin to get blunt/dull and would need sharpening or replacement. Every time a chainsaw is used, the chain gets less and less sharp and sooner or later, you’ll need to take some action in fixing that.

But the question is, do you know how to tell if a chainsaw chain is worn out? Do not be wary, for in this article you’ll find out exactly how you can tell when you need to have your chainsaw chain sharpened or replaced.


How To Tell If A Chainsaw Chain Is Worn Out- Signs To Look For

A chainsaw will not tell you when it’s chain needs replacing or sharpening. However, it can give you signs and you have to keep an eye out for when the warning signals begin to go off.

Below are some of the signs with which you can tell when your chain is worn out.


Inefficiency In Cutting Performance

A sharp chainsaw can cut through just about anything with ease. When a chainsaw chain is sharp, it cuts straight through the focused object cleanly. But when the chainsaw chain is worn out, it begins to cut in an uneven and crooked manner. You’ll also find yourself having to apply a lot of pressure on the tool in order to be able to make any kind of progress.

When this happens, you know it is time to have the chain sharpened. Sharpening the chain will get it working again for a time before you’ll have to sharpen it again. But replacing the chain might be the best idea, especially if you have been using that particular chain for a long while.


Chainsaws can handle friction pretty well due to the fact that it was created to handle heavy tasks. The chainsaw is supposed to perform tasks smoothly. So if the parts have been properly lubricated and the tension is adjusted perfectly but somehow, the chainsaw begins to smoke when being used then you must know that something is wrong.

The smoke is a clear sign that the chainsaw is heating up pretty badly and causing much friction. It also shows that the chain teeth are dull and you will be putting yourself in danger if you do not fix what needs to be fixed( which in this case, is replacing or sharpening the chain). Not only is ignoring this dangerous, but it can also damage your chainsaw as well.

Difficulty In Positioning

You can easily position a chainsaw when its chain is sharp. However, when it is dull, it is very difficult to hold the saw in place while it cuts through wood. The saw will keep shaking and rattling and this raises some serious safety concerns. An accident could occur as a result of this, hence when you notice this sign, arrange for the chain to be sharpened or replaced immediately.How To Tell If A Chainsaw Chain Is Worn Out

Damaged Chain Teeth

Sometimes, chainsaw chains might get damaged or some tooth might go missing. This is not uncommon at all so you have to keep an eye out for this whenever you sharpen your chain.

If you notice missing or damaged teeth, then you must never use that chainsaw anymore until the chain has been replaced. This is because using the chainsaw in that state can be hazardous.

If a few teeth are missing from the chain but it is still sharp and in good shape, then you can still make use of the chainsaw for a while. But you should not rest easy as you will have to replace it soon in the future.


How Many Times Can A Chainsaw Chain Be Sharpened?

Chainsaws do a lot of work and after a while, they begin to wear down. The chain gets worn out and will need sharpening in order for the chainsaw to keep functioning efficiently. But while this is a solution, you should know that there are only a number of times you can sharpen a chainsaw before they have to be replaced.

There’s no specific number of time you can sharpen your chainsaw chain, but depending on how much work the saw does and how well you have been maintaining it, a chainsaw can be sharpened about 3 to 5 times before it needs to be replaced. Another thing to take into account is the kind of wood the chainsaw has been tackling.


Final Thoughts on How To Tell If A Chainsaw Chain Is Worn Out

A chainsaw chain lifespan is determined by diverse factors, for instance, the chain’s quality, the type of wood the chainsaw is used to cut, how well the bar and chain are being maintained, etc.

Sharpening your chainsaw chain is a good way to have it maintained and keep it durable for a long while. But the best way to ensure your chainsaw remains functional for the longest period of time and also ensure your safety is to have the chain replaced when you notice any of the signs listed above.

Remember, your safety is the most important. If you find that you are unable to change the chain by yourself, you should solicit the help of a friend or a professional