How Loose Should a Chainsaw Chain Be?

If you’ve ever used a chainsaw, you know how important it is to have the chain tension just right. The chain might start sagging and coming off the bar if it is too loose. If it is too tight, the saw will vibrate excessively, potentially causing damage to the saw and making it difficult to use. 

And let’s not forget the added risk of injury to the operator! Adjusting the chain tension might seem like a small detail, but it’s crucial for your chainsaw’s safe and effective operation. So, how loose should a chainsaw chain be, exactly? Keep reading to find out!

How do I adjust the tension on a chainsaw chain?

Adjusting the tension on a chainsaw chain is important to ensure the saw runs safely and efficiently. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the tension of a chainsaw chain:

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Gather the necessary tools:

To adjust the tension of a chainsaw chain, you will need a bar wrench (also called a bar clamp or bar tensioner) and a pair of gloves for protection.

Turn off the saw and remove the spark plug wire:

Before adjusting the chain’s tension, ensure the chainsaw is turned off and the spark plug wire is removed. This will prevent the saw from starting unexpectedly while you work on it.

Locate the bar tensioning screw:

The bar tensioning screw is usually located near the front of the chainsaw bar. It is used to adjust the tension of the chain.

Tighten the chain with the bar wrench:

Use the bar wrench to turn the bar tensioning screw clockwise to tighten the chain. Be sure to tighten the chain until it is snug, but do not overtighten it, as this can cause damage to the chainsaw.

Test the tension:

To test the chain’s tension, lift the bar and check if the chain sags or droops. If the chain sags or droops, it is too loose and needs to be tightened further. If the chain is too tight, it will cause the saw to vibrate excessively and may cause the bar to bend or break.

It is recommended to check and adjust the tension of the chainsaw chain before every use.

The table on how to adjust the tension of a chainsaw chain

StepAction
1Gather the necessary tools (bar wrench and gloves)
2Turn off the saw and remove the spark plug wire
3Locate the bar tensioning screw
4Tighten the chain with the bar wrench
5Test the tension of the chain
how loose should a chainsaw chain be

How do I know if my chainsaw chain is tight enough?

To determine if your chainsaw chain is tight enough, you can perform the following steps:

  1. Turn off the saw and remove the spark plug wire: Make sure the chainsaw is turned off, and the spark plug wire is removed before adjusting the tension of the chain.
  2. Lift the bar: Lift the chainsaw bar and check if the chain sags or droops. If the chain sags or droops, it is too loose and needs to be tightened further.
  3. Test the tension: Start the chainsaw and let it run for a few seconds. If the chain is vibrating excessively or making unusual noises, it may be too tight and needs to be loosened.
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What are the consequences of having a loose chainsaw chain?

Having a loose chainsaw chain can have several consequences, including:

  1. Reduced cutting efficiency: A loose chainsaw chain will not cut as effectively as a properly tightened chain. This can make cutting tasks take longer and require more effort.
  2. Increased risk of kickback: A loose chainsaw chain is more prone to kickback, which is a sudden and powerful reaction of the chainsaw when the tip of the guide bar touches an object. Kickback can cause the chainsaw to fly back toward the operator and can result in serious injury.
  3. Increased wear and tear on the chainsaw: A loose chainsaw chain will put additional strain on the chainsaw’s drive system, which can cause premature wear and failure of components such as the sprocket and bar.
  4. Increased risk of the chain coming off: A loose chainsaw chain is more likely to come off the bar or break during use, which can be dangerous and cause damage to the chainsaw and the surrounding area.

How to Tension a Chainsaw Chain?

FAQ (Frequently asked questions)

How often should I check and adjust the tension of my chainsaw chain?

It is recommended to check the tension of the chainsaw chain before every use. If the chain becomes loose during use, stop the saw and adjust the tension as needed.

What happens if I need to adjust the tension of my chainsaw chain correctly?

How often should I lubricate my chainsaw chain?

It is recommended to lubricate the chainsaw chain every few uses or at least once per day if the saw is being used extensively.

How do I sharpen a chainsaw chain?

To sharpen a chainsaw chain, you will need a round file that is the same diameter as the cutting teeth on the chain, a file guide, and a pair of gloves for protection.

1. First, ensure the chainsaw is turned off, and the spark plug wire is removed.

2. Then, locate the cutting teeth on the chain and use the file guide to ensure the file is at the correct angle for sharpening.

3. Use the file to sharpen each cutting tooth by moving forward and backward. Be sure to file all the teeth evenly to ensure proper balance.

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