How To Tighten Chainsaw Chain In 5 Easy Steps

an electrical chainsaw

Chainsaws are very powerful and effective tools that you can use when it comes to processing trees and wood for lumber or for firewood. But in order for them to work properly, they need to be maintained especially if they have been used continuously for several hours or kept idle for months.

In most cases, the chainsaws will have to be cleaned properly and the chainsaw blades will need to be sharpened from time to time. But if the wear and tear of the chainsaw, especially with regards to the bar and chain are severe, you will have to make sure that they are replaced so you can avoid injuries.

After cleaning or buying a new replacement, you will have to make sure that the chainsaw chain is properly tightened. This is what allows the chainsaw to safely and effectively cut wood. Remember that if the chain is too tight, there is an increase friction and if it is loose, it can come off and cause injuries.

Things You Need To Prepare

1. Work Gloves

work gloves

You can use chainsaw gloves so you can handle the chain properly and so that you can avoid injuring your hands. You can also use leather gloves or at the very least, rubber gloves so that you can have some form of protection for your fingers.

2. Protective Goggles


You will need to use it so you can protect your eyes just in case the chain comes off unexpectedly. You should make sure that the goggles will also be able to protect the sides of your eyes. If you do not have one, you might be able to use eye glasses as well as a face screen.

3. A Large Rag


This will be used to make sure that your workspace will stay clean. You can use an old newspaper or old clothes to keep the mess at a minimum.

4. A Workbench

A Workbench

This will be used so you can make sure that you can see the different parts of the chainsaw properly. Although in most cases, a flat surface would suffice, having the chainsaw elevated properly can help making sure that you can check the tension of the chains properly.

5. A Chainsaw Tightening Tool

A Chainsaw Tightening Tool

This will be used to tighten the chain properly. There are chainsaws that do not need to use a tightening tool because they have a tool-less tightening feature that will allow you to easily tighten the chain with a simple turn of a knob.

6. A Screwdriver

A Screwdriver

This will be used to loosen the bar on the side bar panel so that you can easily adjust the chain tension. Depending on the model of your chainsaw, you might need to use a wrench instead of a screwdriver.

How To Tighten Chainsaw Chain

Step 1: Preparing The Chainsaw

a stihl chainsaw

Put on your work gloves and place the chainsaw on the workbench. Make sure that the chainsaw is perfectly flat and that it will not move around the surface. Remove the bar cover and try to loosen the side bar panel using a screwdriver or a wrench to give the chain more room so you can easily adjust it.

Step 2: Adjusting The Tension

Adjusting The Tension

Now that there is enough space, you can now use the chain tightening tool so you can adjust the tension of the chain. Turning the tool towards the handle will typically loosen it. Turning it towards the front on the other hand, can help increase the tension so that the chain will tightly envelop the bar.

Step 3: Checking The Results

Make The Necessary Preparations

A chain tension that is too loose or too tight can cause a lot of problems. After tightening the chain, you need to check it and make sure that you can still pull it away from the bar without having the drive links disengaged. There should also be a quarter inch of play between the chain and the bar.

Step 4: Re-Tighten The Bar And Add Oil

A Chainsaw Tightening Tool

If you think that the tension is now good enough, you can re-tighten the bar attachment on the side of the chainsaw. You should also try to check the oil so you can avoid overheating the machine. Try to press the pump valve before you try to start the chainsaw again.

Step 5: Do Trial Cuts

protective chainsaw gloves

Use the safety goggles and try to make small cuts on round logs or on small trees and branches. This will allow you to assess the tension of the chain. The chain should rotate freely without getting stuck. If it gets stuck or if you see any problems, go back to the previous steps and adjust the tension again.


If you want your chainsaw to function safely and effectively, you need to make sure that the chain tension has been properly adjusted. Follow the steps carefully and try to ask help from a qualified technician if you are having a hard time doing it on your own.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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