How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain be (Full Guide)

Are you caring about your chainsaw chain’s tension?

Don’t worry, most of the chainsaw users are not caring about chainsaw chain tension, especially the new users.

So let’s look at this topic and know about the solution of ” how tight a chainsaw chain should be:” Before solving this problem, you have to know.

What happened when the chain be too loose?

If the Chainsaw Chain keeps coming loose, it could jump from the chainsaw bar, which is too dangerous. Because when it happens, it could make minor to major injury of yours. Even it could cut off your fingers or make a dip spot on your face. Because of the chain stores, much energy due to 60 ft/sec speed.

On the other hand, if the chain is too tight, it can cause serious damage to your chainsaw. A strict chain made extra pressure on the chain bar. So it decays the way of the chain bar and used extra oil for this. Even it can grind out your motor.

After knowing this, one question will be running on your mind that ”How to solve this problem?”

Luckily the solution to these problems is too easy for you to follow the right way.

So let’s start to know about it.

How tight should a chainsaw chain be?

In the professional language, it called “snap tight.”

It means that, if you pull up, the chain will be partially blooming but not over than guide bar. So it will stay inside of the chain bar and can’t be free from this guide bar. When you give up the chain, it will give up its snapback its place.

To be clear on this topic, here is a simple test. There is two testing method for this. Let’s do that:

  • At first, we will talk about that test is call snap test. In this test, you have to pull up the chain how much it possible, and it cannot come out from the chain bar, then give up. If it will be going back to its previous place, then the chain’s tension is perfect.

See the below image to understand the topic:

How tight should a chainsaw chain be

  • Another way is if you try to pull up the chain, but it did not move from its place, that means the chain is too tight.In other condition, if you try to pull up the chain and the chain come out from the bar, that means the chain is too loose.

Form the second analysis. We can realize that the tension of the chain is not in perfect condition.

See the below image to understand the topic.

Chainsaw chain

How to adjust a chainsaw chain on the chain bar?

There are some steps to adjust the tension of the chainsaw chain. You have to follow the steps one by one in serially.

The steps are:

1. Find the tension adjusting screw

The first work of yours is to find the tension adjusting screw location on the chainsaw. It means that different models or banded chainsaw have a separate place for this screw.

Two different ways are used for adjustment screws—way used for the adjustment screw. But now a day there is a smart adjusting system for the chain tension adjustment.

  • Side panel: Chain bar locked by two bolts and the tension adjusting screw stay between them.
  • Front panel: When you stand in front of the chain bar, you will saw an adjusting screw beside the bar on the right side.
  • Smart adjusting system: In this system, there are no tools required for the chain adjusting. There is a compact knob on the side panel of the chainsaw.

2. Arrange proper tools

If the chainsaw needs the tools for adjusting the chain, please arrange it first. Generally, the Chainsaw Scrench tools are required for chain adjustment.

But if your chainsaw has a smart adjustment system, then you no need any tools—Oregon, Black+Decer, Workx, and some other chainsaw use this type of chain adjustment system.

3. Final adjust the tension of the chain

There are four steps to adjust the tension of the chain finally.

Step 1: Clean the dust (if it has)

At first, you have to make sure that the power of the chainsaw is disabled. If the adjusting screw of the chainsaw covered with dust and you could not see it. Then, clean the adjusting screw area properly so that you can see the adjusting screw clearly and easily do your work.

Step 2: Loosen the guide bar nut.

In the second step, you need to loosen the guide bar’s bolt so that the guide bar can move forward and backward, which you need.

There one thing is remember-able that some chainsaw breaks are attached to the side panel. So before opening the side cover must be unlocked the crack.

Step 3: Adjust the chain.

Now you need to adjust the chain by rotating the adjusting screw. If you turn it clockwise, then the string will be tightening, and if you rotate it back, then the chain will loosen. So switch the screw and fix the chain in a snap-tight because snap-tight is the perfect tightness of the chain.

Step 4: tighten the bar nuts

At last, you need to tighten the side cover nuts. But at the same time, you need to hold the bar nose and pull it up in the right position then tighten the nuts. Before full tight of the nuts, pull up the chain and make sure the chain is snap tight.

How to tighten the chainsaw chain on an electric chainsaw?

The best corded Electric Chainsaw and also battery-electric chainsaw has an auto-adjusting system of the chain tension.

In these type of chainsaws, there is a knob on the side panel. You need to rotate the inner part of the knob antilock wise. Then adjust the chain by turning the outer part of the knob at clockwise or antilock wise to improve the chain. After changing the chain, tighten the inner part of the knob. Now pull up the string to checking the perfectness of the chain.   

Now rotate the chain manually and make sure it is freely rotating. You can turn it by Scrench tools or by hand. But if you use your fingers to switch must be wear gloves to prevent accidents.


Every chainsaw user has to know about chainsaw chain tensioning because it is a critical and necessary issue for them.

The nature of the metal is it will increase its length in a much temperature. For the continued use of the chainsaw, generate heat on the bar and chain. For this reason, it increases the length of the string.

So if you use the chainsaw more, then you need to monitor the tension. From the above checking system, you could check quickly, “how tight should be a chainsaw be?”

Do you want to know about the chainsaw chain in the market? Then see our Best Chainsaw Chain.

Leave a Comment