How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain? 6 Easy Steps

The chainsaw chain is one of the fundamental parts of this power tool; during cutting, stresses and vibrations might reduce tension in the chain which results in compromised efficiency and halted cutting effectiveness. To overcome this inefficiency user might need to exert more pressure down to the chainsaw, and in worst cases, the chain may even come off the guide bar causing serious injuries to the user. Fortunately, you can easily avoid such a situation learning about tightening the chainsaw chain.

Remember, whether you often use your chainsaw to cut firewood, or you use it occasionally, the chain will certainly loosen – however, time may be different. It is more likely to loosen sooner with heavy and persistent use, while you can buy some more time if you are not using it frequently.

Tightening the chainsaw chain isn’t something tricky – although some of the chainsaws feature a bit different tension pin configuration and bolts, the chain of most of the chainsaw brands can be tightened using a similar method.

Before I step forward to tell you about the detailed procedure of tightening a chainsaw chain, have a look at the required tools and materials;

Required Tools and Materials

There is nothing in tools which is not present in your toolbox or hard to find. You need followings;

  • Chainsaw whose chain is to be tightened
  • Chainsaw scrench
  • Wrench, in case of no scrench
  • Screwdriver, if there are simple nuts

Once you have these tools in your toolbox, you are ready to start with the main job. But here arises a question; how do you know that chain of your chainsaw is loose or not tight enough?

The question sounds fair, let me explain it to you briefly;

The chainsaw chain stays on the guide bar, and it moves around the bar when provided with the throttle. It is common for the chain to get loosen with time, and there is nothing to be concerned about if the chain is tightened in time. You can simply feel that the tension in your chainsaw chain is not enough, however, to get certain about it, you can follow the given procedure.

Get two or three drive links off the guide bar, and if it snaps back into its original position upon release, the chain is tight enough. But if it does not sit back to its initial position, there is not enough tension in the chain, and you need to tighten your chainsaw chain.

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain? 

How do you tighten a chainsaw chain?

Having known that the chain of your chainsaw isn’t tight enough, now is the time to make it right.

Follow the given procedure, and tighten the chain of your chainsaw;

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain

1. Place Chainsaw on a Flat Surface 

Well, it sounds obvious; however, placing it on a flattened surface can make your task easier. This is how you can better and faster finish your work. It will be preferable if you manage to put it on a flat table; instead of putting it on the ground.

2. Find the Tensioning Adjustment Screws 

The next step is to locate the tension adjustment screws – most of the brands have these screws on the side of the chainsaw case. Usually, these screws are near the bolts that keep the guide bar in place. More than a screw, it will be right to narrate it as a moveable pin that can be moved clockwise and anticlockwise.

Depending upon the model of the chainsaw, there may be a different number of bolts for different purposes – so, it is not recommended to indulge yourself with anything you are unable to understand. Locate the tightening screw only, and follow the given points to proceed.

3. Loosen the Bolts Holding Chainsaw Bar

Loosen the bolts that hold the side plate of your chainsaw is recommended thing, and it must be done before you do something with tensioning pin. To loosen these bolts, you the socket of scrench you have – make sure that you only loosen the bolts, not open them completely.

You need not remove any assembly such as protective housing; loosen the bolts up to the extent that they can slightly wiggle on the chainsaw. Once you are sure that the chain has been loose enough, now you are ready to tighten it.

4. Turn Tensioning Pin with Screwdriver 

Using your chainsaw for two to four hours – you may need to tighten the chain of your chainsaw twice or even thrice. Nevertheless, the nature of the work plays an important role.

After you have loosened the bolts of your chainsaw, this is the time to insert a screwdriver into the tensioning pin and move it clockwise to bring the chain in enough tension. Technically, it does not tighten the chain; instead, it brings the chainsaw bar a little bit out which reduces the unnecessary gap between the bar and chain.

5. Check If the Chain is Tight Enough or Not 

Neither too tight nor too loose a chainsaw chain will work for you. There must be a reasonable tension in the chain of the chainsaw that could help you get your work completed perfectly.

After you have adjusted the tensioning pin, grab the chain downward, if you are able to see a small gap between links and bar, the tension is perfect. If you can pull most parts of the chain off the bar, it is too loose and needs further tightening.

On the other hand, if the chain is too hard to move, it is tight enough, and you need to loosen it unless it meets the aforementioned criteria.

6. Retightened the Bolts 

If you are satisfied that the tension in the chain is enough to proceed with further work, you can retighten the bolts that hold the chainsaw bar.  

Therefore, this is how to tighten a chainsaw chain. The process does not take more than 2 to 3 minutes. However, you can avoid many unpleasant incidents by sparing these two to three minutes and performing the above-given procedure.


Chainsaw is a complex power tool that demands huge care from the users’ side. Generally, the user must ensure that the chainsaw chain is tight enough to undergo the cutting process before he starts working with it.

So, to get certain about your safety, and best cutting of firewood with your chainsaw, it appears unavoidable not to check the tension in the chain. The process is simple enough, and you can complete it in a couple of minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why does my chain keep loosening?

The most common reason of loosening chain is because it was not set on the bar properly. Thoroughly follow all steps provided above, and you will not face this problem.

Q2. What happens if you over tighten a chainsaw chain?

If you over tighten the chainsaw chain, you may get it broken. You will not be able to use it with proficiency. Turn the tightening pin clockwise, and loose the chainsaw chain.

Q3. Can I prevent my chainsaw chain from being loose?

No, you cannot prevent your chainsaw from being loose. Every time, you use your chainsaw, the tension in the chain gets disturbed. So, it is very important to adjust the tension in the chain of chainsaw; otherwise, you may need to replace it with a new one which certainly a costlier option.

Leave a Comment