So you have your own chainsaw at home and love to get your hands dirty and do your own woodcutting rather than relying on someone else to do it for you? You also must’ve read down the dos and don’ts of using a chainsaw, and how to operate it comfortably. The kind of fuel that goes in it, and how to put the brakes on the chain and whatnot. You might even know most if not all of the safety precautions that come along with the woodcutting machine. But if you still consider yourself an amateur or even an intermediate with chainsaws, then you may have problems understanding the tightness of the chain.

You may also wonder why this concern is so important. Well, it can bring a lot of problems for you if you’re not informed about how tight should a chainsaw chain be?. We will talk about all these details in this article.

Well, How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?

A lot of the professionals, when asked this question, answer with different opinions and suggestions, because for them the tightness of the chain is subjective to their own liking. So we have come up with two tests to help you determine if your chain needs either tightening or loosening. Make sure that before trying any chainsaw sharpening tricks, you go through these tests thoroughly.

Too Tight

You can use two ways to check if your chain is too tight, and both ways will start off by you pulling the chain off the chain bar to check its tension. If you find it too hard to lift off the bar with adequate strength, then it’s a good sign that the chain is too tight and needs loosening. However, if you manage to lift the chain somewhat, but still the drive links are mostly beneath the bar, then it’s still slightly tight and it needs to be relaxed a bit to be in perfect condition.

If your chainsaw is too tight, then it can be damaging to the machine itself and can affect the chain motor significantly. The tightness of the chain will put more strain on the motor due to the added friction, which in turn will cause it to wear down much more quickly than it normally would with regular usage with decent tension in the chain. The chainsaw model won’t have much effect on this as even the Remington RM1425, which is considered to be the best chainsaw for the money, would face similar results in such a scenario.

Too Loose

If you want to check whether the chain is too loose or not, lift the chain from its bar, and release it. If the chain snaps back in its place then it has the perfect tightness and needs not to be modified in any way. However, if it doesn’t and just goes limp then it means that your chain is too loose and needs to be tightened up. Another way to check this is when you pull the chain up from the metal bar, check the position of its drive links. If they are completely lifted from the bar and you can see a noticeable separation between the two, then the chain needs to be tightened up.

A loose chain is much more dangerous as compared to a tight chain, because not only will it wear down the motor, but will also carry the hazard of coming off the metal bar and slinging across the room, which could as well be towards your direction as well. So make sure it is tightened up properly.

However, if your chain does fall off, you may have the question of how to put a chain back on a chainsaw. Well, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Firstly, remove the two bar nuts and the tension bar below them as well so the bar is relaxed. Make sure the chain and the bar both are clean as well. Place the chain on to the bar with the drive links facing away from you, and rotate the bar till the chain is completely on the bar. Set the tightness according to the methods we have mentioned above, and you’re good to go!


A chainsaw can be a handy tool at times, but can also be dangerous to use, so it’s always important to know the whereabouts of the machine and take good care of it. So make sure your chain is always tightened properly as well and is up to the right tension so you can cut through wood with ease!

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