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Whether they’re green or experienced, a commonly asked question among chainsaw users is, “How tight should a chainsaw chain be?”
There’s a vast range of chainsaws on the market, whether you simply need to cut firewood or are embarking on a bigger and tougher job. Indeed, there’s a chainsaw out there to suit practically any need.
However, regardless of what the chainsaw’s being used for, specific safety requirements must be met.
The dangers of using a chainsaw must be understood taken seriously to avoid incident and injury.
Proper chainsaw tension is vital!
As such, they require regular servicing to guarantee their efficiency. (For more on proper chainsaw maintenance, see our tips for sharpening chainsaw blades.)
Without the proper maintenance, they can become a ticking time bomb waiting for the opportune moment to injure the user.
Nonetheless, unless you’re a frequent user, you might have some questions when it comes to using a chainsaw properly. For instance, how tight should a chainsaw chain be?
Chainsaw chains are bound to stretch and become loose with time. If not maintained properly, they can come off the bar and create an unsafe condition for the user.
So each time you use a chainsaw, it’s important to ensure it has the appropriate tension.
Chainsaw chain tension should be checked and tightened often. So how tight should a chainsaw chain be?
Correct chainsaw chain tension
A properly stretched chainsaw chain should be a little loose on the guide bar — but not so loose that you can pull the drive links out of the bar nose.
Therefore, to ascertain whether or not it needs to be adjusted, pull the chain slightly away from the guide bar to see if the drive links remain engaged or not.
If they are disengaged, then this means it’s time to tighten it up. Chains can be overtightened too, and therefore the appropriate tension should allow a little play; fastening it too tightly risks breaking it during operation.
How to tighten a chainsaw chain
Most chainsaws come with “wrenches” or screwdrivers that match their side plate nuts and tension adjustment screw sizes.
Nevertheless, it’s important to do each step carefully and correctly for best results. So how exactly do you go about tightening a chainsaw chain?
Loosen the nuts on the guide bar side panel
To adjust correctly, the chain and the guide bar need a little spacing. By loosening the nuts, therefore, it will be simpler to fix it.
However, some chainsaws may have their brakes attached directly to the side panel. Thus, you’ll want to ensure you unlock the brakes before removing the side panel.
Adjust the tensioning screw
When using your chainsaw, check the chain to see that it has the correct tension. If not, adjust the tensioning screw as needed.
At the same time, know that tightening it will consequently fasten the chain, and vice versa.
Fasten the guide bar nuts
It is essential to raise the nose of the chainsaw to tighten the nuts; this will secure the guide bar and side panel.
It’s just that easy, and your chainsaw chain is now correctly tensioned.
For anyone with a lot of wood-cutting jobs to do, a chainsaw is an excellent investment. It can take the place of a much heavier axe, or supplant the price of a landscaper.
Maintaining the proper chain tension is therefore essential because it ensures your chainsaw is safe to use and will last for years to come.
What chainsaw should I buy?
Now that you know a little more about taking proper care of a chainsaw, you may feel ready to invest. If a small, lightweight chainsaw is what you have in mind, check out our picks for the best small gas-powered chainsaws on the market.
Or, if you’re still in the beginning phases of choosing a chainsaw, learn about the best overall chainsaw brands so you can make an informed decision.