How tight should a chainsaw chain be?

How tight should a chainsaw chain be?

Every chainsaw owner will face some chain problems, and one of the main things every owner must know is how tight should a chainsaw chain be. We will discuss that in his article and show you how to check if your chain is tight enough. If you ever wonder why is this topic so important, the answer is that an irregularly tensioned chain will have an impact on the output of your chainsaw, but also may compromise your safety. At some point, the chain also can break, and believe us, it's the last thing you want, and all that because you were too sluggish to check the chain tension. 


How tight should it really be

You just get yourself a brand new chainsaw to trim all those annoying branches, but your chainsaw isn't performing as you expect or as it should. Well, it could be because of chain tension. Your chainsaw won't only work weaker but also it can damage some vital parts like the chain, clutch, guide bar, or crankshaft. However, there is no right formula for this issue, if you ask a few chainsaw owners, they all will respond differently when it comes to chain tension. You just need to feel it while working and assess whether the chain should be tightened or loosened. Too tight a chain can also be dangerous as well as a loose chain.


Dangerous situations if there is improper chain tension

If you have a loosen chain it will result in oblique cuts, which means you will be forced to push the guide with your own weight and the bar will probably bend. Another danger with a loosen chain is possible derailing at bigger speeds of 60 feet by second. You can lose a couple of fingers as well or needed up with a big, nasty scar if you aren't careful. 

Chainsaw with too tighten chain can also be very harmful. Chainsaw chain is actually a sum of metal links that spins around an oval guide bar. With high speed, centrifugal force will show up and try to turn that oval shape into a circle. So if your chainsaw has too tighten chain you will put too much weight on the drive tooth and it will result in earlier wear. Also, bar oil will be gone sooner, and the clutch can also be damaged. 

Chainsaw chain

A few steps to tension a chainsaw chain

This will take a few minutes of your time but it's very important to do everything correctly. If you forget something like lift up a guide bar while tightening it can do real damage later. Almost every chainsaw today come with a screwdriver that fits tension screw size. 

As a first step, you must release nuts on the bar side panel. This will give some space for the guide bar and the chain to adjust properly. Some chainsaws have breaks on the side panel, if that's the case with yours, make sure to unlock the break before anything. 

The next thing you must do is adapt the tensioning screw. If you tighten the screw it will also tighten the chain, be aware to double-check the chain before moving on to the next step. 

The last thing you need to do is to tighten the side panel nuts. While doing this pay attention to the nose of the chainsaw, you must lift while tightening the nuts. This will be it, with these easy three steps you can be pretty sure that your chainsaw chain is rightly tightened. 


How often should you tighten the chain

If your chainsaw is brand new then we can talk about the ''break-in'' period. During that time you should according to your owner's manual tighten the chain more often then chain that has been in use for some time. ''Break in'' period allows rivets on the chain links to fir properly. Also, it's recommended to slightly loosen the chain after you're done with the job. This way during the cooling time, the chain won't grip the guide bar too tightly. Another good thing about loosening the chain is that you will easier start your chainsaw next time, but also it will extend the chain and guide bar lifespan.

Final thoughts

To sum up, don't neglect your chainsaw and remember from time to time to check the tightness of your chain. There are many bad effects on your machine, as well as on your health and security if your chain is too tight or too loosened. The check and eventual work on it will take you only a few minutes of your time, so do it, and do it correctly. 
If your chainsaw is slower and it takes longer to cut maybe it's time to replace a chainsaw chain.