How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain be (Must Read Before Use)

People often ask about the tightness of a chainsaw chain that is optimal for good performance. Well, the thing to remember is that a chain with poor tension can do a lot of bad things to your chainsaw.

Those can be the wearing out of clutch, crankshaft, sprocket, and guide bar. Also, the chain itself can get damaged. So, what you need to do is to tight it right!

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain be

Well, it is not easy to answer that but to answer this, let’s first make it clear that a chain with loose tension can cause kickbacks. It can also cause the chain to lose track. On the other hand, a very tight chain can cause heating up as well as stop the working of the chain. 

Thus, what you need is midway. The chain shouldn’t be that loose to cause kickbacks and at the same time nor be very tight to prevent the turning of the chain.

So, the right thing is that the chain should feel snug and pull freely at the same time. To ensure that, you can perform two kinds of test on it; snap test & pull test.

In the snap test, you simply pick the chain and pull it until it can be. Then release it, and it sits back. If it doesn’t pull, it means the chain is too tight and should be loosened.

In the pull test, pull the chain from the bar and partially lift it away from the bar. If the drive links seem clear while coming out of the bar groove, your chain is loose. Thus, it should be tightened to keep the ends within the groove.

How to tighten Stihl Chainsaw Chain?

Let’s talk specifically about the Stihl Chainsaw Chain. There are mainly three adjustments in these chainsaws for chains.

  • Front access adjustment screw.
  • Side access adjustment screw.
  • Quick chain adjustment.

The chain is the same for all these types, and just the adjusting mechanism is different. Let’s talk about the side adjustment approach. You would need a scrunch or a screwdriver (depends on screws or nuts) in this method:

First things first, wear proper gloves and turn the chainsaw off.

Now, loosen the bar nuts and then hold the bar.

Now, tighten the adjustment screw using a screwdriver/scrunch. 

After that, tighten the side screws again.

Perform the snap and pull tests to make sure it’s right. 

Other methods are quite similar; you just have to adjust the tensioning screw in the front access system, while for quick chain adjustment, it is quite obvious. Keeping the precautions, follow the right steps to come up with satisfactory results.

How to Tighten Husqvarna Chainsaw Chain?

For this purpose, you need a scrunch first. After that, identify the chain tensioning area. Make sure the chainsaw is disengaged, and you have gloves on your hands. 

First off, loosen the guide nuts of the bar.

When the bar gets loose, pull it upwards and hold.

Using scrunch, tweak/adjust the tensioner screw.

Once adjusted, look for the correctness by running snap and pull test over it.

Once tightened properly, turn back the guide nuts of the bar.

This method is quite efficient in tightening the chainsaw chains in Husqvarna chainsaws. Keeping the precautions, follow the right steps to achieve satisfactory results.

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Coming Loose

With constant working carried on, and even in the case of chainsaws that are heavy-duty tools, the chain can get loose from time to time and thus would need tightening again and again.

But wait, is it the phenomenon, or is there something wrong? It might be that your chain is not properly tightened from the beginning, and that’s why it gets loosening again and again. The solution to this problem is simple; tighten the chain properly. But how would you know the proper method? Don’t worry, as I have got you covered. Moving on, I will explain to you the proper tightening procedure step-by-step.

How to Tighten it Properly?

There are various brands for chainsaws and also different adjustment configurations for them. Following is the step-by-step procedure to tighten the chainsaw chain properly for all those configurations.

The most common areas that we come across are:

  • The front panel.
  • The side panels.
  • Integrated system for tension.

In the case of the front panel, the tensioning screw is located on the front of the chainsaw. More clearly speaking, if you go for the front view of your chainsaw, you will find the tension adjustment there. The method goes in as follows:

  • You have to locate the tensioning screw first.
  • After that, using a scrunch, you can adjust the tension of the chain accordingly.
  • Make sure to take the necessary precautions.

In the case of the side panel, there are guide screws and tensioning screw on the side of the tool. The steps go in as:

  • Loosen the guide nuts/screws.
  • Hold the bar by keeping it upward.
  • Adjust the tension screw by using the scrunch.
  • Once adjusted, tighten the guide screws properly again.
  • Don’t forget to keep the precautions while adjusting.

The final one is the modern one that is widely used these days. And probably for this one, you wouldn’t even need a method. Just remember the following steps:

  • Adjust the chain by turning the knob.
  • Carry out the snap and pull test over the chain to have an idea about the tension.
  • Once satisfied, keep the setting.

So, the above methods will help you adjust the tightening and tighten it properly. But, keep in mind that proper tightening depends on how well you understand the chain behavior that ultimately comes to mind by snap and pull test. If still, by proper tightening, it doesn’t work out, you should take the chainsaw to a technical person for a better outcome.


The above article covers all the aspects, and I have tried to include things comprehensively to help you out. I hope that this information would help you find the right remedy. So, by keeping precautions, follow the steps properly and you will get a better outcome, I hope.

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