How to Tighten an Electric Chainsaw Chain

Aug 20, 2018 | Blog

Life is full of guarantees, and one of those guarantees is that your chainsaw chain will need to be tightened. The more you use your chainsaw, the more the chain will become stretched. The chain will loosen up on the guide bar as a result, and you’re left with a potentially dangerous situation.

There are thousands of injuries each year due to freak accidents with chainsaws. One of those types of accidents involves the blade sliding off the guide bar while in use. This is extremely dangerous to the operator and could even result in loss of life. That is why it is so important to maintain your chainsaw and always ensure your blade is tightly wrapped around your guide bar.

If you suspect that your chain is loose, then it most likely is. You don’t want to risk the chain slipping off the guide bar while you’re using it. Always take extra precautions when dealing with dangerous machinery to ensure your safety. The best thing to do is to go ahead and see if your chain needs tightening before you use the saw again.

However, you may not know how to tighten your chainsaw chain because you’ve never done it before. We’re here to help you learn how to tighten your electric chainsaw chain. Follow our steps below, and you’ll have your chain tightened in less than a minute.

Checking Chainsaw Tension

Before you start tightening up your chain, you’ll need to check the saw’s tension to determine if it needs tightening or not. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your chainsaw is completely off and not plugged into any outlets whatsoever. This will keep you safe in case of a freak accident.

Next, you’ll want to grab the chain and pull it away from the guide bar. If your chainsaw is properly tightened, you’ll be able to pull the chain a little, but the drive links will still stay attached to the guide bar. If this is the case, you likely don’t need to tighten your chain at this point. The drive links are meant to stay attached to the drive bar, but the chain should have some room to come off the bar a little.

However, if the drive links come away from the guide bar completely, your saw needs to be tightened. Be sure not to overtighten your chainsaw though. You should always be able to pull the chain a little from the guide bar, but not enough for the links to be disengaged. If it is overtightened, you risk the chain breaking the next time you use it which can be very dangerous for the operator.

Tightening the Chainsaw

Now, let’s look at how to tighten the chain on your saw if need be. It is very important that you follow each of these steps very carefully or it could result in further damage to your chainsaw and greater risk to you. Each detail does matter so don’t skip steps with this process. Also, always be careful when dealing with dangerous machinery to keep yourself and others protected, chainsaw maintenance is a necessary evil, but we’ll try to make this easy for you.

The first thing to mention is that most chainsaws come with a tool called a “scwrench” that is designed specifically for that chainsaw. Make sure you have yours before continuing. However, if you do not have yours or you have lost yours, there’s no need to worry. You can use a simple screwdriver and a wrench to get the job done as well. You may have to figure out what type and size you’ll need, but this is doable without the scwrench.

With chainsaws, there are two nuts and one screw that will need your attention before proceeding. You’ll want to take your scwrench and loosen the two nuts. This will give the guide bar and chain the room they need to be tightened. Typically, these are located on the side of the guide bar panel and are relatively easy to find. On some chainsaws, however, the brake is located where the nuts are so you’ll need to unlock the brake as well to achieve this goal.

Next, you’ll need to locate the screw which is usually on the side chainsaw guide bars. Once you have found it, you may tighten the screw to tighten the blade or loosen the screw if need be. However, remember that you can overtighten your blade so tighten a little at a time.

A good rule of thumb is to tighten the chain a little, and then pull on the blade to see if it is tight enough before proceeding. If it is still too loose, then you may go back to tightening the screw. If the blade is plenty, but not too tight, then you are nearly finished. Always be sure you don’t overtighten, or you do risk a broken blade and a serious injury.

The last step is very important that you do it correctly. Once you have tightened the screw to the proper tightness, you will then need to lift up the nose of the chainsaw. This is extremely important and should not be neglected! Lift up the nose of the chainsaw, and then tighten the nuts on the side of the guide bar panel.

Refusal to lift up the nose of the chainsaw during this process can result in significant damage to your machine. Once you have tightened the nuts on the side of the guide bar panel, you’re finished! If you followed these steps correctly, then you now have a tightened chainsaw chain, and you’re ready to get back out there with it!

As we said, it takes no time at all to tighten up your chainsaw. Now, you already know, and you’ll be able to do it even quicker next time it needs tightening. We always encourage you to remain safe while using dangerous machinery such as chainsaws, and we hope this guide has been helpful to you. If so, be sure to let us know!

Here is an awesome video from Remington Power Tools, a brand you might see featured on our site. They have a video that should help the visual learners out there. Be sure to give it a watch.

John McDonald

Chainsaw Expert for

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