Tensioning a Chainsaw Chain

When using a chainsaw, the chain heats up and expands and slackens. A slack chain is likely to fall off the chainsaw bar when in use, putting the user at risk of injury. It is therefore important that the chain is correctly tensioned, and that you check it before each time you use it.

Follow these simple steps to make sure your saw is always ready for use:

  • Reset the chain brake by pulling the chain brake handle towards the rear of the saw.
  • Loosen the bar nut(s) a little, but do not remove the cover.
  • While holding the tip of the bar up with one hand, tighten the chain using the tensioning screw or +/- wheel.
  • The chain should still be able to be lifted from the bar, but not completely free of the bar groove. A good measure is being able to just slide a screwdriver between the groove and the chain.
  • Tighten the bar nut(s).
  • Check that the chain moves freely around the bar by using a screwdriver or other small tool to push it forward. This is particularly important after replacing the chain, to ensure that it did not catch on the drive sprocket during fitting.

These instructions are for a standard sprocket-nosed bar. If your chainsaw has another type of bar, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions for correct chain tensioning.

Click the 'Play' button in the image above to watch a quick Husqvarna video on chain tensioning.