How to adjust chainsaw tension

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Normal operation of a chain saw causes vibrations that can loosen the blade, or chain saw bar nuts. Chains stretch during use and become loose on the blade, causing unsafe conditions for the operator. Proper operation of a chainsaw includes checking all nuts and bolts before and during use to ensure safety. If the blade nuts are loose on a Craftsman chain saw, you will most likely need to tension the chain correctly and then tighten the blade.

Put on leather gloves. Place the chain saw on a flat surface, such as a workbench or table, and allow the engine to cool completely if it was in use. Remove the spark plug wire from the spark plug to prevent accidental starts.

Stand in front of the chain saw facing the blade and chain. Grasp the tip of the chain saw blade with one hand and raise it. Insert a flat-head screwdriver or chain saw multi-tool into the adjustment screw that is on the right of the blade when you are facing the chain saw blade. This is the opposite of the operating position. Turn the screw clockwise to increase chain tension or counterclockwise to decrease chain tension.

Grasp the chain in one gloved hand and pull the chain around the blade. The tension is correct when the chain will pull around the blade and has a snug fit on the blade. Loosen or tighten the adjustment screw to obtain the correct fit.

Hold the tip of the chain saw blade up with one hand. Tighten both blade-retaining nuts on the left side of the chain saw with a chain saw multi-tool or an adjustable wrench. Place the spark plug wire on the spark plug and press it down firmly.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

It is normal for a chainsaw chain to stretch and slack during operation. If this happens, you have to tension it as soon as possible to avoid accidents or reduced efficiency. You don’t want the chain dropping off in operation because you didn’t tension it right.

Different chainsaw brands run on different tension settings. Even though you can use the guide bar to estimate if your chain is tight enough or loose, the best way to tell is by feeling or lifting the chain to feel the amount of tension. The chain on even the best budget chainsaw shouldn’t be too loose to the extent of falling off the blade.

It also shouldn’t be too tight such that it hugs the bade snugly without flexing.

Ideally, the chain should be a bit loose on the guide bar but should be tight enough such that you cannot pull its drive links out of the bar nose. Grab the chain between your fingers and lift it a bit to see if the drive links come out.

A loose chain will also disengage the drive links on the lower side of the blade making the chain look saggy and, well, loose.

A tight chain will either stall the engine in low RPMs or is hard to move with your fingers. It might also spark and smoke as it runs over the guide bar.

How to Tighten a Loose Chain

  • Turn off the saw and apply the chain brake
  • Let the chainsaw cool down if you have been using it. Give it a couple of minutes. The cooling will take off the expansion slack hence helping you gauge its true tightness
  • Place the saw on a stable working surface and locate the chain tension adjustment screws. On most models, they are between the guide bar and the saw’s inside bucking teeth. Other saws will have it on an outboard position or between the bar nuts on the side cover. Consult your manual to locate yours
  • Loosen the nuts holding the bar just enough to slide the bar up or down by grabbing on its nose. Don’t try adjusting with the bar tightened as this could damage the tension pin
  • De-active the chain break
  • Ensure that you hold the guide bar up by its nose at all times. This will simulate the upward movement the bar will naturally take when you are cutting wood. By keep the nose up, you will get a constant tension that will hold at all times
  • Use the screwdriver to adjust the tension screw to either increase or decrease tension. Turning the screw clockwise increases tension while counter-clockwise turns to reduce tension

Here is a video from Husqvarna explaining how you should check for chain tension. The video will also teach you how to tighten the chain properly on this popular chainsaw brand.

So, if your chain is too tight it won’t take long for physics to damage your saw.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

A chain that’s too loose is also a dangerous scenario.  

A loose chain can derail itself from the bar and whip back towards you, possibly cutting your hands or legs.

The proper chain tension is similar to a Goldilocks nursery ryme.  

You don’t want it too tight, but you don’t want it too loose.  You want it just right.

How To Property Adjust Your Chainsaw Chain Tension

A properly adjusted chain should hold itself up against the bottom of the bar.

You don’t want the chain to sag, but you don’t want it so tight that it damages your saw as it spins around the bar.

To start with, look at your chain.  If you can see the chain sagging down from the bottom of the bar. it’s too loose.

On the other hand, if you tug on the chain and it doesn’t easy separate itself from the bar. it’s too tight.

How to adjust chainsaw tensionChainsaw Chain That’s Too Loose

Notice how it sags away from the bar?  

A chain in this scenario will easily derail itself from the bar possibly causing injury to yourself.

How to adjust chainsaw tensionChainsaw Chain That’s Too Tight

This photo shows a chain that’s too tight.  

Notice as I pull on the chain there’s not much “give” to it?  

A chain like this will not bite into the wood and it will prematurely ware out your drive sprocket or the tip of your bar.

How To Adjust Chain Tension

Typically, most saws will have two options for chain adjustment.  

Stihl chainsaws will typically have the adjustment screw between the bar and the dog on the saw.  

It faces towards the front of the saw, facing the tip of the bar.

Husqvarna saws on the other hand will typically have the adjustment screw on the outside of the bar cover, between the two bar cover nuts.  

Both versions are adjusted the same way.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

To adjust the chainsaw chain tension, loosen the bar nuts first.  

Loosening the bar nuts will accomplish two things.

First, it allows the bar to move forward as you adjust the tensioning screw which tightens the chain.  Second, it allows the bar to move up and down.

Some chainsaw bars can move up to an inch up and down which drastically changes the tension of your chain.

To properly adjust the tension on a chainsaw chain, you need to adjust the tension as you pull UP on the bar.  

Think of it this way, as you cut into a log and push down, it forces your bar up.  

This causes a slack in the chain.  

How to adjust chainsaw tension

By adjusting your chain in the “up” position, it eliminates the slack in the chain when you cut because the bar is already in the up position.  

It almost takes three hands but it’s possible with just two.  

To start, loosen the bar cover nuts.  

Then take a hand and pull up on the chainsaw bar.

I like to rest my forearm against the chain brake (hand guard) and use my hand to pull up on the bar.  

It gives me a good leverage point to easily keep upward tension on the bar.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Next, take a screwdriver or chainsaw tool and adjust the chain so that it doesn’t sag, but when pulled it places itself back on the bar.

Once you have the perfect tension and still holding up on the bar, tighten the bar cover nuts which locks the bar into place.  

To check the proper chain tension, after you’ve tightened the bar cover nuts just pull up on the chain and see how much it gives.  

It just takes a little practice but once you find the right amount of tension, adjusting the chainsaw chain tension is really easy.  

The photo below shows a properly adjusted chainsaw chain.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

I’m not pulling very hard and the chain separates itself from the bar, but once I let go it easily retracts and stays firmly positioned on the bar.

Now that your chain is properly adjusted with the bar in the up position, when you make a downward cut into a log it won’t force your bar up and loosen the chain.  

Chainsaw Chain Tension – Overall

If you want to properly tighten a chainsaw chain, remember the following steps.

Loosen the bar nuts so you can easily adjust the chain tension screw.

While pulling up on the tip of the bar, adjust the chain so it doesn’t sag and it holds itself to the bottom of the bar.

I like to pull on the chain for a reference.  

It should “give” about a 1/4 inch from the bar without much effort.

Finally, while still holding up on the tip of the bar, tighten the bar nuts.

Proper chainsaw chain tension is safer, it cuts better and it will extend the life of both your chainsaw and your chain.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Chainsaws are some of the most resourceful power tools. Professional loggers use them every day in their work. In order to have a seamless time with your chainsaw, you need to know how to operate it perfectly. One of the most crucial aspects of chainsaw operation is the chain tension. The chain on the bar needs to have the right tension so that it can cut well. You, therefore, need to adjust the tension on the chainsaw chain from time to time. Many people have a challenge with adjusting the tension.

We seek to educate you on various issues of chainsaws. We want to ensure you understand your chainsaw well, and you can operate it without any problem. We spend time exploring the best chainsaws 2020. This is a comprehensive guide of how you go about adjusting the tension on the chainsaw chain. The guide will take you through the steps of the process. Adjusting the chainsaw chain’s tension should not have to feel like such a daunting task.

How to Adjust Chainsaw Chain Tension

You need to always test where the chain on your chainsaw needs adjusting. The snap test will help you check the tension. Lift the chain a few inches off the bar on the upper side, and let it go. The chain is supposed to snap back in position if the tension is okay. If it does not. You will need to adjust the tension. Always add a 1.25mm space between the blade and the bar when the motor is cool. This space allows room for expansion when the motor gets hot.

Follow these steps to adjust the chainsaw chain tension.

  • Set the chainsaw on a flat surface, and remove the spark plug to ensure the chainsaw cannot power on under any circumstances.
  • Wear thick and tough safety glove at all times while handling the chainsaw. You do not want to injure your hands.
  • Remove the covers where the blade meets the motor. Take advantage of that removal to clean the inner components of the chainsaw. Also, add some grease to the rolling tip at the end of the blade. The tip is the one that rotates the chain.
  • Ensure your blade is sharp, and all the high spots are even. Find the adjustment screw and tighten it until the chain hugs the bar snuggly. The adjustment screw is perpendicular to the direction of rotation of the chain. On some chains, the adjustment screw is on the outside of the chainsaw or between the mounting studs
  • Ensure you hold the nose of the bar up any time you are adjusting the screws.
  • Conduct the snap test to check whether the tension is right. Remember to leave the 1.25mm room for expansion.

Adjusting the tension on your chainsaw chain is not difficult. You should to it regularly. Working with a chainsaw with the chain tension wrong is ineffective and dangerous. You could get injured easily, and you will probably end up damaging the chainsaw too. Make it a habit to check the tension before you start sawing on anything.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

To keep your chainsaw cutting with the most efficiency, you want to check the tension of the chain regularly. Within a few hours of use, the chain will heat and expand and eventually need readjusting.

Whether you’re new to chainsaws or you’ve never done this before, adjusting the tension for the first time can be confusing. Don’t worry, it’s not too fairly easy and that’s precisely what this page is for. Not all chainsaws are the same but most of them are similar when it comes to this task; the biggest difference usually comes in the location of the chain tension screw.

I’ve provided a step-by-step guide below and found a very helpful video to give you the most information as possible. Before we get into it, I’ll quickly go over the “snap test”. The snap test is simple yet effective means of testing the tension of the chain. This will help you determine whether or not you need to adjust the tension.

Checking the Tension Using the “Snap Test”

The first step in this whole process is to determine if you need to adjust the tension, to begin with. Now, most the time this is obvious; a sagging chain is always a good indicator or perhaps you’re replacing the chain altogether. That’s not always the case, though. Sometimes it can be hard to tell without performing the “snap test”.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Before you perform a snap test, it’s a good idea to disconnect the chainsaw’s spark plug lead for safety purposes. Also, wearing some decent gloves is a good idea too. Once you’re ready, it’s time to perform the snap test.

Place one hand on the chainsaw to hold it still. Using the other hand, grasp the chain near the middle of the bar on the top side; use your thumb and index finger. Pull the chain up and away from the bar and release it. If the tension is correct, the chain will snap back into place and show no signs of sagging. If the chain is sagging on the bottom or loosely fell back into position on the top, it needs to be tightened.

You can perform the same test on the bottom of the bar. When you pull the chain down, the drive links will be exposed. The drive links shouldn’t extend below the edge of the bar. In the picture above, you can clearly see the drive links and I barely pulled on the chain. Needless to say, it needs to be tightened.

Adjusting the Chain Tension

Once you’ve performed a snap test and you’re positive you need to adjust the tension, the step-by-step guide below should help you in doing so. The tools you’ll need for this project likely came with your chainsaw – it’s called a scrench (pictured below this paragraph). It has a flat-tip screwdriver on one end and a socket on the other. If you don’t have the scrench, don’t worry. Just get out your socket set and a normal flat-tip screwdriver.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Step 1. Safety First

It goes without saying but you certainly don’t want to tighten the tension while the chainsaw is running. I know that. You know that. I know you know that… but just in case there was any confusion, make sure the chainsaw is definitely not running. In fact, many people suggest you remove the spark plug lead just to be sure. I also recommend doing this for safety purposes. While you’re at it, slip on a nice pair of gloves and safety glasses for protection.

Step 2. Loosen the Clutch Cover Nuts

Using your socket set or scrench, loosen the clutch cover nuts. You don’t need to completely remove them. Gently loosen both of them. They’re located on the side of the chainsaw where the bar enters the motor cover. I’ve created a (not so fantastic) illustration to point out the most common locations of these parts.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

In illustration “A”, you can see there are 2 clutch cover nuts indicated by the red arrow.

Step 3. Hold the Bar Up & Adjust Chain Tensioning Screw

Once you’ve loosened the clutch cover nuts, it’s time to tighten the tension of the chain. You can do this by turning the tensioning screw clockwise. Depending on the brand of your chainsaw, the tension screw can be in a different location than the one in the illustration above. Most the time, you can find the tensioning screw where the blue arrows are pointing on illustration A and B. Some brands have the tensioning screw on the front part of the engine cover where the green arrow is pointing in illustration A.

If you’re unable to find it, I recommend reading the owners manual or searching google to find the location of the tensioning screw for your chainsaw’s brand and model.

Once you’ve found the tensioning screw, turn it clockwise while holding up on the nose of the bar. By the way, if you’re not familiar with all these terms, I recommend reading this page about the parts of a chainsaw.

Step 4. Tighten the Clutch Cover Nuts & Check Tension

Once you’ve finished tightening the chain, make sure you tighten the clutch cover nuts too. Now it’s time to check the tension again. Perform a snap test and turn the chain to ensure it isn’t too tight. When you rotate the chain, pull the chain towards you from the top of the bar. Go slow and be careful. Pulling the chain in the opposite direction will likely result in you getting cut. Again, be careful. Having the chain too tight will increase friction and bog down the motor. Having it too loose can cause the chain to come off the bar. Both of which are dangerous and may result in serious injury.

Step 5. Finish or Readjust the Tension if needed…

If you need to tighten the chain again, repeat steps 2 thru 4. Likewise, if you determine the chain is too tight then you should loosen the chain. I recommend watching the video below to more information. Once finished, ensure all the nuts are tightened and your spark plug lead is reconnected. Perform all the standard safety checks before starting and using the chainsaw. I’m not responsible for your safety and well-being. Please use common sense and consult your owner’s manual as needed.

In-depth Video Guide

I’ve watched a handful of videos in search for the one that best describes adjusting the chain’s tension. There are several very helpful videos but this one is my favorite. Sure, it’s nice to read a guide on how to do something but watching in video format can be even more helpful.

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How to adjust chainsaw tension

I’m an avid outdoorsman with a passion for sharing my knowledge of forestry gadgets. Axes, saws, chainsaws, and more.

Always check your chain tension before cutting. If the flats on the chain hang out of the bar groove, it needs adjusting. And new chains need to break in, so be sure to adjust your gas or electric chainsaw within the first 5 cuts.

Important reminders before checking tension
-Ensure chainsaw is off and chain is stopped
-Wear gloves

How to Adjust Chain Tension:

1. Loosen bar-retaining nuts – do not remove

How to adjust chainsaw tension

2. Holding guide bar tip up, turn tensioning screw clockwise – correct tension depends on the chain temperature.
How to adjust chainsaw tension
– Cold Chain Tensioning:
If you haven’t started cutting yet, the chain should fit snug against the underside of the guide bar.
How to adjust chainsaw tension
– Warm Chain Tensioning:
If the saw’s warmed up, the drive links should hang approximately 1/16 of an inch out of the guide bar groove, or 1.3 millimeters.
How to adjust chainsaw tension
3. After adjusting, lift the tip of the guide bar up to check the tension.
– If it’s still too loose, release the tip of the guide bar and turn the tensioning screw a half turn clockwise. Repeat as needed.
– If it’s too tight, the chain won’t rotate. So turn the tensioning screw a quarter turn counterclockwise. You should be able to turn the chain by hand without binding.
After adjusting, lift the tip of the guide bar up to check the tension.

4. When you have the right tension, hold the tip of the guide bar up and tighten the retaining nuts back up.
How to adjust chainsaw tension

Note: When your chainsaw cools down after use, the chain tightens up. And if you just tightened it before cutting, that can damage the saw. To prevent that, loosen the chain a little after you’re done.

The bottom of your chain bar gets an unfair amount of wear and tear. Every so often, flip the guide bar when you tighten the chain. You’ll get more mileage out of the bar that way.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

With use, a chainsaw chain starts to become loose and leap off the guide bar.

Similarly, if you’re using the chainsaw for the first time, you may have to adjust the tension yourself.

That leads to the common question: “How tight should a chainsaw chain be?

This guide will provide you with the basic information that you need to ensure you’re properly adjusting the tension of your chainsaw chain.

It will also help you understand why achieving the right tension is important.

How to Check Chainsaw Chain Tightness: The Two Recommended Tests

The only way to answer the question “How tight should a chainsaw chain be?” is to test its current tension.

Doing so isn’t as challenging as you might think, and you won’t really need any special piece of equipment.

Most experts suggest and use two tests, namely:

The Snap Test

To perform the snap test, first, you must pull the chain towards yourself and as far away from the bar as possible. Then, release it.

Results and Interpretations

If there is any resistance while pulling, it’s an indication that the chain is too tight.

On the contrary, if you can easily pull the chain, there can be two outcomes:

  • The chain will snap back in place, which means that the tension is perfect.
  • The chain will go limp, indicating that it’s too loose, and the tension needs adjustment.

The Pull Test

The pull test is almost similar to the snap test, except that you don’t completely pull the chain.

Instead, you have to partially lift the chain above the bar.

Results and Interpretations

If the drive links are out of the bar groove, that indicates a loose chain.

In contrast, if the front portion of the drive links is uplifted and the ends stay snug in the bar groove, the tension is fine.

As a rule of thumb, the drive link shouldn’t completely disengage from the bar if the chainsaw is tensioned correctly.

Why Proper Tension Is Important: The Dangers You Might Face

Keep in mind that even the best chainsaws need to be tightened from time to time.

That is because a poorly-tensioned chain can be harmful to you and the chainsaw itself.

If the chain is too tight, it will create pressure on the guide bar when you use the chainsaw at a high speed.

As a result, the guide bar will gradually curve until it breaks, making the chainsaw useless.

A tight chain also increases the consumption of bar oil and can damage bar rails.

Plus, it gradually wears away the bearings with every use.

On the other hand, if the chain is loose, it can easily fall off while you’re using the chainsaw, causing physical harm to you.

If you’re not careful, you may end up with a nasty cut on your cheek or lose a finger or two.

How to Tighten Your Chainsaw Chain: The Recommended Steps

If the tests above show that the chainsaw chain might be too loose or tight, you can fix it in a few simple steps.

Most chainsaws come with screwdrivers matching the size of their tension adjusting screws, so you won’t need additional tools.

Once you have the wrench or screwdriver, you can do the following:

1. Loosen or Tighten the Bolts

Loosen the bolts on the guide bar’s side panel to create ample room for adjusting the chain.

Some chainsaws, like the Echo CS490-18, have brakes on the side panel. Unlock them before removing the panel.

Loosening the bolt will relieve tension in the chain, but if you’re tightening the chain, turn the bolt in the opposite direction.

It’s pretty straightforward if you have the screwdriver of the right size.

2. Test the Tension

Before moving on to the next step, do one of the tension tests to ensure that you have tensioned the chain correctly.

If not, tweak the bolt a little until you get the tension right.

It may take a while initially, but once you’re familiar with your chainsaw, it will get simpler.

3. Lift the Nose or Turn the Tension Handle

Lastly, lift the chainsaw’s nose to tighten the guide bar’s nuts. If you’ve done the previous steps correctly, this one will hardly take a few minutes.

Some newer models have a built-in tension system, eliminating the need for tools.

If your chainsaw comes with an integrated tension adjustment system, it will most likely have a handle.

Move the handle clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which way you’re adjusting the tension, to prepare the chain for action.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

When to Tighten the Chain: The Frequency for New and Old Units

When a chainsaw is new, there is higher friction in the chain links that leads to weak tension.

Thus, every new chainsaw has a break-in period, which differs between models, so you must check your chainsaw’s manual booklet.

On that note, the break-in period indicates the length of time for which you have to keep tightening the chain.

On average, most chainsaw models’ break-in duration ranges from 10 to 15 fillings of their gas tanks.

On the other hand, if you have an older chainsaw or one surpassed its break-in period, it will not require frequent tightening.

How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be: The Conclusion

There is really no standard answer as to how tight the chainsaw chain should be.

The snap and pull tests will help you determine if you’ve already achieved the right tightness or tension.

They will also help you know whether or not your chainsaw’s chain needs adjustment.

Keep in mind that even though the chainsaw has been sitting unused in the garage for most of its life, you have to check the tension every time you use it.

Therefore, before you use your chainsaw the next time, check its tension, then adjust accordingly for your safety and extended chain and guide bar lifespan.

Additionally, when you’re working with wood, remember to make the chain looser after you’re done.

Doing this ensures that the chain’s grip won’t be too tight on the guide bar once it has cooled down.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

Pole saw is a widely used tool for pruning or cutting tree branches. It saves both time and effort. Also, increase the efficacy of the task.

However, lots of people struggle with assembling the parts of the pole saw. Among them, a greater portion struggle in adjusting the chain tension of the pole saw.

Well, it is true that tightening the chain on a pole saw may possess some challenges. But if you follow some easy steps, you can easily master this.

In this article, I am going to talk about these steps. So stay with me to know how to tighten chain on pole saw.

Why tighten the chain on the pole saw?

Well, it would be more appropriate to say adjusting the chain on the pole saw instead of saying tightening. That’s because too tight or too loose chain- both can cause problems.

The loose chain can cause the guide bar fast. This can lead to flying up the bar and eventually can injure someone.

Also, it can result in slanted cuts. Simply you will try to cut the branches but end up damaging your pole saw.

On the other side, a significantly tightened chain can cause a series of problems. If your chain on the pole saw is too tight, it can hamper the movement flexibility of the guide bar. This will prevent you from getting an efficient cut.

Alongside, the too tight chain will increase the frictions and can cause sparks. Sometimes this may end up with a fire hazard as well as damaging your lovely equipment.

So adjusting the chain tightness is very important for a smooth and secure cutting or pruning operation.

Tightening chain on the pole saw:

I hope now you understand why it is important to tighten or adjust the chain tension. So without further delay, let’s get started with how to tighten chain on pole saw.

I will discuss all the steps that you need to know for tightening the chain on the pole saw. Go through the following steps to mastering the process.

Find the wrench or the screwdriver:

The pole saw kit will provide a wrench or screwdriver for loosening the nuts. It’s a small thing. Look for it and find it to start with the process of tightening.

Loosen the nut or screw:

You will find a nut or pin that connects the chainsaw and the guide bar. Take the screwdriver and loosen it slowly. Adjusting the chain tension will provide better positioning.

You need to loosen a few nuts like this. Remember, you just need to lose the nuts. Do not remove them completely.

Turn the tensioning screw:

Now you need to turn the tensioning screw clockwise to tighten the chain. As I mentioned earlier, the pole saw kit will provide a screwdriver. So turn the tensioning screw with it.

Remember when you turn the screw clockwise, it will get tightened. And when you turn it counterclockwise, the chain will get loosen.

Turn the screw until it is adjusted properly. Now the question arises, how do you know the screw tension is perfect?

Well, when it gets tightened perfectly, you will see the chain is not hanging down. Make sure the chain is just sitting on the guide bar.

Retighten the nuts:

Now that you are done with adjusting chain tension, retighten the guide bar with nuts. Make sure the nuts are fitted properly.

Check chainsaw chain:

Now it’s time to see how properly you have adjusted the chain tension. For that pull the chainsaw. It should move flexibly without binding the guide bar.

The gap between the drive links and the bar should be minimum. However, the gap should be adequate so that you can pull the chain a bit from the bar.

Now try pulling the trigger and see whether the chain gets back to the bar again or not. Repeat it a couple of times. I guess it’s working. So your pole saw is ready to go.

Safety Tips:

Well, adjusting the chain tightness and remaining safe during that are equally important.

  • First of all, make sure to turn off the pole saw or remove the power source before starting the process. Otherwise, an electric shock may injure you.
  • Another consideration is making sure the chain is cold enough. The warm chain may interrupt the adjusting process as it tends to expand.
  • Always wear safety gloves while adjusting the chain tension. It will protect you from cutting hands by the chain.


I hope now it makes sense to you how to tighten chain on pole saw. You may feel bored while adjusting the chain tension. But believe me, it’s totally worthwhile.

And you will understand when you should start the cutting operation. So all the very best to you. And with that, I am drawing the finishing line here.

How to adjust chainsaw tension

A little tension is a good thing when it comes to chain saws. A chain that is too loose can disengage from the bar, while one that is too tight could snap — neither of which is good for your health. Check the tension on a Craftsman electric chain saw with an 18-inch bar, model 358.341180, before each use and several times after installing a new chain to adjust its tension until you can slightly pull the chain up from the top of the bar and there is no sag in the chain on the bottom of the bar.

Put on work gloves and unplug your chain saw.

Insert the blade of a screwdriver into the chain on the top side of the bar and use it to pull the chain around the bar — moving the screwdriver to other links as necessary — until the chain moves smoothly all the way around the bar and you are sure that there are no kinks or twists.

Locate the bar knob, which is a large circular knob with a lever running through it, at the base of the guide bar on one side of the chain saw. Lift the lever and turn it one turn counterclockwise to disengage the bar clamp locking mechanism.

Tilt the chain saw so the nose of the bar is pointing up slightly.

Turn the chain adjusting wheel, which is a small wheel set sideways into the saw at the base of the bar knob with an exposed serrated edge for thumb turning, down toward the bottom of the saw until the chain draws up to touch the grooved bar rail guide.

Move the chain around the bar guide with the screwdriver in the same manner as in Step 2 to make sure the entire chain is in the groove in the bar guide.

Turn the bar knob clockwise until it is hand tight while pulling up on the tip of the guide bar.

Push down the bar level to re-engage the locking mechanism.

Pull the chain around the bar again with the screwdriver. Repeat the process from Step 3 if the chain is too tight to move, moving the chain adjusting wheel in Step 5 up by one-quarter turn to loosen the chain enough that it moves smoothly but doesn’t sag.