How to Put on a Chainsaw Chain – 5 Simple Steps

| Last Updated: February 6, 2021

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Putting on a chainsaw chain can be scary to think about when you’ve got no previous experience; you’re scared you’ll mess it up and break the chainsaw.

Well, thankfully, we’ve created a helpful step by step guide on how to put on a chainsaw chain properly. 

Putting on a Chainsaw Chain

As a high-level overview, here's how to put on a chainsaw chain. For a more in-depth discussion, be sure to see the rest of the guide below. 

  1. Clean The Chainsaw And Remove Debris
  2. Disassemble The Housing 
  3. Attach The Chain
  4. Adjust The Tension
  5. Test It Out

How to Put on a Chainsaw Chain

It’s important to read through the steps before touching your chainsaw just to understand the process. Take your time and don’t rush or guess the next steps; follow our advice, and you’ll be fine. 

Clean The Chainsaw And Remove Debris

This isn’t as important of a step if your chainsaw is brand new, but if you’ve got some uses out of your chainsaw and want to change the chain, please give your machine a clean. 

Debris and dirt can impact any aspect of your chainsaws operation, and it’s always important to maintain clean tools. You can do this using just a brush and pressurized air. 

Disassemble The Housing

Disassembly is straightforward if you take your time and organize yourself. You want to begin by locating the two bolts holding the housing together and the bar inside the machine. The bolts should be on the side of the chainsaw bar

Once loose, you can take the housing off, and any bolts that came with it should be put aside. The inside of the housing might be packed full of dirt and debris so give it a clean. 

Attach The Chain

You want to ensure that the chain and bar are both off of the chainsaw. You will take the chain and lay it in the right direction; the links' sharp and pointy end should be facing clockwise. The pointy, sharp ends should also face away from you; this is how you know it’s in the correct direction. 

You can now attach the chain around the sprocket, which drives the chain and allows you to wrap it around the bar correctly. You’ll then need to align the tensioning stud with the bars chain guide hole; this is necessary to adjust the tension of the chain. 

Adjust The Tension

You really need to just play around with the tensioning screw in order to get to a suitable state for operation. The tension is a subjective matter and is totally up to what you’re comfortable with. 

While turning the screw, just pull the chain out tight so that there’s no looseness when increasing the tension; this will allow you to accurately see how tight it gets. 

You’re now safe to put the housing back on the chainsaw and test it out. 


It is a bit of a process to follow but with practice comes perfection, so just keep taking it slow, and you’ll soon be a pro at anything chainsaw-related. However, reading our articles will get you there faster. 

People Also Ask

Like with any technical topic, there’s bound to be some extra questions to be answered. We’ve included some important questions and their answers. 

What is the average time of putting a chain on a chainsaw?

It depends on your level of skill and experience. If it’s your first time, take it slow and follow the guides, so that can take up to half an hour. If you’re experienced, it can be done in about 10-15 minutes. 

How hard is it to put a chain on a chainsaw?

If you follow the steps that we’ve set out, it isn’t that hard. If you’re really struggling to get it on, you can always go to a saw shop and ask them to help you out. 

Can you put a chainsaw chain on backward?

You can, but it won’t work. If you put it on backward, the sharp edges won’t cut through the wood as they’re pointing the opposite way; it’ll just repeatedly keep hitting off the workpiece.