Which Way Does the Chain Go on a Chainsaw – Most Comprehensive Guide

Chainsaws are powerful and versatile tools. Whether you’re a professional logger or a weekend warrior, a chainsaw can handle any tree quickly. But like any tool, a chainsaw must be used properly to be effective and safe. Whether you’re chopping firewood or trimming branches, it’s important to understand the basics of proper chainsaw use, because even the best chainsaw chain if installed incorrectly will have a number of negative consequences.

Which way does the chain go on a chainsaw?

Some saws have the chain running in the same direction as the blade rotation (clockwise on most right-handed saws), while others have the chain running in the opposite direction. You can usually tell which way the chain is supposed to go by looking at the direction of the teeth on the blade. They will be pointing in the same direction as the blade is supposed to rotate.

Which Way Does a Chain Go on a Chainsaw?

A chain

Most people think that the teeth on a chainsaw blade are all pointing in the same direction. However, there’s a correct way for the chainsaw chain to rotate. The chain must rotate in the way of the teeth on the bottom of the blade. This is because the teeth on the bottom of the blade are pointing in the same direction as the rotation of the chain. If the chain were to rotate in the opposite direction, the teeth would be pointing in the wrong direction and would not cut through the wood.

There’re a few different ways to determine the correct chainsaw chain direction:

  • The first way is to look at the teeth on the bottom of the blade. If the teeth are turned in the same way as the rotation of the chain, then the rotation is in the right direction.
  • The second way is to look at the sawdust that’s being produced. If the sawdust is being ejected from the side of the saw blade that’s opposite of the rotation of the chain, then it’s rotating in the correct direction.
  • The third way to determine the correct direction is to hold the saw blade with the teeth pointing up. If the chain is rotating in the correct direction, the blade will rotate in the same direction as the teeth. If the chain is rotating in the opposite direction, the blade will rotate in the opposite direction of the teeth.

Knowing which way does a chainsaw chain go on is important because it will ensure that the saw blade is cutting through the wood correctly. If the chain is rotating in the wrong direction, the saw blade will not cut through the wood correctly and can cause the saw to bind.

How to Put a Chain on Chainsaw: Step-by-Step

Put a Chain on Chainsaw

Step 1. Remove the Chainsaw Case

Remove the chainsaw case according to your model’s instructions. On most models, this will involve removing a few screws or bolts that hold the case in place. If your model has a different design, start by locating the two latches on the side of the chainsaw case. Use your fingers to press the latches in, and then lift the case off of the chainsaw.

Step 2. Remove the Chain and Bar

With the case removed, you should now be able to see the chain and bar. There’s a bar clamp bolt located at the base of the bar. Use a wrench to loosen this bolt, and then slide the bar and chain off of the saw.

Step 3. Identify the Cutting Direction of Chain

Before you can install the new chain, you need to identify the cutting direction. The cutting direction is always towards the tip of the bar. Chainsaws typically have a cutting direction indicator on the bar. This will tell you which way chain saw teeth direction in order to cut properly.

Step 4. Assemble Chain and Bar

Now that you know the cutting direction, you can start assembling the new chain and bar. Start by feeding the end of the chain through the bar, and then around the sprocket. Make sure that the teeth on are facing the correct direction.

Step 5. Tension Chain

Once the chain is assembled, you need to tension it. Start by holding the bar with one hand, and then use your other hand to pull the chain tight. There must be medium tension.

Step 6. Test Your Chainsaw

After install chain on chainsaw, you can test it out. Start the chainsaw and let it idle for a few seconds. Then, slowly apply pressure to the trigger and see how the chain cuts. If it’s cutting properly, then you’re all done!


Can a chainsaw chain be put on backwards?

Most chainsaws have the potential to run the chain in either direction, but it’s not recommended to do so. Running the chain in the wrong direction can cause serious injury to the operator or damage to the saw.

How do I know if my chainsaw chain is backwards?

First, take a look at the teeth on the chain. If the teeth are pointing backward, then the chain is backward. If the chain is installed correctly, the saw should cut smoothly. If the chain is installed backward, the saw will bind and kick back. This can be dangerous, so it’s important to make sure the chain is installed correctly.

Why does my chain keep coming loose?

There’re a few reasons why your chainsaw chain might be breaking. One possibility is that it’s old and needs to be replaced. Also, the common reason for chainsaw chains breaking is that they’re dull, and the chain is not properly lubricated. If the problem is neither of these, then it’s likely that your saw is just too powerful for the chain.


Most chainsaws will have an arrow on the side of the bar that indicates which way the chain should be running. If the chain is running in the wrong direction, it can cause the saw to kick back, which can be dangerous. It can also cause the chain to come off of the bar, which can damage the saw or cause injury.

No matter which way you install the chain, make sure that the loops are snug around the teeth on the sprocket wheel. If they’re too loose, the chain could come off while you’re using the chainsaw and that could be very dangerous.

Now that you know how does a chain go on a chainsaw, you’re ready to get out there and start using this versatile tool.

Also Read:


  1. Saw chain (Wikipedia); https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saw_chain
  2. Chainsaw Safety: Safety Features and Maintenance (Extention): https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/forestry/chainsaw-safety-safety-features-and-maintenance/
  3. Advanced Sprockets and Chain (REV): https://docs.revrobotics.com/duo-build/actuators/sprockets-and-chain/sprockets-and-chain-advanced
Sean Chapman
Sean Chapman

“A good tool stays with you for many years and choosing carefully ensures the job is done right, your work is neat, and the tool is always a pleasure to use”

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

      Tools 'n' Goods