Chainsaw Chain Direction: Which Way is Correct?

We all know the struggle of having to replace your chainsaw’s chain right in the middle of a project.

It gets in the way of progress and can be a pain having to take your chainsaw apart and put it all back together. What’s an even bigger pain is getting everything put back together, trying to work with a backwards chain, and having to take your machine apart again.

Quick Answer:

The correct direction for a chainsaw chain is with the sharp cutting edges, or teeth, facing forward on the top side of the chain bar. This is often referred to as the direction of the engine’s rotation or “clockwise.” If the chainsaw is held with the engine towards the operator, the top of the chain should be moving away from them.

Putting a chain on a chainsaw the right way is a rather important step in properly using your chainsaw.

If you don’t get the chain on the right way, you will end up with a seemingly dull blade and have to take it all apart again to reverse the chain.

So, let’s try to prevent this little mistake by putting the chain on the right way the first time.

I found this video helpful:

Set The Bar

The easiest way to replace or correct a chain on a chainsaw after you’ve taken the machine apart is to start by reattaching the chain bar to the body of the chainsaw.

Once attached, adjust the bar so it is not so long and the chain will fit more loosely and be easier to put on. If you don’t do this, you will be fighting the chain the entire time.

After your bar is in place, it is time to mount your chain.

Check Blade Direction

The important part of mounting your chain is to make sure the blades are facing the right direction.

chainsaw chain direction

Image courtesy of The Home Depot

Again, if the blades of the chain are not facing the correct way, you will think the blade is dull because it is cutting in the wrong direction

 The correct direction for a blade to face is with the pointy edge of the blade teeth facing toward the way the blade rotates.

Essentially, you want the pointy edges of the blades rotating on top of the chain bar, moving toward the tip of the bar, and away from the body of the machine.

Now that you’ve got it going in the right direction rotate your chain and get it set in place.

Tighten the Blade

After you’ve rotated your chain and your drive links settled into place on the chain bar, it is time to tighten it so you can get back to work.

Don’t over tighten your chain, but don’t under tighten it either.

You want the perfect tension for the chain to rotate smoothly and for your safety as well.

Though it doesn’t take much time to reset or replace a chain, it is always much easier to just do it right the first time.  So take your time and do it right.

All types of chainsaws will eventually need their chains replaced, so become familiar with the process. If you are in the market for a new one, you can read my product guides below:

  • Best Overall
  • Cordless (Battery Powered)
  • Electric (Corded)
  • Small (Mini)

Here is a list of the best selling chainsaw chains on Amazon

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API