Chainsaw Chain Direction – Right Directions For Your Chainsaw

A chainsaw won’t cut right if the direction of its chain is somehow not correct or in place!

Although setting up the correct chainsaw chain direction is no out-of-this-world kind of task, many people still do it the wrong way or mostly are confused about how to put a chainsaw chain correctly in place and in the right direction.

Our article contains a complete guide on what direction to put your chainsaw chain in, what should be the chainsaw teeth direction, and what problems you might face in case you’re putting up the chain in the wrong way.

The very first thing you need to know is, that with a chainsaw chained backward, the chain won’t cut right. Moreover, all the cutters face you when the chain is reversible, and it could be super dangerous! And so, in order to use a chainsaw effectively and safely, the right chain direction is very important.

Remember, chainsaw cutters should always be facing the tip of the chainsaw bar when viewed at the top. While when viewing from the bottom chain of the bar, the cutter should be facing the powerhead.

Let’s dig into the details of how to determine the right chainsaw chain direction.

Chainsaw Chain Direction

In order to properly use your chainsaw, you must put a chain on it the right way.

A dull blade can be the outcome if the chain isn’t put in the right direction, and the chain must be reversed again.

Therefore, let’s try to prevent this error the first time around by properly attaching the chain.

  • Raise the bar
  • Blade direction must be checked
  • Blades need to be tightened

Chainsaw Chain Direction

Raise the Bar

  1. If you take a chainsaw apart to fix or replace a chain, you should attach the chain bar to the body of the machine first.
  2. Once the bar is attached, adjust the length of the chain so it can fit loosely and be easier to attach. This will prevent you from constantly fighting the chain.
  3. Your chain can now be mounted to the bar after your bar has been installed.

Blade Direction Must be Checked

  1. Next, you should ensure that your chain blades face the correct direction when mounting your chain.
  2. The wrong way around the chain is another thing that will make you think the chain is dull since the blades are cutting in the wrong direction.
  3. Blade teeth should point toward the direction in which the blade rotates with the pointy edge facing the rotating direction.
  4. It is important that the blades move toward the tip of the chin bar while avoiding the body of the machine.
  5. Rotate your chain and get it in place once you’ve got it going in the right direction.

Blades Need to be Tightened

  1. The final step is to tighten the blades. It is time to tighten your chain once your drive links have settled on the chain bar and you have rotated your chain.
  2. Be careful not to overtighten your chain, but do not under tighten it either. A smooth rotation of the chain and your safety are both dependent on the perfect tension.

How to Make Sure that Your Chainsaw Chain Direction is Right?

Somebody who is new to the chainsaws might find it a bit confusing at the start. But if you get to know the right technique, it’s not difficult to set up your chainsaw’s chain in the right direction.

Here are some tips you must follow to determine if you’ve set up the chain in the correct way.

  • View it from the top
  • Take a look at the front and side view
  • View it from the bottom

How to Make Sure that Your Chainsaw Chain Direction is Right

View it From the Top

You can see different blades on the top of your chainsaw chain when viewed from the top. Each blade has two edges, one of which is sharp, and one of which is dull. Blades of chainsaws rotate clockwise. No matter what type or model of chainsaw you own, the blade will always face the same way.

Thus, the edges should always be facing in the clockwise direction. You will see the sharp edges of the sharp edge facing the opposite direction than the chainsaw body or motor if you look at the saw from the top. This way, the top view lets you see the blade’s proper position and direction.

Take a Look at the Front and Side View

You should be able to see the chainsaw blade on your right and the chainsaw engine on your left if you are checking the blade from the side. Hence, the direction of the blade should be clockwise, from left to right. If you run it the wrong way, your blade will go in the opposite direction.

You should also look at your saw from the front. The blade will be seen coming down from the upside if it is in the right direction. It would be impossible to achieve an effective cut, however, if it was moving backward.

View it From the Bottom

It is a common saying that the chainsaw blade can be viewed from the bottom in the opposite way from the top. From the bottom, you should be able to see if the blade is facing the engine or the body and if the blade is placed in the right direction. Sharpened edges will always turn clockwise.

Problems of Putting the Chainsaw in the Wrong Direction?

It is actually quite frustrating to try to find the correct chainsaw chain direction if you haven’t known the easy way. We can tell you from our experience that the process could be very tedious and annoying, and even worse, problems may arise.

If you use a chainsaw regularly, you should know about the problems that result when the chain is installed incorrectly because at least once, you would have installed it incorrectly. This time, we have taken the time to explain chainsaws to those who are new to them.

Chainsaw blades are designed to cut wood only in one direction, so if the chain is installed or positioned in reverse, it will only damage the tool.

Problems of Putting the Chainsaw in the Wrong Direction

Chainsaw chains placed the wrong way can cause a variety of problems and we’ve discussed a few of them below.

  • Good bar oil goes to waste
  • Result in chain-link damage
  • Stresses out the guide bar
  • You may doubt your abilities
  • Deterioration of the motor system
  • Clutch burnout

Good bar oil goes to waste

If the chainsaw’s harrow is fixed the wrong way around, it will waste a lot of bar oil, which will result in more damage to the tool. Bar oil is usually kept until a particular task or project is complete before it is used. The chainsaw blade, however, should never be placed in the wrong direction because it will lead to a waste of bar oil.

Result in chain-link damage

In order to operate effectively, a chainsaw must have a working chain link, and if the chain-link is damaged, the saw will not be able to do so.

The link should always be positioned at the bottom of the blade to ensure it provides sufficient support for the blade and thus allows for easy and effective propelling. If the drive link is broken, make sure to fix it to prevent unnecessary damage to you and your project.

Stresses out the guide bar

A chain saw’s guide bar is vital to its ability to cut wood, so when the chainsaw blade is not aligned correctly, there will be a lot of problems. It is common for the guide bar in this situation to become quite stressed as the chain is forcefully driven into the wood.

Consequently, you will damage the guide bar because the cut will not be possible.

You may doubt your abilities

One of the worst things a user can experience when using a chainsaw is placing the blade incorrectly. Chainsaw users are expected to demonstrate the ability to correctly place chainsaw chains as part of their abilities to prove that they are capable.

Imagine you are a chainsaw professional, and you are struggling to mount your chainsaw in the correct direction while working on your clients’ projects. A situation like this would reflect poorly on you your client, and it could cost you the job.

Deterioration of the motor system

The more pressure you apply when cutting wood with dull edges, the more damage the chainsaw will suffer and the shorter its life will be. This is another major problem that is common to arise when you place the chainsaw chain in the wrong direction.

Clutch burnout

The clutch of your chainsaw should remain pressed down when you start it. It is important to note that if your chainsaw doesn’t cut, it may burn the clutch, which would prevent the chainsaw from working.

Therefore, always ensure that your blade is pointing in the right direction before you begin any project or task. Most often, a burnt-out saw is just the clutch. Due to its role in facilitating the chainsaw’s proper functioning, it plays an important role.

When to Replace a Chainsaw Chain?

There are certain factors that would lead to the need for replacing your chainsaw chain. Listed below is a breakdown of the harbingers you can look for to determine if you need to replace a chainsaw chain.

  • Positioning problems
  • Chainsaws no longer pull themselves into wood
  • Even with good lubrication and correct chain tension, the machine still smokes
  • Crooked cuts
  • Damaged or missing teeth

When to Replace a Chainsaw Chain

Positioning Problems

A chainsaw is in good condition and should remain stable when set against a piece of wood. You will, however, feel a bouncing or rattling sensation if your chain needs to be replaced. This indicates that the chain is beyond its useful life, as well as unsafe, so you should get a new one right away.

Chainsaws No Longer Pull Themselves into Wood

A major asset of chainsaws is their efficiency, which requires a steady hand, not a forceful one, to handle. Your chainsaw will not remain stable unless you manually compress it, which may be a sign it can no longer draw itself into the wood. A new chain would definitely be worth considering if this is the case.

Even With Good Lubrication and Correct Chain Tension, the Machine Still Smokes

In the case that your chainsaw starts smoking while in use, and other possible causes, such as lubrication, cannot be ruled out, then the chain’s health should be suspected.

It is not only important to change the chain as soon as possible for safety reasons, but it is also important for precision reasons – even the most skilled chainsaw operators cannot get the best results when smoke obscures their vision.

Also, it’s important to point out that smoking chains are just one sign of poor chainsaw maintenance and a lack of regard for safety as well.

Crooked Cuts

A chain that has reached the end of its lifespan will begin to have crooked, jagged cuts. This problem can be a sign that dull cutting teeth prevent the chain from cutting a smooth, clean line. While sharpening may also be helpful in this regard, it is still best to purchase a new chain, especially if the chain hasn’t been replaced for some time.

Damaged or Missing Teeth

If you sharpen your chain, you should inspect the teeth to see whether they are worn. Damaged, broken, or off-center teeth are a bad sign, especially since they cannot be rectified with a sharpening procedure. It is a potential hazard when a tooth is compromised.

Until the chain is replaced, do not use the chainsaw. If the chainsaw has missing teeth, it does not necessarily mean it is dangerous, but it does mean it is nearing the end of its functional life. In good working order, chains do not loose teeth. So, if they do, consider missing sections a sign your chain needs to be replaced shortly.

Should I Sharpen or Replace My Chain?

The next step will be to carefully examine the chain to look for any damaged, chipped, or broken links. You should replace your chain if it has obvious damage or missing pieces.

Should I Sharpen or Replace My Chain

If the chain is intact and in good condition, however, it can be sharpened. Depending on how much material you take off each time, a good chain can usually handle a few dozen sharpening.

In the long run, a dull chainsaw chain will struggle to cut wood as efficiently as it once could. Thus, you should look to keep the chain sharp whenever possible, rather than seeking a replacement.

Chainsaw Chain Direction – FAQs

Are chainsaw chains directional?
Two edges are present on these blades, one of which is sharp, the other dull. These blades rotate clockwise. No matter what type or model of chainsaw you own, the blade always faces the same way. That means the sharp edges should always point clockwise.
How to tell the direction of a chainsaw chain?
For a blade to face in the correct direction, the pointy edge of the blade teeth should face the direction it rotates. A blade’s pointy edges should rotate along the chain bar, moving away from the body of the machine and toward the tip.
Which direction to file a chainsaw chain?
As you file, start at the inside and work your way out. Keeping the file’s trip away from the engine is the easiest way to remember the correct direction. The file should be held at a 90-degree angle to the guide bar. The file should be moved at an angle of 30 degrees to the chain’s straight line.



Looking at the top of the bar and seeing the cutters pointing to the tip – that’s it. It’s that simple to find the correct chainsaw direction. Chainsaws rotate outwards from the top and inwards from underneath.

You should never hesitate to take your chainsaw to a local dealer for assistance if you are ever in doubt. This is the best and most convenient idea if you’re new to the chain-changing thing.

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