Chainsaw Chain Direction, Which Way Should It Go? [Interactive Guide]

Before making use of any heavy machinery that may cause harm, it’s important to know the right way of using it. Proper precautions must be taken to ensure that the work is done easily without harming the user in any way. Protective equipment and other necessary arrangements are included in this.

A chainsaw is one such heavy machinery that is used to cut down wood, mostly tree trunks. It is quite sharp and therefore needs to be treated with extra care. Also having the chainsaw’s chain put in the right direction helps a great deal in getting the work done efficiently.

So, how to ensure that the chain is working in the right direction in a chainsaw?

There are a few steps that you can follow to make sure that you have got it right.

  1. Check the direction

The first thing you need to do is to check the top of a chainsaw where its blade rests on top of the chain. They are sharp so one must be careful while doing so. The blade should point to a clockwise direction just like the chain of a chainsaw, keeping in mind that it should be away from the motor or body of the chainsaw.

  1. Check the bottom of the chainsaw

When a chainsaw works well, the motor moves the chain in a circular motion. The user has to ensure that the blade/teeth of the chainsaw are facing away from the top of the chain’s rotation but when they go down i.e., reach the bottom while rotating; they should face towards the body. In case you observe that this isn’t how it is with your chainsaw, you need to reinstall the chain properly.


The Guide,Faces Backward

  1. Check drive links

Drive links refer to the points that form inside of the chain. They sit in the groove of the Chain bar and move in a clockwise direction as directed by the sprocket. These links should ideally face forward on the top side of the chain. In case you notice any irregularities, you know that it might eventually lead to a catastrophe and therefore needs intervention.

  1. Troubleshoot

Sometimes it may happen that you might not notice any issues as mentioned above. In that case, the best way to ensure that the chain of your chainsaw is in the right direction is by carefully experimenting. You just need to try and cut logs and see the results it bores you. In case you notice excessive rattling, smoking of wood, and eventual burning, you need to put the chain in the right direction immediately.

What are the problems of the wrong chain direction in a chainsaw?


  1. Waste of bar oil

In case the chain is installed in the wrong direction, it’ll take longer than necessary for you to get your regular work done. This will eventually lead to excessive use to bar oil and also cause wastage. That is why it is necessary to ensure that your chain is always set in the right direction.

  1. Damages chain link

Chain link is an integral part of the chainsaw and hence one should take extra care to ensure it isn’t damaged easily. Its damage causes inefficiency while working and also renders it useless. Always ensure that the link is set in the bottom position to provide the required support to the blade which results in effective propelling. Damage to the drive link can also damage your project, so make sure to set the chain in the right direction.

  1. Stress on the guide bar

It’s important to have the chainsaw blade rightly aligned as a guide bar constitutes an important part of the chainsaw when it is working. In case the chain isn’t on the right direction on the chainsaw, the blade won’t be able to properly cut the wood that you’re attempting to work on, thereby stressing the guide bar to a considerable extent, which ends up often damaging it.

  1. Motor damage

When the chain is mounted wrongly, there’s a lot of pressure on the motor to have the work done rightly. This pressure can easily damage and deteriorate the motor and cause issues to the overall functioning of the chainsaw.

  1. Burns clutch

The Clutch is an important part of the chainsaw that helps in the functioning of the chainsaw. When working on a chainsaw, the clutch is often pressed for it to work well. However, in the situation the chainsaw isn’t working right, the clutch easily burns out. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the chain and blade are fixed properly to not cause issues to the clutch as it is a sensitive part.


Working on a chainsaw can be a bit tricky especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Therefore, to ensure no mishaps during work, it is important to ensure that you take

all necessary precautions to ensure maximum safety and efficiency of the chainsaw.

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