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How to Tell if a Chainsaw Chain Is Sharp (Your Ultimate Chainsaw Guide)

Chainsaws are best used with sharp chains because it helps to maximize their cutting performance. It’s critical to know whether a chainsaw chain is dull or sharp, as this guarantees you have the right apparatuses for cutting. 

It likewise ensures that your chainsaw is operating properly since it will gradually lose its sharpness over time.  Additionally, this makes cutting easier and also limits kickbacks which are the main source of injury during cutting.

Here are a few signs on how to tell if a chainsaw chain is sharp.

is your chainsaw chain sharp

3 Signs Your Chainsaw Chain Is Sharp

1. Thick Sawdust Production 

The sawdust created from cutting logs, wood, or tree will indicate whether a chainsaw is sharp or not.

When vertically cutting wood, the chainsaw should produce thick sawdust that looks like coarse strands. A dull chain creates fine sawdust, less thick than that created from a sharp cutting chain. 

When the sawdust has a finer texture and smooth, then it means the chain is worn-out and dull.

2. Positioning and Cutting Is Easy

If you use a sharp chain, the chainsaw will remain stable without it veering or shaking left or right when cutting an object.

Then again, it’s much harder to position and cut through in a worn-out, dull saw chain. It won’t be easy to cut through the object and you’ll notice that it will get stuck while the engine is still running. 

This is one of the simpler ways to differentiate a sharp chain and a dull one. 

3. Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Smoothness 

When using the chainsaw, there shouldn’t be any kind of pressure application or intense force while using it. 

When you need to use pressure or force, this means that the sharpness of the chain of the chainsaw has been exhausted and worn out so it should be sharpened. Therefore, it makes it more difficult to cut and the cutting apparatus will have more damage. 

On the other hand, a sharp chain will require very little pressure and is easy to cut and glide through the wood. In this situation, one can tell if a cutting chainsaw chain is sharp or not. 

How to Maintain Your Chainsaw

There are a few things you need to keep in mind to prolong your chainsaw’s life and to keep it to work in a perfect or ideal condition for several years. 

Aside from following the instructions for maintenance suggested by the manufacturer, there are other basic maintenance and care tips you can hold on to. 

After Each Use, Clean The Debris and Dirt Off the Chain

Step 1: Remove the clutch cover of the chainsaw and clean the chain with a little bit of wood or metal. Eliminate any dirt or debris inside the track. 

Step 3: Remove and clean out the cooling fans and air intake that will be found in a cylinder cover.  Clean out the air filter and wipe out any dirt that’s stuck in between the spaces. 

Step 5: Ensure nothing is keeping air from getting into the motor by checking the flywheel fins.

Store the Chainsaw Indoors

The chainsaw should be stored inside. A garage, barn, or shed would be fine. Avoid placing your equipment outside where it’s wide open to the outside climate

Put Your Chainsaw in a Scabbard 

Before putting it away, one should put the chainsaw in a scabbard on top of the chain and bar. This forestalls bumps, dings, and dust. It additionally shields you from unintentional cuts. 

Chain Oil and Bar 

Checking the oil level should be done ideally every time it has been used. Once you’ve cleaned out the debris and assembled everything back, the chain and chainsaw bar should be oiled. 

The greatest way to do this is by putting chain oil into the greased tank, and afterward, run the engine of the chainsaw for a couple of seconds.

Most chainsaws are made with a built-in mechanism that allows the lubricant to draw in as the chain spins.

When to Consider Replacing Your Chainsaw Chain

When time goes by, the chain will lose its sharpness, which can be hazardous to the user and will make the work harder. 

Below are the key indications that the chain is too dull to even consider working effectively with. 

  1. Rusty chain. It’s not preferable to use a rusted chain. This damages the teeth and blades of the chainsaw and will decrease the amount of efficiency while using it.  
  2. When the cutting apparatus begins to smoke regardless of being well greased. If this happens, then the engine is most likely worn-out.
  3. When the chain gets dented, chipped, or broken. If the chain of the chainsaw hits soil, ice, or rocks multiple times, then it’s probably time to change and replace your chainsaw chain. This is the number one reason why the chainsaw gets damaged. Additionally, if the highest points of the teeth of the chain are missing, then it’s also a sign that the chain needs to be replaced.  
  4. When you experience difficulty in cutting precise cuts.  You’ll know this when you’re trying to cut the position you want, then it starts to clatter and rattle. 
  5.  When you reach the “safety lines”. Most chainsaw models have small lines to indicate the maximum amount of metal that is allowed to be removed, it’s known as the “safety lines”. Once you have reached that line, it’s not safe to sharpen and use your chain again. 

If the chain passes those lines, there’s a risk of the chain breaking into separate pieces or even the chain flying off while using. It’s extremely dangerous, so the best thing to do is to replace the chains once the safety lines have been reached. 


The life expectancy of a chainsaw relies upon its maintenance, and not by pre-establish expiration date or timeline.

This will depend on how frequently you use your cutting equipment, it means it could last for a few years, as long as you are taking great care of your chainsaw. I do suggest that you always use a decent sharp chainsaw chain as it lessens the odds of damage or injury to your cutting apparatus. 

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