How Much Compression Should a Chainsaw Have? Details Explained

Screwed while calculating the compression range of different chainsaws? Well, don’t you worry! If you are a beginner with chainsaw and want to know how much compression should a chainsaw have; keep on reading. We have tried to explain all the details a beginner chainsaw user must know about, regardless of their job and type.

Chainsaws have become one of the handy tools for carpenters. Moreover, it is classified into two types⸻ electric or gas-powered; one can use it according to their preference. Additionally, as the best and handy gear for different purposes, it comes with specific caring points. However, the top of the list is to know about its compression and power requirements.

We have gone through different opinions to convey a helpful hand to solve your problem so let’s not waste your time and get started.

how much compression should a chainsaw have

How Much Compression Should a Chainsaw Have?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. The compression varies according to the size of the engine a chainsaw has. Well, to elaborate, a large machine will ask for large compression, whereas a small engine will take less compression for the smooth sunning chainsaw. Well, it can be said, it depends on the capacity of the chainsaw’s engine.

Besides, if we talk about pressure, the maximum pressure should be set between 100 to 160 psi. However, some of the professionals suggest to set the pressure between 90 to 110 psi. In addition to it, not all chainsaws can operate with the recommended pressure and could take a little more to work smoothly.

Also, the motor capacity and temperature are equally crucial for defining your chainsaw’s compression to use it correctly for your job. Not all chainsaw engines have the same motor capacity. Internationally, the motor capacity can be expressed as cc. So, let us clear how it is essential for chainsaw compression.

The Motor Capacity:

The lower motor capacity will have lower compression, while the higher power has higher compression. For instance: the engine with a motor capacity of 50cc will have compression to 140-150 psi. On the other hand, the engine with a higher power, like 60cc or more, will have a higher compression range above 150-160 psi.

The Temperature:

According to the rule of thermodynamics, it is found that temperature vigorously affects the chainsaw’s speed. In simple words, a hot chainsaw will run fast and require 160psi from the vacuum air, while the cold will run slow and require 80-100 psi. Furthermore, if the engine is too hot or too cold, it will not ask for an accurate compression rate; hence it will not produce any compression inside the engine.

However, the questions like how much compression is necessary for a chainsaw have no definite answer. It depends on the task and the person’s opinion. Also, you can take 110psi, the standard compression for your chainsaw. In regards to power, 35cc-40cc is used for the trees because they are lightweight and suitable for handling while dealing with heavy objects,

Chainsaw Power Requirement for Different Jobs:

Simultaneously, the other most asked question arrived is “Which power chainsaw do I need?” So, the answer is obvious. The power of the chainsaw depends on the type of work you do. For domestic and straightforward jobs, a chainsaw with lower power can be considered. However, for the high and professional tasks, one might require a high power chainsaw.

For a more comprehensive guide, we have prepared the chart to help you in a quick understanding of the type of work and the power of the chainsaw it required.

Size of chainsaw

Type of chainsaw

Power required


  • Domestic chainsaw

Electric or gasoline

35cc – 40cc

They can be used in domestic tasks like cutter firewood, inside garages, residential areas, etc.

  • Professional ⸻ medium-sized chainsaw


40cc – 50cc

It is ideal for Limbing, pruning, landscaping, and outdoor task.

  • Professional ⸻ large-sized chainsaw


45cc – 100cc

It can be used for felling trees, cutting logs, and other heavy wood.

How to Do a Compression Test on a Chainsaw?

If you want to know what compression your chainsaw has, then there might be an easy testing method for you. You can test the compression through a pressure testing gauge for the best and accurate value. Also, below there is a step-wise guide for using the pressure testing gauge. So lets’ start with the process.

STEP 1:  Disassemble the spark plug from your engine with the help of a wrench or ratchet.

STEP 2:  Attach adaptor to hold the gauge and chainsaw because the meter can vary in size and need to behold tightly.

STEP 3: Seal them between two places. (In case you don’t have an adaptor)

STEP 4: Check the pointers of the gauge when it stops completely. The reading is said to be the compression or pressure for the chainsaw.

STEP 5: Once you got the reading, compare it with the standard reading of your chainsaw claim. Or you check if it fulfills 110 psi or not.

STEP 6: There is nothing to worry about if your chainsaw is eligible according to the standard compression range. However, if it’s not, think further to increase its potency to have a smooth chainsaw while working.

Watch the video below to understand the procedure better:


Being a chainsaw user, it is necessary to have basic knowledge about its compression and pressure. While summing up the article, let me give you an additional tip for a quick check for your chainsaw compression range. You can use a rope and lift the chainsaw from the ground. If the rope pulls slower, it can be assumed that the chainsaw has low compression.

We have added a table that consists of power requirements for different jobs. Also, you can check the step-wise guide for the pressure test technique to better understand your chainsaw. Once you know about the engine’s core, it would work out to see what you need for a smooth cutter. So, we hope this guide would serve your purpose.

Read Also: When Should I Replace Chainsaw Bar

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