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How to Use a Chainsaw – Ultimate Guide

A chainsaw is one of the most dangerous power tools. If you do not use it properly, the kickback can lead to fatal injuries. To minimize kickback, you have to cut the tree below shoulder height. Similarly, there are different aspects involved in the proper use of a chainsaw.

There are two different types of chainsaws – gas and electric. The older gas chainsaws are comparatively difficult to use. Contrarily, the latest electric chainsaws come with simple switches to operate them.

Apart from turning on the chainsaws, the other steps remain the same to use electric and gas chainsaws. Below is a step by step guide on how to use your chainsaw.

Steps to Use a Gas and Electric Chainsaw

Before you start using the chainsaw to cut the tree, you need to examine your work area. Note down the safety areas where you can move to. The tree may fall in any direction. So, you have to be quick on your feet.


Also, ensure that you have worn your protective gear. Now, follow the steps below,

Step 1

Examine your chainsaw to check if the chain has good tension. If it is loose, you will have to tighten it to prevent injuries. The specific way to tighten the chain differs from one model to another. You can check the user manual for these specific steps.

For most models, you will have to use a scrench to tighten the chains. If it gives slightly when you pull but not disengage, then it means that it is properly tightened.

Step 2

For gas chainsaws, ensure that you have enough gas in the tank before you start. You have to mix gas and oil in appropriate ratios as recommended by the manufacturer. You can find this in the user manual. Additionally, pour chain oil into the chain lube reservoir.

If you are using a corded electric saw, you need to ensure if there is a power outlet near the work area. Contrarily, if you are using a battery-powered saw, ensure there is enough charge in the battery.

Step 3

Now, hold your chainsaw on the ground and push the chain brake. Once the chain brake locks-in, you can not spin the chain. You will find the chain brake between the blade and the top handle.

chain brake

Step 4

The gas chainsaws will have either a choke or primer button. If it has a choke, just turn it on. Or else, push the primer button four to six times for gas to enter the carburetor. Then turn on the power switch.

This step is relatively easy in the case of electric saws. You just have to depress the safety switch and turn on the power switch.

Step 5

This step is only for gas-powered chainsaws. If you are using an electric saw, you can skip this step. Secure the saw by putting your foot through the back handle. Hold the handle firmly and pull the starter rope unit the engine starts. If the engine does not engage after starting, you have to adjust the choke.

Secure saw

Step 6

Once you have started the engine, you have to press the trigger or throttle to spin the chain. Before that, plant your feet and hold the saw firmly. Always, hold the saw at a side angle or away from you. Even in the case of a kickback, this will prevent injuries.

Step 7

Now, release the chain brake to start the chain. Just hold it in the place where you want to cut the tree. If you are using a corded electric saw, ensure that it does not get in your way.

Step 8

Hold the saw firmly in the same position until you cut the tree or take the blade from the cut. Never apply pressure or force the saw. When you apply pressure, it will lead to a kickback.

Step 9

Once you are done, simply turn off the power switch. Allow the chainsaw to cool down before using it or storing it.

Safety Measures to Follow while using a Chainsaw

Safety Measures to Follow while using a Chainsaw

The importance of safety precautions while using a chainsaw can never be overstated. We have listed the safety tips to help you prevent unfortunate incidents.

  • The first thing before taking the chainsaw is to wear protective gear. Ensure you have worn protective helmets, gloves, and boots.
  • Refrain from wearing loose clothing. There is a chance that it might get caught in the chain.
  • Never use the chainsaw when you are alone. Always, have a person along with you when you are using the saw.
  • Carry a first-aid kit with you when you are operating the chainsaw.
  • If you are cutting trees in a remote location, ensure that you have a car or bike. Also, keep a note of the nearest hospital. You should be quick to respond if things go wrong.
  • Sharpening the blades will prevent kickbacks. The blades will cut the trees smoothly.
  • Ensure the chains have proper tension. If there is less tension, the chain will disengage. More tension means it will not spin properly.
  • Examine your surroundings and remove obstacles. You can never predict at which side a tree will fall. You will have to quickly move to a safe place.
  • Never climb on a ladder and use the chainsaw. If you want to cut higher branches, it is safe to look for a different tool.
  • Always cut the trees below your shoulder level. In this way, you can reduce the impact of kickbacks.
  • Use the correct size saw for the job. Ideally, the length of the blade should be two inches more than the size of wood. It is difficult to control a lengthy blade.
  • Plant your feet firmly while holding the chainsaw. Keep the saw at an angle away from you to avoid kickbacks.
  • Always, turn off the power switch and safety switch once you are done.

Proper Maintenance of a Chainsaw

Gas Chainsaw Maintenance

If taking proper safety measures while using a chainsaw is one thing, maintaining is another thing. If you do not maintain the machine properly, there will be some malfunctions. Apart from reducing the life of the machine, it will also lead to injuries.

Each chainsaw model will come with a user manual. It provides detailed instructions on how to maintain the saw to ensure longevity.

If you are using a gas saw, you have to dry the fuel after using it. If you plan on using the fuel within 4 weeks, it is fine. Or else, you have to dispose of it. After emptying the tank, run the engine until it stops to use the fuel left in the carburetor.

When you leave the saw without draining the fuel, it will form clogs. Then, you have to disassemble it and clean the clog before using it again.

Store the saw in a clean place and cover it with a neat cloth to prevent dust from settling on the chain.

You have to sharpen the blades periodically. If not, the saw will cut evenly or will kickback. In the case of electric saws, the blades are self-sharpening.

You have to ensure if the chain is in proper tension. If it is in more tension, it will break. Contrarily, if it is in less tension, it will disengage.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should you not do with a chainsaw?

There is a list of things that you should refrain from doing while using a chainsaw. Never cut the tree above your shoulder height. Do not run with a chainsaw nor use it while standing on a ladder. Also, do not cut a tree using the tip of the blade.

2. Can you cut wet wood with a chainsaw?

Yes, you can cut wet wood with a chainsaw. You do not have to put extra effort or apply pressure. But after cutting the wood, you have to clean it properly. Sawdust from wet wood will stick to the surface of the blades, instead of dispersing. It will reduce the sharpness of the blade.

3. What do you wear when using a chainsaw?

When using a chainsaw, protective gear is a must. The protective gear includes a helmet, glove, and steel-toed boots. Besides, you also have to carry a first aid kit.

4. How do I know if my chainsaw needs sharpening?

If the chain bounces off or kicks back while you are cutting a tree, then it is a clear sign that you need to sharpen the blades. In addition to it, a dull blade sprays out fine sawdust. A sharp blade sprays thin shavings.

5. How long should you let a chainsaw warm-up?

The specific time to warm up a chainsaw differs from one model to another. However, for most chainsaws, you have to warm them up for thirty seconds.

6. How long should you run a chainsaw?

Again, the specific time you can run a chainsaw differs between models. On average, you can run a chainsaw for 15 to 40 minutes. In the case of some battery-powered chainsaws, the run time can be up to 2 hours. Some models have a higher battery capacity than this.


There is a difference between using the chainsaw and using the chainsaw ‘safely’. In the end, it is the little things that matter. To sum it up, wear protective gear, sharpen the blades, get into a comfortable position, and then turn on the chainsaw. It is also wise to carry a first-aid along with you while using the chainsaw.
If you have any queries or doubts, let us know using the comments section. We will help you out. You can also post your thoughts and opinions in the comments box.

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