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Starting a Chainsaw: The Beginner’s Guide

Updated on May 6, 2021 by Jessica Parker
Starting a Chainsaw

Got a new chainsaw, but in doubt about how to start it? Well, if you are the owner of a new chainsaw and apprehensive on how to go about it, this blog will help you in starting a chainsaw. Let start a little from the basics.

Chainsaws are outdoor tools that can cut wood and logs easily with the help of a mechanical chain that is set along a guide bar. The chainsaw blade has got teeth in it that cuts through the wood efficiently, while the motor powers the cutting function. To begin with, knowing how the chainsaw works are important along with the different parts of the chainsaw like the chainsaw chain, teeth, guide bar, motor, etc.

Things to Know Before Starting a Chainsaw

This is where the user's manual can be a friend. The manual always contains detailed information about the product, process, do and don'ts, tips, and tricks. And don't forget to keep your safety gear handy before operating the chainsaws otherwise, you would be inviting trouble. Some of the gears that you can keep handy are:

  • Helmet to protect your head from the wood splinters and overhead branches, if working outdoors
  • Eye Shields for those tiny splinters flying your way
  • Scratch and tear-resistant gloves for a strong grip and to protect your hands
  • Earmuffs to block the loud noise of the chainsaw. In case you are using a gas chainsaw, earmuffs are a must
  • Boots for leg protection against shards of woods
  • Long pants to protect your legs

Safety Tips & Tricks for Starting a Chainsaw

  • Be Wary of the Chain Catcher

This is a metal bar that runs parallel under the chain. In case your chainsaw fails or derails, holding the chain catcher will help.

  • Start a Chainsaw with Safety Controls

Two safety controls are located at the back of your chainsaw. The throttle lock prevents the accidental push of the throttle trigger. This trigger button can cause grave accidents if pushed accidentally.

  • Pay Attention to Emergency Stop Button

This button can be in the form of a button or a lever and is present to stop the chainsaw abruptly is cases of obstacles or hindrances.

  • Chainsaw Wide Level Guard

This is present towards the back of the chainsaw and is intended to secure your hand while cutting or place your leg while starting the machine.

  • Use Chain Brake

This safety feature is located just before the top handle and can be operated manually or just by pushing it forward. Engaging the chain brakes can halt the chainsaw blade midway avoiding accidents in case the chainsaw breaks or tips over. You can squeeze the throttle and apply your brake simultaneously. This will allow you to see if the brake is working correctly.

  • Check Fuel Levels before Starting a Chainsaw

In the case of a gas chainsaw, take care of the fuel levels before operating. Overfilling the tank can be dangerous.

  • Chain Lubrication

Your chainsaw should not leave any oil trail behind while cutting. That is why it is crucial to check the chainsaw first and use lubricants before going mainstream.

Steps for Starting a Chainsaw

  • Engage the Chain Brake

To start the chainsaw, place on level ground and push the chain brake forward to engage it.

  • Pull the Choke

The choke or start button needs to be pulled out to ON. Press the primer valve 6 to 7 times. This will help create a vacuum for the fuel to pass from the tank to the carburetor, helping it start.

  • Hold to Start

Use your left hand to hold the front handle firmly in place and put your foot on the rear handle. This will avoid any injury due to kickback. Then pull the start cord with your right hand until the chainsaw starts.

  • Adjust the Choke

As the engine begins to turn over push the choke inside halfway and pull the starter cord repeatedly. Once the engine starts, push the choke to run position. Allow the engine to start and leave it for some time idle. This will allow the engine to warm up.

Electric chainsaws are very convenient to start as all you require is to press a push button. Once you engage the chain brake press the on button. Keep pressing the trigger switch for operation. Disengage the chain brake and start cutting.

Cutting Wood with a Chainsaw: An Insight

Now that you know the machine well, it is crucial to check the strength of the chain. It is a brand-new chainsaw the chain might feel a little tight. If it is a used chainsaw the chain might be loose. Adjusting the chain accordingly is crucial before doing the job. Identifying the sharpness of the chainsaw blade is also essential if you are going for a thick log of wood. If you feel your tool is not up for the job, you can use a chainsaw sharpener to sharpen the jaws before starting to cut. Reading the instruction manual before doing this is important.

How to Begin Sawing Correctly?

Always make sure to try out some smaller branches and trees before trying to chop down bigger trees. It is essential to remember that chainsaws are heavy and thus, operating them on bigger trees at the first go can be tough. For a better balance, keep the chainsaw close and your hands firmly planted on the necessary handles. A better balance will give a better cut. And don’t forget about the safety controls in case you get into trouble with your tool.

Chainsaw Maintenance

In addition to knowing how to correctly start & use your chainsaw, the maintenance is also a very crucial part. To increase the longevity of your gadget make sure to keep in mind the following pointers:

  • Check the chain tension every time before using it
  • Oil the chain and bar accordingly
  • Keep a check on the oil filters and replace periodically
  • Keep an eye on the throttle lockout and the chain catcher as these safety features will help you in the case on a kickback
  • Make sure to understand the fuel requirement of your machine


Operating a chainsaw for the first time can be a daunting task, considering all the controls it has, not to forget, the weight. But as you start sawing you will take less time with each of the cuts as you become a pro with them. In the end, it is a machine for our convenience, and using it correctly will give you your desired cuts for those winter nights or Christmas. Never compromise on the maintenance of a chainsaw as otherwise, it might lead to untoward accidents.  Imagine the money you will save by not taking outside help for these odd jobs. A chainsaw will be enough for you. Bestviewsreviews recommends and reviews some of the best products and lists the most popular ones based on their demand, performance, and durability in this category. Do have a look!

Created with Raphaël

Rank #2 in Chainsaws

Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw

Created with Raphaël
Created with Raphaël

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