How to use a Chainsaw: Ultimate Guide

Published On: October 21, 20200 Comments on How to use a Chainsaw: Ultimate GuideTags: Last Updated: February 9, 20245.6 min read

Every tool has different purposes and works in different ways but there is one thing for sure, we as users should know how to use it in the most effective way possible. The same goes for chainsaws. You can’t take this tool lightly, you just can’t. A mistake here and there is like adding salt to a wound. But you can’t shy away from the goosebumps rising the day you get a new chainsaw. But before you turn all Paul Bunyan, you need to have a proper idea of how to use a chainsaw.

How to use a Chainsaw

Before we get started, your first task is knowing the job you are going to perform and buying the chainsaw accordingly. It can be either limbing, bucking, felling or pruning a tree. There are great chainsaws for home use, great chainsaw for milling, literally anything you want.

Using the Chainsaw

Step 1:

Safety first! Why? Because you can’t take chainsaws lightly as mentioned before. Imagine razor-sharp metal teeth rotating at blinding speed just a few inches away from your soft skin. Isn’t that scary? However, if you own a good set of gear then you are less likely to be among the 36,000 people who visit hospitals due to chainsaw accidents per year!

A good set of gear looks like this:

  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Pants
  • Gloves
  • Chaps
  • Boots
  • Helmets
  • Vests, jackets and sleeves

Facing issues in finding some of the most reliable chainsaw accessories? Chainsaw Guru features buying guides that includes personal and verified reviews from professionals regarding different chainsaw accessories including safety pants, safety gloves, safety work boots, eyewear protection, safety helmets, and much more.

Step: 2

Take a good look at the wood or tree and the place you will be cutting your woods. Doing that will give you an idea of what all you will need to look out for like wildlife, hidden rock or cables that might trip you. Taking a good look at the wood or tree means making sure there are no nails or any other metal objects on the wood. You should avoid cutting in that situation as it will make your chainsaw’s chain dull and also cause kickback. How kickback? Well, as you won’t be expecting the nail or screw hence you won’t be prepared. And after you hit one of those objects, you will lose balance and worst-case scenario, the tip of the chainsaw might hit the metal object or the wood resulting in kickback.

Step: 3

You will need to check on a few things like the bar and chain oil, power source and chain. Firstly, look over the oil reservoir and see if it is filled or not. If your chainsaw has a manual oiler then giving it a few pumps will lubricate the chain and if you have an automatic oiler, you won’t have to do any of those. When it comes to chain, check if the chain is too tight or too loose. If it is, then adjust it in such a way that the chain doesn’t slip when using the chainsaw as it can be dangerous. Lastly, if the power source of your chainsaw is a battery, make sure the batteries are fully charged. If they are corded, then make sure it’s plugged into the power supply and if you are using a 2-cycle gas chainsaw, make sure it is filled with the right oil to gas ratio (40:1 or 50:1) per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step: 4

Step 4 will be to start the chainsaw properly.

How to do that? Here’s your answer!

How to use a Chainsaw - starting

Gas chainsaws

  • Remember to place it on the ground as it is the safest option especially if you are a beginner. Putting your foot on the handle is easier and safer but some people place it between their legs, which works too. But this is done only by the ones who are experienced and if you are a beginner then place it on the ground.
  • Activate the chain brake by pushing the front handguard forward and this will prevent the chain from running.
  • Open the choke
  • Press on the air purge 5 to 6 times so that the fuel can be seen in the bulb
  • Pull the starter cord slowly and not higher than 12 to 14 inches. Once you feel resistance then pull the cord rapidly until the engine fires or tries to start.
  • Adjust the choke to the run position
  • Once the chain is ready to go and you’re ready to cut, release the chain brake.

Electric and Battery chainsaws

  • Press and hold the safety lock
  • Press the on/off switch to start the chainsaw and you don’t need to hold the switch when running the chainsaw

Yes, it’s as simple as this!

Step: 5

Follow these safety steps while cutting with chainsaw:

  • Always cut below the waist level as you can have more control over the chainsaw.
  • Never climb a tree and cut from a ladder. It will be above your waist level and you will be at risk of losing the balance and this might result in injuries. If you have to climb a ladder and cut, then a pole saw will be a much better option.
  • Always use two hands and never cut one-handed. Using 2 hands will give you the much-needed balance you need in order to handle chainsaws.
  • Always be aware of the chainsaw and see if anything goes out of the plan. Like, when the cut starts to pinch the chain, stop cutting and remove the chainsaw form the wood immediately as it might result in kickback.
  • Never cut with the tip of the chainsaw because it will result in kickback which might land on your face or body and cause devastating injuries.
  • Cut the wood as close to the base of the blade as possible and avoid going near the tip as much as you can.
  • Make sure your chainsaw is not touching or hitting the ground. If it does, the chain will be dull and it won’t cut well.


I guess that will do it. You won’t face any problems and no injuries if you follow these 5 simple and lifesaving steps. A chainsaw is a tool that doesn’t consume much time to learn but the tricky part is using it the right way. You must be careful and watch all your steps until you get the hold of it. And let’s not forget, buying the right chainsaws keeping your skill level and your job in mind is very important. That’s all from here, Happy Sawing!

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