How to Use a Chainsaw? 10 Tips to Use it Safely & Effectively

From the outset of this article, I would like to make it clear that a chainsaw is one of the most dangerous power tools that you can use without a license. However, mistakes might bring irreparable losses – so, it is recommended to take great care while using a chainsaw. Stick to the following safety guidelines, and learn using the chainsaw.

A chainsaw is an extremely fast and forceful tool, but with increased power there comes the need for increased care. It is a portable power tool designed to cut woods using a fast-moving chain that stays and rotates on a guide bar. This power tool helps you in pruning, cutting, felling trees, bucking trees, and limbing.

The chain of the chainsaw is designed to cut with either the bottom or the top of the blade, and anything that comes in contact with the tip of the blade possesses the chances of kickback that might inflict a severe injury to the user. So, users must be aware of all safety precautions while following guidelines about how to use a chainsaw.

Therefore, before you pick up your chainsaw, and go into the woods to cut them, give a read to the following guide, and ensure your safety through all means.

Safety Tips for Chainsaw Users

You might have seen people getting injured using a chainsaw in movies – does it happen in reality?

Although the chances are rare, still, the answer is ‘Yes’. Injuries inflicted by chainsaws are among the most severe and life-threatening injuries, and this is the very reason that I cannot help describing safety tips for chainsaw users.

To operate this power tool more safely and with minimum chances of kickbacks, rest assured about enough tension in the chain before you start with it. And make sure that you are cutting below the height of your shoulder.

Follow the given tips for safe and effective use of your chainsaw:

1. Do not use it Alone 

A chainsaw is a powerful tool that intends to cut everything that comes in contact with it. So, whether you have experience of using this tool or it is your first time, make sure that you do not go alone for the task. In case of emergency, your companion may offer you the necessary help required. Meanwhile, do not forget to have a first aid box with a blood clotting bandage in it.

2. Use Protective Gears 

Never wear loose clothing when you are there for work with your chainsaw – rest assured about this safety tip because ignoring it may cause a catastrophe. Other than that, wear all protective gear such as putting on gloves, wear a chainsaw helmet with a face guard, and use logging or steel-toed shoes. Ensure that you are cutting under the height of your shoulder.

3. Stand Aside While Working 

Having worn all protective gear, now you are ready to start with this power giant. Before you start, find a balanced surface to stand sturdy on your feet. Hold the chainsaw at an angle with both of your hands while using it, and do not stand right behind the chainsaw. Stand aside when you are working – it prevents you from any problem if kickback happens.

4. Look at your Circumstances 

Make sure that you do not use a power chainsaw while standing on the ladder – this may be too dangerous. While cutting buttress roots and lower branches before felling the tree, use a chain to pull and slice the tree downward. If the tree is already bent – always stand uphill from it. Also ensure safety for power lines, nearby buildings, passing cars, and people.

5. Choose the Right Tool 

Use the right-sized chainsaw for the age. If you are to buy a new chainsaw, discuss the scope of the job with the seller, and ask about his recommendations about the appropriate size, engine power, and size motor, and blade. For light-duty cutting, usually, a 14-inch blade is used – while for medium-duty cutting the chainsaw blade size should be from 16 inches to 20-inches.

6. Stay Focused 

Being focused while operating the chainsaw is one of the most important factors to avoid any mishap. Avoid gossip with your companion, and keep looking at the chainsaw when cutting woods.

How to Use a Chainsaw? 

Before I start with my safety guide, it stands unavoidable to talk about the necessary tools & materials – ensure to have the following things before you start;

Required Tools & Materials

  • Protective chaps
  • Good chainsaw helmet
  • Earmuffs for eras protection
  • Logging or steel-toed shoes
  • Gloves
  • Lubrication chain oil
How to Use a Chainsaw

Have all these things before you start – these things offer an increased safety and work with better efficiency.

1. Look Around You

Chainsaws are referred to as ‘Widow Makers’ for a reason – a high risk is involved in using this powerful tool without knowing how to use a chainsaw. Before starting working, scan your area properly, and decide on an escape plan in case of emergency. The tree you are cutting might fall in any direction – so, be aware of your circumstances, and act wisely.

2. Check the Gas Level 

If you are using a gas chainsaw for cutting, do remember to check the level of gas and fill the tank. With a two-cycle engine chainsaw, oil and gas work together in the tank to provide power. Add sufficient two-stroke oil in the tank according to the ratio in the user manual, and ensure enough amount of chain oil is in the chain lube reservoir.

3. Set the Chain Brake 

Lock the chain brake of your chainsaw by putting it on the ground with its bottom down. A chain brake is a lever that is located between the blade and top handle of the chainsaw. It does not let the chain spin unless you unlock the brake and provide it with a power supply.

4. Choke the Saw 

If you are using an electric chainsaw, you can simply lock or depress the safety button and start working by flipping the power supply ON. But if you have a gas chainsaw, push the primer button multiple times to fill the carburetor with enough gas to turn it ON.

5. Tension in Chain 

Prior to starting work with your power tool, do check the tension on the chain of the chainsaw. Neither too loose nor tight chain will work for you – so, make sure that the chain is in reasonable tension on the guide bar. If it is loose or tight, adjust it with a screwdriver according to the method explained in how to sharpen a chainsaw.

6. Stand Sturdy

Once you have done all these steps, now stand sturdy on flat ground with both of your feet on it. Do not stand on uneven ground, and avoid standing right uphill to the chainsaw. Stand aside to avoid the impact of possible kickbacks.

7. Pull Starter Handle 

If you are using an electric chainsaw, you can simply turn ON the power button, and start working. But if you have a gas chainsaw, use your left hand to hold the front handle of the chainsaw, and pull the starter rope to its maximum length. It may take 3 to 4 attempts of yours’ to start – if it does not start, adjust the choke and add more gas to the carburetor.

8. Start Cutting 

Now, you are set to start cutting. Put the chainsaw on the point from where you want to cut, lock the brake with the help of a lever, and fully engage the throttle. Ensure that you do not exert any pressure on the chainsaw or bend on it. If you have a corded chainsaw, do not let the cord disturb you while working.

9. Get the Job Done 

You do not need to turn OFF the machine and then turn ON it again to make it rest. You can finish your work completely. Maintain a strong grip on the handles of the chainsaw while cutting. Release throttle once you have completed the job.

10. Turn it OFF 

Having completed your job, you can remove the power supply to turn it OFF. Do not touch the chain or even the guide bar after the job because these are heated up due to fraction. Sort it once it is cooled down.

How to Store Gas Chainsaw After Use? 

If you have an electric chainsaw, you can store it soon after it gets cooled after the job is done. But a gas chainsaw isn’t the same because it has flammable fuel in the tank, and it might be dangerous to store it without emptying the tank. Yes, if you are to use your gas chainsaw again in near future, you may sort it as it is for about one month.

But if you have no plan to use it again in for coming thirty days, you must make the tank empty; otherwise, the ethanol in the fuel may gum up or clog in the working lines necessitating the overall cleaning of the carburetor.


Caution: If you have some fuel left in the tank, dispose of it at some nearby automotive shop – do not mistake pouring this highly flammable substance into the soil, garbage, or drains. The only suitable solution to this thing is to fire up the engine again and finish all the leftover fuel in the tank.


A chainsaw is among the tools that must be used very carefully. If you are not aware of its use, go through the detailed guide to learn about the basics of using a chainsaw before you pick it up and go to the woods to cut them. You can avoid accidents related to chainsaws by acting upon the given safety tips and guidelines.

Using a chainsaw is not very difficult, but the thing which is more important is to keep yourself safe while working with it. Hand in hand, you are also in dire need of keeping your chainsaw safe from being inefficient.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1. How do you properly use a chainsaw? 

To use the chainsaw properly, put on all protective gear such as helmet, gloves, and shoes, ask someone to accompany you, and abide by all the above-mentioned tips. Stay focused and calm while using the chainsaw and do not press it.

Q2. What Should you not do with a chainsaw? 

Do not go alone to work with it. Always remain below the height of your shoulder while using it. And avoid the use of a ladder when you have to work with this beast.

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