Parts of Chainsaw – Explained in Simple Terms

A chainsaw is one of the most incredible power tools with a huge list of major and minor mechanical and electrical parts. If you own a chainsaw or you are planning to buy it for yourself, it is better to have an idea about the parts of chainsaw and their functionality. From the outset of this post, I must go by saying that all chainsaws aren’t the same in their parts and construction; however, most of their parts are identical and serve a similar purpose.

Meanwhile, a typical understanding of parts of a chainsaw and their functionality will enable you to figure out the problem in case of any malfunctioning – yes, before you rush to the shop of a nearby mechanic, you can give yourself a try, and if it goes well, you will save your time and money as well.

Being a complex mechanical tool, it may be a little difficult to understand for a layman – however, I will certainly strive to make it as simple as I can. So, let us start with parts of the chainsaw, and know how they work.

Parts of Chainsaw & Their Functionality 

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are some parts of a chainsaw that must meet safety standards enshrined by a similar authority. The first seven parts are similar to parts described by OSHA – later on, I will discuss other parts of the machine.

Parts of Chainsaw

1. Throttle 

The throttle is the main component that controls the speed of the chain on the guide bar. In an electric chainsaw, the throttle governs the amount of power required by the chainsaw to operate. While in a gas chainsaw, the throttle is responsible for the regulation of the amount of fuel required by combustion cylinders. Chainsaws with significant throttle are more powerful.

2. Throttle Interlock 

A throttle interlock has been placed in the chainsaw considering safety purposes. It ensures the activation of the throttle only when the interlock is pressed to unlock. Unless the interlock is locked, the chainsaw will not start – make sure that you use this safety mechanism, it can avert accidents.

3. Chain Brake 

The chain brake is among the most lauded features of a chainsaw that massively reduces the chances of any unexpected accident. The chain brake stops the spinning of the chain on the guide bar in case of kickback. Usually, kickbacks are observed when the chain tip gets pinched or nicked. It gives the chainsaw an upward thrust, and the blade is pointed at a user in this situation. In this situation, a chain brake can be a savior. Chain brake may be manual and auto-activated, but it does not relieve you from your duty of being focused all the time.

4. Chain Catcher 

The chain catcher is another inevitable part of the chainsaw designed to provide the user with maximum safety. This part holds the chain tightly if it breaks while spinning on the guide bar. With chain catcher inline, the snapped chain becomes a matter of less concern.

5. Muffler (For Ear Protection)

If you are using a gas-powered chainsaw, Muffler must be part of your protective gear. A gas-powered chainsaw has a sound of around 110dbs to 120dabs which is far from a safe level of sound. So, a muffler can significantly reduce this noise, and bring the level of sound below 80dbs.

6. Handguard (For Protection of Hands)

The importance of a Handguard is usually underestimated – but I will suggest you give it as much importance as you give to other chainsaw safety gears. It keeps operators’ hands safe from the flying debris while providing the user with additional safety against the top of the spinning chain.

7. Anti-Vibration System (Dampers)

In long term, vibrations are equally damaging as injuries. To reduce the strength of vibration, there is an anti-vibration system that absorbs maximum vibrations created by the throttle. If there is no anti-vibration system in your chainsaw, you might get the joints of your arm injured.

8. Chain 

The chain of the chainsaw is an actual part that performs cutting. The chain has sharp teeth on it, that are separated by an equal distance between each other. Every chainsaw has different requirements for the chain that suits it the best. You can choose the perfect chain for your chainsaw by measuring the exact size of chainsaw chain.

9. Guide Bar 

The guide bar is made up of metal, and this is the most obvious and biggest part of the chainsaw. This is the component around which the chain spins. The guide is fundamental in keeping the chain at its position while cutting.

10. Clutch 

A Clutch is one of the necessary parts of a chainsaw. It is mainly responsible for controlling the spinning of the chain around the guide bar. Meanwhile, its position in the chainsaw is right next to the chainsaw sprocket.

11. Chain Tensioner 

Tension in a chainsaw chain is one of the most fundamental factors things that must be checked before you start using a chainsaw. A chain tensioner is used to adjust the tension in the chain because if the chain is too loose, it will get off the guide bar while spinning. And if the chain is too tight, it will not be able to move on the guide bar. So, using a chain tensioner, the tension in the chain can be adjusted.

12. Carburetor

Not only in chainsaws, but the carburetor is also an integral part of all engines. Carburetor mixes fuel with air in combustion chamber and provides the engine with the necessary power. The mixture of fuel and air is taken into the intake manifold of an internal combustion engine, where it keeps the required combustion continues.

13. Decompression Valve

The decompression valve is associated with a gas-powered chainsaw. This component of the chainsaw releases compression from the combustion chamber before the process starts in the gas chainsaw. The compression valve makes it easier for a user to start a chainsaw by pulling rope.

14. Flywheel

The carburetor keeps on sending an appropriate mixture of air and fuel to the internal combustion chamber, and the engine keeps running. However, at some point engine might get hotter than normal, and in this situation, the flywheel controls the speed of the engine, keeps it to normal, and cools it down.

15. Chock Valve

Before carburetor, there is a choke valve which is mainly responsible for controlling the amount of air and fuel that reaches carburetor. If the chainsaw isn’t starting, adjusting of choke valve can help you start it. When activated, it sends a rich mixture of air and fuel to carburetor that helps in the early start of the engine.

16. Bucking Spikes

Bucking spikes are also known as bumper spikes. Mainly, bucking spikes are intended to rest your chainsaw on wood while cutting with it. Meanwhile, bucking spikes are also essential in preventing kickbacks.

17. Air Filter

Among the parts of a chainsaw, an air filter carries exceptional importance because it prevents clogging in the lines of clogging by stopping dirt and sawdust from going into the engine. As the mixture of air and fuel is required by the engine for proper combustion, it is mandatory for the air to be cleaned before sending it into the chambers of the engine.

18. Front Handle

The front handle is present in front of the engine and maintains its position from the base to the top of the motor. It provides the user with a comfortable grip that facilitates easy holding and handling of the chainsaw.

19. Rear Handle

The rear handle is located with the throttle at the back side of the chainsaw. It also helps the user to improve his/her grip on the chainsaw. Hold the front handle with one hand, and the rear handle with the second hand.

What Should You Keep in Your Mind? 

I have enlisted the most significant parts of the chainsaw along with their working mechanism. However, I would like to make it tell you that these parts might not be present in every brand’s chainsaw. Honestly, the brand will be a broader term, even if variations in models are too frequent.

Therefore, remember that the construction of each model of chainsaw is different even in the same brand, and you may find some parts missing or new parts in the chainsaw you are using.


Although a chainsaw is a complex assembly of mechanical and electrical parts – still I have tried my level best to make you understand the working and working mechanism of each part. If you find your chainsaw isn’t working well, you can have a look at its parts, and try to fix the problem before you go to the mechanic.

I hope that you will have understood what I intend to convey. Be sure about your safety, and keep checking your chainsaw for maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the main parts of a chainsaw?

Chainsaw comprises of different parts, and of course, all parts have their own importance. However, following parts are among the most important parts which directly affect the performance of chainsaw;

  • Engine of chainsaw
  • Guide bar
  • Chain
  • Air filter
  • Carburetor

These are some of the most important parts possessed by a chainsaw.

Q2. How chainsaw works?

Chainsaw is an incredible combination of mechanical and electrical components. Typically, depending upon the type of the chainsaw, engine generates power utilizing the power source, and then transfers it to the sprocket. Sprocket is responsible for delivering power to the guide bar which then holds the responsibility of rotating the chain.

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