How to Start a Chainsaw: Tips for Starting All Chainsaw

How to Start a Chainsaw

With about 30 or so teeth, the chainsaw’s blade bites into wood and in literally minutes chop it into pieces. That’s how easy it can be. As easy as chainsaws cuts into woods and trees, it may not be easy to work with the tool if you aren’t experienced. There are myriads chainsaw types out there, most times; it could be confusing for sawyers who ask the most basic question, how to start a chainsaw? This article covers almost everything you need to know before starting out, starting your chainsaw right and some DIY ways to work on your chainsaw when it has a problem starting.

Starting to Right Way

When you do not have previous knowledge of how chainsaws work, it is advisable not to use them till proper coaching because they pose great dangers if not used right. Using chainsaws requires great caution.

Some Precautions to Note or Take before Starting your Chainsaw:

  • You must have had previous knowledge of how a chainsaw works if not take a safety course. This is VERY NECESSARY.
  • Ensure you have all the required safety gadgets (Googles, hard hats).
  • Work in a well-ventilated environment.
  • Give distance between you and others while working.
  • Never work with children around.
  • Read the manual thoroughly, as chainsaws are designed differently.
  • If you are tired, unwell or have taken strong medications, do not work with a chainsaw.

Preparation Before Starting Your Saw

  • Observe your work area ensure it is leveled and free from obstructions.
  • Check that all the saw’s parts are in good working condition. (chain tensioned according to types, oiled, e.t.c)
  • Use the correct oil and fuel mix (specifically for gas-powered saws). An electric-powered saw will not need this.

You can check: How Tight Should a Chainsaw Chain Be? Fix It in 3 Steps

How To Start a Chainsaw: Some Common Types

A wide variety of chainsaws are available in the market today. They come with various features, models, prices and specifications, each with features suitable for different user’s needs. However, the most common chainsaws today are the Gas/fuel powered chainsaw and the electric chainsaw. Other not so common chainsaws are:

  • Pole chainsaws.
  • Manual or hand chainsaws.
  • Concrete/metal cutting chainsaws.
Dewalt Pole Chainsaw for Tree Trimming

As chainsaw types vary, their mode of operation also varies. The electric chainsaw will require an electric power source to work; fuel engines power gas chainsaws.

This article will discuss the various steps of starting the two common types of chainsaws available out there, which are the; Electric chainsaws and gas-powered chainsaws.

Starting Gas Powered Chainsaws

Several other types of chainsaws are out there, but gas chainsaws stand out because they are tougher than most other saws, easy to move and come with advanced safety features for users.

Typically gas chainsaws are powered by gas/fuel compared to their electric and battery-powered counterparts. There are many products of Gas chainsaws in the market. They come with different designs, features and prices. Popular brands are Husqvarna, Stihl, Craftsman, Echo and Polan.

As a chainsaw user, one of the very first things you need to understand about your saw is how to start it. Since gas chainsaws are powered by fuel, starting them will definitely be different from starting other saw types.

Before we give the steps on starting Gas chainsaws, let’s see some of the basic parts every gas chainsaw should have.

  1. Engine: Gas chainsaws have 2 stoke Engines that help runs the machine.
  2. Chain: A metal with several bits of teeth. It runs on a sprocket that rotates the chain.
  3. Guide Bar: Keeps the chain in position.
  4. Tensioner: Used for the adjustment of chain tension.
  5. Choke: Choke control the amount of air/fuel that gets into the carburetor.
  6. Carburetor: Determines the amount of fuel that gets into the Engine.
  7. Flywheel: Controls Engine speed.
  8. Chain Brake: When there is kickback, the chain brake stops the chain from moving even if it is running.
  9. Clutch: it regulates how the chain spins around the sprocket.
  10. Air filter: filter dust and dirt, preventing them from getting into the Engine.
  11. Throttle and Throttle lock: Throttle regulates the saws engine power and speed. The throttle lock must be activated before the throttle can be used.
  12. Chain catcher: When a chain break occurs, the chain catcher will immediately hold the chain so that the user will not be injured.

Before Starting Out

You need to get familiar with the type and model of gas chainsaw you are working with; you also need instructions from the manual about the operation process. Also, ensure that:

Chainsaw Safety Protector
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  • You carry out all safety precautions. Ensure that you use all the required protective clothing.
  • Work area free from potential hazards.
  • The chain saw parts are functional (replace any faulty parts).
  • It is the correct fuel and oil mix used.
  • Any old fuel is discarded.

Steps To Starting Gas Chainsaws

All Gas chainsaws regardless of the brand or model will operate with similar starting principles. Here are 7 easy steps to starting Gas Chainsaws:

Step1: Activate the chain brake.

Step2: Switch the saw to ON in the control switch.

Step3: open the choke and use the fuel primer to pump fuel into the carburetor.

Step4:  Pull the chain starter cord several times to kick-start the Engine.

Step5: Let the Engine run a while.

Step6: Close the choke while the chain saw is still running.

Step 7: Release the chain brake raise the saw carefully, pull the throttle and start Sawing.

To stop the saw, simply remove your fingers from the throttle, turn your control to WARM if you wish to use it again or COLD and OFF, if not.

Following these simple steps, you will find that you can quickly start any gas chainsaw with little or no trouble.

Starting Electric Chainsaws

After studying the manual, observing all safety precautions and checking out all parts of the saw are in order, follow these steps:

Step 1: Plug cord to a power source: An extension cable may be useful if the saw cord is short.

Step 2: Push the handguard towards you. Ensure that you hear it click. The chain saw will not work, except you do this.

Step 3: While turning the chain saw away from you, firmly grasp the trigger switch and push up this ”ON” the machine. Allow it to run for a while, and then start sawing.

How to Start Stopped Chain Engine

Chainsaw will not Start

Starting A Cold Engine

This means starting a chainsaw that has not been used for a work session. The steps to start a cold engine are the steps given in “starting a stihil engine” below. Just ensure that you turn up the master control to a cold start.

Starting A Warm Engine

This means starting a chainsaw that has previously been used but turned off for a while. All you need to do is holding the handle firmly, switch the ON switch of the chainsaw, activate the chain brake, pull the start cord. You will not need to activate the full primer again.

Starting a Chainsaw after Sitting for a While

Situations may exist where you have not used your chainsaw for years; you may wonder if it will still be functional as before. Here are some of the steps you should not take before starting out.

  • Replace old parts.
  • Clean saw thoroughly. Clean gunk, spark plugs, tension chain.
  • Replace Fuel: The old fuel and oil mix may have dried up already; if not, discard and replace it with fresh fuel.
  • Service chainsaw if necessary.

Starting Chainsaws in Cold Weathers

Because of the frigid temperature, starting chainsaws in cold weather could be pretty tough. With the following tips, you will find it easier to start out.

  • Before winter, you should store the chainsaw in winter mode.
  • Clean and lubricate parts.
  • Preferably use winter oil during this period. If you do not have this available, you can substitute by adding 5 to 10% diesel or kerosene to your regular oil.
  • A chainsaw will need to be extra sharp because woods are tougher during this period; keep a file at hand.
  • A Carbide chain is a wise choice in this period because it cuts through frozen woods easily.

Before starting the chainsaws, switch from winter mode; you can simply follow all the steps of cold starting chainsaws that have been given above.

Run your chainsaw for a while to warm up the engine before cutting.

When Chainsaws Does Not ON

Chainsaw does not start? A couple of issues maybe wrong.

A) Fuel Issues: Check that you are using the required fuel mix; also check that fuel is not old. If it is, replace it with a fresh one. Also, check that the fuel filter is clean and free from dirt.

B) Clean the carberator. It may have been blocked with residue. You may also consider changing it for a new one altogether.

C) Check the spark plug if it is still active; if it is, it will spark when in contact with the plug wire. Replace if need be.

D) The engine may be flooded: Too much fuel can cause this. It would help if you allowed the fuel to evaporate before use.

E) Check the ignition coil.

F) Check the Recoil starter and see if it is in good condition.

G) The starter coil may require much more effort when starting.

H) The weather may be against you at the time. Cold weather can be the cause of chainsaws not starting. If this is the case, pull the choke several more times for the electric saw.

I) Dirt may have stuck. Give saw a good cleaning and try again.

J) For Electric chainsaws, ensure the plug is properly connected to power and that the battery is properly charged. Also, check that fuse is not spoilt.

If you have done all these checks and your chainsaw still doesn’t ON, a professional outlook may be necessary now; hence see a repairer?


Though there are myriads of chainsaws out there in the market today, starting a particular type of chainsaws will follow a similar pattern. With the steps we have outlined above, we believe you will conveniently start your favorite chainsaw. An important fact we need you to consider is safety.

That cannot be overemphasized; follow through with all the safety tips given here and all the ones you are aware of. We advise that if you are not familiar with using chainsaws, ensure you take a course to familiarize yourself with your tool before using it. Happy sawing.

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