How To Start A Chainsaw

If you’re a first-time chainsaw user, you’d want to know a few crucial things, like how to actually start the chainsaw. Unlike most other machines, starting a chainsaw doesn’t involve just a click of a button or flipping a switch. In fact, you need to take some safety precautions before you get to starting and using your chainsaw or you could even injure yourself.


The important part is to make sure that you remain safe, since chainsaws can be dangerous to work with. Make sure you have adequate protection on you, such as a helmet and goggles, as well as cut resistant gloves to protect your hands.

Fuel up your chainsaw and inspect the guide bar and chain to make sure there is no dirt or wooden pieces that could go flying once the motor starts and injures someone. Also make sure that the chain is moving properly.

How To Start A Chainsaw

Starting The Chainsaw

Stabilize It

The first step to starting your chainsaw is that it should be held in a stable position on a solid surface. Ideally, it should be on the ground. Stabilize it by putting your foot inside the rear handle and holding it in place. With your hand, hold the handlebar, and make sure that the chain and the guide bar are not in contact, or even near anything else.

Engaging The Chain Break

With the hand holding the handlebar on top, push forward so that the chain brake handle moves. This will cause the chain break to become engaged, and this keeps the chain from spinning out of your control as the chainsaw starts up.

Turn It On, Open The Choke

At this point, you can turn on your chainsaw, using the on/off switch on the motor. The choke, which is what regulates the fuel mixture going to the engine, needs to be set into position. You can do this by moving the lever to fully-open. This is what is used for when the chainsaw is first started, since the motor is cold at this point. This is also called the cold start

Fuel Priming

The fuel primer bulb has to be pressed a few times until it becomes stiff and the fuel inside is visible. This bulb is what pulls the fuel up from the tank and pushes it into the carburetor so the motor can start.

Starting Cord

Now, you have to pull the starting cord – just like you see in movies. Keep your hand on the handlebar, and make sure the chain brake is engaged, so that the chain doesn’t start spinning when you start the motor. With your free hand, pull on the starting cord as quickly and smoothly as possible. If you go too hard or too fast, it can cause problems, so be firm but don’t be too aggressive about it.

Pull at it a few times until you hear the engine turning over and failing to do so.

Closing Choke

Once the engine has failed to turn over, it is time to adjust the choke. Move the lever so that it is around the halfway point. Try pulling on the starting cord again. This time, the engine should start, and idle. If it doesn’t, try pulling on the cord again a few more times.


Once the chainsaw has started, you should let it idle for a few seconds. Idling means to let the motor of the chainsaw run, without actually using the machine. This is to make sure that the air-fuel mixture in the machine is balanced out. Without idling, the chainsaw could end up stalling out.

Closing Choke (Again)

At this point, after the chainsaw has been left to idle for an appropriate amount of time, you want to fully close the choke. It should be at the halfway position, and you can bring it all the way down to close. Do not turn off the motor, and let the chainsaw keep running.

Disengaging Chain Brake

Now, very carefully, pull the chain brake back with your free hand (not the one holding the top handlebar). This will cause the chain brake to be disengaged, so that the chain can actually start spinning.

Using The Chainsaw

Once the chain has started spinning properly, you can now lift the machine up. Do so with both hands, and make sure your grip is tight. Hold the chainsaw and lift up your body, rather than the machine itself, since it would be heavy and much more likely to get out of control.

To saw, you’ll have to pull at the throttle of your free hand (again, not the one holding the top handlebar).

Starting a Chainsaw That is Already Warm

Sometimes, you’d want to restart a chainsaw after having used it for a while. For this, you can simply skip the steps with the choke, because in such cases, the fuel is already primed.

All you have to do is place the chainsaw on the ground and hold it in the right position, firmly. Then you can turn it on and engage the chain break. Pull the cord to turn over and idle the engine. Then, disengage the chain brake and raise the chainsaw with your body weight. Now, you can use it for sawing.

Stopping a Chainsaw

To put a stop to a chainsaw, on the other hand – whether because you’re done using it or because you want a break – all you have to do is release the trigger and turn the switch off.

Final Thoughts

Using a chainsaw can be necessary for some types of work, and chainsaws are indeed very useful for making elaborate, deep cuts.

However, they can also be dangerous. Following the correct safety precautions to make sure you don’t get injured, and also making sure to follow the steps one by one is important. Without the proper approach to using your chainsaw, you could not only ruin the machine itself, but also get severely injured. It is best to use your chainsaw following careful instructions, especially if you are a first time user.

About The Author

Scroll to Top