How to properly start a chain saw? A guide
How to properly start a chain saw? A guide

How to properly start a chain saw? A guide

The end of summer and the upcoming fall is the perfect time to start cleaning your garden thoroughly. Colder times of the day are also a perfect time to prepare your firewood. Classic axes and hatchets can be used for this purpose, but more and more people rely on mechanized garden equipment and use chainsaws for woodworking.

Unfortunately, this type of garden equipment requires appropriate technical knowledge and proper operation, because if not skilfully used, it can seriously endanger our health. How do I start a chain saw to avoid a hazardous situation? Contrary to appearances, starting the chain saw is not easy and can cause a lot of trouble to many people. First, we have supposed to check what types of chainsaws we can find on the market because it is the type of power supply that will determine how the saw is started.


In common use, you can find 3 basic types of chainsaws, which differ mainly in the way they are powered. These will be petrol chainsaws, electric chainsaws (corded) and battery chainsaws (cordless). Each of them has its unique advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully analyzed when purchasing a specific device. What are the different types of chainsaws?

Corded electric saws - an ideal solution if we often deal with woodworking around the house. Corded saws are light and relatively simple to build, although they require a permanent connection to the power grid to operate. Importantly, they also have decent power in relation to their price and size and do not generate harmful exhaust gases during operation.

Cordless battery chainsaws - they are a novelty because only the use of ultra-efficient battery cells allowed to make them strong and durable devices with a long operating time. These types of chainsaws are famous for their high mobility and are virtually maintenance-free. In addition, they do not produce exhaust gases and only need a charged battery for the gun. A definite downside of cordless chainsaws is the operating time, which, despite the use of efficient cells, usually does not exceed a few hours when the battery is fully charged.

Petrol chainsaws - this type of equipment is famous for its high power, which is why it is mainly used by professionals in the field of wood processing. The combustion equipment is heavy, noisy, requires proper handling in terms of service and can be difficult to start for many novice users. Thus, if we are looking for a simple tool for occasional work around the house, it is better to opt for an electric version of the chainsaw.


The procedure for starting a chain saw can be briefly summarized in a few steps:

  1. Checking the general technical condition of the device;
  2. Check that the chain saw has the chain brake engaged;
  3. Removing the chain protection cover;
  4. Position the saw on a hard and even ground;
  5. Holding the saw with your foot on its rear handle;
  6. Pulling out the suction line;
  7. Switching to the operating mode;
  8. Pull the starter cord vigorously;
  9. Raise the saw and lightly gas it to smooth the speed.

It is time, however, to explain the individual steps of starting the chainsaw in a bit more detail. First of all, before starting any operation, make sure that the device is in perfect technical condition, has fueled up and has a sufficient amount of chain oil. Another very important thing is the need to run the saw only in open space! Even a short-term operation of an internal combustion engine inside a closed room may have serious consequences for our health and even life (e.g. if there are flammable materials nearby).

Attention! It is forbidden to hold the saw in the hands and to start it up at the height of the body!

Despite the good balance, we can never predict the behaviour of the chainsaw when you pull the
starter rope sharply. Attempting to start the chainsaw in this way can result in serious injuries to the
torso and limbs!

Step 1 - As we have already mentioned, the first step to starting your chainsaw is to check itstechnical condition. We check if the machine has no visible damage and if all operating fluids are within the normal limits. Remember that in addition to fuel (in the case of two-stroke engines it will be a mixture of gasoline and oil in the proportion of 50: 1), we also need to refill the chain oil.

Step 2 - We need to make sure that the chain brake is engaged. Almost all chainsaws on the market are equipped with this type of protection. When the brake is on, the chain does not move along the guide bar, but it does not affect the operation of the engine. Thanks to this, we can safely start the machine. The chain brake handle is visible and is located behind the upper handle (viewed from the operator's side). This handle must be pushed forward to engage the brake.

Step 3 - Take the cover off the chain. At the same time, remember to always put it on after finishing work. Why wouldn't it be safer to run the saw with the chain guard in place? First of all, it is not always perfectly adjusted and due to vibrations during start-up, it can simply loosen. The second point is that it can be highly dangerous to remove the cover while the engine is running.

Step 4 - Place the chainsaw on solid and even ground. This is very important as the chain saw must not sink into the ground when held with your foot.

Step 5 - Hold the saw in two places: behind the upper handle with your hand, and between the rear handle, put the tip of the foot (preferably when you have shoes with good grip), remembering that it is enough to hold the sole of the shoe!

Step 6 - Depending on the manufacturer's instructions in the user's manual, turn on the choke (always when the engine is cold). Most often, a small knob or a pull rod is used for this. The suction makes the fuel-air mixture richer, which improves the starting of the engine and causes it to warm up faster. Thus, the choke should not be used during the normal operation of the saw! Information! Some models of chainsaws are equipped with a special fuel pump. It should be pressed several times, thanks to which starting the saw should be easier. In addition, some chainsaws also have a decompression valve, which facilitates starting. When starting the engine, reset it according to
the manufacturer's recommendations.

Step 7 - Set the saw switch to work mode. If we do not do this, the engine will certainly not snap. The location of the switch will vary depending on the model of the machine, so be sure to read the instruction manual of your saw carefully. Thus, after finishing work, we set the switch to rest mode.

Step 8 - If everything is properly prepared, we can start the saw engine. Grasp the starter rope and gently pull it out until you feel resistance (compression moment of the piston). Then we pull the cord vigorously and repeat the process until the engine starts. Remember not to let go of the starter cord after pulling out the starter cord (regardless of whether the engine starts or not) and, while still holding it, let it return to its original position. Otherwise, the rope released from your hand may damage it as a result of hitting the housing.

Step 9 - After a few tries, the saw motor should start, although it will run erratically. To smooth the engine speed, use the chainsaw to smooth the saw by lightly pressing the throttle lever with your index finger, but still keep the saw on the ground. Depending on the saw model, the choke may turn off automatically when it is gassed. If it doesn't, then we have to do it ourselves.

Attention! After the engine speed has stabilized, you can pick up the saw, but remember not to touch the throttle lever!

Only after lifting the saw, we can proceed to release the chain brake. We do it by pulling the brake lever towards you (we will then hear a characteristic click). From now on, after increasing the saw speed, its chain will automatically start moving along the guide.


Electric chainsaws are much easier to use and operate. Unfortunately, they also have their limitations related to continuous access to electricity. How do I start an electric chainsaw?

  1. We check the technical condition of the device (possibly adding chain oil)
  2. We remove the chain cover
  3. Set the chain brake lever to the unlocked position
  4. Depending on the device model, press the safety lock button and simultaneously press the main switch.

As you can see, the operation of electrically powered saws is much simpler than in the case of the petrol version. Remember that in the case of cordless chainsaws, we must take care of a charged battery.


Regardless of the type of saw used, the chain tension should be checked both before starting it and when it is not used. This operation takes only a few seconds and is very important in terms of our safety. A chain that is too tight can damage the guide bar, while a chain that is too loose can slide off the guide rails and seriously injure us.
The tension of the chain is correct when it fits tightly to the edge of the bar and runs freely on it. To check that the chain is properly tensioned, grab it halfway along the bottom edge of the guide bar and try to pull it a few millimetres. If, after releasing it, it returns to its previous position, the voltage is correct. A special screw securing the tensioner is used to adjust the chain tension in the saw. Its location and tightening method depend on the specific saw model. Hence, it is so important to read the instruction manual.


We respect your privacy. You can change cookie settings or accept them all. You can change your settings at any time.

Necessary cookies are used for the proper functioning of the website and allow you to comfortably use the services we offer.

Cookie files respond to actions taken by you in order to, inter alia, adjusting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling out forms. Thanks to cookies, the website you are using may function without interruption.


These types of cookies allow the website to remember the settings you have entered and to personalize specific functionalities or the content presented.

Thanks to these cookies, we can provide you with greater comfort of using the functionality of our website by adjusting it to your individual preferences. Expressing consent to functional and personalization cookies guarantees the availability of more functions on the website.


Analytical cookies help us develop and adapt to your needs.

Analytical cookies allow you to obtain information on the use of the website, place and frequency with which our websites are visited. The data allows us to evaluate our websites in terms of their popularity among users. The collected information is processed in an anonymised form. Expressing consent to analytical cookies guarantees the availability of all functionalities.


Thanks to advertising cookies, we present you the most interesting information and news on the websites of our partners.

Promotional cookies are used to present our messages to you based on an analysis of your preferences and your browsing habits. Promotional content may appear on the websites of third parties or our partner companies and other service providers. These companies act as intermediaries presenting our content in the form of news, offers, social media messages.