How to Properly and Safely Operate a Chainsaw

How to Properly and Safely Operate a Chainsaw

Chainsaws are a versatile tool that can be used for many different household and construction tasks. Being highly efficient and easy to operate, chainsaws are praised for their accessibility and convenience. With warmer weather right around the corner, many homeowners are starting to shift their attention towards their landscaping. If you are looking for a tool that can trim shrubbery and hedges, cut scrap logs into firewood, remove pesky tree branches, and other similar tasks, you should strongly consider utilizing a chainsaw. In this blog, you will learn how to safely prepare and operate a gas or electric chainsaw to avoid the risk of personal injury or technical malfunction.

Preparing a Chainsaw for Use

Just like with any power tool, safety guidelines and procedures must be followed before using a chainsaw in order to avoid any hazardous circumstances. Debris buildup, empty fuel tanks, dead batteries, and rusting are some of the most common obstacles faced with chainsaws that can lead to improper output. The best way to overcome these challenges is to prevent them through a routine of cleaning and maintenance practices. By making any necessary repairs as soon as they are found, you can prevent further, more permanent damage.

Always Wear Personal Protective Equipment

Although they are simple to use, chainsaws should not be mistaken as a safe machine to operate. Because of their powerful motors and sharp edges, chainsaws are capable of causing serious damage if you are not properly protected. While they cut through wood and other materials, leftover debris tends to become airborne due to the immense force. As these particles fly around, they can pose a threat to your personal safety. By wearing safety gear, such as goggles, helmets, and shatter-proof face shields, you can best protect your eyes and head from injury. Additionally, dirt, dust, and debris can also contain harmful particles when inhaled, which can compromise your respiratory system. To block these from entering your body, Atlantic Equipment offers dust masks and respirators specifically designed to protect against contaminants.

Starting Up a Chainsaw

Once you have cleaned, repaired, and prepped the chainsaw for use, it is time to start it up. To perform a successful and safe start, engage the chain brake before proceeding. This safety feature can be found on all chainsaw models to automatically halt the chain in place if any kickback is encountered. If you are having trouble locating or activating the chain brake on your chainsaw, please refer to the user manual for further guidance. Depending on the model of your machine and its power source, you can use either of the following methods:


To start your electric chainsaw, begin by placing it onto a flat, open area on the ground. Check that all safety switches locks are engaged before running the motor to reduce the risk of personal injury or technical dysfunction. Once you have completed this step and are ready to start the machine, pull on and the trigger switch to start the electric engine. To keep the motor turned on, continue to hold down on the switch until you are ready to shut it down. Before placing the chainsaw back down, make sure that all rotating chains have come to a complete stop.


Before turning on your gas chainsaw, open the choke valve to allow fuel to flow toward the motor. To accomplish this, simply place the main operating lever into the fourth position. In your dominant hand, hold the chainsaw steady while using your other hand to pull the start cord. As the engine begins to run, push the choke halfway back while continuing to pull on the starting cord. Once the motor is on, switch the choke over to the ‘run’ position for continuous use. When you are done cutting into your material, simply turn the power switch to ‘off.’

Proper Stance is Key

One of the most common dangers when handling a chainsaw is the potential presence of kickback. This sudden, upward motion of the blade can potentially injure the operator and damage the work being done. The best way to prevent and prepare for kickback is to keep your body in a proper and stable stance. By keeping your body in a balanced and grounded position, you can allow yourself to have better control over the power tool. Finally, for maximum precision, always make sure to keep two hands on the chainsaw at all times.

Chainsaw Troubleshooting

Whenever you encounter any difficulties operating a chainsaw, you should stop using the tool immediately. An extreme increase in temperature, obnoxious fumes, and piercing sounds can all be indicators that your chainsaw needs to be repaired. Taking action at the first sign of danger can help prevent more severe damage. In the event that your chainsaw won’t turn on at all, there might be an issue with the fuel tank or operating system. If you have checked that all fuel is refilled and batteries are charged, it is recommended to bring the machine in to an expert for professional repair .

Contact Atlantic Equipment for Chainsaw Rental, Purchase, & Repair Services

Chainsaws are powerful tools that offer a wide variety of uses. When it comes to improving the landscaping of your home or cutting firewood, chainsaws are both efficient and easy to use. For those looking to purchase or rent a chainsaw, our expert team at Atlantic Equipment can help guide you through the process and help you get started. To find out if we have a location near you, or to receive more information about our services, visit our website or give us a call at 800-543-3350 .

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