How To Start A Chainsaw | An Absolute Guide 2022

Everyone wants their chainsaws to work smoothly and efficiently for a long time. But unintentionally some of us operate them in a wrong manner. It results in lowering the life span of the chainsaw and ruins its efficiency. And, this increases the chances of injuries and sometimes entails the replacement of chainsaws which is very expensive.

How To Start A Chainsaw

I am a professional logger and have good knowledge of various aspects of chainsaws. In this article, I will give a brief step-by-step guide on how to start a chainsaw. It will be a guide for both electric and gas-powered chainsaws for first-time chainsaws users and longtime pros.

This guide will ensure that you will never face a problem like overheating, multiple pushes and pulls to start the chainsaw, and injuries due to faulty starting.

How To Start A Chainsaw | Gas Powered

Gas chainsaws are perfect for heavy-duty long hours of work. They are the oldest variety of chainsaws and the most popular. Compared to electric chainsaws gas-powered chainsaws are also relatively easier to start and maintain.

Prior to starting a chainsaw, it is necessary that we do a quick maintenance check. A well-maintained tool always lasts long and gives negligible issues. We should check for the following to ensure fine maintenance.

  • Make sure you have a 50:1 fuel mix ratio i.e 2% oil or 20ml of quality two-stroke oil per 1 liter of fuel. In the case of bigger heavy chainsaws of 65cc or more, you may have around a 30:1 ratio.
  • Make sure that the spark plug boot is fully seated otherwise the engine might not start.
  • Ensure that the fuel level is at least 70% and it is not necessary to fully fuel up the chainsaw to its capacity.
  • Make sure that the chains are sharp to avoid kickback while operating the chainsaw.
  • Clear the debris from the saw if any.
  • Be sure to keep the bar away from any obstacle or object.
  • To ensure stability put your right foot on the rear handle while starting the chainsaw.
  • Look that the bar chain and covers are fitting correctly.

After following the above steps we should follow the following step of how to start a chainsaw. These steps will ensure that the performance never degrades.

Steps To Start A Cold Chainsaw

A chainsaw is cold when it is not being operated for 12 hours or more. Hence, it is a little difficult procedure than starting the chainsaw when it is cold as we need to warm it as well.

1. Activate The Chain Brake

This is the most prominent step of starting a chainsaw. Most of the chain breaks get activated when we push the hand guard forward. It will ensure that you don’t get injured in case of kickback. I have provided an image of the chain brake along with the front handguard below.

How To Start A Chainsaw

2. Put The Choke Control In The Choke Position

When we put the choke control in the choke position the stop switch moves to the start position. This will ensure that the engine gets a smooth start.

How To Start A Chainsaw
The Image of a basic carburetor and choke valve

3. Push The Primer Bulb Multiple Time

Primer bulb also called the air purge directs the fuel in the chainsaw’s carburetor. This will provide the fuel required by the engine to start. Just push the bulb a couple of times until the bulb is filled with fuel.

4. Pressing The Decompression Valve

Pressing the decompression valve makes the starting of the chainsaw easier. It mitigates the pressure in the cylinder ensuring a smooth start. However, mostly premium chainsaws come with this feature.

5. Pull The Starter Handle/Cord

Finally we have to pull the starter handle to turn on the chainsaw. Just follow the following steps to ensure that the chainsaw starts smoothly.

How To Start A Chainsaw
Starter Handle Of A Chainsaw
  • Gently pull up the starter handle until you notice a little resistance.
  • Pull the handle 3-4 times up to 13-14 inches.
  • You will hear a sound that sounds like the engine has started partly.
  • Set the choke to run, press the decompression valve.
  • Pull the handle again a couple of times, in the same manner, the chainsaw will start.

6. Set The Engine To Idling

Just wait for a while to allow the engine to warm itself. After this, we need to depress the throttle and increase the RMP with the help of the throttle trigger.

After following the above steps you may simply operate the chainsaw after releasing the chain brake system.

Steps To Start A Warm Chainsaw

When the chainsaw is warm it means that it’s being recently operated i.e less than 8 hours. Starting the chainsaw when it is warm is a little easier as there are lesser steps and time involved in this.

1. Activate The Chain Brake

We need to activate the chain break in the same manner given above. Always make sure that the chain brake is activated as it is very important for our safety. Forgetting to do this is not an option as ignoring this step is the main cause of heavy injuries and amputations.

2. Put The Choke Control In The Choke Position

We just need to simply push the choke out and then back in again i.e to set it “on”. It will set the engine to high idle and allow it to run consistently.

3. Pressing The Decompression Valve

It is not required when the chainsaw is turned off for an ephemeral period that is 1 hour. However, you can still press it as it will make the start even smoother by relieving the pressure in the carburetor.

4. Pull The Starter Handle/Cord

Unlike the cold chainsaw which required us to pull the cord a couple of times followed by additional steps, the warm chainsaw starts by merely pulling the starter handle.

After turning on just simply set the engine to idling followed by releasing the chain brake. Then you are good to go.

How To Start A Chainsaw

How To Start A Chainsaw | Electric Chainsaw

Electric chainsaws are perfect for those who want smooth performance without noise and the smell of gas. They are relatively lighter and easy to carry than the gas-powered chainsaw but, are not as powerful. Nevertheless, it is still an amazing choice because Electric Chainsaws are eco-friendly and hi-tech.

How To Start A Chainsaw
An Electric Chainsaw

We should also follow some similar maintenance check to ensure longevity and safety. The steps are.

  • For Cordless Chainsaws, always use batteries that are fully charged. Along with fully charged batteries try maintaining a battery backup
  • For Corded Chainsaws make sure that you have a proper long cable with no naked wires.
  • Make sure that the chains are sharp to avoid kickback during operating the chainsaw.
  • Clear the debris from the saw if any.
  • Be sure to keep the bar away from any obstacle or object.
  • To ensure stability put your right foot on the rear handle while starting the chainsaw.
  • Look that the bar chain and covers are fitting correctly.

The procedure to start a corded and cordless chainsaw is same. Hence, I am clubbing their steps of starting the electric chainsaws and writing them down below.

1. Disentangling The Chain Brake

As we know the chains of electric saws do not move until we use the trigger. Therefore disentangling the chainsaw will allow the chainsaw to start.

2. Push The Throttle Lockout

Throttle lockout also called a trigger lock or safety button is located on the side of the rear handle. We just need to push it in order to enable it and it will prevent accidental throttle operations.

How To Start A Chainsaw
Chainsaw’s Throttle Lockout

3. Pressing The Trigger Switch

We need to do this step along with pushing the throttle lockout button. We need to keep pressing it after releasing the throttle lockout until the chainsaw starts. After starting the chainsaw there is no additional step just simply start operating it.


I have condensed my experience of nearly 2 decades to provide a guide on how to start a chainsaw. Moreover, I have provided all steps covering the different varieties of the chainsaw. I am also following the same procedure to start a chainsaw for years now. Hence, I hope that this article proves to be helpful for you and you never face a problem while starting a chainsaw again.


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