How to Start a Chainsaw

Table of Contents

Did you just get a new chainsaw and can’t wait to use it?

Or maybe you’re just trying to find out what you’re really in for before you make that purchase?

Either way, if you want to know how to start a chainsaw, then this is the right page for you.

Below, I’ll teach you step-by-step on how to get a chainsaw started easily every time.

Now, if you are in the market for a chainsaw, I invite you to check out my best gas chainsaw reviews page. It includes the top chainsaws you’ll find today as well as some important features to look so the saw will meet your exact needs.

Or, if you’re looking for a certain size gas chainsaw, take a look at my best 18 inch chainsaw page and best 16 inch gas chainsaw page to see what’s available in those lengths.

So, give them a quick look.

Now, let’s get onto the chainsaw starting guide!

Note: This short guide applies to gas chainsaws and not electric chainsaws. Electric models start with a touch of the button.

Preparation (Before You Start the Chainsaw)

  • Safety first: Do you have on chainsaw chaps, leather or cut-resistant gloves, hearing protection, a helmet, and goggles (or helmet with a face mask)? If not, suit up with this chainsaw safety gear.
  • Fill the chainsaw up with gasoline and oil mix. Refer to your saw’s manual for the proper mix. It’s usually 40:1 or 50:1.
  • Fill up the guide bar and chain oil reservoir.
  • Inspect the guide bar and chain for any grit, dirt, or existing wood chips that could prevent the chain from spinning or fly off an cause an injury. 
  • Using your hand, move the chain around the guide bar to ensure that it’s moving freely.

How to Start the Chainsaw (Step-by-Step)

Step 1: Stabilize the Chainsaw

  • The chainsaw should always be started on level ground; never up in the air or on a high surface.
  • Place your right foot inside the rear handle and press it down firmly to secure the chainsaw.
  • Place your left hand on the top handlebar.
  • Make sure that nothing is touching or near the chainsaw guide bar or chain.

Step 2: Engage the Chain Brake

  • With your left hand on the top handlebar, lean your wrist forward to push the chain brake handle forward. This will engage the chain brake, which prevents the chain from spinning during the starting process.

Step 3: Turn the Chainsaw On and Open Up the Choke

  • Turn the chainsaw on/off switch to the on position.
  • Open up the choke by moving the knob/lever to the cold start (or fully open) position. The choke regulates the air/fuel mixture that goes to the engine.

Step 4: Prime the Fuel

  • Press the fuel primer bulb three to five times or until the bulb stiffens and you can see fuel in it. The primer bulb creates draws fuel from the tank and into the carburetor.

Step 5: Pull the Starting Cord a Few Times

  • With your left hand on the top handlebar, the chain brake engaged, and your right foot in the rear handle, pull up on the starting cord with your right hand in a smooth, quick motion. (Not too fast or too hard).
  • Pull up on the starting cord a few times until you hear the engine trying to turn over and failing.

Step 6: Close the Choke

  • When you hear the engine failing to turn over, move the choke lever to the halfway position.
  • Pull up on the starting cord again. The engine should start and idle. If not, pull up several more times.

Step 7: Let the Chainsaw Idle

  • Allow the chainsaw to idle for 30 seconds. If you don’t, the chainsaw could stall out.

Step 8: Close the Choke

  • After 30 seconds of idling time, move the choke lever to the closed position.
  • The chainsaw should still be running.

Step 9: Disengage the Chain Brake

  • Pull back on the chain brake handle with your right hand to disengage it. Otherwise, the chain will not spin after starting.

Step 10: Lift Up the Chainsaw

  • With the chainsaw still firmly in both hands, raise your body into the upward position.
  • To start sawing, pull the throttle with the index and middle fingers of your right hand.

How to Stop a Chainsaw from Running

  • Once you’re done cutting or just need a break, you can turn the chainsaw off by releasing your fingers from the trigger, and turning the on/off switch to the off position.

How to Start a Chainsaw That’s Been Warmed Up

  • If you’re taking a short break from using the chainsaw, then you can restart it without using the choke since the engine is already primed with fuel.
  • Place the chainsaw on the ground and put your right foot through the rear handle.
  • Turn the chainsaw on/off switch the on position.
  • Grip the top handlebar with your left hand.
  • Engage the chain brake with your left wrist.
  • Pull the starting cord several times with your right hand until the engine turns over and idles.
  • Raise your body up while holding the chainsaw firmly in both hands until it’s around waist level, then proceed to pull the throttle to cut.

I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start a chainsaw.

If you haven’t purchased a chainsaw yet, I encourage you to take a look at my best gas chainsaw reviews. You’ll find the top chainsaws you can buy today in addition to some key features you should consider the find the best gas chainsaw for your needs.

I also have dedicated guides to help you find the top chainsaw for particular lengths. Also, check out my best 18 inch chainsaw page and best 16 inch gas chainsaw page to see what you can get.

Happy sawing!

how to start a chainsaw

Your Pal,
Chainsaw Larry