The Parts of a Chainsaw (Explained in Simple Terms)

Table of Contents

Are you trying to find out about the parts of a chainsaw?

If so, you’ll find everything you need here.

Below, is a list of the most important chainsaw parts and how each one works to power this tool.

Consider this the most complete guide of chainsaw terms and definitions.

Once you’re done looking at this guide, check out the top-rated chainsaws here. That page includes the top 10 chainsaws you can buy today.

I also have a post on the best budget chainsaw models for anyone who’s looking for a powerful tool at a cheap price.

The Parts of a Chainsaw

Note: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that chainsaws ​have certain parts to meet a set of safety standards. Those parts are listed first and identified by an asterisk (*). Also, any chainsaw placed into service after February 9, 1995, must meet the requirements of ANSI B175.1-1991 (Gasoline-Powered Chainsaws Safety Requirements).

1. *Throttle

The throttle is what controls the speed of the chain. In a gas chainsaw, the throttle regulates the amount of fuel that reaches the combustion cylinders. More fuel = more speed. In an electric or battery chainsaw, the throttle controls the amount of amperage in the motor. More amperage = more power.

2. *Throttle Interlock

The throttle interlock prevents the throttle from accidentally being activated. The throttle interlock must be pressed before you can unlock and activate the throttle.

3. *Chain Catcher

The chain catcher is one of the most important safety parts of a chainsaw. The chain catcher is a special guard that’s designed to catch the chain if it breaks while spinning. This safety feature is essential for protecting the user from getting injured from a snapped chain.

4. *Chain Brake

The chain brake stops the chain from spinning when a sudden kickback occurs. Kickback can happen when the chain tip gets nicked or the chain gets pinched. Kickback is a fast upward thrust of the blade back toward the user and the chain brake prevents serious cutting injuries. A chain brake can be either manual (a handguard that gets pressed during the kickback) or inertia-activated (an automatic response based on force).

5. *Handguard

The handguard is a shield that protects the operator’s hands from flying debris while cutting. It also aids in protection against the top of the spinning chain.

6. *Anti-Vibration System

The anti-vibration system reduces the stress that’s put on the user’s hands while operating the chainsaw. The anti-vibration system absorbs the vibrations of the chainsaw’s engine which otherwise would cause stress on the hands, arms, and joints.

7. *Muffler

The muffler is an essential part of a gas chainsaw that reduces the noise level. Without the muffler, a gas-powered chainsaw would be too loud to operate or stand near without damaging your hearing.

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8. Chain

The chain is the part of a chainsaw that does the actual cutting. The chain includes sharp teeth that are at a set distance apart (pitch) and at a specific width (gauge). Each chainsaw uses a particular size chain. Not all chainsaw chains are universal.

9. Guide Bar

The guide bar is a metal bar the chain spins around. The guide bar holds the chain in place and keeps it straight while cutting.

10. Chain Tensioner

The chain tensioner controls the tension of the chain on the guide bar. If the chain is too tight, it won’t spin fast enough. If the chain is too loose, it can fall off while spinning. The chain tensioner helps you keep proper tension on the chain so the chainsaw cuts smoothly and safely.

11. Clutch

The clutch is attached to the chain sprocket. The clutch controls the spinning of the chain around the guide bar.

12. Flywheel

The flywheel controls the speed of the engine and helps to cool the motor down so it doesn’t overheat.

13. Decompression Valve

The decompression valve releases compression from the combustion chamber during the starting process in a gas chainsaw. The decompression valve makes it easier to start the chainsaw when pulling the starter rope.

14. Carburetor

The carburetor controls the fuel intake of the engine.

15. Air Filter

The air filter protects the engine from getting clogged with sawdust and dirt. A gas chainsaw requires a mixture of air and fuel to power the tool. This part filters the air so only clean air flows through the engine.

16. Choke Valve

The choke valve assists in the starting of the chainsaw. The choke valve controls the amount of air and fuel that reaches the carburetor.

17. Bucking Spikes

The bucking spikes help you dig the chainsaw into a log so you can perform straighter cuts. The bucking spikes also help to prevent a kickback while doing this type of cutting. Bucking spikes also go by the names, “bumper spikes”, and “dogs”.

Now You Know Your Chainsaw Parts

As you can see, chainsaws are full of complex parts to get the tool started, keep it running, and make it safe to operate.

While this is not an exhaustive list of every single part of a chainsaw, it does include the most important components every operator should be aware of. Getting into the finer details of each of the inner workings of the engines would require a full guide in and of itself.

As a reminder, I have several other guides for you to enjoy, including the top-rated chainsaws here that include the top 10 products for sale today, the best budget chainsaw models for anyone looking for a good deal, and the best gas chainsaw for the money.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the various parts of a chainsaw.

Happy sawing!

parts of a chainsaw

Your pal,
Chainsaw Larry