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Check How To Start A Chainsaw In The Most Easy And Efficient Way

Chainsaws are powerful tools widely used for cutting logs, sculpting foliage, and more. A durable chainsaw with advanced safety features has become a standard tool for many homeowners nowadays. If you’re a DIYer who's new to operating a chainsaw, go to learn the basics of how to start a chainsaw effectively. 

It’s common to have issues with chainsaws that won’t start, especially if you’re new to using them. Before you start your chainsaw, it's crucial to read and check the operator’s manual for your specific chainsaw model, as control settings vary from one model to another. This article will guide you through the crucial steps, tips and ways for starting a chainsaw in the safest and efficient way.

Before You Start (Safety First) 

Using a chainsaw can be too dangerous, and accidents can happen in the blink of your eyelids, even to the most skilled and experienced users. The only way to avoid injury or any horrifying damage to your body is to take all the safety measurements. Before starting the chainsaw, you must wear all the necessary safety gear like the helmet, goggles, chainsaw gloves, chaps and protective footwear.

Using a chainsaw can be too dangerous

Read The Manual 

If you’re going to operate a chainsaw for the first time or with an unfamiliar chainsaw model, the first thing you should always do is read the instruction manual from the chainsaw manufacturer.

Even if you feel confident enough to operate a chainsaw, remember that every model has different features and specifications. For instance, if you start a Stihl chainsaw, you will get a different experience from another chainsaw like an Echo chainsaw, ending up with no knowledge on how to operate the one you want to start. So, always read the manual first.

Do Some Inspections 

You must perform inspections for every part of the chainsaw before you start it. This is best for your protection and safety by avoiding any chances of an accident. For instance, you must inspect the guide bar and the chainsaw chain for debris, dirt, or wood chips that may limit the chain from spinning. Also, inspect the chain by moving it around the guide bar with your hand to determine whether they move freely or not. If not, you need to fix the issue before push button to start the chainsaw.

Two Starting Positions

To turn on a chainsaw, you must activate the chainsaw brake first. Several chainsaw models enable users to get started with what is known as the ‘half-throttle position.’ This allows the chain to rotate even if the chain brakes stay non-activated. There are two safe and secure starting positions for your chainsaw - on the ground and the chainsaw between your legs.

  • ‘On The Ground’ Position:

You must stand by keeping the right foot in the rear handle while using your left hand to maintain a gentle grip on the front-side handle. Also, remember to keep the left arm straight. Use your right hand to pull the start handle repeatedly until the engine fires up.

  • Starting Chainsaw Between The Legs: 

Keep the rear handle simply behind your right knee and in between the left thigh. Use your left hand to get a firm hold on the front handle while keeping your left arm straight. 

Safety Gear And Procedures To Follow 

Some crucial safety gear to wear before starting the chainsaw are a helmet, protective gloves, steel-toe boots, goggles, earbuds, chainsaw trousers and jackets, and chaps. 

You must follow some procedures as a part of your safety protocol for starting a chainsaw. 

  • Do not start a chainsaw that is in damaged condition. Keep it well-maintained for good working order.
  • Do not start a gas-powered chainsaw in some enclosed region or area to avoid the harmful carbon monoxide fumes released from it.
  • Keep your chainsaw handles clean, shiny, dry and free of the fuel mixture or slippery oil.
  • You must follow and adhere to all safety warnings, manual instructions and labels for your specific chainsaw model.

Step-By-Step Guide To Start A Gas Chainsaw

Step-By-Step Guide To Start A Gas Chainsaw

Step 1: Stabilizing The Chainsaw

  • You must start the chainsaw from ground level and never up in the air or on a high surface.
  • Inside the rear handle, keep your right foot and gently press it down for securing the chainsaw.
  • Now, use your left hand to place it over the top handlebar. Ensure that nothing goes near or touches the chainsaw chain or guide bar.

Step 2: Chain Brake Engagement 

You must lean your wrist in the front for pushing the chain brake handle in the front direction, too, all while keeping the left hand over the top handlebar. This way, you end up engaging the chain brake, which restricts the chainsaw chain from spinning when you undergo the starting process.

Step 3: Switch On The Chainsaw And Open Up The Choke

  • Turn on the chainsaw by clicking on its ‘on’ switch position.
  • Now, move the lever to the fully open or cold start position for opening up the choke.
  • This choke regulates the fuel mixture entering into the chainsaw engine.

Step 4: Pressing The Fuel Primer Bulb 

Press your way down the fuel primer bulb at least five times or until the point where the bulb gets stiff, and you can see fuel in it.

Step 5: Pulling The Starting Cord For A Few Times

With your chain brake engaged, the left hand is placed over the top handlebar, and the right foot is kept in the rear handle. Use the right hand for pulling up the starting cord smoothly and quickly. Keep on pulling up the starting cord for quite some time until the engine makes the sound of trying over and failing.

Step 6: Closing The Choke

If you hear the chainsaw engine failing for turning over, take the choke lever to its halfway position. Again, pull up the starting cord. You will end up noticing the engine to start and idle. If you don’t find it to happen, pull up the choke a few more times.  

Step 7: Keep Your Chainsaw Idle And Close The Choke 

You have to keep the chainsaw idle for about 30 seconds as not doing so can make it stall out. After this, place the choke lever in the closed position while the chainsaw must be running.

Step 8: Disengaging The Chain Brake 

Use your right hand to pull back the handle and disengage the chain brake. If not done, the chain will resist spinning even after starting.

Step 9: Lifting Up The Chainsaw 

Uplift your body in the upward position while the chainsaw remains gently in your hands. Use your right hand’s middle finger and index finger to pull the throttle for starting the chainsaw. It’s finally done.

Starting An Old Chainsaw 

Starting An Old Chainsaw 

If you’re starting a chainsaw, you’re starting something that hasn’t been running for a while. It can either be the chainsaw getting started for the first time that day or the first time being used after a long time. Whatever may be the reason, you must focus on getting the fuel flowing to make your engine warm enough to fire and start.

  • First, you need to provide a concentrated fuel burst to the engine for starting it more easily. If you close the choke, it will block the airflow, changing the air and fuel mixture flowing to the engine to ensure a strong blend.
  • Second, if your chainsaw machine has a decompression valve feature, press it to lower the engine’s combustion chamber pressure. This will make things easier for the engine to fire.
  • Third, if you have an old chainsaw, it will feature a primer bulb, which sends fuel to the carburetor. Give four or six pushes to this primer bulb so that it feeds fuel and air to the engine that it requires for running.
  • Fourth, if working on a new chainsaw, you will find an air purge bulb instead of the primer bulb. Press it to remove the excess air out of the fuel lines.
  • Now, in any case, you need to pull the chainsaw cord steadily until you experience the resistance. Proceed to pull it rapidly and gently till your engine fires up, and you get the popping sound. However, the engine will not continue running to this point.
  • So, finally, move the choke lever to the ‘on’ or ‘run’ position to open the choke while keeping the engine running at a high idle state. This will add fuel and air mixture to the engine for making it run continuously without any chance of it being flooded.

Starting A Hot/Warm Engine (Restart After A Break) 

Starting A Hot/Warm Engine (Restart After A Break) 

To start a hot or warm chainsaw engine, follow the steps given below:

  • If you’re going for a short-term break from using the chainsaw, go for restarting it. However, it’s crucial to do so without using the choke as the engine is already loaded with fuel.
  • Keep your chainsaw on the ground while placing your right foot between the rear handle.
  • Turn the chainsaw to the ‘on’ position.
  • Use your left hand to hold and grip the top handlebar.
  • Use your left wrist to engage the chainsaw brake.
  • Use your right hand to pull the starting cord repeatedly until the engine starts over and idles.
  • Hold the chainsaw gently with both hands and raise your body upwards until you reach the waist level. Then, finally, pull the throttle to cut, and crank a chainsaw machine with a warm engine.

How To Stop A Chainsaw?

If you’re done cutting the tree or planning to take a break, you can simply stop the chainsaw. You have to turn off the chainsaw by eliminating the pressure and letting go of your fingers from the trigger. Finally, turn the off/on switch of the chainsaw to the ‘off position’.

How To Start An Electric Chainsaw?

The electric chainsaw comes with an option of the electric start of the machine, requiring minimal steps when compared to the gas-powered models.

How To Start An Electric Chainsaw

Step-By-Step Guide To Start An Electric (Corded/Cordless) Chainsaw

  • Step 1: Connect the rechargeable battery or the electric power cord to the electric chainsaw machine.
  • Step 2: Keep the chainsaw over a flat surface while clearing off any obstacles around the bar.
  • Step 3: Engage the chain brake and the safety switch.
  • Step 4: Pull the trigger switch to start the chainsaw motor.
  • Step 5: Keep holding the triggered switch for consistent operation.
  • Step 6: Disengage your chain brake to start the cutting task.
  • Step 7: Your electric chainsaw is good to go!

What Not To Do When Starting A Chainsaw

When starting a chainsaw, you must not do certain things by avoiding them, such as:

  • Avoid doing drop-start. It is the scenario where you use one hand to grip the chainsaw and the other to pull the starter rope. Avoid it as the unstable chainsaw possesses a higher risk of injury.
  • Do not wrap the starter rope all over your hand. The general rule of thumb is holding the starter rope handle in your hand. So, never hold the rope directly or wrap it around.
  • If the chainsaw bar is stuck in any wood, do not start the chainsaw. If you do so, you may end up with a kickback injury. Never allow the starter rope to snap back as it imposes the risk of destroying the starter mechanism.

Tips For Starting A Stubborn Chainsaw 

To start a stubborn chainsaw, follow the tips below.

  • Ensure to set the on/off switch to the ‘ON’ position.
  • If your chainsaw tank consists of old fuel for a while, remove and replace it with a fresh one.
  • Your chainsaw engine may get flooded with fuel. For removing excess fuel from the carburetor, keep the choke lever on OFF position, hold the throttle trigger, and pull the starter rope.


Whether starting a Husqvarna chainsaw or any other brand machine, the mechanism, steps, and tips are simple and easy for all. No matter what type of chainsaw you want to start, it's mandatory to read the instruction manual and take safety precautions first. We have discussed steps and tips to start a gas-powered, electric, cold engine and warm engine chainsaw machine. So, grab the insight and utilize it efficiently. We hope you get the best out of this guide.

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