How To Use An Electric Chainsaw: Step-By-Step Process To Use An Electric Chainsaw

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Beginners and novices often struggle with using an electric chainsaw. Is it something that you often wonder about? If so, then this article is something that you simply cannot miss.

Using an electric chainsaw is actually very simple, as long as you know the step-by-step procedure. In this article, you’ll get to know all about how to use an electric chainsaw, the safety practices to consider, and more.

How to use an electric chainsaw?

Using an electric chainsaw is very important. All you need to do is know how to start and operate the electric chainsaw, and the saw will do the work for you. Continue reading to find out the step-by-step procedure to do so.

Note: Prioritize your safety

Firstly, your safety should be one of the first things that you should consider. When operating a chainsaw, accidents can happen anytime regardless of how careful you are. Whether you’re starting a chainsaw or operating it, make sure to follow all the safety protocols. Here are some of the safety tips that you should consider every time you’re using an electric chainsaw.

Wear plastic goggles/safety glasses when cutting

Your eyes are very delicate and simply cannot be replaced. Remember to wear safety goggles, as they’ll prevent tiny bits of wood or sawdust from getting into your eyes. These tiny bits can easily damage your eyes.

Wear a safety helmet

Remember to wear a safety helmet whenever you’re cutting or pruning around trees. Limbs can easily fall at any moment, or flying debris could hit your scalp and injure you.

Hearing protection for your ears

Chainsaws are pretty loud machines, and they can easily damage your hearing, especially when used for longer durations. According to CDC, using a chainsaw for merely 2 minutes without proper hearing protection could result in hearing loss.

Wear cut-resistant gloves

Wearing cut-resistant gloves will provide extra safety against the chainsaw blade or flying bits of wood.

Cut-resistant pants

Wearing thick, cut-resistant pants will protect your legs against accidental cuts or wooden bits. 

Wear a jacket or long sleeve shirt

Wearing a jacket or shirt will protect your arms when you’re cutting and there are tiny wooden pieces flying around.

Steel-toed boots

Wood is dense and heavy, so wearing steel-toed boots will help protect your feet from being crushed by wood.

Step 1: Check the chainsaw tension

If the chainsaw tension is too loose, the chain can easily fly off the chainsaw mid-cuts and easily injure you. Each chainsaw will come with a specific procedure to tension the chainsaw, so remember to read the user manual. However, there are certain general guidelines that you should follow.

You should check for the chainsaw chain tension. Pull the chain from the bottom of the guide bar such that the two links are out and release it. The chain needs to snap back into position. If it isn’t snapping back, then it means that the chain is too loose. If you aren’t able to pinch the chain links, then it means the chain is too tight.

Step 2: Fill out the bar and chain oil reservoir

Most chainsaws come compatible with SAE 30 oil, but you should still read the user manual to verify it. A few manufacturers recommend that you should use a specific bar and chain oil, so you should fill the saw with the right oil option. Similar to a car engine, putting the wrong oil could easily damage your chainsaw. Before you use the chainsaw, ensure that the bar and chain oil reservoir in your chainsaw is full. This will give your chainsaw enough lubrication for the cutting job.

Step 3: Connect the power cord

Electric chainsaws will require electrical power for operation, but the machines will not come with their own extension cords. This means you will need to purchase one and attach it to use the tool in the field. Remember that each time you make cuts, you should have ample cord length to reach the job.

Electric chainsaws can easily be plugged into standard wall outlets. If you want portability, you can use a battery-operated electric chainsaw.

Step 4: Start the electric chainsaw

Numerous electric chainsaws need you to push and hold a safety lock button before a switch trigger becomes operational. Once the safety lock gets engaged, you should press the trigger button for activating the spinning of the chain.

Step 5: Make the initial cut

Once the chain starts spinning, slowly press the chainsaw blade against the wood while putting steady, firm pressure. Remember that you shouldn’t force it. Constantly put pressure on the wood with the chainsaw until you get about 3/4th of the way through. Finally, ease the pressure to finish.

The chain will do most of the cutting, and you won’t have to put much force or pressure yourself. In case you find that you are using a lot of pressure to get the cuts, the chain might be dull and need to be sharpened.

It would be a smart idea to have a chainsaw file at your disposal to sharpen the chainsaw. When cutting, if your chainsaw has a manual bar and chain oiler, give the bulb 2-3 presses to oil them. If there is an automatic bar and chain oiler, you shouldn’t do anything as it’ll automatically oil the chain. Release the throttle once you’re done, allowing the chain to stop spinning.

Step 6: Repeat the cutting process

Repeat the fifth step until you’ve completely cut through all the wood in your project.

Step 7: Turn off the chainsaw

If your electric chainsaw comes with a power switch, move the switch to the off position. This will help you completely turn off the chainsaw.

Step 8: Unplug the power cord and let the saw cool down

Detach the power cord from the power socket and your electric chainsaw.

Normally, electric chainsaws tend to stay hot 10-15 minutes after the cutting or pruning tasks are complete. Allow your chainsaw to cool down for 20 minutes. This way, you won’t end up burning yourself accidentally on the hot motor or the chainsaw blade.

Step 9: Store your electric chainsaw

Storing your chainsaw after every use will be essential for keeping it in great condition. This will help you prevent any accidental injuries. If possible, try to remove the chain from the blade such that it can be stored separately from the saw. Otherwise, you can easily wrap the blade with a sheathe, or you could put the chainsaw in a carrying case. This will keep the chain tips from getting exposed. Moreover, remember to lubricate the bar and chain of the chainsaw such that they don’t dry or rust when stored.

How To Use An Electric Chainsaw

A sharp chainsaw is a right chainsaw

Remember, a chainsaw will naturally lose its sharpness after a few sessions. Sometimes, you may even find your chainsaw chain feeling hot and find a lot of sawdust during cutting. These are indicators that your chainsaw chain needs to be sharpened. You can either use a manual file or get a chainsaw sharpener and sharpen your saw.

For using a chainsaw sharpener, you’ll need to play it against the first cutting edge. As you’re lining it up, line it with the mark on top of the chain-link. This will be at a fixed angle around 30 degrees, but it can vary from brand to brand. Then, ensure that the frame in which the file is mounted is resting comfortably and firmly on the chain. Now, file multiple times in the line’s direction until the file is moving across the cutting edge with ease. Repeat it for each alternate/odd link. You’ll then move the angle of the file for sharpening the remaining/even links. These will be set at the same angle but in the opposite direction.

As you keep sharpening, you should gradually advance the chain by hand until all the edges are sharpened. If you aren’t sure if you’ve done them all, you can easily mark the starting point with a spot of paint.

Electric chainsaw tips to consider

  • Remember to stand and cut trees in the right stance, or you’ll lose balance and get injured.
  • Chainsaw kickback is a common issue with electric chainsaws. It can be avoided by using an anti-kickback chain. This will greatly reduce the chances of the chain being stuck in the wood. Avoiding the saw from being hurled back at your body.
  • Chainsaw chain brake or better known as the front handguard is designed for minimizing the risk of kickback. In case the blade gets thrown upward, backward, or towards you, the left hand will touch the chain brake lever. This will activate the chain brake.
  • Chainsaw chain catchers are designed for blocking the chain if they slip off the guide bar. This will prevent the chain from spinning off and hitting your body. You can find it at the base of the chainsaw right below the guide bar.
  • Chainsaw throttle triggers are the two switches that need to be engaged for the chain to spin. It’ll prevent the chainsaw from starting unintentionally.
  • Gas-powered chainsaws will come with an additional on/off switch. This will offer protection against accidental starting. Depending on the design and specifications of the electric chainsaw, you might even find a primer, choke, or a starter rope that fire up the chainsaw.
  • A vibration dampener will help reduce pain and discomfort caused by the engine and cut vibrations from cutting.


Thank you for reading. Now you know all about how to use an electric chainsaw, it’ll be easier for you to start and use it. However, you should remember to assess your chainsaw and its components before starting it. Remember, each time you’re handing a chainsaw, make sure that you’re wearing the necessary safety gear.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.