Is Using A Chainsaw Difficult: Possible Issues Beginners Might Face

Backyard Mike is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Disclaimer

If there is one misconception, especially for beginner users who have just started using a chainsaw, then it is the misconception of is using a chainsaw difficult. However, using a chainsaw doesn’t have to be difficult, as long you know the right way of handling and using a chainsaw. 

In this guide, you will get to know all about why you might find chainsaws to be difficult to use and how you can make them easier to use.

Why do people find chainsaws difficult to use?

Many people, especially beginners and novices, find chainsaws difficult to use as they do not know the right way to handle chainsaws. Further, they don’t know the minute details that experts pick up after working with chainsaws for many months or years. If you know how to operate a chainsaw, it’ll be safer for you and you’ll be able to minimize the chances of kickback by keeping the tension on point and the chain sharp.

man cutting logs using a chainsaw

Today’s lower-powered chainsaws, especially electric models, have made it very simple for people to use these tools in their yards and gardens. You can easily cut down on tree logs, cut, or prune branches, and carry out simple tasks with little to no hassle. Familiarizing yourself with the tool and the working conditions before you start operating the chainsaw will be a great way to avoid having to question yourself why is using a chainsaw difficult.

Here are some of the ways people find it difficult to use a chainsaw:

Not knowing where to start

Most beginners don’t know where to start, and they start feeling it is difficult to use a chainsaw. It is essential to keep in mind that when you’re learning to use a chainsaw for the first time or even routinely, you shouldn’t operate this powerful tool alone. If something goes wrong, it tends to happen quickly. Having an assistant or a friend nearby will help save you from a potential injury. If you’re working in the woods, you should set a safety track nearby and keep a first aid kit nearby with at least one blood-clotting bandage.

Further, you should wear necessary personal protective equipment including a faceguard, steel-toed boots, gloves, helmet, gloves, and more. You should avoid wearing loose clothes as they might get caught in the teeth of the chainsaw.

Not knowing the correct stance to hold the chainsaw

Beginners struggle to balance as they don’t know the correct stance, and they feel difficulty in carrying out cutting and pruning tasks with the chainsaw. Knowing the correct stance and keeping your feet firmly on the ground will be pivotal when using a chainsaw. Further, you should hold the chainsaw using two hands and at a certain angle or towards your side rather than directly in front of you, as you may face kickback.

Overthinking before cutting

You should always think the way you want to cut, as it’ll make you feel like using a chainsaw is an easy task. You shouldn’t operate a chainsaw on a ladder or cut limbs that are higher than your shoulder. If you wish to cut something higher, you should make use of a pole saw or a manual rope saw. For removing lower branches before cutting a tree, you should slice downward and make use of a pulling chain, which is the portion of the chain that warps the bar’s bottom. In case the tree is on an incline, you should work uphill from it.

Be aware of the power lines and cables and never try to cut trees where there are utility lines, buildings, vehicles, and people within 10 feet of tree lengths.

Not knowing which type of chainsaw to use

Using the right chainsaw for your cutting and pruning task is something that often gets overlooked. If you’re purchasing a new chainsaw or renting a new chainsaw, you should consider the task in hand to learn the right motor size that you should be using.

Generally, the chainsaw blade needs to be 2-3 inches longer than the wood that you’re cutting. Light cutting and pruning tasks can be easily carried out by using a 14-inch blade, while for medium-duty cutting you’ll need to be 16-20 inches blades. The longer the blade, the tougher and more complex it’ll be to control. Further, if you’re looking to cut trees at a height, you should consider a pole saw as it’ll be exceedingly hard and dangerous to use chainsaws on a ladder.

Not getting the tension right

Finding the right tension will be pivotal as it decides the performance of your chainsaw. Beginners and novices underestimate the importance of tension, which affects the performance of the chainsaw and makes it difficult to cut or prune, which subsequently makes the beginner feel that using a chainsaw is difficult. 

You should remember to check the chainsaw’s tension around the guide bar each time you use the chainsaw. A chain that is too tight will be at the risk of breaking, while a chain that is too loose might come off the bar and cause potential injuries. Give proper maintenance and tensioning to your chainsaw, and you’ll never feel that chainsaws are difficult to use.

Not keeping the chainsaw sharp enough

Similar to the last point, beginners try to get away with chainsaw tasks despite not having enough sharpness with the chainsaw blade. Many electric saws come with the self-sharpening feature, but if yours doesn’t, you need to ensure that you keep your chainsaw at the appropriate sharpness. On gas chainsaws too, the chain needs to be sharpened if it isn’t drawing into the wood when making cuts. If the chain isn’t sharp, it’ll likely bounce around when you’re cutting, or it’ll cut unevenly.

Sharpening will be required every 3-4 tanks of gas, but how often your chainsaw needs sharpening will depend on the type of wood you’re cutting into. You should pay close attention to the changes in performance for helping you determine when to sharpen.

Finding it complex to use the chainsaw brake

The chainsaw brake can be complex to use, especially if you don’t know how to use it. The chainsaw brake is situated towards the front handle. When it is activated, the chain will stop functioning. Let’s say, you hit the nose of the guide bar on something hard, and it’ll cause kickback, subsequently resulting in the chainsaw being flung towards you.

A running blade that is being flung towards you will be lethal. However, with the use of a chain brake, the force of the kickback will activate the chainsaw brake and stop it from spinning.

Not knowing the right way to start the chainsaw

Sometimes, people find using a chainsaw difficult to use because they don’t know the right way to start it. Firstly, you need to ensure that you properly connect to the power source or add the fuel, depending on the type of chainsaw you’re using. 

If you’re using an electric chainsaw, simply connect to the power source, toggle on the safety lever, have the correct stance to maintain balance, and switch on the chain to start the chainsaw.

man trying to start a chainsaw

For a gas-powered chainsaw, place the chainsaw on the ground, ensure that there are no obstructions or litter around. Toggle the safety switch into start, flip the choke of the chainsaw, press the fuel bulb a few times, hold the chainsaw and pull the string to fire up the engine, and once the chainsaw starts, toggle off the switch.

Chainsaw is HARD TO START? Try this EASY TRICK, especially on the BIG Stihl's, Echo's and Husqvarna!

Prioritize safety and avoid potential accidents

If you find it difficult to use a chainsaw, chances are that you don’t know how to use it properly, and it puts you at increased risk of accidents. It is essential that you should prioritize your safety and keep the safety standards in mind before you carry out any tasks on a chainsaw.

Before you start using a chainsaw, you’ll need to ensure that you’re wearing the correct gear, including –

  • Safety goggles
  • Chainsaw chaps
  • Gloves
  • Face equipment
  • Noise protection equipment 

When your chainsaw is cutting into the wood at high speed, there will be a lot of wood chips flying around, making it essential that you protect your face. A pair of high-quality safety goggles will do the trick, while you can save your head by using a helmet with a built-in shield.

In case the chainsaw chain doesn’t have enough tension, and it ends up flying off the guide bar, or you lose control of the chainsaw, your chaps will help save your legs. While the chaps won’t stop the chainsaw from running, they will help catch the chain, and it could be a lifesaver. Safety gloves are essential as you’ll be feeling the vibration from the chainsaw, reducing some of your control. Further, gloves will also help you firmly grip the chainsaw and protect your hands.


There you have it, all the possible reasons why beginners or novices might end up with the feeling of is using a chainsaw difficult, as well as tips on how to make those situations easier. As long as you know how to operate a chainsaw properly, you will never find it difficult to use. Moreover, remember to maintain the safety measures, as you’re finding it difficult to use the chainsaw, you’ll be at a higher risk to make mistakes and accidentally injure yourself.

Photo of author
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.