How to Safely Use a Chainsaw? — Steps and Tips You Should Know

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The chainsaw is your staple tool for portable jobs that are heavy duty. For a power tool that possesses such force and power, it’s even more vital that you know the proper procedures when using a chainsaw. Without proper knowledge, you open yourself up to accidents. Luckily, our experts are here with tips on how to safely use chainsaws.

How to Safely Use a Chainsaw?

Using a power tool is more than the operation, it’s the preparation and the safety that go into how to use a chainsaw safely. Let’s start by looking at what you need when it comes to operating a chainsaw.

Preparation Before Operating Chainsaw

Before we even start cutting, chainsaw safety project lined up, we need to protect ourselves, secure the environment and plan everything. You also need to ensure the sharpness of your power tool with high-rated chainsaw files. Our team has broken down each step to help you minimize any issues.

Wear Safety Gears and Equipment

The most basic step to chainsaw  is the gear and equipment. You need the correct personal protective equipment when you use a chainsaw like Homdox 52CC. The protective gear you need will include a hard hat or a chainsaw helmet depending on your environment, chain oil that helps with bucking and kickback, hearing protection, gloves when necessary, the best chainsaw chaps and the correct boots. 

Our team outlined the most fool-proof way to protect yourselves, but of course, if you aren’t outdoors felling large trees, you may not need some of what we suggested. Look at your projects to determine the type of injury that’s possible to decide what gear you need. Of course, a chainsaw protective helmet with a faceguard and wearing full protection is the safest, but it can get in the way of operation.

chainsaw cutting through wood

Just make sure you are in proper geared up for the cut. Eye, ear, hands and feet protection [1] are strongly recommended by our team. 

Secure the Area and Environment

Next, prepare the work environment before using an arborist saw or powerful tool. You need a danger zone so to speak, where the felling and heavy duty cutting happens. Be sure to keep this area clear of anything fragile and any people without the proper gear. 

The area should be quite large, especially if you are working with trees and wood pieces. The fall area is hard to predict, so you want to give yourself more than enough room to cut.

Remember that accidents happen and the tree could fall in an unplanned direction. You don’t want the tree to fall toward something valuable or precious, so a large designated danger zone is your best bet. 


Other than protecting those around you when you operate a chainsaw, you also need to make sure to protect yourself. When the tree falls, you want to give yourself an escape route away from the direction of the falling greenery. 

If you are cleaning up fallen branches, you can use the best pulling rope we listed here

Plan Your Activity

Every project needs a plan, especially if it’s a very large one. Before triggering your saws, think through your plan of action. If we are working with trees, cut off the branches first and work from bottom to top. While we can’t 100% avoid accidents, planning out your process and surveying the area can help.

Clear the places of any clutter and debris and do your best to map out the fall route of each branch. As a general rule of thumb, our team says to work from the ground up, and cut from left to right as chainsaws such as the Echo and Stihl chainsaws are optimized to work that way. 

Preparing Other Materials

While a step ladder can be useful for reaching higher branches, a pole saw is a superior option. To ensure safety and reduce the risk of accidents, it is recommended to cut tree branches at the waist or shoulder height at the highest. Our team strongly advises against going beyond this height as it increases the likelihood of wood pieces falling on your head, the collapse of wood pieces around you, and the potential loss of balance or grip on the chainsaw.

Another way to prepare your chainsaw is by sharpening it with a chainsaw sharpener. You can check the ideal file for your blade in this chainsaw file size chart guide here. 

Starting the Saw

Now our experts are going to get into how to safely use chainsaws, especially when you are using the best arborist chainsawBefore you start the saw, you have to make sure everything is properly working. Check engine, the controls on the side, the handles, the bar, the tension of the chain, and the chain itself to ensure that you will not encounter any starting issues with your saw. You should also fill the chain oil and gas reservoirs every time you start to cut, release the chain brake with your right hand so you won’t get caught halfway through a project without lubricating oil. 

man using a chainsaw

To prolong the lifespan of your gas chainsaw and reduce the occurence of any machine issue from your chainsaw, make sure it’s always working at top efficiency and these engine reservoirs are filled. A chainsaw running out of fuel is no big deal, all you need to do is to refill it. However, if it runs out of bar oil, the friction from that can really damage your saw.

When filling the engine tank of gas , do it on the ground. If you do it on the stepladder, chances are you are only holding onto the chainsaw with one hand and will severely compromise your grip and the balance of the saw.

When you have checked the chain tension, rear handle, tank and everything else, you can effectively start to use a chainsaw safely. There are two ways you can start the chainsaw engine, Hold the front handle with your left hand and they are either on the ground or between your legs. Hold the chainsaw front handle in position using your left hand and engage the chain brake, then press “on” for the choke to make sure it’s closed, and flip the switch to turn the trigger or throttle on. 

Get a good hold of the rear handle bar with your right hand and pull the starting cord  or engage the throttle. After a few pulls when you hear a pop, you can turn the choke off and pull the starter once more to power on the saw and release the chain brake. 

Using the Saw

To use a chainsaw such as a high-powered Husqvarna 435  without danger on a tree, make sure the area is clear, and free from tripping hazards such as the cord, you are positioned comfortably and have a good footing and balance. Now there may be some kickback or pinching that activate the chain brake when it comes to using a chainsaw, and you have to be prepared for it to avoid injury.

chainsaw operation

A kickback  guard that activates the chain brake is when the teeth of the chainsaw blade hits something hard to get through, and because it hits it with such speed and force, the entire saw will flip upwards — sometimes towards you. As you can imagine, when the chain brake is not engage this is extremely dangerous and isn’t something a hard hat, chaps or hearing protection can save you from. 

You can avoid a kickback, never use the bar from the top corners, focus on the middle of the bar and be aware of the tip position. Never cut a with the tip of chain saw. You may also face a kick back if your position is unideal. For example, Place your left hand on the top handlebar and grip it tight, a good footing and balance, a well oiled chain , a fueled up engine, and a sharp and tense chain with a steady push and pull motion will help.

Chainsaw Safety Tips

In this section, our team has come up with a few more safety tips for how to use a chainsaw safely. Aside from protective gear such as a good apron, hard hat, chaps, boots and gloves [1], you should have a buddy with you. To have a person in the vicinity when you’re working a powered saw will increase the chances of you getting help when an injury occurs. 

If you don’t have anyone available, have your mobile phone easily accessible. Keeping it on your waist will give you immediate access in case of an emergency.

You should also maintain and prep your saw so it’s always in tip-top condition. A chainsaw with a longer cord will minimize tripping as you will have a greater range of motion and the cord won’t always be taut. Keep bar oil on hand to lubricate the teeth so there is less kick back and friction.

cut safely with a chainsaw

The chain tension shouldn’t be too tight, but it shouldn’t be slipping off the bar either. To properly operate your chainsaw, learn how tight a chainsaw should be. Depending on the type of saw you have, the manual should indicate how to check the chain tension. Corded chainsaws won’t have this problem, but make sure battery-powered models are fully charged beforehand. You wouldn’t want to run out of power halfway through the wood or when you’re bucking.

If you are looking for affordable chainsaws, here is the list of the best chainsaw under 200

Common Injuries and Prevention

The more common injuries that happen when operating a electric or gas chainsaw like the ones from Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws come from the tree and your surroundings rather than the chainsaw itself. Some people could experience more serious wounds when they don’t have a good grip on the handle or are cutting toward themselves instead of a push movement. Our team has a list of prevention techniques that won’t trigger any accidents.

Check the chainsaw chain and bar size chart of your Stihl or other chainsaw to ensure that the bars and chains of your chainsaw are the right sizes to prevent any malfunction.

You should never take your eyes off the blade and where you intend to cut. Never engage with the tip of the bar as this could cause kick back in the saw. Instead, try to cut as close to the base of the bar as possible to engage the tree branches and always stop the blade when you feel a tough cut coming on that may result in a pinch or kickback.

cutting tree with chainsaw

Always keep both hands on the handle when cutting and never switch on the saw when  you aren’t ready. Only push the trigger with your right hand when you have added the fuel to the engine and pull the starter when the choke is on. 

Lastly, try not to let the electric saw tough the field or dirt during a job because mud can get caught up in the bar of the saw and dull the blade.

(To prevent these injuries, you can also use top chainsaw mills in the market for a more stable cutting work)


How dangerous is using a chainsaw?

It is very dangerous using a electric chainsaw if you don’t properly know how to use it. You need proper PPE such as chainsaw protective gloves, boots, and hearing protection, among others. Checking the electric engine, choke, chain brake, handle, and gas level are among the safety precautions you can take before you switch the saw on. 

What should you not do with a chainsaw?

You should not operate the electric chainsaw with only one hand on the handle. Always use two hands to hold the chainsaw, always remove your right hand from the back handle . The blade should always be lubricated, and never cut the saw above waist level if you can help it use a chainsaw easily. Never take your eyes off the blade and do not engage the wood branch with the tip of the saw blade. Never cut a with the tip of electric chain saw. Cutting as close to the base of the saw will help minimize kickback.

Is a chainsaw dangerous without the chain?

Yes, a chainsaw is dangerous without the chain. Although it may cut faster without the chain, a chainsaw without it is highly unpredictable, and operating the saw without it will most likely void the warranty. Our experts do not recommend operating a chainsaw without a chain or using a chainsaw with a faulty chain.


For any cutting job, knowledge on how to safely use a chainsaw is imperative to your safety. Make sure you are cutting branches of the tree from the bottom up and plan out your project. Check every aspect of the chainsaw before starting to cut, including the chain and blade. Keep the bar lubricated for an easy cutting job without friction and kickback. Most importantly, remember to wear the necessary PPE.

Before anything else, know the essential things of getting a chainsaw license here. Read next! 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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