Important Parts of a Chainsaw, Defined

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Trying hard to get yourself familiar with the parts of a chainsaw? If so, you’re at the right place! 

To help you gain a deeper understanding of the chainsaw and how each component plays its role, I’ve crafted this guide on the various chainsaw parts. Let’s dive in!

Components of a Chainsaw

Before we begin, it’s essential to be familiar with OSHA’s standards with chainsaw parts. The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states that chainsaws must have particular parts to meet safety standards. 

To give you a better look, I marked those parts with double asterisks (**). Also, the ANSI B175.1-1991, known as the Gasoline-Powered Chainsaws Safety Requirements, must be met by any chainsaw that goes into use after February 9, 1995. 

#1: Engine

chainsaw engine

The engine is easy to find and doesn’t really need a mark, but I put it here as a reminder that gas and electric chainsaws are both common these days. 

They both cut wood but are not the same in every way. It is the most important part of gas and electric-powered saws as it won’t run without the engine. 

#2: Bar

chainsaw bar

The chain spins around a metal bar called the guide bar. The guide bar keeps the chain’s place, ensuring it is straight during the cutting process. For best cutting results, take a look at the best chainsaw bar in this review! 

#3: Chain

chainsaw chains

The chainsaw part that does the cutting is the chain. The sharp teeth on the chain are a certain distance apart (called “pitch”) and a certain width (called “gauge”). 

Each chainsaw has a chain that is a certain size, and not every chainsaw chain fits every chainsaw.

#4: Chain Catcher**

chainsaw chain catcher

One of the essential safety features of the chainsaw is the chain catcher. The chain catcher works as a guard made to seize the chain in case it breaks while running. 

In simple terms, this feature is important because it keeps you from getting a serious injury if the chain breaks.

#5: Chain Brake**

chainsaw chain brake

When there’s a sudden kickback, the chain brake halts the saw from operating. This happens when the chain end becomes nicked or the chain is squeezed. Kickback is a quick upward jab of the blade bouncing towards you, and the brake keeps serious cuts from happening. 

The chain brake can be manually activated by pressing a handguard while on kickback. It can also be automatically activated by the momentum (an auto response according to force).

#6: Chain Tensioner

chainsaw tensioner

The chain tensioner ensures that the guide bar chain is tight enough. If the chain is set too tight, it won’t turn fast enough. 

The chain can fall off while spinning if it is not tight enough. The chain tensioner lets you control the chainsaw chain’s tightness so the chainsaw can cut safely and smoothly.

#7: Throttle**

chainsaw throttle

The throttle sets the speed of the chain. The throttle controls how much gas gets to a gas-powered chainsaw’s combustion chamber or cylinder. More fuel means more speed. 

But in an electric or battery-powered saw, the amount of amperage in the motor is controlled by the throttle: the more amps, the more power. 

You can access the throttle’s trigger on the bottom of the rear handle. For the throttle to work, the throttle trigger lockout must be turned on.

#8: Throttle Interlock**

chainsaw throttle interlock

The throttle interlock is a crucial safety feature on chainsaws. Before you can even engage the throttle, you have to press the throttle interlock. This ensures that users don’t accidentally activate the throttle. 

Conveniently, the throttle lock is located on top of the rear handle, preventing users’ hands from inadvertently increasing the throttle speed.

#9: Pull Cord

chainsaw pull cord

The chainsaw is turned on by pulling a small rope with a plastic handle, making up the pull cord. Most gas-powered chainsaws have this component. 

If you don’t have an easy-to-pull cord, it could take longer to start up in the middle.

#10: Power Button

chainsaw power button

This chainsaw part is typically found in electric chainsaws. With the power button, you can easily turn the machine on and off, making it the simplest way to start the chainsaw.

#11: Handguard**

chainsaw handguard

The handguard works as a protector that keeps debris from hitting the operator’s hands while cutting. Also, it helps protect you from the chain’s top that spins.

I would never recommend removing it, and I’d advise against using a chainsaw that’s missing this crucial safety feature. Safety should always come first!

#12: Anti-Vibration System**

chainsaw anti-vibration system

The saw’s anti-vibration handle system makes it easier on the hands of the user to use the chainsaw. The chainsaw’s anti-vibration handle system absorbs vibrations from the chainsaw’s motor that would otherwise cause stress on your arms, hands, and joints.

#13: Front and Rear Handle

chainsaw front and rear handle

The front handle goes around the engine’s front from underneath to the top of the motor. It’s designed to make it easy to hold and use the chainsaw.

On the other hand, on the back of the chainsaw is where the rear handle is. It’s where the throttle and safety lock for the throttle are. To use the chainsaw, you must put one hand on the handle in the back.

#14: Muffler**

chainsaw muffler

A gas chainsaw’s muffler is one of the important parts that reduce engine noise. If a gas-powered chainsaw didn’t have a muffler, it would be too noisy to use or get near without hurting your hearing.

You can find the muffler at the front of the motor, just above the guide bar. This also helps keep the exhaust away while you’re using the chainsaw.

#15: Clutch or Sprocket

chainsaw clutch or sprocket

The clutch decides how fast chains spin around the guide bar. If your saw has a thin metal ring that wraps around a metal disc, it is the clutch. When you use the chain brake, it turns on the clutch. By putting pressure on the chain sprocket, the clutch stops the chain from turning.

And the metal part we’re pointing out is the sprocket. It has both a small piece with teeth and a cylinder around it. The chainsaw chain turns because of the sprocket’s small teeth.

#16: Decompression Valve

chainsaw decompression valve

When starting a gas chainsaw, the decompression valve releases compression or lets air out of the combustion chamber. When you pull the starter rope, the decompression valve will make it easier for you to start the saw.

The decompression valve is located on the motor’s top in most saws. It’s basically a button you press before you start your chainsaw. Once the motor is running, it should close on its own.

#17: Primer Bulb

chainsaw primer valve

If your chainsaw has a primer bulb, you can see it above or near the pull start handle. Just pump the bulb to get gasoline into the engine.

#18: Spark Plug

chainsaw spark plug

A spark plug helps the motor’s fuel to ignite. When the signal comes from a push button or a pull cord, the spark plug ensures the motor has enough fuel to start. 

Actually, a spark plug is one of the important parts of machines. When a motor has been operating for a certain amount of time, you may need to replace spark plugs (the same as the air filter) when needed.

Take note – when you need to replace your spark plug depends on several things, such as how often and how intensive you use your saw. 

#19: Spark Arrestor

chainsaw spark arrestor

The chainsaw’s spark arrestor is a screen that looks like mesh attached inside the muffler. The spark arrestor’s job is to stop small objects, like pieces of metal, from flying out of your chainsaw during use.  

#20: Carburetor

cleaning chainsaw carburetor

The carburetor works and controls how much gas the engine takes in. It works by measuring out very small amounts of fuel and mixing them with the air that goes into the engine to run well.

#21: Air Filter

husqvarna air filter

This part keeps sawdust and dirt from getting into the engine and stopping it from running. For your gas chainsaw to work, it needs a mix of fuel and air. This single part sifts the air in order for your saw to get clean air. 

Most of the time, this part is hidden within the air filter cover. You should clean it often to make sure the carburetor gets enough air. You can find it by taking off the top cover of the motor.

#22: Choke Valve

chainsaw choke valve

The saw’s choke valve helps to get the chainsaw going. The choke valve works and determines how much air and fuel get to the carburetor. 

Depending on your chainsaw brand, the location of the choke valve may vary. But if you are using a gas-powered tool, it is usually near the handle that you pull back to start it. 

It works by letting you change the flow of air, which changes the ratio of fuel to air and helps you start the tool.

#23: Bucking Spikes

chainsaw bucking spikes

The bucking spikes support the saw to make straighter cuts. When this kind of cutting is done, the saw’s bucking spikes help to stop a kickback [1]. These spikes are also called “dogs” or “bumper spikes.”

#24: Fuel and Lubricant Tank

chainsaw fuel tank

The fuel tank is where you fill the mixture of gas and oil that powers your chainsaw. Most chainsaws have a 50:1 or 40:1 mix ratio.

The lubricant tank, on the other hand, is where you put the oil for the chainsaw’s metal bar and chains. Bar and chain oil is a lubricant that keeps the chainsaw’s bar and chains from rubbing against each other and making a lot of heat.

#25. Flywheel

chainsaw flywheel

The flywheel controls the engine’s speed, which also helps cool the engine to prevent overheating.


The key parts of a chainsaw collaborate to initiate, operate, and guarantee safe handling and functioning.

Every user should be familiar with these parts. Understanding them will provide you insights into the inner workings of the engine, how it fuels the chainsaw’s components, and governs its controls. The more you know, the safer and more efficiently you can operate the tool!

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles
Join our community on facebook and get 3 woodworking plans for free!
    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty