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4 Things to Know Before Operating a Chainsaw

Updated on April 29, 2016

So, you’re getting ready to use your chainsaw. Maybe it’s for the first time, maybe it’s not. With all power tools, knowing what you’re doing and how to handle them properly is crucial. With one lapse of judgement or misstep even experienced professionals can have an accident.

Your risk for serious injury significantly increases when you use tools such as a chainsaw. While it’s definitely the right tool to get certain jobs done, there are specific, vital, steps to take when preparing to handle this dangerous tool, and here they are.


1. Know How to Inspect Your Chainsaw

Inspecting your chainsaw is important before putting it to use. This way you can ensure that all of the parts are functioning properly. This will include the handles and grips, the chain, the bar and other parts for proper operation.

Too many accidents happen when the user neglects to inspect their equipment, or, simply doesn't know what to look for. Handling a chainsaw is where neither of these options can take place. The result can be either serious injury or even fatal.

If you're a newbie to using a chainsaw, the first thing you need to do, before anything else, is learn everything about the equipment from the manual. You can even go online to learn more from the company who created the chainsaw or even other users who have created online reviews.

If you're an advanced chainsaw user, just remember that not all chainsaws are created equal. In fact, each can be extremely different in their weight, how they function, their protective components, and many other factors. Just because you've used one chainsaw, doesn't mean that you're good to use any other dangerous equipment without checking out the manual. One false move and anything can happen.

Check out these videos to help guide you through inspecting and maintaining your chainsaw.

2. Understand Crucial Chainsaw Safety Tips

Unfortunately, many accidents happen due to a lack of knowledge on how to properly operate a chainsaw. It might seem simple, just crank it up and start cutting, but that’s not the case. Unfortunately some chainsaw owners, from beginners to veterans, think that's the case.

It's so important that you not only read your manual but research more safety tips on how to safely use your chainsaw as stated in the previous section. Knowing to never use a chainsaw on a ladder or understanding or to never hold your chainsaw with one hand while in use are just a couple of the vast amount of tips associated with chainsaw use. These tips could help prevent serious, and sometimes fatal injuries.

Some other important safety tips include:

- Make sure to clear dirt and debris away from the area you will be cutting. Check for nails, screws and other metal materials that may be hidden in the tree and in the path of your chainsaw.

- If you're not cutting and in position, your chainsaw should be off! Never walk on uneven ground with your chainsaw on, or carry it with one hand.

- Never attempt to add fuel to a running chainsaw. Your chainsaw should be off and in a safe position when adding more fuel.

- Make sure any branch your cutting is not under tension. The branch could snap back and cause serious injury or cause the user to lose balance.

You can learn more important safety tips with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Check out some of the important safety tips before your start cutting.

3. What to Wear- Chainsaw Protective Clothing

A serious tool requires serious protective clothing. Using a chainsaw is definitely a workout, but shorts and a t-shirt is not the way to go. The most important thing to remember when operating the most dangerous tool available is your clothing will ultimately protect you. Neglecting to wear proper clothing is not just ridiculous, it's flat out stupid.

There is no reason, absolutely no reason at all you shouldn't be wearing the right clothing and gear when operating a chainsaw. You can imagine the debris that can kick up while operating your chainsaw, and if something were to happen you'll be happy you had the right clothing.

You want to make sure that you’re always wearing these items when operating a chainsaw:

  • work gloves

  • eye protection

  • ear protection

  • chain saw protective pants or chaps

  • helmet

  • boots

    If you aren't wearing all of these items, I highly suggest that you don't use a chainsaw. To learn more about the protective gear, what they look like and how to use them, just watch the video below.

4. Learn About Kickbacks When Operating a Chainsaw

Kickbacks are now joke. In fact, kickbacks the cause of many serious injuries for chainsaw users. That's why it had to be included in this post. If you mention kickbacks to most consumers and DIYers, they have no idea what you're talking about, and that's a big problem.The name speaks for itself, as the bar and still moving chain are thrown back towards the individual handling the chainsaw.

The name speaks for itself, as the bar and still moving chain are thrown back towards the individual handling the chainsaw. Yeah, just get that image in your head of a chainsaw hurling back towards your body. The problem? It happens to fast that there's ultimately nothing you can do about it.

It all starts with the nose or tip of the guide bar. explains it in detail:

"Kickback may occur when the moving chain at the nose or tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut. Tip or bar nose contact can, in some cases, cause a lightning-fast reverse reaction, kicking the guide bar up and back toward the operator. Pinching the cutting chain along the top of the guide bar may push the guide bar rapidly toward the operator. Either of these reactions may cause you to lose control of the saw, which could result in serious personal injury to yourself or to bystanders."

You can also check out this video. I apologize for the dramatic reenactment at the beginning of the video, but the information is definitely worth your time.

Get To Know Your Chainsaw


Read All Safety Tips


Get Your Safety Gear


Learn About Kickbacks


There are many awesome chainsaws for sale you can find to help get the job done. Just like the ones found here. Most have excellent features to help you effectively operate your chainsaw safely. But, this doesn’t mean you can ignore all of the safety precautions before you get started working.


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