Are you thinking about buying an electric chainsaw?
Or maybe you just brought one home for the first time?
Either way, if you’re looking for tips on how to use an electric chainsaw, this guide is for you.
Below, I’ll explain everything you need to know about using an electric chainsaw in 10 easy steps.
If you decide to buy an electric chainsaw, be sure to visit my page on the best corded electric chainsaw. It will show you how to find the right tool for all your cutting needs.
How To Use an Electric Chainsaw
When using an electric chainsaw, safety should always come first. Accidents can happen at any time, no matter how carefully you handle the equipment.
Therefore, follow these safety tips every time you use an electric chainsaw.
For specific product recommendations, see my list of chainsaw safety equipment.
- Always wear plastic goggles/safety glasses when cutting. Your eyes are sensitive and cannot be replaced. Safety glasses prevent tiny wood splinters and sawdust from hurting your eyes.
- Wear a hard hat. Especially if you are cutting near other trees. Branches can fall at any moment and flying debris can hit your scalp.
- Wear hearing protection. Chainsaws are loud machines and can damage your hearing if used for extended periods of time without hearing protection.
- Use cut-resistant gloves. This provides additional protection against the chainsaw blade and flying pieces of wood.
- Wear cut-resistant pants. This will protect your legs from accidental cuts and flying wood debris.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt. It will protect your arms while cutting.
- Wear steel-toed boots. Wood is dense and heavy, and steel-toed boots will protect your feet from injury or bruising.
Step 1: Check The Chain Tension
If the tension is too loose, the chain can jump off the chainsaw mid-cut and injure you.
Each chainsaw has a specific procedure for tensioning the chain, so read the owner’s manual to see how. However, the general guidelines are as follows:
To check for proper tension, pull the chain down from the bottom of the guide bar so that two links stick out and release. The chain should snap back into position. If it does not, the chain is too loose. If you can’t pull the links down, the chain is too tight.
Step 2: Fill The Bar and Chain Oil Reservoir.
Most chainsaws are compatible with SAE 30 oil, but read the owner’s manual to verify this. Some manufacturers recommend a specific bar and chain oil, so fill the chainsaw with the recommended oil.
Just like a car engine, using the wrong oil can damage your chainsaw. Using the right oil for your chainsaw is no different than using the right oil in your car.
Before each use, make sure the bar and chain oil reservoir is full so you have enough lubrication for your cutting jobs.
Step 3: Connect a Power Cord
Electric chainsaws require power to operate, but these machines don’t come with their own extension cords. So you’ll need to buy one and plug it in to use the machine outdoors.
Make sure you have enough cord to reach wherever you’re cutting. Electric chainsaws can be plugged into a standard wall outlet, or to make them more portable, you can plug the electric chainsaw into the outlet of a generator.
In either case, make sure you connect the cord to the power source and that the cord is suitable for the amperage of your chainsaw.
Step 4: Starting The Electric Chainsaw
Many electric chainsaws require you to press and hold a safety lock button before the shift trigger can be engaged.
Once the safety lock is engaged, press the trigger button to activate the turning of the chain.
Step 5: Make Your First Cut
With the chain spinning, press the chainsaw blade against the wood with steady, firm pressure, but do not force it.
Apply constant pressure to the wood with the chainsaw until you have cut about 3/4 of the way through the wood, then release the pressure to finish the cut.
The chain should be doing all the cutting, not the force or pressure of your arms.
If you find that you need a lot of pressure to make your cuts, the chain may be dull and need sharpening.
It’s a good idea to always have one of the best chainsaw files in your bag.
If your electric chainsaw has a manual bar and chain oiler, you should also press the light every 30 seconds while cutting to oil the chain as you work. If your chainsaw has an automatic bar and chain oiler, you don’t need to do anything because it will automatically oil the chain for you.
Release the throttle when you’re done so that the chainsaw chain stops spinning.
If you want to learn how to cut down a tree with an electric chainsaw, check out this guide on how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw.
Step 6: Repeat The Cut (As Needed).
Repeat step 5 until you have cut through all the wood for your project.
Step 7: Turn Off The Electric Chainsaw.
If your electric chainsaw has a power switch, turn it off so that the power is completely off.
Step 8: Disconnect The Power Plug
Disconnect the power cord from the electric chainsaw and from the power source.
Step 9: Allow The Electric Chainsaw To Cool Down.
Electric chainsaws can still be hot for 10 or more minutes after the cutting process is finished. Therefore, allow the chainsaw to cool for 20 minutes to avoid accidentally burning yourself on the hot motor or blade.
Step 10: Store The Electric Chainsaw
Storing your electric chainsaw after each use is very important to keep it in good condition and to avoid accidental injuries.
If possible, remove the chain from the saw blade so it can be stored separately from the chainsaw. Otherwise, wrap the bar with a protective cover or put the chainsaw in a carrying case so the chain tips are not exposed.
Also, lightly lubricate the bar and chain of the electric chainsaw so they do not dry out or rust during storage.
You can also check:Best Chainsaw Sharpener
Avoiding Kickback When Using Your Electric Chainsaw.
Kickback occurs when the blade of the chain is unexpectedly thrown back at you. This can cause serious cutting injuries. Below are the most common types of kickback and how to avoid them.
Rotary kickback is extremely common and is the most dangerous kickback. It occurs when the tip of the chain contacts a hard object.
To avoid this kickback, never touch wood or other objects with the tip of the bar and chain unit. If you do, the spinning saw blade may kick right back at you.
We usually know linear kickback as “jamming the chain.” If you are cutting a piece of wood and the chain gets jammed, the entire electric chainsaw can come back at you at full speed.
One way to avoid linear kickback is to make sure the wood you are cutting is properly balanced.
Linear kickback most often occurs when the cut is not supported on both sides.
Pull-in kickback occurs when your electric chainsaw hits something in the wood, such as a nail. This kickback also occurs when the chainsaw hits a branch at the other end of the cut.
To avoid kickback, it is best to know the wood you are cutting and how it has been used before or to inspect it before attempting any cut.
Using an Electric Chainsaw is Simple
As you learned in this step-by-step guide, using an electric chainsaw is not that difficult.
All you need are a few common techniques to get the chainsaw going and actively turn to cut wood.
Just remember to always put safety first in any cutting task you attempt. This way, you can protect yourself from any injuries that may occur while using your electric chainsaw.
As a reminder, if you’re looking to buy your first electric chainsaw or upgrade an existing unit, check out my page on the best corded electric chainsaws. It will show you how to find the best electric chainsaw for your needs and what the top features are.
I hope this guide to using an electric chainsaw has helped you.