Chainsaw Maintenance

Using An Electric Chainsaw For The First Time | Latest Guide

Imagine you’re preparing for a weekend project, and you’ve decided to take a significant step in upgrading your gardening arsenal. However, using an electric chainsaw for the first time can be both exhilarating and intimidating, as you’re about to experience an efficient and powerful tool that demands proper handling and respect.

The problem that often arises with first-time users is a lack of knowledge and under-preparedness. Electric chainsaws have their own set of unique challenges, with their power source and maintenance requirements differing from traditional gas-powered chainsaws. Furthermore, ensuring safety should be a top priority, as mishandling can lead to severe injuries.

For instance, consider Susan, who excitedly purchased an electric chainsaw for trimming her trees. Unfortunately, her eagerness overshadowed the importance of understanding the tool’s operation and safety precautions. The result? A near-miss that left her shaken, realizing that she needed proper guidance to prevent potential accidents.

So, I’m here to discuss the essentials of using an electric chainsaw for the first time, emphasizing preparation, safety measures, and effective techniques. We aim to turn your initial trepidation into confidence, ensuring a smooth, productive, and safe experience as you harness the power of this versatile tool.

Using an electric chainsaw for the first time!

Key Takeaways

  • Electric chainsaws are an eco-friendly, low-noise, and user-friendly option for first-time users.
  • Choose the right chainsaw based on power source, bar length, motor power, safety features, and ergonomics.
  • Follow safety guidelines, proper gripping techniques, and a stable stance when operating your electric chainsaw.
  • Regular maintenance, including cleaning, tensioning, sharpening, and proper storage, will ensure a long-lasting, efficient tool.

First and Most importantly: Choose the Right Electric Chainsaw


Before diving into the brief discussion of electric chainsaws, it’s crucial to choose the right model for your needs. Two types of Electric chainsaws: corded and cordless (battery-powered). Corded models offer consistent power but require a power outlet, while cordless chainsaws provide mobility but depend on battery life.

  • Power source: Corded or cordless (battery-powered) models
  • Bar length: Appropriate for the tasks you plan to undertake
  • Motor power: Measured in amps (corded) or volts (cordless)
  • Safety features: Such as a chain brake, handguard, and chain catcher
  • Ergonomics: Weight, balance, and ease of handling

Related: How Long Do Battery Chainsaws Last?

Consider the size of the guide bar and the power (measured in Amps for corded and Volts for cordless models). A longer guide bar and higher power rating will handle larger and more demanding cutting tasks. Keep in mind that as power and size increase, so do the weight and difficulty in maneuvering the chainsaw.

CordedUnlimited runtime, consistent power, the lower initial costLimited mobility due to cord, may require extension cords
CordlessGreater mobility, no need for cords, quiet operationLimited runtime, may require additional batteries, the higher initial cost

Step 1: Preparing Your Electric Chainsaw for Use

  • Safety Gear and Precautions

Before operating your electric chainsaw, make sure you have the necessary safety gear, including safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, sturdy boots, and long-sleeved clothing. Additionally, read the owner’s manual thoroughly to familiarize yourself with the chainsaw’s features and safety recommendations.

  • Assembling and Inspecting the Chainsaw

Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual to assemble your chainsaw correctly. Inspect the chain tension, ensuring it’s snug but still able to rotate freely around the guide bar. Also, examine the chain brake to make sure it’s functioning properly.

  • Oiling the Chain [Check Your Chainsaw is Oiling Watch Video]

Proper lubrication is crucial for the efficient and safe operation of your electric chainsaw. Fill the oil reservoir with the recommended bar and chain oil and check the oil level regularly during use. Some models may feature an automatic oiler that lubricates the chain as you work.

Related: How To Manually Oil Chainsaw Chain? 

Step 2: Learning the Basics of Electric Chainsaw Operation

  • Starting the Chainsaw

To start your electric chainsaw, engage the chain brake by pushing it forward, plug the chainsaw into a power source (or insert the battery for cordless models), and press the trigger lockout and trigger switch simultaneously.

  • Safe Cutting Techniques

To ensure a smooth cutting experience, practice these safe and effective techniques:

  1. Two-handed operation: Always hold the chainsaw with both hands for maximum control and stability.
  2. Proper body positioning: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly staggered for stability. Position yourself to the side of the chainsaw, avoiding direct alignment with the cutting path.
  3. Avoid kickback: Kickback occurs when the tip of the guide bar comes into contact with an object, causing the chainsaw to rapidly jerk back toward the operator. To minimize this risk, never use the upper tip of the guide bar to cut, and always maintain a firm grip on the chainsaw.
  4. Let the chainsaw do the work: Apply gentle pressure while cutting and allow the chainsaw to cut at its own pace. Forcing the chainsaw through the material can lead to unnecessary strain on the tool and the operator.

Step 3: Mastering Essential Electric Chainsaw Maintenance

Maintaining your electric chainsaw is vital for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some key maintenance tasks to keep your chainsaw in top shape: Detailed Guide Chainsaw Maintenance Checklist

  • Cleaning

Make sure to regularly clean your chainsaw to get rid of debris and prevent buildup. Pay particular attention to the air intake, chain brake, and guide bar.

  • Sharpening the Chain

A dull chain can lead to inefficient cutting and increase the risk of accidents. Learn how to sharpen the chain with a file or invest in a chainsaw sharpener. Inspect the chain regularly and sharpen it as needed.

  • Replacing the Chain

Over time, the chain will wear out and need replacement. For this, the owner’s manual can make it easy to replace the chain, and always use the recommended replacement chain for your specific model.

Step 4: Storing Your Electric Chainsaw Safely


When not in use, store your electric chainsaw in a dry, cool, and secure location, away from children and pets. Follow these guidelines for safe storage:

  1. Clean and inspect: Clean the chainsaw thoroughly and inspect it for damage or wear. Address any issues before storing the chainsaw.
  2. Disconnect the power: Unplug the chainsaw from the power source or remove the battery for cordless models.
  3. Drain excess oil: Drain any remaining bar and chain oil to prevent leaks during storage. How To Drain Chainsaw Oil? 
  4. Use a protective cover: Place a protective cover over the guide bar to shield the chain and prevent accidental contact.

Top 3 Electric Chainsaws for Beginners

1. Greenworks 20312 G-MAX 40V 16-inch Cordless Chainsaw

This cordless chainsaw offers a perfect balance of power and ease of use, making it ideal for beginners. Its brushless motor technology provides more torque, longer runtime, and longer life. The 40V battery system ensures a continuous power supply, and the 16-inch bar is perfect for small to medium-sized cutting tasks.

2. Worx WG303.1 16-inch Electric Chainsaw

The Worx WG303.1 is an affordable and powerful electric chainsaw that delivers consistent performance. Its 14.5-amp motor delivers enough power for most cutting jobs, and its 16-inch bar is suitable for small to medium-sized projects. The built-in chain brake and low kickback bar add an extra layer of safety for beginners.

3. BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 20V MAX Lithium Chainsaw

The BLACK+DECKER LCS1020 is a compact and lightweight option for those looking for an easy-to-handle chainsaw. Its 20V battery provides ample power for light-cutting tasks, and the 10-inch bar is perfect for trimming branches and small trees. This chainsaw also features a tool-free chain tensioning system for easy adjustments.

ModelBar LengthPower SourceWeight
Greenworks 20312 G-MAX 40V16-inch40V Battery10.4 lbs
Worx WG303.116-inchCorded Electric11 lbs
BLACK+DECKER LCS102010-inch20V Battery7.2 lbs

Key Features for Electric Chainsaw Users


  • Safety features: When shopping for electric chainsaws, be sure to check for built-in safety features like a chain brake, low kickback bar, and safety switch. These features can help reduce the risk of accidents while using the tool.
  • Weight and size: Choose a lightweight and compact chainsaw that is easy to maneuver, especially if you have little to no experience handling power tools.
  • Power source: Cordless chainsaws provide more mobility but may have limited runtime, while corded electric chainsaws offer continuous power but require access to an electrical outlet.
  • Ease of maintenance: Electric chainsaws require less maintenance than gas-powered ones, but it’s essential to choose a model with a simple chain tensioning system and easy access to the oil reservoir.

electric chainsaw safety and Precaution update

First-time electric chainsaw users should prioritize safety to minimize the risk of injury and damage. Here are the essential safety measures and precautions to take:

Wear appropriate protective gear: Safety gear is critical when using an electric chainsaw. Ensure you have:

  1. Safety goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes from flying debris
  2. Ear protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs, to reduce noise exposure
  3. Gloves with a good grip to protect your hands and enhance your control of the chainsaw
  4. Chainsaw chaps or leggings to shield your legs from potential injury
  5. Sturdy, non-slip footwear to provide adequate support and grip

    Inspect the chainsaw before use: Check for any damaged or loose parts, such as the chain, guide bar, or power cord. Make sure the chain is correctly tightened and oiled.

    Choose a suitable workspace: Select a clear, flat area free from obstacles and potential tripping hazards. Make sure there are no bystanders or pets nearby when operating the chainsaw.

    Use proper cutting techniques: Learn and practice the correct cutting methods, such as making relief cuts and avoiding kickbacks, to reduce the risk of injury.

Frequently Asked Asked

Are electric chainsaws easy to use?

Yes, electric chainsaws are generally easy to use. They’re lightweight, start instantly with a button, and don’t require fuel mixing.

What are the disadvantages of electric chainsaws?

Electric chainsaws offer less power compared to gas models, have a limited range due to cords, and can’t cut as aggressively or for as long as gas-powered chainsaws.

Do you need to oil the chain on an electric chainsaw?

Yes, you do need to oil the chain on an electric chainsaw to ensure it runs smoothly and doesn’t overheat from friction.

Do electric chainsaws kick back?

Yes, electric chainsaws can kick back, but they often have safety features to minimize this risk. Always handle it with care!

How to start a chainsaw that has been sitting?

To start a chainsaw that’s been sitting, check the fuel (or battery for electric), prime the engine, check the chain oil, and pull the starter cord (or push the start button for electric).

How to put the chain back on a Portland electric chainsaw?

To put the chain back on a Portland electric chainsaw, first ensure it’s unplugged. Then loosen the side cover, place the chain around the bar, align it with the teeth, and then tighten the tensioner and side cover.

key takeaway

  • Embrace the shift to electric chainsaws for efficient, eco-friendly gardening and woodworking tasks.
  • Select the right chainsaw model based on your project requirements and comfort.
  • Prioritize safety with appropriate gear and thorough knowledge of your chainsaw’s functions.
  • Follow safe operating procedures to avoid accidents and ensure a smooth cutting experience.
  • Maintain your chainsaw with regular cleaning, sharpening, and proper storage for longevity.

Read more about Electric Chainsaw