Parts of a Chainsaw: Glossary

Aug 20, 2018 | Blog

Chainsaws are a very useful tool that many people own, but few people know the parts that make up their chainsaws. Most of us would assume that knowing the parts that make up a machine is just unnecessary knowledge.

Some people may not have time to study a complex piece of machinery such as the chainsaw, but we say it is well worth the time. According to a study done by the CPSC, there are over 20,000 chainsaw-related injuries each year. Some of these injuries were fatal as well.

We never want to see someone injured while operating a chainsaw which is one of the reasons we put this list together.

In fact, we’d like to take a quick look at some more in-depth reasons to get to know your chainsaw. We highly recommend you take the time to become more familiar with your chainsaw as it can help you in the future with maintenance and protection.

Why Should I Know the Parts?

The biggest reason would be your safety. A chainsaw is no toy but is instead a very dangerous tool that can even prove deadly. We would never recommend someone use a chainsaw if they don’t know anything about chainsaws. This is a recipe for disaster, so we insist you learn about the tool that you’ll be using. It’ll keep you safe and allow you to get the job done at the same time.

Another reason to know the parts of your chainsaw is for maintenance purposes. Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but you have a machine that’s broken, and you don’t even know where to look for the problem. Knowing the parts and what they do can help you establish a basic understanding of how to keep your chainsaw in good shape. In turn, it provides a machine that will do you good for years to come.

Now, let’s dive in and look at what makes up your chainsaw.

Chain Catcher

The chain catcher is one of the most important parts of the chainsaw. This plastic or metal guard is designated to protect the operator from injury in case of a situation in which the chain breaks during use or comes off the bar. Always be sure to ensure your chainsaw has the chain catcher in place to keep yourself safe.

The Chain

Speaking of which, the saw chain is next on our list. The chain itself is made up of different components such as the cutting teeth on the outside while you have the drive links on the inside. While the cutting teeth are self-explanatory, the drive links keep the chain on the bar and allow the chain to be propelled by the motor.

Guide Bar

The guide bar is the steel bar that the chain is wrapped around. Its purpose is to guide the chain while the chainsaw is in use and hold the chain in position.


The clutch is attached to the chain sprocket. It’s there to control the speed at which you cut with the chainsaw.

Chain Brake

The chain brake is very important for all chainsaws and their users. Its purpose is to stop the chain immediately if a kickback occurs. This keeps the operator safe from serious injury caused by the chain.


The flywheel shares the jobs of controlling the speed at which the chainsaw operates and cooling the engine to prevent overheating from occurring.


The muffler is a key part that helps to reduce engine noise very similar to how a muffler on a vehicle works. This helps keep the operator safe from damaging their ears due to the loud noise of the engine.


The throttle controls the chainsaw’s RPM or revolution per minute. It works by increasing or decreasing the volume of fuel to the cylinders. When pressure on the throttle is released, the chain will stop running.

Hand Guard

The hand is a plastic shield that protects user’s hands from potential kickback. Most injuries from chainsaw occur when the chainsaw kicks back, so this is a convenient part of the machine.

Decompression Valve

The decompression valve is a part that releases saw compression. In turn, this makes the chainsaw easier to start.

Anti-vibration Valve

The anti-vibration valve is a very useful part for protection as well. Due to the power of the chainsaw, it produces a lot of vibrations, but this part reduces the stress that it puts on the user’s hands while operating the chainsaw by absorbing most of the vibration.


The carburetor’s sole purpose is to control the intake of fuel by the engine.


Each chainsaw also has filters which help keep the machine free of dust and dirt. This prevents these from getting into the carburetor and doing damage to it. Be sure to clean out your chainsaw filters every so often to ensure your carburetor stays nice and clean.

Choke Valve

The choke valve is in place to allow the operator to start up a chainsaw. It modifies the intake of air pressure along with the fuel allowing a better supply of fuel when starting up the machine.


As you can see, a chainsaw is full of all types of parts with some being more complex than others. However, they are all necessary for the chainsaw to be able to operate at an efficient, but safe level. Remember, you never want to attempt to use a machine if you don’t know anything about the machine let alone a chainsaw at that.

We now hope that if you’re ever working on your chainsaw, you’ll be able to pinpoint where certain parts are located and what they look like. Perhaps you can even help teach a neighbor or child about the parts and how they work.

For your safety, take the time to read up on the various parts that we listed here in this list so that you can stay safe while operating your chainsaw. We hope that this guide has been helpful to you in learning more about chainsaws and how they work. If so, be sure to let us know!

John McDonald

Chainsaw Expert for

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