18 Parts of Chainsaw | Everything You Need to Know

Whether you’re an experienced logger, hobbyist woodworker, or just starting out in the craft of chainsawing and tree trimming, consistently keeping up proper maintenance on your saw is essential to safe operation and the longevity of your machine.

It also helps ensure that each job you take is completed safely and efficiently without any hiccups; however this means understanding the many parts that comprise your saw and how they work together.

A chainsaw is made up of several different pieces, which we’ll discuss in this blog post.

This is so you can confidently assess whether replacement parts are necessary for maintaining optimal performance of your tool.

Different Parts of Chainsaw Explained

  • Powerhead – Engine
  • Chain & Bar
  • Anti Vibration Handle
  • Handguard And Chain Brake
  • Chainsaw Sprocket
  • Muffler
  • Spark Arrestor
  • Chain Catcher
  • Throttle Trigger
  • Fuel Tank
  • Flywheel
  • Air Filter
  • Spark Plug
  • Summer/Winter Shutter
  • Adjustment Screws
  • Decompression Valve
  • On/Off Switch & Choke
  • Manual Fuel Pump

The Powerhead – Engine

powerhead - parts of chainsaw

A chainsaw engine is an internal combustion engine that powers a chainsaw and drives the chain around the bar.

It is made up of a piston, connecting rod, crankshaft, flywheel, spark plug, carburetor, air filter and other components.

The type of engine used depends on the size and power needed for specific tasks. Gas-powered engines are more powerful than electric engines and are usually found in larger chainsaws. 

Electric-powered engines are quieter and produce fewer emissions than gas-powered models, but they have less power and shorter running times due to their battery or electrical cord source of power.

Chainsaw engines are designed to ensure that the chain runs at optimal speed for cutting through wood safely and efficiently.

Chain & Bar

The chain is the part of the chainsaw that actually does the cutting. It has thin blades orteeth that are designed to bite into and cut through materials like wood, plastic, or metal.

The bar is a metal support that holds the chain in place and guides it along during cutting operations. It also helps minimize friction between the moving chain and the material being cut.

The size and shape of both the chain and the bar depend on many factors. These include the type of material being cut and the desired level of performance from the chainsaw.

Chains come in different pitches, gauges, and lengths in order to provide a variety of cutting capabilities from fine precision cuts to heavy-duty cutting tasks.

Chain pitch is measured as the distance between two consecutive teeth on the chain. A smaller pitch means more teeth per inch for a finer finish but also generates more friction and wear.

The gauge refers to the thickness of each link on the chain; thinner gauges mean less weight but could also mean reduced strength and durability.

Anti-vibration handle

Chainsaw Anti-vibration Handles are an important safety feature that is required by OSHA.

Its handle helps reduce user fatigue by absorbing excess vibration, as well as aiding in the prevention of injuries such as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

Anti-vibration Handles feature springs on the top and bottom of the chainsaw, which absorb vibrations and keep them from transferring to the user’s hands.

The handle also has a tighter grip on the chainsaw, helping reduce slippage or misalignment.

Hand Guard and Chain Brake

The hand guard and chain brake are another components which are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

The hand guard is a metal plate that attaches to the top of the chainsaw above the front handle. 

It serves as an extra layer of protection for the user in case of kickback.

This helps to reduce the risk of injury from kickback or contact with the spinning chain itself. 

When accident happens, either due to kickback or contact with an object, chain brake immediately brings the chainsaw to a halt. This prevents injury from contact with a running blade and reduces further damage to property or limbs. 

Both hand guards and chain brakes are essential pieces of safety equipment on any chainsaw, ensuring that operations remain safe for everyone involved. 

Chainsaw Sprocket

A chainsaw sprocket connects the chain to the engine, allowing it to rotate.

It consists of teeth that fit into the chain links and help to drive the chain around the guide bar.

There are two types of chainsaw sprockets – spur sprockets and rim sprockets. 

Chainsaw sprockets should be replaced when worn out to ensure that the chainsaw is operating safely and efficiently, as well as reducing wear on the guide bar.

Without a functioning sprocket, a chainsaw will not operate properly and may cause kick-backs or other dangerous incidents.


A chainsaw muffler is a device attached to the exhaust system of a chainsaw. It helps to reduce noise and air pollution by reducing the volume and pressure of exhaust gases through a series of chambers, baffles, and perforated plates. 

Spark Arrestor

A chainsaw spark arrestor is a device that prevents hot sparks from escaping the exhaust port of the chainsaw and potentially starting a fire. 

It functions as a metal mesh or screen, typically covering the muffler of the saw. It captures small pieces of metal and flammable materials that can jump off the chainsaw during use. 

Spark arrestors are required by law to be used when cutting on state or federal land in the United States. This highlights their importance for safety around power tools such as chainsaws. 

Chain Catcher

A chainsaw chain catcher is a protective metal or plastic device that attaches to the bottom of the chainsaw body.

It helps prevent a broken or derailed chain from being thrown back at the user.

The chain catcher works by catching the chain and preventing it from wrapping around the user’s hands when something goes wrong with the saw.

Throttle trigger

The chainsaw’s throttle trigger helps to control engine speed. Located at the back of the chainsaw, it requires pressing down on it in order for fuel to be sent into the engine and power up the tool. 

Fuel tank

A chainsaw’s fuel tank is an integral part of the machine that holds the gasoline-oil mixture that powers the chainsaw engine.

It must have a vent to maintain atmospheric pressure as fuel levels change. To fill it, a funnel or spout is used to pour in the fuel slowly until it reaches the full line.

The capacity of a fuel tank varies depending on its size, model and make, but normally can hold enough fuel for multiple uses before needing to be refilled.

It is important to maintain proper care and cleanliness of your chainsaw’s fuel tank in order for it to work correctly and efficiently.


A chainsaw’s flywheel helps the chainsaw run efficiently. It is a metal disc connected to the crankshaft via a thin metal piece called a key.

When the crankshaft turns, it causes the flywheel to spin and provides momentum that powers the chain.

Additionally, this spinning motion also helps to cool down the engine and generates sparks for ignition. Without a properly functioning flywheel, your chainsaw won’t be able to function properly.

Air filter

The air filter is a large, round piece located on the side of a chainsaw. It is responsible for the proper mixing of fuel and air for the chainsaw engine.

If it gets too clogged up, there won’t be enough air getting into the fuel and this can cause problems with the chainsaw.

It is important to keep an eye on the air filter and clean or replace it when needed in order to ensure proper functioning of the chainsaw.

Spark Plug

A chainsaw spark plug is an essential part of a two-stroke engine, and it helps to ignite the fuel in the cylinder.

It consists of a metal electrode that creates a spark when high voltage current passes through it.

To ensure proper functioning of the chainsaw, it is important to regularly check and clean or replace the spark plug.

Different chainsaws may require different types and sizes of spark plugs, so it is important to consult your manual or dealer for the correct one for your model.

Proper maintenance of the spark plug will ensure optimal performance from your chainsaw.

Summer/winter shutter

The chainsaw’s summer/winter shutter is a lever that helps to regulate the temperature of the engine based on the season.

In summer, the shutter should be closed off to allow cooler air from outside to enter the chainsaw and cool it down.

Conversely, in winter, the shutter needs to be opened up to permit warm air from the engine’s pre-heater system to circulate and keep components from freezing due to ice build-up on colder days.

This feature is essential for safe and reliable operation of a chainsaw in all seasons.

Adjustment screws

Chainsaw adjustment screws are small screws that control different aspects of the chainsaw’s performance, such as fuel flow and idle speed.

These screws help to set the optimal performance of the chainsaw. They affect how much fuel is used, how fast the engine idles and how fast the chain spins.

The high-low adjustment screw adjusts the maximum and minimum RPM while the idle adjustment screw adjusts the idle speed when the saw is not in use.

Decompression valve

The decompression valve is a device that enables a chainsaw engine to reduce the amount of compression in its combustion chamber.

This allows for an easier starting process, as it releases some of the pressure built up within the piston before the starter cord is pulled.

In addition to making the starting process smoother and less strenuous, this knob also serves as a necessary part of chainsaw maintenance. This helps prolong the life of a chainsaw engine.

This valve is usually found on larger chainsaw models, and requires manual activation before attempting to start the machine.

On/Off Switch & Choke

A chainsaw’s on/off switch is an important component that helps the operator start and stop the chainsaw easily.

The switch consists of a lever, usually close to the handle, and a button on top of it.

When pressed, this button sends an electrical signal to the engine that causes it to either turn on or off.

The choke is another essential part of maintaining a chainsaw and works in conjunction with the on/off switch.

When engaged, the choke helps to prime the fuel mixture for ignition which makes it much easier for you to start your chainsaw quickly.

Manual fuel pump

Chainsaw’s manual fuel pump, also known as a primer bulb, is an integral part of the engine system that increases the chance of a successful start.

By delivering enough fuel to the carburetor, the manual fuel pump reduces the number of pulls needed to start your chainsaw and prevents flooding or dry starting.

This handy device can be found near the air filter or on top of the carburetor and should be pressed several times before starting.

The manual fuel pump is a convenient addition that allows for quicker starts while aiding in the overall efficiency of chainsaws.

Parts Of Chainsaw: FAQs

What are the main parts of a chainsaw? 

A chainsaw is comprised of multiple essential parts, each with a significant role in the proper functioning of the machinery.

The engine serves as the powerhouse and provides the power necessary to drive the chain along the guide bar.

The clutch is responsible for controlling the speed of rotation while engaging or disengaging power when needed; this allows you to start and stop your chainsaw safely.

The chain brake ensures safety by automatically stopping the chain if it gets caught in something or if it kicks back due to an obstruction.

The guide bar keeps the chain in place and helps to keep it from damaging other objects that could be in its path when cutting.

The oil pump lubricates the chain and keeps it running smoothly, while also preventing overheating.

The air filter prevents dirt, dust, and debris from entering the engine which can cause damage over time.

Last but not least, the spark plug generates electricity for combustion in order for your chainsaw to start up each time.

All these elements combine together to make a complete working chainsaw with superior performance capabilities.

How do I maintain my chainsaw parts?

To maintain your chainsaw parts, it is important to keep them clean and inspected regularly. Clean the air filter at least once per season or when it becomes clogged or damaged.

Check and adjust the spark plug gap regularly and replace it as needed.

Clean and adjust the carburetor settings according to your chainsaw manual to ensure proper fuel/air mixture.

Additionally, lubricate the clutch drum bearing with grease every 25 hours of use in order to prevent rusting, wear, and tear.

Finally, check all screws and nuts on your chainsaw after each use for tightness in order to ensure proper functioning.

Furthermore, clean and oil the guide bar and chain after each use to reduce friction between components. Store your chainsaw parts in a dry place away from moisture and humidity when not in use for maximum protection against corrosion.

Following these steps will help prolong the life of your chainsaw parts while maximizing performance.

Final thoughts

There you have it! A complete guide to all the parts and components of a chainsaw.

With this knowledge, we hope that you now feel more confident about maintaining or replacing any of these parts.

Chainsaws are a valuable tool for many handymen, so it’s worthwhile to know what makes them work and how to keep them running well for years to come.

Remember, not all chainsaws are the same and different models may contain different replacement parts — always consider your specific chainsaw when ordering parts and take precautions when using your saw on any kind of project.

Photo of author

Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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