7 Important Parts of a Chainsaw

How Does a Chainsaw Work

Photo: Stihl

While you might not always have the time or see the need to study and understand a complex tool like the chainsaw, it helps a lot to know its most important parts and how it works. Different models will sometimes have a few extra components to increase the cutting efficiency or make the saw safe to use. However, chainsaws must include some particular essential parts to function well. Here we look at some of the main chainsaw parts and how they work.

1. Chain Catcher

A chain catcher is a vital part of the chainsaw as it helps make the tool safer for the user. This component prevents a broken chain or one that comes off the guide bar from injuring the chainsaw user.

The chain catcher is a small metal hook located under the guide bar near the chain’s front section. This component does just what its name suggests: to catch the broken or loose chain before it hits the chainsaw use.

2. Anti-Vibration Handle System

Every chainsaw must have an anti-vibration handle system to minimize the strain on the chainsaw user’s hands and arms. For most models, it is usually in the form of a spring that dampens the vibration generated from the engine’s motion on the chainsaw.

Anti-vibration handle systems are crucial in a chainsaw, which is more so for those who plan to be using the tool for extended periods. Besides the vibration-dampening spring, some chainsaw models will use a valve also for the same purpose.

3. Hand Guard

Hand Guard

Photo: Stihl

Kickbacks are one of the most significant issues that many chainsaw users have to deal with, and they can be a huge problem for beginners. The good news is that many chainsaws include a hand guard meant to protect users from the kickbacks’ effects.

A hand guard is typically in the form of plastic shields located at the engine’s front section. Its primary role is to help prevent the hand from slipping and hitting the fast-moving chain if there is a kickback.

4. Muffler

Chainsaws are one of the noisiest power tools you can use, but most try to reduce the noise by including a muffler. A muffler on a chainsaw works the same way as it does in a vehicle, meaning it reduces the sound pressure using tubes, holes, and channels.

In a chainsaw, the muffler is located in the front part of the engine, and it is just above the guide bar. The muffler’s location means that besides noise suppression, this component also helps to direct the exhaust away from the user for an even more comfortable operation.

5. Chain Brake

Chain Brake

Photo: Husqvarna

The chain brake is another vital component for dealing with kickbacks, and it is perhaps the most crucial part of a chainsaw when it comes to safety. Unlike the hand guard that deals with kickbacks by preventing the hand from slipping into the chain, this part stops the chain instantly.

The chain brake is located at the front of the engine above the guide bar, and you should never use a chainsaw without one. When kickback occurs, the chain brake halts the chain’s rotation to ensure minimal risk of user injury even if the hand or any other part of the body was to be pushed into the chain’s path.

6. Throttle

The throttle controls the chainsaw’s RPM by regulating the volume of the fuel getting to the cylinders. It is usually located on the rear handle’s underside and is pretty much the gas pedal for a chainsaw.

However, for most chainsaws, it only works when you also engage the throttle interlock, which is the second button on the handle, and it is meant to prevent misuse of the tool and accidents.

7. Chain and Bar

Chain and Bar

Photo: Echo

The chain and guide bar are perhaps the most significant parts of the chainsaws, given they make up the component that does the actual cutting.

A guide bar is the central metal piece, and the chain wraps around it. Therefore, it determines the maximum length of the cuts you can make. For example, if you have a 20-inch bar chainsaw, the maximum distance you can reach without rotating the tool is 20 inches.

Chains consist of small blades or teeth that are what eats through the wood as you cut. The number of teeth and design also varies as there are different types of chainsaw chains.


Understanding the different parts of a chainsaw and how they work is vital to ensure you get the best service. While most models have dozens of parts working together to make the cuts, there are some key ones like the chain catcher, guide bar, chain, chain brake, muffler, and throttle that the saw cannot operate without.


  1. Parts of a Chain Saw – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  2. Chain Saw Use and Maintenance – USDA Forest Service