Stihl chainsaws are durable, efficient, and easy to use. But what is the way to start them? Here is a step by step to starting your chainsaw.

Stihl is a reputable manufacturer of handheld equipment such as chainsaws. Their chainsaws are trusted by consumers worldwide for their versatility, durability, and efficiency.

While Stihl Chainsaws are easy to use, it is good to start them properly. Whatever your experience is with Stihl chainsaws, this article will guide you on how to start a Stihl chainsaw correctly.

Getting Ready to Start the Chainsaw

Before starting your chainsaw, it is good practice to double-check that everything is in order. Whatever you intend to do with the chainsaw, remember that safety should always come first.

First, wear all the proper safety equipment. These include protective legwear, ear and eye protection, and gloves. Next, check the overall condition of the chainsaw. Even if it is brand new, make it a habit to check if the chain is correctly fitted and tensioned.

Check if the chain brake is working well. Next, check the bar and chain oil levels. Refill if you have to. Also, check the 2-stroke fuel level and refill if required.

Chainsaws produce toxic exhaust fumes. Therefore, never operate them in a closed room with limited air circulation. Move whatever you have to cut outside to not breathe in the fumes.

Lastly, have a clear and unobstructed working area. If anyone is nearby, keep them at a distance. Also, always have a clear escape route in an emergency, such as a tree falling.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Starting a Stihl Chainsaw

Step 1: Remove the Cover of the Bar

Most chainsaws come with a bar cover that protects the chain and bar when not in use. So the first thing is to remove the cover.

Step 2: Check the Fuel Cap

Before you fire your Stihl chainsaw, always check the fuel cap first. Ensure you close it tightly and there are no fuel leakages. If, for some reason, there are visible fuel leaks from the fuel cap, wipe it carefully with a rag.

Step 3: Activate the Chain Brake

In most gas-powered Stihl chainsaws, the chain brake is positioned right in front of the handlebar. Gently press it forward to activate the chain brake. Why? It acts as a safety control. It locks the chain until you are ready to use it to prevent accidental contact.

Step 4: Press the Decompression Valve

This step is only applicable if your chainsaw has a decompression valve. Press it gently but firmly.

Step 5: Press the Primer Valve Severally

Most Stihl chainsaws have a primer valve. Generally, it is positioned on the side, next to the handlebar. If your saw has one, press it at least five times. This will help start the chainsaw with a few pulls.

Step 6: Set the Control to Cold Start Setting

Push down and hold the throttle trigger lockout. It is positioned on the side with the trigger just below it. Next, press the master control down as far as it can go.

Step 7: Lay the Chainsaw on a Flat Ground

Place your saw on flat ground. The cutting part (bar and chain) should not touch the ground or anything.

Step 8: Hold the Chainsaw Down

With your chainsaw on the ground, hold the handlebar with your left hand. Your right hand should hold the starter rope by the handle. For added stability, press the rear handle with your right foot.

Step 9: Pull the Starter Rope

Now comes the physically demanding part. It’s easier than you may think.

Pull the starter rope slowly until you feel some resistance. Once it kicks in, pull it hard severally until the engine fires up. As you do, do not let the rope touch the fan housing; it can wear it down over time. The motor will run briefly and then die down.

Step 10: Move the Main Control to Warm Start Setting

The next thing is to push the master control up one step. This sets your chainsaw to a warm start setting. If the saw you are starting was used minutes before you started it, you might find it in this position\

With the chainsaw laid on a flat surface, pull the starter rope by the handle as you did in step 9. This should start your chainsaw again. This time, the engine should not die down immediately.

Step 11: Move the Master Control Lever to Idle 

Now that your chainsaw is running, gently push the throttle trigger with your index finger. This should move your master control to the idle setting.

Step 12: Lift Up

Double-check that there is no one near you. Lift the chainsaw and let go of the chain brake by pulling it towards yourself. You should hear a clicking sound to signify that the chain is released successfully.

Safety Tips when Using Stihl Chainsaw

Here are some safety tips to remember when working with your Stihl Chainsaw:

  1. Safety is paramount. Always wear appropriate gear such as gloves, eye care, and ear care.
  2. Never operate a chainsaw if you are drunk, tired, sick, or in any condition that impairs your judgment.
  3. Never “throw” start your chainsaw. A lot of things can go wrong quickly. Instead, always start it when laid on a flat surface.
  4. Never start a malfunctioning, disassembled, poorly maintained, or improperly adjusted chainsaw.
  5. Always top the chainsaw engine before putting it down.
  6. Start your chainsaw away from your fuel source. You should be at least 3 meters away from the fuel source. This only applies if you are outdoors. If working indoors, put the fuel as far away as you can.
  7. Do not operate your chainsaw in a closed room. It releases toxic, odorless, and colorless fumes.
  8. When pulling the starter rope, only hold the handle. Never the rope.


To that end, we hope you can start your Stihl chainsaw. Whatever you intend to do with the saw, remember that it is a powerful piece of machinery and can result in serious injury. Therefore, pay keen attention to the safety tips listed above.

Also, always refer to your user’s manual. Ask for assistance from experienced users. In addition, do not operate a faulty chainsaw.

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