How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw (2024)

I remember the first time I tried to start my Stihl chainsaw. It felt like it took forever, and I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong. Thankfully, I soon learned the best way to start a Stihl chainsaw, and it’s actually pretty easy.

Starting a Stihl chainsaw isn’t difficult – it just takes some practice. Just like any tool, you need to first familiarize yourself with its parts and how they work together. The main components you’ll need to pay attention to are the ignition switch, the chainsaw brake, and the throttle.

Now, let’s get to it. Let me show you how to start your Stihl chainsaw in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Activate Your Chainsaw Brake

Before starting your chainsaw, the chain brake should be activated by pushing it forward. This is an important safety feature that prevents accidental injury, so make sure you do this before you move on to the next step.

How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw

Step 2: Press The Valve & Bulb

To start your chainsaw with ease, if it is outfitted with a decompression valve, press the valve before beginning. This will help to fire up the engine and bring your saw to life.

If your chainsaw also has a primer bulb included in its design, be sure to press down on it several times – this can dramatically decrease the number of attempts needed to start your chainsaw.

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Step 3: Press the Throttle Trigger Lockout

To initiate a Choke/Cold start, press the throttle trigger lockout and throttle trigger buttons. You then need to complete push down firmly on the master control lever until it is in its lowest setting.

Step 4: Starting Your Stihl Chainsaw

When you’re ready to start the chainsaw, lay it flat on an even surface. This helps to ensure that your chainsaw stays stable while you start it.

How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw

Next, grasp the starter handle firmly with your dominant hand and position the tip of the chain saw off the ground. With a firm grip, pull the starter handle until you feel tension. You can then start up the engine by pulling on the rope hard several times.

Make sure to keep it in an upright position and don’t let any part of it rub against the fan housing.

Step 5: Opening Up Your Choke

When you pull the starter rope, the chainsaw will fire briefly before dying again. Move the Master Control lever up one notch to open the choke for half throttle position and try starting it once more.

Once your chainsaw is running, let it warm up for a short while.

Step 6: Getting Your Chainsaw Running

Once the chainsaw is running, lightly press and release the throttle trigger with your index finger. The master lever should return to its default idle setting.

You can then lift up your chainsaw safely, just be careful not to put too much pressure on the throttle trigger.

Step 7: Releasing the Chain Brake & Cutting

To begin, pull the chain brake handle with your left hand towards you. Retain a firm grip on the handlebar while doing this; when you hear a click sound, that means the chain has been released and can rotate along the bar.

Prior to starting up ensure that your chains are adequately lubricated for maximum performance output.

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To test if the saw is well-lubricated, hold it up against a light-colored surface like paper or cardboard. If you can see that the chain is well-lubricated, turn the throttle to full speed and it’s ready to go.                                   


Starting a Stihl chainsaw can feel intimidating at first, but once you’ve done it once or twice you’ll get used to how everything works and be able to start your saw without any problems.

By taking a few straightforward steps – prepping your saw, priming the engine, and pulling on the starter cord – you’ll be able to get your chainsaw running in no time. Just be sure to keep it upright and avoid putting too much pressure on the throttle trigger, and you’ll be ready to start cutting and trimming in no time.

Stihl chainsaws are a great piece of kit for anyone looking to do some DIY work or make their own woodcuts. So if you have just bought one, just follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to using your chainsaw like a pro!