What Is A Chainsaw Kickback And How To Avoid

A chainsaw is a sensitive piece of equipment, and many accidents involving it often involve kickback. This is the sudden upward jerk of the guide bar, which can take even seasoned chainsaw users by surprise if they aren’t as vigilant as possible. 

Some chainsaws have features built-in that help to lower the risk of kickback – but it’s still important that you know about this risk and how to avoid it.

Close Up Image Of Chainsaw On Top Of A Wood


If the chain snags on a piece of wood and struggles to cut through it, the build-up of tension may release in the form of kickback. 

The wood pinching the chain can make you spontaneously lose control of the saw – making it essential that you’re mindful of the wood’s resistance.

The chainsaw bar’s tip is also known as the “kickback zone”, because of how likely the reaction is when you cut using that part of the saw. 

This is why it’s paramount that you chop downwards, using the underside of the chainsaw where possible, to reduce the chance of serious injury.


On top of these two main scenarios, there are many possible factors that can influence if the saw experiences kickback. 

These often revolve around the condition of the chainsaw, as poor maintenance can lead to various problems, including a dull chain or problems with the chain depth gauge.

Only quality and regular maintenance can help guarantee that your chainsaw remains reliable throughout each job. 

Make sure to check that every component still slots together perfectly and that there are no loose rivets or cracked parts. Even minor issues that you put down to wear and tear could cause significant damage.

Woodcutter Saws Tree With A Chainsaw
An Arborist Cutting A Tree With A Chainsaw


The first step towards avoiding kickback is to stay vigilant and disciplined when using your chainsaw – a wrong move could be catastrophic, so exercising caution at all times is essential. 

Use the saw bar’s underside, known as the pulling chain, and always saw below shoulder height to guarantee safe cuts.

It also helps to inspect the chainsaw before use, including if the brake works and the chains are still working to a high standard. 

Be sure to wear protective clothing, including chainsaw chaps, eyewear, and gloves for further protection. 

Toowoomba Outdoor Power Products stocks a range of high-quality and easy-to-use chainsaws, so feel free to visit if you need a saw that can serve you with minimal risk of kickback.

Toowoomba Outdoor Power Products - Toowoomba Outdoor Power Products in Glenvale, QLD

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