How to Start Stihl Chainsaw in 10+ Easy Steps? A 2024 Guide

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

starting a Stihl chainsaw

Starting a Stihl chainsaw is not much of a problem, still, you need to know what things you need to do before gearing up for some action.

The great thing about Stihl chainsaws is that you don’t need completely different operating guides for various models.

That said, this guide will take you through a step-by-step process to help you start literally any Stihl chainsaws out there.

Not only that but by the end of the steps, you will also get yourself acknowledged with a YouTube tutorial to help you start the chainsaw without any hassle.

Let’s get right into answering, “How to start a Stihl chainsaw” in simple and easy steps:

How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw in 12 Easy and Simple Steps?

All of those come with a vast set of common features that allow you to become an expert in operating any of those with a standard guide.

Step 1: Choose a Safe Operating Environment

First of all, you need to make sure that you are in a safe operating environment. Whether you have an electric or gas-powered chainsaw, you should be wearing safety gear so that nothing causes trouble in case of mechanical failure. Don’t try to run a chainsaw with kids around as sharp-bladed chain can be quite dangerous for them.

Step 2: Set Up a Power Connection (For Electric Chainsaws)

You need to set up a power connection. If you have a battery chainsaw then do get them fully charged to have maximum operating time. For electric or gas chainsaws, you need to connect them to respective power sources. It can be great if you can get the power source placed in such a position where the maximum area can be covered.

Step 3: Activate Chain Brake

Get the chain brake activated from start. If you would try to ignite without chain brake activated, any startup disruption failure can cause injury. Chain brake would ensure that the chain kickback is prevented and you remain protected from any unwanted injury.

Step 4: Using the Decompression Valve

Use the decompression valve if you have one to have maximum ignition power. The bar cover should also be removed beforehand so that it doesn’t come into contact with a running chain bar.

Step 5: Use Primer Bulb

Also, make use of the primer bulb commonly found in Stihl chainsaws. This helps to have less number of pulls that are required to get the chainsaw started. You may need to press it quite a few times before it can make the starting process smooth.

Step 6: Set Lever to Choke

Now you are ready to get going with the master control lever. It should be set to choke once you unlock the throttle trigger and then press it. After this, you need to press the master control lever to the downside.

Step 7: Place Chainsaw On Ground

Now place the chainsaw on the ground in such a way that the chain bar remains in the air.
You must ensure that the ground and cutting equipment are not in contact before you get to start this.

Step 8: Procedure for Kickstart

Now you need to master this step. While your chainsaw is laying on the flat surface with cutting equipment not touching it, tighten your left-hand grip on the chainsaw handlebar, the right hand should reach the starter rope, and the right foot should be placed on the rear handle to keep the machine stable.

Learn More: 6+ Chainsaw Cutting Techniques for Beginners and Professionals

Step 9: Angle for Pulling the Rope

You need to pull the starter rope vertically. Start pulling slowly upwards until it tightens a bit and you would be required to pull hard quite a few times until the engine gets ignited. The rope should be pulled vertically only and use force when it starts resistance. Until then you need to gradually pull outwards.

Step 10: Pull the Rope Again for Ignition

The engine gets turned off once it gets fired. The master control lever needs to be set to half throttle position so that the choke gets opened. You need to pull the starter rope once again for ignition.

Step 11: Engine Ignition Basics

You need to move back the master control lever to the idle setting as the engine gets ignited in a proper way. Make use of the throttle trigger with the index finger to move the control lever smoothly without causing any malfunction.

Read More: Can You Rent a Chainsaw at Lowe’s? The Pros and Cons

Step 12: Use the Chainsaw

You can now lift the chainsaw from the ground and remain aware that the throttle trigger is not required to be touched. It is time you should release the chain brake and it can be done by pulling the chain brake handle towards you. A click sound should be heard to confirm that the chain has been released in a proper way. Now you are all good to go!

Here is a video tutorial on how you can easily and safely start a Stihl chainsaw without any hassle:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Stihl chainsaw so hard to start? 

One of the reasons your Stihl chainsaw may be a bit hard to start is that it’s not been used since a long time. Adding to that, a dirty air filter or a dirty carburetor can also halt the whole process. What I recommend in this regard is to make sure that you clean your chainsaw properly, especially the air filter and carburetor. Replace the ignition rope if it’s too old. With these steps, you can ensure an easy start of your Stihl chainsaw.

How do you start a Stihl chainsaw when it’s cold? 

When working in a cold environment, the Stihl MS250 or MS271 cutting tool may take longer than required to get started. Follow the steps below to start it:

  • Simply depress the throttle lock and then move the master control level to full choke.
  • Secondly, you have to press the primer 2 to 3 times if it comes fitted in your chainsaw. Pressing it, again and again, is also permissible since the fuel will simply move back to the fuel tank and will not get wasted.
  • Position yourself and place the saw on the ground. Keep your left hand on the top handle and place your rear foot through the rear handle.
  • Pull the rope 3 to 4 times until the chainsaw fires. Do not overpull the rope or else it will result in chainsaw flooding.
  • When fired, move the master control level from full to half and let the chainsaw motor idle while it runs.

Ta-da! You have started a cold Stihl MS170 chainsaw without any hassle. Make sure that you let the chainsaw run for a while before getting started with the woodworking tasks.

Which way is choke on Stihl? 

The choke is placed in a horizontal squiggle placed at the lowest position of the master control lever. The position of the choke may vary from model to model. I recommend reading the user manual properly before finding out the choke position on your own.

Should the brake be on when starting a Stihl chainsaw? 

When turned on, the chainsaw brake keeps the chain away from moving when the tool starts so you may not injure yourself. Considering how dangerous chainsaws can get, I highly recommend that you keep it on when starting a Stihl chainsaw to avoid any mishap or incident that may result in a disaster for your physical health.

How do you start a Stihl chainsaw without flooding it? 

To keep the saw away from flooding, do not pull the rope more than 3 to 4 times while igniting the engine. Excessive pulling may cause the machine to flood and it will not start until and unless you know how to start a flooded chainsaw. Keep the rope pulling trick in mind while you start a Stihl MS170 chainsaw and you are good to go.

Final Takeaways: How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw? 

Starting a Stihl chainsaw ain’t much different from starting Husqvarna, Poulan, or any other chainsaw.

The basics remain same. Some steps where you can take care are already mentioned enough so that you may keep them in mind before starting a Stihl cutting tool.

With that said, it’s now time to sign off from Chainsaw Guru. Make sure that you explore other guides while you are on the website to get yourself acknowledged about these beastly cutting tools.


Richard McMann
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