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18 Essential Chainsaw Terms Every Homeowner Should Know

Have a new chainsaw or in the market for one? Familiarizing yourself with common chainsaw terms can help you choose the right machine, successfully operate your chainsaw, and even help pinpoint common maintenance and repair needs. Ready to get started? Check out our list below!

Air Filter
The air filter on your chainsaw keeps dirt, dust, and other debris from entering your chainsaw’s carburetor, which can negatively impact the engine and hinder performance if not properly maintained. Make sure to regularly clean or replace your air filter to ensure optimal performance and to prevent more costly repairs down the road.

Shop chainsaw air filters here.

Anti-Vibration System
The anti-vibration system is designed to reduce excessive vibration while your chainsaw is in motion, providing better operator comfort and helping to prevent injuries from continual use. Anti-vibration technology is made possible by the addition of metal springs and rubber bushes, which provide suspension.

Shop springs and bushes for your chainsaw here.

Bar (also: Blade or Guide Bar)
The chainsaw bar or blade is the long, metal part of your chainsaw that the chain moves around to make cuts. Chainsaw bars typically range in length from 8 to 20 inches, with shorter bars being designed for homeowners and professional arborists. Longer bars are typically used by farmers or professionals who work with larger trees.

Shop replacement chainsaw bars and chains here.

A chainsaw’s carburetor is responsible for mixing the correct amount of fuel and air to keep the engine performing at its best. Issues with the carburetor can cause smoking, stalling, or prevent the engine from running.  If you are having issues with your carburetor, a repair or rebuild may be necessary.

Shop carburetor parts here or schedule service here.

Centrifugal Clutch
As the engine RPM increases through the throttle response, the centrifugal clutch engages to move the chain around the bar. The centrifugal clutch also keeps the chain from moving while the chainsaw is idling. This helps to prevent injury while the operator is not actively using the chainsaw to make cuts.

Chainsaw not working properly? Shop replacement parts here.

Chain (also: Saw Chain)
Undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the chainsaw, the chain is what rotates around the bar to make cuts. The chain is made up of several sharp, steel cutting teeth and must be regularly sharpened to ensure proper performance.

Shop replacement chainsaw chains here.

Chain Brake
The chain brake is an important safety feature that automatically stops the chain from moving if kickback occurs during operation. The chain brake can also be manually activated in case of other emergency situations or may be used as a safety precaution between cuts.

Learn more about chainsaw safety here.

Chain Catcher
The chain catcher catches the chain in the event that it breaks or flies off your chainsaw during use. This helps prevent injury to the operator.

Learn what types of safety gear you should wear while operating a chainsaw here.

Fuel Filter
The fuel filter keeps dirt and debris (that can get in through the fuel lines) from reaching the carburetor. Having a clean fuel filter in your chainsaw is essential to keeping foreign objects from clogging your carburetor and causing operational problems.

Find fuel filters for your chainsaw here.

Fuel Line
The fuel line is a tube through which fuel moves on its way from the fuel tank to the carburetor. Find replacement fuel line for your chainsaw here.

When your saw chain hits an extremely hard object or catches on what you’re cutting, you may experience kickback. Chainsaw kickback is a dangerous action where the chainsaw flies up toward the operator, often resulting in severe injury or death. Because kickback cannot always be predicted, it is extremely important to use a chainsaw with a chain brake safety feature and always wear the proper safety gear while operating your chainsaw.

Find 5 important chainsaw safety tips here.

Oil Filter
Your chainsaw’s oil filter keeps foreign sediments from contaminating the oil. This helps keep moving parts lubricated, optimizing the performance of your chainsaw.

Shop replacement chainsaw oil filters here.

Pre-Mixed Fuel
You can simplify the fuel and oil mixing process for your chainsaw by using pre-mixed fuel (available from several top manufacturers like STIHL, Echo, and RedMax). Find pre-mixed fuel for your chainsaw here.

Rear Handle Chainsaw
A rear handle chainsaw includes two handles—one on the front and one on the back of your machine. The two handles are spaced apart for better handling while cutting. If you are looking for a lighter weight chainsaw for in-tree arbor use, you should instead use a top handle chainsaw.

Not sure which chainsaw is right for you? View our chainsaw buyer’s guide here.


The scabbard is a cover that’s placed over the chainsaw bar to protect the chain from damage while in storage or during transport. The scabbard also helps to protect the operator from accidental injuries during transport. Find a scabbard for your chainsaw here.

Spark Plug
The spark plug ignites the fuel and air mixture in your chainsaw to create energy that powers your machine. Spark plugs should be replaced after every 100 hours of use to ensure proper performance.

Learn more about replacing spark plugs and storing your small engine equipment for winter here.

Throttle and Throttle Lock

The throttle is responsible for adjusting the amount of fuel that reaches the engine, which in turn determines how quickly the chainsaw moves. The throttle lock is designed to simultaneously activate with the throttle to prevent accidental throttle changes during use.

Find throttle cables for your chainsaw here.

Top Handle Chainsaw
A top handle chainsaw is designed for working in trees or other high-up places where a rear handle chainsaw would be difficult to carry. Top-handled chainsaws are commonly used by arborists and other professionals.

Shop top-handle chainsaws here.

Have questions or looking for more chainsaw terms? Watch our video buyer’s guide here or check out our chainsaw safety guide for tips to help you prevent chainsaw-related injuries.


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About Weingartz

Weingartz is the trusted North American leader in sales and service of outdoor power equipment. Our loyal residential and commercial customers come back to Weingartz again and again because of the outstanding knowledge, expertise and value they receive. To learn more about what  Weingartz sells and services, visit  Weingartz also sells parts for outdoor power equipment at


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