To reduce the incidence of serious chainsaw accidents, manufacturers have added some significant safety features. Check to see if a chainsaw has these:
Chain brake: A chain brake is designed to stop chain movement if kickback occurs. Typically, the chain brake activates when the chain brake lever is bumped by the operator’s hand when it is jarred by the kickback of the tip of the chain when it fails to bite into the intended piece of wood or binds and bounces off its surface. The lever causes a spring-loaded brake band to pull tightly around the clutch drum, stopping the motion of the chain. The chain brake lever can be pulled back to reset the brake after the event. Some saws have an automatic resetting mechanism.
Anti-kickback chain: An anti-kickback saw chain uses drive links or side links which extend as they travel around the tip of the guide bar, thereby preventing contact between cutter link and the wood. The chance of saw kickback is reduced if cutter contact is prevented as chain travels around the bar nose.
Tip guard: This device is attached to the end of the guide bar and prevents the saw tip from accidentally snagging on something causing dangerous kickback. Some people unwisely remove this feature because it reduces the effective cutting length of the saw.
Throttle lockout or interlock: On gasoline powered saws, this prevents the throttle from accidentally advancing or moving by automatically returning the throttle and chain to idle when the trigger button is released.
Other Features to Consider
A chainsaw should be comfortable to hold and operate. It should be sturdy, but not so heavy that you have to strain to lift and hold it over a period of time. It should feel balanced as you hold it, which facilitates control during use. The motor should not be too noisy. Chainsaws emit noise levels of 95 to 110 decibels or more; electric models are generally less noisy than gas powered ones. Manufacturers offer a variety of additional chainsaw features which contribute to greater customer satisfaction:
Solid state ignition, which eliminates the need for ignition tune-ups.
Anti-vibration handles, with comfortable foam grips, to avoid nerve and circulation damage to the fingers during prolonged use.
A noise dampening system.
A symmetrical guide bar which facilitates cutting on either of its sides and can double the life of the bar and chain.
A muffler shield to protect against accidental burns.
Brightly colored housing which makes the saw easy to find in dense cover.
An automatic chain oiler.