Do Electric Chainsaws Kickback? [What You Need to Know]

Do electric chainsaws kickback?

Yes, electric chainsaws do kickback when the tip of the bar hits something hard. This will happen in both electric and gas chainsaws. However, the kickback is not as strong in electric chainsaws since they’re not as powerful as gas chainsaws.

For a more detailed answer, keep reading…

What causes kickback?

There are many factors that can lead to kickback. But, let’s go over what exactly a chainsaw kickback is.

A chainsaw kickback happens when the upper tip of your chain strikes a log, a branch, or another object causing the bar to kick up towards your face or body. The term Kickback is used because of the speed at which this can happen, sometimes causing serious injury.

How exactly does this happen?

The most common scenario is when the upper tip of your chainsaw’s bar and tip strike an object and forces the bar up into your direction. 

Another cause of kickbacks is when the wood you are cutting pinches the bar mid-cut. This is often seen when bucking timber. Both examples can lead to the operator losing control of his chainsaw.

Here are a few things that play a big role in causing kickbacks:

  • Poor chainsaw maintenance.
  • Blunt chain.
  • Improper tension on your chain.
  • Chain parts that are not installed correctly.
  • Loose rivets on your chain links.
  • Damaged chain teeth or links.
  • Sharpening your chain at the wrong angles.
  • Setting your chain depth too deep.

Keep in mind that the bigger your guide bar is, the bigger the risk of a kickback. A bigger guide bar means that the kickback danger zone on the bar is bigger as well.

Kickback danger zone:

The upper tip right in the front of your guide bar is referred to as the danger zone. When this area of the bar comes into contact with a log, branch, or other objects it causes the bar to rapidly jerk up in the direction of the operator.

Are electric chainsaws able to kickback?

Electric chainsaws can kickback, yes. Working on the same principle of having a fast spinning chain on a guide bar, electric chainsaws do have a slight advantage though.

With less power than a gas chainsaw, the kickback on an electric saw is not as violent as a gas chainsaw. This means that the operator has a better chance of controlling the electric saw when it kicks back.

Safety chains are used on electric saws to significantly reduce the risk of kickbacks occurring. Because electric saws have instant power when the trigger or throttle is pulled, manufacturers had to make them as safe as possible.

How do you stop a chainsaw kickback?

We are going to cover some useful tips to follow before operating your chainsaw. If you are wondering what to do for even a split second before a kickback, then you are too late already.

Here are a few tips on how to reduce the chances of a chainsaw kickback:

Step 1: If your chainsaw is new, read the owner’s manual. This will help you get to know your chainsaw better.

Step 2: Chainsaws require you to be alert. Do not use your chainsaw when you feel tired or fatigued. 

Step 3: Pay more attention than usual when sawing tree branches. Kickbacks are most common when delimbing trees. The tip of your bar is at high risk of hitting logs or other unseen branches or objects.

Step 4: Use the underside of the bar when preparing to fell trees. Be careful not to operate your saw above shoulder height, this will reduce your chances of controlling a kickback.

Step 5: When felling or bucking trees, use the body or full length of your bar instead of the tip. 

Step 6: Ensure your chain brake works properly before operating your chainsaw.

Step 7: Always keep an eye on the position of your bar tip when cutting.

Step 8: Use a low kickback chain on your saw. If you are not sure which chain is safest on your saw, consult at your local chainsaw store.

Step 9: Use narrow-nose bars to lower the risk of kickbacks.

Step 10: Always use proper PPE to protect the areas that get injured the most. Use Chaps, gloves, an operator’s helmet, eye protection, and safety boots.

Step 11: Ensure that your PPE fits properly and comfortably for maximum maneuverability.

Step 12: Always make sure you have a tight grip on your chainsaw handles. This can help you control your saw if it suddenly kicks back.

Step 13: When you are doing maintenance, make sure you follow the correct steps outlined by the manufacturer.

These 13 steps will help you to operate your chainsaw safely.

How to use an electric chainsaw safely

When you start the chainsaw, press and hold the throttle lockout, then squeeze the throttle.

When cutting a piece of wood, make sure you are pressing with enough pressure on the log or wood.

Let your saw do the work, no need to force it.

Keep constant pressure while cutting. You can ease off when you almost at the end of the cut.

After cutting, leave the throttle and wait for the chain to stop completely.

Plug your cord or battery out once done. The saw can stay hot for a while after use, so make sure it is out of the way of children.

Doing this along with the tips mentioned above can help you to always stay safe.