Why Did My Electric Chainsaw Stop Working? A Guide

why did my electric chainsaw stop working

Electric chainsaws are invaluable tools for yard work, tree trimming, and other cutting tasks. However, like any power tool, they can malfunction and stop working properly. As frustrating as it is when your electric chainsaw suddenly dies mid-cut, the good news is that many issues can be easily diagnosed and fixed at home. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk through the most common reasons an electric chainsaw may stop working and provide tips to get your saw back up and running.

Why did my electric chainsaw stop working?

why did my electric chainsaw stop working

When an electric chainsaw stops working, there are a few key areas to inspect first to pinpoint the cause. The most common culprits for electric chainsaw failure typically fall into three main categories: power-related issues, mechanical problems, and lubrication deficiencies. Let’s explore each area in more detail.

Power-related issues

Lack of power is one of the most common reasons an electric chainsaw can die. Here are some of the most likely power-related issues:

  • Extension cord problems – If using an extension cord, it may be faulty or unable to deliver sufficient power. Be sure to use a heavy-duty cord of the appropriate length and gauge for your chainsaw. An undersized or damaged cord can cause power loss.
  • Tripped GFCI or circuit breaker – Chainsaws draw a lot of current, which can trip the safety mechanisms on your home circuits. Check for a tripped GFCI outlet or breaker switch. Reset as needed.
  • Faulty battery – For cordless electric chainsaw models, a worn out or defective battery can cut power to the saw. Try charging the battery or replacing it if it no longer holds a charge.
See also  Skip Tooth vs Ripping Chain: A Comprehensive Comparison

Mechanical issues

Various mechanical problems in an electric chainsaw can lead to stoppages or the motor not starting. Here are some of the most common:

  • Chain tension issues – If the chain is too loose or too tight, it may not spin properly. Adjust the chain tension according to your owner’s manual.
  • Worn or damaged chain – A chain with worn our or broken drive links can slip or jam. Inspect the chain for damage and replace if needed.
  • Chain brake engaged – Electric chainsaws have a safety brake to stop the chain. Make sure this brake hasn’t accidentally been engaged during use.

Why Did My Electric Chainsaw Stop Working? A Guide

Lubrication issues

Without proper lubrication, an electric chainsaw’s moving parts will overheat and seize up. Oil deficiencies lead to two problems:

  • Insufficient bar and chain oil – Most electric chainsaws have an automatic oiler to lubricate as you cut. Check that oil tank isn’t empty and that oil is flowing.
  • Clogged oil passages – Sawdust and debris can block the oil passages. Clean out the passages so oil can flow freely to bar and chain.

How to troubleshoot and fix electric chainsaw issues

Now that we’ve covered why your electric chainsaw may stop working, let’s go through how to diagnose and address some of the most common problems.

Checking power connections

Start your troubleshooting by checking for power issues:

  • Inspect extension cords – Ensure the cord is rated for outdoor use and the proper gauge for your saw. Check for damage. Try plugging the saw directly into a wall outlet.
  • Test GFCI and circuit breakers – Use a non-motor load like a lamp to check for power at the outlet. Reset any tripped breakers. Try a different circuit if needed.

Inspecting mechanical components

Next, examine the saw for mechanical issues:

  • Adjust chain tension – Use the tensioning screw to tighten or loosen the chain per your manual. You should be able to pull the chain around the bar by hand, but it shouldn’t be sagging.
  • Replace or repair damaged chain – Inspect each drive link for damage. Remove damaged sections or replace the entire loop if extensively worn.
  • Check chain brake – Make sure the chain brake hasn’t been accidentally engaged. Pull the front hand guard back towards the front handle to release brake.
See also  How to Clean Chainsaw Carburetor: A Comprehensive Guide

Ensuring proper lubrication

Don’t forget to check the oiling system:

  • Check and refill bar and chain oil – Top up the oil tank if needed and confirm oil is flowing out the tip when chain spins.
  • Clear debris from oil passages – Remove the bar and chain and use compressed air or a pipe cleaner to clean out any clogged oil delivery passages.

Addressing other common issues

Finally, inspect for other problem areas like:

  • Clean or replace air filter – A dirty air filter restricts proper airflow. Clean foam filter with soap and water or replace paper filters.
  • Replace worn or damaged spark plug – Using an incorrect spark plug or one with too much wear can lead to hard starting. Install a new plug as specified in user manual.

Preventive maintenance for electric chainsaws

With proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of your electric chainsaw and prevent issues before they happen. Here are some tips:

Regular cleaning

  • Clean chainsaw after each use – Use a small brush and compressed air to remove sawdust, dirt, and debris, especially from the chain, bar, and oiling system.
  • Check chain for resin buildup – Regularly clean the chain with solvent to remove any sticky resin that can impede lubrication and chain movement.

Periodic inspections

  • Check nuts, bolts, and screws – Vibration can cause fasteners to loosen over time. Inspect and tighten any loose bolts or screws.
  • Inspect air intake vent – Make sure the starter housing and air intake vents are clear of obstructions for proper motor ventilation.

Proper storage

  • Store in a dry, cool place – Prevent moisture damage by storing electric chainsaw in a shed or garage rather than outdoors.
  • Avoid freezing temps – For cordless models, don’t store battery pack below 32°F to prevent battery damage.
See also  How to Determine the Age of a Chainsaw: A Guide


Let’s review answers to some frequently asked questions about electric chainsaw troubleshooting and maintenance:

How do I sharpen my electric chainsaw’s chain?

Use a round chainsaw file of the proper diameter for your chain. Clamp the bar in a vise and file each cutter at a 30° angle a few strokes. Refer to your manual for proper chain sharpening technique.

How often should I clean my electric chainsaw?

Get in the habit of cleaning your chainsaw after every use. This prevents sawdust and debris from building up and helps maximize the life of components.

What type of oil should I use for my electric chainsaw?

Use high-quality bar and chain oil designed specifically for chainsaw lubrication. Never use used or recycled motor oil.

Can I use an electric chainsaw for heavy-duty tasks?

While electric chainsaws are convenient, most are only intended for light-duty use like pruning and trimming. For intensive cutting jobs, go for a more powerful gas-powered chainsaw.

How do I adjust the chain tension on my electric chainsaw?

Consult your owner’s manual for the proper technique. Typically there is a side knob or screw to loosen the bar cover and allow tension adjustments. Adjust tension until the chain has no slack.

How do I replace the spark plug on my electric chainsaw?

Refer to the user manual for correct spark plug gap and torque settings. Disconnect the wire lead and use a spark plug wrench to remove old plug. Install the new plug carefully to avoid cross-threading.

What safety features should I look for in an electric chainsaw?

Look for a low kickback chain, chain brake, front and rear hand guards, anti-vibration handles, and an emergency stop switch for maximum safety. Wear protective gear too.


An electric chainsaw that suddenly stops working can be extremely frustrating in the midst of yardwork. But in most cases, the problem can be easily pinpointed and fixed to get you back up and cutting. By troubleshooting power connections, inspecting components, ensuring lubrication, and addressing other common issues, you can often get a balky electric chainsaw running again in no time. Preventative care like cleaning and proper storage will also minimize problems down the road.

Remember to consult your owner’s manual or take your saw to an authorized dealer if problems persist. With a small amount of maintenance and care, your electric chainsaw will provide years of reliable service. Here’s to smooth cutting ahead!

Similar Posts