How to oil an electric chainsaw

Updated February 21, 2017

There are two main types of chainsaws: electric-powered and gas-powered. Electric chainsaws are less expensive, safer and lighter than gasoline models--and also require less maintenance--making them ideal for the average homeowner. Oiling and other maintenance on chainsaws is best preformed by licensed personnel at a hardware store or small-engine repair shop; if you wish to do it yourself, it is important to follow the directions in your chainsaw's operator's manual and pay heed to maintenance and oiling tips common to most models and brands of chainsaws.

Check the chainsaw to see if it requires oiling. Many chainsaw models, both electric and gasoline-powered, have an oil reservoir and oiling system designed to automatically maintain the smooth operation of the chainsaw guide bar and chain.

Rev the saw while holding it inches above a sheet of paper. Automatic self-oiling saws will produce a fine mist of oil on the paper, while a manual chain and guide bar-oiling system requires you press on the oil lever. Try pressing on the oil lever and look for the mist of oil on the paper. If no oil appears, the chainsaw is in dire need of oiling.

Turn off and unplug the chainsaw; you never want to do any kind of chainsaw maintenance while power is being supplied to the equipment, as this may lead to dangerous accidents. For further protection, wear gloves and goggles and allow the chainsaw to sit for approximately one hour after use before beginning oiling; this ensures the chainsaw is cool enough for safe touching.

Check the oil reservoir that services the chain and guide bar. If the oil reservoir is full, fill it with the chain and bar oil. This may not solve your problems, as sometimes it is dirty chains that prevent the chain and bar from receiving the necessary amount of lubricant oil.

Remove the chain from the guide bar. Work very slowly and carefully as you do this, and be sure to be wearing gloves for grip, as a slip while holding the chain or the saw will often end in cut skin.

Use an old rag to wipe excess oil build-up from the removed chain and the guide bar. If too much oil has built up and combined with dust and sawdust, the built-up gunk may be preventing the chainsaw from lubricating itself properly.

Reassemble the chainsaw, returning the chain to the guide bar. Apply fresh bar and chain oil directly to the bar and chain. Plug the saw back in and rev the engine and perform the test from Step 1. You should notice that the chainsaw is running smoother.


Repeat this oiling process after each chainsaw use. The oiling process, along with a regular maintenance schedule, will significantly prolong the life of your electric chainsaw. If problems persist after oiling down the electric chainsaw, take your saw to a local dealer for an inspection and possible repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • White paper
  • Old rag
  • Chain and bar oil
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Stephanie Daniels is a freelance writer residing in Louisa, Kentucky. Daniels focuses on parenting, children, gardening and home-decor articles. She was the manager of Home Decor for Home Depot for 4 years. Daniels has written for many online publications and enjoys ghostwriting.