Should Chainsaw Smoke? – Reasons and Solutions

Chainsaws are one of the most revolutionary tools ever invented. They allow us to cut wood effortlessly and can be used for intense pruning. But chainsaws have a darker side that not many people know about; they tend to smoke and overheat. Chainsaws can smoke sometimes, and it’s not something new.

As a new chainsaw user, this can be unclear because you could be considering whether this is normal. When your chainsaw smokes and overheats, then there is a problem.

Does your chainsaw overheat and smoke a lot while in use? Does it run poorly, or saw improperly? Even following the manufacturer’s maintenance advice and using high-quality, new saw chains, some chainsaws will still overheat and create excess smoke.

There are many reasons for this, but here are some of the most common components to be considered when trying to understand why your chainsaw is not running well or operating efficiently.

If your chainsaw overheats, it can cause a safety issue and damage the motor. When was the last time you checked your chainsaw smoke? What is making your chainsaw smoke?

With proper maintenance, you can ensure that your chainsaw will serve you for years, which means a more enjoyable time outdoors. In this article, I’ll talk about why your chainsaw emits smoke and how you can reduce and solve the smoking or overheating problem.

Should Chainsaw Smoke?

Chainsaws are not supposed to smoke. It is not normal for your chainsaw to smoke. However, should it happen, your chainsaw overheats or the fuel mix in the chainsaw if it has too much oil? Also, it could be due to the chain not being sharp enough or not getting enough lubrication.

In all, it means that something has gone wrong somewhere. There is more to it than meets the eye but knowing what has gone wrong is the first step in fixing this issue. We will therefore be guiding you through how you can solve this problem.

What Are the Reasons Why Chainsaw Smoke?

We have said that different things could be responsible for your chainsaw smoking. The easiest way to detect what is making your chainsaw smoke is to observe where the smoke is coming from. So, that is the first point of the call. Go and watch where the smoke is coming from.

What to do if chainsaw is smoking

Have you found it yet? Great. Once you have found the source, you can narrow down the possible reasons, and fixing the issue will no longer be a big deal.

Let’s show you probable reasons why your chainsaw smokes, so sit back and explore.

1. The chain is not sharp enough

This case is typical if you use a very old chainsaw that you have not sharpened in a while. Something noteworthy is that when you have a dull chain, it takes more time to cut through a piece of wood. You’ve observed that, right? Exactly. Because it takes more time, it will cause the chain to generate too much friction.

This will cause the wood to be warm and the chain as well. This is why your chain will smoke, as we have said earlier. You should be able to tell if your chainsaw’s chain is sharp. A sharp chainsaw should be able to cut through wood once you place it on the wood. If it does not, then you should know that it is dull.

Another thing to know is that if you have a sharp chainsaw, you will see large wooden scraps. Have you noticed this before? Yeah, exactly. A dull chain will only leave specks of dust behind. So, your dull chain is one of the reasons why your chainsaw will smoke.

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2. There is insufficient lubrication in the chain

Your chain can be sharp, yet it will still be smoking. This should not cause you to fret because it is a very probable scenario. The first point of the call will be to check if there is enough bar oil. When the bar oil is not also getting to the guide bar or not circulating well across the chain, your chain will start smoking.

3. Exhaust port emitting black smoke

Have you ever seen black smoke coming from the exhaust of your chainsaw? If you have, then this is an indication of your chainsaw smoking, and it is because there is too much oil in the fuel mix.

Most chainsaws work with a 1:50 oil/fuel mix, which is an average mix for you. However, always double-check the manual of the chainsaw.

This is not too dangerous, but you must be careful as it can cause poor performance for your chainsaw. This means that your chainsaw will consume more oil and fuel, which is not something you want, right? Great.

4. Electric motor emitting smoke

When you have overworked your chainsaw, there is a high chance for the electric motor to start smoking. Most times, before you can notice that something is wrong in this scenario, you would have pushed your chainsaw too far.

If the motor starts smoking while you are operating the chainsaw, your chainsaw will all of a sudden stop working without giving any sign. In this scenario, the motor is damaged for good.

What Do I Do When My Chainsaw is Smoking?

By now, you know why your chainsaw is smoking. Exactly. You most likely think that you can solve the issue now. Don’t worry; we got you and will help you overcome whatever is wrong with your chainsaw.

Let’s see how you can fix every scenario we have highlighted.

Fix 1: Solution to the chainsaw’s chain being dull

In a case where the problem is because the chain is dull, you will have to sharpen your chain’s blade.

Chainsaw manufacturers usually sell sharpeners for these chains’ blades. So, you can reach out to any chainsaw manufacturer and get a sharpener from them. The other thing you can do here is to buy a new chain if the blades are beyond repair.

Fix 2: Solution to the chainsaw’s chain not being well lubricated

If the chain is not getting enough lubrication, you must observe if oil is well distributed across the chain. There are some checks you have to run in this case. Let’s quickly guide you through what these checks are.

  • Look for a piece of paper and put it on the floor.
  • Once you have done that, get your chainsaw running.
  • While the chainsaw is running, hold it in a position where the guide bar is just above the paper as the chain is rotating.
  • Now, pay good attention. If the oil is streaming steadily on the paper, everything is right. If not, then the oil is not being distributed well.

There are a couple of things you can do to solve this issue. Let’s see what these things are.

  • Try removing the chain and picking out the dust specks or wooden scrap. This can restrict the movement of oil across the chain.
  • Locate the oiler port and clean it too. The oil will not flow properly if there is dirt in this port.
  • Check the oiler mechanism and see if it is in good condition. If it is not in good condition, you have to replace it.

Fix 3: Solution to black smoke leaving the exhaust port

Before you can even solve this issue, you must drain the oil and fuel mix from the tank of your chainsaw. Having done that, work with the correct mix for your chainsaw. Remember we gave a ratio earlier on, right? Great. For best results, go through the chainsaw’s manual.

Go ahead and start up your chainsaw now with the proper mix. The black smoke will go away after some minutes. So, keep it running till the smoke leaves.

Another hack you can use is reworking the old mix. Remember the previous mix we drained from the chainsaw, right? Exactly. You can rework it by just adding more fuel to it.

However, this is daisy because you must know the previous mix you worked with. We advise using the previous solution if you can’t remember the mix.

Fix 4: Solution to the electric motor emitting smoke

Why would my chainsaw be smoking

This last symptom is very critical because you have to be very observant. The moment you notice that the motor starts smoking, put off your chainsaw. Your reactiveness in this scenario can be pivotal in keeping the motor in good shape.

Once you have put it off, check if the chains are sharp enough or well-lubricated because they could be why your motor starts smoking. You must also be careful not to use the chainsaw for workloads it has not been designed for.

Why Is White Smoke Coming Out of My Chainsaw?

As we have explained, your chainsaw could emit smoke for different reasons. Sometimes, the color of the smoke can even differ. You might have seen black, white, or even blue smoke from your chainsaw; I hope that did not startle you.

Let’s help clarify things. When your chainsaw emits white smoke, it means that there is condensed water heating inside the chainsaw. You could even have blue smoke. This means that the engine of your chainsaw is flooded. A black one is an indication that the air filter might be blocked.

A variation in the color of the smoke should no longer cause you to worry, and it is something you can quickly work around.

Will a Dull Chainsaw Smoke?

As we have explained, a dull chainsaw is one of the reasons why there will be smoke in your chainsaw. This can cause serious problems for your chainsaw if you are not observant. Therefore, you must pay attention to the chainsaw to know when to sharpen it.

When you feel pressure while using your chainsaw or have specks of dust instead of large wooden scraps, you don’t have to be told that it is time to sharpen the chainsaw.

To get the best out of your chainsaw, you must keep it in great shape. Managing and taking care of your equipment will help it last longer. This means that proper maintenance is key for your chainsaw. Sharpen your chainsaw properly.

Chainsaw Smokes on Startup: Why and What to do?

If you start up your chainsaw and it starts smoking, it means that something has gone wrong with your engine. Your engine is probably not getting enough fuel for the air it is working with.

This can cause a lot of problems in the long term because your chainsaw’s engine could start overheating. Then, eventually, the engine will get damaged.

To correct this scenario, locate the carburetor of the chainsaw. Once you have found it, adjust it so that there will be more fuel supply to the engine. This process is not the same for every chainsaw brand, so you can check its manual and know how best to do it.


Your chainsaw can smoke because of several reasons. We have highlighted these reasons, and we have also shown you the solutions. So, read through and go get your chainsaw up and running.

The chainsaw is prone to overheat, and it’s a serious issue. It can happen in the forest, on a job site, or regularly in your home if you start using the chainsaw for all your woodcutting needs.

One thing you need to know about this problem is that it can be avoided if you use effective solutions. The fact that the overheat protection feature is so popular among chainsaw users suggests that there are lots of people who want to avoid a trip to the repair shop.

The bottom line is that chainsaw smoke means your saw needs to be serviced. If you don’t trust the guy who sold it, take it to a qualified service center, where they will fix your saw and ensure it’s safe to use. In conclusion, the old chainsaw needs to be repaired.

When it’s running too hot, it causes carbon buildup and reduces fuel efficiency. Thus, properly maintaining your chainsaw will ensure that it lasts longer.

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