Chainsaws are tools with a high potential for danger. During forest work, minor injuries as well as severe injuries occur time and again. Correct use of such tools is all the more important. Appropriate courses are offered to minimize or even exclude these dangers. When working with a chainsaw in the garden at home, they are not absolutely necessary, but still advisable. It looks different in the public forest, here they are compulsory. Cutting firewood is prohibited without this certificate.

Duration of a course

If you want to take part in one of these courses, you first have the choice between a simple chainsaw license consisting of 1-2 modules and an advanced one with three modules. While the simple one is entitled to cut lying wood, the advanced one also enables the felling of smaller trees that must not exceed a trunk diameter of 25 cm at chest height. For private use, a simple course lasting 1-2 days or 10-15 hours is usually completely sufficient. Courses with several modules, on the other hand, can take 4-6 days to complete. The exact duration depends on the scope of the content to be conveyed. But not everyone who is interested is allowed to take part in such a course.


For private use, a simple chainsaw license, which enables you to saw wood lying on the ground in the forest, is usually sufficient. The costs for this vary depending on the provider and the content conveyed; there are no uniform regulations here either. The 1-2-day courses with up to two modules cost around 100 euros. For advanced courses that also include the felling of small trees, participants have to pay between 300 and 400 euros.

Final exam

  • There is usually no test in the true sense of the word for a simple chainsaw license
  • After successful completion, the participants receive a certificate
  • This enables the buyer to advertise their own firewood in public forests
  • It confirms that the participant has basic knowledge of how to use the chainsaw safely
  • Courses with 3 or more modules end with a small test with some providers
  • The test takes place in both the theoretical and the practical part
  • After passing the course, the participants will also receive a corresponding certificate

Requirements for the course participants

Participants in chainsaw courses should be at least 18 years old and have a certain level of physical and mental fitness or aptitude. This is justified by the fact that working or splitting and transporting wood is very demanding and strenuous due to its very high weight and accordingly requires a lot of strength and stamina. The saw also weighs 5-6 kg that need to be handled.

In addition to physical and mental suitability, special protective equipment is required, consisting of cut protection trousers, helmet with visor or face and hearing protection, safety shoes with cut protection inlay as well as work gloves and a first aid kit. A safety vest with a signal color is also recommended. In addition, participants must not be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs when completing a corresponding course.

Who needs a chainsaw license

Garden owners quickly get embarrassed about using a chainsaw. Especially those who own a wood stove and need firewood, or would like to procure it themselves, need the appropriate tools. Even if a chainsaw license can be dispensed with when using a chainsaw in the home garden or on your own property, it is still generally recommended.

However, as soon as one intends to saw firewood in public forest facilities and forests, a chainsaw license is required. This also applies to the use of a chainsaw on property belonging to third parties, regardless of whether it is a private piece of forest or the property of a good friend. In these cases, a chainsaw license is mandatory, on the one hand for reasons of security and on the other for insurance reasons.

Foresters and forest owners can prohibit the sawing of firewood without presenting such a certificate and without appropriate protective clothing. In PEFC-certified forests
(certification system for sustainable forest management) and forests with an international forest certification system, corresponding certificates have generally been required from private self-recruiters since 2013.

Course content

The learning content is divided into a theoretical and a practical part and can vary extensively from provider to provider. The minimum requirements for these courses are laid down by the statutory accident insurance companies. The simple chainsaw license contains 1-2 modules, the advanced 3 modules. A chainsaw license can also be obtained for storm wood, wind breakage and hazardous felling. However, additional modules are required for this. This certificate is especially useful if you need it for professional or commercial reasons. For private use there is usually no obligation to complete a corresponding course.

  • First, the theoretical part is completed
  • It deals with important rules of conduct and dangers when using a chainsaw
  • In addition, knowledge of the structure, function, care and maintenance of the saw is imparted
  • The chainsaw is explained with all details and safety-related details
  • Just like the dangers of firewood advertising
  • These include falling branches, cuts, falling and tripping hazards
  • In addition, there is a briefing in the accident regulations
  • In addition, the theoretical part is about personal protective equipment
  • It is presented and explained in detail
  • Furthermore, interesting facts about felling and cutting techniques are imparted
  • In the practical part, it is important to put the things learned in theory into practice correctly
  • Particular attention is paid here to the commissioning of the chainsaw
  • There are also cutting techniques and simple cutting exercises on lying and standing wood
  • All protective clothing must be worn during the practical training

Special protective clothing is essential

In addition to a technically perfect chainsaw, the right protective clothing is essential for all sawing work. For example, chainsaw protection trousers are made from special long, tear-resistant fabric fibers to prevent cuts in the front legs. The helmet with face and ear protection should protect against flying twigs, branches or pieces of wood and permanent noise from the chainsaw. Most of the tools required are provided by the provider in chainsaw courses; some of the protective clothing can also be borrowed, although it is usually better to bring your own protective equipment.

What a chainsaw license enables

In Germany, a chainsaw license is a non-precisely defined qualification certificate for private buyers of firewood and commercial users of chainsaws. Depending on the number of modules completed, it enables its owner to saw and, if necessary, cut wood in public forests. However, a simple chainsaw license does not qualify for commercial use of the chainsaw. Further qualifications are necessary for this.

Provider of appropriate courses

As varied as the names of the individual courses are, their contents are just as varied. There is no uniform nomenclature, so that the quality of the courses is very different. Corresponding courses are offered by hardware stores, tree nurseries, responsible district foresters, gardening and landscaping companies as well as local fire brigades and some chainsaw manufacturers.
When looking for a supplier on the Internet, you come across suppliers who have the so-called KWF seal of approval for chain saw course suppliers. This seal is intended to ensure the high quality of the courses. The providers concerned undertake to adhere to certain standards and offer technically and pedagogically sound further training. For this they are awarded this seal of approval.

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