The Chainsaw is a special close combat weapon, introduced in Left 4 Dead 2.

Official DescriptionEdit

Realize every zombie killer’s dream with the ultimate in gore-splattering destruction. But the fun won’t last forever—once the gas gauge hits E (emptied), it’s useless.[1]

Melee MechanicsEdit

Just like other melee weapons, the Chainsaw replaces your pistols in the side-arm slot.

As always, any melee weapon has to be used in conjunction with the primary weapon to form an integrated weapons system. Unlike pistols, passive close-combat weapons (such as the Nightstick or Katana etc.) never need to be reloaded, nor do they break or lose their edge. Melee weapons have limited reach along with a set rate of fire, and cannot be relied upon entirely; some infected such as Smokers and Spitters can attack from afar.

The Chainsaw, however, is an exception to the above. It is an active close-quarter melee weapon that can cause massive damage to Infected - as well as friendly fire damage to nearby Survivors caught in its arc. This factor is especially serious on Advanced or Expert difficulty where even brief contact with another survivor will cause significant damage. The Chainsaw runs off an internal fuel tank that cannot be refilled, meaning that it will eventually run out of ammo; it must be reserved for the most suitable circumstances (e.g. the bridge dash finale in The Parish).

Damage-wise, the Chainsaw is the weapon with the highest damage per second. The Chainsaw has the unique ability to slay a Tank in a mere eight seconds (on Expert). The Chainsaw can kill the Wandering Witch on Easy before she is startled, and a Common Infected in just one hit anywhere on the body (similar to other melee weapons). The Special Infected generally need less than half a second against the Chainsaw, aside from the Charger which takes just over half a second. Tactically it is not recommended to melee the Boomer or Spitter as the vomit and acid released on their deaths affect the radius of their corpse and the melee weapon positions a player close enough to be hit.

The Chainsaw is classified as a shredding weapon (the only weapon other than the Crowbar to be classified as such), and will spew blood on your screen as it mutilates the Infected.


  • The Chainsaw is a powerful weapon and can quickly kill any Special Infected (except the Tank).
  • The Chainsaw is the only melee weapon that will allow players to cut themselves free from a Smoker's tongue before being grabbed whilst the tongue is still in the air and immediately after being grabbed while the Smoker is just starting to exert his pull. Other melee weapons can do likewise but require very precise timing and aim. However, the Chainsaw does not require any particular aiming nor such precise timing; simply deploying the Chainsaw either immediately before or after being attacked by the Smoker's tongue will sever the tongue and nullify the threat.
  • Primary weapons should be used against Boomers and Spitters on account that the bile and acid has already been released when they are killed and you are sufficiently made distance.
    • When covered in Boomer bile, the Chainsaw is a good option to cut through the incoming horde. Communicate with similarly blinded teammates to minimize the risk of cutting them accidentally in the melee.
    • If you have been surrounded by the acid and by common infected, you cut your way through the horde easily due to the chainsaw's impressive power and speed and escape from the acid.
  • Be careful against Tanks and other Special Infected that can pin or knock a player down. In such cases, the Chainsaw speed drops back to idle and must be revved up again in order to be used, during which the player is vulnerable for a long period of time in the face of a serious threat.
    • When fighting a Tank, using the Chainsaw usually results in being punched away. Wait for the Tank to be stumbled, climbing, picking up concrete, or punching another Survivor before rushing in to slice him.
  • Fuel conservation is a key requirement, so briefly tapping the primary fire when using the Chainsaw against small groups of Common Infected is essential to get the most use out of this weapon.
  • It is essential to keep a close watch on the amount of gas left in the Chainsaw's tank and be prepared to ditch it if running low and a good replacement high-tier weapon comes into view. The only good news is that the Chainsaw does not use any fuel when idling.
    • One idea is to regard the Chainsaw as a last-ditch weapon for use at the end of a map where a Crescendo Event is known to be coming up soon. Putting the Chainsaw player at the front of the team when charging hard for a safe room brings the odds firmly down in favour of the Survivors. This approach also has the benefit of allowing the Chainsaw to be ditched without risk to the team or player once everyone is within reach of safety.
  • Due to its loud noise, using the Chainsaw will attract nearby Common Infected.
    • One of the worst situations to be in is when the sounds of the chainsaw has attracted a lot of Common Infected to attack you and the chainsaw is running low on fuel. This will cause trouble as you may not be able to eliminate an entire Horde in time.
    • However, in at least two instances, the noise may actually be used to attract the Common Infected AWAY from important objects, such as car alarms that still have their alarms active.
    • However, the noise of a deploying chainsaw attracting nearby Common Infected can be very beneficial at choke points that would otherwise be dangerous, acting as a short range pipe bomb to pull and funnel an idling Common Infected horde through a doorway. This can make exiting safe rooms and transitioning from low spawn spaces to higher spawn spaces safer (Such as exiting a building) with proper coordination.
  • The Chainsaw has a long deployment delay during which time it must be revved up to full operating speed. This reduces its effectiveness when a player is closely surrounded by a Horde. A better plan is either to fire up the Chainsaw in good time beforehand, backing away momentarily or shoving enemies back when revving up.
  • Keep your distance from other Survivors when using the Chainsaw to avoid hurting them and make it easier for them to shoot Common Infected attracted to you. This is especially important on higher game settings such as Realism when a hit from the Chainsaw can incapacitate a teammate.
  • When using the Chainsaw, it is usually best to pick up a primary weapon with good range such as an Assault Rifle or Sniper Rifle. This enables a player to take out Special Infected and pull off distance shots.
  • The Grenade Launcher and Chainsaw are an impressive combination of weapons in terms of sheer power, but they do not work well together. The Chainsaw has a long rev-up time while the Grenade Launcher has a long reload time and can only fire one shot before having to be reloaded. Both are also difficult to find, and they are non-reloadable once their gas and grenades have been expended. Both weapons can cause heavy friendly fire damage and, in the Grenade Launcher's case, heavy damage to the user, with the potential for either an accidental suicide or an accidental incapacitation.
  • A Bile bomb works well with the Chainsaw, making it easy to line up Infected for kills. Be prepared to kill the extra Common Infected summoned by the bile, however.
  • When trying to kill a Wandering Witch with a Chainsaw, be sure to attack her from behind so that she must turn before being able to retaliate. This will buy enough time to kill her.
  • The Chainsaw's size, the amount of blood generated and its exhaust smoke can heavily impede vision and cause a degree of disorientation resulting in a player taking more damage than would otherwise occur using a different melee weapon. This risk is accentuated when standing still and closely getting pressed by enemies. Computer lag may also become an issue for some players in such situations. It is therefore a good idea to keep moving and shifting position (even slowly), use melee shoves to clear space, stay calm and keep a steady aim.


  • Fastest attacking melee weapon
  • Deals massive damage very quickly
  • Perfect against Hordes, the Wandering Witch (if done behind) and many other Special Infected
  • Probably the best melee weapon against a Tank
  • Makes constant noise; on Realism mode, this can help your teammates know where you are.
  • Easiest melee weapon to use against Special Infected due to the rapid fire rate; melee techniques used against certain Special Infected that otherwise require precise timing, such as cutting Smoker tongues or killing Hunters mid-pounce, can be performed simply by holding the fire button and aiming the weapon correctly.


  • Limited fuel and usage; gets discarded when empty
  • Long deploying time, leaving you vulnerable while switching weapons
  • Not useful to have if carrying a Special Tier weapon or weapons with low effective range like shotguns or the Grenade Launcher
  • Creates a lot of smoke and covers your screen in gore, impeding your vision
  • Heavy damage means the same with friendly fire, use with caution
  • Noise attracts many nearby Infected
  • Not recommended for killing Boomers due to bile showering attacker and any nearby Survivors
  • If empty, switches to a single P220 Pistol, which leaves players more vulnerable unless they find a suitable surrogate, be it another pistol, a magnum, or a different melee weapon


Confedaracy of crunches CONFEDERACY OF CRUNCHES (30G)
Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.

Head honcho HEAD HONCHO (15G)
Decapitate 200 Infected with a melee weapon.

Chain of command CHAIN OF COMMAND (15G)
Kill 100 Common Infected with the chainsaw.

Tank burger TANK BURGER (30G)
Kill a Tank with melee weapons.


  • The Chainsaw used in-game is modeled after the line of Andreas Stihl AG & Company chainsaws - specifically, the late 1960's to 1970's Stihl 041av with exposed muffler.
  • The Chainsaw and Crowbar are the only Shredding weapons in the game, the others being either Slashing or Bludgeoning.
  • The Chainsaw is the only melee weapon with limited ammo, in the form of a fuel gauge. It can only be used for about one minute non-stop before being emptied, discarded, and replaced with a standard Pistol.
  • The Chainsaw's fuel cannot be refilled from an ammo pile or gas cans.
  • When a Survivor is using the Chainsaw, Common Infected are attracted to them due to the noise generated.
  • The Chainsaw is a fairly common weapon to find at the first levels of Dead Center and Swamp Fever. There are hardly any chainsaws in other campaigns, though you may find one.
  • The Chainsaw seems to be Coach's signature weapon for official media, as seen in the trailers, pictures, in the intro, and in Coach's bio.
  • Survivor Bots will never pick up or use the Chainsaw. If someone takes a break while using the Chainsaw, the AI in control will drop it. This can be exploited because dropping the Chainsaw spawns a Pistol in the bot's inventory. By taking a break and joining back in, Pistols are spawned at the players feet. Good for getting weapons when the Chainsaw is almost empty.
    • However, Survivor bots can still wield Chainsaws using a specific console command; sb_give chainsaw.[2]
  • Picking up a Chainsaw in Commentary Mode attracts nearby Infected. This is because the sound of the Chainsaw's motor attracts them.
  • A rare glitch in the Xbox 360 version causes the top halves of Common Infected to float in the air with their entrails swinging around beneath them.
  • The Chainsaw is the only melee weapon that can light gas cans and set off propane tanks.
  • The Chainsaw in the E3 trailer and game intro appears to read '22" HALE PRO'. "HALE" may be a reference to Saxton Hale from Team Fortress 2.
  • The Chainsaw can kill Riot Infected from the front.
  • If you kill a Common Infected with another weapon, then attack them with the Chainsaw as they are dying, the death animation will still play, even if the lower half of the Infected is gone.
  • Ellis's remark is based on a song by The Misfits, literally titled "Die, Die, My Darling".
  • If a Survivor were to die while the Chainsaw is running (for example, when killed by a Witch in Expert), the Chainsaw will be dropped on the ground with it still running, instead of being turned off like if switching it out for another secondary.
  • Along with the Baseball Bat, the Chainsaw spawns in every campaign.
  • In the new Mutations for The Passing update, a Mutation known as Chainsaw Massacre has all four Survivors with only Chainsaws and unlimited fuel, Bots included. This is because the Mutation coding for the Survivor Bots here overrules their coding to refuse picking up the Chainsaw, as stated earlier. Therefore, Bots will pick up Chainsaws as well, as to not make you the only one wielding a Chainsaw, which would result in being overrun easily.
  • There is a glitch where when someone wields a Machete directly after using the Chainsaw; smoke will come out of the Machete.
    • The Katana also shares this glitch, although this is a rarity.
  • In terms of damage per second (1,000), this is the most powerful weapon in the game and its total damage (60,000) is the greatest of any weapon (excluding weapons that can be used infinitely.)
  • If hit by a Smoker, revving up a chainsaw while facing the Smoker's tongue will free yourself.
  • In the Left 4 Dead 2 version of No Mercy, when you enter the pawn shop at the end of The Subway, there will be a Chainsaw on the lower shelf on the wall to the left.
  • There is a glitch in split-screen when one player drops the chainsaw for a melee weapon and the other takes the chainsaw, then swaps to a melee and the original owner gets the chainsaw back. When they activate it, a spiral of red blood will spin in front of the other player's screen while smoke erupts from the weapon.
  • Chainsaw aerial-blood glitch

    The "Aerial Blood" glitch coming from the chainsaw

    There is also a glitch if the player uses the Chainsaw for a long time against the Infected and on the Survivors, and immediately swings the Chainsaw upward (pointing in the air); the blood on the chainsaw will never disappear like is its hitting an enemy in the air. However, this visual glitch deactivates once the player stops the Chainsaw or has run out of gas.
  • Despite being the most brutal melee weapon in the game, it would be highly impractical to use in a real-life scenario due to the rarity of fuel, electricity, loud noise and heavy weight.
  • If the player empties the chainsaw, he will drop it and pull out a pistol. This is similar to a survivor with a melee weapon pulling out a pistol upon being incapacitated. This is likely due to balancing reasons to prevent players from becoming defenseless.
  • The chainsaw does not dismember Survivors or Special Infected, with the exception of the Boomer.
  • When the chainsaw runs out of gas, the chainsaw disappears after being thrown into the ground.
  • The Chainsaw is available in the first chapter of the first four non-DLC campaigns. It does not spawn in the first or second chapters of the Parish, however.


  2. Console command: sb_give - This console command functions similarly to the give command. The only difference is that this command gives a specific weapon only for the other three Survivor bots, but not the human player.

External links Edit