Left 4 Dead Wiki


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

Official Description[]

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, it’s useless.[1]

Melee Mechanics[]

Just like other melee weapons, the Chainsaw replaces the player's 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 usually must be engaged with ranged attacks.

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. Additionally, the Chainsaw runs off an internal fuel tank that cannot be refilled, meaning that it will eventually run out; it should ideally be reserved for the most suitable circumstances (e.g. the bridge dash finale in "The Parish").

The Chainsaw is the weapon with the highest damage per second (DPS), clocking in at 1000 DPS. This allows it to slay a Tank quickly, taking 3/4/6/8 seconds (Easy/Normal/Advanced or Versus/Expert) to kill it. The Chainsaw can also kill the Witch on lower difficulties before she is startled (the Wandering Witch on Normal, and the standing Witch on Easy), and a Common Infected in just one hit anywhere on the body (similar to other melee weapons). The Special Infected generally die in 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 kill the Boomer or Spitter, as their post-death effects can affect a player close enough to be hit. If a player starts attacking with the Chainsaw and runs into a stationary Witch, the time it takes to kill her is enough before she gets startled. If they fail, a teammate can easily finish off the Witch because of the significant damage already dealt.


  • The Chainsaw is a powerful weapon and can quickly kill any Special Infected (except the Tank). In fact, the Tank is the only enemy that requires several seconds to kill, as opposed to the less-than-a-second time for any other enemy, and Witches, who often need a second to kill.
  • 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 using the Chainsaw either immediately before or after being attacked on the Smoker's tongue will shred it.
  • Primary weapons should be used against Boomers and Spitters on account that the 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. The Chainsaw is therefore effective when the Tank is distracted (e.g. when another Survivor operates the mounted gun) — if held off long enough, the Tank would easily die, if not heavily damaged. The chainsaw can also be used to save a biled and incapacitated survivor from a Tank, which is normally certain death.
      • One exception is when near an incapacitated teammate and on a same level. In this case, a Tank's attack (except in Versus) will only pond on the incapacitated survivor and the Chainsaw can be used against the aforementioned Tank without risk. This must be done quickly, however, as the Tank can kill a downed survivor in 4/3/2 hits in easy-normal/advanced/expert difficulty.
  • 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. Once rescue arrives, you can then easily saw your way through to the rescue vehicle.
  • 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 cars 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.
      • Deploying the chainsaw in the lobby before entering the Tunnel of Love is an easy, quick, and controlled way to enter the tunnel without getting swarmed. Any clowns activated will easily draw the rest. Same for the hole when re-entering the tunnel of love, watch the infected path however as SI's tend to sneak up while you're clearing the hole. Deploying the chainsaw before exiting the safe room after the roller coaster will draw most of the infected to the door.
  • 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 unless your friends provide fire support. 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 (Though both are also common in "Swamp Fever"), 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. If you fail, the Witch still can be finished off by others easily.
  • 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.
  • When holding the Fire button with the chainsaw, the player takes half damage from a Common Infected in any direction which can be useful on higher difficulties.
    • The Special Infected still deal full damage to the Survivor who is currently attacking with a chainsaw.

Pros and Cons[]


  • High attack rate and DPS.
  • Extremely easy to use.
  • Spawns in any campaign, albeit much more rarely than other melee weapons.
  • Engine idle sound and smoke can allow allies to keep track of user.
  • Attacking attracts Common Infected, allowing a horde to be easily killed.
  • Easily cuts through a Smoker's tongue.
  • Grants 50% damage reduction to Common Infected attacks when holding the Fire button.


  • Fuel cannot be recovered. When depleted, it leaves the user vulnerable.
  • Long deploy delay.
  • Low spawn rate.
  • Attracts nearby Infected due to the noise, which can backfire if player is not ready to deal with a horde.
  • Attacks seriously impede user vision.
  • High DPS can easily kill allies with friendly fire.
  • Not recommended for killing Boomers due to bile showering the attacker and any nearby Survivors.
  • Tanks retaliate to a chainsaw almost immediately, making it hard to get any meaningful damage in.


Main article: Achievements

Confedaracy of crunches
Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.

Head honcho
Decapitate 200 Infected with a melee weapon.

Chain of command
Kill 100 Common Infected with the chainsaw.

Tank burger
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 1960s to 1970s Stihl 041av with exposed muffler.
  • The Chainsaw is the only melee weapon with limited ammunition, in the form of a fuel gauge. It can only be used for about one minute being emptied, discarded, and replaced with a standard Pistol.
  • The Chainsaw's fuel cannot be refilled from gas cans or an ammo pile, like the Grenade Launcher and M60. However, like the M60's own mutation "Gib Fest", the "Chainsaw Massacre" mutation features them with unlimited fuel.
  • 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 in the first few chapters of "Dead Center" and "Swamp Fever". There are hardly any chainsaws in other campaigns.
  • The Chainsaw seems to be Coach's signature weapon for official media, as seen in the trailers, pictures, 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 player's feet. This is 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]
  • 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. This is extremely dangerous and not recommended at all—in even easy mode, this deals heavy damage.
    • Due to a bug, sometimes when it sets off Propane Tanks, the game crashes.[citation needed]
  • 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 also has a yellow finish to its body, unlike the final product's orange and grey.
  • If the player kills 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 while using the Chainsaw 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 and the Combat Knife, the Chainsaw will spawn in every campaign, albeit rarely.
  • In the new Mutations for The Passing DLC, a Mutation known as Chainsaw Massacre has all four Survivors with only Chainsaws and maximum 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 the player 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, even though they aren't using the Chainsaw.[citation needed]
  • In the Left 4 Dead 2 version of "No Mercy", when players 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.[citation needed]
  • 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 not disappear like it is hitting an enemy in the air. However, this visual glitch deactivates once the player runs out of gas run or until the player stops the Chainsaw.
  • Despite being the most powerful melee weapon in-game, it would be highly impractical to use in a real-life combat scenario due to it not being able to refill up with gas, loud noise and heavy weight, as it consumes fuel with low efficiency, and usually needs a cord to work.
  • If the player empties the Chainsaw, they 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 completely defenseless should they ever have the Chainsaw as their only weapon prior to discarding.
  • The Chainsaw does not dismember Survivors or Special Infected. While Boomers can be dismembered, it can be done with any weapon since they explode when killed.
  • The Chainsaw is available in the first chapter of the first four non-DLC campaigns. However, it is unknown why chainsaws do not spawn in the first or second chapters of "The Parish".
  • It is possible to collect several Chainsaws from each chapter and use them during the finales. One person can use several Chainsaws or the team can use Chainsaws during the finales making them easier and possibly getting achievements much faster.



  1. Left 4 Dead 2 - Coach
  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[]

Primary Weapons
Tier 1 Chrome invert Chrome Shotgun / Pump invert Pump Shotgun / MP5 Invert MP5 / Mac10 invert Silenced Submachine Gun / Uzi invert Submachine Gun
Tier 2 Ak invert AK-47 / Scar invert Combat Rifle / M16 invert M-16 Assault Rifle / SIG Invert SG 552 / Auto invert Auto Shotgun / Spas12 invert Combat Shotgun / AWSM Invert AWP / Hunting invert Hunting Rifle / Steyr Invert Scout / G3 invert Sniper Rifle
Special Tier Grenade launcher inverted Grenade Launcher / M60Icon M60 Machine Gun
Secondary Weapons
Sidearms Pistol inverted M1911 Pistol / Deagle invert Magnum Pistol / Pistol l4d2 inverted P220 Pistol
Melee Weapons Bat invert Baseball Bat / Cricket invert Cricket Bat / Crowbar invert Crowbar / Axe invert Fireaxe / Pan invert Frying Pan / GolfClubIcon Golf Club / Guitar invert Guitar / Katana invert Katana / Knife Invert Knife / Machete invert Machete / Baton invert Nightstick / Icon pitchfork inverted Pitchfork / Icon shovel inverted Shovel
Special Tier Chainsaw invert Chainsaw
Other Weapons
Grenades Bile invert Bile Bomb / Molotov inverted Molotov Cocktail / Pipebomb invert Pipe Bomb
Upgrades L4D2 ammo explosive Explosive Ammunition / L4D2 ammo incendiary Incendiary Ammunition / Laser sight HUD invert Laser Sight
Fixed Weapons MMG Icon Heavy Machine Gun / Minigun icon Minigun
Usable Items Explosive Barrel HUD invert Explosive barrel / Fireworks icon Fireworks / Gas canister HUD invert Gas can / Oxytank icon Oxygen tank / Propane tank icon Propane tank
Special Items Cola Cola / Gnome icon Gnome Chompski
Featured in both games / L4D1-exclusive / L4D2-exclusive (Counter-Strike weapons / PC-exclusive)