The 5 Picks For Best Stihl Chainsaw

Now you may be an experienced woodsman already and fully familiar with different chainsaws.

But whether you’re an expert or a novice, a good guide on the different chainsaws available on the market can help cut down the time you spend searching online.

Stihl makes some good power tools, specializing in saws as their signature product. They’ve come out with a myriad of choices, with different feature specifications to tackle any job you have.

We’ve rounded down a list of Stihl chainsaws to see which would come out as the best Stihl chainsaw.

Quick Overview

Our Top 3 Choices For Best Stihl Chainsaws

Best Overall

Stihl MS 170

Stihl MS 170

Key Takeaways

Lightweight and compact design

Anti-Vibration system

Oilmatic Lubrication system

Best Battery

Stihl MSA 200

Stihl MSA 200 C-B

Key Takeaways

Battery powered with 200 minutes runtime

Quickstop Plus safety chain brake feature

Brushless Motor and Quick Chain Adjuster

Best Budget

Stihl MS 180

Stihl MS 180 C-BE

Key Takeaways

Easy2Start™ system

IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor and Quick Chain Adjuster

Best Bang for Your Buck


The Best Stihl Chainsaw: Our 5 Picks

Best Overall – Stihl MS 170

Key Takeaways

Lightweight and compact design

Anti-Vibration system

Oilmatic Lubrication system

One of Stihl’s most popular designs has to be their MS  170 line of chainsaws.

It combines its lightweight, compact design with just the right power you’d expect from a domestic gasoline chainsaw.

Stihl MS 170

From cutting small trees to trimming the hedges, you can expect to have the same reliability that Stihl products feature in many of their professional-grade chainsaws.

Features

Included in the MS 170 is Stihl’s anti-vibration system. Originally developed for a myriad of outdoor power equipment, Stihl chainsaws have included it within this range.

This anti-vibration system will reduce user fatigue during use and give a better cutting experience overall.

Within the Stihl MS 170 is their trademark IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor.

This is meant to automatically regulate the amount of air-to-fuel ratio found within the engine, maintaining a safe and efficient RPM.

A clean carburetor is important to avoid clogged and dirty fuel mixed with little to no air due to dirty air filters, which may damage your engine in the long run.

Last, the Stihl MS 170 uses their Ematic™ guide bar partnered with their Oilmatic saw chains. This provides efficient lubrication to keep your chainsaw from heating up too quickly.

Two strategically placed ramps help flow the oil towards the chain links, which controls the flow of the oil towards the rivets and drive links. This maintains smooth usage while reducing maintenance downtime.

Functionality

The Stihl MS 170 is a domestic type of chainsaw, meaning it’s best used for homeowners looking for general use products for their landscaping needs.

It has a guide bar length of 12 to 16 inches and a fuel capacity of 8.5 oz or 250 ccs.

It’s 1.3 kW engine power is enough to keep up with daily maintenance tasks like hedge trimming and field clearing, making it good for both experienced and amateur users alike.

Our Verdict

It’s no surprise because the Stihl MS 170 is possibly our pick for the best Stihl chainsaw ever made. It’s easy to use and compact enough to use at home while still maintaining a steady power for cutting and trimming.

If you were to get a Stihl chainsaw, the Stihl MS 170 should be on the top of your list as it really is one of the best chainsaws on the market.

Here’s what you’ll love

Lightweight but powerful

Simple and straightforward

Here’s what you might not like

Limited to home/simpler tasks


Best Battery – Stihl MSA 200 C-B

Key Takeaways

Battery powered with 200 minutes runtime

Quickstop Plus safety chain brake feature

Brushless Motor and Quick Chain Adjuster

If modernity is what you’re after, then the Stihl MSA 200 C-B would be the best Stihl chainsaw for you.

The Stihl MSA 200 C-B is your ultimate no-frills electric chainsaw where you can simply just press the trigger and start cutting.

Stihl MSA 200

Despite being portable, this Stihl chainsaw has some of the strongest cutting power amongst their line of home chainsaws. It rarely gets better than this in terms of quality design and intuitiveness.

Features

The Stihl MSA 200 C-B uses an interchangeable lithium-ion battery, similar to what is used to power most gadgets these days.

This makes the battery-powered MSA 200 C-B quieter than the gasoline-powered chainsaws, perfect for quieter neighborhoods or areas which may have noise restrictions.

Despite being battery powered, it still delivers a solid cutting performance that can tackle most yardwork without too much difficulty.

It comes with an easy-starting function, which means you can simply turn it on and start your work with the pull of a trigger found on its rubberized textile handle.

Besides that, it uses Stihl’s Quickstop Plus safety chain brake feature.

It’s a system that can stop the chain immediately either by the user’s hand or if the chainsaw receives a significant enough kickback—a great safety feature for professionals and beginners alike.

The MSA 200 C-B also has its Brushless Motor and Quick Chain Adjuster. Both reduce downtime by limiting motor maintenance and providing easy chain tension adjustment, respectively.

It uses the same Ematic™ system that the MS 170 uses, keeping the chain lubricated for an easy cutting experience.

Functionality

The MSA 200 C-B is a more technically modern home chainsaw, perfect for users looking for innovative technologies in their power tools.

It has a compact guide bar length of 10 to14 inches, perfect for individual landscaping tasks.

The lithium-ion battery replaces traditional electric and gasoline power sources, able to run for up to 200 minutes with full functionality.

It remains light at around 4.6 kg so that bringing it around feels less clunky than other devices.

Our Verdict

The battery-powered MSA 200 C-B could well be a contender for the best Stihl chainsaw ever made with its lightweight portability without sacrificing cutting power.

The Quickstop feature, Brushless Motor, and Tension adjuster keep work efficient and reduces downtime so you can finish tasks easier and quicker.

If you are in the market for something powerful yet minimal in noise, the MSA 200 C-B is the best Stihl chainsaw for you.

Here’s what you’ll love

Good power to weight ratio

Quiet operation

Portable and long-running

Here’s what you might not like

Small guide bar length limits its use

Expensive


Best Budget – Stihl MS 180 C-BE

Key Takeaways

Easy2Start™ system

IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor and Quick Chain Adjuster

Best Bang for Your Buck

Just because something has some extra technology doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. The MS 180 C-BE combines classic gas-powered performance with the technology that makes operation as easy as it can be.

Stihl MS 180

With Stihl’s Easy2Start™ system, this lightweight chainsaw can operate with just a light pull of its cord. This keeps the Stihl MS 180 C-BE incredibly easy to use whenever you need it.

Features

The Stihl Easy2Start™ makes the Stihl MS 180 C-BE one of the easiest chainsaws to use as it eliminates the experience needed to pull-start traditional chainsaws.

Included within the Stihl MS 180 is their IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor and Quick Chain Adjuster.

The trademark carburetor keeps your feel and air intake in check by consistently adjusting fuel intake to match changing levels of air due to clogged air filters.

The Quick Chain adjuster eliminates a lot of downtimes when it comes to recalibrating your saw chain. With a few presses, you can change the tension on your chain to keep it from loosening up while in use.

Functionality

The Stihl MS 180 C-BE is a great mid-ranged domestic from Stihl chainsaws.

It uses the classic gas power source and a cord-pull start system, giving it enough power for those more familiar with more traditional chainsaws.

It has a 12 to 16-inch bar, perfect for cutting down mid-sized trees or clearing large areas of bushings.

The MS 180 C-BE has a standard fuel capacity of 8.5 oz or 250 ccs, so it can keep running similarly to professional level chainsaws.

Our Verdict

The MS 180 C-BE is great for traditionalists looking towards Stihl chainsaws for something that’s modern without sacrificing design.

Compared to the MS 200 C-B, this uses the standard cord pull instead of the modern trigger, which may please people looking for more familiarity in design.

It also comes in a fairly larger size, which, when matched with its price, gives you incredible value for your money. The MS 180 C-BE is our choice for the Best Stihl Chainsaw for the money you pay.

Here’s what you’ll love

Best Budget option for its capabilities

Traditional designs with modern features

Here’s what you might not like

None


Stihl MSE 250

Key Takeaways

Professional level cutting power

Heat overload protection LED

Quickstop Super Chain Brake

Stihl chainsaws aren’t just limited to home use because Stihl started their business by making industrial and commercial powered saw products in the past.

Stihl MSE 250

The MSE 250 gives a professional level cutting power while being quiet, durable, and lightweight.

It has several useful features for a working chainsaw, such as a coasting break, a temperature monitor, and a comfortable grip for long job days.

Features

The Stihl MSE 250 chainsaw uses a strong electric motor that just needs roughly 20 amp for an appropriate power source.

The MSE 250 uses the Ematic™ system that other Stihl chainsaws use for lubrication. This keeps your chain properly lubricated to avoid any heat build-up while working.

You can also monitor any heat overload through the MSE 250’s overload protection LED. The chainsaw will turn off with the triggering of the red overload button, which flashes red when the chainsaw is close to overheating.

For additional safety, the Stihl MSE 250 has the Quickstop Super Chain Brake, which can stop the chain immediately once the operator’s hand is off the rear handle.

There is also a side tension chain you can use to apply more tension to the chain without manually adjusting it.

The MSE transparent tool-less oil tank can make oil replacement and monitoring a breeze. When coupled with the Ematic™ system, you can expect to save on more lubricating oil.

Functionality

The Stihl MSE 250 is part of the professional line of Stihl chainsaws.

It includes a safety current limitation to avoid any engine issues on a job site with a weaker power source that doesn’t match the 15-20 amp motor this chainsaw has.

It has a 16 to 20-inch bar, which is aligned with standard professional-level chainsaws. It also has a slightly higher chain oil capacity of 200 ccs to keep your chainsaw cutting smooth and provide low friction.

Our Verdict

We think that if you had to pick one professional chainsaw, the Stihl MSE 250 should be the one you do.

Even amongst other Stihl chainsaws, it is one model that shines as a tough and heavy-duty chainsaw that’s lightweight and easy to use.

If the work you do needs more power, but you aren’t looking to carry around something that weighs a ton, your best bet would be the Stihl MSE 250.

Here’s what you’ll love

Lightweight electric professional chainsaw

Plenty of safety and work features for efficiency

Here’s what you might not like

Better suited for work/professional jobs than home use


Stihl MS 271

Key Takeaways

Unique pre-separation air filtration system

Anti-Vibration system

Large fuel tank

The Stihl MS 271, aptly titled FARM BOSS®, is a new iteration in the spirit of their earlier chainsaw, the Stihl MS 270.

It’s improved in many ways through the different modern improvements that time and experience has developed in Stihl.

Stihl MS 271

It’s a hefty type of chainsaw, made for even harder work than the previous Stihl MSE 250. Yet, it retains its efficiency and ergonomic design for the best user experience.

Features

The MS 271 uses a unique pre-separation air filtration system.

It saves on time with almost double the interval time saved in-between air filter cleanings. There is an internal centrifugal system that separates drawn in the air from the heavier dirt particles it may come in with.

This means there is essentially a quick filtration system before the air gets through to the actual air filters, which lessens the need to replace them.

The MS 271 also has an anti-vibration system, which keeps it from generating too much vibration while in use. This lessened fatigue and increase control over the chainsaw.

The MS 271 also includes a Chain Tensioner on the side so you can easily adjust the tension on your chain without having to manually adjust the chain by hand.

Functionality

The MS 271 is the successor to the MS 270, meaning professional woodcutters should see even better results from the more modern Farm Boss chainsaw.

It uses a large capacity fuel power source with 500 ccs or 16.9 for long-lasting and powerful cutting performance. One fuel tank can last much longer with its efficient fuel intake and air filtration system.

The Farm Boss can reach up to 20 inches in size, perfect for thicker diameter wood where one would need powerful and long chainsaws to cut through.

Despite packing a lot of power, the Farm boss remains relatively balanced in weight at only 5.6 kg (unfueled).

Our Verdict

If you’re familiar with the Stihl MS 270, you will love what they’ve done with their MS 271 Farm Boss as a direct upgrade.

If you’re an experienced cutter, you’ll find that the MS 271 is easy-to-use despite its many included features.

This might be the best Stihl fuel-powered chainsaw, one you shouldn’t overlook when looking for a tough and rugged outdoor chainsaw.

Here’s what you’ll love

Very powerful professional chain cutting

Long 20-inch bar

Here’s what you might not like

None


Overview of Stihl Chainsaws

Stihl has been around since 1920, creating one of the first portable electric saws in the market.

Each and every one of Stihl’s products have been made with the learnings they’ve developed throughout almost 100 years in the industry.

Stihl prides itself on its made-in-the-USA manufacturing process, keeping its quality control and design within company manufacturers.

When you buy Stihl products, you aren’t only getting a quality power tool but also supporting domestic Stihl manufacturers and American jobs.

Moreover, they’ve begun developing their tools with sustainability in mind. You can see this in some of the electric-powered tools they have as they slowly adapt to methods besides gasoline power.

Despite all these changes in how they’ve made their products, Stihl’s standard of quality has remained as high as ever.

Most chainsaws come with a 1-year warranty. This limited 1-year warranty is their guarantee that throughout using any of Stihl’s products, you have the assurance of manufacturing quality.

If the saw you bought does not meet its specified quality, you can return it for assessment and receive a new one if the Stihl product was deemed faulty.

Special Chainsaw Properties

Some chainsaws come with useful features that can keep your tool running efficiently despite continuous use.

Self-Sharpening Chainsaws

Some chainsaws can help keep your chain sharp even while you use it. Self-Sharpening gives you a lever that activates retractable sharpening steel that uses the chain’s rotation to sharpen the cutters on your chainsaw.

Some modern chainsaws have this feature to reduce the downtime that you must sharpen your chainsaw cutters manually.

Though you need to note it’s not advised to purely rely on this as you can easily remove too much metal and cause the chainsaw to be less effective.

Self Lubricating Chainsaws

Self-lubrication is almost included in most Stihl chainsaws now due to how fast their chains can build up heat and friction with their powerful motors.

A self-lubricating chainsaw generally allows minimal amounts of lubricating oil to spread around the chainsaw chain to reduce the generation of heat while using the power tool.

The chainsaw often includes mini reservoirs that contain the lubricating oil so it can effectively control the lubrication used on the chain.

This works in tandem with most modern chains that include oil channels for even distribution throughout all drive links.

Best Practices to Take Care of your Chainsaw

Taking care of your chainsaw is one way to make sure the Stihl chainsaw you buy lasts. Stihl has come out with a simple guide on how best to maintain your chainsaw.

To make it easier for you, we’ve summarized the separate ways you can keep your chainsaw in tip-top shape.

Practice Proper Storage

Always store the chainsaw in a well-ventilated area away from direct UV light exposure from the sun.

This keeps molds and moisture away from the chainsaw while avoiding any unwanted embrittlement from the sun.

Consider getting a storage bag for your chainsaw to avoid any dust getting into sensitive electric parts of the chainsaw. Stihl has a variety of storage bags available that are specialized for their chainsaws.

Last, keep your chainsaw away from vulnerable individuals such as children or pets.

Empty The Fuel Tank

Always take time to empty the fuel tank every now and then to clean it. Think of it as a good oil change in your car; you wouldn’t want any build-up of old oil affecting performance.

Don’t forget to drain the carburetor to prevent any of the internal mechanisms from sticking together.

Regular Dismantling

Learn how to properly dismantle the parts of your chainsaw to thoroughly clean them individually. Each chainsaw is different, but generally, you’ll want to remove the chain and the guide bar from the main motor body.

Remove any lingering debris, wipe each part down, and spray them with protective mineral grade oil.

Chain Sharpening

To best take care of the chains you have and the chains you will purchase, Stihl recommends learning how to regularly sharpen your chainsaw.

Chainsaws often get dull over time when cutting through wood every day or can dull quickly if you hit dirt, debris, or rock.

You’ll need a few tools like a flat and round file and a Dremel tool, but learning how to do so can save you the money you would have spent having to buy a new chainsaw chain down the line.


Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Stihl MS 170

Stihl MS 170

Key Takeaways

Lightweight and compact design

Anti-Vibration system

Oilmatic Lubrication system

Best Battery

Stihl MSA 200

Stihl MSA 200 C-B

Key Takeaways

Battery powered with 200 minutes runtime

Quickstop Plus safety chain brake feature

Brushless Motor and Quick Chain Adjuster

Best Budget

Stihl MS 180

Stihl MS 180 C-BE

Key Takeaways

Easy2Start™ system

IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor and Quick Chain Adjuster

Best Bang for Your Buck


Conclusion

A lot of chainsaws on the market can catch your eye with flashy branding or extravagant features. But many of the best chainsaws follow simple and straightforward designs meant to increase efficiency and improve user experience.

Stihl has almost perfected their craft in chainsaws but never limits themselves to just the usual basic guide bar and chain setup other brands have.

Stihl can continue producing the classic MS 170, a reliable staple, and they can also create modern innovations like the Stihl MSA 200 C-B with its battery-powered trigger operation.

Whichever chainsaw you may need, Stihl has you covered with a wide range of products that won’t let you down.


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Mike
Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.