Top 5 Best Stihl Chainsaws Tested and Tried

Richard McMann

Buying Guides, Chainsaw

When it comes to choosing the best Stihl chainsaw, I totally get how frustrating it can be to end up with a tool that just doesn’t cut it, literally and figuratively, when you need it the most.

We’ve all been there, right? You’re ready to tackle a big job, and then your chainsaw decides to take a day off.

Not fun. Luckily, Stihl is one of those names you can actually trust for performance and reliability.

Stihl has a ton of chainsaws to choose from, which is great but can also be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry, though—I’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

I’ve gone through and reviewed each model in detail to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your needs.

We’ll talk about the features, comfort, and versatility of these chainsaws.

By the end of this review, you’ll feel confident and ready to make a smart choice. So, let’s dive in and find that perfect Stihl chainsaw for you!

How We Review: Our Process

To ensure you can trust our reviews, we follow a thorough and detailed process. It begins with selecting a range of popular Stihl chainsaws, chosen based on user ratings and expert recommendations. This ensures we cover options suitable for various needs, from casual use to professional-grade work.

Next, our team dives into in-depth research, examining product specifications, user manuals, and customer reviews. This helps us gather comprehensive information on each model and understand common issues and praises from actual users.

To gain deeper insights and validate our findings, we consult with industry experts like arborists and professional users. Their expertise helps us understand the nuances of each model.

Finally, we compile our findings into clear and concise reviews. By following these steps, we ensure our reviews are thorough, unbiased, and trustworthy, providing you with the reliable information you need to confidently choose the best Stihl chainsaw for your needs.

Top 5 Best Stihl Chainsaws Tested in 2024

1. MSE 170 C-B Corded Stihl Chainsaw

One of the best options you can have in terms of power and durability while looking to buy a Stihl Chainsaw. It delivers extreme power with ultimate smoothness and you get things sorted out nicely in no time. It runs on electric power input providing a commendable power output of 1.6kW.

The bar length you can avail ranges from 12 inches to 16 inches and they never disappoint with regards to sharp performance delivery. A wide trigger switch inclusion makes it quite convenient to operate and 200cc chain oil capacity offers this chainsaw to be used for a considerable period of time without any maintenance.

It is an environment-friendly machine that comes with Reduced Emission Engine Technology that tends to produce zero exhaust emissions while being operated. A quick chain brake adds to the user safety levels and stops the chain within a second once the rear handle is released by the right hand.

The powerhead weight of around 8.5 lbs provides enhanced portability and you can easily carry it along while ensuring electrical corded input. It delivers superb performance with a high-quality chain bar and a highly efficient electric motor that produces zero exhaust emissions.


  • Long-term viable performance
  • Enhanced User Safety levels
  • Convenient usage with Quick Chain Adjuster
  • Powerful electric motor performance


  • Frequent chain adjustments require

Bottom Line

This Stihl MS170 chainsaw model operates with ultimate power and you always have some extra bit of reserve to use against harder materials. Effective motor performance delivers commendable chain-cutting power and its lightweight offers great convenience too. It comes with Reduced Emission Engine Technology and a quick chain brake that makes it quite safe equipment to play around with.

Learn More: How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw?

2. MS 261 C-M Chainsaw with M-Tronic Technology

When you are required to have a chainsaw that delivers extensive performance in challenging situations, then this 261 C-M Stihl chainsaw wouldn’t disappoint you. STIHL M-Tronic™ technology makes sure the right power is executed by automatically adjusting with the help of a digital monitor.

The advanced technology automatically adjusts the factors related to temperature, octane levels, air filter levels, and fuel quality. It requires minimum manual adjustments and maintains optimized levels of performance throughout varying conditions.

An extensive fuel capacity of 500 ccs is provided and the chain oil capacity stands at 270 ccs for a longer period of single usage. It can be accommodated with decent chain bar lengths ranging from 16 inches to 20 inches. The ergonomic design and power-weight ratio adjustments are made superbly to have better convenience in carrying it around.

The chain tensioner exists at the side of the machine which is quick to access while you are doing the workout in the middle. The inclusion of the anti-vibration system and pre-separation air filtration system puts much weight on why this Stihl chainsaw should be considered.


  • Minimum manual adjustments required
  • Easy to access side chain tensioner
  • Minimum chain bar vibrations produced
  • Digital monitor to check maintenance levels


  • No chain brake included

Bottom Line

A nice machine with a decent set of features that will allow you to handle diversified cutting tasks without much hassle. You experience great luxury with the deployment of STIHL M-Tronic™ technology that automatically adjusts the power and other aspects. While being powered with gas, it comes with a pre-separation air filtration system and Reduced Emission Engine technology making it an environment-friendly chainsaw.

3. MS 271 FARM BOSS Fuel-efficient Chainsaw

MS 271 FARM BOSS® is a preferred choice when you are looking for a fuel-efficient chainsaw. The engine produces 20% more runtime as compared to the previous model and also emissions are halved too. This is made possible with the deployment of an effective pre-separation air filtration system.

The air filter provided for this gas-powered chainsaw lasts 5 times longer than the standard ones so you know you would be doing good with this efficient fuel consumption. The engine power stands at 2.6 kW and can work perfectly with chain bar lengths ranging from 16 inches to 20 inches.

The chain tensioner for this one is also provided at the side so you can quickly tighten the screws while looking to cut things down. The installation of the anti-vibration system delivers extraordinary smooth performance and you feel comfortable all the time.

The powerhead weight is 12.3 lbs that are slightly above average but still can be handled conveniently due to an ergonomic design. Overall, the smooth engine performance and fuel efficiency make it a superior choice to get things done out there in the middle.


  • High Fuel Efficiency
  • Long-Lasting Engine Performance
  • Quick Chain Tensioner provided
  • Anti-vibration system installed


  • Chain bar a bit less strong

Bottom Line

You get a long-lasting solution for your chainsaw needs. High fuel efficiency and commendable levels of environment-friendliness overcome major resistance levels for the buying decision. A convenient chain tension adjustment system and installation of the anti-vibration system add even more to the smooth performance levels while operating.

4. MS 251 C-BE Powerful Lightweight Chainsaw

A gas-powered lightweight chainsaw that is also similar to the 271 Farm Boss in terms of fuel efficiency and reduced levels of emissions. The best aspect related to this one is it is super convenient to ignite with the advanced starting system. A quick pull to the cord without much force will start things rolling for you in no time.

It also comes with a Master control lever that allows operators to deal with choke positions, starting throttle lock, and an on-off switch. No tools are required for chain tension adjustment as it has a built-in quick chain tension adjustment knob. You can utilize a chainsaw scrench or a tachometer to keep it maintained though.

The recommended chain bar lengths for this Stihl chainsaw model range between 16 inches to 18 inches. Engine power of 2.2kW with a fuel capacity of 390 ccs and chain oil capacity of 198 ccs, you get a decent and balanced chainsaw performance throughout.

The overall design is quite user-intuitive and portable with the inclusion of a strong grip large starting handle and a front handle. It also comes with Reduced Emission Engine Technology that eliminates exhaust emissions to the maximum possible extent.


  • Comfortable to use
  • Quick Start with easy to pull cord
  • Comes with Quick Chain Tensioner
  • Built-in Master Control Lever


  • A bit less engine capacity

Bottom Line

The comfort and user intuitiveness on offer with this Chainsaw is quite amazing. You don’t have any eyebrows raised with smooth and long-lasting engine performance and the inclusion of Reduced Emission Engine Technology adds up to the smoothness levels. An advanced Easy starting system will make you roll out there instantly without any problems and quick chain tensioners increase the cutting speed.

5. MSA 200 C-B Lithium-Ion Powered Chainsaw

When you need to deal with the best Stihl chainsaw, MSA 200 C-B tops our priority list as it brings you a cordless experience. The batteries with this one you can choose for yourself are provided in the AP series that provide varying runtimes.

With this cordless chainsaw operating for you, you have zero levels of emission and minimum noise produced adding extensively to the aspect of environmental friendliness. You get extraordinary user safety with the inclusion of a quick-stop chain brake that prevents kickback in case of a mechanical failure.

The electric brushless motor requires minimum maintenance as was the case with gas power sources. An additional benefit with this one is that it has a built-in Coast-down Brake that prevents chain rotation when the trigger is set to release. The chain tensions are also quickly adjusted with the use of an adjustment knob provided.

Even though powered with batteries, you experience top-notch cutting-speed performance and ultimate reliability out there. The bar length can be chosen by the users themselves as it can work perfectly with the complete range. Quite stable performance is delivered throughout making not much difference to the environment around.


  • Best in terms of environment-friendliness
  • Versatile chainsaw with cordless operation
  • Extensive operational safety measures
  • Interchangeable batteries and bar lengths facilitated


  • Expensive Chainsaw

Bottom Line

You are able to diversify your cutting performance extensively and things don’t remain that complex out there for you with this Stihl chainsaw model. The use of interchangeable batteries can provide extensive runtime and there is no compromise on power. You just need to select your battery and chain bar lengths correctly to get things rolled out perfectly for you.

How To Get The Best Stihl Chainsaw in 2024? A Buying Guide

Undoubtedly, the versatility and diversity on offer with Stihl Chainsaws are extraordinary. You are able to select some features of your chainsaw on your own, such as chain bar length. For each of the chainsaws, the manufacturer has outlined a specific length range of the chain bar and you can choose whatever fits your needs most.

Still, we need to evaluate the rest of the factors that can specifically help you in getting the most suitable Stihl Chainsaw. The great aspect of this is that there is a set of common features that you would be getting with each of the available options. So, let’s consider the features that can be considered to complete your decision-making process:

1. Purpose and Intended Use:

Determining Purpose: First and foremost, think about why you need a chainsaw. Are you planning to cut firewood, fell trees, prune branches, or engage in professional logging? Each of these tasks has unique demands, and choosing the right Stihl chainsaw starts here.

Recommendation: If your primary purpose is cutting firewood for personal use or occasional light tasks, I’d recommend a Stihl chainsaw with moderate power and a manageable bar length. Models like the Stihl MS 271 or MS 251 strike a good balance. However, if you’re tackling larger trees or professional logging, go for the high-performance Stihl MS 462 or MS 880.

Considering Frequency and Duration: The frequency and duration of your chainsaw use matter too. If it’s occasional yard work, a lighter-duty model might suffice. For regular or professional use, you’ll want something more robust to handle the demands.

Recommendation: For occasional users, Stihl’s mid-range models are perfect. But for those who rely on a chainsaw day in and day out, investing in a heavy-duty Stihl chainsaw is a wise choice, as they are built to endure prolonged use.

2. Chainsaw Type:

Choosing the Type: Stihl offers three main types of chainsaws – gas-powered, electric, and battery-powered. Each has its pros and cons.

Recommendation: If power is your priority, go for a gas-powered Stihl chainsaw. They offer exceptional power for demanding tasks. But remember, they require regular maintenance and fuel. If you prefer a quieter and low-maintenance option, consider Stihl’s electric or battery-powered chainsaws. They are excellent for lighter work but come with the trade-off of limited cord length or battery life.

3. Engine Size and Power:

Matching Engine Size: Your chainsaw’s engine size and power output should align with your intended tasks.

Recommendation: Opt for a larger engine if you’re tackling heavy-duty work, such as felling large trees or professional logging. Smaller engines are more suitable for lighter to medium tasks like pruning and firewood cutting.

4. Bar Length:

Choosing Bar Length: The length of the chainsaw’s bar determines the size of wood or trees you can cut effectively.

Recommendation: Longer bars are great for larger trees, as they provide better reach. However, for maneuverability during smaller tasks, consider a shorter bar. It’s essential to strike a balance between bar length and the type of work you’ll be doing.

5. Safety Features:

Prioritizing Safety: Safety should always be a top concern when using a chainsaw.

Recommendation: Ensure the Stihl chainsaw you choose has essential safety features like chain brakes, kickback protection, and a chain catcher. Additionally, ergonomic handles and anti-vibration features contribute to safer and more comfortable operation, especially during extended use.

6. Maintenance Requirements:

Assessing Maintenance: Think about your willingness and ability to perform regular maintenance tasks.

Recommendation: Gas-powered Stihl chainsaws may require more maintenance, including chain sharpening, air filter cleaning, and oil changes. If you’re comfortable with maintenance or willing to learn, a gas-powered model can be a great choice. However, if you prefer low-maintenance options, Stihl’s electric or battery-powered chainsaws are easier to maintain.

7. Weight and Portability:

Evaluating Weight: Consider the weight of the chainsaw, especially if you’ll be using it for extended periods.

Recommendation: If you anticipate prolonged use, choose a Stihl chainsaw that balances power with a manageable weight. But if portability is crucial, opt for a lightweight and compact model for easier maneuverability.

8. Brand Reputation and Warranty:

Trustworthiness of the Brand: Stihl is a renowned brand known for its quality. It’s essential to do your research on specific models and consider the brand’s reputation.

Recommendation: Trust in Stihl’s reputation for reliability and durability. Read reviews and gather recommendations to ensure you select a model that lives up to the brand’s standards. Don’t forget to review the warranty terms and conditions for added peace of mind in case of any defects or issues.

9. Fuel Efficiency and Emissions:

Eco-friendliness and Cost Efficiency: If you opt for a gas-powered chainsaw, think about fuel efficiency and emissions to reduce environmental impact and operating costs.

Recommendation: Choose a Stihl chainsaw that balances power with fuel efficiency. Look for models with lower emissions to minimize your carbon footprint while still getting the job done effectively.

10. Noise Levels:

Noise Consideration: Evaluate the noise level produced by the chainsaw, especially if you’ll be working in noise-sensitive areas.

Recommendation: If you plan to use your chainsaw in residential neighborhoods or other quiet settings, opt for a Stihl model that is known for quieter operations to be considerate of your neighbors.

11. Accessories and Additional Features:

Enhanced Functionality: Accessories and additional features can make your chainsaw more versatile and user-friendly.

Recommendation: Check for compatible Stihl accessories like carrying cases, sharpening kits, and extra chains. Some models also offer convenient features like easy-start systems or tool-less chain tensioning, which can save you time and effort during maintenance and operation.

12. Budget:

Budgeting Wisely: Determine your budget and find a Stihl chainsaw that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

Recommendation: Stick to your budget while considering the features and specifications that matter most to you. Stihl offers a range of models at different price points, so you can find one that fits your budget without compromising on quality.

13. Local Regulations:

Compliance with Regulations: Be aware of local regulations and restrictions on chainsaw use, including noise limits, emissions regulations, and safety requirements.

Recommendation: Ensure that the Stihl chainsaw you choose complies with local regulations. It’s essential to be a responsible and law-abiding chainsaw user.

14. Training and Safety Gear:

Prioritizing Safety Training: Safety should always be your top priority when using a chainsaw.

Recommendation: Get the necessary training in chainsaw operation and safety measures. Invest in the right safety gear, including protective clothing, gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection. Your safety and well-being are paramount.

Learn More: Stihl MS170 vs Echo CS310 Chainsaw Review

Final Takeaways: 

Stihl chainsaws mostly end up on the expensive side but you should know that you are surely going to have a reliable machine for yourself. The luxury of customization for each of the chainsaws you can order is a unique aspect of Stihl.

So, we have your back by providing the best Stihl chainsaw reviews and some useful evaluation methods to buy on your own. Mastering your every move regarding cutting is essential and a Stihl chainsaw can deliver exactly that with the right application of chain bar length and effective power output.

Richard McMann
Follow Me