Battle of the Chainsaws: Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170

Patrick McMann


When it comes to lightweight chainsaws known for their power and reliability, the Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS 170 are the top contenders. If you’re unsure which one to choose, this article will give you all the details about both cutting machines’ features, differences, and similarities. 

I’ll also discuss the pros and cons of purchasing either chainsaw, helping you reach a well-informed decision. So, keep reading till the end to select the perfect model that suits your needs in today’s Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170 review!

In the battle between Echo CS310 and Stihl MS170, the Echo CS310 emerges as the winner due to its more powerful engine and lower price point. The Echo CS310 offers a better power-to-weight ratio and easier starting system compared to the Stihl MS170, making it a top choice for various cutting tasks.

Echo CS310 VS. Stihl MS170: Which Is the Winner?

The Echo CS310 is a compact yet powerful chainsaw with an 8.8 lbs weight, a 2-stroke 30.5 cc engine, and an i-30 starter system. On the other hand, the Stihl MS170 is a lightweight cutting machine with 8.6 lbs of weight and a 2-MIX 30.1 cc engine.

These two chainsaws are pretty different in terms of their features and functionality. Let me break each difference down for you so you can figure out which one of these Echo and Stihl models is best for what you need. Here are the main things that set them apart: 

Echo CS310 vs Stihl MS170 review


The Echo CS310 weighs 8.8 lbs excluding the chain and guide bar weight. On the other hand, the Stihl chainsaw MS170 weighs slightly less than the CS310 at 8.6 lbs, excluding the equipment weight. This makes it more compact and lightweight. 

Engine Power

The CS310 model features an air-cooled 2-stroke engine with a single cylinder that delivers 1.86 hp and 30.5 cc displacement. An air-cooled 2-stroke engine with a single cylinder has a small and lightweight design. It sucks in a mix of fuel and air, then compresses and ignites it to produce energy. 

That power drives the crankshaft while the engine stays cool because air flows over it and keeps it from overheating. In comparison, the MS170 comes also comes with a Stihl air-cooled 2-stroke engine with a single cylinder, producing 1.7 hp and 30.1 cc displacement. 

However, the CS310 model is clearly a winner regarding engine power, which translates to an excellent power-to-weight ratio. Regarding the RPM of Echo CS310 and Stihl MS170, the former delivers a max 12,500 RPM, while the latter produces 14,000 max RPM. You can calculate the rpm using our latest chainsaw chain speed calculator though!

The higher max RPM of the MS170 variant also means it provides faster cutting through wood. In addition, the CS310 model has an idle speed of 3,200 RPM, while the MS170 delivers a 2,800 RPM idle speed. 

Having a higher idle speed of 310 model keeps the chain spinning even when you’re not using it, which can be handy. But, on the flip side, it also means the 310’s engine gets hotter compared to the MS170’s engine. 

Starting System

The Stihl MS170 has a Single-Lever Master Control for start, choke, throttle, and stop. But, when it comes to starting, you’ll have to manually pull the starter rope, which is easy but tricky if the chainsaw’s cold. 

On the other hand, the CS310 comes with a digital ignition and an i-30 Starter System. It’s an automatic recoil starter that rewinds the rope after starting the engine. So you don’t have to rewind it each time manually. 

The system reduces the effort you need to pull the starter cord by 30%, even when the cutting machine is cold, or the weather is cold. So, the starting system of the 310 variant is clearly the winner here.

Fuel Capacity

The Echo CS310 and the Stihl MS170 variants have an 8.5 oz fuel capacity. However, 170 wins in the fuel-efficiency department. Its 2-MIX technology makes it fuel-efficient by 20% and reduces emissions by 50%. 

The technology also complies with strict EU Stage V emissions regulations. So, it’s undoubtedly an advantage, especially if you are cutting in areas with stringent emission rules.

Oil Capacity and System

The Echo CS310 has an 8.8 oz chain oil capacity, while the Stihl MS170 features a 4.9 oz oil capacity. This means the CS310 has some serious advantages over the 170 model. Since it also has a higher chain oil capacity, it can run longer without refilling. 

Moreover, it features an automatic clutch-driven oiler that only lubricates the chain when it’s moving, so there’s less oil wastage. This system keeps the chain working smoothly by providing the right amount of oil exactly when needed. 


The Stihl MS170 carburetor features an IntelliCarb Compensator, which automatically adjusts the air/fuel ratio when the air filter clogs up. It works by using air from the clean side of the filter to regulate the fuel flow.

As the airflow lessens due to a dirty filter, the IntelliCarb system minimizes the fuel flow to the carburetor accordingly. This ensures that even when the filter is partially blocked, the engine will keep running smoothly at the right RPM. 

On the other hand, the Echo CS 310 carburetor comes with a purge pump and a Butterfly-Valve Diaphragm. When you’re not using the cutting machine, the purge pump helps eliminate air from the fuel system. 

This is important because it stops the fuel from evaporating and clogging the carburetor. When you pull the throttle grip, the butterfly valve opens up, letting more air into the carburetor. This increases the fuel-to-air ratio, giving your chainsaw more power.

Learn More: Stihl MS250 vs MS271

Air Filter

Keeping your chainsaw engine clean from dirt and debris is super important, and that’s where regularly cleaning and maintaining the air filter comes in. 

Now, the Echo CS 310 has an advantage here. It’s got a tool-free access air filter cover, which means you can quickly and effortlessly remove it when you need to replace or clean the filter. 

This saves you loads of time and effort, ensuring your chainsaw always performs at its best. But the MS170 doesn’t have this handy feature. You’ll have to get your tools out and manually remove the filter cover when it’s time to do some maintenance.

Guide Bar Type

The Stihl MS170 boasts an Ematic guide bar that reduces oil consumption by 50%. There are two ramps in the guide bar rail that control the oil flow and direct the lubrication to the chain drive links. 

Combined with Stihl’s Oilomatic chain, it lubricates the bar and chain, depending on what you’re doing. This helps prevent excessive wear and tear, making the bar and chain last longer without wasting too much oil. 

In contrast, the Echo CS310 variant has a Double-Guard 91 bar with no feature to reduce oil consumption. However, it has a safety feature to minimize kickback.

The Stihl chainsaw bar has two rails that run along its length and prevents the chain from getting stuck or jumping off the bar. This safety feature makes the CS310 a better option, especially if you don’t have much experience with chainsaws.

Noise Level

The Stihl MS170 makes more noise with a sound power level of 111 dB and a sound pressure level of 100 dB. On the other hand, the Echo CS310 is a bit quieter, generating 107.7 dB of sound power and 97 dB of sound pressure. So, if you like a quieter cutting experience, the CS310 is the right choice.


The Stihl MS170 best price you can get with a 16-inch bar is $299.99, while the Echo 14-inch chainsaw CS-310 costs $219.99.

Note: Prices may vary depending upon the marketplace you want the chainsaw models to order from


The CS310 Echo chainsaw offers 5 years of consumer warranty and 1 year of commercial warranty. On the other hand, the MS170 Stihl chainsaw provides 1 year of consumer warranty and 3 months of commercial warranty.

Echo CS 310 VS Stihl MS 170 Specs

Echo CS 310
Stihl MS 170
8.8 lbs
8.6 lbs
Engine Power
1.86 hp, 30.5 cc displacement
1.7 hp, 30.1 cc displacement
Fuel Capacity
8.5 oz
8.5 oz, 2-MIX fuel-efficient technology
Oil Chain Capacity
8.8 oz
4.9 oz
IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor System
Carburetor with a purge pump and a Butterfly-Valve Diaphragm
Guide Bar Type
Ematic Guide Bar
Double-Guard 91 Guide Bar
Operator Noise Level
97 dB
100 dB
5 years (domestic) and 1 year (commercial)
1 year (domestic) and 3 months commercial

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Similarities Between Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170

Despite their differences, the Echo CS310 and Stihl MS170 also have a few similarities, which I’ve presented below:

Anti-Vibration System

To make your chainsaw experience more comfortable, both the Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS 170 features an anti-vibration system. The CS310 boasts an advanced vibration-reduction system, as its powerful engine can cause fatigue due to vibration. 

The MS 170 also lessens the shaking felt in your hands while using the saw. It uses springs mainly to dampen the vibration, making it easier to handle.

Bar Length Compatibility

Both the MS170 and CS310 support min 12-inch and max 16-inch bar length. This means you can use them easily for daily home tasks like trimming, pruning, and cutting wood or a cord of firewood.

Chain Pitch

Both the MS170 and CS310 come with a ⅜ inch chain pitch.

Side Chain Tensioner

Both the Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS170 have a side-access chain tensioner, making it easy to adjust the chain tension without removing the clutch cover. This convenient feature ensures your chain stays properly tensioned, resulting in outstanding cutting performance.

Stihl 170 VS Echo 310: Pros and Cons

Now that you’ve explored the similarities and differences between the Echo CS310 and Stihl MS170, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each model. This will help you understand which of these Echo and Stihl models is best suited for your cutting tasks and conditions:

Echo CS 310 Chainsaw Pros

Powerful Engine

The CS310 has a high-performing and powerful 2-stroke engine that guarantees optimal performance. It allows the chainsaw to operate at its peak condition, ensuring efficient and effective cutting for various tasks.

Reduced Maintenance

It comes with a tool-free access air filter cover, making it easy to remove and replace or clean the filter without any hassle. This saves you valuable time and effort, ensuring your chainsaw consistently delivers peak performance. 

Additionally, the automatic clutch-driven oiler regularly lubricates the chain and bar, minimizing the maintenance required for the chainsaw.

Easy Starting System

The i-30 starting system reduces the effort required to pull the starter cord by 30%, even in cold weather or when the machine is cold. 

So, starting the chainsaw becomes much easier and more convenient with this innovative system. This feature also makes it an excellent option if you live in a cold area or want to save time starting the cutting machine.

Echo CS 310 Chainsaw Cons

Not Fuel Efficient

In contrast to the Stihl MS170, the Echo CS310 lacks a fuel-efficient or reduced-emission engine and doesn’t feature a guide bar that reduces oil consumption. Due to these factors, the CS310 may not be the best choice for use in areas with strict regulations regarding emissions.

Slightly Heavy

It is a lightweight and compact chainsaw, but its bigger and more powerful engine makes it slightly heavier than the Stihl MS170. If you’re accustomed to handling heavier cutting machines, this may not be a problem. However, for beginners, even a slight increase in weight can affect their cutting performance.

Not for Felling Trees

Another of the Echo CS 310 problems is that it is unsuitable for demanding cutting jobs like felling trees or limbing thick branches. But that may not be an issue with you, as it’s designed for homeowners needing a lightweight chainsaw for day-to-day cutting tasks. You can take a look at the best chainsaws for cutting trees if you want to clear out trees from your backyard.

Stihl MS 170 Chainsaw Pros

Easy to Operate

Operating the Stihl MS170 is convenient due to its Master Control Lever. With just one lever to manage, starting, controlling the engine speed, and stopping the chainsaw becomes effortless. This makes it easier for you to confidently handle the cutting machine, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user.


If you prioritize fuel economy and eco-friendliness, the MS170 is your ideal chainsaw. It comes with a fuel-efficient engine that also reduces emissions, along with a guide bar and chain that consume less oil. 

More Light in Weight

The MS170 is lighter than the Echo CS310. This makes it a great option if you’re a beginner or don’t enjoy handling heavy cutting tools for extended periods.

Can Perform in Various Conditions

Due to its compensating carburetor, the MS170 can excel in any condition. The carburetor automatically adjusts the fuel-to-air ratio based on your cutting tasks and the environment, ensuring smooth performance in various situations.

Stihl MS 170 Cons

Pricier in Comparison

It is more expensive compared to its competitor, the Echo CS310.

Less Powerful Engine

While the MS170 boasts a powerful engine, it still falls short of the power offered by the Echo CS310.

Requires More Maintenance

It lacks the convenience of a tool-free filter cover, and the chainsaw chain tends to dull faster if not maintained regularly.

Produces More Noise

It generates more noise compared to the Echo CS310. If the noise level isn’t a concern for you, it’s not a problem. However, this chainsaw may not be the right choice if you dislike the higher noise level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Stihl MS170 a good saw?

Yes, the Stihl MS170 is a good chainsaw for light jobs like chopping firewood, pruning, and trimming plants and trees. 

While it may not be the most powerful cutting machine out there, it’s perfect for homeowners and occasional users since it’s lightweight and easy to manage. Besides, its fuel-efficient and has some nifty features that make it convenient to operate in different situations. 

Is Echo or Stihl chainsaw better?

The answer is not definite and is up for debate. However, Echo chainsaws are known for their powerful engines and affordable prices. On the other hand, Stihl cutting machines are loved for being lightweight and fuel-efficient. But they might hit your wallet a bit harder compared to Echo ones. 

Is Stihl MS170 good for felling trees?

No, it is not suitable for felling trees cutting through thick branches. It is compatible with smaller guide bars and lacks the necessary power for such tasks.

Can I use the same chains and accessories for both chainsaws? 

No, you can’t. While some chainsaw accessories may be compatible between brands, it’s best to use ones recommended specifically for each model. 

Chains and other attachments may have different specifications and sizes. So, it’s essential to check the user manuals or consult a professional to ensure compatibility and optimal performance.

Which chainsaw is more powerful, the Echo CS310 or the Stihl MS170?

The Echo CS310 is more powerful than the Stihl MS170 due to its larger engine size and higher horsepower. This allows it to handle more demanding tasks than the MS170.

Echo CS 310 VS Stihl MS 170: Final Verdict

Hopefully, the above Stihl MS 170 and Echo CS 310 reviews explain everything from their differences to similarities, pros, and cons. The CS310 is more affordable and powerful, easy to start, maintain, and can operate in cold weather. 

On the other hand, the MS170 is lighter, fuel-efficient, and can perform in various conditions. It is also user-friendly, though a bit pricier than the Echo CS310. Both are perfect for everyday tasks like firewood cutting and pruning. 

But not recommended for heavy-duty jobs like felling trees or thick branches. So, consider these factors before purchasing either of the models.

Patrick McMann