Husqvarna 120 Mark II vs Stihl MS 170 – [Detailed Comparison]

Patrick McMann


When it comes to chainsaws, lightweight ones are perfect for small to medium-cutting tasks, unlike the heavy-duty ones used in forests or for storm clear up. The Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS 170 are popular choices for these jobs. 

They’re compact, easy to handle, and have sufficient fuel capacity to complete your project without frequent refueling. Though they might not have extreme engine power, that’s not essential for light-cutting tasks. 

This article will cover the detailed differences, pros, cons, and similarities of both models, helping you make the right choice. So, let’s find your perfect chainsaw!

The Husqvarna 120 Mark II is better suited for light felling and limbing tasks due to its more powerful 1.88 hp engine, while the Stihl MS170 is better for lighter cutting jobs like pruning and trimming due to its lighter 8.6 lb weight. Ultimately, the choice between the two chainsaws depends on the specific cutting tasks you need to perform – the 120 Mark II is better for heavier jobs, while the MS170 is more suitable for lighter work.

Husqvarna 120 Mark II vs Stihl MS170: Differences and Similarities

The Husqvarna 120 Mark II is a homeowners chainsaw featuring an X-TORQ engine, 1.88 hp, and 10.7 lbs weight. On the other hand, the Stihl MS170 is also a homeowner chainsaw offering a 2-MIX engine, 1.7 hp, and 8.6 lbs of weight.

So, these two best chainsaws are totally different regarding the cutting jobs they can handle. They also have some similarities, but I’ll leave them to discuss later. First, let me share the differences between Stihl MS170 and Husqvarna 120 Mark II specs:

husqvarna 120 mark II vs Stihl MS 170 chainsaw


The Husqvarna 120 Mark II weight is 10.7 lbs, excluding equipment weight. It is quite heavy compared to the MS170’s 8.6 lbs weight (excluding equipment weight). While the 120 is still lightweight, if you’re not used to holding cutting machines for longer periods, it could cause fatigue quicker than the MS170.

Engine Power

The 120 Mark II has an X-TORQ engine producing 1.88 hp and 38 cc displacement. In contrast, the MS170 comes with a 2-MIX engine with 1.7 hp and 30.1 cc displacement. This shows the Husqvarna variant has a more powerful engine. 

Also, it has 133% of the max engine power speed and 16.8 m/s chain speed (9000 RPM). While the Stihl MS170 chainsaw has an 8,500 RPM max power speed. The max recommended engine speed the 120 Mark II can reach is 13,000 RPM. 

While the MS170 displays 14,000 RPM, which compensates for its less hp, giving it more power to cut faster. In contrast, the 120 Mark II’s high horsepower means it’s got more engine power to slice through slightly dense wood than the MS170 could. 

In addition, the 120 Mark II model has a higher idle speed of 3,000 RPM, whereas the MS170 has an idle speed of 2,800 RPM. 

With the 120 Mark II’s higher idle speed, the chain keeps spinning even when you’re not actively using it, which can be pretty useful. However, the downside is this higher idle speed also means the engine of the 120 Mark II can get hotter compared to the engine of the MS170.

I have also compared and contrasted the latest Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170 to help homeowners make an ideal decision according to their preferences. 

Bar Length Support

When it comes to the bar length of 120 Mark II and MS170, it determines how long of a bar length they are compatible with. Since both the MS170 and 120 Mark II are homeowners’ chainsaws meant for light-cutting tasks, their options are limited. 

The Stihl MS 170 only supports a min 12-inch and max 16-inch bar, which means it’s unsuitable for heavy-duty cutting jobs. But for regular tasks like chopping firewood, a 16-inch bar is sufficient.

On the other hand, the 120 Mark II offers a bit more flexibility, allowing you to use bars from 14-18 inches in length. This gives you a slightly better cutting capacity, like felling small trees and cutting thin branches up to 10 inches thick. You can also use a cordless mini chainsaw for cutting branches though.

However, it’s still not meant for heavy-duty cutting tasks like felling large trees or limbing thick branches. It also doesn’t support a 12-inch bar which means you won’t be able to maneuver it in tight spaces or when working overhead.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend pushing either of these chainsaws too hard. But if you really have to, the 120 Mark II would be the better choice with an 18-inch bar between the two

Fuel Capacity

Fuel efficiency and capacity are also crucial factors to consider if you are confused between the 120 Mark II and MS170 variants. If a gas chainsaw has a poor fuel capacity, you’ll have to stop working midway to refuel. Besides, an inefficient chainsaw that guzzles up fuel can rip you off your hard-earned money.

The fuel capacity of the 120 Mark II can hold up to 10 ounces of fuel. While the Stihl MS170 has an 8.5-ounce of fuel capacity. This means the 120 Mark II will need less frequent refueling compared to the MS170. 

But when it comes to the fuel-efficiency, both cutting machines feature fuel-efficient technology. So, you don’t have to worry about them being gas-guzzlers. Their engines are optimized to be super efficient, so a full gas tank should last you a decent amount of time.

Starting System

The Husqvarna 120 Mark II chainsaw uses an Air Purge System for easy starting. It removes air from the fuel system, ensuring the right fuel and air mixture goes into the cylinder. So, when you pull the cord, it starts with fewer tries. 

If you leave the chainsaw unused for a while, the carburetor can get clogged with old fuel, making it hard to start. But with the Air Purge, you can press it to replace the air in the carburetor with fresh fuel from the gas tank.

In comparison, the Stihl MS170 carburetor comes with an IntelliCarb System that automatically adjusts the air/fuel ratio when the air filter gets clogged up. Here’s how it works: when the filter gets dirty, and the airflow reduces, the IntelliCarb system adjusts the fuel flow to the carburetor accordingly. 

This mechanism ensures the engine runs smoothly at the correct RPM, even if the filter is partially blocked. So, you don’t have to worry about performance issues caused by a dirty filter.

Oil Capacity

The 120 Mark II has a 145ml oil tank volume and 1.0-1.2ml/min of oil pump capacity. This means it will consume about 21ml of oil per hour of use. In contrast, the 120 Mark II has 0.15 liters of oil tank volume and 8-8ml/min of oil pump capacity. This means it will consume 0.22 liters of oil per hour of use.

The MS170 also has an Ematic Lubrication System to direct and control oil flow on its guide bar. The bar rail consists of two ramps that ensure the chain remains well-lubricated while reducing oil consumption by 50%. 

So, you’ll have smooth operation and save on oil simultaneously. The 120 II Mark doesn’t have this system.

Learn More: Stihl 260 vs Stihl 261 Comparison!

Air Filter System

The 120 Mark II uses Air Injection technology to prevent large debris from reaching the air filter. Its spinning flywheel with cooling fins separates heavier particles to the edges and keeps the lighter ones at the center. 

Clean air containing smaller particles is directed to the air filter, ensuring longer filter life and consistent performance. Meanwhile, a separate outlet duct expels large particles, keeping the chainsaw clean during cutting. The MS170 doesn’t have this feature. 

Chain Type

The Husqvarna 120 Mark II chain type is H37. While the Stihl MS170 chain is Oilomatic. This means it has a built-in oil lubrication system to consume less oil and keeps the chain well-lubricated for peak cutting performance. This feature is not present in the 120 Mark II chain.


The Husqvarna 120 Mark II costs $349 with a 14-inch bar, while the Stihl MS170 price is $299.99 with a 16-inch bar.


The 120 Mark II offers 2 years of warranty for home use and 1 year for commercial use. In contrast, the MS170 Stihl comes with 1-year consumer warranty and 3 months for commercial purposes.

Husqvarna 120 Mark II VS Stihl MS 170 Specs

Husqvarna 120 Mark II
Stihl MS 170
10.7 lbs
8.6 lbs
Engine Power
1.88 hp, 38.2 cc displacement
1.7 hp, 30.1 cc displacement
Bar Length Support
14-18 inches
12-16 inches, Ematic guide bars for less oil consumption
Fuel Capacity
10 oz
8.5 oz
Oil Capacity
0.15 liters
145 ml
Starting System
Air Purge
IntelliCarb Compensator
Air Filter System
Air Injection Technology to prevent filter clogging
Standard Filter
Chain Type
Oilomatic with built-in oil lubrication system
$349 with 14-inch bar
$299 with 16-inch bar
2 years domestic warranty and 1-year commercial warranty
1-year domestic warranty and 3 months commercial warranty

Similarities Between Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170

Even though the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170 are quite different, they do share some similarities, as listed below:

Anti-Vibration System

Both the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170 have something in common – they aim to reduce chainsaw vibration for a more comfortable user experience. 

The 120 Mark II uses LowVib technology with rubber dampeners to absorb vibration and prevent fatigue. Similarly, the MS 170 has an anti-vibration system that keeps the chainsaw steady and reduces operator fatigue, especially during extended use.

Separate Controls

The Stihl MS170 has a convenient Single-Lever Master Control for start, choke, throttle, and stop functions. On the other hand, the 120 Mark II also has separate choke and stop switch controls, making it easier to start and preventing engine flooding.

Fuel-Efficient Engine

The 120 Mark II boasts an X-TORQ engine, while the Stihl MS170 features a 2-MIX engine. But both engines offer lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emissions to meet strict environmental regulations. 

Learn More: Husqvarna 450 vs 455 Rancher Review

Side Chain Tensioner

Both the 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170 come with a side-access chain tensioner, making chain adjustments convenient without removing the clutch cover. This awesome feature keeps your chain perfectly tensioned for top-notch cutting performance. 

Noise Level

Both the MS170 and 120 Mark II generate a sound power of 100 dB. In simple terms, they both make the same amount of noise while operating, hitting around the 100 dB mark. 

Chain Brake

Both the MS170 and 120 Mark II come with an inertia-activated chain brake that senses any sudden movements of the chainsaw and instantly activates the brake. This stops the chain in its tracks, making sure it doesn’t accidentally hit the operator.

Advantages of Husqvarna 120 Mark Ⅱ

Powerful and Fuel-efficient Engine

The 120 Mark II comes with a powerful 2-stroke engine that delivers top-notch performance while being fuel-efficient. It keeps the chainsaw running at its best, providing efficient and effective cutting while also lowering emissions and fuel consumption.

Ideal For Light Felling and Limbing

With its powerful engine, the 120 Mark II guarantees you can easily cut firewood and handle light felling and limbing tasks. Besides, it can handle wood up to 10 inches thick due to its 18-inch guide bar support.

Air Purge Starting System

With the Air Purge System of 120 Mark II, you won’t have to struggle to start the cutting machine. The system clears air from the fuel system, ensuring the right fuel and air mix in the cylinder. So, when you pull the cord, it starts up more easily with fewer attempts.

Advanced Air Filter System

The 120 Mark II features an air injection filter that separates and expels heavier particles from the machine. This prevents the air filter from clogging up quickly and maintains the machine’s performance for longer periods. 

Disadvantages of Husqvarna 120 Mark Ⅱ


One of the Husqvarna 120 Mark II problems, which may or may not be an issue for you, is that it weighs 10.7 lbs, a bit heavier than the MS170. 

A difference of 2.1 lbs might be fine for experienced chainsaw users, but it can matter for beginners. If you’re new to handling chainsaws, the extra weight of the 120 Mark II could make you feel fatigued after extended use.

No Oil-Efficient Guide Bar

Unlike the MS170, the 120 Mark II doesn’t have an Ematic guide bar to reduce oil consumption. 

Advantages of Stihl MS170


The MS170 is lighter than the 120 Mark II, which is awesome if you’re a beginner or prefer not to deal with heavy cutting tools for long periods.

Compensating Carburetor

The MS170 can perform in any condition due to its compensating carburetor. It can adjust the fuel-to-air ratio according to your cutting tasks and the environment. This ensures the chainsaw performs smoothly regardless of the condition.

Oil Efficient Guide Bar

The MS170 comes with an Ematic guide bar that manages the oil flow to the chain based on your cutting tasks. This translates to less oil consumption.

Disadvantages of Stihl MS170

Less Powerful Engine

While the MS170 boasts a powerful engine, it can only cut firewood and perform pruning or trimming tasks. You can’t use it even for light felling or limbing tasks.

No Separate Air Filter

Unlike the Air Injection technology of the 120 Mark, it doesn’t separate heavier particles from lighter ones. So, its air filter may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Stihl more expensive than Husqvarna?

Stihl chainsaws are generally cheaper and more budget-friendly than Husqvarna chainsaws. The price difference often stems from design variations. For instance, Stihl models usually have smaller fuel tanks than Husqvarna cutting machines, contributing to their lower cost.

What is Husqvarna 120 Mark II cc?

The Husqvarna 120 Mark has a 38 cc displacement.

Can I use the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170 for professional cutting tasks?

No, you can’t. Both chainsaws are for regular homeowners who need to tackle light to moderate tasks now and then. But if you’re a pro or need a heavy-duty machine for work, you should check out the higher-end models built to handle the challenging demands of professional use.

Can I use the same chains on both the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and the Stihl MS170?

No, you can’t swap chains between these two chainsaws. They’re made with specific specs and sizes, so you must use the right chain for each model, as the user manual mentions. Always stick to the recommended chain size and type for your chainsaw.

Which chainsaw can I use for felling trees, the Husqvarna 120 Mark II or the Stihl MS170?

You can use the 120 Mark for light felling and limbing but not for heavy-duty cutting tasks, as it’s a lightweight cutting machine designed for homeowners. On the other hand, the MS170 isn’t suitable for even light felling and limbing tasks but only for cutting firewood, pruning, and trimming.

Are the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and Stihl MS170 suitable for beginners?

Both the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and the Stihl MS170 are perfect for beginners. They’re light, easy to use, and have safety features to keep things user-friendly. Besides, the user manuals and safety guidelines make it clear and easy to operate them safely.

What is the maximum bar length that can be used on the Husqvarna 120 Mark II and the Stihl MS170?

The Husqvarna 120 Mark II can work with bars 14 to 18 inches long, and the Stihl MS170 can handle bars ranging from 12 to 16 inches. But make sure to double-check the manufacturer’s guidelines to get the right bar length for each chainsaw.

Husqvarna 120 Mark II vs Stihl MS 170: Final Verdict

After reading this detailed Stihl MS170 and Husqvarna 120 Mark II review, you probably now have a good idea of which chainsaw to get. If you need a fuel-efficient and lightweight machine that can handle light felling and limbing tasks, the 120 Mark II is your ideal choice. 

On the other hand, if you require an affordable and even more lightweight cutting tool that can perform in various conditions, the MS170 is the perfect fit. Ultimately, your decision comes down to your budget and specific cutting needs. So, choose wisely!

Patrick McMann