10 Best STIHL Chainsaws of 2024: Forestry Choice


Choosing the right chainsaw can be challenging, but STIHL makes the decision easier. Since 1926, STIHL has been a leader in chainsaw innovation, known for quality and reliability. In 2024, STIHL continues to impress with a lineup that combines power, durability, and ease of use. Whether you’re a professional logger or a homeowner needing to trim trees, there’s a STIHL chainsaw tailored to your needs.

Forester holding chainsaw and cutting log

This guide covers the 10 best STIHL chainsaws of 2024, from robust models for heavy-duty tasks to lighter, more manageable versions, helping you find the perfect tool to elevate your woodcutting tasks.

Best STIHL Chainsaw List:

Best STIHL Chainsaw Top Picks

1. STIHL MS 170

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 8.6 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 16 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ PMM3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 4.9 oz.
  • Engine Power: 1.7 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 8.5 oz.
  • Displacement: 30.1 cc

The STIHL MS 170 chainsaw is ideal for homeowners looking for an efficient, easy-to-handle tool for their yard work. This lightweight model is specifically designed for cutting small trees, trimming branches, and clearing storm debris. It features the Ematic Lubrication System, which ensures precise chain lubrication, reducing oil consumption and maintenance costs. Additionally, the IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor automatically adjusts the air-fuel mix to maintain optimal performance, while the Anti-Vibration System minimizes user fatigue during prolonged use. Despite its affordability, the MS 170 includes many professional-grade features, making it an excellent value for everyday home use.


  • As a homeowner, I appreciate how light and easy to maneuver the MS 170 is, perfect for quick yard tasks.
  • The Ematic™ Lubrication System really helps conserve oil, which saves money in the long run.
  • It’s quite affordable, offering great value for its capabilities.


  • It’s not cut out for heavy-duty tasks. I found it lacks the power needed for more substantial cutting.
  • Definitely not suitable for professional use, as it’s designed for lighter home maintenance.

2. STIHL MS 250

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 10.1 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 18 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: .325″ RM3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 6.8 oz.
  • Engine Power: 3.0 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 15.9 oz.
  • Displacement: 45.4 cc

The STIHL MS 250 is a robust and efficient chainsaw, perfect for homeowners who depend on firewood to keep their homes warm. Known for its exceptional power-to-weight ratio, this chainsaw is ideal for cutting through small limbs and trees and handling clearing or cleanup tasks around the home. It features an Easy-Access Air Filter Cover for quick maintenance, a Winter/Summer Shutter to optimize engine performance across different temperatures, an Anti-Vibration System to reduce user fatigue, and a Master Control Lever for simplified operation. With these features, the MS 250 has long been a customer favorite, celebrated for its reliability and outstanding performance in residential settings.


  • The power-to-weight ratio is impressive. It feels light but powers through bigger logs and branches easily.
  • I love the winter/summer shutter; it makes the chainsaw adaptable to all seasons.
  • It starts up easily and handles well, which is great for more extended use.


  • It’s heavier and more robust, which might not be necessary for all homeowners.
  • Uses more fuel due to its higher power output, so it’s a bit more expensive to run.


Product Specifications

  • Guide Bar Length: 30 cm (12″) STIHL ROLLOMATIC E
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 210 cc (7.4 oz)
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Run Time (w/ AK 30): Up to 45 minutes (Only works with AK 30)
  • Powerhead Weight (w/ Recommended Battery): w/ AK 30 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs.)
  • Battery Series: AK Series

The STIHL MSA 140 C-BQ is a top choice for suburban homeowners, offering up to 45 minutes of excellent cutting performance with the AK 30 battery, making it perfect for tasks like limb removal and storm cleanup. This chainsaw is particularly suited for noise-sensitive areas due to its quiet operation. Weighing just 8.6 lbs with the bar and chain, and only 5.7 lbs without the battery, it combines compactness and light weight to ensure ease of use and maneuverability. Visit our store to explore this affordable chainsaw and the full range of STIHL battery products. Keep in mind that run time can vary based on battery type and operating conditions, and batteries and chargers are available for purchase separately or as a set.


  • The quiet operation is a standout; it’s perfect for residential areas where noise is a concern.
  • Being battery-powered, it’s incredibly convenient with no gas mixing or intense maintenance.
  • Lightweight and easy to handle, especially for quick tasks.


  • The battery life is a limitation; I often need to recharge or swap batteries for larger projects.
  • Not as powerful as gas models, which can be a downside for tougher tasks.

4. STIHL MS 362 C-M

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 12.35 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 20 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ RS3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 11 oz.
  • Engine Power: 4.69 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 20.3 oz.
  • Displacement: 59.0 cc

The STIHL MS 362 C-M is a powerhouse professional chainsaw that offers the perfect blend of torque, power, and weight, thanks to the integration of STIHL M-Tronic technology. This advanced chainsaw features the STIHL M-Tronic engine management system, a microprocessor-controlled innovation that optimizes engine performance by automatically adjusting to changes in environment conditions like temperature, elevation, and fuel quality. It also compensates for the cleanliness of the air filter to ensure consistent power output. Additional features such as STIHL ElastoStart for smoother starting, IntelliCarb compensating carburetor to adjust the air-to-fuel ratio, and STIHL QuickStop chain brake for safety, enhance its usability and efficiency, making the MS 362 C-M an excellent choice for professionals looking for reliable performance in various cutting conditions.


  • The M-Tronic system is fantastic for maintaining optimal engine performance without manual tweaks.
  • It’s robust enough for professional tasks but still manageable for personal projects.
  • Solid build and good fuel efficiency make it a durable choice.


  • It’s pretty pricey, reflecting its professional-grade design.
  • Heavier, which might be off-putting for casual users who prefer something lighter.

5. STIHL MS 500i

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 13.9 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 25 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ RS3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 11 oz.
  • Engine Power: 6.7 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 26.5 oz.
  • Displacement: 79.2 cc

The STIHL MS 500i, the first STIHL chainsaw with electronically controlled fuel injection, is designed for forestry personnel and tree service professionals. It stands out with an excellent power-to-weight ratio and features such as sensor-controlled fuel metering and quick acceleration, making it ideal for demanding tasks like tree felling, bucking, and delimbing. Its innovative fuel injection system ensures consistent power under varying conditions, while the new generation MDG 1 diagnostic software enhances maintenance capabilities. Additional conveniences include a quarter-turn lock on the air filter shroud for easy maintenance, making the MS 500i a powerful, efficient, and reliable tool in the STIHL lineup.


  • The fuel injection system offers consistent and powerful performance, a big plus for heavy-duty work.
  • It handles large-scale tasks efficiently, saving time and effort.
  • Quick acceleration and high power output are perfect for demanding forestry work.


  • The cost is on the higher side, definitely an investment.
  • The sophisticated technology may require more complex maintenance.

6. STIHL MS 261 C-M

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 10.8 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 16 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: .325″ RM3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 9.13 oz.
  • Engine Power: 4.0 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 16.9 oz.
  • Displacement: 50.2 cc

The STIHL MS 261 C-M is a versatile mid-size chainsaw designed for professionals who demand high performance and efficiency. Featuring the advanced STIHL M-Tronic technology, this chainsaw delivers consistently optimized engine performance by adjusting automatically to changes in environmental conditions such as elevation, temperature, and fuel quality. It retains all the benefits of the MS 261 model, such as low exhaust emissions and high fuel efficiency, but enhances these with a microprocessor that manages engine settings to adapt to varying octane levels and air filter conditions, eliminating the need for manual adjustments. Additionally, the MS 261 C-M boasts an EMATIC Lubrication System to reduce oil consumption and a redesigned, ergonomic housing that improves its power-to-weight ratio, making it a powerful yet manageable tool for a wide range of cutting tasks.


  • It’s perfect for professionals who need efficiency and power without the bulk.
  • The ergonomic design and excellent power-to-weight ratio make long workdays easier.
  • Lower emissions and high fuel efficiency are significant pluses.


  • More expensive than simpler models, not ideal for casual use.
  • Might offer more features than a casual user would ever need.

7. STIHL MS 391

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 13.67 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 20 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ RS3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 11.8 oz.
  • Engine Power: 4.4 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 20.3 oz.
  • Displacement: 64.1 cc

The STIHL MS 391 is a powerful mid-range chainsaw ideal for heavy-duty tasks on farms, ranches, and after storms. It features advanced STIHL engine technology that boosts fuel efficiency and reduces exhaust emissions compared to similar models. Equipped with an IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor and Pre-Separation Air Filtration System, the MS 391 maintains optimal performance and air filter longevity. It also offers an anti-vibration system for comfort, bumper spikes for control, and toolless fuel and oil caps for easy maintenance. More powerful yet equally weighted compared to the MS 311, it delivers an excellent power-to-weight ratio for felling trees and cutting firewood efficiently.


  • Great for big jobs like felling trees or cutting large amounts of firewood.
  • The power-to-weight ratio makes it easier to handle despite its capabilities.
  • Features like the anti-vibration system add comfort during use.


  • At 13.67 lbs, it can be heavy and cumbersome for some.
  • Not as fuel-efficient as newer models, which could be a turn-off for some users.

8. STIHL MS 661 C-M

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 16.5 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 25 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ RS3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 13.5 oz.
  • Engine Power: 7.2 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 28.7 oz.
  • Displacement: 91.1 cc

The STIHL MS 661 C-M is a robust chainsaw designed for professional use, particularly for felling large trees efficiently. It features STIHL M-Tronic engine management for optimal performance and 20% greater fuel efficiency than previous models. This saw also includes an Ematic Lubrication System to minimize oil consumption and an IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor that adjusts automatically to maintain efficiency. Ideal for use with long guide bars, the MS 661 C-M offers a superior power-to-weight ratio and reduced vibration for comfortable use. Additional features include a durable HD-2 filter system for extended maintenance intervals, an ElastoStart™ handle for smoother starts, and an adjustable oiler to suit various cutting needs. This chainsaw is a top choice for professionals seeking powerful and reliable performance.


  • Excellent for professional use with its powerful engine and long guide bar compatibility.
  • Less vibration and improved fuel efficiency make it comfortable and cost-effective.
  • Sturdy and reliable for the most demanding tasks.


  • Definitely one of the heaviest models, challenging to use for less experienced users.
  • The price is quite high due to its advanced features and capabilities.


Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Battery
  • Powerhead Weight: 8.2 lbs.
  • Weight (with AP 300 battery): 12.2 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 14 in.
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 7.1 oz.
  • Battery System: AP System
  • Run Time (with AP 300 battery): Up to 50 min.
  • Voltage: 36 volt

The STIHL MSA 200 C-BQ is a battery-powered chainsaw perfect for tasks like cutting firewood, cleaning up after storms, and various home projects. It starts effortlessly with just a trigger pull, eliminating the need for cord pulling, fuel mixing, or complex startups. This chainsaw is quiet and emission-free, ideal for use in noise-sensitive or emission-restricted areas. It features an IPX4 rating for weather resistance, an Ematic Lubrication System to optimize oil use, and a Quick Chain Adjuster for tool-free chain adjustments. Lightweight and portable, the MSA 200 C-BQ runs on an interchangeable STIHL lithium-ion battery, providing ample power, speed, and runtime for diverse cutting tasks, all while being tough enough to carry the STIHL name.


  • Ideal for quick, clean cuts and smaller jobs around the property.
  • Battery operation means no fumes and reduced noise—great for residential use.
  • Weather-resistant construction enhances its durability.


  • Limited by battery capacity, not suited for long, uninterrupted work.
  • Lacks the brute strength of its gas-powered cousins.

10. STIHL MS 180

Product Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Powerhead Weight: 8.6 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Length (Recommended): 16 in.
  • OILOMATIC Chain: 3/8″ PMM3
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 4.9 oz.
  • Engine Power: 2.0 bhp
  • Fuel Capacity: 8.5 oz.
  • Displacement: 31.8 cc

The STIHL MS 180 is a dependable, lightweight chainsaw designed for occasional use, making it ideal for tasks like trimming branches, cutting small trees, and clearing debris after a storm. It features an IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor that automatically adjusts the air-to-fuel mix for optimal performance, an Anti-Vibration System for comfortable operation, and a Master Control Lever for easy handling. The saw also benefits from a side-access chain tensioner that facilitates quick and easy chain adjustments. With improvements to its engine air flow and shroud design, the MS 180 enhances engine cooling and air filtration, ensuring more reliable and consistent performance during use. This chainsaw offers excellent value for those needing a light-duty tool for infrequent tasks around the yard.


  • Perfect for light yard maintenance like trimming and cleaning up after storms.
  • Enhanced air filtration and cooling systems ensure consistent performance.
  • It’s light and easy to start, which makes it accessible for anyone.


  • Not suitable for heavy-duty tasks; it doesn’t have the power needed for larger cuts.
  • While great for occasional use, it might not hold up under rigorous, frequent use.

STIHL Chainsaw Features: What We Focus On

  1. STIHL’s non-battery chainsaws deploy a two-cycle fuel system, requiring manual pulling for activation. A model that struggles to start may warrant servicing. Professionals often have a seamless start experience, but for those frequently toggling the chainsaw, STIHL’s EFI models, though pricier, might be apt.
  2. Regularly adjusting the chainsaw bar is pivotal since new chains tend to stretch. Ensure frequent tightening during the initial uses. If the stihl chain saw tightens without warning, it’s likely due to insufficient bar oiling. Professionals rely on the scrench—a unique tool blending a screwdriver and wrench. Tool-free tensioners, though common, aren’t our top choice for professional settings. They might compromise long-term reliability.
    Pro Tip: Release the chain tension at the day’s end, especially during cold weather, to prevent undue tightening and potential wear.
  3. Losing bar nuts in the field isn’t rare. Notably, Stihl and Husqvarna often have captive nuts, which Echo might lack. Always keep spare screnches and nuts in your vehicle.
    Pro Tip: Always have an extra nut handy.
  4. Most chainsaw manufacturers source their bars and chains, with Oregon being a frequent choice. However, during our visits, we observed Stihl producing their chainsaw guide bars. In our studies, 3/8″ pitch, and 0.050″ gauge chains are prevalent, but some saws prefer the .325-inch pitch for faster cutting.
  5. Effective lubrication with bar and chain oil is imperative. Any oil application features preventing leaks are commendable. Ensuring visible oil levels is crucial. We also value ergonomic and spill-proof oil refill systems.
  6. Chain brakes and safety trigger locks should be efficient and user-friendly. The chain brake should be easily activated during kickbacks. Also, the handguard position and chain catch pin are essential safety markers.
  7. Chainsaws are furnished with bucking spikes or felling spikes to boost cutting efficiency. These spikes anchor the saw, allowing it to seamlessly glide through the cut.
  8. Balance and comfortable handles, combined with weight distribution, contribute to a chainsaw’s overall ergonomic design. Stihl chainsaws, renowned for their power, also impress with their balance. Handle design, trigger comfort, and weight also play significant roles in user comfort.

Maintenance Tips and Best Practices for Chainsaws

Regular Maintenance Checks

  1. Clean Regularly: After each use, clean your chainsaw thoroughly. Remove debris and sawdust from the chainsaw’s body, especially around the air intake and the chain sprocket area. This prevents overheating and maintains efficiency.
  2. Inspect and Replace Chain: Check the chain’s sharpness and tension regularly. A dull chain makes your chainsaw work harder and increases the risk of kickback. Replace or sharpen the chain as needed. Ensure that the chain tension is correct; it should be snug, but still able to rotate freely.
  3. Air Filter Maintenance: Clean the air filter regularly or replace it if it’s too dirty or damaged. A clean air filter ensures that the engine gets enough air for combustion, which is crucial for maintaining power output and engine longevity.
  4. Spark Plug Inspection: Inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or carbon build-up and replace it if necessary. A well-functioning spark plug is essential for easy starting and efficient engine performance.

Seasonal Storage

  1. Winter Storage: If you’re storing your chainsaw for the winter, drain the fuel to prevent any deterioration or damage to the fuel system. Clean the entire saw, lightly oil the chain and guide bar to prevent rust, and store it in a dry, cool place. If your chainsaw has a battery, remove it and store it separately in a climate-controlled environment.
  2. Pre-Season Check: Before you start using your chainsaw again in the spring, perform a thorough check. This includes tightening all nuts and bolts, checking the chain sharpness and tension, ensuring the lubrication system is unclogged, and the battery (if applicable) is fully charged.

Safety Precautions

  1. Wear Proper Gear: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, eye protection, ear protection, and chainsaw chaps. This gear protects you from flying debris, noise, and potential cuts.
  2. Handle with Care: Never start your chainsaw in an enclosed space or indoors. Always ensure you’re starting the saw on the ground or another stable surface where the chain won’t contact anything during start-up.
  3. Kickback Awareness: Be aware of chainsaw kickback, which can happen if the nose of the guide bar hits an object, or the chain gets pinched. Always hold the chainsaw firmly with both hands and be prepared for sudden movements.

Long-Term Reliability

  1. Regular Servicing: Even with diligent maintenance, professional servicing is recommended at least once a year. A qualified technician can handle deeper engine checks, carburetor adjustments, and other internal systems, ensuring your chainsaw remains in top condition.
  2. Upgrade When Necessary: As your chainsaw ages, certain parts may become obsolete or wear out. Replace these parts with genuine spares to maintain performance and safety.


In conclusion, STIHL’s range of chainsaws embodies a commitment to innovation, efficiency, and safety that sets the standard in the forestry and landscaping industries. Whether it’s the lightweight design of the MS 170, ideal for simple home use, or the robust engineering of the MS 661 C-M, designed for heavy-duty professional tasks, STIHL offers a model tailored to every user’s needs. The integration of advanced technologies such as the M-Tronic engine management system and the Ematic Lubrication System across various models ensures that STIHL chainsaws deliver top performance while adapting to diverse environmental conditions and user requirements.

Moreover, the emphasis on ergonomic design and environmental consciousness across STIHL’s product lines underscores the brand’s commitment to user comfort and sustainability. By choosing a STIHL chainsaw, users are not only investing in a high-quality tool capable of tackling a wide range of tasks but are also partnering with a brand renowned for reliability and customer satisfaction. As chainsaw technology continues to evolve, STIHL remains at the forefront, ready to meet the future with tools that combine power, precision, and practicality.

Looking for a STIHL Dealer Near Me? Find One Here with the STIHL Dealer Locator!

Related Articles:


  1. What makes the STIHL MS 500i a revolutionary chainsaw in the market?
    The MS 500i stands out as the world’s first chainsaw featuring electronic fuel injection, ensuring rapid acceleration and enhanced fuel efficiency, a testament to STIHL’s innovation.
  2. Why is the MS 170 often considered an ‘entry-level’ chainsaw?
    The MS 170 is lightweight and tailored for light tasks like pruning and trimming, making it a suitable introductory chainsaw for beginners or homeowners.
  3. How does the M-Tronic electronic engine system in the MS 261 C-M enhance performance?
    The advanced M-Tronic system automatically adjusts the air/fuel mixture, ensuring optimal engine performance, quick startup times, and consistent power delivery across different environmental conditions.
  4. How does the MS 362 C-M contribute to environmental sustainability?
    The MS 362 C-M incorporates reduced emission technology, emphasizing STIHL’s commitment to producing tools that minimize its ecological footprint.
  5. In what scenarios is the MS 441 C-M Magnum most beneficial?
    Designed for raw power and durability, the MS 441 C-M Magnum is most effective in heavy-duty forestry tasks, like felling large trees and enduring prolonged milling sessions.
  6. How does the MS 880 Magnum differentiate itself in terms of power?
    The MS 880 Magnum is known for its immense power and rugged construction, making it capable of handling the toughest logging tasks and dealing with colossal logs.
  7. Why is the STIHL MSA 200 C-B a unique proposition in urban settings?
    Being a battery-powered chainsaw, the MSA 200 C-B is not only quiet, reducing noise pollution, but it also provides a potent cutting performance, ideal for urban environments.
  8. For what specific tasks is the MS 150 C-E best suited?
    The MS 150 C-E, with its precision and lightweight design, is tailored for detailed tasks like intricate pruning, and in-tree work, and is a favorite among tree surgeons and arborists.
  9. How does the Easy2Start system in the MS 180 C-BE benefit users?
    The Easy2Start system reduces the effort required to start the chainsaw, making it a user-friendly experience, especially for those who might not use chainsaws frequently.
  10. Which chainsaw from the 2024 lineup would be best for a homeowner with occasional trimming and firewood-cutting tasks?
    While several models could fit the bill, the MS 180 C-BE is especially suited for homeowners due to its versatility, user-friendly features, and reliability for diverse tasks.
  11. Where Can I Find STIHL Chainsaws for Sale?
    You can purchase STIHL chainsaws at authorized STIHL dealers or Check out our Marketplace.

What are your insights on the 10 Best STIHL Chainsaws of 2024? Share your personal experiences and opinions in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.

David Murray
David Murray
Forestry Author

I'm David Murry, a forestry equipment specialist with a focus on chainsaw operation. With over 13 years of experience, I've honed my skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of machinery, from chainsaws to log splitters. My passion for the outdoors and commitment to sustainable forestry drive my work, which emphasizes safety, efficiency, and staying updated with industry advancements. Additionally, I'm dedicated to sharing my expertise and promoting environmental awareness within the forestry community.


Have a 500i great saw ,can't find any fault with it,

Daniel Adams
December 2, 2023 7:54 pm

I have a stilth MS 180 chainsaw and have problems with the metal studs which hold the chain gaurd in place, when i screw the nuts onto the studs they turn in the plastic housing and don't tighten. A massive design fault, you can't have metal studs screwed into plastic housing and expect nuts to grip the housing and be secure. Very dissapointed with this chainsaw.

Daniel Adams
Dave Power
October 29, 2023 7:52 pm

The 441 shouldn’t be on this list. The 500 weighs less, puts out more power. 500 made the 441 and 462 obsolete.

Daniel Adams
David DeJong
October 22, 2023 7:16 am

I have a 462 and it kicks it

Kristin Watsons
October 24, 2023 4:48 pm

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