STIHL MS 251 C-BE Review


As an avid DIY enthusiast and homeowner, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with various power tools. When it comes to chainsaws, I’ve always valued reliability, performance, and ease of use. Recently, I had the opportunity to test out the STIHL MS 251 C-BE, and it left me thoroughly impressed. In this review, I’ll provide a user’s perspective on this chainsaw, backed by my knowledge and experience, and share quantitative measurements and comparisons to help you make an informed decision.

STIHL MS 251 C-BE on white background


  • Engine Displacement: 45.6 cc
  • Engine Power Output: 2.2 kW (3.0 bhp)
  • Weight (without bar and chain): 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs)
  • Guide Bar Length Options: 16 inches, 18 inches, and 20 inches
  • Chain Speed: 13,500 RPM
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 390 cc (13.2 oz)
  • Oil Tank Capacity: 198 cc (6.7 oz)
  • Fuel Mixture: 50:1 (50 parts gasoline to 1 part 2-stroke oil)
  • Chain Type: 3/8″ PM3
  • Sound Power Level: 113 dB(A)
  • Vibration Level (front/rear handle): 2.8 m/s² / 3.3 m/s²

Craftsmanship and Design

The STIHL MS 251 C-BE reflects the hallmark craftsmanship that the STIHL brand is renowned for. Its design is a testament to the brand’s commitment to durability and functionality. The chainsaw is engineered with precision and attention to detail, ensuring that each component is robust and capable of withstanding the rigors of heavy use. From the well-balanced construction to the high-quality materials used in its manufacturing, it’s evident that STIHL has poured its expertise into creating a reliable and long-lasting tool.

STIHL MS 251 C-BE on white background
STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw on tree trunk.

The design of the MS 251 C-BE is also highly user-centric. The incorporation of the Quick Chain Tensioning system allows for tool-less adjustments, saving users valuable time during maintenance. The easy-starting mechanism and ergonomic handles ensure comfortable operation, even during extended use.

STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw on forest floor.

The overall design strikes a balance between power and maneuverability, making it a versatile tool that can be wielded effectively in various cutting scenarios. STIHL’s attention to both craftsmanship and user-friendly design makes the 251 Wood Boss a standout choice in the world of chainsaws, appealing to both seasoned professionals and homeowners alike.

Performance Metrics

When it comes to evaluating the performance metrics of the STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw, there are several key factors to consider that underscore its capability as a reliable cutting tool.

Close-up of a STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw in operation.

Engine Power and Displacement

The 45.6cc engine in the STIHL MS 251 C-BE is a standout feature. This engine delivers an impressive maximum power output of 2.2 kW (or 3.0 bhp), which is crucial for accomplishing a wide range of cutting tasks. Whether you’re cutting through thick hardwoods or performing demanding tasks like tree felling, this engine’s power ensures efficiency and effectiveness.

Person cutting log with STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw.

Chain Speed

The MS 251 C-BE boasts a chain speed of 13,500 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). This high chain speed is pivotal in achieving efficient cutting. It allows the chainsaw to make quick work of even the toughest wood, reducing the effort required from the operator. This is especially beneficial for tasks where speed and precision are paramount, such as in emergency tree removal or large-scale firewood production.

Person using STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw on snowy ground.

Quick Chain Tensioning System (QCT)

One of the standout features contributing to its performance is the Quick Chain Tensioning system (QCT). This innovative system allows for tool-less adjustments to the chain’s tension. Keeping the chain at the optimal tension level ensures smooth and efficient cutting while minimizing the risk of chain derailment or breakage. This not only enhances performance but also simplifies maintenance, saving valuable time on the job.

Visual Concept

The STIHL MS 251 C-BE is a chainsaw that embodies a visual concept of rugged durability and ergonomic efficiency. Its design seamlessly blends functionality with aesthetics, featuring a robust frame that exudes strength and reliability. The chainsaw boasts a balanced and ergonomic handle design, ensuring user comfort during prolonged use. The vibrant orange and white color scheme, synonymous with the STIHL brand, not only conveys a sense of professionalism but also ensures high visibility on the job site. The contrast of the sturdy metal components against the sleek plastic housing showcases a harmonious fusion of form and function, reinforcing the idea that this chainsaw is both a powerful tool and a testament to precision engineering. Overall, the visual concept of the STIHL MS 251 C-BE communicates a message of reliability and performance, appealing to those who demand both function and style from their tools.

Comparison Table and Competitive

FeatureSTIHL MS 251 C-BEHusqvarna 445: Petrol Chainsaw 18″
Engine Displacement45.6 cc45.7 cc
Engine Power Output2.2 kW (3.0 bhp)2.4 kW (3.2 hp)
Weight (without bar and chain)4.9 kg (10.8 lbs)5.1 kg (11.2 lbs)
Guide Bar Length Options16″, 18″, 20″18″
Chain Speed13,500 RPM9,000 RPM (maximum)
Quick Chain Tensioning SystemYesNo
Fuel Tank Capacity390 cc (13.2 oz)0.45 liters (approx. 15.2 oz)
Oil Tank Capacity198 cc (6.7 oz)0.27 liters (approx. 9.1 oz)
Fuel Mixture50:1 (50 parts gasoline to 1 part 2-stroke oil)50:1 (50 parts gasoline to 1 part 2-stroke oil)
Low-Emission DesignYesYes
Inertia Chain BrakeYesYes
Price Range (Approximate)Moderate to HighModerate

Comparative Analysis


STIHL MS 251 C-BE offers lower engine power (2.2 kW) but compensates with a high chain speed (13,500 RPM) for efficient cutting. It features a user-friendly Quick Chain Tensioning system and a lightweight design (4.9 kg) while offering multiple guide bar length options. However, it’s in a moderate to high price range.

STIHL MS 251 C-BE on white background

Husqvarna 445

Husqvarna 445 provides slightly more power (2.4 kW) but has a lower chain speed (9,000 RPM), potentially affecting cutting efficiency. It lacks the Quick Chain Tensioning system, is slightly heavier (5.1 kg), and typically comes with an 18″ guide bar. It falls in the moderate price range, making it more budget-friendly than the STIHL. Your choice depends on power, speed, user-friendliness, weight, guide bar length, and budget preferences.

Husqvarna 445 on white background

Pros and Cons


  • The STIHL MS 251 C-BE is designed with user-friendliness in mind. The Quick Chain Tensioning system simplifies maintenance tasks, ensuring that adjusting the chain tension is hassle-free. This feature not only saves time but also reduces downtime, allowing users to get back to work swiftly.
  • With its robust 45.6cc engine and high chain speed, this chainsaw packs a punch. Its power and cutting efficiency shine even in challenging conditions, making it versatile for various cutting tasks, from slicing through hardwoods to handling demanding projects.
  • Weighing in at just 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs) without the bar and chain, the MS 251 C-BE is relatively lightweight for a chainsaw in its class. This manageable weight reduces user fatigue during extended use, making it comfortable to operate for longer periods.
  • The STIHL MS 251 C-BE embraces environmental responsibility with its low emissions and fuel-efficient design. It reduces its impact on the environment while still delivering the performance you need, which is particularly important in areas with emissions regulations.
  • Safety is paramount when working with chainsaws. The inertia chain brake is a critical safety feature that promptly stops the chain in case of kickback, minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries.


  • While the STIHL MS 251 C-BE offers excellent value for its performance and features, it may come at a slightly higher price point compared to some budget alternatives. However, the investment is often justified by the chainsaw’s reliability and longevity.
  • Like many gas-powered chainsaws, the MS 251 C-BE does produce vibrations during operation. While these vibrations are manageable for most users, they can potentially lead to discomfort or fatigue during prolonged use. Proper safety measures and the use of anti-vibration gloves can help mitigate this issue.

Best Uses

The STIHL MS 251 C-BE is an incredibly versatile chainsaw that excels in various applications. Its powerful 45.6cc engine and 13,500 RPM chain speed make it well-suited for a range of tasks. Homeowners will find it perfect for cutting firewood, pruning branches, and even felling smaller trees. Its ease of use, thanks to the Quick Chain Tensioning system and easy-starting mechanism, means that even those new to chainsaws can confidently operate it.

Person in red pants using STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw in forest.

For professionals, this chainsaw offers a reliable workhorse for more demanding jobs like tree removal, construction, and land clearing. Its low emissions and fuel efficiency also make it an environmentally responsible choice, fitting for forestry work where regulations on emissions and noise levels are stringent. Whether you’re a homeowner or a professional, the STIHL MS 251 C-BE is adaptable to a wide array of cutting tasks, offering reliability and power in one package.

Decision-Making Factors

When considering a chainsaw, several factors come into play. In my experience, the STIHL MS 251 C-BE excels in the following key areas:

  1. Power: The chainsaw’s robust engine and high chain speed ensure it can handle a wide range of tasks effectively.
  2. Ease of Use: Its user-friendly design, including the Quick Chain Tensioning system, makes it suitable for beginners and experienced users alike.
  3. Environmental Impact: If eco-friendliness matters to you, the MS 251 C-BE’s low emissions and fuel efficiency make it a responsible choice.
  4. Safety: The inertia chain brake adds an extra layer of safety, which is crucial when working with powerful tools.


I wholeheartedly recommend the STIHL MS 251 C-BE chainsaw to both homeowners and professionals seeking a versatile, high-performance tool. Its impressive power, combined with user-friendly features, ensures it can handle a range of cutting needs with ease. The Quick Chain Tensioning system simplifies maintenance, while the easy-starting mechanism reduces frustration when getting to work. Although it might be a bit more expensive than some alternatives, the reliability, fuel efficiency, and low emissions make it a worthwhile investment. Whether you’re maintaining your property or tackling more demanding projects, this chainsaw is a dependable companion that prioritizes both performance and environmental responsibility.


In conclusion, the STIHL MS 251 C-BE is an exceptional chainsaw that excels in the crucial aspects of power, efficiency, and user-friendliness. Its impressive performance and eco-friendly attributes position it as a top pick for both homeowners and professionals. Despite its slightly higher price point compared to some alternatives, the reliability and outstanding performance it delivers make it a solid and worthwhile investment. Whether you’re an experienced woodcutter or just starting out, the MS 251 C-BE’s versatility ensures it can handle various tasks while prioritizing safety and environmental considerations, making it a standout choice in the world of chainsaws.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the engine displacement of the STIHL MS 251 C-BE?
    The STIHL MS 251 C-BE features a 45.6cc engine, providing ample power for various cutting tasks.
  2. Is this chainsaw suitable for professional use or just for homeowners?
    The STIHL MS 251 C-BE is versatile and can be used by both homeowners and professionals for a wide range of cutting applications.
  3. Does it come with a warranty?
    Yes, it typically comes with a limited warranty. Be sure to check with the retailer for specific warranty details.
  4. What is the chain speed of this chainsaw?
    The STIHL MS 251 C-BE has a chain speed of 13,500 RPM, ensuring efficient cutting performance.
  5. How does the Quick Chain Tensioning system work, and is it easy to use?
    The Quick Chain Tensioning system (QCT) allows for tool-less chain tension adjustments, making it simple and quick to maintain the proper chain tension for optimal cutting performance.
  6. Is it easy to start?
    Yes, the STIHL MS 251 C-BE is designed with an easy-starting system, making it user-friendly for individuals of varying experience levels.
  7. What kind of fuel does it use, and is it fuel-efficient?
    This chainsaw uses a mixture of gasoline and 2-stroke oil, and it is designed to be fuel-efficient, reducing both fuel consumption and emissions.
  8. Is there a recommended maintenance schedule for this chainsaw?
    STIHL provides a maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual, which typically includes regular cleaning, chain sharpening, and air filter checks. Following this schedule helps ensure the chainsaw’s longevity and performance.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your personal experiences and thoughts about the STIHL MS 251 C-BE in the comments section below. Your insights could be invaluable to others considering this chainsaw, helping them make informed decisions!

Edward Smith
Edward Smith
Forestry Author

Woodworking is about more than crafting; it's a harmonious connection with nature, mastering tools, and preserving our environment. I'm here to share my knowledge and experiences with you, forging a future where we can embrace wood's beauty and utility while safeguarding our forests' health and diversity.


I've had this saw for a few months now. Ive ran it through about 10 tanks of gas and I've cut a lot of mostly post oak. I absolutely love this saw! Easy start is great! I love the quick tensioner. I do recommend a thorough cleaning inside the tensioner area between major usage of saw. That helps a lot. Some minor things that are also handy are fuel tank that is transparent and easy to see where your fuel level is. The saw has lots of power and cuts great. It cuts even better with the yellow full chisel chain which I recently purchased. Of course that chain has more kickback but if you're careful it's not a problem. All in all, the saw is a beast in my opinion, Great for regular homeowner. I cut about two full cords of wood a year and it's just what I've been needing.

Daniel Adams
June 8, 2024 10:27 pm

Best Stihl saw I own. Easy start is a wonder to experience. When will Stihl going to start selling their battery chain saw mdl 300 in the USA? Looking forward to unboxing one

Daniel Adams
Drew Halvorsen
April 21, 2024 3:55 am

Purchased Stihl MS 251 C Sep 4, 2023 at Atwood's Shawnee, OK. Used about 4 hours over 2 weeks. Then it would not start. Returned to Atwood's Sep 18, 2023 for warranty repair. Three months later I had to go to Atwood's to find out what the status was; they advised it would have to go to Stihl for repair. Feb 2, 2024, I physically went to Atwood's to enquire as to the status of my chainsaw. They said, "Oh, Stihl called last week and said the repair was not covered under warranty". So I said when do I get my chainsaw back. They said, you wont because Stihl destroyed it.

Daniel Adams
Paul Hammack
March 16, 2024 1:21 am

Bought the saw after seeing, Bought, Tried it, Loved it

Daniel Adams
February 16, 2024 8:01 am

I’ve had it in the shop three times. Always had trouble starting. The saw will be three years this year. Has never started with one or two pulls. Time to back to the shop.

Daniel Adams
Steve barnes
January 28, 2024 6:09 pm

I have own this saw for 3 years now and have a mountain of firewood to prove that this saw is a cutting machine. Its not as powerful as my dad's old farm boss but it makes up for it with speed and handy light weight. Plus it starts every time just be sure you run it dry before you put it away.

Daniel Adams
December 14, 2023 3:49 am

I have 2 of these chainsaws unfortunately I have had clutch problems with both of them, just wonder if anyone else has had the same problem

Daniel Adams
Alan Milby
November 22, 2023 9:44 pm

I bought my first stihl chain saw at Ace hardware in Morton Illinois I used it for an hour. The next day I couldn't get it to start. I took it back to the store Ben kept it for 13 days I called him and told him to fix it today or give me my money back he called me a couple hours later and said it was fixed I took it home and couldn't get it to start I offered my neighbor 100 dollars if he could start it after an hour he couldn't get it to start. I've owned a lot of chain saws I've never had one do this not only is stihl the biggest POS I've ever owned Ben at Ace hardware in Morton lied to me about fixing it.

Daniel Adams
Joseph J.Windland
September 5, 2023 11:00 pm

I own this saw. My only complaint is it's too heavy. The ergo start and rapid tensioning system add extra weight,

Kristin Watsons
October 4, 2023 11:00 am

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