STIHL MS 291 Chainsaw Review


When it comes to reliable and efficient outdoor power tools, STIHL is a name that often comes to mind, and their MS 291 Chainsaw is no exception. This mid-range chainsaw strikes a balance between performance and user convenience, making it an appealing choice for both professionals and enthusiastic homeowners. Let’s delve into the details of this chainsaw to understand why it stands out in the crowded market of outdoor power equipment.


GUIDE BAR LENGTH (Recommended)16 in.

STIHL MS 291 Design and Build Quality

STIHL MS 291 Design and Build Quality

The MS 291 continues STIHL’s tradition of robust and durable design. Weighing in at 12.3 lbs, it is relatively lightweight for a gas-powered chainsaw, enhancing its maneuverability and reducing user fatigue during prolonged use. The recommended 16-inch guide bar length is versatile for a range of cutting tasks, from felling small trees to cutting firewood.

STIHL MS 291 Engine and Performance

STIHL MS 291 Engine and Performance

One of the standout features of the MS 291 is its fuel-efficient engine. Boasting a 3.76 bhp power output from a 55.5 cc displacement engine, it offers ample power for most mid-range tasks. The increased fuel efficiency a 20% improvement over its predecessor is a noteworthy advancement, reducing both operational costs and the frequency of refueling.

STIHL MS 291 Advanced Features

Air Filtration System
STIHL MS 291 Advanced Features

The pre-separation air filtration system is an innovative addition. By ejecting heavier dirt particles before they reach the air filter, it extends the filter’s life by up to five times, reducing maintenance needs and ensuring sustained performance.

Anti-Vibration System
Stihl MS 291 Anti-Vibration System

STIHL’s anti-vibration technology is a significant benefit for users. Minimizing vibration levels enhances comfort and reduces fatigue, allowing for longer periods of use without discomfort.

Chain Tensioner
Stihl MS 291 Chain Tensioner

The side-access chain tensioner is a thoughtful design choice. This feature simplifies the chain adjustment process, making it more user-friendly and time-efficient compared to traditional tensioning methods.

Environmental Impact

STIHL’s commitment to the environment is evident in MS 291. The “Caring for Nature” seal indicates that this chainsaw meets or exceeds EPA and CARB exhaust emission standards, making it a more environmentally conscious choice. This aspect will appeal to eco-conscious users who are looking for powerful tools without compromising on environmental values.


Priced at $569.99, the MS 291 is positioned as a premium mid-range chainsaw. While it may be a significant investment for some, the features and durability it offers justify the price tag, especially for those who require a reliable chainsaw for frequent use.

Pros and Cons of the STIHL MS 291 Chainsaw

  • The engine’s design increases run time by 20%, reducing the frequency of refueling and saving on operational costs.
  • The pre-separation air filtration system extends the life of the air filter, minimizing maintenance needs.
  • Reduces user fatigue and increases comfort, making it suitable for prolonged use.
  • The side-access chain tensioner simplifies chain adjustments and maintenance.
  • With a 3.76 bhp engine, it’s powerful enough for a variety of cutting tasks.
  • At $569.99, it is a significant investment, especially for casual or infrequent users.
  • While relatively lightweight for its class, at 12.3 lbs, it may still be heavy for some users, particularly for extended periods of use.
  • Some of its advanced features may require a learning curve for less experienced users.

Maintenance of STIHL MS 291

Maintaining the STIHL MS 291 Chainsaw is crucial for ensuring its longevity, performance, and safety. Regular maintenance not only keeps the chainsaw in good working order but also prevents potential malfunctions that could lead to accidents. Here is a comprehensive guide to maintaining the STIHL MS 291:

1. Chain Maintenance
  • Sharpening: Regularly check the sharpness of the chain. A dull chain makes cutting inefficient and can be dangerous. Use an STIHL filing kit or take it to a professional for sharpening.
  • Tensioning: Ensure the chain is correctly tensioned. A loose chain can come off the bar, while an overly tight chain can cause excessive wear. Adjust the tension regularly, especially when the chain is new as it tends to stretch with initial use.
  • Lubrication: The chain needs constant lubrication. Check the oil level in the chain oil reservoir before each use and refill as necessary.
2. Air Filter Maintenance
  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the air filter, especially if you’re working in dusty conditions. Remove the filter and tap it gently to remove loose dirt, or use a soft brush. If it’s very dirty, replace it.
  • Replacement: Due to the advanced pre-separation air filtration system, the filter will require less frequent cleaning and changing, but it’s still important to inspect it regularly and replace it when necessary.
3. Spark Plug Maintenance
  • Inspection and Cleaning: Remove and inspect the spark plug for wear or carbon build-up. Clean it with a wire brush or replace it if it’s worn out.
  • Gap Adjustment: Ensure the spark plug gap is set to the specifications mentioned in the STIHL MS 291 manual.
4. Fuel Handling
  • Fresh Fuel: Always use fresh fuel with the correct oil-to-gas ratio as specified by STIHL. Stale fuel can clog the carburetor and hinder the chainsaw’s performance.
  • Storage: If you plan to store the chainsaw for an extended period, drain the fuel tank in a well-ventilated area to prevent gum deposits from forming in the fuel system.
5. General Cleaning
  • Regularly clean the entire chainsaw, including the bar and the housing. Ensure that the cooling fins on the engine and the air intake are clear of debris.
6. Bar Maintenance
  • Inspect the guide bar for wear and ensure that it is straight. Also, check the lubrication hole to make sure it’s not clogged.
7. Sprocket Inspection
  • Regularly check the sprocket for wear. A worn sprocket can affect the chain’s movement and need to be replaced.
8. Storing the Chainsaw
  • When not in use, store the chainsaw in a dry, secure place out of the reach of children. It’s advisable to use a protective cover for the guide bar.
9. Professional Service
  • If you’re unsure about any aspect of the chainsaw’s maintenance, or if you notice any unusual behavior like difficult starting or poor performance, have the saw serviced by a professional.

Following these maintenance steps will help ensure that your STIHL MS 291 Chainsaw remains in top condition, providing reliable and efficient performance for various cutting tasks. Always refer to the user manual for specific maintenance recommendations and safety guidelines.


The STIHL MS 291 is a well-rounded chainsaw that combines power, efficiency, and user-friendly features. Its fuel-efficient engine, advanced air filtration system, and anti-vibration technology make it a standout choice in its category. While the price point is on the higher side, the durability and performance of the MS 291 make it a worthy investment for anyone looking for a dependable chainsaw for regular use. Whether for professional landscaping, farm work, or personal projects, the MS 291 is equipped to handle a variety of tasks with ease and efficiency.


  1. How does the MS 291’s fuel efficiency compare to electric or battery-operated chainsaws?
    While the MS 291 is fuel-efficient for a gas chainsaw, electric or battery-operated chainsaws generally offer higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. However, gas chainsaws like the MS 291 often provide more power and longer run times, making them suitable for more demanding tasks.
  2. Can the MS 291 be used for professional tree felling?
    Yes, the MS 291 can be used for professional tree felling, especially for small to medium-sized trees. Its power and durability make it suitable for such tasks, although for very large trees, a more powerful chainsaw might be necessary.
  3. Is special training required to operate the STIHL MS 291 effectively?
    While special training isn’t mandatory, it’s highly recommended, especially for users who are new to chainsaws. Understanding how to use its features safely and effectively can enhance both performance and safety.
  4. How does the anti-vibration system work?
    The anti-vibration system in the MS 291 uses rubber or metal springs to isolate the handles from the engine and cutting attachment. This significantly reduces the vibrations felt by the user, improving comfort and reducing fatigue.
  5. Are there any specific maintenance tips for the MS 291 to ensure longevity?
    Regular maintenance such as cleaning the air filter, checking the chain tension, sharpening the chain, and using fresh fuel with the correct oil mix will help ensure the longevity of the MS 291. Additionally, following the pre-separation air filtration system’s maintenance schedule is crucial.
  6. Can the guide bar length be adjusted or replaced for different tasks?
    Yes, the guide bar on the MS 291 can be replaced with different lengths, depending on the task at hand. However, it’s important to use the lengths recommended by STIHL to ensure safety and optimal performance.

Join the discussion below by sharing your experiences, tips, or reviews. Your contributions help others make informed decisions and navigate their chainsaw choices with confidence. Let’s build a community of shared knowledge for all wood-cutting enthusiasts!

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.


I was very disappointed about the saw power. I was told that it had more power than the saw ahead for close to the boss. The woodsman size but it does not. Can I try to return it in a sold that? I could not return it so I didn't use it for 2 to 3 years discussed with it.

Daniel Adams
Mark Jermolowicz
January 25, 2024 10:57 am

The song does not cut as well as I thought has less power than size that I've had before. I was told that it would have more power. I was totally disgusted with the saw and did not use it for it at least to 2 to 3 years.

Daniel Adams
Mark Jermolowicz
January 25, 2024 10:55 am

Easy start chain saw

Daniel Adams
Ed Buschmann
January 20, 2024 4:22 pm

Leave your comment

Please enter your name.
Please provide a valid email address.
Please type your comment.