STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw Review


After purchasing and extensively using the STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw, I’m excited to share my experience with this high-tech workhorse. Retailing at $629.99, this chainsaw is an upgrade from the MS 291, boasting more horsepower and advanced features. Here’s my comprehensive review!

STIHL MS 311 Specifications

GUIDE BAR LENGTH (Recommended)16 in.

STIHL MS 311 Performance and Power

STIHL MS 311 Performance and Power

The MS 311 is equipped with a 4.2 bhp engine and a displacement of 59.0 cc, which translates to impressive cutting power. I’ve used it for various tasks, from cutting firewood to felling medium-sized trees, and it has performed exceptionally well. The 16-inch guide bar length is a good balance between versatility and manageability.

STIHL MS 311 Fuel Efficiency and Runtime

STIHL MS 311 Fuel Efficiency and Runtime

One of the standout features of the MS 311 is its fuel economy. Stihl’s advanced engine technology claims to improve fuel economy by up to 20% over previous models, and in my experience, this holds true. The 20.3 oz. fuel capacity combined with an efficient engine means longer run times and fewer refueling breaks. This has been particularly beneficial during extended work sessions, as it reduces downtime significantly.

STIHL MS 311 Maintenance and Durability

STIHL MS 311 Maintenance and Durability

The air filtration system is noteworthy. The centrifugal force pre-separation process reduces the amount of dirt reaching the air filter, effectively doubling the time between cleanings. This not only saves time but also prolongs the life of the filter. Additionally, the larger fuel and oil tanks mean less frequent refilling and overall maintenance, which I appreciate.

STIHL MS 311 Comfort and Ease of Use

STIHL’s anti-vibration system is a game-changer for me. It significantly reduces fatigue, especially during long work sessions. The side-access chain tensioner is another convenient feature, making it easier to adjust the chain quickly and safely.

STIHL MS 311 Comfort and Ease of Use

The decompression valve is a small but crucial feature. It simplifies the starting process by reducing the compression in the combustion chamber. This means less effort is needed to pull the starter rope, which is a relief, especially when starting the chainsaw multiple times a day.

Pros and Cons of the STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw

As an owner and frequent user of the STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw, here’s my take on its advantages and disadvantages:

  • The 4.2 bhp engine delivers robust power, making it easy to tackle demanding tasks like cutting thick logs or felling trees.
  • The improved engine technology enhances fuel economy significantly. This means longer run times on a single tank and less frequent refueling, which is a real convenience.
  • The advanced air filtration system with pre-separation technology means I don’t have to clean the air filter as often, saving time and extending the life of the filter.
  • The anti-vibration system is excellent. It minimizes the fatigue on my hands and arms, allowing me to work longer without discomfort.
  • The decompression valve is a lifesaver. It makes starting the chainsaw much easier, especially on cold mornings or when I have to restart it multiple times in a day.
  • At $629.99, it’s a significant investment. For those who don’t require a chainsaw for frequent, heavy-duty use, the price might not be justifiable.
  • Weighing 13.67 pounds, it can be a bit heavy, especially for users not accustomed to handling such robust tools. This might limit its suitability for some users.
  • For someone new to chainsaws, the MS 311, with its various features and systems, could be overwhelming. It’s designed with professional-grade elements, which might not be necessary for casual or first-time users.
  • Despite its fuel efficiency, being a gas-powered chainsaw, it still requires a consistent supply of both fuel and chain oil. This ongoing cost and need for refueling and oil checks might be a drawback for some.
  • Like most gas-powered chainsaws, the MS 311 can be quite loud. This necessitates the use of ear protection and might be a concern in noise-sensitive areas.
  • Although it’s more environmentally friendly than many other models, it’s still a gas-powered tool and emits more pollutants compared to electric or battery-powered alternatives.

Environmental Impact

The “Caring for Nature” seal is a testament to STIHL’s commitment to the environment. This chainsaw produces low exhaust emissions, surpassing EPA and CARB standards. While it’s a gas-powered tool, it’s good to know it’s designed with environmental consciousness in mind.

Final Thoughts

The STIHL MS 311 chainsaw, priced at $629.99, is a significant investment, but its performance, durability, and user-friendly features make it a worthwhile purchase for both professional and heavy-duty personal use.

STIHL MS 311 Cutting log

It balances power and efficiency, with a focus on reducing fatigue and maintenance needs, which are critical factors for regular users. Whether you’re a professional arborist or a homeowner with substantial cutting needs, the MS 311 stands out as a reliable, high-performance tool. While it’s more expensive than some entry-level models, its longevity and efficiency can justify the higher upfront cost.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the STIHL MS 311 to anyone looking for a robust, efficient, and user-friendly chainsaw. It’s a tool that combines power, efficiency, and environmental consciousness, making it a valuable addition to any tool shed.


  1. How does the STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw’s fuel efficiency benefit me?
    The improved fuel efficiency, up to 20% better than previous models, means longer run times between refuels, saving you time and money, especially during extended use.
  2. What makes the MS 311’s air filtration system unique?
    The air filtration system uses centrifugal force to eject heavier dirt particles before air enters the filter, reducing the frequency of filter cleanings and prolonging the filter’s life.
  3. Is the STIHL MS 311 suitable for professional use?
    Absolutely. Its combination of power, durability, and advanced features like the anti-vibration system and decompression valve make it ideal for professional arborists and landscapers.
  4. How does the decompression valve aid in starting the chainsaw?
    The decompression valve reduces the compression in the combustion chamber during starting, making it easier to pull the starter rope and reducing the effort needed to start the chainsaw.
  5. Can the guide bar length be adjusted or replaced for different tasks?
    Yes, while the recommended length is 16 inches, the MS 311 can accommodate different bar lengths to suit various tasks, providing flexibility for different cutting needs.
  6. What environmental standards does the MS 311 meet?
    The MS 311 meets and exceeds EPA and CARB exhaust emission standards, as indicated by the “Caring for Nature” seal, making it an environmentally conscious choice for a gas-powered chainsaw.

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.


One chainsaw

Daniel Adams
January 17, 2024 7:11 am

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