STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw Review


I recently had the opportunity to put the STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw to the test and I am eager to share my findings on this compact yet powerful tool. Known for its enhanced cutting performance and user-friendly design, this chainsaw has proven to be an excellent choice for homeowners looking to tackle both small and moderately sized projects without the hassle of gas-powered models.

Specifications of STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ

  • Bar length (inches): 14
  • Rated voltage: 230
  • Power consumption: 1.7
  • Weight (kg): 4
  • Sound pressure level: 92
  • Sound power level: 103
  • Vibration level left/right (m/s²): 2.9/3.4
  • Cable length (m): 4
  • STIHL Oilomatic saw chain type: 3/4″P
  • Saw chain pitch: PM3

Design and Features

STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ sittin on the spruce trunk

The STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ boasts a 14-inch bar, making it ideal for a range of cutting tasks, from trimming branches to cutting down trees with moderate thickness. Its 230-volt operation and 1.7 kW power consumption ensure that it delivers a performance strong enough to compete with gas models in its class. At just 4 kg, it is incredibly lightweight, enhancing its maneuverability and reducing user fatigue during extended use.

Ergonomics and Safety

Person touching the STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ sitting on the spruce trunk

This model stands out for its excellent ergonomics. The soft handle provides a good grip and adds comfort, making it easier to handle the saw safely and efficiently. The QuickStop Super chain brake is a critical safety feature, immediately halting the chain at the slightest kickback to prevent injuries. Additionally, the tool-free oil tank cap facilitates safe and straightforward chain oil refills, which is a convenience I particularly appreciate.

Additional Features

The chainsaw includes a few more sophisticated features that enhance its functionality:

  • Automatic Oiler: Keeps the chain lubricated, ensuring smooth operation without manual adjustments.
  • Safety Trigger: The dual-mode trigger allows for different stopping mechanisms of the chain, either letting it spin to a stop or stopping it instantly, which adds a layer of safety and control based on your cutting conditions.
  • Quick Chain Adjust Mechanism: Adjusting the chain tension is straightforward with the large adjustment knob, making it easy to ensure the chain is always at the optimal tension for cutting.

User Experience

Using the MSE 170 C-BQ to bring down a 73-foot tall spruce tree was an ambitious task that this chainsaw handled with surprising ease. The Quick Chain Tensioning system allowed for safe and effortless chain adjustments without any tools—a real time-saver. Moreover, its efficient cutting ability was not limited to spruce; it also performed exceptionally well on maple, cutting quickly and cleanly with minimal effort.

STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ sitting on the trunk of the spruce tree

One of the most significant advantages of this electric chainsaw is the lack of mess and maintenance associated with gas chainsaws. It’s virtually ready to go straight out of the shed, and once you’re done, there’s no need to drain gasoline or perform extensive clean-ups. The integrated overload protection and over-temperature cut-off switch provide peace of mind, protecting the saw from overheating during intense operations.

Pros of the STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw

  • Weighing only 4 kg, the MSE 170 C-BQ is exceptionally lightweight, making it easy to handle, especially for prolonged periods or overhead tasks. This reduces user fatigue and makes it accessible for users of all strengths.
  • With a sound pressure level of 92 dB and a power level of 103 dB, it operates quieter than gas-powered chainsaws, making it ideal for residential areas where noise might be a concern.
  • The electric design eliminates the need for fuel handling, reducing mess and simplifying startup. The tool-free oil tank cap and automatic oiler facilitate easy maintenance without the fuss associated with gas models.
  • Equipped with a QuickStop Super chain brake and an overload protection system, it enhances user safety by preventing accidental starts and protecting the motor from damage due to overloading.
  • The Quick Chain Tensioning feature allows for fast and safe chain adjustments without the need for tools, simplifying the chain maintenance process significantly.

Cons of the STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw

  • With a 14-inch bar, its cutting capacity is somewhat limited compared to larger models. This makes it less suitable for cutting down large trees or handling bulkier logs.
  • While it’s powerful for an electric model, with a rated power consumption of 1.7 kW, it doesn’t match the power output of larger gas chainsaws, which may be a drawback for more demanding tasks.
  • Being corded, it limits mobility to the length of the extension cord used, which can be restrictive and requires planning to ensure accessibility to a power source throughout the work area.
  • Managing a 4-meter cable can be cumbersome, especially in dense or complex work areas where a cord can become entangled or pose a tripping hazard.
  • While safety features are crucial, over-reliance on automated features like the quick stop and overload protection can lead users to overlook basic manual safety practices, potentially leading to unsafe habits over time.

How to Mount and Bar the Chain, Tension the Saw Chain of STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ

How to Fill up the Chain Oil of STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ

Final Thoughts

The STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw is an excellent tool for anyone looking to avoid the fuss of a gas chainsaw without compromising on power and efficiency. It’s perfect for home use, offering all the necessary features to tackle a variety of cutting tasks safely and comfortably. Whether you’re a seasoned lumberjack or a weekend warrior, this chainsaw might just be the hassle-free solution you’re looking for.

If you’re contemplating a reliable, powerful, and easy-to-maintain electric chainsaw, the MSE 170 C-BQ should definitely be on your list. Its combination of power, lightweight design, and safety features makes it a highly recommendable choice for any homeowner.


  1. What makes the Quick Chain Tensioning feature on the MSE 170 C-BQ unique?
    The Quick Chain Tensioning feature allows you to adjust the chain tension without any tools. This makes it quick and safe to ensure your chainsaw is always operating with optimal tension, enhancing both performance and safety without the usual hassle.
  2. Can the MSE 170 C-BQ be used for commercial purposes, or is it strictly for home use?
    While the MSE 170 C-BQ is designed primarily for home use due to its power output and features, it is robust enough for light commercial tasks, such as small landscaping jobs. However, for heavy commercial use, a more powerful model might be more appropriate.
  3. How does the overload protection feature work on this chainsaw?
    The overload protection feature automatically stops the chainsaw if it is subjected to a load that could cause overheating or motor damage. This not only protects the chainsaw from damage but also ensures safety while operating.
  4. Is the MSE 170 C-BQ suitable for cutting all types of wood, or are there limitations?
    MSE 170 C-BQ can cut through a variety of wood types efficiently, including hardwoods like maple and softer woods like spruce. However, the 14-inch bar length does limit the diameter of wood it can handle, making it ideal for medium-sized wood cutting tasks.
  5. How does the sound level of the MSE 170 C-BQ compare to gas-powered chainsaws?
    The MSE 170 C-BQ has a sound pressure level of 92 dB and a sound power level of 103 dB, which is generally quieter than most gas-powered chainsaws. This makes it more suitable for residential areas where noise may be a concern.
  6. What maintenance is required to keep the MSE 170 C-BQ in good working condition?
    Regular maintenance includes checking and adjusting chain tension, ensuring the chain is adequately oiled, cleaning the chainsaw after use to prevent buildup, and checking the electrical components such as the cable and switches for wear or damage.
  7. How do I safely store the MSE 170 C-BQ when it’s not in use?
    Store the MSE 170 C-BQ in a dry, safe place out of the reach of children. Ensure the chain is protected with a cover, disconnect the chainsaw from power, and make sure there is no residual oil that could leak and cause stains or damage.
  8. Can I adjust the chain oil flow on the MSE 170 C-BQ?
    The MSE 170 C-BQ features an automatic oiler that provides consistent lubrication to the chain during operation. There is no manual adjustment for the oil flow, as it is designed to deliver the optimal amount of oil for most cutting conditions.
  9. What should I do if the chain brake is activated accidentally?
    If the chain brake on your MSE 170 C-BQ is activated accidentally, first ensure that the chainsaw is switched off and unplugged. Then, pull the chain brake handle towards you to disengage it. Check the brake mechanism for any signs of wear or damage if it frequently engages accidentally.
  10. Is there a recommended extension cord type to use with the MSE 170 C-BQ for optimal performance?
    For the MSE 170 C-BQ, it is recommended to use a heavy-duty extension cord of 14-gauge or thicker, depending on the distance. Ensure the extension cord is suitable for outdoor use and rated for the chainsaw’s power requirements to avoid voltage drop and power loss.

We hope you found this review helpful! If you have any questions or want to share your own experiences with the STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw, please leave a comment below. We love hearing from you and your insights help others make informed decisions. Feel free to share this review with fellow enthusiasts or anyone considering this chainsaw for their next purchase. Happy cutting!

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.


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