New Saw Chain from STIHL!


In 2020, Stihl will release a new saw chain with a .325” pitch and a 1.3 mm gauge. The name is Stihl RS or RM, with the extension PRO after. The two versions, RM and RS, stand for Rapid Micro and Rapid Super where micro is Semi-Chisel and super is Full-Chisel.





Stihl will also release an RM3 PRO chain with reduced jolting tendencies and low vibrations, which usually entails a small reduction in capacity. None of this is new, Stihl has operated like this before and chains with “3” at the end are offered to customers who may not desire optimal cutting ability over a relatively non-aggressive chain that is easy to use and without surprises.

The PRO Chain in a New System

Stihl has introduced a new cutting system featuring a chain with a 0.325” pitch, which they call the PRO chain, along with a new sword called Light04. While the .325” chain with a 1.3 mm gauge isn’t exactly new, the PRO chain is generating excitement and competition against other chains like the Husqvarna SP33g X-cut and the Oregon SpeedCut 95TXL, both of which are .325 with a 1.3 mm gauge.


According to Stihl, the newly developed PRO chain is designed primarily for use with the 50cc MS 261 and MS 271 saws, but it can be used with chainsaws that have power levels ranging between 2.2 and 3.0 kW. Like its competitors, the chain should be filed with a 4.8 mm round file, which is different from the Picco ⅜ that requires a 4.0 mm round file.

In Stihl’s own tests, the new PRO chain has proven to be 20% more efficient at cutting upper directional cuts and up to 15% more efficient on ordinary cutting, compared to the previous RS .325. The lengths include 14”, 16”, and 18” with 60, 67, and 74 drive links on the chain, as well as a 20” option. While Stihl already offers 13” and 15” options, they will be phased out in favor of 14” length, and spare parts for the 13” and 15” systems will be available until 2024.

It’s unclear whether Stihl plans to offer complete PRO chains with other lengths in the future. All PRO chains will be pre-stretched in the factory to reduce the tension of the new chain.

Reduced Cutting Width

The new PRO chains from Stihl will leave a narrower track after cutting compared to the older chains. Stihl claims that the PRO chain will have a cutting width of 6.8 mm, which is slightly smaller than their Picco ⅜ chain with a width of 6.7 mm.


Although Stihl is unable to achieve a smaller cutting width than the Picco chain, the difference from the older chain is significant, as it had a cutting width of 7.7 mm. We have done some initial testing ourselves and found the cutting width to be very good. We will conduct more detailed tests to compare the different chain types and analyze the differences. Reducing the cutting width is an important aspect as it can save power and fuel consumption.

A First Test of the RS / RM PRO

We’ve been given the chance to try out the new Light04 system with PRO chains on an MS 261 saw in forestry. While we haven’t conducted extensive testing yet, our initial impressions of the PRO chains are positive. As expected, the RS chain is more aggressive and better suited for fast work, while the RM chain is gentler and works well for cutting and removing twigs. Both have impressive cutting capacities and are comparable to Stihl’s Picco ⅜ chain.

Overall, the system feels great – the sword is light, narrow, stable, and stiff, and the PRO chains are a pleasure to use. We’re eager to conduct more tests and discuss the system with other users once it hits the market in February 2020.

Final Verdict

I’ve had the opportunity to use both the OILOMATIC STIHL RAPID Micro (RM) and the OILOMATIC STIHL RAPID Super 3 (RS3) chains.

Starting with the RAPID Micro (RM), I appreciate its low-kickback design. When I’m dealing with tricky cuts or unpredictable wood, this feature gives me an added sense of safety. It’s also a versatile chain, suitable for a wide range of tasks from firewood cutting to small-scale tree felling. It doesn’t deliver the fastest cut, but it’s reliable and gets the job done with minimum fuss.

On the other hand, the RAPID Super 3 (RS3) is a true workhorse. It’s designed for professional use, and you can feel it in its performance. The cutting speed is notably faster, and it powers through hardwood like a hot knife through butter. However, it’s a more aggressive chain and doesn’t have the same low-kickback design as the RM. This means I need to be extra cautious when using it, especially in challenging cutting situations.

In conclusion, both chains have their strengths. If safety and versatility are your priorities, the RM chain is a solid choice. But if you need high performance and speed and are experienced enough to handle a more aggressive chain, the RS3 won’t disappoint. As always, the right chain depends on your specific needs, the tasks at hand, and your skill level.


  1. What are the new features of the Stihl PRO chains?
    The new Stihl PRO chains, including the RS (Rapid Super) and RM (Rapid Micro) models, are designed with improved cutting efficiency. They offer a 20% increase in efficiency for upper directional cuts and a 15% increase for ordinary cuts compared to the older RS .325 models.
  2. What sizes are available for the Stihl PRO chains?
    The Stihl PRO chains are available in lengths of 14”, 16”, 18”, and there is also a 20” option. These chains come pre-stretched from the factory, which reduces the need for frequent adjustments during initial use.
  3. How do the RS and RM PRO chains differ from each other?
    The RS (Rapid Super) and RM (Rapid Micro) PRO chains differ in their cutting styles. The RS chain is more aggressive and better suited for fast, heavy-duty cutting tasks, while the RM chain provides a gentler cut, ideal for precise work such as twig removal.
  4. Are there any environmental benefits to the new Stihl chains?
    The new chains are designed to be more efficient, which can lead to reduced fuel consumption when used in compatible chainsaws, potentially offering some environmental benefits through lower emissions and decreased resource usage.
  5. Where can I purchase these new Stihl chains? The new Stihl chains can be purchased through major hardware and power tool retailers. They are available both online and in physical stores, making them accessible for a variety of consumers.

We hope you found this deep dive into Stihl’s new PRO chains insightful! Have you had a chance to try out these new chains, or do you have thoughts on how they compare to others you’ve used? Share your experiences or any questions you might have in the comments below. Your input helps us all learn more and make better choices in our tool selections. Let’s keep the discussion going!

Ericka Topson
Ericka Topson
Forestry Author

Hello, I'm Ericka Topson, and I'm a seasoned writer and designer with a passion for the forestry industry! My journey in crafting words and visuals is intertwined with the beauty and importance of our forests. I bring a unique perspective to the world of forestry, where I merge my writing and design skills to promote the conservation and sustainable management of our precious woodlands.


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