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7 Best Stihl Chainsaws – Australian Buying Guide 2022

Chainsaws are much more versatile tools than most of us think, and capable of surprisingly intricate jobs as well as the industrial-scale tree surgery you might expect.

There are plenty of excellent manufacturers of chainsaws, Stihl always comes out as one of the best. So we thought we’d take an in-depth look at Stihl chainsaws and get to grips with their specs.

In our guide we’ll be cutting down into the detail of Stihl chainsaws, teaching you how to use them properly, and running through the best Stihl chainsaws you can buy right now.

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Best Stihl Chainsaws for 2022

Product


Our Rating

Price

1. Stihl MS 381 Professional 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 381 Professional Petrol Chainsaw
Top Rated Best Stihl Chainsaw in Australia

2. Stihl MS 661 C-M Profession 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 661 C-M Profession Petrol Chainsaw
Premium Choice Stihl Chainsaw in Australia

3. Stihl Battery Chainsaw Kit MSA 120 C-BQ

Stihl Chainsaw Kit MSA 120 C-BQ
Best Value Stihl Chainsaw in Australia

4. Stihl Mini Boss MS 170 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl Mini Boss MS 170 Petrol Chainsaw

5. Stihl Mini Boss MS 171 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl Mini Boss MS 171 Petrol Chainsaw

6. Stihl MS 231 C-BE Wood Boss Easy2Start 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 231 C-BE Wood Boss Easy2Start Petrol Chainsaw

7. STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ 1700W Electric Chainsaw

STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ Electric Chainsaw

Buyer’s Guide to Stihl Chainsaws

What is a Stihl Chainsaw?

Best Stihl Chainsaws Australia

Stihl chainsaws are incredibly varied, from budget domestic models to precision saws and powerful professional chainsaws. While the range is varied they all have a few things in common;

  • High performance
  • Precision ergonomics
  • Innovative design
  • Low weight

The power ratings range from 1.2kW at the bottom of the scale, with prices in the range of $160 to chainsaws with a power output of 6.4kW and a price tag to match at over $2000. 

Whatever you need to cut, Stihl has a chainsaw for the job. Read the rest of our guide for detailed analysis of all aspects of Stihl chainsaws, and how to choose the right one.

About Stihl

Stihl are a German manufacturer specialising in chainsaws, with a wide range of handheld power tools now on sale all over the world. They are widely regarded as one of the best power tool manufacturers in the world, and known for producing everything to an outstandingly high specification.

What to Look for When Buying a Stihl Chainsaw

All Stihl chainsaws have similar specifications, regardless of their power output, but it’s still important to understand what you’re buying so, in simple terms, let’s look at the basic specs of most Stihl chainsaws, and what it all means.

Buying a Stihl Chainsaw

Easy2Start Stihl chainsaws

Chainsaws used to have tough pull cords, which fought against you when you tried to get the motor going but thanks to new, more efficient battery technology, the majority of Stihl chainsaws are button and trigger starts.

However, the more powerful petrol models still have pull cords, which need a good yank. Those with Easy2Start listed in the specs have sprung cords that work with you to get their engines going though.

Always look for Easy2Start when buying a Stihl petrol chainsaw.

Wood Boss Vs Profession Vs Mini Boss

Not all Stihl chainsaws fall into a product range, and the higher-end models in particular are individually designed to exacting specifications. But, domestic models, like the Mini Boss or wood Boss ranges are all easy to compare.

Stihl Mini Boss chainsaws are the lightest chainsaws on the market, with compact blades that are perfect for cutting branches or overgrown brush. They are not advised for use on tall trees or thicker trunks but are brilliant multipurpose tools.

The Stihl Wood Boss chainsaw range is ideal for passionate home gardeners or as a smaller tool for tree surgeons who don’t always want large tools for more delicate work. Wood boss is a great range of petrol-powered chainsaws.

Different Types of Stihl Chainsaw

Stihl Ematic-system

Ematic is a trademarked lubrication system that Stihl install on nearly all of their chainsaws. It helps to prevent jamming, and vastly improves the lives of their chainsaws compared to similar brands.

The Ematic system reduces the use of, and need for chain oil by up to 50%

Anti-vibration

Not all Stihl chainsaws are built with anti-vibration, but most are. Their unique anti-vibration system is targeted at the handles of each tool and dramatically reduces the strain on blood vessels in your hands and arms.

For professional tree surgeons, this is essential as the constant vibrations from chainsaws can have longer-term health impacts.

Length

Chainsaws really do come in all sizes, and the Stihl range puts that into perspective quite nicely, with tiny precision chainsaws that are around 30cm long, to professional saws built for industrial tree surgery with 630mm blades.

Different Types of Stihl Chainsaw

When a tool range includes both petrol and electric chainsaws it can be hard to differentiate their power outputs, but Stihl have kWh ratings for all their models.

Their top-end models put out 6.4kWh, but 5.4 is more than enough for professional use. For cheaper models, the kWh output is more like 1.3, which is a significant drop, but still enough for pruning, and tidying up damaged branches around the garden.

Stihl Chainsaw Safety Guide

Stihl Chainsaw Safety Guide

Chainsaw safety is obviously important, and comes with some very real user warnings. Below we’ve got some of the most important safety rules for using a chainsaw: 

  • Wear protective goggles
  • Wear protective, durable gloves
  • Wear protective clothing (hard hat, ear protection, boots)
  • Wear fitted clothing to avoid getting snagged
  • Always have a partner nearby in case of emergency, but out of the way of falling branches.
  • Make sure the chain tension is right before each use
  • Never cut branches wider than the bar. Allow for a bar excess of at least 5cm.
  • Stabilise yourself. Whether you’re cutting at ground level, or in the canopy, never use a chainsaw if you are at all unstable.
  • Direct any trunks and branches away from people, paths, and property when cutting. Tie any dangerous limbs to high branches to lower them gently if necessary.

Stihl Chainsaw Maintenance

Sharpening a chainsaw regularly helps to extend its life, and reduce strain on the tool and the user. Chainsaw chains can vary from model to model so it’s important to check the chain gauge, bar length, and pitch before using a new chain with your chainsaw.

Check out our guide to chainsaw chains for more information.

Best Stihl Chainsaw Reviews

1. Stihl MS 381 Professional 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 381 Professional 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

While the Stihl MS 382 is nowhere near as high-spec as the next model up, it’s a significant step up from the smaller chainsaws in the lower price brackets.

With full anti-vibration handles, it works hard to make using this powerful machine a comfortable and safe experience for the user.

Plus, on top of the standard Ematic chain lubrication installed in all Stihl products, it has an actively adjustable chain oil output that can vary depending on the materials, reducing oil consumption by up to 50%.

Pros

  • Perfect for felling most sizes of tree
  • Designed for professional use
  • Priced for domestic use
  • Great value
  • Ematic chain lubrication
  • Adjustable chain oil settings
  • Anti-vibration

Cons

  • N/A

2. Stihl MS 661 C-M Profession 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 661 C-M Profession 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The Stihl MS 661 C-M is the most popular professional chainsaw in the world. And for good reason. Everything about this chainsaw and its engine is efficient and designed for safety in and around trees.

The easy start engine actively filters dust away from the engine to make it safer, while simultaneously lowering vibrations and perfectly mixing the right fuel and air levels for safe prolonged use.

It might be one of the most expensive chainsaws that Stihl has ever produced, but it’s also the best.

Pros

  • Perfect for felling most sizes of tree
  • Designed for professional use
  • Efficient fuel use
  • Air filter system to keep dust out of the engine
  • Low vibration
  • Ematic chain lubrication

Cons

  • N/A

3. Stihl Battery Chainsaw Kit MSA 120 C-BQ 

Stihl Battery Chainsaw Kit MSA 120 C-BQ

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

You don’t need hugely powerful petrol chainsaws to do most pruning jobs, so it's great to see Stihl really committing to developing new battery-powered chainsaws.

Ok, so the Stihl MSA range is lacking a little power, but they are super lightweight and incredibly efficient. What I really love about the battery-operated Stihl chainsaws is their sound level. 

Chainsaws have always been loud tools, and ear protection is essential when using petrol models, but for 99% of jobs with this electric chainsaw you don’t even need ear protection with just 83dB of sound pressure.

Pros

  • Surprisingly efficient
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Quiet
  • Powerful enough for most jobs
  • Light weight
  • Easy to start
  • Low vibration
  • Easy to adjust chain tension
  • Brilliant value
  • Ematic chain lubrication

Cons

  • Short bar (30cm)

4. Stihl Mini Boss MS 170 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl Mini Boss MS 170 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The MS 170 Mini Boss is one of the most compact chainsaws Stihl produces, and perfect for any gardeners with trees to maintain. Its 350mm bar makes it ideal for fruit trees and pruning leading branches on most deciduous trees.

As well as its compact size and lightweight design, it has automatic chain lubrication and a simple lever throttle which gets its small petrol engine going in no time.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well built
  • Easy to start
  • Ematic chain lubrication
  • Anti-vibration
  • Great value
  • Perfect for domestic gardens

Cons

  • Too small for large branches
  • Struggles with pine or sticky timber

5. Stihl Mini Boss MS 171 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl Mini Boss MS 171 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The MS 171 is another Mini Boss, with a basic pull start engine with spring assistance. If you’re looking for a simple chainsaw to fell small trees, or prune out dead wood, this is probably the cheapest chainsaw you can buy that is realistically any good for big domestic jobs or small professional work.

There are equally priced electric and battery-operated Stihl chainsaws available, but both have lower cutting capabilities, so if you’re on a set budget and looking for power, this is your tool.

If you’re looking for efficiency, and green credentials, consider the electric options.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well built
  • Easy to start
  • Ematic chain lubrication
  • Anti-vibration
  • Great value
  • Perfect for domestic gardens

Cons

  • Too small for large branches
  • Struggles with pine or sticky timber

6. Stihl MS 231 C-BE Wood Boss Easy2Start 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Stihl MS 231 C-BE Wood Boss Easy2Start 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Stihl’s MS 231 chainsaw is where we start to jump into higher capabilities. The price jumps up, but value isn’t compromised. The 42.5cc engine has built-in Easy2Start technology which makes it really efficient, and much safer to start when you’re in the canopy of a tree.

As well as the easy starting, it’s lightweight, with an auto mix engine that helps to reduce pollution and produce cleaner, more efficient power.

Even with all that going on in the engine, it still has low vibrations, and a relatively quiet operation (though ear protection is still very much advised).

Pros

  • Good bar length for most small trees
  • Low vibration
  • Easy2Start technology
  • Efficient petrol engine
  • Low emissions
  • Good value
  • Light weight
  • Ematic chain lubrication

Cons

  • Not large enough for large tree felling

7. STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ 1700W Electric Chainsaw

STIHL MSE 170 C-BQ 1700W Electric Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Corded electric chainsaws are convenient tools that don’t need fueling or charging, and Stihl’s inbuilt safety mechanisms makes them far safer than most brands.

However, even with the excellent Stihl MSE 170, there are a few obvious downsides to corded electric chainsaws. Namely, no matter how many safety features are installed, the cord is an obstacle, which both gets in the way, and limits your working area.

The automatic shut-off when the handle is released is a bonus though, making it safer than most models, but the limited power leaves a lot to be desired when you can get more bite from battery-powered models.

Pros

  • List Element
  • List Element
  • List Element
  • List Element
  • List Element

Cons

  • List Element
  • List Element

Stihl Chainsaw Top Picks for 2022

Best Stihl Chainsaw - Our Top Pick

Top Rated Best Stihl Chainsaw in Australia
Stihl MS 381 Professional 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Designed for agricultural use, the Stihl MS 381 is a powerful chainsaw with all the basic built-in tech that you’d expect for a Stihl chainsaw; anti-vibration, automatic lubrication, efficient fuel use, etc. But, what’s really wonderful has nothing to do with the chainsaw itself, it’s the price.

The Stihl MS 381 is a professional standard chainsaw, designed for commercial use, but priced well within reach of a domestic user, making it ideal for simple personal land management and tree maintenance in any garden.

Premium Choice Stihl Chainsaw

Premium Choice Stihl Chainsaw in Australia
Stihl MS 661 C-M Profession 2-Stroke Petrol Chainsaw

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

The world’s bestselling commercial chainsaw got that title for a reason, and it’s still got it. The Stihl MS 661 C-M is the best chainsaw you can buy against literally any measure. It’s powerful, precise, well manufactured, and packed full of safety features and engine efficiencies that will keep it going for years longer than most chainsaws.

All that comes at a price, but if you’re using chainsaws in your day-to-day work, you really should invest in the best. And this is it.

Best Value Stihl Chainsaw

Best Value Stihl Chainsaw in Australia
Stihl Battery Chainsaw Kit MSA 120 C-BQ

Source: toolswarehouse.com.au

Stihl’s MSA 120 C-BQ is one of the smallest chainsaws you can buy for practical tree care, making it perfect for home gardeners looking for easy, lightweight tools for general maintenance.

In no way is it useful for felling any trees other than self-seeded weeds, but it will easily handle small branches on fruit trees, and you can have tons of fun carving into old logs too with the precise bar. Oh, and did we mention it’s fully battery operated?

Stihl Chainsaw Frequently Asked Questions

What does MS mean in Stihl chainsaw?

Stihl is a German company so most of their product codes use German for formatting. MS simply stands for Motorsäge (German for chainsaw), while other models often include MSA or MSE. MSA are battery powered chainsaws, while MSE are corded electric models.

If you want to look into more electric chainsaws then don't miss our review of the best ones available in Australia

Where are Stihl chainsaws manufactured?

Stihl have always manufactured their products in Germany, and continue to manufacture chainsaws in their Waiblingen plant in Germany. 

How long do Stihl chainsaws last?

Stihl chainsaws have a run time of 2000 hours. For a professional user that means they are guaranteed for about 5 years of daily work, but for domestic users they should last a lifetime.

Choose the Best Stihl Chainsaw that will Suit Your Sawing Needs

Stihl chainsaws are the best that money can buy, with impeccable manufacturing quality, and every tool fully inspected before it leaves the factory. With precise alignment, and automatic lubrication, you can be confident that you’re using the safest possible tool for an often dangerous task.

If you were unsure about Stihl chainsaws before, we hope you’re convinced now because we’ve put our trust in Stihl chainsaws for a long time, and they really are incredible tools.

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Author:

Gary Clarke

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