Chainsaws are powerful tools that can help tackle all kinds of cutting and trimming tasks. With a quality chainsaw, you can take on tree limbing, brush clearing, storm cleanup, and more. Stihl is one of the most recognized and trusted brands when it comes to chainsaws. If you’re looking to purchase a Stihl chainsaw, you’ll notice that many models feature “MS” in the name. But what exactly does “MS” stand for and why is it there? This comprehensive guide will explain the meaning behind “MS” and provide an in-depth look at Stihl chainsaw models, features, and more.
What Does MS Stand for on Stihl Chainsaws?
On Stihl chainsaws, MS stands for “Motorsäge” – the German word for chainsaw. Stihl is a German company founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl. The MS designation was originally used to identify their early chainsaw models. Today, it continues to signify that a Stihl product is a chainsaw. The MS is always followed by numbers, letters, or a combination of both. This identifies the saw’s power, features, and series. For example, MS 271 indicates a mid-size, gasoline-powered saw in the 200 series.
So in short, if you see MS in the model number of a Stihl chainsaw, you can be sure it’s a chainsaw made by this renowned brand. The MS tells you the product type while the numbers and letters provide details on the performance and capabilities.
MSA and MSE Designations
In addition to MS for gas-powered chainsaws, Stihl uses MSA and MSE prefixes to designate battery and electric models:
- MSA stands for Stihl’s battery-powered chainsaws. For example, MSA 120 is a battery chainsaw ideal for homeowner use.
- MSE stands for corded electric chainsaws. The MSE 170 is an example of an electric Stihl chainsaw designed for light duty tasks.
Stihl Chainsaw Model Number System
There is a logic behind Stihl’s chainsaw model numbers beyond just the MS prefix. In general, the model numbers indicate the power and displacement of the engine. Higher numbers denote more powerful saws. Other designations in the model number refer to specific features or technologies. For instance, a “C” indicates a chainsaw designed for comfort.
- MS 250 – This shows a 45cc displacement mid-size saw in the 200 series
- MS 271 – Indicates a 50cc displacement saw in the professional-grade 270 series
- MS 462 C-M – This 92cc model has comfort features and M-Tronic engine technology
So while the MS identifies it as a Stihl chainsaw, the numbers and letters provide key details on the capabilities and technologies consumers can expect.
Stihl Chainsaw Types
Stihl offers several different types of chainsaws suitable for everything from basic homeowner use to professional forestry work. The major categories include:
The most common Stihl chainsaws have gas-powered engines. The MS series covers everything from lightweight saws for pruning and hobby work up to high-powered professional models. They are known for smooth, quiet operation and low vibration. Popular examples include the mid-range MS 271 and the robust MS 462 aimed at intensive use.
Stihl battery saws with the MSA designation provide the convenience of cordless operation powered by lithium-ion batteries. They excel at lighter tasks like cutting firewood or tree limbs. Quiet operation and little maintenance are key benefits. Top options include the MSA 120 for home use and MSA 160 for professional work.
For those looking for an eco-friendly corded electric saw, Stihl’s MSE series offers solid performance without gasoline or batteries. The light and compact MSE 170 is ideal for jobs close to a power source. Electric models work well for occasional use or noise-sensitive areas.
Stihl Chainsaw Features
Various features are built into Stihl chainsaw models to enhance performance, convenience, and comfort. These are signified by letters in the model number. Some key examples include:
Quick Chain Adjuster
A “B” indicates a quick chain adjuster that allows tool-free chain tensioning. This makes it fast and easy to achieve proper chain tension.
A “C” denotes an ergonomic design with features to reduce fatigue. This includes padded handles, anti-vibration mounts, and lightweight construction.
Models with an “E” have the Easy2Start system to enable easier starting with 30% less pull force needed.
The “M” indicates M-Tronic electronic engine management. This optimizes engine performance by automatically adjusting ignition timing and fuel supply.
How to Choose the Right Stihl Chainsaw
With all the options Stihl offers, it can be tricky selecting the right chainsaw for your needs. Here are some tips on choosing the best Stihl model for the job:
Consider Your Usage
Think about how often and for what types of tasks you will use your chainsaw. Occasional light use calls for a more basic homeowner model. Frequent heavy-duty use requires a professional-grade saw. Also factor in your experience level.
Chainsaw Power and Size
Match the engine power and guide bar length to the cutting jobs you expect to perform. Bigger wood requires more displacement and bar reach. Be realistic about your needs so you don’t end up with either too much or too little power.
Chainsaw Features and Accessories
Factor in special features like the Easy2Start system for convenience or anti-vibration to reduce fatigue. Useful accessories like spare chains, bars, and carrying cases are also worth considering.
Hopefully this guide has helped shed light on the meaning of “MS” in Stihl chainsaw model numbers and provided a deeper look at these popular saws. Just remember that MS designates any Stihl chainsaw while the accompanying numbers and letters denote specific size, power, features and technologies. Taking the time to choose the right Stihl model based on your expected usage will ensure you end up with a chainsaw that meets your needs and lasts for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Stihl homeowner and professional chainsaws?
Stihl homeowner saws like the MS 170 are designed for lighter, occasional use around the home. Professional models such as the MS 462 are built heavier duty for rigorous, sustained use in demanding conditions.
How do I maintain my Stihl chainsaw?
It’s important to regularly check the air filter, chain tension and sharpness, guide bar condition, and lubrication. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and instructions in the owner’s manual.
What safety precautions should I take when using a Stihl chainsaw?
Always wear protective chaps, boots, gloves, and eyewear when operating a chainsaw. Check your surroundings and maintain solid secure footing. Keep proper grip and control of the running saw at all times.
How do I sharpen a Stihl chainsaw chain?
Use the proper diameter round file and file guide to sharpen cutters at the correct angles. Follow sharpening instructions in your Stihl owner’s manual. Let an authorized Stihl dealer sharpen it for optimal results.
What is the warranty on Stihl chainsaws?
Stihl offers a limited warranty on homeowner chainsaws for 2 years residential use and 1 year commercial use. Heavy-duty professional models typically have a 1 year commercial warranty.
How do I find a Stihl dealer near me?
You can use the dealer locator tool on Stihl’s website to find authorized dealers in your area. Or search online for local power equipment retailers carrying Stihl products.
Can I use alternative chains and bars on my Stihl chainsaw?
While Stihl recommends using only its branded PowerCut chains and Rollomatic guide bars, your saw may be compatible with some aftermarket parts. Check your owner’s manual for specifications.
Michael Boyle is the founder and main author of Chainsaws Finder, boasting over 20 years of experience in the chainsaw industry. Hailing from Texas, Michael combines his extensive knowledge and hands-on expertise to provide reliable advice and top-notch service. His vision is to empower chainsaw users to tackle any project with confidence, making Chainsaws Finder a trusted resource in the field.