Stihl is one of the leading manufacturers of chainsaws in the world, offering a wide range of models for different users including homeowners, landscapers, tree care professionals, and more. With their variety of chainsaw sizes and engineered features, many wonder – what is the biggest chainsaw Stihl makes? In this article, we’ll explore Stihl’s chainsaw lineup to uncover their largest, most powerful model. We’ll also compare it to other popular Stihl chainsaws and provide tips for choosing the right saw for your needs.
Stihl MS 881: The Largest and Most Powerful Chainsaw in the Lineup
The Stihl MS 881 stands out as the biggest and most powerful chainsaw available from Stihl. With its advanced engine technology and ability to equip guide bars up to 41 inches long, the MS 881 is built for taking on the toughest cutting jobs.
This professional-grade Stihl chainsaw features an updated engine design that provides high power output, low fuel consumption, and reduced exhaust emissions. The MS 881 is engineered to handle guide bars ranging from 25-41 inches, giving it a significantly longer cutting capacity compared to most other chainsaws. With the ability to mount .404″ gauge Rapid Super saw chains, the MS 881 can power through thick timber with unmatched performance.
In short – if you’re looking for the largest, most capable chainsaw in Stihl’s lineup, the MS 881 is your saw.
Features of the Stihl MS 881
Engine and Performance
At the heart of the MS 881 is a high-performance, fuel-efficient engine delivering up to 8.1 horsepower. Advanced engine technology, including a decompression valve, mid-positioned dual-bearing crankshaft, and forged connecting rod, enables this robust power output.
Despite its shear cutting muscle, the MS 881 still maintains impressively low fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. These features make the MS 881 suitable for extended use on remote worksites with its reliability and environmentally-friendly performance.
Guide Bar and Chain
The Stihl MS 881 drive sprocket is engineered for use with guide bars ranging from 25 to 41 inches in length. This expansive bar length capacity gives the MS 881 a significantly wider cutting swath compared to smaller models like the MS 261 or MS 391.
It’s recommended to pair the MS 881 powerhead with Stihl’s 41″ Rollomatic ES Light guide bar and Rapid Super saw chain. Together, these heavy-duty components are designed to optimize the performance of the MS 881. The sprocket-nose guide bar further reduces kickback events.
Safety and Convenience Features
Stihl packs the MS 881 with technology to make operation more convenient and safer. Anti-vibration technology reduces operator fatigue, allowing users to keep working efficiently and comfortably. The Quickstop® chain brake can stop the chain in milliseconds in the event of a kickback.
Large, professional-grade components like the HD2 air filter enable an extended service life before maintenance is required. The HD2 air filter also provides superb filtration efficiency to protect the engine.
Comparing the Stihl MS 881 to Other Stihl Chainsaws
While the MS 881 stands out as Stihl’s most powerful chainsaw, the company offers numerous other models designed for different uses. Here’s how two other popular Stihl chainsaws compare:
Stihl MS 261 C-M: Best Stihl Chainsaw Overall
The Stihl MS 261 C-M earns recognition as the best overall chainsaw from Stihl’s lineup. Weighing just 12.8 pounds, the MS 261 provides a winning balance of power, safety features, and mobility.
The MS 261 utilizes Stihl’s fuel-efficient 4-MIX® engine to deliver low emissions and reduced fuel consumption. Although not as large as the MS 881, the MS 261 still packs impressive cutting muscle with engine displacements up to 50.2cc. For most homeowners and landowners, the lighter MS 261 provides ideal power for routine property maintenance.
Stihl MSA 220 C-B: Best Stihl Battery-Powered Chainsaw
Cordless chainsaws like the Stihl MSA 220 C-B provide quiet, convenient operation without dealing with gas or oil mixing. The MSA 220 runs on a 36V Lithium-Ion PRO battery, providing ample cutting capacity for light-duty storm cleanup or pruning.
Weighing just 10.3 pounds, the MSA 220 is extremely lightweight and easy to control. The 12-inch bar length can tackle smaller trees or logs efficiently. For eco-conscious users wanting cordless convenience, the MSA 220 is a great battery-powered choice.
How to Choose the Right Stihl Chainsaw for Your Needs
With Stihl’s wide selection of chainsaw models, it’s important to consider your specific needs when choosing one. Here are some key factors to help select the right Stihl chainsaw:
Factors to Consider
The intended use, power requirements, and physical size of the saw should all influence your buying decision. Professional tree surgeons felling large timber day-after-day need a radically different saw than a homeowner pruning storm-damaged branches.
Engine displacement, bar length capacity, power-to-weight ratio, and features catered towards comfort and safety should align with the saw’s intended application. Stihl’s range of homeowner, farm & ranch, and professional models helps match the right chainsaw to your needs.
Stihl Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide
For further guidance finding the ideal Stihl chainsaw, check out their Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide. This resource includes an interactive tool to explore Stihl’s chainsaw lineup and compare the specifications of different models side-by-side.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Stihl homeowner, farm and ranch, and professional chainsaws?
Stihl categories their chainsaws into tiers based on the intended use:
- Homeowner saws – For light-duty home and property maintenance tasks. Lower power output and weight.
- Farm & ranch saws – For frequent use clearing brush, maintaining fences, etc. More rugged than homeowner models.
- Professional saws – Heavy-duty construction for full-time use. Highest power output and bar length capacity.
How do I maintain my Stihl chainsaw?
Regular maintenance like air filter cleaning, chain sharpening, and bar maintenance will keep your chainsaw running optimally. Follow the product manual for model-specific care. Quality fuel and Stihl oil help too.
What safety features does Stihl offer on their chainsaws?
Stihl chainsaws incorporate features like chain brakes, reduced kickback bars, vibration damping, decompression valves, and more to enhance safety. Personal protective equipment like chaps, helmets, and boots are still essential.
How do I choose the right guide bar and chain for my Stihl chainsaw?
Match the guide bar length to the powerhead’s specifications. Increased length means more cutting capacity but also more power required. For chains, choose the proper pitch and gauge for your bar. Routine chain maintenance and replacement prolongs performance.
Are Stihl chainsaws environmentally friendly?
Yes, Stihl incorporates technology like catalytic converters and engineered combustion to reduce exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Battery-powered models like the MSA 220 eliminate direct emissions entirely.
Where can I buy a Stihl chainsaw?
Stihl chainsaws are available at most power equipment retailers including Ace Hardware, tractor supply stores, and specialized small engine shops. Stihl’s website has a dealer locator to find a retailer near you.
What is the warranty on Stihl chainsaws?
New Stihl chainsaws come with a limited warranty from Stihl protecting against material or manufacturing defects. Warranty duration varies by model, so check your operator’s manual or ask your dealer for warranty details.
When you need to tackle big timber, the Stihl MS 881 has the power and performance to get the job done. With advanced engine technology and the ability to equip truly massive guide bars over 40 inches long, the MS 881 stands as the largest and most capable chainsaw in Stihl’s lineup.
Of course, the MS 881 is overkill for many casual users. Consider your own needs to choose the right Stihl chainsaw for light-duty pruning or major storm cleanup. Models like the mid-size MS 261 or battery-powered MSA 220 provide options for homeowners and ranchers needing a smaller, more maneuverable saw.
By understanding your intended application and comparing specifications across Stihl’s product range, you can confidently choose the ideal chainsaw. Whether you need a compact cordless trimmer or a professional-grade powerhouse like the MS 881, Stihl has a chainsaw engineered for you.
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.