What Do Stihl Chainsaw Model Numbers Mean? A Buyer’s Guide

What Do Stihl Chainsaw Model Numbers Mean A Buyers Guide

Stihl is the most trusted brand known for its exclusive range of chainsaws spanning many industries. Each of them has numerous variations, making it important to find the correct Stihl chainsaw model numbers to obtain the right parts. While the serial number is the easiest way to locate spare parts, it may not always be available.

Understanding the variations within a model and the letters in the model name can greatly assist in identifying the required parts. If you’ve ever considered buying Stihl chainsaws, you’ve probably wondered about the meaning behind the letter and number abbreviations in the model names. It has become a topic of discussion in many forums and can be quite confusing.

Although Stihl hasn’t provided detailed information about the meaning of these model numbers, they do rank them based on usage frequency. In this buyer’s guide, Diamond B Tractors & Equipment, the trusted Stihl chainsaw dealers , will explain how this number system works.

Information About The Stihl Chainsaw Scale

Information About The Stihl Chainsaw Scale

Stihl has mentioned a scale that ranks model numbers based on their suitability for different levels of use, from occasional to extensive. This scale is meant to help you choose the right chainsaw style for your specific needs.

But here’s where it gets tricky: the numbers don’t follow a simple pattern where lower numbers mean less power and higher numbers mean more power. Each model number has three sections: MS, MSA, or MSE + numbers + letters.

You might assume that smaller numbers indicate less power and bigger numbers indicate more power. However, if you pay closer attention, you’ll notice some 1XX models, like the MS 150 T-CE and the MS 193 T, ranked near the extensive use category.

So, why do these Stihl chainsaw models rank higher than others, like the MS 271 or MS 391? Let’s find out the reasons behind this ranking system.

What Does MS Mean in Stihl Chainsaw Model Names?

In Stihl chainsaw model names, you’ll always find the letters MS, MSA, or MSE at the beginning. MS is an abbreviation for “Motorsäge,” which means “chainsaw” in German. If you come across MSA in the model name, it means that it’s a battery-powered chainsaw.

On the other hand, MSE indicates that it’s an electric model. So, MS stands for Motorsäge, MSA represents a battery chainsaw, and MSE signifies an electric chainsaw. While understanding the MS part is simple, things become a bit more complex when we talk about the Stihl chainsaw model numbers.

What Do The Stihl Chainsaw Model Numbers Mean?

Many people have guessed about the meanings of the numbers in Stihl chainsaw model names. Some believe lower numbers indicate homeowner saws, while larger numbers represent professional saws. Others think the numbers correspond to the saw’s displacement, but this doesn’t hold true for all models. 

Some theories suggest that even and odd numbers or the old stihl chainsaw model numbers generation play a role. However, none of these ideas have been proven to be consistently accurate. Let us share the facts to find the Stihl chainsaw model numbers list.

Model Number Displacement Engine Power Fuel Capacity
1XX 23.6 – 31.9 cc (1.44 – 1.95 cu. in.) 1.0 – 1.5 kW (1.3 – 2.0 bhp) 200 – 280 cc (8.5 – 9.5 oz)
2XX 35.2 – 55.5 cc (2.15 – 3.39 cu. in.) 1.7 – 3.0 kW (2.3 – 4.0 bhp) 280 – 500 cc (9.5 – 16.9 oz)
3XX 59.0 – 64.1 cc (3.60 – 3.90 cu. in.) 3.1 – 3.5 kW (4.2 – 4.7 bhp) 600 cc (20.3 oz)
4XX 70.7 – 76.5 cc (4.31 – 4.67 cu. in.) 4.2 – 4.5 kW (5.6 – 6.0 bhp) 725 – 800 cc (24.5 – 27.1 oz)
6XX 91.1 cc (5.56 cu. in.) 5.4 kW (7.2 bhp) 825 cc (27.9 oz)
8XX 121.6 cc (7.42 cu. in.) 6.4 kW (8.6 bhp) 1300 cc (44.0 oz)

The First Number

When examining a Chain Saw Comparison Chart on Stihl’s website, we noticed that the first number in the model name provides valuable information about the engine power, displacement, and fuel capacity. However, this doesn’t apply to MSA and MSE models, which are battery-powered and electric chainsaws.

The Second Number

Before the year 2000, the Stihl chainsaw model numbers began at 0. For example, the 017 and 025 models were available. However, around 2000, Stihl added “MS” to the beginning of the model names and moved the 0 to the end. It resulted in the 017 becoming the MS 170, the 025 becoming the MS 250, and so on. The second number, combined with the first number, seems to form the model number. Different models may have unique characteristics or designs that suit specific use cases. It explains why you may find some 1XX and 2XX saws at both ends of the usage chart.

The Third Number

If you pay attention to the third number in the model name, you’ll notice that it always falls between 0 and 3. For example, the MS 17X series includes the MS 170 and MS 171 models. Comparing these two models, the MS 171 has slightly higher specifications and additional features than the MS 170. This pattern holds across various models. The third number represents a version number for the model, starting from 0 and increasing with subsequent versions. For instance, the MS 271 Farm Boss® replaced the MS 270, indicating that the third number denotes a version of the model.

By examining the first, second, and third Stihl chainsaw model numbers in their names, we can learn about engine power, displacement, fuel capacity, and version information. It’s important to note that the exact meaning of the numbers mentioned may vary depending on the specific model.

What Do The Rest of the Letters Mean in Stihl Chainsaw Model Names?

What Do The Rest of the Letters Mean in STIHL chainsaw Model Names

When we refer to the rest of the letters in Stihl chainsaws, we’re talking about the additional letters that come after the initial MS, MSA, or MSE. These letters indicate specific performance features included in the chainsaw.

B = Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA): The letter B signifies the presence of a Quick Chain Adjuster, which allows for easier and tool-less chain adjustment.

C = Comfort: The letter C is quite generic and can relate to multiple features. It may indicate an impressive power-to-weight ratio or a feature that makes the chainsaw easier to use than similar models. For example, the MS 261 C-M features M-Tronic™ technology, redesigned cylinders, and a slimmer, more ergonomic housing.

E = Easy2Start™: The letter E represents the Easy2Start™ feature. As the name suggests, Stihl Easy2Start™ makes starting the chainsaw easier and requires less effort. It achieves this by incorporating an added spring between the crankshaft and the start rope rotor, allowing users to pull the rope slower and with less force.

M = M-Tronic™: The letter M indicates the presence of M-Tronic™, an engine management system. M-Tronic™ monitors and compensates for changes in work conditions, such as temperature, octane levels, elevation, fuel quality, and air filters. Thanks to an onboard microprocessor, it maximizes performance without requiring manual adjustments from the user.

Q = Quickstop®: The letter Q signifies the QuickStop® chain braking feature, which reduces the risk of injury in certain kickback situations. If the operator’s hand releases from the handle and activates the QuickStop®, the chain will stop within one second.

R = Wrap Handle: The letter R indicates a wrap handle design. A wrap handle wraps around the chainsaw, making it easier to handle in multiple positions, whether for felling or cutting limbs.

Additionally, other combinations of letters provide further information about the chainsaw’s features and functionalities:

  • C-B: Chainsaws ending in ‘C-B’ have a quick chain tensioner, making it easier and quicker to tension the chain.
  • C-E: Chainsaws ending in ‘C-E’ have the ErgoStart/Easy2Start system, which provides a smoother and more reliable recoil pull action for easier starting.
  • C-F: Chainsaws ending in ‘C-F’ have an electric starter, allowing them to be started by pushing a button on the machine.
  • C-M: Chainsaws ending in ‘C-M’ have an engine management system that electronically controls ignition timing and fuel metering in various conditions, considering fuel quality and altitude factors.
  • C-Q: Chainsaws ending in ‘C-Q’ have a QuickStop Super brake chain brake, which activates when the hand leaves the rear handle, bringing the chainsaw to a stop within a second.

Top Stihl Chainsaw Models with Specifications to Help You Make a Purchase

Top Stihl chainsaw models with specifications

If you are looking to buy the perfect Stihl chainsaw, Diamond B Tractors & Equipment, the best Stihl chainsaw dealers in Texas present some of the best models as per their features and functionality:

  • STIHL MS 170 is a lightweight, compact, and powerful chainsaw for homeowners. The engine power is 1.3 kW, the fuel capacity is 250 cc, and the power source is gas.
  • STIHL MSE 170 C-B is an electric chainsaw with power and durability for tasks around the home. Its powerhead weighs 3.8 kg, and the power source is electric.
  • STIHL MS 211 C-BE is a low-emission chainsaw with Stihl Easy2Start™ and a Quick Chain Adjuster. Its engine Power is 1.7 kW, its fuel capacity is 280 cc, and its power source is gas.
  • STIHL MS 194 T offers professional-grade performance in a compact and lightweight body. The engine’s power is 1.4 kW, the fuel capacity is 270 cc, and the power source is gas.
  • STIHL MS 271 FARM BOSS® is a highly efficient engine with extended run times and reduced emissions. Its engine Power is 2.6 kW, its fuel capacity is 500 cc, and its power source is gas.

These specifications provide valuable insights into the features and capabilities, helping you choose the right Stihl chainsaw, whether you choose a gas or electric-powered model.

Find The Best Stihl Chainsaws at Diamond B Tractors & Equipment!

Shopping for the right Stihl chainsaw can be tricky, but we hope this guide has provided some helpful direction. Use the information as a starting point and further explore the specific product details. If you need assistance finding the ideal chainsaw for your needs, our experienced team at Diamond B Tractors & Equipment is always ready to help. 

We offer a wide range of Stihl chainsaws and related products, and our experts can provide tailored advice on the best style and model for you. With years of experience, we take pride in offering top-quality lawn machinery and equipment. 

Visit our showroom today, check out the inventory of Stihl chainsaws for sale, and inquire about servicing and repairs. Trust Diamond B Tractors & Equipment for all your Stihl chainsaw and other Stihl equipment needs!