Ever wondered what the best STIHL chainsaw for cutting firewood is?
There’s no arguing that STIHL has the best chainsaws in the market, but not all are suitable for cutting firewood.
Luckily, the best thing about STIHL is that they have chainsaws for different, specific uses.
In that regard, we have selected 3 of the best STIHL chainsaws for cutting firewood and four very close alternatives.
These options differ in price, features, and, most importantly, purpose because professionals need a different chainsaw from homeowners who occasionally cut wood.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best STIHL Chainsaw for Cutting Firewood
Type of Chainsaw
Start by deciding which type of chainsaw you want. The three main categories are
- Gasoline. Most people are very familiar with gasoline chainsaws because of their heavy-duty performance and the fact that you can carry a gallon of gasoline. Hence, you never run out of power.
- Battery-powered. However, gasoline chainsaws are noisy and produce a lot of fumes, so others prefer battery-powered chainsaws for out-of-home purposes. They are clean, quiet, and easy to use.
- Corded electric. However, if you are at home, a corded electric chainsaw is the best because it is cheaper and more powerful, and you can use electricity at home.
Cutting wood with a STIHL Chainsaw
Once you have the type down, decide on the bar size depending on what you plan to do with the chainsaw.
If the idea is to trim down branches at home or cut firewood from medium-sized logs, a 12-14 inch bar size will suffice. It’s compact and, therefore, easier to control.
On the other hand, if you plan to cut down larger trees, a larger bar will be better. Anywhere between 16-18 inches or more will do. Check also if the chainsaw bar can be interchanged.
Automatic Lubrication System
Remember when you had to oil the chainsaw manually?
Those days are gone thanks to automatic chain and bar oil lubrication systems. The system will alert you when the bar and chain oil are low so that you can refill.
Chain Tensioning System
There are three types of chain tensioning systems;
- An automatic chain tensioning system. This is only available in select, high-end chainsaws, and it takes the headache of adjusting the chain tension away from you.
- Toolless chain tensioning system. But if you have to do it yourself, this is the best option because you only have to turn the knob on the side to adjust the tension when needed.
- A tooled tensioning system. Tooled tensioning systems require a wrench or screwdriver to adjust, which can be quite a hassle. However, this is the most recommended type because once you tighten it, it stays put longer.
Cutting down a tree with a STIHL chainsaw
Finally, consider how comfortable it will be to handle the chainsaw for, let’s say, an hour or more.
Like all woodworking tools, the best chainsaw must be comfortable to hold and move around, light on your shoulders, and safe. When we talk about ergonomics, what we want you to consider are
- Easy grip handles
- Trigger Comfort
- Brake switch and splinters guard
Best STIHL Chainsaws For Cutting Firewood
The MS 362 C-M is an upgrade of the MS 326 basic saw in that it features STIHLs M-Tronic engine management technology.
When the engine runs, the microprocessor automatically adjusts to the cutting conditions, thus maintaining its top-notch performance.
- Fuel-efficient and low emission
- The long-life air filtration system
- Excellent power-to-weight ratio
- It’s ideal for home and professional work
- Large enough bar size
It has a cold start, and you must pull it many times to start it until it warms up.
Not recommended for beginners because it’s too powerful
“I heated with wood and bought this saw because of its weight/easy handling, and strong power.”
2. MS 271 Farm Boss
Like our first choice, the MS 271 FARM BOSS is an improvement of the MS 270. It’s highly efficient, packed with chainsaw safety features, and the engine runs 20% longer.
- Reduced emission engine technology
- Air filtration system
- The best ergonomic design we have seen so far
- Anti-vibration system and easy start
- Tool-less fuel and oil caps
- It’s a bit heavy if you are not used to it.
”Great saw. Excellent power. Starts a little hard, but once you get the technique, it starts fine.”
3. MS 180 Homeowner
The MS 180 is another improved design featuring enhanced engine cooling, amazing air filtration, and a redesigned engine shroud for more consistent performance.
It perfectly balances being the best homeowner chainsaw and lightweight firewood saw.
- Easy to start with a light pull on the start-up cord
- Incredibly lightweight
- Tool-Less chain system
- Comes with a compensating carburetor to ensure the perfect ratio of fuel and air
- Quite affordable
- It’s only good for homeowners cutting small trees or clearing bushes
- The plastic parts wear out quickly
“It starts easy and cuts efficiently. I’ve used it several times and find it great for cutting small trees down and cutting them into lengths for campfire wood. Also, it was easy to maintain.”
4. MSE 250 C-Q
The MSE 250 C-Q is a lightweight electric chainsaw for safe, professional use. You only need access to a 20-amp power source nearby to get to work.
- The no-gasoline engine means no exhaust fumes or noise
- It can handle a diameter of 16-20 inches
- It’s very light and durable
- Comes with a soft grip handle, temperature LED indicator, and coasting brake
It’s a decent professional saw for its size and weight, but its power source limits it.
“This saw has exceeded my expectations; it is well built, quick cutting, and quiet.”
5. MS 391
If you are looking for a professional STIHL chainsaw, this MS 391 is the best option. It features the same engine technology found in MS 362 C-M to add fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
- Optimal power-to-weight ratio
- It can handle trees 20” in diameter with a 64cc engine
- Anti-vibration system
- Intellicarb compensating carburetor
- Easy side access chain tensioner
- Quick stop chain break and STIHL reduced kickback bars
- The bar nuts tend to come loose after several hours of cutting.
- It’s too powerful if you are not a professional cutting thick wood.
“This saw is powerful and made quick work of 30+ inch diameter logs. Saved me lots of time and effort compared to my old saw.”
6. MS 170
For good reasons, the MS 170 is one of the STIHLs most popular chainsaws. You get amazing quality in a perfect lightweight and affordable package.
- Compact and lightweight
- It has the right amount of power for cutting firewood
- It’s easy to start and even easier to maintain
- Feels very comfortable and safe on your arms
- Packs a surprisingly good amount of punch for a 30cc chainsaw
- It can only cut small trees
- The saw doesn’t idle well; you have to keep it revving.
“Great chainsaw. Always was reliable when I needed it. Lots of power and very lightweight.”
7. MS 251 C-BE
The MS 251 C-BE is a powerful, fuel-efficient chainsaw that features the comfort of the MS 251 but is much easier to start and adjust.
- It’s perfect for felling small trees and cutting firewood
- Provides up to 20% fuel savings and 50% less emission
- Quick saw chain adjuster that makes it easy to correct tension on the fly
- Easy to start and reduced vibration
- Easy to use but packs quite the punch
- The quick adjust chain tensioner doesn’t work as quickly as they claim. Most people have to change the plastic dial to manual tightening.
“Use it as it was designed and it is an excellent saw. If you can follow instructions, get an easy start. Be easy with the starter–if not you will damage it and that is on you.”
What is the best STIHL chainsaw for cutting firewood?
The answer depends on the firewood size you plan to cut, your saw type preference, and your experience.
For professionals, we recommend the MS 391 or MS 362 C-M for their larger bars and high-performance engine.
The MS 170 and 180 Homeowner are excellent choices for beginners or if you want to fell small trees and medium size firewood.