What does MS and the Numbers Mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

What does MS and the Numbers Mean on a STIHL Chainsaw? - Gilford Hardware & Outdoor Power Equipment

What does the MS and the Numbers mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

What does MS and the Numbers Mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

You walk into your local STIHL dealers store and realize "wow there's a lot of different types of chainsaws...I thought this would be easy" Yes, It might look daunting, hopefully someone there could help you, maybe not but you start checking them out and start to recognize that every chainsaw has a "MS ###" medallion on it. They all look fairly similar, but typically the higher the number, the higher the price. So what's the difference? Which one is right for me?

What does the "MS" mean on STIHL Chainsaws?

MS, MSA, are the ones you will typically see. "MS" Stands for Motorsäge, which is german for Chainsaw! and MSA indicates it's a battery operated chainsaw. Rarely you will see MSE which will mean it's an electric powered chainsaw (plug in.) Pretty much every modern day STIHL chainsaw will have "MS" on them, if they don't be aware and do your homework! 

What do the Numbers on a STIHL chainsaw mean?

The First Digit of a STIHL Chainsaw

The first digit is kind of fuzzy but we've been told it designates the power / engine size / displacement. Typically the higher the number, the more powerful, larger sized chainsaw you are purchasing, this is probably why it corresponds with the price. For example an MS 170 is the lowest homeowner chainsaw, which runs for around $190, but the MS 660 is a higher end and much larger, and much more powerful chainsaw which runs for around $1,300+. 

The Second Digit of a STIHL Chainsaw 

The second digit indicates model, or series. STIHL makes the same type of chainsaw in different configurations, sometimes with different features. Since STIHL has changed their designation system from MS 0## to MS ###, many of the chainsaws dropped the 0 and went to a three digit designation. for example the MS 025 became the MS 250. The MS 025 and MS 250 are very similar and depending on the serial numbers and time produced, they share many of the same parts and features!

The Third Digit of a STIHL Chainsaw 

The third digit of a STIHL chainsaw is almost always 0,1,2 or 3. This number indicates the amount of added features. A zero usually indicates the base model, this is the simplest version of the chainsaw. It'll have the bare-minimum of features, fuel capacity, power, displacement. Consider any STIHL chainsaw ending in a 0 as the baseline model, and they go up from there.  As you go up in number you will notice chainsaws will have more features like the choke, gas and oil caps, fuel capacity and efficiency, microchips, anti-vibration, slightly more/less power. fuel-to-weight ratio and more. 

What do the STIHL Chainsaw Suffixes stand for?

What does the "B" mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

B means Quick Chain Adjuster. This lets you adjust the tension of the chainsaws chain (you can tighten and loosen it around the bar) . You simply pull the tab and spin. It's easy as that! this eliminates the use of a scrench, or having to remove multiple bar nuts. It lets you quickly, and easily adjust or change your bar and chain

What does the "E" mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

The E suffix on a STIHL chainsaw means Easy2Start™ This is a feature added on select STIHL power equipment which allows you to (almost) effortlessly start the machine. Instead of giving the recoil cord hard strong pulls, the STIHL Easy2Start™ system lets you give it a quick pull which will instantly overcome the engine compression and minimize the effort you need to start the equipment


What does the "M" mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

M is a newer suffix for STIHL chainsaw names, It stands for M-Tronic™. The M-Tronic™ is an innovative microprocessor which will help control, tweak, and optimize the STIHL chainsaws engine, in real-time on the fly without any user intervention. It self adapts to environmental factors like: fuel quality, engine temperature, altitude. It will automatically adjust the fuel-to-air ratio which will optimize performance!

Does my Chainsaw Actually need a Microprocessor?

If you're a casual chainsaw user the answer is no. You don't need a Microprocessor in your STIHL chainsaw. It does have it's advantages for professionals though, depending on how much you are cutting and where you are cutting a M-Tronic chainsaw might be the way to go. 

What does the "R and T" Suffix mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

The "R" and "T" suffix means is a designation for the handle of the STIHL Chainsaw. You will find "T" suffix which means "Top handle" on many of the in-tree saws. top-handle model is specially designed for in-tree professional use only! The "R" Suffix means "Wrap handle" This means the chainsaw has a handle which wraps around the whole saw which lets it be used in multiple positions for felling or limbing with hands in the proper positions.Both of these suffixes are mostly aimed toward professionals, so you most likely won't encounter them very often. 

Stihl "T"Top handle Gilford Hardware

What does the "Q" Suffix mean on a STIHL Chainsaw?

The Q stands for Quickstop® chain-stopping technology on a STIHL chainsaw it's designed to limit the danger of harm in kickback scenarios. A STIHL Quickstop® chain brake is a better name. The STIHL Quickstop® chain brake is designed to stop the chain from rotating if it is engaged by the operator's hand or inertia if the saw is kicked back hard enough. The STIHL Quickstop® chain brake may be engaged by inertia in various operating postures, halting the chain in fractions of a second. Note: None of the current 2022 STIHL chainsaws have a "Q" suffix, but some of the saws do have Quickstop® chain-stopping technology 


So there you have it, you are now a professional STIHL Chainsaw identifier. I know you always wanted to be one, congrats. I am proud of you, hopefully this information is helpful, if not you can use it to brag to friends!  Don't worry you will be good if google starts using STIHL chainsaw names for their image captcha! Just kidding!  Thanks for reading, and as always remember to Shop Local and Stay safe!

 WARNING! Improper use of any power tool may cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow carefully the operating and safety instructions in your instruction manual before using such products.

Basically, I'm not responsible if you decide to buy an MS 881 MAGNUM® and cut your arm off while trying to cut down an x-mas tree! 

Check Out Some of Our In-STOCK STIHL Chainsaws Below or Stop by Gilford Hardware & Outdoor Power Equipment today! 

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The Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment blog posts exclusively reflect the views of Gilford Hardware and Outdoor Power Equipment and do not necessarily reflect those of the device manufacturers. Please be aware that product availability, specifications, and suggested uses are subject to change. For the most recent details, always refer to the manufacturer's website and product manual.