Ms170 vs ms171

Ms170 vs ms171 DEFAULT

What do STIHL Chainsaw model numbers mean?

If you've ever bought, or thought about buying, a STIHL chainsaw, you've probably wondered what the letter and number abbreviations mean in the model names. It's a hot topic in many forums, and you'll find that it's very confusing. STIHL hasn't released much information about the meaning of these model numbers, but they do have this chart ranking them from occasional to extensive use.

STIHL Chainsaw Scale

You would think the smaller the number, the less powerful the chainsaw, and vice-versa. However, if you look closely, you'll see some 1XX models, like the MS 150 T-CE and the MS 193 T, near the extensive use end. Why are these ranked above some other models like the MS 271 or MS 391? That's what we're here to find out.

What does MS mean?

We'll start with an easy one. Every STIHL chainsaw model name starts with MS, MSA, or MSE. The common part, MS, stands for Motorsäge which is German for chainsaw. MSA indicates that it's a battery chainsaw and MSE tells us that it's an electric model. The first part is easy to figure out, but the numbers are where things get tricky.

What do the numbers mean?

Many people have made speculations about their meanings. Some suggest lower numbers are for homeowner saws and larger are for professional saws. Others say that the numbers align with the displacement of the saw, which seems to be the case some saws but doesn't hold up across the board. We've also heard that even and odd numbers or the generation of the saw somehow tie into it. There are a few more ideas out there, but none of them really stick. We're going to dig into the facts.

The first number

We found this Chain Saw Comparison Chart on STIHL's website and grouped them together by the first number. We noticed that the first number is a good indicator of engine power, displacement, and fuel capacity (besides MSA and MSE models).

Model NumberDisplacementEngine PowerFuel Capacity
1XX23.6 - 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)
2XX35.2 - 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)
3XX59.0 - 64.1 cc (3.60 - 3.90 cu. in.)3.1 - 3.5 kW (4.2 - 4.7 bhp)600 cc (20.3 oz)
4XX70.7 - 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)
6XX91.1 cc (5.56 cu. in.)5.4 kW (7.2 bhp)825 cc (27.9 oz)
8XX121.6 cc (7.42 cu. in.)6.4 kW (8.6 bhp)1300 cc (44.0 oz)

The second number

Before 2000, STIHL chainsaw model numbers began with a 0. For example, STIHL carried 017 and 025 model chainsaws. This changed around 2000 when they added MS to the beginning and moved the 0 to the end. The 017 became MS 170, 025 became MS 250, and so on. We're assuming that it, combined with the first number, makes up a model number. These models may have different characteristics or designs that make them ideal for different use cases. This is why you'll see some 1XX and 2XX saws on both ends of the usage chart.

The third number

You may notice that the third number is always between 0 and 3. Looking at the MS 17X on the left side, you'll see that it has two gas versions, the MS 170 and MS 171. Let's compare them to get a better idea of what's going on.

The MS 170 has a displacement of 1.80 cu. in., fuel capacity of 8.5 oz., chain oil capacity of 4.9 oz., and powerhead weight of 8.6 lbs.

The MS 171 has a displacement of 1.94 cu. in., fuel capacity of 9.5 oz., chain oil capacity of 6.1 oz., and powerhead weight of 9.5 lbs. Unlike the MS 170, it has tool-less fuel and oil caps with retainers and a side-access chain tensioner.

The MS 171 has some bumped up specs and added features, but the build is pretty much the same as the MS 170. We noticed this trend across the board and found that the third number always started at 0 and went up from there. The MS 271 Farm Boss® page on STIHL's website says that it replaced the MS 270, indicating that the third number represents a version number for the model.

What do the rest of the letters mean?

By the rest of the letters, I'm referring to C-BE, T C-M, or other groups of letters at the end of the model name. These symbols indicate specific performance features included in the chainsaw. Here's a guide to those features so you can pick the best chainsaw that fits your needs.

B = Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA)

The Quick Chain Adjuster allows for easier, tool-less chain adjustment.

C = Comfort

This is pretty generic and could relate to multiple features. It might imply that it has an impressive power-to-weight ratio or a feature that makes it easier to use than another similar model. For example, the MS 261 C-M features M-Tronic™ technology, redesigned cylinders, and a slimmer, more ergonomic housing.

E = Easy2Start™

As the name suggests, STIHL Easy2Start™ makes starting easier and require less effort. An added spring between the crankshaft and start rope rotor allows users to pull slower and with less force.

M = M-Tronic™

M-Tronic™ is an engine management system that monitors and compensates for changes in work conditions. The onboard microprocessor picks up changes in temperature, octane levels, elevation, fuel quality, and air filters and maximizes performance without the user having to make adjustments manually.

Q = Quickstop®

The QuickStop® chain braking feature reduces the risk of injury in some kickback situations. If the operator's hand releases from the handle and activates it, the chain will stop within one second.

R = Wrap Handle

The wrap handle wraps around the saw, making it easier to handle in multiple positions for felling or cutting limbs.

If you compare the MS 211 to the MS 211 C-BE, you'll find that most of the specs are the same, but the MS 211 C-BE has those added features. If you're looking for value, you're probably going to be picking the MS 211. If you want the features that the MS 211 C-BE provides, you'll be paying a little extra for them.

It's not easy comparing and shopping for STIHL chainsaws just based on the model names, but hopefully, this will provide some guidance. We recommend using the chart as a starting point and digging into more specific product details from there. If you need help finding the right STIHL chainsaw to fit your needs, reach out to your local Hutson store and our parts department will be glad to help!

Additional Resources

Published May 10, 2019Sours:
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If you want a powerful chainsaw, the small model Stihl MS170 is a good choice. It starts quickly, cuts quickly and smoothly and makes easy work of removing tree branches, cutting firewood, or any other task that calls for a chainsaw. Additionally, the high power-to-weight ratio make it a good choice.

Because of its size, it works best for occasional cleanup jobs, felling or trimming small trees and clearing fallen branches after a storm. This gas chainsaw’s lightweight plastic and aluminum housing keep it under 11 pounds, which adds to its maneuverability and lowers the chance of kickback. Depending on the job you need to complete, you can swap out the 16-inch bar with others as small as 12 inches with the right tools.

Our test crew were impressed by this model. After comparing it with the Echo CS-310 one tester commented “I still like the Stihl better.” Another, after using multiple saws said of the Stihl “I think this one is the best.”

But it wasn’t all praise, one tester commented on how much smoke this model produced when compared to the other gas models. Another noted the lack of shock absorbers that made the Echo CS-130 more attractive. Nevertheless, everyone was impressed that it produces a clean, even cut every time you use it.

This small gas chainsaw secured the best times for individual cuts in our hands-on tests. We cut a 6x6-inch piece of lumber with each saw and timed how long it took to complete. The first test cut with this model clocked in at less than five seconds with the next hitting the three second mark. Between the test cuts, this Stihl model averaged speeds of three to four seconds. That means the Stihl MS170 cut through the test lumber at speeds of over an inch per second.

The two-stroke engine boosts the power-to-weight ratio for a saw as light as this one. This style of engine completes two revolutions in one piston stroke, meaning it requires less fuel for the power it produces. The lightweight plastic housing adds to its efficiency, but this shell can crack or break if not handled with care. You can avoid damage to the saw by starting it on the ground with your foot in the rear handle.

Inside the saw there is an IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor; this carburetor keeps the air-to-fuel ratio balanced. It adjusts when the air filter chokes, but maintains constant rpm to keep the saw running its best. This system pulls air in from the clean side of the filter to keep the engine free of dust and debris.

One downside to any Stihl chainsaw is that you can only buy them in retail stores. And any licensed dealers can sell this model, parts and other accessories. These local dealers are often easy to find, but it’s inconvenient if you know what you’re doing and would rather have parts delivered from services like Amazon.

The Stihl MS170 is ideal for someone who wants the power and utility of a professional grade chainsaw, as it delivers on both. It's quiet, light, easy to handle and fuel-efficient. It scored high marks easily on every test we put to it. It’s a great tool not only for a variety of cutting jobs. However, if you’re not a frequent user and you craving for power isn’t overwhelming, you could probably get away corded or battery powered tool.

Need a better alternative?

J.D. Chadwick joined the Top Ten Reviews team in 2008 and has been one of our most prolific content creators. Originally the head writer of the video content department, he was essential in the creation of hundreds of review videos. Additionally, he created, wrote and produced the daily tech news show Top Ten Reports throughout its 2009-2011 run. Since 2011 he has created content and articles on a wide variety of our product categories. With over a decade of service at Top Ten Reviews, he has produced thousands of articles, reviews and videos on hundreds of topics. He is currently our Multimedia and Home Improvement Editor.
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2020 STIHL MS 170
A VS Symbol
2020 STIHL MS 250

If it's time to upgrade to a new chainsaw, you can’t go wrong with a STIHL. Safe, efficient, and lightweight, STIHL builds some of the most reliable and durable products available. To help you find the right model, consult the following STIHL MS 170 vs. MS 250 comparison guide, prepared by Century Power Equipment. Scroll through our online inventory to see what’s available at our dealership in Stillwater, MN. If you have additional questions, call us at (651) 439-2035 or send us a message online.


Different STIHL chainsaws are built for different jobs. To ensure that you are equipped with the perfect tool for your situation, we’ve taken a closer look at what the MS 170 and MS 250 are best used for.

MS 170

As one of the most lightweight chainsaws that STIHL offers, the MS 170 is perfect for homeowners that only need to use their chainsaw occasionally. If you have several larger trees around your home that drop limbs during storms, the MS 170 is perfect for post-storm cleanup. The MS 170 is also ideal for trimming and cutting small trees, as well as general woodcutting tasks.

MS 250

If you plan on using your new chainsaw more regularly, the MS 250 may be for you. Homeowners with fireplaces can utilize the MS 250 for firewood cutting. The MS 250 also thrives in clearing and cleanup tasks, as well as cutting through small limbs and trees.


There are several features found on the MS 170 and MS 250 that will make cutting and clearing jobs easier than ever. Continue reading to learn what to expect from both of these chainsaws.

MS 170

Features found on the STIHL MS 170 include:

  • Anti-vibration system reduces operator fatigue
  • IntelliCarb™ compensating carburetor automatically adjusts air/fuel ratio to maintain the correct RPM
  • Ematic™ lubrication system provides proper lubrication and less oil consumption

MS 250

Features found on the STIHL MS 250 include:

  • Easy-access air filter cover
  • Rear hand guard
  • Master Control Lever™ operates the choke, starting throttle lock, and on-off switch in one lever
  • Side-access chain tensioner
  • Winter/Summer shutter to maintain optimum temperature

STIHL chainsaw


Discover more about the engines of the MS 170 and MS 250 by comparing their specifications and performance outputs:

MS 170

STIHL MS 170 performance specs include:


1.8 cu.-in.

Engine Power

1.7 HP

Powerhead Weight

8.6 lbs.

Fuel Capacity

8.5 oz.

Chain Oil Capacity

4.9 oz.

Oilomatic® Chain

0.375 in. PMM3

Guide Bar Lengths

12 in. to 16 in.

MS 250

STIHL MS 250 performance specs include:


2.77 cu.-in.

Engine Power

3 HP

Powerhead Weight

10.1 lbs.

Fuel Capacity

15.9 oz.

Chain Oil Capacity

6.8 oz.

Oilomatic® Chain

0.325 in. RM3

Guide Bar Lengths

45 cm. to 18 in.

STIHL Models in Stillwater, MN

No matter which STIHL chainsaw you prefer, you can find it at Century Power Equipment in Stillwater, MN. Scroll through our online inventory, and call (651) 439-2035 or send us a message online to speak with a Century Power Equipment representative.


Carpentry happens to be one of the most popular hobbies in the 21st century. Furthermore, recent times show a surprising increase of interest among people towards DIY projects. You must have a complete set of hardware if you belong to this category of folks. Among them, the most vital tool is a reliable chainsaw.

Among all the hardware brands, no one makes chainsaws better than STIHL, a belief fortified by its MS series. However, deciding on a model can be tricky. So here is an analysis of STIHL MS 180 vs 170 vs 171 Chainsaw in 2021 for you to identify which one will suit you the best

FactorMS 180MS 170MS 171
Engine Power1.5 kW1.3 kW1.3 kW
Displacement31.8 cc30.1 cc31.8 cc
Fuel Capacity8.5 Oz8.5 Oz9.5 Oz
Oilomatic Chain3/8” PMM33/8” PMM33/8” PMM3
Powerhead Weight8.6lbs8.6lbs9.5lbs
Power SourceGasGasGas
Chain Oil Capacity4.9 Oz4.9 Oz6.1 Oz

STIHL MS 180 vs. 170 vs. 171 Chainsaw

Let’s get to know about all these products so that you can easily choose between them.

1. STIHL MS 180 Gas Chainsaw

STIHL MS 180 Gas Chainsaw

Carpentry enthusiasts may be of the opinion that chainsaws are tools that are incredibly heavy and require a lot of strength to operate. However, their perspective is bound to change once they come across the MS 180.

It has a total weight of only 4.1kg; therefore, you will be able to maneuver it with ease for hours before needing a break.

One of the most common problems that users face when operating a chainsaw is its tendency to overheat. It can be a problematic flaw when handling large projects as interruptions can severely hamper the workflow.

However, STIHL has gone to great lengths to ensure that you do not face this issue with this product. It sports a new design and engine for an improved cooling and ventilation system.

Most chainsaws feature a design that makes them suitable for tackling large chunks of materials. However, they feel too aggressive and overpowering when it comes to smaller items.

You won’t be facing this problem when using the MS 180. Its 16” blades pair well with the lightweight body, giving it the ability to cut off branches and small trees with the convenience chainsaws promise.

A big problem that comes with using gas chainsaws is their total fuel capacity. Most of the models have a small tank which doesn’t allow them to run for a long time. STIHL fitted this unit with an impressive 8.5 Oz fuel storage. You will be able to use it for a couple of hours with ease before it requires a refill.

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2. STIHL MS 170 Chainsaw

MS 170

Are you someone who prefers a light chainsaw for small maintenance jobs around your backyard and also wants it to provide a significant amount of power? In that case, the MS 170 is the perfect fit for you. Its small size cleverly hides its overall strength as it has the ability to cut through an entire 6×6 lumber within 5 seconds.

Although you may find a lot of veteran carpenters complaining about the inadequate fuel capacity of most chainsaws, they often forget to consider the fuel costs.

Fuel is a vital factor to consider when buying such tools because it is pretty expensive. STIHL fits this product with a two-stroke engine, which will help you to do more without less energy consumption.

Build materials play a crucial role in the popularity the MS 170 currently enjoys. Premium ingredients go into making each of its components so that you can cut off small plants and branches with ease.

A combination of aluminum and plastic in the housing keeps it light. Simultaneously, the saw is replaceable with a size ranging from 12-16”, which makes it smoother to control.

Gas chainsaws require an appropriate combination of air and fuel to function smoothly. Therefore, the tool needs to maintain a correct ratio to prevent malfunction. STIHL has fitted this item with a carburetor. The inclusion of this component prevents its air filter from choking while keeping the engine dust-free.

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3. STIHL MS 171 Chainsaw

MS 171

Similar to the timeless combination of chocolate and peanut butter, the MS 171 bears the hallmarks of technology and efficiency. Regardless of having a small body, this oddball can pack some serious power when necessary.

It boasts an engine with a total power of 1.3 kW, thus ensuring that you will be able to cut through most wooden structures effortlessly.

Most carpenters tend to focus on bodyweight when buying a chainsaw as it is the prime indicator of its convenience. However, they seldom remember to take notice of its powerhead weight.

This factor is essential in the sense as it is the main power output of the device. STIHL imbues this unit with a total powerhead weight of 4.3kg, allowing users to handle it with ease.

Maintenance is a vital factor for chainsaws. A lot of different factors contribute to the overall condition of this tool. Among them, one of the most critical attachments is the chain oil.

This fluid ensures that the saw revolves at a consistent pace smoothly whenever it is operational. The MS 171 has a chain oil capacity of 6.1 Oz to ensure fewer oil changes and efficiency in performance.

Air filters are a vital part of chainsaws. It helps to keep the product free from dust and debris while ensuring the smooth flow of fuel. However, since most of them are permanent components, it runs the risk of the device becoming useless if it breaks down.

STIHL takes care of this issue with this model by making the part replaceable, thus increasing its longevity.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is the STIHL MS170 a good saw?

The STIHL is one of the finest products in the line of the newer generation chainsaws. It boasts a lighter body that makes it significantly more versatile than its competitors and predecessors.

Furthermore, it boasts an impressive engine strength that makes it more efficient in cutting down various structures and surfaces quickly.

2. What does MS stand for on a STIHL chainsaw?

MS on a STIHL chainsaw is a subtle tribute to its German roots. The complete form of MS is Motorsäge which means German in Motor Saw. You will find this abbreviation only in gas chainsaws as there are other abbreviations for the brands electric and battery-run models.


After a rigorous analysis of all three chainsaws, we concluded that the MS 180, MS 170, and MS 171 are nearly identical models. However, the debate of STIHL MS 180 vs 170 vs 171 chainsaws in 2021 shows MS 180 to be the victor due to sheer superiority in strength.

It outshines the other tools in terms of weight and capacity too.

Even though there is a superior model among the three products here, you need to keep in mind that all three chainsaws specialize in certain niches.

Therefore, it’s vital that you make a thorough deduction of what factors you want to prioritize when making a purchase. Other than that, all three models will ensure that you have a smooth experience when operating them!

Categories GardeningSours:

Vs ms171 ms170

difference between MS170 and 017.

jakewells said:

the 171 has a adjustable carb and is strato charged as well i would rather have the 171 it also has a better air filter system on it.

Click to expand...

I bought my MS 170 in 2006.
I believe it was $159.
Great little saw that gave me no troubles.
I might start a thread about why I bought it, soon. Don't want to sidetrack this thread.

I do see the advantages to better filtering, tho as long as I kept the filter clean it wasn't a problem.
A carb with more adjustment would be welcome.
I do need to replace the carb now, but I believe that is an ethanol issue, and my own stupid fault.

What I didn't like about the MS 171 was:
1)Higher price
2)A pound heavier
3)Same exact hp rating
4)Flippy caps

I talked to a local dealer that stocks the most Stihl equipment in my area.
Best selling Stihl chain saw for them is still the MS 170.
Id like to try both saws back to back, but I don't know anyone that owns a MS 171, to see it if there is any performance difference.




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