Husqvarna vs. Stihl – Two Big Boy Chainsaw Brands Go Head to Head

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A good chainsaw is always a great investment and it’s hard to go wrong when you’re choosing between Husqvarna and Stihl. Both companies make great high-quality saws that are internationally-recognized for their durability and performance. Husqvarna vs. Stihl is the chainsaw showdown we've all been waiting for. 

If you’re on the fence between the two, look no further. In this article, we’ll outline the pros and cons of each company’s chainsaw so you can make a better buying decision.

Quick Look - Top Picks

Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
STIHL Cordless chainsaw - MSA 160 C-BQ
Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312
Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
STIHL Cordless chainsaw - MSA 160 C-BQ
Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312
$419.18
Currently not available
from $104.99
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Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
$419.18
-
STIHL Cordless chainsaw - MSA 160 C-BQ
STIHL Cordless chainsaw - MSA 160 C-BQ
Currently not available
-
-
Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312
Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 4.0 AH Battery Included 20312
from $104.99
-

Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Husqvarna vs. Stihl: Brief Company Histories

Husqvarna is the world’s largest producer of power tools with products available in over 100 countries. For more than 325 years, they have been creating and perfecting small machines of all kind. From rifles in the 1680s to bicycles in the 1890s and power tools in the 20th century, Husqvarna has hundreds of years of experience in building tools for personal use.

The Husqvarna chainsaw is a high-quality and heavy-duty machine with reliability performance. Though there are electric chainsaws on the market, this machine comes in two types: the more eco-friendly battery-powered option and the gas-powered version.

Stihl​ is a German power tool company that was founded in 1926 in Stuttgart. Today, they are still a privately-owned company whose United States headquarters is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. They employ over 2,100 people in the U.S. alone, with over 1,900 of those people located at their Virginia factory where they produce their full line of products for distribution throughout the country.

Stihl’s chainsaws, along with Husqvarna’s, are one of the industry leaders. From professional loggers to homeowners, Stihl has received raving reviews across the board.

Chainsaws are heavy-duty saws that have revolutionized logging, wildfire fighting, and many other industries alike. Stihl and Husqvarna are two companies that have been trailblazers in this market, and each has created a devoted group of loyal followers. These two are at the top of the chainsaw game and loggers everywhere will attest to the durability and power of each. 

​The Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Sale
Husqvarna 455, 20 in. 55.5cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw
  • X-TORQ - Delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the world´s most stringent environmental...
  • SMART START - The engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort
  • AIR INJECTION - Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter. This results in...

Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is a heavy duty gas-powered chainsaw. It’s a favorite among loggers and other professionals that use it to take down massive trees or do major repairs. This heavy-hitter is best for experienced users doing big jobs on properties. It is an excellent tool for these jobs though, and the company has a reputation for durability and excellence that has led to many loyal users.

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​The Stihl MSA 160

STIHL Cordless chainsaw - MSA 160 C-BQ
  • STIHL Electric Motor
  • QuickStop Super Chain Brake
  • Lithium-ion

Last update on 2018-12-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Stihl MSA 160 on the other hand is a small, electric chainsaw. This battery-powered piece is best for smaller jobs around the home like pruning trees or repair jobs. Its lithium-ion battery makes it more environmentally friendly than the Husqvarna Rancher series.

Head to Head

Ultimately, both Stihl and Husqvarna make excellent chainsaws at all power levels.

From smaller saws that are used only for pruning to bigger ones used by professional loggers, there is something out there for everyone.

​​The Husqvarna 455 Rancher and the Stihl MSA 160 are two very different chainsaws. The Husqvarna is a gas-powered 20-inch machine that is heavy-duty and built for storm repair, tree felling, and anything else “heavy-duty” at home. The Stihl, on the other hand, is a smaller electric-powered saw that is best for smaller jobs at home.

Even though these two saws are so different, there still are some points of comparison that can be made between them. And, if you’re deciding between the two, it’s worth going through the details to see which one is the better option for you.

In comparing the 455 Rancher and the MSA 160, we decided to look at the following things:

Efficiency

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Stihl MSA 160 wins in this category. As an electric powered saw, there is no fuel that needs to be replaced, nor are there any harmful emissions released.

The Stihl, however, might not be the most efficient in terms of time. It only has a run time of roughly 50 minutes between charges and it can only handle small jobs.

It is also dependent on a battery, so if you were to ever lose power, the saw would be rendered useless.

The Husqvarna does hold its own when it comes to efficiency, largely because of its X-TORQ engine system, which helps reduce the overall emissions by as much as 60% and decrease fuel consumption.

Every gas-powered Husqvarna chainsaw is loaded with this, so regardless of which one you choose, you know that you’re getting some great technology.

To see the Husqvarna X-TORQ in action, check out this YouTube video.

Safety

Most saws have a variety of safety features to help reduce your risk of injury while you are using the machine, but sometimes, accidents can happen.

Importantly, though, if you’ve never used a chainsaw before we highly recommend that you consult with a professional before taking on any in-home task.

Chainsaws can be incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to observe all safety measures while using one:

including keeping the machine well maintained and wearing proper clothing during operation. However, there are some safety measures that a company should put in place.

One of these is noise and vibration absorbing dampeners. These are important for two reasons.

First, they reduce the vibration that your body experiences, something that not only causes fatigue but also can lead to serious conditions like “vibration white finger”.

Second, they reduce noise, something that’s important to keep your hearing intact.

Both the Husqvarna and the Stihl have these measures in place, and as companies that are trusted by loggers around the world, it’s safe to say that their technology is built in a way to ensure maximum comfort.

Another safety feature that’s important to consider is kickback-resistant bars and chain brakes.

These help reduce the damage that can be done by a sudden kickback and prevent the chain from running in the event of an emergency.

Again, both companies have these safety measures in place, but the Husqvarna inertia-activated chain brake detects sudden movements in the bar and automatically stops the chain.

This might make it slightly safer than the Stihl.

Durability

Finally, we looked at durability. Since these are expensive machines, you want to know that what you are buying will last a long time.

With both Husqvarna and Stihl, you can rest assured that you are getting the best that money can buy and their long-held reputations for durability and longevity hold true.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, both Husqvarna and Stihl chainsaws will help you get the job done.

As the industry leaders there’s no clear winner, and when you ask loggers, you’ll get a pretty even split on which company’s tools they prefer.

That being said, we did rate the Husqvarna 450 as our best chainsaw of 2018 because of the simple system that makes it easy to get started with.

Ultimately, though, the choice is yours. We recommend renting either option to test it out then purchasing the one that works best for your needs.