Husqvarna vs Stihl Chainsaws – Which Brand is Best for You?

People buy chainsaws for a number of reasons. What’s yours? Are you:

  • A homeowner or homesteader looking for an easy way to fell trees and cut firewood?
  • Regularly out in the shop cutting rough lumber?
  • A professional logger or arborist out in the forest all day?

Both Stihl and Husqvarna (and some other brands) make chainsaws that will do all these jobs really well. Whether you buy a Stihl chainsaw or a Husqvarna saw will come down to your specific needs, your preferences, and maybe even what you can find where you live.

I’m going to guide you through this choice. We’ll take a quick look at some of the top saws from both companies, then get into what makes each company good at making chainsaws. After a quick buying guide, I’ll show you top saws from both companies for different tasks.

Let’s get started by looking at the top models from each company.

Quick Look – Top Picks

Here are the two most popular (at least in my opinion) models from each brand. These aren’t necessarily the best for every job or every person, but they are widely regarded as good tools and many people buy one of these four.


  • MS 180/181 C-BE: This lightweight, gas-powered chainsaw is ideal for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. It’s known for its easy starting, maneuverability, and affordability, making it a popular choice for light-duty tasks like limbing, pruning, and firewood cutting.
  • MS 362 C-M: A step up in power and performance, the MS 362 C-M is preferred by professionals and experienced users for felling medium-to-large trees and firewood processing. Its powerful engine, robust build, and advanced features like easy starting and anti-vibration technology make it a reliable and efficient choice for demanding jobs.


  • 450 Rancher: This versatile all-rounder caters to both homeowners and professionals. Its ergonomic design, ease of use, and reliable performance make it suitable for cutting firewood, felling smaller trees, and various other landscaping tasks.
  • Husqvarna 135 Mark II: The Husqvarna 135 Mark II is an excellent choice for general home and garden use. Its user-friendly design and 2.1-HP X-Torq engine offer a perfect blend of fuel efficiency and power. Ideal for cutting firewood or managing trees, this chainsaw’s lightweight frame, coupled with its Smart Start feature, ensures a hassle-free operation. Its safety mechanisms, like the inertia-activated chain brake, provide peace of mind during use.

Husqvarna Chainsaws

Husqvarna chainsaws, commonly called “Huskies,” are workhorses for all things logging, trimming, and cutting of wood. They can be found on almost any job site and are known for being tough, reliable, and powerful saws.

Let’s find out what makes Husqvarna chainsaws worth considering.

Brand profile

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.

Common features of Husqvarna saws

Husqvarna chainsaws are renowned for their durability, advanced technology, and user-friendly design, making them a popular choice for both professional and amateur users. They are known for their powerful performance, efficient fuel consumption, and ergonomic features that enhance safety and comfort during use.

Key features include:

  • X-Torq® engine for reduced emissions and fuel efficiency.
  • LowVib® technology for reduced vibration.
  • Air Injection™ system for longer engine life.
  • Smart Start® technology for easy starting.
  • AutoTune™ for automatic engine adjustments.
  • Ergonomic design for comfortable handling.

Husqvarna chainsaw pros vs cons

Husqvarna chainsaws offer significant advantages, including their robust and reliable performance. The X-Torq® engines deliver power efficiently while minimizing emissions, making them environmentally friendly. Their ergonomic design ensures user comfort and reduces fatigue, and features like Air Injection™ and LowVib® technology enhance durability and reduce maintenance needs, making them ideal for demanding tasks.

On the downside, Husqvarna chainsaws can be on the pricier side, making them a significant investment. Additionally, their advanced features and robust construction might be overwhelming for casual or inexperienced users. The weight and power of some models may also be challenging to handle for lighter tasks or by those who prefer a more lightweight tool.

Stihl Chainsaws

Stihl chainsaws were easily the most common saws for a long time. When someone bought a new chainsaw, it was probably a Stihl. Though times have changed and the market is bigger, this is still one of the best makes available.

Let’s look under the hood of this reliable brand.

Brand profile

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.

Common features in the Stihl line

Stihl chainsaws are distinguished by several key features that enhance their performance and usability:

  • Easy2Start™ system for effortless starting.
  • Advanced anti-vibration technology for user comfort.
  • Ematic™ bar system for improved chain lubrication and reduced oil consumption.
  • Quickstop® chain brake for increased safety.
  • Lightweight design, ensuring ease of use without sacrificing power.

Stihl chainsaws pros vs cons

Stihl chainsaws stand out for their exceptional build quality and durability, making them a long-term investment. Their ergonomic design ensures user comfort, and the anti-vibration system significantly reduces user fatigue. They are also known for their environmental friendliness, with features that minimize emissions and optimize fuel efficiency. The Easy2Start™ system and Quickstop® chain brake add to their safety and ease of use, appealing to both professionals and hobbyists.

One potential downside of Stihl chainsaws is their cost, which can be higher compared to other brands, reflecting their premium quality. Stihl is also only available through dealers, so you might not find one at one of the big box stores or online. Some users might find the maintenance requirements for optimal performance a bit demanding. Additionally, for those needing a chainsaw for light, occasional use, a Stihl might be more power and features than necessary, potentially making it an overly robust choice for simple tasks.

What Really Matters in a Chainsaw?

Choosing the right chainsaw is a critical decision for both homeowners and professional lumberjacks. It’s not just about picking a reputable brand like Husqvarna or Stihl; it’s about understanding what features matter most for your specific needs. From the purchase price to ease of starting, safety features, engine power, bar length, ease of maintenance, reliability, to availability – each aspect plays a vital role in ensuring you get the right chainsaw for your tasks. Whether you’re clearing your backyard or felling trees in a forest, this guide will help you weigh the crucial factors to find the perfect chainsaw for your work.

Purchase Price

When you’re eyeing a new chainsaw, whether you’re a weekend woodcutter or a professional lumberjack, the price is a big factor. Husqvarna and Stihl chainsaws, while known for their quality, can vary in price. Generally, smaller saws meant for lighter tasks are more affordable, while professional chainsaws designed for felling trees come with a higher price tag. Balance your budget with the chainsaw’s intended use; a higher upfront cost might mean better longevity and performance.

Ease of Starting

The frustration of a hard-to-start chainsaw is something both homeowners and professionals understand. Look for models like the Stihl MS series or certain Husqvarna saws that feature easy-start systems. These systems reduce the effort needed to start the engine, saving time and reducing trouble, especially in cold weather.

Safety Features

Safety can’t be overstated. Features like chain brakes, anti-vibration systems, and ergonomic handles are crucial. Stihl’s Quickstop® chain brake and Husqvarna’s LowVib® technology are examples of safety innovations that help prevent accidents and reduce fatigue during prolonged use.

Engine Power

Engine power dictates what you can cut and how efficiently. For tough wood or large trees, a chainsaw with high power and low-end torque is essential. Husqvarna and Stihl offer various sizes and models, with some like the Stihl MS series known for their excellent fuel efficiency and power.

Bar Length

Bar length determines the size of wood you can cut in a single pass. Homeowners dealing with smaller trees or firewood might prefer shorter bars for better maneuverability, while professionals felling large trees need longer bars. Both Stihl and Husqvarna offer chainsaws with a wide product range in bar lengths.

Ease of Maintenance

Maintaining a chainsaw extends its life and ensures safety. Features like tool-free access to air filters and oil caps, found in many Husqvarna and Stihl models, make routine maintenance like cleaning the air filter or ensuring proper lubrication less of a chore. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your saw in top condition.


A reliable chainsaw is a new member of your gear that you can count on. Reputable brands like Husqvarna and Stihl are known for their dependability. Whether it’s tackling tough wood or enduring regular use, choosing a chainsaw from these brands often means less trouble down the line.


Finally, consider the availability of the chainsaw and its parts. Both Husqvarna and Stihl have a wide distribution network, ensuring that whether you need a new saw, parts, or service, you won’t be left in the lurch. Availability also means easier access to service and warranty options, ensuring that you can get help when you need it.

Choosing the right chainsaw boils down to balancing these factors with your specific needs, whether it’s for occasional firewood cutting or daily professional use. Husqvarna and Stihl both offer excellent options across these categories, making them go-to choices for chainsaw buyers.

Stihl vs Husqvarna Chainsaw – Who is the Best?

Choosing the right saw from one of these two companies isn’t easy. But, as a potential buyer, you can’t go too far wrong. These two are at the top of the chainsaw market and there isn’t much difference between comparable models. They are both good at their tasks.

Best chainsaw for felling trees

  • Husqvarna 460 Rancher: A robust tool for demanding tasks, featuring a 60.3-cc engine and X-Torq® technology for enhanced power and fuel efficiency. Its 24-inch bar handles large-scale cutting efficiently, while LowVib technology ensures reduced vibration, providing comfort during prolonged use.
  • Stihl MS 362 C-M: This professional choice packs a punch with its 64.2cc engine, making felling medium-to-large trees a breeze. The anti-vibration technology keeps your arms happy, while the Quickstop chain brake prioritizes safety.

Best professional chainsaws

  • Husqvarna 3120 XP: This undisputed king of the forest unleashes the fury of its 122.3cc engine, effortlessly chewing through the thickest timber. Heavy-duty components and an advanced air filtration system ensure performance in any weather.
  • Stihl MS 661 C-M: This lightweight heavyweight boasts a 106.7cc engine and features like heated handles and an electronic carburetor for smooth operation in any weather. Its ergonomic design helps combat fatigue during long jornadas.

Best battery powered chainsaws

  • Husqvarna Power Axe 350i: A lightweight, cordless electric chainsaw with an 18-inch bar, offering superior cutting power and convenience. Ideal for varied cutting tasks, it features a brushless motor for durability and quiet operation, with a tool-less tensioning system for easy adjustments. The included 40V lithium-ion battery ensures efficient power delivery, and the saw’s Boost Mode provides an extra power surge when needed.
  • Stihl MSA 200 C-M: This affordable dynamo packs a surprising punch with its 36V lithium-ion battery, perfect for limbing, pruning, and light firewood cutting. The quiet operation makes it ideal for noise-sensitive areas, and the tool-free chain tensioning adds to its user-friendliness.

Best lightweight chainsaw

  • Husqvarna 120 Mark II: This featherweight champion weighs only 6.6 lbs, making it perfect for portability and maneuverability. Its 38.2cc engine packs a surprising punch, handling small trees and firewood with ease. The intuitive controls and excellent balance make it ideal for beginners or fatigue-prone users.
  • Stihl MS 181 C-BE: This compact wonder weighs only 7.2 lbs, perfect for maneuvering in tight spaces or for fatigue-free limbing. Its 18cc engine might seem small, but it tackles smaller branches and firewood with surprising gusto. The EasyStart system and tool-free chain tensioning add to its user-friendliness.

Remember, both brands offer incredible options, and the ideal chainsaw for you ultimately depends on your specific needs and priorities. Consider factors like power, cutting capacity, user-friendliness, budget, and environmental concerns when making your choice.

Other Brands to Consider

When exploring alternatives to the most popular chainsaw brands, a few noteworthy options emerge, each with their unique features and specifications catering to different needs.

Echo Chainsaws

Echo chainsaws, products of the Yamabiko Corporation of Japan, are recognized for their innovation in chainsaw technology. They offer a diverse range, from smaller 14-inch and 16-inch models suitable for homeowners, to larger 20-inch versions for professional use. Features like automatic oilers, vibration reduction, and digital starters enhance user-friendliness. Notable models include the CS-620SX, a heavy-duty, petrol chainsaw, and the DCS-1600, a battery-powered chainsaw comparable to a 40cm³ petrol chainsaw​​​​​​​​​​.

Craftsman Chainsaws

Craftsman’s lineup includes gas, cordless, and corded chainsaws designed for efficient performance. The S205 gas-powered chainsaw, for instance, features a 46cc full-crank high output engine with a 20-inch low-kickback bar, ideal for tough wood cutting. Craftsman chainsaws are known for their power, with models like the 42cc gas chainsaw being lightweight yet durable, making them suitable for essential yard work​​​​​​​​​​.

EGO Power+ Chainsaws

EGO Power+ chainsaws stand out for their gas-equivalent power minus the noise, fuss, or fumes. Powered by EGO POWER+ 56V ARC Lithium™ batteries, these chainsaws offer impressive cutting capabilities. For instance, the 16-inch model can make 130 continuous cuts on a 4×4 with a 2.5Ah battery, while the 18-inch model can deliver up to 300 cuts with a 5.0Ah battery. They feature high-efficiency brushless motors, with models like the CS1803 delivering up to 6800 RPM​​​​​​​​​​.

DEWALT Chainsaws

DEWALT chainsaws are known for their diverse range, covering light to heavy-duty tasks. They are praised for their design, cutting performance, safety features, and easy maintenance. The DCCS620P1 20V cordless chainsaw, for example, is well-suited for construction, demolition, and cutting small to medium-diameter limbs and logs. The DWCS600 18 in. 15 Amp Electric Chainsaw is another powerful option, with an 18-inch low kickback bar and chain, and a 2.8 HP brushless motor for optimized efficiency​​​​​​​​​​.

Wrapping It Up

Buying a chainsaw should also come with buying all the right safety gear. Chaps, gloves, eye protection, and a helmet for felling trees are all going to keep you safer, regardless of whether you buy a Stihl chainsaw, a Husqvarna chainsaw, or some other model.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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