Stihl Gas Chainsaws Power-to-Weight Ratio and Bar Lengths

Picking the right chainsaw can be an overwhelming experience for both the seasoned sawyer and the newly initiated. When choosing a well-rounded saw for your particular needs many factors must be considered. Buying “Too Much” or “Too Little” saw can be an expensive mistake and increase the chance of an accident. That said, there isn’t a single saw that will fit every need. However, there is a saw that is perfect for any singular task you want to complete. Sometimes you’re going to need more than one chainsaw.

Stihl Gas Chainsaw Specifications

Stihl gas chainsaw powerhead comparison table including wet and dry power to weight ratio, wet and dry weights, min-max, and recommended guide bar lengths. All data is as reported by Stihl and is subject to change. Please refer to Stihl's documentation before making a purchase decision.
ModelPower/Weight (bhp/lbs)
Dry | Wet
Guide Bar Length (in)
Min | Max | Rec
Power (bhp)Weight (lbs)
Dry | Wet
MS 151 C-E0.230.211012121.416.16.72
MS 151 T C-E0.250.221012121.415.76.32
MS 1700.200.181216161.78.69.30
MS 1710.180.161216161.79.510.32
MS 1800.230.2212161628.69.30
MS 180 C-BE0.220.2012161629.310.00
MS 181 C-BE0.200.18121616210.110.92
MS 194 C-E0.250.221216141.887.68.48
MS 194 T0.260.231216141.887.288.16
MS 201 C-EM0.280.251216162.418.69.54
MS 201 T C-M0.300.261216142.418.169.10
MS 2110.240.221818182.39.510.32
MS 211 C-BE0.230.211818182.310.110.92
MS 2500.300.27181818310.111.27
MS 251 C-BE0.250.23161818311.912.94
MS 251 Wood Boss0.280.25161818310.811.84
MS 2610.370.33162016410.812.16
MS 261 C-M0.370.33162016410.812.16
MS 271 Farm Boss0.280.261620163.4912.313.60
MS 2910.310.281620163.7612.313.60
MS 3110.310.271620164.213.6715.35
MS 3620.380.341625204.6912.3513.98
MS 362 C-M0.380.341625204.6912.3513.98
MS 362 R C-M0.350.321625204.6913.2314.86
MS 3910.320.291620204.413.6715.35
MS 400 C-M0.420.371625205.412.814.43
MS 462 C-M0.450.40163625613.215.06
MS 462 R C-M0.430.38163625613.915.76
MS 500i0.450.401636256.714.816.66
MS 500i R0.450.401636256.71516.86
MS 6610.440.391636257.216.318.49
MS 661 C-M0.440.391636257.216.318.49
MS 661 R0.440.391636257.216.518.69
MS 661 R C-M0.440.391636257.216.518.69
MS 8800.390.331759258.622.325.83
MS 8810.390.342141258.621.825.33
MS 881 R0.390.342141258.62225.53

When choosing a saw, I typically start with each model’s min/max bar length to narrow down the saws to be considered. Every job will have materials that require a minimum bar length. Using a bar that is too short will put excessive wear on the saw, sacrifice efficiency, and increase user fatigue and the possibility of an accident. Conversely, using a bar that is too long can be unnecessarily expensive and increases the saw’s overall weight causing fatigue. So finding the right size saw will save you money in the long run and be safer.

Next, I look at the power-to-weight ratio as a way to further narrow down my options. Typically, the more power the better, unless there are special situations where overall weight is a deciding factor. For instance, arborist climbing saws are purpose-built to be light and controllable while suspended in a tree. Magnum saws are built to be heavy to allow the saw to cut under its own weight. Both saws emphasize the saw’s weight over power for a specific purpose.

Table Terms:

BHP “Brake Horsepower”: The amount of horsepower in the sprocket/chain when rotating at full speed. This is different from HP which is the measurement of the engine’s potential.

Wet/Dry Weight: The weight of the chainsaw’s power head with and without fuel and bar oil.

Min | Max | Rec: Indicates the minimum, maximum, and recommended bar lengths.

Power-to-Weight Ratio: Power divided by weight measures how much power a chainsaw can produce per pound. The higher the number the better.

Timber Therapy

Patrick enjoys managing 36 acres of alpine forest in north-central Colorado.

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