It’s like asking who’s the better NASCAR driver: Dale Earnhardt or Jimmie Johnson? Everyone’s going to have a different answer, and they’ll all have good reasons for the choice, but in the end, how do we know who’s right? As for the Stihl vs Husqvarna brands of chainsaws, both companies produce high-quality tools that are built to professional standards, so the choice is ultimately yours to make. But comparisons and rankings are both fun and productive.

Man Using Chainsaw

The Stihl vs Husqvarna battle is on, and we chose to evaluate several representative models side by side, fueling the debate. By looking carefully at a couple saws from each company, we’ll strive to determine which renowned manufacturer comes in a cut above the other in this category.

PRODUCT NAME

IMAGE

WHERE TO BUY

Stihl MS 241 C-M Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

Stihl MS 261 Professional Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

Husqvarna 455 Rancher Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

Stihl vs Husqvarna: What Are They?

Before we delve into the Stihl vs Husqvarna products themselves, we should first take a look at the companies that make them. We will begin with a rundown on Stihl and then move on to some facts regarding Husqvarna.

Stihl

Stihl designed and built the first two-person electric chainsaw over 90 years ago, and since then, the company has expanded across the globe as one of the leading forestry and agriculture equipment manufacturers in the world. They built their first manufacturing facility in Virginia in the 1970s, and the company has grown to employ over 2000 people who work together to make more than 8 different models of Stihl equipment. This gear is then distributed across the U.S. and around the world.

Stihl Chainsaw

Stihl-brand products can only be purchased through licensed servicing dealers. This is part of the company’s effort to keep tight control over quality and professionalism observed by professional customers and homeowners alike. Because of this, Stihl has ranked as the number-one seller of gasoline-powered, handheld outdoor equipment for the past 9 years.

Husqvarna

husqvarna chainsaw

Husqvarna, in comparison, is a much older company that can be traced all the way back to the 17th century when it began as a weapons foundry. Over the hundreds of years since its inception, Husqvarna has produced sewing machines, bicycles, kitchen equipment, and motorcycles. Today, we know them primarily as one of the leading manufacturers of lawn and logging equipment.Husqvarna produced their first chainsaw in the late 1950s, and their business has grown expansively since then. This maker has become one of the most trusted sources of chainsaws in the world, and those who use one usually swear by that machine. As with Stihl chainsaws, purchasing a new Husqvarna machine requires visiting a licensed dealer.

Product Specs

For this Stihl vs Husqvarna comparison, we started with the features that each brand brings to the table. We checked out four different saws and generally found product features to be similar for the two brands and lines. Let’s break those common features and variables down briefly.

Fueling Up

Especially for bigger jobs, fuel tank size is a major consideration in the battle of Stihl vs Husqvarna chainsaws, and our reviewers’ consensus is in. while Husqvarna has a lot to offer with its X-Torq technology for greater fuel efficiency, but Stihl wins the fuel tank challenge by offering larger tanks. A unit so equipped means less time fueling up on those big jobs.

Ergonomics

You want to be able to hold a saw comfortably if you’re going to be using it all day, so the size and shape of the hand grips should have a nice ergonomic feel. This helps with safety, too, as your hands will be less apt to get tired of holding onto an uncomfortable saw, making slips much less likely.

As for our Stihl vs Husqvarna challenge, both manufacturers offer mechanisms which minimize the impact of motor vibration. Stihl saws have their own anti-vibration system while Husqvarna offers its LowVib functionality. Further, both manufacturers offer saws built for right-handed and left-handed individuals.

All in all, Husqvarna rates a bit higher for handling than Stihl. We liked the Husqvarna saws’ solid grips with offset handles that are properly designed to minimize fatigue.

Safety

For safety features, the Stihl vs Husqvarna bout goes to Stihl for its Quickstop Plus Q system and braking features. This extra breaking feature activates when you release the rear handle, and while not available for all models, it is a definite bonus. Husqvarna is no slouch in this department, either. Their machines offer a kickback guard and a chain catcher that comes into play when the throttle lock is toggled.

Durability

If you buy the safest, most fuel-efficient model on the market, but if it only lasts a little while, was that purchase worth it? That’s a key question, and now we’ll look at the Stihl vs Husqvarna battle from a durability perspective.

Both companies are reputed to offer excellent quality, but Husqvarna has been around much longer. Both companies offer features that should prolong the saws’ lifespans, such as chain tensors, automatic oilers, and two-thronged air filters. Stihl uses a pre-separation air filtration system, whereas Husqvarna uses a centrifugal air-cleaning system. Both of these options work effectively to keep large debris out of the air filter. All in all, we found no clear winner here between Stihl vs Husqvarna. Both brands are solidly built and should deliver long life if properly maintained.

Performance

As in the durability category, there was no clear winner between Stihl vs Husqvarna in overall performance (with emphasis on cut quality and consistency). Both manufacturers have incredibly high standards, and they offer nearly identical options for engine capacity, bar and chain sizing, and power ratings.

We found that the only logical next step toward settling the Stihl vs Husqvarna debate was to look at several specific models. Digging a bit deeper for good consumer counsel is exactly what we like to do best.

Pricing

Whether for a homeowner clearing a piece of land or a professional on the job day after day, the saws that we have reviewed will get the job done. We evaluated and compared models priced from around more than average to expensive

How They Compare

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Stihl MS 241 C-M Chainsaw
  • Stihl MS 261 Professional Chainsaw
  • Husqvarna 455 Rancher Chainsaw
  • Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

Stihl MS 241 C-M Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

The MS 241 is the smaller of the Stihl chainsaws we reviewed, but don’t let its size fool you. It is a fantastically balanced, lightweight saw. The M-tronic system works great for cold starting and the fuel is calculated precisely by the system, so ramping up to full speed is quick. We appreciated the 2-stroke engine that reduces fuel consumption up to 20% while reducing emissions by up to a whopping 70%.

The tensioning on this saw is side-mounted for increased safety, and the air filter system is longer-lasting than conventional systems. Add to all of that a compensator which keeps the chainsaw working no matter how conditions change and the anti-vibration system which keeps your hands steady, and you have a saw that is great for homeowners. Pros may need something a bit bigger, but the MS 241 is a great back-up saw for them as well.

  • PRICE
  • SAFETY
  • CUT QUALITY
  • WARRANTY

$$$

This chainsaw comes in around more than average, which is steep for a chainsaw, but well worth it overall.

The side-mounted chain tensioning earns this saw five out of five stars.

This is a great saw, but it’s on the smaller side. For big jobs, we recommend something a bit longer with a larger fuel tank. We assigned a rating of four out of five stars.

This chainsaw comes with a 1-year limited warranty. An extended warranty is available. Our rating here is 4 out of 5 stars.

PROS

CONS

  • Eco-friendly fuel systems
  • Easy to start
  • Agile
  • Only available from select dealers
  • Better options available for everyday professional use

Stihl MS 261 Professional Chainsaw

Stihl MS 261 Professional Chainsaw

The Stihl MS 261 is a professional-grade chainsaw designed to offer low emissions and high fuel efficiency. The cylinder and housing are not only ergonomic in its styling, but it is designed to deliver an incredibly balanced power-to-weight ratio, which is perfect since it weighs in at only 10 lbs. This chainsaw is designed for high-volume cutting, and it features an anti-vibration system for even more comfort.

There are a ton of features on this model. We liked the master control lever which operates the choke, throttle, and has the on/off switch right there. The lubrication system help contain the flow and direct the oil, which cuts oil consumption in half. The quick-stop chain brake is activated by inertia when the saw kicks back with enough force, which lessens the chance of injury. Best of all, the starting grip with built-in shock absorber and proprietary Elasto Start system make getting to work quick and easy

  • PRICE
  • SAFETY
  • CUT QUALITY
  • WARRANTY

$$$

At around more than average, this saw is a premium option that is great for homeowners and professionals alike.

While safety is ultimately up to the user where chainsaws are concerned, this saw is as good as it gets, earning 5 out of 5 stars on our scale.

With its Stihl M-tronic microprocessor digitally compensating for changes in work conditions, this chainsaw earns 5 out of 5 stars.

This chainsaw comes with a 1-year limited warranty. An extended warranty is also available.

PROS

CONS

  • Ecologically friendly for a gas chainsaw
  • Easy-start system
  • Only available from select dealers

Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

The 455 Rancher chainsaw by Husqvarna is a powerful, professional-grade chainsaw packing nearly 3.5 horsepower, which allows it to cut through just about anything. This saw is equipped with H-Torq technology, which means it consumes less fuel and puts out cleaner fumes than competitive models. Its air injection system helps keep dust and debris out of the motor, increasing longevity.

This chainsaw is also very user-friendly. Expect no trouble starting this saw cold, nor should you experience excess vibrations, due to the Husqvarna Lowvib technology. For safety, this saw offers anti-kickback features. Like the Stihl saws we checked out, the tensioners on this machine are side-mounted, and they can be adjusted easily with a screwdriver. Notably, this chainsaw model is available on Amazon.

  • PRICE
  • SAFETY
  • CUT QUALITY
  • WARRANTY

$$$

Like the Stihl saw, this comes in around morethan average, which is premium pricing for a premium saw.

The added safety features of this saw earn it 5 out of 5 stars.

With the added horsepower available from this machine, 5 out of 5 stars are in order.

This chainsaw comes with a 1-year limited warranty, and an extended warranty is available.

PROS

CONS

  • Very powerful
  • Quick adjustments are possible
  • Long bar
  • We could find few downsides

Husqvarna 460 Rancher Chainsaw

 Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is Better?

The 460 Rancher by Husqvarna is by far the most powerful chainsaw that we reviewed. This is a saw meant for heavy-duty use, whether frequent or occasional. As with the 455 model covered above, this saw has easy-start capabilities with its X-Torq engine, air injection that clears out large debris automatically, and anti-vibration technology to keep your hands from buzzing. Safety features include the side-mounted tensioner and inertia-activated chain brake. This is simply an upgrade in power over the 455.

  • PRICE
  • SAFETY
  • CUT QUALITY
  • WARRANTY

$$$

At around more than average, this is a premium saw with an appropriate price tag.

The added safety features of this saw earn it 5 out of 5 stars on our rating scale.

Given the serious horsepower this machine delivers, 5 out of 5 stars are in order.

This chainsaw comes with a 1-year limited warranty. An extended warranty is available as well.

PROS

CONS

  • Most powerful saw on this list
  • Quick adjustments
  • Long bar
  • No complaints whatsoever

Conclusion

In the end, which chainsaw you choose may come down to (a) whether Stihl is an option, given that they are only sold by select dealers while some Husqvarna saws can be easily purchased through Amazon, and (b) the types of work you need to do. For landowners who need medium-load work done, any of these saws will do. For professionals, however, when you’re out in the thick and you need a lot of power in your hands, the Husqvarna Rancher-series chainsaws are the way to go in our view.

All of these saws deserve excellent ratings, and we only tested a total of 4 models. We’re sure that this won’t be the last word in the Stihl vs Husqvarna debate, and there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain: The only way to tell which saw is for you is to try them out for yourself. Find out which features are the most useful, and carefully consider how much power do want versus how much you really need. Indeed, the Stihl vs Husqvarna debate rages on.