Stihl vs Husqvarna Chainsaws: Which Are Best for You?

chainsaw for cutting and sawwing

Sometimes we buy a product because it has a big brand name, or because everyone else is using it. Then we realize that it’s not a perfect fit for us, and a different model is the right answer.

This easy purchasing decision is okay if we’re buying a ten-dollar pencil case, but it’s a hard lesson in life if we shell out hundreds of dollars for an unsuitable machine.

Assuming you came here because you’re interested in chainsaws and that you want to avoid this unfortunate event of buying an inconvenient machine. Here’s a comparison of Stihl vs. Husqvarna.

Overview

Chainsaws are an essential tool if you live around trees. The uses start from pruning and go all the way to cutting timber. You also need a chainsaw for the occasional patio remodeling, roof fixing, or any other house improvement project.

Chainsaws are more than just the power in the motor or their fancy housing. There’s the type of chain you use, the length of the blade, the aggressiveness of the teeth, and the suitability of all these things for the job at hand.     

Comparing the Stihl and Husqvarna needs us to be fair and refer to similar models from each brand. We’ll also assess them while every other variable remains the same. That’s hard, but we’ll try. We’ll consider as many performance parameters as possible to give you the whole picture.

We’ll take a closer look at the Stihl MS 211 18” chainsaw and the Husqvarna 445e 18”. Both are pretty similar 18-inch gas-operated chainsaws, so let’s dig deeper.

​Stihl Brand​

Andreas Stihl, an engineer who came to the states from Germany, started thinking about making equipment for forestry and woodworking around 1920. He wanted to provide an easier and more efficient way of cutting trees. In 1926 the first chainsaw prototype went into production.

Stihl manufactures appliances that homeowners can use for regular DIY jobs around the house. They produce heavy construction equipment, agricultural, and gardening tools. They also have a prominent line of forestry equipment.

​Husqvarna ​Brand

Husqvarna has been in the manufacturing industry since 1620. They moved on from rifles to household appliances. At a later stage, they tried the bicycles and motorcycles business, in which they succeeded immensely and applied that expertise to other products.

They went on to produce motorized lawn mowers and chainsaws. The first Husqvarna chainsaw came out in 1959. Sixten Sason,designed it fully. He was a Swedish engineer and industrial genius, who had also worked in the automotive and motorcycle design domain.

Husqvarna has a rich history of product development and innovation. Part of the popularity of the brand came with the introduction of chainsaws with more safety, comfort, and recently emission reduction in addition to other environmental aspects.  

chainsaw for cutting and sawwing

Stihl vs Husqvarna Chainsaws

Now that we covered the history of both companies let’s get back to the Stihl MS 211 18” chainsaw and the Husqvarna 445E 18”.

Here’s a run through their main features.

Materials and Durability

Bodies of both chainsaws are made from plastic, so they have that in common. The Husqvarna pays a bit more attention to the covers, locking mechanisms, and smoothness of a trigger. This keeps its chainsaw looking good even after extended usage.

Stihl focuses more on the motor power and other safety features, so it’s not unusual to see a chipped plastic part or a cover that has grown a little loose with time. The rest of the body, handle, and attachment parts, are pretty tough.   

Husqvarna has slightly more advantage here.

Efficiency and Performance

Both brands employ their own patented mechanisms of providing maximum fuel regulation, optimizing power consumption, and controlling emissions.

They’re also pretty much on par when it comes to generic 10-minute jobs, but on longer timber cutting affairs, the Husqvarna gives better cutting power with its 2.8 HP engine compared to 2.3 for the Stihl.

The engine capacities follow the horsepower numbers; Husqvarna has a 50.2 cc engine, while Stihl works with a 35.2 cc.

Stihl offers better comfort and more safety features. This comes in handy when you need to use the chainsaw for a long time. It’s easier to work two hours with a quieter chainsaw that doesn’t vibrate too much.

It also weighs 9.5 pounds, while the Husqvarna is a bit heavier with 11.2 pounds.

Husqvarna wins in power and Stihl wins in comfort, so we see it as a tie in performance.

Maintenance

The Husqvarna chainsaw has a mechanism that provides automatic oiling for the chain and bar, this is one less job that you need to do. It keeps the chainsaw ready for work.

There’s also a system mounted on the side of the chain that allows you to make tension adjustments on the fly, so you don’t have to go back to the workshop for that.

The air filter has a quick-release switch, so changing the filters is a breeze too. This procedure was so complicated a few decades ago, we had to dismantle the whole structure to change filters and spark plugs, so this is awesome!

The Stihl chainsaw has a philosophy of making integrated products, and that’s why they manufacture chains and bars. There’s an embedded mechanism they have that stores a few drops of oil, and constantly replenishes the chain to keep it primed for cutting.

A man uses a Husqvarna chainsaw to cut through a log

The spark plugs are designed to be well-covered and away from the action, but they’re still pretty easy to replace. Again, that’s a technician’s dream come true!

The chainsaw has smooth contours, so cleaning it is an easy process. Compare that to an appliance with hidden parts or sharp edges, ​and you'll see why we consider it to be pretty easy to maintain.

The air filter is easy to remove, clean, and replace. This is a new tech that almost everyone has adopted. The fuel and oil filters are just as easy to handle. The chain brake isn’t such a piece of cake, but it’s quite straightforward as well.  

Here’s a maintenance feature that Stihl has uniquely: the fuel tank is almost transparent, so you can check the fuel level at any time. Stihl is thoughtful when it comes to these details; users everywhere should seriously be grateful to these designers.

Stihl is more thoughtful when it comes to easy maintenance.

Safety

Husqvarna has the basic safety features in place and focuses more on promoting proper work practices and wearing the right protective gear.

There are chain brake mechanisms in both chainsaws, but the one in Stihl is more elaborate, covers more fault situations, and has a quicker response time in case of kickback or with manual activation. It also promptly halts the motor if the user stops holding the handle.

They both have systems to counter vibration. But again, the Stihl has an extra edge with shock absorbers, which makes the cranking force of starting up less taxing on the user.

There’s also the sparks barrier, noise damping, and hand-guard plates at the front and back, plus safety from the chain falling out and a trigger lock.

Stihl has a bit more of an advantage in safety.

Price

Currently, there’s no huge difference in retail price between the two brands, maybe that was the case at another time, but now they stand almost head to head.

The warranty policy for both brands is a limited one-year coverage, and that’s a usual practice for appliances where rough usage and faulty accessories could affect the chainsaw negatively.

Stihl has a variety of warranty models, some are as short as 3 months for gas-operated chainsaws used by professionals, and some are 3 years for battery-operated tools purchased by homeowners.

It’s basically a tie, but Stihl wins by a hair this round!.  

Website Usability

Both websites look corporate and high profile, and they’re both pretty hard to navigate. Their menus aren’t intuitive, but the content is engaging and useful.

In terms of aesthetics, the Stihl Website is more visually pleasing and relevant with all the nature spread in its background images. Their product selector tool is helpful, and the nearest dealers map is prompt and varied. 

The Husqvarna Website is more about displaying the shiny products they have, it’s almost cluttered with all the new gadgets, but it also catches your eye, let’s give them that. 

Both corporate brands have a moderate social media presence. They don’t rely highly on digital marketing.

A man chops through a tree stomp with a Stihl chainsaw

Availability

The Husqvarna online store is more informative, with all the products, models, features, specifications, and prices in a clear lineup.   

The Husqvarna products are much easier to find and purchase, and their online trading is thriving. Many homeowners expressed a preference for buying their appliances and accessories online, so we believe this advantage is with Husqvarna.

The e-commerce policy for Stihl is more defined by their customer service. They prefer to sell their products through a limited network of dealers, who can offer clients better support.

Husqvarna is the clear winner here.  

The Verdict

Now we come to the point where we should declare a winner, but in this case, we’d hold our horses a little.

  • The Husqvarna and Stihl chainsaws are premium quality power tools, designed by brilliant industrial engineers, and manufactured by prominent corporations. They both have a long history of innovation, development, and purposeful growth.
  • Their online presence and e-commerce models are a bit different, with Husqvarna selling heavily through their own website in addition to other online platforms.
  • Stihl prefers to do business with a limited set of authorized dealers, where it can monitor and control the various operations and customer support. This is a lot like the way we used to so business traditionally before the internet was a thing.
  • They’re pretty much head to head in every feature and performance marker considered. The main areas where they show uniqueness are power and comfort. Husqvarna chainsaws show slightly more muscle power, while Stihl’s focus on safety and comfort.

Having said all this, we’ll refrain from declaring a winner, but we’ll do better than that, and tell you when to choose either chainsaw.

When to Use the Husqvarna Chainsaw

Use the Husqvarna chainsaw when you’re mainly dealing with hardwood, large circumference timber, or you need to do a job quickly.

This chainsaw is powerful and efficient, and if you get the right kind of chain, you’re all set for chewing up the trees in the yard. We’re assuming that you’re also a seasoned and skilled person, so you can use a tough guy’s power tool safely and effectively.    

When to Use the Stihl Chainsaw

Choose the Stihl Chainsaw for smaller pruning jobs, house improvement projects, routine repairs, and similar tasks that don’t require a high power chainsaw; in fact, using one would be overkill.

In addition to the above, use the Stihl when you have a long list of woodcutting tasks, the comfort it offers would make the job less exhausting.

The Stihl is the perfect choice for these purposes, and they’re well-suited for regular homeowners, who need their power tools to have good safety measures and are relatively easy to use. 

We hope this comparison answers your questions. Let us know what you think, and tell us about your experiences with these brands, and with chainsaws in general.