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Welcome to the STIHL USA Blog

Friday, March 7, 2014

Advice on Choosing Your STIHL Chain Saw.

Whether you want to cut up firewood, do tree maintenance or just go about some creative do-it-yourself (DIY), a chain saw can be a great tool to help get the job done.  But how do you choose the right saw for your needs from the wide variety available? Is it always better to have more power? What features are right for you? In this article we have outlined some things for you to consider before purchasing your saw. You can also use our online chainsaw selectoror you can watch our video on how to choose the right chainsaw for you. Of course your STIHL Dealer is still your best resource for advice.  And for expert advice on the proper and safe use of your chain saw watch our video on chain saw safety, operations and maintenance.

A chain saw consists of three basic elements: the powerhead (or engine), a guide bar and a saw chain. For optimal performance it is important to match these three elements.  You should know that not only does STIHL design and manufacture our powerheads, but we also produce our own guidebars, and we are the only gasoline-powered chainsaw manufacturer that manufactures our own saw chain.  You can learn more about why we produce our own saw chain on our website.  Because these three elements are designed to work together, we recommend that you only use STIHL manufactured guidebars and chain for your STIHL chainsaw.

The powerhead: Type and level of performance

When considering what model of chainsaw you want to purchase, first you have to think about what it will be used for. Will you be doing light cutting close to your home? That could mean an electric socket would be nearby, and an electric model might be the right choice. For small gardens, a battery-powered model might be ideal, combining the quiet, zero-emission properties of an electric motor with the cordless advantages of a gasoline-powered saw. If you plan to use the saw for heavier cutting on larger wooded property, then a gasoline-powered model offers the necessary flexibility.     

STIHL has a wide range of different saws for a variety of applications. In general we categorize them into three categories; Homeowner, Farm and Ranch, and Professional.  Each category has a range of models to choose from so that you can get the right mix of power, and features.  And you can choose from a variety of optional features like STIHL Easy2Start™, or the STIHL M-Tronic™ Engine Management SystemFor a side-by-side comparison of our models take a look at our chain saw comparison chart.

The guide bar: longer is not always better

A standard piece of "advice" that you get at a “big box” store is to get a saw with certain length guide bar as if somehow that indicates the power and quality of a saw.  The truth is that the length of the bar is no indication of the power of the saw, and while a long guide bar may look impressive – it may not be right for your model saw and in fact may negatively impact your performance. The longer the bar the more power is required to keep the saw chain moving.  For maximum effectiveness the cutting length of the guide bar has to suit the cutting application and, more importantly, the power of the engine.  Most homeowner applications can be done with a guide bar from 12” to 16”.  STIHL guide bars are designed and manufactured specifically for STIHL chain saws and all come standard with STIHL's Ematic™ Bar Lubrication System. To be sure you have the right sized guide bar for your unit you can refer to the individual chain saw model page on our website.

The saw chain: where the bark meets the bar.

Just like a good set of tires enhances your car’s performance, the right chain can make all the difference in how your saw performs.  STIHL produces all of our saw chain at our facility in Switzerland.  There is a real difference in the way we make our chain as compared to our competitors.  Whether it is the type of steel alloy, chromed cutters, hardened rivets, or pre-stretching, STIHL chains are designed to deliver maximum performance and comfort.  Homeowner and Farm and Ranch models are designed to work with reduced vibration and low kickback chain. That makes the saw more comfortable to use and improves safety. If you are working in very dirty conditions then you may want to consider carbide-tipped chains. They stay sharp up to four times longer than standard chains.  You can learn more about how STIHL saw chain is identified on our website.

Personal Protective Equipment: Don’t leave home without it.

Watch the video on how protective chaps work
It is a great privilege being the number one selling brand of chain saws worldwide. But we view it as an even greater responsibility to help keep our customers protected while using them. So whether you’re cutting at home or on the job, stay sharp and suit up with STIHL chain saw protective apparel. Our chain saw protective apparel is made with multiple layers of Engtex®, a cut-retardant material designed to clog up the sprocket to stop the chain on a gasoline-powered chain saw. This reduces the risk or severity of injury to the body parts covered by the Engtex® layers in the event of contact with the rotating saw chain.  STIHL also has protective forestry boots, gloves that provide good grip and great comfort while working, head and face protection, hearing protection and eye protection, all in a variety of styles to match your personal needs. 

Slick Advice:

When you own a STIHL, you care about quality and demand the best performance. Keep your 2-cycle engine in peak condition with a regular maintenance routine and premium-quality STIHL oils, premixed fuels and lubricants

For more information and advice visit www.stihlusa.com