Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws are two of the biggest names in the power tool industry. Whether you prefer Husqvarna or Stihl, you want to make sure you get high-quality chainsaws that won’t end up being a waste of money. Drawing from my hands-on experience, I’ve compared the two, aiming to guide you towards an informed choice.
Husqvarna or Stihl Chainsaws?
Features of Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
History and Reputation: Husqvarna and Stihl
Both Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws are European with headquarters of both companies in Germany and Sweden, respectively. The manufacturing of both Husqvarna and Stihl products happens in the USA, China, and Brazil.
Husqvarna saws have earned a reputation for themselves for centuries, having been established in 1959. However, the brand is much older than that, but it’s only during the late 1950s that they started to make chainsaws.
The German company Stihl also has extensive experience in the field, and is also a very old chainsaw brand from the 1920s. It can be said that both chainsaw manufacturers got their start in the industry around the same time as Stihl also made its first chainsaw in the 1950s.
Design and Build
Stihl vs Husqvarna chainsaws are both excellent in terms of quality. Stihl is considered middle of the line in the chainsaw market as they are not quite industrial but also much more powerful than everyday homeowner chainsaws. Husqvarna is the best chainsaw option for heavy-duty contractor tasks, and is preferred by many of the professionals on our team.
I’ve observed that Husqvarna saws, having been in the market for a considerable time, genuinely offer low-maintenance yet professional-grade models. These are perfect for seasoned loggers. Moreover, Husqvarna doesn’t just cater to the pros; they’ve designed commercial machines with options tailored for homeowners as well.
Thanks to Husqvarna’s X-TORQ Technology, they have the more powerful engines of the two brands. They have been making chainsaws for years, and have had ample time to perfect the craft. Even with more powerful engines, the Husqvarna chainsaws are still very lightweight. In fact, women can use chainsaws like the Husqvarna 440e II Gas-Powered Chainsaw due to its lightweight form.
Stihl chainsaws such as the MS440 model also have power, but just not up to the level of Husqvarna. If you look at a Stihl vs Husqvarna chainsaw side by side, Husqvarna chainsaws tend to come out on top for power, but you also need to look at the bar size to determine what you can cut through easily.
Bar Size: Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
The bar size on either Husqvarna chainsaws and Stihl chainsaws are comparable. Most chainsaw manufacturers will design products with a wide range of bar sizes to accommodate various needs. The bar size often reflects the power of the engine. Electric chainsaws tend to be less powerful, and you will also see smaller bars on them.
If you’re venturing into buying your first gas-powered chainsaw, I’d recommend something around 18-inches. While longer bars are essential for tackling massive trees, it’s crucial to feel the weight and ensure the saw is well-balanced. I’ve always emphasized the importance of balance for both safety and efficiency.
Weight and Ease of Use
In my years of woodworking, I’ve come to realize the undeniable importance of a chainsaw’s weight, especially for professional tasks. A lighter machine inherently offers easier handling than its heavier counterparts. Both Stihl and Husqvarna offer a range of models, but what truly sets a saw apart for me is its balance and how lightweight it feels in hand.
If you need to work for long hours, then our experts say to look for saws that are around 10 pounds. Professional use saws need more power and may not be as lightweight in comparison, but that is something that can’t be helped.
Both Husqvarna vs Stihl chainsaws are relatively lightweight at around 10 pounds or a bit more, which makes options from either brand very popular chainsaws. Depending on how you operate your chainsaw, the engine location can either help or throw your balance off. From experience, our expert woodworkers prefer rear-engine models for stability.
Fuel Tank and Efficiency
Husqvarna makes excellent chainsaws if you look at fuel tanks and efficiency. On the whole, the gas tank on a Husqvarna model is larger than on a Stihl chainsaw. Thanks to the previously mentioned X-TORQ Technology, Husqvarna chainsaw models also excel in fuel efficiency.
For instance, you won’t need frequent refueling and might encounter less Husqvarna chainsaw problems with this state-of-the-art feature.
There is an advantage to having a smaller fuel tank, and that is the weight of the saw. Although both brands have lightweight products, the small fuel tank in Stihl’s chainsaws makes their products just a bit lighter.
If you are thinking about getting an electric option for a chainsaw, then the efficiency is dependent on the battery pack. Look for larger batteries that have a long charge to make sure you can get a lot of work done before you need to plug your chainsaw back in. Larger batteries also ensure that you won’t deal with a chainsaw that stops operating in the middle of work.
Air Filtration: Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
If you don’t have an electric chainsaw, then you will face the problem of emissions. Electric chainsaws don’t have this issue, but they do have a shorter runtime. Our expert team members say both Stihl and Husqvarna take air filtration and emissions very seriously, but Husqvarna edges out Stihl with air-injection technology.
They have taken steps to ensure their products have less emissions than previous models and continuously exceed CARB and EPA emission control standards. When looking at the two chainsaws, you won’t need to worry about harming the environment as much as with some other brands.
Anti-Vibration Systems of Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
The anti-vibration systems on both chainsaw brands are necessities for easy use. Without a saw with vibration dampening functions, you will exert a ton of effort trying to stabilize it. Husqvarna has a proprietary anti-vibration system that beats out Stihl, but just by a bit. Stihl saws such as Stihl 261 saw have less vibration due to an anti-vibration handle, but the effect doesn’t compare to Husqvarna.
Stihl chainsaws tend to be a bit lighter thanks to the smaller fuel tanks, so a little more vibration won’t add too much strain to your hand and arm during use. For people who want to dampen the vibrations as much as possible when operating their chainsaw, our contractors suggest Husqvarna as a personal preference. You might want to check our review of the Husqvarna 455 rancher, one of the best brand product.
Maintenance: Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
Regardless of whether you go with Husqvarna or Stihl, maintenance remains a constant. Tending to the bar and chain not only minimizes kickback but also boosts performance. One feature I genuinely appreciate in both these brands is the tool-less air filter cleaning; with some other brands, manually removing the air filter can become quite a chore.
Though Husqvarna might demand a tad more in terms of routine upkeep compared to Stihl, and it’s for this slight edge in convenience that, as seasoned contractors, many of us lean towards Stihl. A game-changer in chainsaw maintenance is an auto chain oiler. While I’d always advise cleaning or at the very least wiping down the bar post-use, an automatic chain oiler can significantly lighten your maintenance load.
Safety Features of Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
The safety functions on Husqvarna vs Stihl chainsaws are comparable. Husqvarna has an all-in-one switch that’s easily accessible and can halt the blade with one swift motion of your thumb. Stihl chainsaws also have a similar safety switch but instead of pushing it down intuitively, it goes in the other direction.
It won’t affect the use by too much, but it’s easier for some people to push downwards. Both machines have chain brake systems to prevent kickback, which increases the safety rating by a lot.
Material and Durability
Having worked with chainsaws for a considerable time, I can vouch for both Stihl and Husqvarna’s sterling reputation in the industry. Their deep-rooted experience shines through in the durability of their products. Whether you opt for Stihl or Husqvarna, you’re investing in a top-notch tool that’s likely to stand the test of time. The confidence these brands have in their chainsaws is further underscored by the warranty coverage, something I’ll delve into a bit more in a moment.
Parts Replacement and Accessories
Even with regular maintenance, your saw will eventually require replacement parts and accessories to keep up its performance. Nothing is more of a headache than not being able to find compatible components with your chainsaw, especially when your saw began to show starting issues.
Husqvarna has a more ubiquitous presence online and in-person, so it’s easier to find replacement parts for their products in case your Husqvarna chainsaw cannot start or you find other issues with your Husqvarna chainsaw. However, Stihl saws tend to require more effort to locate accessories and parts. This is a reason why our woodworkers do not prefer Stihl chainsaws. You will have to find a licensed retailer and the parts cannot be searched on e-commerce sites such as Amazon.
However, our team believes it does contribute to the exclusivity  of the brand, even if it is much more of a hassle.
Price and Warranty
Stihl VS Husqvarna chainsaws can come at various prices. Husqvarna got their start in a small Swedish town, but they have since become a big name brand with models ranging from a couple of hundred to well over 500. You can also find Stihl chainsaws with similar prices by visiting a Stihl chainsaw dealer near you. It all depends on the size, the power and the functions you want on your chainsaw.
Our experts’ final decision on the price is that it’s highly subjective, and to go for the model that can meet your needs.
The warranty is where more attention needs to be paid. Look for an extended warranty for your chainsaw. Unfortunately, Stihl offers shorter warranties at 1 to 3 years for family household tools and 3 months for professional equipment. Husqvarna mirrors its competitor and also offers 1-year warranties on chainsaws, but other products such as riding lawn mowers can have limited lifetime warranties.
Both brands have been around for years and have proven themselves over the decades as very dependable brands capable of producing top-quality products. Even if they don’t offer longer warranties, our professional contractors feel that they have a proven track record that gives buyers peace of mind.
Types of Chainsaws Offered: Husqvarna and Stihl Chainsaws
The chainsaw giants are also neck and neck in this category. Husqvarna and Stihl both make high-quality residential and homeowner models as well as industrial and commercial-grade products. They also have electric and fuel consumption chainsaws, otherwise referred to as gas-powered.
Electric chainsaws may be better for the environment and have a quieter operation, but they lack the power of a gas chainsaw and can run out of juice on the job. Gas-powered saws have more HP and can handle heavier duty jobs. Our team often opts for the gas options for industrial projects and have found electric options to be very suitable for home renovations and yard work.
Which is better Husqvarna or Stihl chainsaw?
Overall Winner: Husqvarna
After a very detailed comparison, our woodworking professionals have chosen Husqvarna as the clear winner. The company is one of the oldest and largest in the chainsaw manufacturing industry and has feature-packed products. Husqvarna chainsaws are not only efficient, but also very safe to use and reliable. Our team often opts for this brand for both commercial and DIY projects.
(But how Husqvarna compares to ECHO chainsaws? Read this comparison next!)
- Makita XCU03PT1 Review (2023) — A Cordless Chainsaw Powerhouse - November 29, 2023
- Greenworks 24V 13-Inch Brushless Push Lawn Mower Review (2023) - November 29, 2023
- Ryobi P1108BTL One+ Review (2023) - November 27, 2023