Stihl MS 180 Review — Is it a Good Chainsaw? (2023)

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Selecting an appropriate chainsaw is vital for successful completion of any cutting task, yet the market is flooded with affordable alternatives that pledge impressive features, but often fail to deliver and break down after limited use. Originating from a well-known brand, the Stihl MS 180 stands out, but does it truly justify its price point and live up to the hype?

In this Stihl MS 180 review, I’ll closely examine this saw and objectively assess its features, performance, and drawbacks.

STIHL MS 180 No Background

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Design and Build Quality

The Stihl MS 180 is a great saw in the Stihl chainsaw lineup. Its compact, ergonomic design and powerful 31.8cc engine deliver efficient cutting performance.

The side-mounted tensioner allows for easy adjustments without additional tools. The translucent tank makes it easy to monitor the fuel level while in use. The high-quality air filtration system helps prolong the engine’s life by eliminating dirt and debris.

Stihl MS 180 on wooden table

Constructed with sturdy materials and equipped with safety features such as an anti-vibration system and a chain brake, the Stihl MS 180 minimizes user fatigue and ensures dependable and enduring performance.

Stihl MS 180 Features

Overview of Specifications

Engine Power

assembling Stihl MS 180

The Stihl MS 180 chainsaw boasts a powerful engine that delivers reliable cutting performance for various tasks. With an output of 2.8 horsepower, this model is well-suited for cutting firewood, trimming branches, and other outdoor tasks.

The engine features enhanced cooling, which helps to prevent overheating and ensures more consistent performance over time. This translates into a saw that is more reliable and easier to operate, even in hot or challenging conditions. 

The engine of the Stihl MS 180 is a key selling point of this model. It makes it a popular choice among professional and DIY users who need a powerful, versatile chainsaw for their outdoor projects.

Bar Size

Stihl recommends using a 14-inch to 16-inch size bar with the MS 180 chainsaw. This size suits most light to medium cutting tasks, including trimming branches, cutting firewood, and performing general yard work.

While the saw can accommodate larger sizes, using one over 16 inches may cause these saws to bog down, resulting in less efficient cutting performance. The saw includes an oil pumping component ensuring proper lubrication for the bar and chain, helping to extend their lifespan. 

Stihl MS 180 bar length

Selecting the recommended size can help optimize the chainsaw’s performance and ensure it is well-suited for the intended cutting application.

Cutting Performance

The Stihl MS 180 is a powerful chainsaw well-suited for various cutting tasks. With its reliable motor and solid build quality, this chainsaw can easily handle everything from firewood cutting to tackling large timber.

The engine size is well-balanced with the length, which means the chainsaw can make quick work of most cutting tasks. Whether you need to trim branches, cut firewood, or take on larger projects, the MS 180 offers a smooth and efficient cutting experience. 

Ease of Use

The Stihl MS 180 is a lightweight chainsaw perfect for women, making it easy to handle at the other end of the saw. Its small size and well-balanced design make it ideal for light use, such as trimming branches and cutting firewood.

adding fuel to Stihl MS 180

The chainsaw has a range of tools and features that make it simple to operate, including an anti-vibration system that reduces operator fatigue, an enhanced starting system to answer the needs of new users, and other features such as a lightweight body.

Safety Features

Due to the inherent risks associated with using saws, it is vital to select a chainsaw with additional safety features, particularly if you are a beginner. 

Standard safety components such as a handguard, chain catcher, throttle lock, and chain brake are essential in ensuring safe operation.

Price and Warranty

Compared to other chainsaws in the same price range, the Stihl MS 180 stands out for its superior efficiency and robustness, offering a solid value for its price. 

While prices may vary depending on the retailer, the MS 180 typically falls within the mid-range price point for chainsaws.

carrying Stihl MS 180

In some cases, the chainsaw may come with a 1-year warranty, while in others, it may come with a 2-year warranty. It’s best to check with the retailer or Stihl directly to confirm the warranty details for your specific region.

Key Benefits of the MS 180 Chainsaw

The Stihl MS 180 chainsaw is perfectly suited for infrequent applications, particularly when dealing with smaller trees. It incorporates Stihl’s innovative 2-mix engine, which utilizes less fuel compared to conventional 2-stroke engines. 

This leads to a substantial fuel cost reduction of up to 20% and a significant decrease in emissions by 70%.

This saw has a side-mounted chain tensioner for easy and safe chain tensioning, and Stihl’s anti-vibration component ensures comfortable use. The Stihl Ematic system, which can cut down on chain lubricant usage by up to 50%, is also included.

Lastly, for user convenience, all of the chainsaw’s functions are operated by a single lever.

Who Should Purchase the Stihl MS 180 Chainsaw?

The Stihl MS 180 chainsaw is a great choice for individuals in need of a high-performing chainsaw for sporadic tasks. Its lightweight and compact nature makes it an excellent option for trimming small trees. 

Additionally, it offers a variety of bar sizes to accommodate diverse requirements.

prepare to start Stihl MS 180

The chainsaw is equipped with Stihl’s Ematic system, which reduces oil consumption, making it more environmentally friendly. 

The Stihl MS 180 is an excellent choice for those needing a versatile and dependable chainsaw, especially those familiar with the best Stihl chainsaws and their features.

Where Can I Purchase the Stihl MS 180 for the Best Prices

You can acquire the Stihl MS 180 chainsaw through a range of outlets, including certified Stihl dealerships, home improvement shops, and digital marketplaces. 

Notable options for purchasing this particular Stihl saw model encompass Northern Tool, Acme Tools, Ace Hardware, along with online platforms such as Amazon and eBay. 

To potentially secure more advantageous deals, exploring community-driven sales channels like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist might be a worthwhile endeavor.

Stihl MS 180 Alternatives

1. Echo CS400

The Echo CS-400 saw is a comparable alternative to the Stihl MS 180. It has a slightly larger motor, 40.2cc compared to the Stihl’s 31.8cc, and a longer bar length, up to 18 inches.

2. Husqvarna 120 II

The Husqvarna 120 II is a lightweight and easy-to-use alternative to the MS 180 saw. It is ideal for occasional use and features an ergonomic design with low vibration, making it comfortable for extended periods.

3. Husqvarna 120I

The Husqvarna 120i is mainly for those who prefer battery-powered chainsaws. It offers a similar cutting performance to the Stihl saw and comes equipped with an automatic oil pump for easy maintenance.

What to Consider When Choosing a Chainsaw

Intended Use

Consider your intended use when choosing a saw, as this will determine the appropriate size, heaviness, and strength needed for the job.

Engine Power

This determines the saw’s cutting ability. A more powerful engine can handle more challenging jobs, but it can also mean a heavier and more expensive saw. A less powerful motor may suit lighter tasks but must perform better for larger jobs.

Guide Bar

Different lengths are available, ranging from 12 to 42 inches, and the size you choose will depend on the size of the wood you will be cutting. A more extended component can cut through giant trees, while a shorter one will be easier to control and maneuver for smaller jobs.

cutting thick log with Stihl MS 180


Many accidents happen when people try to use a saw beyond their abilities or when they don’t follow proper safety guidelines. [1]

The same problem arises when people don’t use the right protective gear, such as gloves, helmets, and chaps. It’s essential to consider its safety components and ensure you have the necessary protective equipment to prevent injuries.


When choosing a chainsaw, the brand is essential, especially regarding saws used for cutting trees. Established brands often offer a higher level of quality and durability, as well as access to replacement parts and service centers. 


Where is the Stihl MS 180 made?

The Stihl MS 180 is made in the United States from domestic and imported components, if the chainsaw is bought in the USA. The location where the Stihl MS 180 is made may vary depending on demand and production capacity. 

How are the Stihl MS 170 and MS 180 different?

The MS 180 is a bit more powerful than the MS 170, with a larger motor and a longer bar length. It also features a more advanced anti-vibration component and toolless chain tensioning. The MS 170 is less expensive, lighter, and more compact, making it easier to handle and maneuver in tight spaces.

What is the recommended fuel ratio of the Stihl MS180c?

The recommended fuel mixture for the Stihl MS180c is a ratio of 50:1, which means 2.6 ounces of 2-cycle oil should be mixed with one gallon of gasoline. This will ensure the best performance and longevity of the engine.

How big is the engine of the MS180?

The Stihl MS180 chainsaw has a 31.8 cc engine that delivers up to 2.8 horsepower output.

Review Conclusion: Stihl MS 180

From my extensive evaluations and critiques of the Stihl MS 180, it’s evident that this chainsaw stands out as a remarkable option for homeowners seeking a sturdy and user-friendly tool for occasional use. 

Boasting a lightweight structure and accommodating guide bars ranging from 10 to 16 inches, it offers effortless manageability and versatility.

The chainsaw’s notable power-to-weight ratio ensures it can competently tackle a diverse array of cutting chores. Furthermore, its straightforward start-up procedure and low-maintenance requirements solidify its reputation as a reliable and economical choice.

STIHL MS 180 No Background
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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