Stihl MS 291 Review (2023) — Specs, Performance, and More

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Today’s market is flooded with chainsaws boasting advanced features to simplify your yard work, yet it’s riddled with inexpensive alternatives that lack power and durability, breaking down after just a handful of cutting jobs.

For those seeking nothing but the best, I’ve put the Stihl MS 291, a highly popular chainsaw model, through its paces. In this detailed Stihl MS 291 review, I will unravel its features, performance, and overall value to help you make an informed decision.

Stihl MS 291

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Design and Build

The Stihl MS 291 showcases a robust and resilient construction, ensuring it stands up to intense usage in challenging settings.

Stihl MS 291

The Stihl MS 291 features a sleek and user-friendly design, allowing for effortless handling over prolonged durations. The chainsaw’s weight is balanced optimally, ensuring a comfortable hold and minimizing user exhaustion.

Stihl MS 291 Features

Overview of Specs

Bar Length

With its 20-inch bar length, the Stihl MS 291 is exceptionally versatile, making it well-suited for a wide range of cutting tasks. Whether you need to fell small to medium-sized trees, buck logs, or limb branches, this chainsaw is up to the challenge.

Stihl MS 291 handle bar

Weight and Balance

The chainsaw’s weight of 12.3 pounds was evenly distributed, ensuring excellent balance and control during operation. This made it easy to handle and maneuver for extended periods, reducing operator fatigue.


The MS 291 packs a powerful punch. Its 55.5 cc engine generated 3.76 horsepower, making operating even the most demanding cutting tasks easy. The engine’s high torque output also ensured a smooth and efficient cutting experience.

Fuel Capacity and Storage

The Stihl MS 291 had ample fuel capacity, allowing you to operate the chainsaw for extended periods without refueling. The chainsaw’s fuel tank held up to 16.9 fluid ounces, while its translucent fuel tank made monitoring the fuel level during operation easy. 

Additionally, the chainsaw had a convenient onboard storage compartment for extra chains and tools, allowing you to keep everything you needed close at hand.

Air Filtration

One of the standout features of the Stihl MS 291 was its advanced air filtration system. 

Equipped with a pre-separation air filtration system, the chainsaw’s air filter captured large debris before reaching the filter, extending the filter’s lifespan and reducing maintenance needs.

Stihl MS 291 setup

Additionally, the air filter was easily accessible and could be quickly removed for cleaning and maintenance, ensuring the chainsaw was always running at peak performance.

Chain Tensioner

The Stihl MS 291 has a chain tensioner that is incredibly easy to use. The chainsaw’s side-access chain tensioner made adjusting the tension simple without removing the sprocket cover. 

This will save you time and make keeping the chain tensioned adequately throughout the chainsaw’s use more straightforward.

Cutting Performance

With its 20-inch bar length and powerful 55.5 cc engine, this chainsaw can handle various cutting tasks, from limbing and bucking to felling medium-sized trees.

The chainsaw’s ability to easily tackle even the most challenging materials is an excellent feature. Its high torque output provided ample power to drive the chain through hardwoods, such as oak and maple, which can be challenging to cut. 

cutting log with Stihl MS 291

This power, combined with the chainsaw’s automatic oiling system that kept the chain lubricated, resulted in a smooth and efficient cutting experience. I consider it a perfect logging chainsaw


The chainsaw features various vibration-dampening features, including rubber mounts between the engine and the handle and specially designed grips that help reduce the amount of vibration transmitted to the operator’s hands [1].

As a result, using the chainsaw for extended periods is relatively comfortable and will not result in excessive hand or arm fatigue.


The Stihl MS 291 chainsaw combines robust performance with environmental responsibility, featuring a low-emission engine that meets all existing EPA emissions standards. This ensures that while you are tackling tough cutting jobs, you are also contributing to reduced air pollution.

Stihl MS 291 engine

It produces minimal exhaust emissions, which is good for the environment and the operator’s health. Additionally, the chainsaw’s efficient fuel consumption meant it could run on a single fuel tank for extended periods, reducing its overall environmental impact.


What does MS mean on Stihl chainsaws?

MS stands for “magnum saw” in the Stihl chainsaw lineup. It is a designation given to their more powerful saws, typically used for professional forestry and logging applications.

Review Conclusion: Stihl MS 291

Upon completing extensive reviews and evaluations of the Stihl MS 291, it is evident that this chainsaw stands out as a robust and trustworthy tool, suitable for both professional and personal applications.

Boasting remarkable cutting capabilities coupled with a low-emission engine, the Stihl MS 291 delivers an efficient and user-friendly cutting experience. 

Although adapting to its weight and balance may require some time, it ultimately proves to be an outstanding option for individuals in search of a potent and reliable chainsaw.

Stihl MS 291
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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