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Stihl vs. Husqvarna: Which Is The Better Chainsaw?
If you survey 100 professional loggers and arborists on whether they prefer a Stihl or Husqvarna chainsaw, you are likely to get a clear-cut, 50/50 split.
Both Stihl and Husqvarna brands produce chainsaw models for professional and home improvement use and are highly regarded by consumers.
Based on an analysis of the pros and cons of each brand, Husqvarna is the best choice of chainsaw for long-term home use. Husqvarna chainsaws are fuel-efficient with larger gas tanks making them more convenient for larger home projects. Though Stihl is slightly cheaper, Husqvarna has a longer warranty. Husqvarna models are also for purchase through online retailers making it a more convenient choice.
As with most purchases, quality is extremely important. A sturdy chainsaw will ensure higher production efficiency, reducing the frequency of maintenance including tightening the chains.
While Husqvarna is our choice based on a feature-by-feature analysis, your particular needs based on project specifics is the ultimate determinate. Regardless of your brand selection, a Stihl or Husqvarna chainsaw is far superior to any other option in the market.
Table of Contents
A Brief History
Both Stihl and Husqvarna brands are legends in chainsaw manufacturing. Both brand’s histories are rich with production of quality power tool equipment for both professional and home use.
Stihl is a German company founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl who is considered the “father” of the modern chainsaw. A notorious innovator, Stihl built the first gas-powered chainsaw in 1929 and the first single-operator chainsaw in 1950.
The Stihl factory, now headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia was the first company to mass-produce chainsaws. In the 20th century, chainsaws were Stihl as Chapstick is lip balm and Coke is soda in the South.
Considered the gold standard for chainsaws by both loggers and arborists, Stihl is the leading provider of chainsaws in the professional market.
The Husqvarna brand originated as a musket manufacturer in Sweden in the 1300s. The brand eventually evolved from musket production to power tool equipment by the 1900s. Between the 1300’s and the 1900s, the brand produced a myriad of household items.
As a result of a 1978 acquisition, Husqvarna shifted their manufacturing focus to forestry and horticulturist equipment. Since the ’70s, Husqvarna earned a reputation as a leading provider of high-quality chainsaws on an international scale.
Husqvarna produces custom chainsaws for the US market, which specifically align with American manufacturing requirements.
First, a Few Questions
Choosing the best chainsaw is largely dependent on your particular home project needs. While each brand is highly regarded in both the professional and home improvement capacity, you may have a specific need in mind.
A few topics to deliberate before we delve into the pros and the cons of the Stihl and Husqvarna brands:
- Do you need a lot of torque? (torque is the force that creates rotation)
- Do you need a long or short bar?
- Do you need less vibration or will standard suffice?
- Do you need the saw to be extra sturdy or is a lightweight hold more important?
- What is your price range for home chainsaw purchase?
- Or, do you need a chainsaw with a longer lifespan and warranty?
If you are unsure how to answer these questions based on your current or future project needs, or you have an open mind, weigh the pros and cons of each brand below.
The Pros and the Cons
Both Stihl and Husqvarna live up to their reputation with powerful pros on both feature and function. The cons are limited with each brand and are more personal preference than a standard function issue.
- Stihl models have a smaller fuel tank, which reduces the overall weight of the chainsaw. This makes it slightly easier to handle on a regular basis.
- Stihl offers a slightly less expensive cost than Husqvarna counterparts. Both brands are pricier than lesser-known power tool brands, but you get what you pay for.
- Stihl chainsaws generally require less routine maintenance than comparable Husqvarna models. This is surprising, though a testament to the quality of the Stihl brand. Stihl chainsaws tend to have more low-end torque, which helps with more difficult cutting projects.
- The German manufacturing with Stihl chainsaws is high quality and highly regarded. Many consumers choose Stihl chainsaws as a direct result of German quality.
- The Husqvarna chainsaw has a larger fuel tank, which allows for a longer duration of use than Stihl models before a fuel refill is needed. Depending on how arduous your task, this is a crucial pro.
- Husqvarna users report faster-cut speed in comparison with Stihl models.
- The cut-off switch on Husqvarna chainsaws is more user-friendly. In the event that your chainsaw has a kickback, the chain break system simply requires a downward motion of the thumb. This is a more natural movement than Stihl models.
- Husqvarna chainsaws have a warranty of 4-5 years, depending on the model, if you exclusively use their brand of oil. This is a major perk should you plan to use your chainsaw for longer-term projects.
- Online shoppers, rejoice! Husqvarna chainsaws are available online and on Amazon. This makes it easy to browse through models from the comfort of your own home.
- Stihl chainsaws have a shorter warranty than Husqvarna models. Should troubleshooting your Stihl fail to work past the warranty date, the short warranty is a con.
- The Stihl brand is unavailable online. In order to purchase a Stihl chainsaw, you must visit an Ace Hardware or a boutique lawnmower shop.
- The smaller tank size on the Stihl chainsaws requires more frequent fill-up, which is inconvenient for longer projects.
- The cut-off switch on the Stihl models is a bit counter-intuitive with a thumb up movement. In the case of an aggressive kickback, the organic movement of the cut-off switch on the Husqvarna model is a better choice.
- The larger gas tank size on the Husqvarna models makes the chainsaw heavier than Stihl models.
- Husqvarna offers less of a selection than Stihl. This is either a pro or a con depending on your experience level.
Though the Stihl brand has a legendary brand origin of innovation and trailblazing, Husqvarna brings their A-game. As for which chainsaw you should buy? The results are incredibly close.
Husqvarna is slightly more expensive than Stihl models. But, the convenience of online options and longer warranty essentially pay for your time over time.
Safety is always a major concern with home improvement projects and a feature we weigh heavily in our analysis. Husqvarna is the safer chainsaw for home use. The organic downward motion kill-switch is intuitive and convenient.
The winner, though only by a very small margin is the Husqvarna chainsaw. It is important to reiterate, however, that your individual project needs will play a huge factor in your selection. Maybe a smaller gas tank is worth it for a lighter saw. Or, maybe a shorter warranty is a nonissue, both of which are completely valid.
Try for Yourself
Ultimately, you are the deciding factor on the best chainsaw choice for your project. You know your project needs better than anyone else. Before you take the plunge and make your purchase, we recommend trying comparable models from both Stihl and Husqvarna This will help you determine your personal preference.
Home improvement retailers and construction companies will often rent equipment hourly or by the day for your convenience. For an honest comparison, make sure you ask the rental company how long each model has been in use. This information will ensure you are analyzing comparable equipment from each brand.
After using each model, make note of your likes and dislikes. Compare these lists once you have completed your project to determine which brand is best for you.
What size chainsaw do I need?
The guide bar (a fancy name for the blade) length is the measurement in question. Generally speaking, you should select a guide bar at least 2 inches longer than the thickness of the item you are cutting. If the branch you plan to cut is 6 inches thick, choose a chainsaw with a guide bar of 8 inches.
What chainsaw cuts faster?
Consumers report that Husqvarna chainsaws cut slightly faster than comparable Stihl models.
Where do I purchase a chainsaw?
You can purchase Husqvarna chainsaws online or on Amazon. Stihl models are available at select Ace Hardware stores and specialty lawnmower retailers. You can find alternative chainsaw brands at home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Why won’t my chainsaw start?
The most common cause of chainsaw starting problems is stale fuel. The first step is to empty the gas tank on your chainsaw and refill the tank with fresh fuel. If you are still experiencing issues, you may have an engine problem, which can be handled through your warranty.
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