Stihl MS 193 C Review

Stihl MS 193 C-E Review

A.J. Kilpatrick

Another review from the world's best chainsaw blog!

Stihl’s newest midrange rear handled “arborist” saw: the Stihl MS 193 C-E.

In a previous post, we reviewed the Stihl MS 170 that was purchased to convert into a dedicated carving saw, but the MS 170 had some issues with the engine (see full review here), so it was returned for a Stihl MS 193 C-E. The MS 193 C-E is a light-weight and nimble 30.1 cc rear handled saw. Weighing in at 10.2 pounds fully fueled with a 16” bar and 3/8”p chain; the MS 193 C-E is extremely light. Its strato-charged engine promises a BHP of 1.8 with lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The anti-vibe is incredibly smooth and refined and this saw promises to be a well balanced detail carver once I get around to forking out the additional $200.00 to equip it with a carving bar, chain and sprocket/rim.

Overview

Pro’s

  • Extremely light-weight and nimble

  • Fully adjustable carb

  • Incredibly low vibration

  • Strato-charged engine promises lower emissions and lower fuel consumption with increased power.

  • Outboard clutch for better balance.

  • Easy to start

Cons

  • Strato-charged engine is cold blooded and needs more time to warm up

  • Adjustable carb is quite finicky with a hard to find sweet spot

  • Small, narrow bar is very sensitive to dirt and debris- clogs easily

  • Chain tension system requires breaking in and is difficult to tension out of the box

  • Automatic oiler is anemic with 16” stock bar

  • Outboard clutch makes bar and chain removal more difficult

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Benches Be Crazy!

Ah, the adventure that is playing with chainsaws. Some days you just want to hear the shrill whine of a chainsaw and watch the chips fly. Oh, how I love the smell of two stroke exhaust in the morning! One day, while walking around the property, I spied some poplar logs lying around that needed to vamoose. But what to do with them? I have more wood awaiting the fire-pit than I’ll ever burn, so what else could I do with them?

They weren’t terribly large, and I had milled a couple of the larger ones to see if I could get any usable lumber out of them, but the jury will be out on that experiment while I wait for the milled wood to dry. I decided to try out my new Stihl MS 193 C that I had just purchased to use as a detail carving saw. Cutting a few small notches might help to break in the new saw, and it would give me some valuable cutting practice, as well as let me decide whether I made the right choice in saws for giving the carving thing a try. After cutting a couple of notches, I decided to try making a rough three piece bench from a downed poplar. I had recently milled a small log and the slab waste had a nice grain to it. I thought it might make an interesting seat to a bench. A few cuts later, a little notching here, a little shaving there, and I had a pretty rustic bench fitted together.

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A simple three piece. Looks alright, but the smaller diameter logs are a bit wobbly.

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Stihl MS 170 Review

Stihl MS 170 Review

A.J. Kilpatrck

One aspect of the chainsaw world that I have always wanted to try my hand at is chainsaw carving. Of course the first step down this road to chainsaw carving glory is the purchase of a chainsaw suitable for use as a detail saw. I had narrowed the quest down to three main contenders: the Stihl MS 170, the Stihl MS 193 C-E, and the Echo CS 370. All three saws are viable contenders for a first time carver. The MS 170 is the most economical and quite light; the MS 193 C-E is the lightest and most nimble; and the CS 370 is the heaviest, but also the most durable with its split magnesium case. The more astute reader will have noticed the title of this post and assumed that Stihl’s MS 170 won out, and this is partly true.

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Looking and performing like a bigger saw than it is: the Stihl MS 170.

Being economically minded, and considering that converting any of these saws over to a dedicated carver would cost an additional $200.00 for a carving bar, chain and rim/sprocket, I decided to give the MS 170 a try as it was light weight, had a good reputation as an entry level carver, and ,most importantly, cost exactly half of what the other contenders were going for because of Stihl’s Spring promotion which ended on June 30th. Enter the MS 170. The MS 170 feels fairly solid and is well balanced. It weighs in at around 11 and a half pounds fully fueled and comes equipped with a 16” mini bar and picco chain. The MS 170 also still sports the older non strato engine, and I do love the older engine style’s more “rumbly” sound.

The MS 170 is an older design in the Stihl line-up, and, as such, it sports the older style gas and oil caps that are slotted for opening and tightening with a scrench. There are many who prefer this older style of cap as the newer “flip top” caps are more susceptible to breakage at the hinge. If I ever break one of the flip tops, my opinion will definitely change, but as of right now, I marginally prefer the newer style for its slight edge in convenience, but, from a durability/reliability perspective, the older style is superior. The air filter in the MS 170 is a little on the slight side, but that opinion is based solely on the look and feel of it, and not on actual performance.

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A close up of the Stihl MS 170 air filter.

Before starting the saw, I decided to check the saw’s oil tank, fuel level, and chain tension, and it was a good thing that I did. The dealer had filled the fuel tank, but not the bar oil reservoir. Not a good sign. I am learning that it is not wise to assume the dealer is doing what they are supposed to be doing. The Stihl MS 170 fired up with out any issue and for a small saw with a tiny bar and chain, it was an impressive cutter. The small chips just flew as this saw cut through the small birch trees that I felled. The saw did not bog in the cut (although I didn’t force the saw-I let the saw do its work). The MS 170 was also an able limber. Its light weight and good balance came through limbing some spruce and cedar trees. The cutting performance of this small saw was impressive. Continue reading