Review of the Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ

After spending the summer having fun in the sun, doing many  different projects and just enjoying the East Coast’s short summer while totally neglecting this humble chainsaw blog, we are finally ready to bring you our review of Stihl’s entry into the world of lithium ion outdoor power equipment: the MSA 200 C-BQ.

The Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ is a great saw.  It will make a believer out of most naysayers who doubt that a battery powered saw has any place in the stable of “serious” operators.  This saw will not replace large felling saws or a dedicated firewood cutter, but then it was never intended too.  The 200 C could replace your small limbing saw or your arborist’s saw.  It’s performance is comparable to most sub 40 cc gas saws, although it’s power lies more in it’s torque than in high chain speeds.  What really makes this saw stand out is it’s remarkable ease of use, and its clean, quiet, practically maintenance free operation.  The MSA 200 C-BQ is so quick and easy to use that you will find you reach for it whenever you have a job that doesn’t absolutely require a large displacement saw.

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

Stihl MSA 200 C-BQ is a strong contender whose incredible performance coupled with it’s remarkable ease of use will make it a go-to saw in anyone’s stable.

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Worx WG303.1 Electric Chainsaw Review

 

Can an electric chainsaw perform as well as a small gasoline powered saw?  The short answer is yes.  What the electric motor lacks in speed, it makes up in torque.  It’s all about the torque, baby, torque.  I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the buzz on the internet concerning the Worx 303.1 14.5 amp chainsaw being comparable to a small 30ish CC gas powered chainsaw, but it really does handle itself well.  Are there drawbacks when compared to a gas powered model? Yes there are, but there are some advantages as well.

Another great photo by A.J. Kilpatrick of the Worx WG 303.1.

A handsome fellow with his orange and black coloration: the Worx WG303.1.

Pros:

  • No harmful CO emissions which makes it ideal for using indoors (especially in the winter).
  • It is plug and go- no carburetor related issues when starting/operating.
  • Substantially cheaper for those who are all about the Benjamins
  • Low maintenance
  • Much quieter than a conventional chainsaw
  • Weighs 11 pounds

Cons:

  • It is tethered to an electric cord which limits its range and sometimes makes it awkward to maneuver with
  • Ultra sensitive safety brake that is set too close to the handle. This makes the saw prone to stopping at the slightest change in hand position and limits the saws manoeuvrability while greatly increasing frustration for the end user through repetitive stops.
  • Weighs 11 pounds
  • Low grade bar

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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.

Another great photo of a Stihl MS 170 by the world's best chainsaw blog

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.

Yet another great photo by the world's best chainsaw blog!

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

Choosing a Chainsaw:

Choosing a Chainsaw: Decisions, Decisions

A.J. Kilpatrick

Echo Cs 590 Timberwolf worthy of consideration when choosing a chainsaw

The Echo CS 590 Timberwolf is worthy of consideration when choosing a chainsaw.

I wanted to buy a chainsaw.  I was just a regular Joe with a house and a couple of trees.  I fancied myself a do-it-your-self type, and I didn’t see the point in hiring someone else to do the work. Besides, chainsaws are cool. Really cool. There is no more efficient, or more deadly, power tool in the modern handyman’s arsenal than the chainsaw.  Able to tear through 24 inches of hardwood in seconds, chainsaw’s put a smile on the face of everyone using them.  Part of their appeal is their deadliness.  Like the unforgiving universe, a chainsaw’s teeth do not discriminate between a tree’s pulpy flesh and the weak skin, muscle, and bone of its careless operator.  It is this fickleness and power that gives the chainsaw its appeal.

I made the decision, but how was I going to choose the right chainsaw?  It’s the information age so I decided to do a little research online, and that’s where the trouble began. I discovered that there aren’t a lot of independent reviews.  The only info I could find was on the forums. I waded through pages and pages of posts; my eyes blurred as my mind numbed only to discover the general consensus is: buy the most expensive professional chainsaw you can find.  Everything else is a piece of junk that will self destruct the moment you pull the starter rope. I wasn’t planning on becoming a professional sawyer, nor was I planning on making love to a chainsaw.  Can the internet be right? Are all of the so called “homeowner” or “consumer” saws total pieces of crap? Probably not. Continue reading