Can You Place Any Size Bar on a Stihl Chain Saw?

A chain saw’s manual bar determines the size of wood the saw can cut, and also the size of a saw engine determines, in large part, how long a bar the saw can handle. Guide bar length also results in the saw’s weight and ease of handling; a long manual bar is comparatively heavy, and it moves the saw’s centre of gravity away from the operator, making the saw trickier to control. All these factors lead Stihl to specify a recommended variety of guide bar lengths for each of its series saw models.

Homeowner Chain Saws

Saws designed to perform typical residential cutting and pruning tasks usually have smaller motors than heavy-duty saws, and they are able to handle only relatively short guide bars. Stihl recommends its MS 170, MS 171, MS 180, MS 181, MS 192 and MS 211 homeowner versions be outfitted with direct bars between 12 and 16 inches. The MS 250 and MS 251 versions are outfitted with larger 45 cc engines and are capable of forcing an 18-inch bar.

Heavy-Duty Chain Saws

A step up from homeowner saws are saws designed to handle bigger tasks in non-professional configurations; they are intended to be equally versatile and powerful. Stihl calls this kind of saws its own”Farm & Ranch” versions, and their engine sizes range from 50 cc to 64 cc. All these versions — which include the MS 271, MS 291, MS 311 and MS 391 — can take direct pubs between 16 and 20 inches.

Professional Chain Saws

The characteristics that differentiate Stihl’s professional-grade saws are intended to make the saws dependable, powerful, comfortable and equipped to stand up to the rigors of everyday use. The expert versions vary considerably in size, in the MS 150 arborist saw, which has a 12-inch bar, to the massive MS 880, whose 121.6 cc engine can deal with a 59-inch bar. At the middle of the range, versions include the MS 261, which can take a bar between 16 and 20 inches; the MS 362, which can accommodate a bar up to 25 inches; the MS 441 and MS 461, which can take a bar up to 32 inches; and also the MS 660, which carries a bar up to 36 inches.

In-Tree and Electric Saws

Saws designed to be used by professional arborists in trees, the MS 192 and MS 201 versions, can take direct bars between 12 and 16 inches. Stihl’s electrical saws come in 3 different sizes: the MSE 140 can take care of a bar between 12 and 16 inches, the MSE 180 can shoot a bigger 18-inch bar, and the MSE 220 carries a bar between 16 and 20 inches. The little battery-powered MSA 160 is equipped with a 12-inch bar.

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