Stihl 038 Review: Features, User Manual and FAQs

The Stihl 038 chainsaw has been a trusted companion for professionals and homeowners alike, offering power, durability, and reliability. In this review, we will introduce the features of the Stihl 038, provide insights from user manuals, and address frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision.


The Stihl MS 038 is a legendary chainsaw model that was manufactured by Stihl, a renowned German company known for producing high-quality outdoor power equipment. It was introduced in the 1980s and quickly gained a reputation for its powerful performance and durability. The Stihl 038 is considered a classic chainsaw model that has stood the test of time and is still highly regarded by professionals and homeowners alike.


Stihl MS 038 Chainsaw Variants:

  • Stihl MS 038 AV: The original version with an anti-vibration system to reduce fatigue.
  • Stihl MS 038 Magnum: Upgraded version with a larger fuel tank and more powerful engine (72cc, 4.4hp).
  • Stihl MS 038 Super: Improved Magnum with a larger carburetor and muffler for increased power (4.5hp).
  • Stihl MS 038 AV Super: Upgraded AV version with a larger fuel tank and more powerful engine (72cc, 3.9hp).
  • Stihl MS 038 S: Lightweight variant with a smaller engine for easier handling.
  • Stihl MS 038 W: Designed for extreme weather conditions, featuring a heated carburetor and pre-heating system for the air filter.




  • Powerful Engine: It is equipped with a robust two-stroke engine that delivers impressive cutting power, making it suitable for a wide range of cutting tasks.
  • Anti-Vibration System: This chainsaw features an anti-vibration system that reduces vibrations transmitted to the handles, providing enhanced comfort during extended periods of use.
  • Automatic Oiling System: It comes with an automatic oiling system that ensures the guide bar and chain receive continuous lubrication, improving cutting performance and extending the lifespan of the components.
  • Easy Maintenance: With its user-friendly design, it allows for easy maintenance tasks such as air filter cleaning, chain tension adjustment, and spark plug inspection.
  • Durability: It is built to withstand demanding conditions and is known for its exceptional durability, ensuring long-lasting performance.

Price and Warranty

The price can vary depending on the specific model and its condition. Generally, the price is in the range from $200 to $1,000. As for warranty, according to the official website, all Stihl products are warranted for 3 months when product is used for rental purposes.

Customer Review

The Stihl MS 038 is a discontinued model that was popular among professional loggers and homeowners alike. It was known for its powerful performance, durability, and reliability. Many users appreciated its ability to handle heavy-duty cutting tasks, including felling trees and cutting firewood.

While the 038 chainsaw generally received positive reviews, some users reported issues with its weight and starting mechanism. Some felt that it was relatively heavy, which could make it a bit tiring to use for extended periods. Additionally, a few users mentioned occasional difficulties starting the chainsaw.


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User Manual

You can click the picture below to check the user manual about this 038 chainsaw:

user manual

Comparison With Other Stihl Models

Stihl 038 vs 039

  • The Stihl MS 038 is known for its reliability and power. It is often favored by professionals and experienced users who require a heavy-duty chainsaw for demanding tasks. On the other hand, the Stihl 039 is a newer model that offers improved features and advancements in technology. It is designed to be more user-friendly and efficient.
  • In terms of power, the Stihl MS 038 generally has a higher horsepower rating compared to the Stihl 039. This means that it can handle larger cutting jobs and tougher materials with ease. However, the Stihl 039 compensates for this with its lighter weight and improved handling, making it a better choice for prolonged use and maneuverability.
  • When it comes to pricing, the Stihl MS038 may have a wider range due to its different variants, while the Stihl 039 tends to have a more consistent price point across different retailers.

Stihl 038 vs 044

  • In terms of power, the Stihl 044 typically has a higher horsepower rating compared to the Stihl 038. This means that it can handle larger cutting jobs and more demanding materials. However, the MS 038 is still a robust chainsaw and can perform admirably in most situations.
  • When it comes to features, the Stihl 044 may offer some advancements over the Stihl 038. These improvements could include enhanced vibration dampening, reduced emissions, or ergonomic design elements. However, the specific features can vary depending on the model year and any updates made by Stihl.
  • In terms of pricing, the Stihl 044 is generally priced higher than the 038 chainsaw due to its more advanced features and increased power. However, it’s important to note that prices can vary based on factors such as condition, accessories included, and market demand.

Stihl 038 vs 036

  • In terms of power, the Stihl 038 typically has a higher horsepower rating compared to the Stihl 036. This means that it can handle more demanding cutting jobs and tougher materials with greater ease. However, the Stihl 036 still provides ample power for most common applications.
  • When it comes to weight, the Stihl 036 is generally lighter than the Stihl 038. This makes it a preferred choice for users who require a more maneuverable and lightweight chainsaw for extended use or overhead work.
  • In terms of pricing, the Stihl 036 is often priced lower than the 038 chainsaw due to its slightly lower power and lighter build. However, it’s important to consider other factors such as condition, accessories, and market demand when determining the actual price.


What type of fuel does the 038 chainsaw require?

The 038 chainsaw requires a mixture of gasoline and oil as fuel. It is a two-stroke engine, so it needs a specific fuel-to-oil ratio. Stihl recommends using a mix of unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 89 and high-quality two-stroke engine oil. The recommended fuel-to-oil ratio for the Stihl 038 chainsaw is 50:1.

How often should I perform maintenance on the Stihl MS 038 chainsaw?

For the Stihl MS 038 chainsaw, perform maintenance:

  • Daily: Check chain tension and clean air filter.
  • Every 10 hours: Clean the spark plug, and inspect cooling fins.
  • Every 25 hours or annually: Replace spark plug, clean/replace air filter.
  • Every 50 hours or biannually: Inspect the carburetor, and check the ignition system.

Is the Stihl MS 038 chainsaw equipped with anti-vibration features?

Yes, the Stihl MS 038 chainsaw is equipped with anti-vibration features. Stihl recognizes the importance of reducing vibrations for user comfort and to minimize fatigue during extended periods of use. The chainsaw is designed with anti-vibration technology that helps reduce the transmission of vibrations to the handles, providing a more comfortable experience for the operator.

Does the 038 chainsaw have an automatic oiling system?

Yes, the 038 chainsaw has an automatic oiling system. This system ensures that the guide bar and chain receive a continuous supply of lubrication during operation. The automatic oiler on the 038 chainsaw is adjustable, allowing you to control the flow of oil according to your specific cutting conditions and preferences. It is important to regularly check the oil level in the reservoir and refill it as needed to maintain proper lubrication.

Is the Stihl 038 chainsaw suitable for professional use?

The Stihl 038 chainsaw is a powerful and reliable tool that is suitable for both professional and homeowner use. With its robust construction and high-performance engine, it can handle demanding cutting tasks.

However, the suitability for professional use may also depend on the specific requirements and preferences of the professional user. It is always recommended to consider factors such as the intended applications, frequency of use, and personal preferences when choosing a chainsaw for professional purposes. 


In conclusion, the Stihl 038 chainsaw is a reliable workhorse that has stood the test of time. With its powerful engine, durable construction, and ergonomic design, it offers an excellent balance of performance and comfort. Whether you are tackling heavy-duty projects or maintaining your backyard, the 038 is a worthy investment.