stihl 261 vs 271: Which Chainsaw is Right for You?

Two popular options from Stihl, the MS 261 and MS 271 chainsaws, often leave users wondering which one is the better choice. These two models share similarities, yet possess distinctive features that set them apart. So, let’s delve into the Stihl 261 vs 271 dilemma and determine which chainsaw is the ideal fit for your needs.

Stihl 261

Stihl 261

The Stihl 261 is a professional-grade chainsaw known for its superior performance and durability. Unlike the models designed for farm and ranch or homeowner use, the 261 is specifically built for professionals and comes at a slightly higher price point. However, its exceptional features make it worth the investment. One notable advantage of the MS261 is its impressive power-to-weight ratio of 1.6, ensuring a perfect balance between power and portability.

Stihl 271

Stihl 271

The Stihl MS271 Chainsaw is part of the Stihl Farm Boss line, which represents Stihl chainsaws positioned at the higher end of the homeowner range. While the term “Farm Boss” is primarily a marketing label, they are not considered professional-level chainsaws, they are still quite powerful and suitable for heavy-duty work. The MS271 does not enjoy widespread popularity, but it remains a competent chainsaw option within its intended range.

Stihl 261 vs 271:Comparison Table

Here is a comparison table between the Stihl MS 261 and Stihl MS 271 chainsaws:

stihl 261 vs 271

These chainsaws are part of different Stihl product lines (the MS 261 belongs to the Professional Series while the MS 271 is in the Farm & Ranch series), which may indicate differences in features, intended use, or target users.

Overall, both the Stihl MS 261 and Stihl MS 271 chainsaws offer reliable performance, but the MS 261 may provide a slightly more powerful and lighter option compared to the MS 271. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user.

The Detail Difference Between Stihl 261 and 271

Here are the key distinctions:

  • Engine Power: The Stihl 261 has a higher horsepower of 4 HP compared to the Stihl 271, which has 3.4 HP. A higher horsepower generally means more cutting power and faster work.
  • Weight: The Stihl 261 is lighter than the Stihl 271. While the specific weight may vary depending on specifications, in general, the lighter weight of the 261 makes it easier to handle and maneuver during extended use or in tight spaces.
  • Crankcase Material: The Stihl 261 features a crankcase made of magnesium, which is a lightweight and durable material. On the other hand, the Stihl 271 has a polymer crankcase. While both materials are suitable for chainsaws, magnesium is often preferred due to its strength and weight advantages.
  • Decompression Button: The Stihl 261 includes a decompression button, allowing for easier starting by reducing compression during ignition. However, the Stihl 271 does not have this feature. The decompression button can be beneficial, especially if you frequently start your chainsaw.
  • Nuts: The Stihl 261 has captive nuts, meaning they are secured to the machine and cannot be fully removed, reducing the risk of losing them during maintenance. In contrast, the Stihl 271 has loose nuts, which may require extra caution to avoid misplacing them.

The similar Core Features and Functionality of Stihl 261 and Stihl 271

The similar Core Features and Functionality of Stihl 261 and Stihl 271

Reduced-Emission Engine Technology

Both the Stihl 261 and Stihl 271 chainsaws feature Stihl’s innovative reduced-emission engine technology. This technology incorporates advanced design elements, such as improved combustion efficiency, optimized airflow, and enhanced fuel delivery systems, to minimize exhaust emissions. It ensures compliance with environmental regulations while providing powerful performance.

Anti-Vibration System

The Stihl 261 and Stihl 271 are equipped with an anti-vibration system that reduces the vibrations transmitted to the user’s hands and arms during operation. This system utilizes various measures, including specially designed isolators, to effectively dampen vibration and enhance operator comfort. Minimizing hand-arm vibrations helps reduce fatigue, enabling users to work for longer periods with less discomfort.

Quickstop Chain Brake Function

Both models come with a quick-stop chain brake function for added safety. In the event of kickback or sudden movements, the chain brake is activated by inertia forces, bringing the chain to an immediate stop. This feature helps prevent accidents and protects the user from potential injuries.

Decompression Valve

The Stihl 261 and Stihl 271 chainsaws are equipped with a decompression valve. This valve reduces the cylinder compression during the starting process, making it easier to pull the starter rope. By reducing the resistance during startup, the decompression valve helps ensure smooth and effortless starting, particularly when the engine is cold.

Side-Access Chain Tensioner

Both chainsaws feature a side-access chain tensioner mechanism, allowing for quick and convenient adjustment of the chain tension. The side-access design allows users to access the chain tensioner without the need for additional tools, making it easier and faster to perform routine maintenance tasks.

IntelliCarb Compensating Carburetor

The Stihl 261 and Stihl 271 chainsaws are equipped with Stihl’s IntelliCarb compensating carburetor. This carburetor automatically adjusts the air-fuel mixture ratio based on operating conditions, ensuring optimal engine performance. The IntelliCarb carburetor maintains consistent power output regardless of changes in altitude, weather conditions, or fuel quality.

Master Control Lever™

Both models feature Stihl’s Master Control Lever™, which combines choke, throttle lock, and stop functions into a single control. This integrated lever simplifies operation and offers quick access to essential functions, streamlining the starting and stopping processes. It provides intuitive control over the chainsaw’s functions, enhancing user convenience and efficiency during operation.

Stihl 261 vs 271: Which Chainsaw is Right for You?

When choosing between the Stihl MS 261 and MS 271 chainsaws, consider your needs. The MS 261 has a more powerful engine (3.0 kW) for demanding tasks and a larger chain oil capacity (270 cc). It suits professionals with extensive cutting needs. The MS 271 is slightly lighter, with a lower engine power (2.6 kW). It’s ideal for homeowners or occasional users who prioritize maneuverability. Decide based on your cutting tasks and preferences, MS 261 for power and capacity, MS 271 for a balance of power and maneuverability. Both offer durability and performance.


What is the difference between MS261 and MS271?

The 261 is lighter and smaller than the 271. which means it’s easier to use for long periods of time or in tight spaces.

Is STIHL 261 a pro saw?

Yes, the STIHL MS 261 is considered a professional-grade chainsaw.

How big of a bar can you put on an MS 271?

The recommended bar lengths for the MS 271 typically range from 16 inches (40 cm) to 20 inches (50 cm).

Is Stihl MS271 a good saw?

Yes, the Stihl MS 271 is generally regarded as a good chainsaw.


The MS 261 exhibits superior power and lighter weight, making it an excellent choice for professionals or individuals seeking a high-performance tool. On the other hand, the MS 271 provides a balanced blend of power and user-friendly features, catering to homeowners and occasional users. By evaluating your specific requirements, you can confidently choose the chainsaw that suits you best.