A chainsaw is a practical tool used for clearing brush, trimming tree branches, and more. It’s a heavy-duty piece of machinery, however, and you want to make sure you select a quality product — in the interests of both effectiveness and safety.
Stihl and Husqvarna are two names you can always trust in chainsaws. For those seeking a compact, user-friendly chainsaw from these brands, it comes down to the Husqvarna 240 and Stihl 170. Which chainsaw is better? That depends on your taste and practical needs.
Both brands are respected and have been around for decades — even centuries. Husqvarna’s origins date back to 17th century Sweden, where the company got its start as a weapons manufacturer. Stihl is a German manufacturer, founded in 1926 when company founder Andreas Stihl built his first chainsaw.
Whether you purchase a Husqvarna 240 or Stihl MS 170, you are buying from a brand with a longstanding reputation for great manufacturing. Our guide gives you a comprehensive comparison of the two products, allowing you to decide which one is right for your purposes. Get detailed insights into how these two chainsaws stack up in terms of design, technical prowess, and safety features.
A Quick Comparison of HUSQVARNA 240 & Stihl170 Specifications
|Maximum Power Speed
|14” to 18”
|12” to 16”
|Chain Speed at Maximum Power
|Fuel Tank Capacity
|High; hearing protection recommended
|High; hearing protection recommended
|Sound Power Level Guaranteed
|High; hearing protection recommended
|Can only be bought from licensed dealers
|Who Should Use
When considering power tools, “design” might not seem like a factor worth considering. After all, design is usually associated with superficial characteristics, and a chainsaw doesn’t have to look pretty to function. Design isn’t just about aesthetics, however. It also influences a device’s user-friendliness.
The Husqvarna weighs 10.3 pounds. The Stihl MS 170 is a bit lighter, at 8.6 pounds. This can make it a better pick for longer-term projects, as you don’t want to be lugging around a heavier weight for hours on end.
Chain Bar Dimensions
The chainsaw bar is one of the tool’s most essential parts, as it holds the chain that cuts through wood. The longer the length of chain bar, the larger the size of the wood you can cut. The Husqvarna 240 has a maximum recommended bar length of 16 inches and a recommended minimum bar length of 13 inches. The Stihl MS 170 has similar recommendations, with a maximum of 16 inches and a minimum of 12 inches.
Portability / Usability
Smaller chainsaws like these are supposed to be easy to carry. You should be able to lift and carry them for light yard work, making portability just as important as performance. The Husqvarna and Stihl are neck-in-neck in terms of portability, given their nearly similar weights and identical maximum chain bar dimensions.
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Both of these models prioritize portability over power. While you don’t get the most potent engine, you get a relatively small, compact chainsaw that you can easily maneuver. The size impacts technical capability as well.
The Husqvarna 240 engine offers a cylinder displacement of 38.2 сm³ compared to the Stihl’s 30.1 cubic centimeters. In terms of power, the Husqvarna has a slight edge with 2 horsepower, compared to the Stihl’s 1.7 horsepower. The Swedish model thus has a slight edge. However, when it comes to practical use, you likely won’t notice much of a difference, provided the chainsaw’s blades are properly sharpened.
The Stihl website lists the chainsaw’s fuel capacity as 250 cubic centimeters or 8.5 liquid ounces. The Husqvarna website lists the chainsaw’s fuel tank volume as 0.14 US pints, equivalent to about 66.25 cubic centimeters or 2.24 fluid ounces. Given these numbers, the Stihl can hold more fuel. The user enjoys longer-lasting performance without having to stop to refuel.
Oil Tank Volume
Steady oil supply is essential for a chainsaw, helping to reduce friction. This keeps the engine running efficiently and reduces saw time. The Husqvarna’s oil tank volume is listed as 0.09 US pints, which equals about 42.59 cubic centimeters or 1.44 fluid ounces. The Stihl MS 170 offers 145 cubic centimeters, or 4.9 fluid ounces, of chain oil capacity.
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Chainsaws are dangerous devices that can cause harm if not used correctly. Both Stihl and Husqvarna take measures to keep you safe.
Stihl’s quickstop chain brake stops the chain’s rotation to reduce the likelihood of injury in kickback situations. It can be manually activated or activates in case of inertia and takes less than a second to activate. Husqvarna offers a similar safety device with its chain brake. It’s inertia activated and likewise meant to reduce the risk of injury because of kickback.
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A vibrating chainsaw requires a firm grip. If the device vibrates too violently, it may slip right out of your grasp. Both the Stihl and Husqvarna include anti-vibration technology to prevent this. The Stihl has vibrations from the front handle of 5.2 m/s², while the vibrations at the rear handle are 5.5 m/s². The Husqvarna 240 has vibrations of 2.1 m/s² at the front handle and 2.7 m/s² at the rear handle.
Finally, there are a few practical aspects to consider when deciding on a Husqvarna 240 versus Stihl MS 170 chainsaw.
Chainsaws are inherently noisy — there’s no way around it. For safety, you should always wear noise protection when operating a chainsaw. The Husqvarna and Stilh are almost neck-in-neck when it comes to maximum noise. The Husqvarna has a sound power level of 113 decibels. The Stihl MS170 has a maximum noise level of 111 decibels.
New Stihl products are generally only available at official Stihl dealers. Husqvarna is a bit more readily available. If you’re looking to get your hands on a chainsaw quickly, the Husqvarna may thus be the better option.
That said, you may be able to find refurbished or used Stihl chainsaws via online retailers. However, you won’t get the same guarantees in terms of safety and warranty that come when you buy directly from the manufacturer.
Online reviews report that the Stihl costs more than the Husqvarna, on average. This may be since Stihl is a bit more taxing to obtain and must be purchased from an authorized dealer.
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Special Features of Husqvarna 240 and Stihl MS 170
As pioneers in the saw industry, both Husqvarna and Stihl have developed specialized features for their products. We’ve detailed some of the highlights below.
The Husqvarna 240 offers:
- Air purge technology siphons air automatically from the carburetor and fuel system, eliminating resistance upon startup.
- Air injection technology consists of a centrifugal cleaning system designed to remove large pieces of dust and debris, preventing them from reaching the air filter. It further minimizes the need for air filter cleanings and prolongs engine life.
- X-torq capacity conserves fuel consumption and decreases emission levels of the exhaust. According to the manufacturer, this is in line with the strictest global environmental regulations.
- Finally, the combined choke-and-stop control minimizes the risk of engine flooding.
Features of the Stihl MS 170 include:
- Ematic lubrication system: This exclusive feature ensures the chainsaw is adequately lubricated to reduce oil usage. The system relies on two ramps positioned along the guide bar rail to direct oil flow. It can reduce the bar oil consumption by as much as 50%, according to the manufacturer.
- Master control lever: This user-friendly single lever allows for easy maneuvering of the choke, starting throttle, and power switch. All the user has to do is pull the throttle trigger and then shift the master control lever into the choke position.
Husqvarna 240 vs Stihl 170: Which Chainsaw Is for You?
With the information given above, we’ve hopefully made it easier to determine whether the Husqvarna 240 or Stihl MS 170 is the best option. There is no winner or loser in this race: With either of these options, you’ll get a dependable product from a leading manufacturer.
Here’s a recap of some key ways these two chainsaws differ to help inform your final choice:
Weight: The Husqvarna is slightly more massive than the Stihl (10.3 pounds compared to 8.6 pounds). While it’s not a huge difference, it can be decisive if you want to use the chainsaw for more extended periods without tiring out.
Price: If you’re looking to save money, Husqvarna may be the better option for you. That said, manufacturer’s discounts or rebates may bridge the difference in price between the Husqvarna and the Stihl.
Availability: Stihl maintains strict oversight of their products, and you will have to purchase their chainsaws from authorized dealers. This can be more time-consuming. If you need something readily available, fast, Husqvarna may be the better choice for you.
Still not sure? Our chainsaw reviews also cover other products from Husqvarna, like the 440 model and other brands. The best choice for you will ultimately depend on your preferences on the above points. Every individual’s needs are unique.