Amazing little chainsaw!

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Review by SchotterWoodworking posted 02-11-2010 05:03 AM 14826 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Amazing little chainsaw! Amazing little chainsaw! No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I picked up the Stihl MS 180 from a small shop called Straub’s near Haubstadt, Indiana for a little less than $200.00. I had never used a Stihl and bought it based upon the recommendation of my coworker who has a penchant for discriminating taste in tools. I bought it for small chores of cleanup and light firewood cutting. The chainsaw is lightweight, powerful, and comfortable to use. It does bog down when sawing anything larger than 12” diameter logs, but the bar is only 14” to start. One of the nicest, albeit, difficult features to master, is the tool-less chain tensioner. It’s devastatingly simple to use; loosen the knob, roll the wheel to desired tension, tighten knob. It is also very easy to undertighten the chain, or overtighten the chain. It takes a little time to get used to it, but not having to carry that little wrench which seems to disappear into the forest leaf litter so easily is a bit relief. It has a idiot-resistant choke (because nothing is idiot proof) which makes starting a breeze. You slide the choke to full, pull until it kicks over, the saw automatically kicks the choke lever to half-choke, pull again until the saw runs, then push the choke lever manually to run after a little idling. The chainsaw is great for the small property owner who doesn’t need a Farmboss with a 22” bar but wants more quality that a Poulan. I’ve had the saw for two years now and it is a high quality, affordable chainsaw with a few niceties that make work just a little easier.

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113 posts in 3830 days

14 comments so far

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118079 posts in 4377 days

#1 posted 02-11-2010 05:59 AM

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337 posts in 3962 days

#2 posted 02-11-2010 06:11 AM

anything Stihl is an amazing tool…

View lou's profile


343 posts in 4242 days

#3 posted 02-11-2010 03:08 PM

i have an older stihl.its a small one but really makes short work of what ever i use it for.

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13707 posts in 4141 days

#4 posted 02-11-2010 03:36 PM

i got a 20” stihl ,
with the chain tightener ,
easiest saw i’ve ever used !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3874 days

#5 posted 02-11-2010 04:17 PM

Every outdoor 2-stroke tool I own (weed wacker, blower, tiller, edger and trimmer) are Stihls. You just can’t go wrong with Stihl.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View unisaw2's profile


210 posts in 3835 days

#6 posted 02-11-2010 04:54 PM

The professional tree care companies use these smaller chainsaws all the time when they are working up high. My Stihl chainsaw (22”) is 12 years old and is still running great, great tool.

-- JJ - Northern Illinois

View grub32's profile


215 posts in 3848 days

#7 posted 02-11-2010 06:10 PM

Yeah, STIHL makes a great product…Nothing better out there. I have an 18 inch bar and it cuts anything…A sharp chain is all you need to make a mess of sawdust with that thing.

Enjoy for many years to come!!


-- Educator by Day, Wood Butcher by Night!!

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 4068 days

#8 posted 02-11-2010 08:16 PM

There are two brands that require no “review.” They simply are the best in their class, everytime.
My home and my life would be signifigantly worse and harder were it not for Stihl and Honda.

Dear lord, if only these two well run companies made wood working tools!

One day, we can add Festool to the above pair, once they calm down, and they will, on their high end pricing.


View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4325 days

#9 posted 02-12-2010 05:25 AM

I used one of those just the other day to demo a couple of staircases. It cut through those old white oak treads much quicker than my sawzall could have done.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

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232 posts in 4254 days

#10 posted 02-19-2010 07:22 PM

Thanks for the review. I was thinking about getting one of these for light duty work. This help make up my mind. Now all I have to do is save up the cash.

-- [email protected]

View ladiesman217's profile


74 posts in 4015 days

#11 posted 03-21-2011 07:06 AM

I was just browsing reviews and I saw you have the updated version of the same saw I own. I bought mine in 2003, use it once, maybe twice a year, take horrible care of it, leave it in my garage where the mice, raccoons, and squirrels leave a mess on it…and yet I never have any problems after changing the gas and putting more oil in it. I love my little Stihl weedwacker too, she starts on the first pull at the start of every spring. Great buy!

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

View therightside's profile


16 posts in 3334 days

#12 posted 06-19-2011 02:19 AM

This is an awesome saw and lightweight. It was the first saw I bought and it’s my main saw still. I use it for hours on end at least 3 days a week sometimes more. I carve with my saw and work it hard. I use the same chains and bars that it came with because they do a great job. I do have one recommendation if you are planning on working it hard, don’t, I repeat do not buy it with the auto chain adjuster. Mine eventually had malfunctions and I switched over to the manual bar adjuster. The next Stihl on my list of wants is the 271 for a bit more power and reach.

View Galt's profile


11 posts in 3186 days

#13 posted 01-14-2012 06:27 PM

I harvest a good bit of hardwood for heat and milling at home, and I’ve been a Stihl devotee for about the last 25 years. All part of the growth process where I never looked back and regretted buying better or bigger than I needed.

After last year’s storms I was out and about helping neighbors clear downed trees when someone decided that they liked my 192 top handle more than me, and lifted it out’a the back of my truck while I was helpin’ a damsel in distress. The only other saw that I had runnin’ at the time was my 660, but even with a 16” bar it’s just way too much saw for limbin’ all day (at least for an old guy).

So I mosied down to the local Stihl dealer to put out the word on my missing saw (the top handles aren’t all that common – more a climber’s saw) and while I was there I picked up an MS181 – basically the 180 without the tooless chain adjust feature, and with slightly larger oil and fuel tanks. Same chain, bar recommendations and power head, plus a little bit heavier.

Even though it’s a tiny tike compared to my 440’s and 660, and even though it’s offered as an “occaisional use” type saw, I gotta say I was mightily impressed.

No you’re not gonna go out and cut cords of firewood, or stick a long bar on it and fell any big wood, but for limbin’ greenwood all day, and even buckin’ the occaisional 12” logs, it was pretty amazing.

Short of spending twice as much in the Stihl line, ya gotta love the light weight. If anything it probably encourages a little too much reaching and leaning to stretch and make unsafe cuts when you’re trying to make time, but the little 2 hp engine isn’t likely to throw ya to the ground and remove your limb either… maybe just a finger or two.

I believe I only paid about $150 for the saw equipped with a 14” bar and chain, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Coolest part was, whoever took my other saw must’ve just been borrowin’ it ‘cuz it reappeared later that day. In the same price range you can get a Poulan from the orange Borg with too much bar for about the same money, but the question is why would ya? Keep it sharp and ethanol free and this little puppy will keep ya grinnin’ like an idiot every time ya fire it up.

I would add that Stihl also has this model available with their Easy Start feature as well. Noticed an older woman buying one just when I stopped in that day and she was havin’ a time of it trying to pull the cord on the standard model. The Easy Start just requires a few easy short tugs to kind of wind it up like the old crank top lawn mower starters. Pretty neat for anybody with a shoulder problem or limited upper body strength. I know my bigger saws just live to stretch the tendons and ligaments of any unsuspecting soul that doesn’t commit to a full and hearty tug, so I’d say it’s worth a look if ya have a wife or kids that ya might like to put to work.

Also, most of the engine technology between Husky and Stihl is nearly identical. I don’t know who stole it from who, but you can hardly go wrong with either brand. I will say that the Stihl’s seem to have somewhat tighter tolerances and as such the Husky’s seem to put up with a bit more neglect.

-- “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” - Dr. Ron Paul

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10 posts in 2994 days

#14 posted 05-23-2012 05:56 PM

I’m gonna have to slightly disagree with Galt on the Husky’s if by that he means Husqvarna. I’ve used MANY different saws, not only Stihl, and Husqvarna, but those, Echo, and Makita (though they mostly quit making chainsaws now I think) are the only ones I consider worthy of even a comment. That said, my Stihls overall are more tolerant of neglect, easier to service, and have longer lifespans than the Husqvarnas, bar none. I’ve heard plenty of ppl say they thing the Husq saws cut faster, but that’s the first rumor I’ve heard of them lasting longer.
IMHO, the most important difference, though, is the ease of maintenance, and Stihl wins that race hands-down as 2 days ago I literally broke the cast magnesium hosuing on my Husqvarna saw simply trying to reinstall the chain-brake spring that had “popped” during a routing “spring cleaning” ... never had such problems with the better engineered Stihl saws, I think that’s going to have been my last non-Stihl saw!

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