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The Stihl MS180c falls squarely in the homeowner range of chainsaws from Stihl. The saw is intended for general trimming and other light work around the home.
One of the great features of the MS180c is the Easy-start function which makes for a simple operation. In this Stihl ms180c Review, we will go through the various features of the chainsaw and then set out what the chainsaw can do for you.
How to Select the Right Chainsaw for Your Requirements?
The range of chainsaws starts with the lightweight and low-powered, and generally cheaper models. As we go up the range, the chainsaws get heavier, become more powerful, and sadly yes, get more expensive.
So have a good look at the trees you are going to look after with the chainsaw. If you want to keep things neat and do a trimming job, then the lighter range of chainsaws is what you should be looking at.
Cutting with a chainsaw is hard work. The weight of the saw will take its toll over an extended period of cutting, so you want to choose the lightest chainsaw with sufficient power to get through the job in a reasonable time.
There is always going to be a time when you are going to ask the chainsaw to step up and complete a task a little heavier than it was designed for. Don’t let that persuade you into buying a chainsaw bigger than required for attending to the normal work you have in mind.
The MS180c will get through a trunk of twenty-four inches. It will take a little longer. Perhaps ten minutes more than a heavier, more powerful machine. Rather ten minutes more than heaving a heavier chainsaw around one hundred percent of the time.
Make a careful assessment of the size of trees you are going to be cutting and, just as important, who is going to be doing the cutting. As a guide, have a look through the Model names of the Stihl chainsaws.
Stihl has a rather strange way of numbering the chainsaws, but generally, the first number in the model range indicates the category of intended use. ‘1’ is for occasional light use going through to ‘4’, which is for professional use. There are exceptions to this, but they shouldn’t concern us here.
A quick note regarding the descriptive letters on the model names before we go through the features.
- MS = German ‘motor sage’ using gas power and MSA using battery power.
- C = comfort style. This can include a variety of features. In this case, it is the easy-start feature.
- B = Quick chain adjuster (no tool required to tension the chain)
- E = Easy2start feature
Let’s have a look at how the features of the MS80c match up to your requirements.
How Difficult is it to Start the MS180c?
Tugging on the starter cord of a chainsaw is hard work and can be exhausting if the chainsaw is difficult to start. The MS180c has made starting so simple and effortless. The downside of this is that the addition of the easy start mechanism has added an extra pound to the weight.
The big advantage is that the easy start function is superb. Try it in the store when you go to select your saw. It really does make starting the chainsaw very easy. Compared to other makes of Chainsaws, this feature makes the MS180c the easiest saw to start.
This function alone makes it the model of choice for users who would struggle with the muscle requirements to start a conventional saw.
There is, however, one word of caution when starting the MS180c. There are two procedures to follow—one for when the engine is cold and the other when it has been warmed up. Not following the correct procedure can easily result in the engine being flooded.
The trick is to listen carefully to the engine when starting it with the full choke setting on. Once it has fired, the setting needs to be changed to the half choke setting.
Starting the MS180c first thing in the morning is going to require using the full choke setting; however, once the chainsaw has been used, restarting it only requires the half choke setting. If you apply the full choke setting when attempting to restart the engine, it will flood.
Using the MS180c
Apart from the reduced weight of the smaller models in the Stihl range, the MS180c is a far more fuel-efficient model. Using less fuel and more sophisticated technology has resulted in the reduction of emissions by almost seventy percent and generally a more healthy machine to use.
Coupled with the fuel efficiency factor, the anti-vibration features also ensure that operating the chainsaw is comfortable.
The anti-vibration feature protects the operator from fatigue and pain, which can lead to cyanosis. This feature also ensures a far more comfortable operation of the chainsaw.
Stihl introduced the ‘Ematic’ lubrication system to bar lubrication, which has reduced chain oil consumption by almost fifty percent.
Tool-less Operation Features
Another great feature of the MS180c is that the chain can be tensioned without using any tools. The handy side-mounted tensioner allows the chain to be easily tightened or loosened as required without any tools being needed.
This is a great feature while out in the field as the chain can be quickly and easily tensioned without the need of lugging a toolbox around.
Following in the Footsteps of the Famous Farm Boss
Stihl has rather cleverly marketed the MS180c as the ‘mini-farm boss,’ and this really is the clearest indication of the intended use of the model.
Many users have found that using the MS180c in conjunction with a bigger, heavier saw does create a more efficient method of harvesting firewood. The MS180c can easily deal with the smaller pieces resulting in less fatigue for the operator.
It is when pruning trees that the lighter MS180c really exceeds expectations. Strong enough to deal with branches up to three or four inches in diameter, the lighter body makes accessing branches so much easier and far less strenuous.
The MS180c fills the slot for a lightweight chainsaw that will efficiently take care of all the trimming and light cutting requirements for the homeowner. Lightweight and super reliable, it does raise the bar of effortless chainsaw operation.
Some Alternatives to the Stihl MS 180c
The homeowner market for chainsaws has a number of models to choose from. Here we will set out the various alternatives to the Stihl MS180c.
- Specifications: Stihl MS180c / Stihl MS181c-BE / Echo CS400 Husqvarna 120 Mark 2
- Displacement: 1,9 cu. in. (31cc) / 1.9 cu. in. (31.8cc) / 2,45cu in. (40.2cc) 2.33cu in. (38,2cc)
- Engine Power: 2 bhp / 2 bhp 2.91 bhp / 1.87 bhp
- Powerhead Weight: 9.3 lbs. / 10.1 lbs / 12.2 lbs 9.9 lbs
- Fuel capacity: 8,5 oz / 9,5 oz / 13,9 oz 9.46 oz
- Guide Bar Length: 16 inches. 12-16 inch / 16-18 inch / 16-18 inch
Here are some useful websites to view the individual features of chainsaws similar to the Stihl MS180c.
What the Alternatives are Offering
The Stihl MS 181c BE is the follow-up model to the MS 180 model. Stihl changes the last digit of the model name to indicate a new version. There is also a Stihl MS 181 model available.
However, the Ms 181c BE is the model with all the hi-tech advances, such as the ‘Easy2 Start’ system, which makes starting the saw effortless. The quick chain tension adjustment is toolless and the pre-separation air filtration system that extends the life of the air filter.
The choice is yours, either the basic ‘what you see is what you get’ version or the smart tech MS181cBE. The price difference may be the determining factor.
With a little more power than the Stihl model, the Echo CS 400 also boasts a range of features to lighten the load when cutting wood. The ‘i 30’ starting system reduces the power required to start the engine by 30%.
It has a side entry chain tensioner and a sophisticated air pre-cleaner, which, coupled with the easy access air filter system, ensures a long life for the air filter.
This Husqvarna Chainsaw model is aimed at the all-around homeowner market. The 120 Mark 2 features what Husqvarna has called the ‘X Torq’ engine technology that improves emission control while still delivering sufficient power to accomplish most tasks around the garden.
It has an air injection system that results in a much cleaner air supply. Safety features include a ‘Low Kicjback’ system which does make the saw a lot safer to use.
Question: Are There Any Battery-powered Chainsaws That Homeowners Can Use?
Answer: Stihl has an MSA 220c BQ model that has received excellent reviews and can compete with the smaller gas-powered machines. This model was rated best along with the Husqvarna 540IXpp model.
The Husqvarna model is, however, significantly more expensive at around $ 600, excluding the cost of the battery.
There are other options available such as the Dewalt DCCS670x1, which has a sixty-volt battery. The Makita XCU07 is powered by the 18 Volt battery system common to many of the cordless tools in the Makita range.
Question: What Are the Advantages of Using a Battery-powered Chainsaw?
Answer: Battery-powered chainsaws have made great strides in recent years and are now on an almost equal footing to the smaller gas-powered machines. In addition, the cost of battery technology has diminished. This has created a viable alternative to gas-powered machines.
Battery-powered chainsaws are much quieter than their gas-powered counterparts. This makes it far more pleasant to operate the saw both for you and also for your neighbors.
• Starting a battery-powered saw is merely a switch. There is no hefty tugging on a starter cord.
• Maintenance of the battery-powered machine is much reduced compared to the gas-powered version.
Question: What Other Equipment is Required When Operating a Home Owner-type Chain Saw?
Answer: You can go the whole hog and kit yourself in true lumberjack attire, but essentially the following safety equipment should be sufficient.
Top of the list is a hardhat. These often combine a visor and ear protection, but you may choose to wear safety goggles in place of the visor.
Gloves are another important item to keep you safe, and then I would suggest ones with sleeves up to your elbows to protect you from scratches from falling branches. Boots are pretty essential to protect your feet from stumps and other sharp debris.
Apart from the safety equipment, you will find a chain sharpening kit to be very worthwhile to keep your chain in good condition.
Having to choose between two products is always going to be difficult, but then even if you make a wrong choice, you still end up with a good machine. The domestic chainsaw market is a tight and congested one where major brands have to innovate and improve to stay ahead.
This benefits us as users. We are offered better, more sophisticated products that tread a little more gently on the environment. All that is in our favor.
My first chainsaw was a seriously heavy affair. No easy start, no emission control, or sophisticated bar lubrication. Just one bulldog of a saw that served me well despite the abuse that it had to endure. I’ve had Stihl chainsaws for over twenty years, and I can’t honestly say that there is no bias to my judgment.
I’m pretty sure the Husqvarna and Echo chainsaws are very good quality. All the different manufacturers have addressed the problem areas of chainsaws, and all have developed wonderful solutions to easy starting and improved lubrication capabilities.
Given a choice, I would always stick to Stihl. That doesn’t mean that the other manufacturers are inferior. It just means that over the years, I have come to have every confidence in my Stihl Saw. So much so that if the Saw breaks down or doesn’t start, I know that the fault lies with me and not the machine.
For the homeowner that needs a chainsaw from time to time to tidy up a few branches or to cut up a couple of smaller logs for the fire, the Stihl Ms180c will provide a true and diligent servant.
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