STIHL MS 170 vs MS 171(a Detailed Comparison)

When it comes to choosing a chainsaw, two popular options from Stihl are the MS 170 and MS 171. 

Both of these models are designed for homeowner use and have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences that you should be aware of before making your purchase.

Let’s Jump in.

STIHL MS 170 vs MS 171

ms170 vs ms171

Similarities: STIHL MS 170 vs MS 171

First, let’s take a look at the similarities between the two saws. Both the MS 170 and MS 171 have a 32.2 cc engine, which provides plenty of power for cutting through small to medium-sized logs. 

Both saws also have an automatic oiling system, which helps to keep the chain lubricated and running smoothly, and both have a quick chain tensioning system, which makes it easy to adjust the tension of the chain while you’re working.

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Differences: STIHL MS 170 vs MS 171

When it comes to the differences between the two saws, the most notable one is the size of the cutting bar. 

The MS 170 has a 14-inch bar, while the MS 171 has a 16-inch bar. 

This means that the MS 171 is better suited for cutting larger logs, while the MS 170 is better for smaller logs or for pruning and trimming branches. 

Another difference between the two saws is the weight. The MS 170 weighs around 10 pounds, while the MS 171 weighs around 11 pounds. 

While this may not seem like a significant difference, it can make a big difference if you’re using the saw for an extended period.

The Stihl MS 170 also comes with a simplified starter system, called the STIHL Easy2Start which is a specially designed, spring-assisted starter rope that makes starting the saw almost effortless. 

While the MS 171 does not have this feature.

When it comes to pricing, the MS 170 is generally less expensive than the MS 171. 

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Stihl ms 170 vs Stihl ms 171 specs

FeatureSTIHL MS 170STIHL MS 171
Engine Power1.2 kW1.5 kW
Bar Length12 inches (30 cm)13 inches (35 cm)
WeightApproximately 8.6 pounds (3.9 kg)Approximately 9.3 pounds (4.8 kg)
FeaturesAnti-vibration system, Ematic lubricationAnti-vibration system, Ematic lubrication
system, side-access chain tensionersystem, side-access chain tensioner
Suitable ApplicationsLight to moderate cutting tasksLight to moderate cutting tasks
Price RangeVaries (typically lower than MS 171)Varies (typically higher than MS 170)
Fuel EfficiencyComparableComparable
Compatible AccessoriesSame accessories as MS 171Same accessories as MS 170

This can be an important consideration for homeowners who are on a budget and don’t need the larger cutting bar size of the MS 171.

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Stihl ms171 Problems

1. Starting Issues

  • Ensure the on/off switch is set to the “on” position.
  • Prime the fuel system by pressing the primer bulb (if equipped) several times.
  • Pull the starter rope firmly and consistently.

2. Lack of Power or Stalling

  • Check the air filter and clean or replace it if it is clogged.
  • Inspect the spark plug for fouling or wear and replace it if necessary.
  • Verify the fuel mixture is correct (usually a 50:1 gas-to-oil ratio).

3. Chain Not Moving

  • Ensure the chain brake is disengaged.
  • Check the tension of the chain; it should be snug but not too tight.
  • Inspect the sprocket and chain for damage or excessive wear.

4. Overheating

  • Avoid running the chainsaw for extended periods without breaks.
  • Keep the air vents and cooling fins clean.
  • Use the correct fuel mixture to prevent engine overheating.

5. Excessive vibration or noise

  • Check the chain for proper tension.
  • Inspect the guide bar and chain for damage or wear.
  • Tighten all fasteners and screws on the saw.

6. Oil is not lubricating the chain.

  • Ensure the oil reservoir is filled with bar and chain oil.
  • Check for clogs in the oil delivery system, such as the oil filter or oil channels.
  • Adjust the oiler flow rate if your chainsaw has this feature.

7. Idle problems

  • Adjust the idle speed screw according to the user manual’s instructions.
  • Clean the carburetor if it’s clogged or dirty.
  • Check for air leaks in the intake system, including the gaskets.

8. Safety Features Engaging

  • Make sure the chain brake handle is fully released before operating.
  • Check the throttle trigger for any obstructions or damage.

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Final Remarks

The Stihl MS 170 and MS 171 are excellent options for homeowners needing dependable, high-quality chainsaws for cutting small to medium-sized logs. 

The MS 170 is a good choice for those who need a more lightweight and compact saw, while the MS 171 is better suited for larger logs. 

Both saws are well-built and easy to use, so you can’t go wrong with either one.

Ultimately, the choice between these two models will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the individual user.

Read Common STIHL BR 800 Problems(With Solutions)


What is the difference between the STIHL MS 170 and MS 171 chainsaws?

The STIHL MS 170 and MS 171 chainsaws are both popular models from STIHL, but they have a few key differences.

What is the engine power of the MS 170 and MS 171?

The STIHL MS 170 is equipped with a 1.3 kW engine, while the MS 171 has a slightly more powerful engine with 1.5 kW.

Are there any differences in the bar length between the two models?

Both the MS 170 and MS 171 have a recommended bar length of 12 inches (30 cm).

Do they have any differences in terms of weight?

In terms of weight, the MS 170 weighs approximately 8.6 pounds (3.9 kg), while the MS 171 is slightly heavier at around 9.3 pounds (4.2 kg).

Are there any variations in the features or technology of these chainsaws?

Functionally, the MS 170 and MS 171 share similar features. They both include STIHL’s anti-vibration system, the Ematic chain lubrication system, and a side-access chain tensioner for easy chain adjustment.

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Can MS 170 and MS 171 be used for the same applications?

Yes, both chainsaws are suitable for light to moderate cutting tasks, such as pruning, firewood cutting, and small-scale timber work.

Are there any notable differences in terms of price?

Pricing can vary depending on the region and the dealer, but generally, the MS 171 tends to be slightly more expensive than the MS 170 due to its higher engine power.

Is there a difference in terms of fuel efficiency between these models?

Both the MS 170 and MS 171 chainsaws are designed to be fuel-efficient, and their fuel consumption rates are comparable.

Can I use the same accessories for both chainsaws?

Yes, the MS 170 and MS 171 use the same accessories, such as guide bars, chains, and other compatible attachments.

Which chainsaw should I choose, the MS 170 or the MS 171?

The choice between the MS 170 and MS 171 depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you require a slightly more powerful chainsaw, the MS 171 would be a suitable option.

However, if you prioritize a lighter weight, the MS 170 might be more appealing.

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George Bill
George Bill

George Bill is a Mechanical Engineer by Profession and an avid gardener and has been mowing his lawn for over 20 years. He has used a variety of different mowers during this time.
George is an expert at maintaining his mowers and over the years, he has learned many tricks and techniques for getting the best results from his mowers and is always happy to share his knowledge on this site.