Stihl 660 vs Stihl 661: Which One is the Best in 2024?

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By Jake Hill


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Serious woodworkers need top-notch chainsaws for their projects. The two Stihl MS 660 and 661 models are often mentioned in this context. These are powerful, durable, and lightweight.

Moreover, they have many similarities in terms of features and abilities. This makes it difficult for many users to determine which is the best in the Stihl 660 vs. 661 comparisons.

If you want to know more about their differences, keep reading this blog. We are breaking down all their distinctions to help you decide which is best for you. So read on!

Stihl 660 vs. 661: A Quick Overview

Despite being lightweight, the Stihl MS 660 is considered a professional chainsaw. It is suitable for large-scale cutting projects with thick and dense trees. The MS 660 is fast performing as well. Also, the reduced vibrations make it easier to manage. All these great features make the saw efficient for occasional cutting as well.

Like the MS 660, the Stihl MS 661 belongs to the magnum series. This indicates its suitability for serious forestry cutting and woodwork. This model is considered an upgrade to the MS 660. According to the manufacturer, the saw starts more easily due to the Elastosart feature. 

This feature aims at absorbing the shocks associated with jerky movements. Typically, you won’t have any difficulty pulling the starter rope.

Among their standard features is an improved air filter. Aside from the advanced filtration, the filter itself is washable. You can use the same filter multiple times without considering a replacement.

Stihl MS 660 Overview

The Stihl 660 is not an entry-level saw. It addresses professional chainsaw users . It is known for its high power-to-weight ratio. The machine weighs around 7.7 kilograms (17 pounds) without the bar and chain. 

This saw also has an anti-vibration handle that makes holding and controlling the saw easier. It also plays a significant role in reducing the fatigue sensation that is caused by holding chainsaws for extended hours.

Moreover, the MS 660 has advanced features found in many other Stihl models. This includes ematic bar lubrication, which regulates and reduces the consumption of chain lubricant. Additionally, this Stihl has enhanced fuel efficiency, associated with decreased bar oil consumption. The saw is equipped with an automatic oiler.

The engine of this Stihl chainsaw has a capacity of 66.7cc. The machine is also pairable with bars ranging between 50 and 63 cm (20 and 24 inches).

If you want this chainsaw, you should know it is not a cheap saw. It can cost you up to $1000. However, you can get it for $700 or $800 if you opt for a machine with fewer accessories. As a machine with the STIHL Pro Mark™ mark, users might think it is tough to start. However, MS 660 is straightforward and quick to start.

Stihl MS 661 Overview

Stihl MS 661 comes with an ergonomic design and top-notch features. The elastic-start technology allows for faster and effortless starting of the engine. This feature consists of a built-in absorber for shocks. This way, you do not have to put much effort into pulling the starter cord.

Another thing that facilitates starting the engine in this Stihl saw is the decompression valve. This option reduces the amount of compression in the engine’s cylinders. This is why the Stihl MS 661’s engine fires instantly.

Another highly-appreciated quality in almost all STIHL Inc. chainsaws is the STIHL anti-vibration system. This built-in technology has efficiently reduced the levels of vibration coming from the saw.

You must be familiar with chainsaw operator fatigue associated with vibration in the handle. However, this model has minimal vibration levels in the handle.

The Side-Access Chain Tensioner makes it possible to adjust the chain without removing the crankcase. Another great feature that makes maintaining the chainsaw more enjoyable is the retainers on the fuel and oil tank caps. This way, the caps remain attached to the machine, and you don’t have to worry about losing them.

Stihl 661 vs. 660: The Comparison

If you want to make an informed decision regarding the best chainsaw, you must know their differences. You will find some minor or negligible differences in many points of this comparison. However, some critical differences in the performance will be a massive deal for you. So, it is time to delve into this comparison.

1. Powerhead Weight 

For many users, lightweight is a highly-appreciated quality in a chainsaw. However, using an extremely light chainsaw to chop thicker hardwood trees might not generate enough power. However, in our case, both machines are considered weight-saving without negatively affecting the power levels.

Remember they are meant for medium-sized woodwork. So, the lighter machine is better for increased portability.

Considering this, you should know that the Stihl MS 661 is lighter. Its dry weight is 7.4 kilograms (16.5 pounds). The Stihl MS 660, on the other hand, has a powerhead weight of 7.6 kilograms (16.8 pounds). You can expect a few more kilos to be added when the chain and bar are connected, along with all the fluids.

2. Horsepower

 The value of horsepower dictates how powerful a chainsaw’s engine can be. In most STIHL 2-stroke engines, a power level of 4 bhp indicates decent performance. A larger value translates into better performance and optimum engine power.

Once again, the Stihl MS 661 magnum wins at this point. Its engine produces 7.2 bhp, which equals 5.4 kW. Meanwhile, a Stihl MS 660 is slightly less powerful, with 7.1 bhp, which equals 5.2 kW. 

3. Engine Capacity 

This is critical in determining the winner in this Stihl 660 vs. 661 competition. You would typically appreciate the higher engine capacity or displacement. Even the slightest friction in a unit will make a huge difference. 

The previous two points might indicate that Stihl 661 is a straight win in this point too. However, the Stihl MS 660 has a higher displacement value.

The powerful engine of the Stihl 660 has a capacity of 91.6 ccs, whereas the latter has a displacement of 91.1 ccs.

4. Power to Weight Ratio 

This is a critical point that some users often disregard. Lightweight and portability are essential. But when lightweight is paired with the correct power level, the performance reaches a whole new level. You can see that the MS Stihl MS 661 C-M Magnum is not the winner.

The MS 660 has a better ratio of 1,4 kg/kW, while the Stihl MS 661 R Magnum has 1.3 kg/kW.

5. Compatible Guide Bars

Usually, you turn to the manufacturer for the best guide bar combination. In our case, you will find differences in the number of compatible bars and their lengths.

The Stihl MS 660 is compatible with more bars, but they are shorter than the one with the Magnum MS 661. The former goes along with 50- and 63-cm blades, while the latter is only paired with a 71-cm blade.

6. Fuel Tank Capacity

The fuel capacity element can give you some peace of mind. You won’t always be concerned about the refueling frequency with a large gasoline tank. While a large tank is good, a too-large tank is bad. It will increase the wet weight of the machine you carry in your hands.

With a capacity of 28.6 oz, the 661 magnum is the better option. The other saw has only 27.9 ounces.

7. Bar chain oil capacity 

The large capacity of this tank is a relief. It spares you the trouble of worrying about refill times. Thanks to the advanced automatic oilers, you do not have to lubricate the chain manually. Also, this feature saves a lot of oil, as it only uses a few drops of chain lubricant.

Stihl MS 661 has a larger oil tank with a capacity of 13.5 ounces. Meanwhile, the MS 660 has a smaller tank with a capacity of 11.4 ounces.

8. Controlled-delivery Oil pumps 

This is a top-notch feature that is only found on some chainsaws. You can find it in the Stihl 500i, 651, and 660. This option would facilitate the release of more chain oil levels when performing heavier tasks. Remember that not all types of wood require the same levels of lubricant.

So, this feature would automatically detect the type of wood you’re handling and subsequently release adequate oil levels.

9. Chain Pitch Size

Regarding chainsaws, pitch is a significant element in determining the chain size. Pitch size is calculated by measuring the distance between three rivets. Then the number gets divided by 2.

When two saws have the same chain pitch, you can use the same chain on both. But the MS 660 and 661 are different. They have different pitches and, typically, different chains. The former has a 0.404 pitch, whereas the latter has a 3/8 pitch. 

10. Master Control Lever 

This is another innovative Stihl feature that makes the user experience more comfortable. This is a simple lever that contains four positions. Each one of them provides a different function. For instance, you can start and stop the engine. Also, you can adjust the throttle and choke. 

This lever is found in the Stihl 660, while the 661 lacks it.

11. Noise level

Noise or sound power level is vital for protecting your hearing and operating in residential areas. The Stihl MS 660 has a lower noise level that does not exceed 114 dbA, whereas the Stihl 661 is slightly louder, reaching 118 adA.

Stihl 660 vs. 661: Which One is the Best?

Both chainsaws are perfect for serious woodwork, but the Stihl 661 is the better model. It has a larger chain and bar. So it is more suitable for thicker and taller trees. The Stihl 660 would do a great job on smaller projects. Still, it has many advanced features that make things more balanced.

So, the Stihl 661 is a winner in terms of performance, while the Stihl 660 is a winner in terms of better features.

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