Stihl MS 170 Review: Is it worth buying in 2024?

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By Jake Hill


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Are you new to the world of chainsaws? Then, you would need an entry-level chainsaw. The Stihl 170 is a highly recommended machine in this category. It is a preferred choice for finishing light cleaning and pruning duties.

This Stihl MS has a lot to offer in the light tasks category. However, there will be better fits for felling trees or chopping thicker wood logs. Aside from its decent performance, this machine is manufactured in the U.S. So, you can expect high-quality components and a flawless finish.

If you want to know more about this machine, read this Stihl MS 170 review. We’ll shed light on its features, performance, and client satisfaction.

Stihl MS 170 Review

This saw was released on the market in 2002. So, it has been made for a long time, and users still appreciate what it offers. This machine is everything it says. It is made for limited-budget users who need a reliable and small chainsaw. It is a good fit for cutting down small, thin trees and removing limbs.

Without further ado, here is what you need to know about Stihl MS 170.

Construction Quality and Material

A lightweight saw like this one won’t be made entirely of aluminum. The desirable lightweight feature comes from using plastic in the housing. More particularly, the crankcase of this Stihl model is made of reinforced polymer. Still, a few parts inside the machine are made of aluminum and diecast magnesium.

The presence of this type of plastic does not mean the machine is of poor quality. This material is durable, but it has low density and weight. This way, the saw will give the user the desired portability. Just keep in mind that you need some extra caution with this plastic housing. It might break with tough falls and shocks.


Understanding the features of this chainsaw helps in determining your expectations. This part highlights the machine’s power, weight, fuel capacity, and other relevant points.

1. Power type

Stihl MS 170 is a gas-powered chainsaw.

2. Dry weight

A chainsaw’s powerhead, or dry weight, refers to its net weight without any fluids. Also, this weight does not include the weights of the bar and chain. This gas chainsaw weighs 8.6 pounds (3.90 kilograms).

3. Engine capacity 

Typically, any 2-stroke engine will have a small capacity. It will be a small engine eventually. So, you should expect something manageable from this Stihl MS 170. It has a very small capacity of 30.1 cc.

4. Engine Power 

The engine’s power is determined by the amount of horsepower it provides. In our case, the machine offers 1.7 bhp.

5. Power-to-weight Ratio 

This is an essential element in judging a chainsaw. Surprisingly, this saw has a higher ratio than similar Stihl MS models, including the MS 171 and 180. Stihl 170 offers 3.4 kg/kW.

6. Compatible Bars 

This chainsaw is compatible with various sizes of guide bars. The manufacturer recommends using a 16-inch bar, but you can pair it with shorter bars, including a 14- and 12-inch guide bar.

7. Fuel Tank Capacity

This Stihl MS 170 comes with a small tank. It has a capacity of 8.5 ounces. This small capacity is a drawback, as you must refuel it more often, especially for extended use. However, it is suitable for the design of this lightweight chainsaw.

8. Chain oil Capacity 

This is also a small tank. It can only hold up to 4.9 ounces of the recommended chain lubrication oil.

9. Ematic Lubrication 

An old chainsaw like this one might lack advanced features. But this is different with the Stihl MS 170. This saw is equipped with the Ematic lubrication system, which saves up to 50% of bar oil consumption.

10. Anti-vibration Technology 

This technology is found in the vast majority of modern Stihl chainsaws. It significantly helps reduce the vibration levels in the user’s hands. This feature can reduce your fatigue while holding this equipment.

11. Self-adjusting Carb

Stihl has introduced its IntelliCarb system in this model. It is an automatic self-adjusting carb system that maintains the correct carburetor’s fuel-air mixture. This feature makes the saw draw clean air without debris to the carburetor.


This machine provides speedy and reliable performance in small cutting jobs. It is light and balanced to carry around for hours. It is reliable in cleaning a yard of fallen branches after a storm.

Also, removing bushes and small trees can be efficiently done with this saw. This lightweight chainsaw provides more than ultimate portability. It also offers reduced chances of kickbacks and operator injuries. According to the manufacturer, you can use the saw for cutting any tree below 17 inches wide.

Stihl MS 170 Reviews

Stihl MS 170 has been in the market for over 2 decades. It gained great success among homeowners and cutting beginners. The compact chainsaw got a fair share of sales in the U.S. market. The vast majority of users have been satisfied with what the machine offers.

Here is an in-depth look at the feedback from real-life users

User Feedback

Many users of Stihl Ms 170 have been cutting with it for years. Their feedback included various positive sides and a few negative ones.

1. Ease of Maintenance

On top of the good things they loved about Stihl MS 170 is the ease of maintenance. They can perform all the routine cleaning and replacement tasks without taking the machine to the shop.

2. Compact Design

Occasional users and homeowners prefer lighter outdoor power equipment. So, this Stihl MS 170 is easy for the average user to hold for hours.

3. Single lever for Multi-purposes

Users love the ease and simplicity of the master control lever. With a single switch, this feature lets them control the choke and on/off positions. They won’t get lost in applying full throttle or squander time when they need to stop the machine right away this way.

4. Ease of Starting 

This is one of the highly prized qualities of this chainsaw. Most users have reported that the Stihl MS 170 is easy to get started every single time.

 5. Smoky emission 

This is an issue reported by many users, especially those with a previous experience with other saws. This is true to some extent, as the machine produces black emission a bit more than its equivalents. However, if the emissions exceed usual, you should check the muffler. 

6. Bogging down

Despite the ease of starting this saw, some users would experience a bit of bogging down. This is not a defect in the machine but could be related to not knowing how to start it properly. You can get the choke in the on position.

Once the choke ticks, you should get it to the off position. Then transfer to the full throttle position. Doing these steps in this exact order will get the machine started quickly and smoothly.

Product Satisfaction

For two decades, this petrol chainsaw has generated great sales. It has been on the market longer than many other similar saws. Being around for a long time says something about clients’ satisfaction with this product.

Many positive reviews and high ratings exist in different forums and online dealers’ websites. This is due to the many attractive features of this machine, which outweigh any cons.

Customer Service 

Regarding warranty coverage, Stihl divides it into two categories: the first is for domestic use, and the second is for professional use. The first category has coverage for 2 years, while the second is covered for one year.

Generally, Stihl MS 170 addresses the needs of domestic users, so the original owner has 2-year coverage. As for the return policy, the company offers 7 days for this purpose. You can return the saw in its original working condition and get another suitable product.

Customers’ satisfaction with Stihl’s support service is not comparable. It varies from complete ratification to ultimate dissatisfaction. There are more negative comments expressing customers’ disappointment with after-sales service.

While the manufacturer’s website includes a complaint form, an email address, and a phone number, many users were unable to find reliable solutions to their problems.

Meanwhile, there are other users with positive experiences with Stihl support. This includes prompt reachability and knowledge about the products. So, there are variable comments regarding the quality of customer support. 

Should You Buy the Stihl MS 170?

If you are a beginner in the chainsaw world, you will want what this machine offers. It is easy to use and lightweight. It is also cost-effective and requires little upkeep. It is powerful for cutting down small trees and cleaning a yard hit by a storm.

It is not meant for professional use. As a result, it will be inefficient when cutting huge or thick trees. Remember that it has a small gasoline reservoir, so you’d better bring your tank for instant refilling. Such a tank will only last for a while.

The Stihl MS 170 is a good chainsaw for homeowners seeking a reliable, quick saw for small-scale woodwork. It is easy to operate, carry, and control due to its lightweight and decreased vibration system. Moreover, it is a cheap gas-powered chainsaw from a reputable brand. Don’t expect it to be more than a beginner’s saw.

5/5 - (6 votes)