The chainsaw battle continues – KWF chainsaw testing

chainsaw testing

The battle between the Swedish Husqvarna (Husky) and German Stihl goes on. A lot has been written and compared between the two giants, more or less subjectively. But KWF, the German Centre for Forest Work & Technology (Kuratorium Für Waldarbeit & Forsttechnik) takes the testing to a scientific level.

Chainsaw testing by

In March 2019, a comparison test was made by Fredrik, who mainly works for the sister site, between Stihl MS 261 and Husqvarna 550 XP Mark II. He found out that the differences were small, which I guess could be expected. I will not go into that here and now. You can read his article here and see his film from that test here below.

chainsaw testing
Fredrik Reuter comparing the acceleration of the two combatants.

KWF chainsaw testing

It all started long before even the KWF existed. Testing and evaluation of equipment for forestry and logging was made by FPA, Forsttechnische Prüfausschuss (approx. “Forest technology testing committee”). There were too many accidents during logging and one reason was poor logging equipment.

FPA ended up under the umbrella of KWF, and today KWF/FPA are testing all kinds of logging equipment, from protection gloves and trousers to harvesters, and chainsaws of course.

KWF quality seal

The KWF testing qualifies to their own quality seal, KWF Qualitätszeichen, that is provided in three levels; KWF-Profi, KWF-Standard and KWF-Test. The tests are voluntary but have quite high reputation, so most logging equipment sold in the German-speaking area has been tested by KWF. The product owner decides which level that is desired. It´s a matter of cost and the purpose of the testing. Most big companies, like Stihl and Husqvarna, choose the Profi-level.

The levels


The top-level. On the profi level, the product will go through extensive testing. Ergonomics, safety, environmental impact and life cycle. The product goes through both scientific testing and measuring in a laboratory and practical testing in “real life”.

The FPA-committee evaluates the results, and if they are positive, the product receives the seal KWF/FPA Gebrauchwert – Profi.

chainsaw testing
The highest level, KWF/FPA Profi.


Also the standard level demands ergonomics and safety on the same level as above. But the target groups are in this case not professional users. This gives the opportunity for e.g. manufacturers of firewood handling equipment for private use to get a KWF seal on their products.

Also in this case the committee evaluates the results before the product receives the seal.

chainsaw testing
The seal for KWF Standard.


On the KWF-test level, specific technical solutions, technical functions on the product, or a part of a product are tested. It could be data collection equipment, fuels, harvester measuring systems, tire pressure gauges, marking color, etc.

On this level, the committee is not involved. The technicians who make the test evaluate the results and ratifies the seal.

chainsaw battle
The TEST seal. In this case for 2-stroke fuel which is printed in the logo.

If the results are negative, the manufacturer receives a list of improvements to make in order to get the seal. This also leads to that they can improve their product.

All products that have been successfully tested is found in reports on the KWF web-site. Quite a few also in English. You will find them here.

Back to the battle

Earlier in this article you were promised a film about the comparison test made by my colleague Fredrik between the Stihl MS 261 and the Husqvarna 550 XP Mark II. Well, before you see that, please have a look at the KWF reports for the two chainsaws:

Stihl MS 261

Husqvarna 550 XP Mark II

Here is the film

Husqvarna 550 XP Mark 2 i jämförelse med Stihl MS 261


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