Three chainsaws for making firewood

Chainsaws for making firewood

The colleagues at made a test of three chainsaws suitable for making firewood. The saws were the new version of the battery-powered Stihl MSA 220C, the small and handy Stihl MS 201, and a very small and light saw from Echo, the CS2511 WES. The plan was to get the new Husqvarna 540 XP Mk III, but it wasn’t available at the time for the test.

This is a translated and slightly modified version of an article at signed Torbjörn Johnsen.

Three testing-saws lined up in the forest. Ready for testing.
The three firewood makers. From the left: Echo CS 2511 WES, Stihl MS 201, and the battery saw Stihl MSA 220.

Three chainsaws for making firewood

The test is based on a few days of making firewood with all three saws. The “test pilots” were Torbjörn and Fredrik from The results of the tests are their impressions and descriptions from which each reader must draw his/her own conclusions. Different saws suit different conditions and people.

Stihl MSA 220 C-B

This is an updated version of the MSA 220, and the saw used in this test is a pre-series saw that is not yet available on the market. The largest difference compared to the previous version is the modified throttle trigger lockout. This was criticized as it was placed on the left side of the rear handle meaning it had to be pushed by the thumb. Now, it’s placed on top of the rear handle just like on professional chainsaws. However, as it is a battery saw, the safety button on the side is still there but must only be pushed to activate the throttle trigger lockout.

Chainsaws for making firewood
Stihl has modified the throttle trigger lockout, moving it to the top of the rear handle. The side button is still there but only has to be pushed once to activate the throttle trigger lockout.

The new battery saw was delivered to us equipped with the large AP 500 S battery which was noticeable in the running time. Vi did approx. two tanks of gas with the MS 201 in the same time as one charging/battery switch on the MSA 220. The oil tanks on the MSA 220 and the MS 201 hold about the same amount (0,21 – 0,22 liters) but it’s enough for the whole battery time on the MSA 220.

The oil flow on the MS 201 could be set and on the MSA 220, it could not. So, maybe the oil tank on the MS 201 is meant to be large enough to serve a higher oil flow when working under demanding conditions?

New saw bar and chain

Another piece of news on the MSA 220 is that it is delivered with the Stihl Light-04 saw bar and a new 1,1-millimeter chain (3/8” pitch) called Picco Super Pro (PS3 Pro). These test pilots (Torbjörn and Fredrik) have never been fans of 1,1-millimeter chains. As good as every test or trial they have made with those chains has resulted in the chains hopping off during delimbing. During this two-day test, however, this didn’t happen even once. It could be a coincidence or an improvement. Maybe the drive links go deeper into the bar to make the chain stay on?

Fredrik performing thinning in a birch stand with the Stihl MSA220.
Fredrik in action delimiting with the Stihl MSA 220.

Ready for the forest

Of the three saws in this test, the MSA 220 was the heaviest with an RFF-weight (Ready For the Forest and with a 12” bar) of 5,8 kg (12,8 lbs.). The larger battery contributes to a higher weight compared to our first test of the MSA 220. Back then the weight was 5,5 kg (12,3 lbs.).

In general, the Stihl MSA 220 C-B work very well. It has good ergonomics and performance. It’s quick and powerful enough for the thin birch forest that was the testing site. Felling up to diameters of 20 centimeters (7,9 in) is no problem and the saw has a good balance when delimbing.

A noticeable difference compared to a gas-powered saw is the lack of exhaust gas and the smell of it. Even if you use the best possible 2-stroke gas, you still get exhaust gas. Something you don’t think about until you try a battery saw, like during those testing days. Living/working without exhaust gas is easy to get used to.

Echo CS2511 WES

This chainsaw was a somewhat odd acquaintance and probably the smallest saw ever tested. Echo CS2511 WES has only a 25 cm3 (1,5 cubic inch) cylinder volume and 1,1 kW (1,5 hp) effect. Something that is noticeable when cutting thicker stems. But for cutting and delimbing thin firewood it’s enough. The biggest benefit is the low weight of 3,5 kg (7,7 lbs.) which is 1,5 kg (3,3 lbs.) less than the Stihl MS 201.

The CS2511 WES looks like a cute toy but sounds like a “real” chainsaw when you give gas. The test saw started easily, and the carburetor seemed to be properly set even though the saw was brand new and most likely never started before. When we tested some larger Echo chainsaws a couple of years ago, we complained about the settings and the fact that a special tool was needed to set the carburetor. But now there were no complaints about this.

Chainsaws for making firewood
The small Echo CS 2511 is excellent for delimiting and felling thin trees. The small engine become noticeable when the felling diameter comes close to 20 centimeters.

Not thirsty

It’s easy to imagine that a saw like this, used in the right conditions, is low on fuel consumption. The fuel tank holds “a couple of schnaps’s”, 0,19 liter (0,05 US gallon) but it was still not empty when the Stihl MS 201, with a 0,31-liter (0,08 US gallon) tank, ran out of gas. How much you produce during a tank with the respective saw is another question.

The Skogsforum guys have promised more testing of this cute little thing called Echo CS2511 WES later in different types of felling.

Stihl MS 201 C-M

This chainsaw doesn’t need any presentation. The small, professional Stihl MS 201 saw has become one of Sweden´s favorite saws among forest owners. The saw has only a 35,2 cm3 (2,15 cubic inch) cylinder volume but is still powerful for its size. A quick and efficient saw with 1,8 kW (2,4 hp).

The MS 201 is also relatively light with a weight of 5 kg (11 lbs.) (Ready For the Forest) with a 12” saw bar. In young thinning, it’s a perfect size and it’s easy to understand that it’s also excellent for firewood making. We would have loved to compare it to the new Husqvarna 540XP Mk III but that will have to wait as that one is not available yet.

The MS 201 was delivered with a 12” bar and a 1,3-millimeter chain with a 3/8” pitch. The saw starts easily and even though it came directly from the factory it ran well from the start. The MS 201 has the automatic carburetor setting M-Tronic (like Husqvarna’s Auto-Tune) meaning that you never have to set the carburetor. It just works.

Chainsaws for making firewood
The professional Stihl MS 201 has become a bestseller among forest owners and is also excellent in firewood making.

The saw has a good balance and is powerful in this type of felling. Birches with a diameter of 20 centimeters (7,9 in) are no problem and it’s smooth when delimbing. The weight of 5 kg (11 lbs.) is 1,8 kg (4 lbs.) less than the Husqvarna 550 XP Mk II. It’s the weight that makes the difference if you don’t need the extra power in a larger saw like the 550 XP.


All three saws in this test are suitable for firewood making. Maybe a reservation is needed for the small Echo that shouldn’t be used felling thicker trees. The eternal question about gas vs. battery we leave for the users to decide. Interests and conditions must rule here. Unity in this question will not be reached for a long time yet.

Chainsaws for making firewood
The test pilots and the testing objects. Torbjörn Johnsen to the left and Fredrik Reuter to the right.

Chart for the three tested chainsaws

ChainsawStihl MSA 220 CStihl MS 201 C-MEcho CS 2511 WES
Weight, Ready For the Forest5,8 kg (12,8 lbs.)5 kg (11 lbs.)3,5 kg (7,7 lbs.)
EffectBattery1,8 kW (2,4 hp)1,1 kW (1,5 hp)
Cyl. vol.Battery35,2 cm3 (2,15 cubic in)25 cm3 (1,5 cubic in)
Fuel tankBattery0,31 l (0,08 US gallon)0,19 l (0,05 US gallon
Oil tank0,21 l (0,055 US gallon)0,22 l (0,058 US gallon0,14 l (0,037 US gallon)
Vibration v/h4,8/3,6 m/s23,3/3,3 m/s24,5/4,6 m/s2
Saw barLight 04 12"Stihl 12"Sugihara 12"
ChainPS3 Pro, 1,1 mm 3/8"Stihl 3/8", 1,3 mmOregon 91 PX, 1,3 mm


Previous Article
Ponsse reports increased sales but less profit

Ponsse reports increased sales but less profit in 2022

Next Article
A sheep standing in a agroforestry area

Agroforestry – the solution to the emission problems?

Related Posts