Stihl MS 261 VS Husqvarna 550xp

When trying to figure out how anything works, it helps to know exactly what you’re working with. A chainsaw is a portable saw with “teeth” operating in a circular motion around a guiding bar that cuts through wood or wooden things.

Tree felling, limbing, bucking, trimming, creating firebreaks in wildland fire control, and gathering firewood are all operations that call for the employment of this tool. Chainsaw art and chainsaw mills require specialised bar-and-chain combinations, which have been developed for use in chainsaws.

Leading chainsaw producers include Stihl and Husqvarna. Quality and durability of the products are well-known hallmarks of both companies. Stihl MS261 and Husqvarna 550xp will be up for comparison today. So keep reading to find out which one you should get!

Husqvarna 550XP

Everything from tree cutting to bucking to cutting firebreaks to gathering wood requires a Chainsaw. As a vital equipment for tree cutting and other wood-cutting activities, Husqvarna has produced and well-professionalized chainsaw, Husqvarna 550xp.

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The Husqvarna 550xp was created for use by landowners and tree care experts who have received specialized training. There are numerous revolutionary technology built into this chainsaw’s construction to ensure it works perfectly every time. The chainsaw is a great alternative because of its portability.

Specifications:

  • Power Output is 3.75 hp
  • Fuel Tank volume is 1.1 US pints
  • Electrode Gap is 0.02 in
  • Max is 2.8 Nm
  • Spark Plug is NGK CMRGH
  • Fuel consumption 446 g / kWh
  • Maximum power speed is 10200 RPM
  • Bar Length is minimum 13 in and maximum 20 in
  • Weight is 10.8 lbs
FeaturesBenefits
Flip-up tank capWhen machinery is refuelled, it is common for fuel to be wasted. To address this common yet significant issue, Husqvarna designed the 550xp. Whenever you need to refuel, you can just open and close the tank cap with one hand.
Auto-TuneThe Husqvarna 550xp’s Auto-Tune functions provide great performance by dealing with the engine. Auto-Tune works well since it tunes the engine automatically based on the needs. There’s no need to spend any time making carburetor adjustments. Clogged air filters, altitude, temperature, humidity, and fueling alternatives are no problem for the machine.
Air InjectionThe air injection feature of the machine eliminates dust and debris from the machine before it gets to the air filters. It aids in keeping the engine’s air filter clean and extends the life of the engine. The tool’s performance benefits from the machine’s cleaning system.
X-TorqUsing the engine can save fuel consumption by as much as 75 percent while also lowering exhaust emissions. The equipment offers environmental management capabilities that help maintain the surrounding area secure and safe.

Pros:

  • Easy to start and operate with the machinery
  • Save cost
  • Less noisy
  • Environmental friendly

Cons:

  • Chainsaw is a little bigger
  • Difficult to use

STIHL MS261

MS 261 is one of STIHL’s most advanced chainsaws in terms of technology, being powered, environmentally friendly, light, and compact. This redesigned model, which replaces the venerable MS 260, comes equipped with numerous desirable features, including decreased fuel consumption, reduced exhaust emissions, and improved ergonomics.

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It also boasts an Ematic chain lubrication system, which decreases the amount of bar oil used by up to 50%, and a variable-displacement oil pump, which reduces chain oil usage by the same percentage as the previous feature.

The STIHL MS 261 is more ecologically friendly because of its microprocessor-controlled ignition system, which is part of the groundbreaking chain saw engine technology. Chain saw operators will benefit from a more enjoyable work environment as a result of this change.

Specifications:

  • Displacement: 50.2 cc (3.06 cu. in.)
  • Engine Power: 2.8 kW (3.75 bhp)
  • Powerhead Weight: 11.6 lbs.
  • Guide Bar Lengths (Recommended ranges): 16″-20″ (18″ standard)
  • Fuel Capacity: 500 cc (16.9 oz.)
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 270 cc (9.13 oz.)
  • OILOMATIC® Chain: 26 RM3
FeaturesBenefits
Reduced-Emission Engine TechnologyThe “Caring for Nature” seal from STIHL® Inc. (seen above) signifies that the company’s powered goods are more environmentally friendly, emitting no or little exhaust emissions. The term “low exhaust emissions” is defined by STIHL® Inc. as cleaner than the EPA and/or CARB emission regulations for exhaust emissions.
Anti-Vibration SystemHandheld outdoor power equipment from STIHL® includes a new vibration-reducing technology. Reduces operator fatigue and makes working more enjoyable using this system.
STIHL® ElastoStart™ Starter HandleIt’s a STIHL®-only feature. An integrated shock absorber in the starter grip makes it easier to draw on the starter cord. The abrupt peak forces (compression) that are ordinarily felt while cranking are noticeably reduced as a result of this. After the first compression stroke, the forces at the grip are smoothed down.
Anti-Vibration SystemOutdoor power equipment like chainsaws and chainsaw attachments from STIHL® have been designed with vibration reduction in mind. This method aids in reducing operator fatigue and makes work more pleasurable for workers.
Decompression ValveFor simpler starting, the decompression valve, often known as the “deco” or the “deco valve,” lets pressure out of the cylinder. The decompression valve serves to lessen the amount of effort required to pull the starter rope by reducing the amount of compression in the combustion chamber when cranking. When the motor starts, the hatch opens manually and automatically closes.
Side-Access Chain TensionerRather than having the guide bar adjustment screw located in the traditional location, the saw chain can be adjusted with a bar wrench.

 

Pros:

  • Robust, durable design
  • Use it year-round in all temps
  • Great power output
  • Lightweight
  • Trustworthy
  • Top features
  • Efficient

Cons:

  • Costs more than your non-pro saws
  • Stihl fuel and oil caps can be finicky

A comparison between the chainsaws of both

After putting the 550 and 261 through their paces, we’ve come to the conclusion that they’re both fantastic chainsaws. For the most part, there are no discernible distinctions between the two save for the fact that they both begin with a maximum of three pulls.

Which one is faster?

The aggression and speed of a two-stroke engine are two of its most distinguishing features. There is a slight advantage to Husqvarna’s swift acceleration from a standstill to full throttle over the other chainsaw’s. At least you’ll be able to detect it. It doesn’t matter which saw has a rotating base, because they’re both blazingly fast.

Also, their weight distribution differed, which was something I noticed. Increasing the pace while releasing the grip causes the 261 to rise even higher. I don’t think this, on the other hand, has anything to do with usability.

Comparison of Weight

The 261 is already smaller and lighter than the 550 on paper. But we didn’t know the specifics until today, and things are about to get nerdy. A 15-inch guide bar and chain were used because Pixel is “standard” on the new 550, and I wanted to measure weights with them.

Due to a lack of a 15″ Picco (1.3mm) on the Stihl, tests were conducted on a 16″. Using varied guide bar lengths felt weird, so we ran it with a full tank and no guide bars or chains instead, as these were instead separately weighted. It worked!

With a full tank, the 261 weighs about half as much as the 550 XP Mark II. I’ll leave it up to the community to decide whether or not that’s a lot. The 550 weighs 6 kg and the 261 weighs 5.5 kg without guide bars and chains.

Cutting Measurement

If there’s anything worth noting, it’s the new Mark 2’s longer saw body and increased number of blades (261). Husqvarna specifies on their guide bar that a 15-inch wheel should have a diameter of 38 centimetres. Stihl’s comparable measures 37 cm in length. My actual results indicate a Mark 2 of 34.5 cm and a Stihl of 36 cm. This is demonstrated in great detail in the accompanying video, where you can also see how the new 550’s silencer and oil sump protrude.

Finally, it’s interesting to observe that Husqvarna has 2 more drive links on their 15″ guide bar than Stihl, with 64 drive links instead of 62. Husqvarna’s guide bar is noticeably longer, as is the overall length of the machine.

Which one is equipped with fast cutting time?

Due to the fact that this is not a scientific experiment, we must proceed with caution. Additionally, the chain parameter has a far higher impact than most people realise. In this respect, they are nearly equal, with the exception of the Stihl’s somewhat faster straight-through cut. However, the difference is so negligible that it is unlikely to have any impact.

It’s also important to point out that the most similar test is with 15″ systems with a thickness of 1.5 mm. This is owing to the fact that the test was conducted using the same same set-up every time. The Stihl saw chain and guide bar were 1 inch longer than those used by Picco/Pixel. It’s debatable whether or not they can be compared straight up if they’re the same width.

Comfort/Handles

The Husqvarna’s rear handle grip has a significantly bigger circumference than the Stihl’s. The Husqvarna handle was more comfortable for me because of the shape and size. Despite the fact that he had large hands, the Stihl owner who used my saw found the Husky grip to be more comfortable. The Stihl would be my first choice if my hands were tiny or medium in size.

Compared to the Stihl, the Husky’s throttle safety appeared more forgiving when you pushed the throttle all the way down. When using the Stihl, if the safety lever wasn’t fully depressed, the throttle would slacken, whereas the Husky was less fussy.

For smaller hands, Stihl comes out on top, while Husky comes out on top for larger hands.

Ease of Use

The two saws had been sitting for several hours and were freezing. There was a pop when I pulled the choke on the Husky’s primer bulb, and startup when I pulled the choke off again. It took two pulls to pop the choke on the Stihl, and another two pulls to start it up off the choke on the Stihl. Because both are so simple to use, I’m going to call it a tie.

Both saws required the same amount of effort to operate the cord, but the Stihl included a compression release to make things a little easier. This feature did not come in handy during the day, though, as both saws started easily (as you would expect with a modern 50cc saw).

For oil and fuel, both saws employed flip caps, which I considered to be decent and manageable, although the Husky’s flip caps felt more sturdy.

The Husky’s engine top cover removal and replacement process was sped up because to the inclusion of easy retention clips that can be removed with a scrench tool and reattached with your thumb. The release screws on the Stihl are a little more sluggish when you’re in a hurry.

The Husky saw’s bottom screw and opening are slightly larger, making adjusting the bar oil flow screw easier.

In the kill switch and choke setup, I thought there was a clear victor. The Husky requires you to use your thumb to depress the kill switch in a downward motion, whereas the Stihl requires you to press upward.

Stihl, in my opinion, has prioritised choking the saw, whereas Husky has focused on putting out the fire. Given that I only choke once or twice a day, but constantly stop the saw for conversations, shifting limbs, hydration breaks, etc., I prefer the Husky setup.

In terms of ease of use, Husqvarna outnumbers Stihl.

Perceived Build Quality

The Husqvarna had a more premium feel to it, but the Stihl was more flimsy. The Husky exhaust and mounting screws, the silver engine box, and the aesthetics of other parts impressed both the Stihl owner and me. Certainly, both cars’ insides are top-notch, but the Husky appeared to be a little more sophisticated from a visual standpoint. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, but we both thought the Stihl seemed less “premium looking.”

Again, Husqvarna wins here.

Power and Performance

This is, after all, what a significant portion of you are concerned about. The Husky was somewhat faster, but that is likely due to the narrower kerf chain. I sliced hundreds of times with both in the same wood. However, it appears that the power delivery has changed. At low RPMs, the Husky offers somewhat more torque than the Stihl. At full power, the Husky sounded as if it was running at a slightly higher RPM than normal. Sound and reality, on the other hand, are not necessarily the same.

At full throttle, they seem to be on par in terms of power. Power is delivered differently depending on who you ask. Due to its increased speed and ability to cut through thick wood with ease, the Husky is now my favourite 50cc production saw. In the event that you’re taller than average and would prefer longer bars, skip the 18″ and go with the Husky 20″.

The Husky’s throttle response was marginally quicker, but only by a hair. Even if it meant risking my own money, I’d enter a race with the Husky anyhow. But once again, it’s a hair out there and doesn’t mean much in the real world.

Technical Comparison
Husqvarna 550xpStihl MS 261
Chain Speed19.6 m/sN/A
Maximum Nose Level116.0 dB113.0 dB
Vibrations front handle3.8 m/N/A
Vibrations rear handle3.7 m/N/A
Design Comparison
Husqvarna 550xpStihl MS 261
Colour of ProductBlack, Silver, OrangeBlack, Grey, Orange
Fuel Tank Capacity0.01 gal0.01 gal
Fuel Tank0.011 gal0.011 gal
Chain PitchN/A3.0 in
Dimensions Comparison
Husqvarna 550xpStihl MS 261
Weight10.8 lb11.46 lb
Bar Length50-3350-30
Oil Tank0.06 gal0.06 gal
Blade LengthN/A15.75 in
Power Comparison
Husqvarna 550xpStihl MS 261
Power2800.0 W2834.0 W
Power SourcePetrol DrivenPetrol Driven

In conclusion

The distinctions between the two chainsaws are reflected in the needs of the users. In most cases, whichever chainsaw you choose from this list will be a great fit for your needs.

Recommended Readings (Power Tools Bible)

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