Stihl MS362 C-M Chainsaw Review

Stihl MS362 C-M Chainsaw Review

There are some tools that just bring a smile to your face every time you use it and then there are other tools that feel almost primal when you use them. They stir something in your soul, they allow you to tame the wild. A chainsaw is one of those tools that does both. I’ve used smaller saws before but the Stihl MS362 is a whole other level in comparison. It can definitely tame a whole lot of wild.Stihl MS362-3

Stihl MS362 C-M Features

  • Stihl MS362-9Anti Vibration System – There are a number of springs and bushings that separate the motor and bar assembly from the handles and controls, minimizing vibration.
  • M-Tronic – Microprocessor controlled carburetion eliminates the low and high speed carburetor adjustment screws, compensates for dirty air filter and changes in elevation and fuel quality for optimum engine power at all times.
  • Pre Seperation Air Filtration – Before air reaches the air filter, it is spun so that large particles of dirt and dust are eliminated before the air reaches the filter, prolonging the time between changes/cleaning.
  • Side-access Chain Tensioner – easy and convenient chain tension adjustment without having to pull off the chain cover.
  • Tool-less Fuel and Oil Caps – Easy to operate even with gloves one and a string retainer to keep them from being lost.
  • Decompression Valve – Push the decomp valve for easier starting but to be honest, this saw is on the small side and is still pretty easy to pull over without the decomp valve pushed in. I often forget to push it when starting.

Stihl MS362 C-M Specifications

  • DISPLACEMENT – 59.0 cc (3.6 cu. in.)
  • ENGINE POWER – 3.5 kW (4.69 bhp)
  • POWERHEAD WEIGHT – Flush-Cut: 5.6 kg (12.35 lbs.)
    Wrap-Handle: 6.0 kg (13.2 lbs.)
  • FUEL CAPACITY – 600 cc (20.3 oz.)
  • CHAIN OIL CAPACITY – 325 cc (11.0 oz.)
  • GUIDE BAR LENGTHS* (Recommended ranges) – 40 to 63 cm (16″ to 25″)
  • POWER SOURCE – 50:1 Mixed Gas

Why Stihl?

Back in October of 2016, we got to see first hand how this saw and the rest of their gas-powered OPE is made. I owned Stihl products in the past but I didn’t know they were made in America. I also didn’t know what kind of quality and care went into their manufacture and testing. Seeing the factory and the people behind it was confirmation that they build great equipment. Then there are the over 9,000 independent servicing dealers. I have a great one in my town, the techs there know seemingly everything about the equipment because they’re factory trained. You won’t find that level of knowledge at the big box.

STIHL Dealer -6

Why the Stihl MS362 C-M?

When deciding on which saw to get, I stopped into my local servicing dealer, C&S Supply in Mankato, MN. After discussing my needs with them, they helped me come to decide on the Stihl MS362 for a few reasons. The biggest reason being M-Tronic. Having the carb automatically adjust for changing fuel and air conditions is one less thing to worry about. There isn’t a primer bulb, there isn’t high, low or idle adjustment screws either. This is all taken care of by a microprocessor-controlled solenoid. I’ve been fine with my vehicles automatically adjusting themselves for years. I love seeing the technology filter down into small engines as well. Talking to my dealer, they’ve only had one M-tronic unit ever come back due to carb issues and that was when the technology was first introduced.

Stihl MS362-7

No adjustment screws needed with M-Tronic, it’s automatic

The second reason was the power to weight ratio. This saw has one of the better power to weight of the Stihl lineup. The case is made of magnesium helping to shave weight of the powerhead down to 12.35 lbs. Coupled with the 362’s high-compression 4.69 hp engine, the saw has about .38 hp/lb. It doesn’t sound like much until you consider other ~60 cc saws like the 391 are heavier and with less power (.32 hp/lb).

Stihl MS362 C-M In Use

First a little background, I’m not a professional arborist or logger. I’m a pro woodworker and carpenter that custom mills sentimental trees for customers and turns them into furniture, built-ins, mantels, and other custom pieces. Do I need a 661 or an 880 to do that work? If I was milling larger diameters, yes but about the largest tree I can handle by myself is 24-25″ round. My dealer has a handful of customers that do custom milling with their chainsaws so they were able to help get me set up.

I used to mill smaller logs (~16″ diameter) with my MS251 and a Granberg Alaskan Small Log Mill. Now the 251 is dedicated to mostly bucking duty while the Stihl MS362 does the milling. I have a 24″ Alaskan Mill for the 362. I’m using mostly Stihl yellow chain with slightly custom file angles more like a ripping chain but actual ripping chain would be better. Ripping chain is faster and smoother but I just want to iterate that milling can still easily be done with yellow or even green chain. I did it for years this way.Stihl MS362-4

What I Love

Starting this saw is so easy. A cold start, set the master control lever all the way down (triangle). A warm start just leave it in the run position. Starts every time on the first or second pull. It’s down right idiot proof.

The saw has great power for its size yet it’s still very durable. The outside case components of the saw are made up mostly of magnesium. There are a few plastic parts like the handles and top cover but for the most part the construction is magnesium. A very light, yet strong metal. Additionally, the compression of the saw is high and has good power. A light saw with good power makes it a lot easier to get a lot of work done with a lot less fatigue to the user.

Working on the saw is a cinch. Changing the chain and flipping the bar is really easy in the field or the shop. The bar nuts are captive in the cover so they can’t be lost. Also the chain tension is easily adjusted from the side. The top cover of the saw is held on by 3, quarter-turn screws. The air filter is a pleated automotive-style and is considered a lifetime filter. It removes with a quarter turn. Just knock the dust off and reinstall.Stihl MS362-8

What Could Be Better

Why does a pro saw come with green chain? I’m not sure if this decision comes from the dealer, distributor, or Stihl USA but one of the first things I did was buy yellow chain. The color of chain is denoted by a green or yellow painted link on the left side of the chain (left as in muffler side of the bar). A green chain has a ramped up raker to give slightly less kickback around the tip of the bar. The yellow chain has traditional rakers.

No purge bulb. I love the clean, sleak look of the engine cover with no protrusions except the decomp valve. M-tronic takes care of everything carb-wise and it works very well… except when you run the saw out of gas.

When you’re in the groove of a long cutting session, milling, firewood, or whatever, it’s easy to just keep cutting until the saw runs out of gas. Normally you would fill up the gas and bar oil, pump the purge bulb until gas is flowing back to the tank, pull the cord, and away you go. With the M-tronic saws, there is no purge so you have to pull it over about 10 times before the air is purged from the fuel line. When you’re used to only pulling over the saw once or twice to get it started, 10 times seems like forever. It’s a minor headache but I find myself filling the saw up when it’s only about half to two-thirds empty just to avoid the out of gas situation.

What Does It Cost

This is a professional chainsaw that is capable of working all day, every day. Mine is setup with the largest bar recommended, 25″. So for the powerhead, bar, and chain my dealer charges $779.95 plus tax. Your pricing may vary though. It is up to the dealer to decide the pricing.

Bottom Line

Right now I have some boards drying that are 20″ wide. They are going to be the tops for a mudroom built-in for a customer. This tree grew about 100 yards from the home. The Stihl MS362 is what got me that wood. It’s the perfect mix of power to weight for my work. M-tronic takes care of the engine to keep it running perfectly so I can just saw. And when the saw does need to go in for service, I know I have a knowledgable dealer.Stihl MS362-6

Maybe you’re in the market for a new saw, the Stihl MS362 may be just the ticket. If it is too much or too little for your needs though, go talk to your local, independent Stihl dealer. They’ll help get you on the right saw for your needs.


About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."


All posts by Jeff »


  1. William Marske

    I used to be a professional tree removal guy I bought A 362 couple years back and now I use it as my personal saw I love the captive nuts and I like the fact that when you turn the saw a off it pops back to the on position So it’s ready to start again It’s light but yet has plenty of power the only thing I didn’t really like about it was the stock dogs are quite small And really didn’t do a good job so with a small modification of some dogs off an old 660 it is the perfect saw now. Always easy to start cuts off stumps Like a piece of cake As long as you have a Sharp chain it’s the perfect saw And I cut a lot of wood Thanks Stihl

    1. Jeff Williams

      I swapped the dogs on my saw too… after I wrote the article.

  2. […] Looking at bare tool prices, we see three of our top-performing saws all the way at the bottom. This wide difference in price is a direct reflection of a truly pro-grade tool as opposed to a residential or homeowner grade tool. The Kobalt will not be capable, or expected to perform, to the same level as the Husqvarna or Stihl. Stihl is also unique in that they do not offer online sales. In order to buy a Stihl chainsaw, you must visit a Stihl dealer. This dealer experience is a trademark of the Stihl brand and is something that TBB Crew Member Jeff Williams discussed in a previous review. […]

  3. T C Hutton

    I bought the 362ms thinking this was the best saw I could get, power weight etc. but, it seized on me after 7 months of regular use, rebuilt under warranty, thankyou, now 6 months later it has seized again. My dealer seems to think the elecronic carb is trying to lean down the mix, runs hot and deforms the cylinder head. I mostly cut felled trees for firewood, preferably oak so the saws get worked. This is my 7th stihl saw but I am looking for another option as this is really expensive to keep this saw running.

    1. Jeff Williams

      Hey Tom, I don’t know why your saw is seizing up specifically but if your dealer can’t resolve it, I recommend calling Stihl’s customer support line at the number below. Good luck and I’m sorry this happened to your saw.

      STIHL customer care team 800-467-8445 (option 2)

  4. Phil Perri

    Hi Jeff,

    Great review. What are your thoughts on this 362:


    Apparently it is a non auto-tune carb saw. I didn’t know they made them that way. The saw was made in Germany, which may be why.

    Your thought?


  5. Hector

    Hi Jeff,
    I just got one of these precisely for my Alaska mill. I know 25″ is the largest recommended, but how long will it actually go?

    1. Jeff Williams

      So 25” is the longest recommended bar by the manufacturer running a cross-cut chain , cross-cutting logs. If you run a ripping chain there is only half the teeth making contact as a cross-cut chain so there should be less drag/strain on the saw motor.

      I just bought a ripping chain from Baileys but I haven’t used it yet so I can’t comment on how much better it performs when ripping. My plan is to compare both chain types in the same log to see what kind of real world difference there is.

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