Stihl MSA220C-B Cordless Chainsaw [2-Year Review]
Stihl MSA 220C-B 16″Cordless Chainsaw [2-Year Look-back]
Model number: MSA220C-B
Power source: 36V Li-Ion Battery
Weight: 6.4 Lbs. Bare Tool
The MSA220C-B has been a constant go-to option for me since then. It has seen constant use as a firewood saw as well as doing clearing work and clean up around my home and farm. Two years of experience with it has shown me where the MSA220C-B shines as well as identify its shortcomings. This tool review will be a look back at that experience.
- Weight: 6.4 Lbs. (Bare Tool)
- Guide Bar Lenght: 14″ or 16″
- Chain Gauge: 3/8″ Stihl PICCO Super 3 Low Profile
- Bar Oil Capacity: 7.1 Oz.
- Battery Sytem: Stihl AP Series
- Tool Free Chain Tensioner
- Automatic Oiler
- Stihl Quickstop Chain Brake
- Stihl Coast Down Electronic Chain Brake
- Flip Cap Oil Reservoir
- Warranty: 3 Year Residential / 2 Year Commercial
Power to Size Ratio
One of the most impressive attributes of the Stihl MSA220C-B cordless chainsaw is the runtime and power available from such a compact package. The Stihl is shorter, slimmer, and lighter than many other saws in this category but still cuts like crazy. With the large 7.2 Ah AP300S battery inserted, the saw weighs in at about 10.4 pounds. Because the power-head portion of the saw is so compact, the weight feels very balanced and proportionate in the hand. If I could only use one word to describe the Stihl, it would be svelte.
The MSA220C-B is not a replacement for a large bore saw for heavy cutting tasks. It is likely in the ballpark of 35-45cc gas in terms of performance. The low profile Stihl 3/8″ PICCO chain is typically reserved for top-handle arborist saws for climbing and trimming.
However, the Stihl battery saw produces an incredible torque band. It will chew through wood that would normally be way out of bounds for a comparable battery saw. Additionally, it shines when cutting wood that is sub 12″ in diameter. I cut a variety of hardwood species here in the Northeast and the MSA220C excels in all of them.
Conversely, as we discussed in the H2H article, the Stihl MSA220C-B cordless chainsaw will stall out when pushed too hard. Whether we are discussing chainsaws or circular saws, battery saws will stall out when pushed too hard into the material. This is often a design feature to prevent burning out motors and batteries. The Stihl is no different. When making cuts to the full length of the bar, it is easy to stall out. For this reason, I do not like it as a felling saw. When making the back cut on a tree, the last thing I want to worry about is the chain stalling out or if I have enough power to make it through the cut safely.
Tool Free Adjustments
The MSA22C-B features a tool-free adjustment mechanism for chain tension as well as securing the bar. Instead of bar nuts, there is a folding adjustment lever on the clutch cover. This lever turns to tighten or loosen the tension on the bar. Above it, is a rotary cog wheel for setting chain tension. Initially, I thought this was gimmicky. However, to my surprise, it has held up exceptionally well. I have never had a chain slack out or a bar come loose. I also have not broken the lever regardless of how hard I crank down on it. Even with my gorilla mitts.
STIHL Chain Oiler
The Stihl features an automatic chain oiler. This system ensures that enough bar oil is provided during use to prevent excess friction, wear, and burnout on the bar.
Our experience has shown that the Stihl system works well with the longer 16″ bar. It distributes it even and consistently as needed. Furthermore, the saw uses about a tank of bar oil per battery charge with an AP300S battery. Many battery saws will burn through all their oil in about half a battery charge. This can lead to damage if not caught by the operator.
The only criticism I have is that after heavy use the chain tensioner wheel may become gummed up from fine sawdust and oil. This makes it difficult to adjust. Removing the cover plate and cleaning it out with a brush alleviates this. The cover plate must also be loosened considerably to let the tensioner spin easily.
Overall Impression of the Stihl MSA220C-B Cordless Chainsaw
Since first using it in 2020, the Stihl MSA220C-B has become one of the benchmarks for how I evaluate cordless chainsaws. It is compact, ergonomic, and very powerful. It is one of my constant woods companions for processing firewood or doing storm cleanups. Furthermore, a lightweight and portable saw like the MSA220C-B excels as a bucket or climbing saw for smaller-diameter takedowns and limbing work. An arborist friend of mine uses an MSA220C-B in conjunction with his chipper. The ability to grab it and go with the flick of a switch is invaluable when trying to work efficiently.
The MsA220C-B is Stihl’s largest and most powerful battery-powered saw currently available. While it performs well at tasks suited for its weight class, it still is not a replacement for my larger gas-powered saws. However, seeing what Stihl has been able to accomplish so far with their 36V platform and AP series batteries I am confident that big(ger) things will be coming from them in the future. In fact, check out our recent Instagram posts covering the 2022 Equip Expo to see what Stihl is working on now.
Stihl MSA220C-B Cordless Chainsaw Review
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