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MS 181 C-BE

A chainsaw with reduced-emission engine technology, STIHL Easy2Start™ and Quick Chain Adjuster.

MS 181 C-BE
Rated 3.7 out of 5 by 21reviewers.
Rated 2 out of 5 by Required repair after two months. Used it to limb trees since I cut a lot of fire wood and have a larger chain say to do the heavy cutting. After two only two moths of use I have to take it in for repair. Also found out that apparently Stihl's warrantee doesn't cover much of anything. July 4, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Replacement and couldn't be happier A friend had this model saw as we were doing some clean-up. I struggled with my "cheap" saw and finally gave up and tried to keep up hauling off what he was cutting. My saw had been used twice and been in the shop after each use. What was cheap was far from it. I gave it away and got a Stihl and have been very pleased. June 27, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by This saw is a dream machine! I bought this Stihl to replace a saw I bought from a home improvement store about 2 years ago. That saw nearly wore me out trying to get it to start. ('s yellow.) I tried everything, yet that saw is just a bugger. Oh, and it leaks bar oil like crazy.At this point let me state: I'm a homeowner, I do not own a woodlot, and don't use a chainsaw that often. But when I want it to work, I want it to work!Enter the Stihl. Went into my local hardware store and the owner waited on me. At no point did he try to sell me a saw, all he did was try to determine which saw best fit my needs. When he started to show me all the features of the MS-181 C-BE, I was sold...after he assembled my saw we took it outside and he taught me how to start it. And it amazed me! Gone is the tired arm, the high blood pressure, the frustration of trying to get a piece of equipment to operate. This Stihl, fresh out of the box, started for us on it's FIRST PULL. That's right, straight from carton to running in one easy tug. I thought I was dreaming!And it has continued to do that every time I have operated it. Six pumps with the primer bulb, (fear not, grasshopper, you cannot flood the carb, my dealer told me, by 'over pumping' this bulb.) move the on/off/choke lever to "full choke" and give the starter rope one easy tug. Bingo! No frustration, no swearing, no temples pounding, it simply does what it's supposed to do.As for power, well...I'm not well-enough versed on that many saws, but this one has more than enough to do what I asked it to do. It has yet to piddle out the first drop of bar oil into the carry case, meaning it doesn't leak...and the 'Easy-Start' system brings a smile to my face each time I start the saw. I absolutely love it! June 14, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5 by Underpowered with a terrible chain. I bought this unit from my local dealer, and used it for the first time yesterday. I got it to replace a 10+ year old Craftsman electric chain saw with a burst chain oil tank. I was not at all happy with the performance of the 181.First, I followed the starting instructions in the manual, and it would not start at all. I finally figured out that I had to unlock the chain brake, and start it in the run position to get it to go.Once I had it running, I tried to cut up three dead birch trees in my yard. The thickest for these trees was maybe 6" in diameter. This saw cuts like a dull butter knife through wood. I found it very frustrating and ineffective.I returned the saw to my dealer today. They were really great, and explained to me why I was having so much trouble. I guess the power problems are related to emission restrictions, and the safety chain on this unit makes it so safe that it will not cut anything.The Easy-Start system and the tool free chain adjuster on the 181 CB-E just seemed like mostly unhelpful gimmicks to me, so I traded up to a MS 251. I'm hoping that with a bigger motor, and a more effective chain, I have a better experience. June 9, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by The MS181 C-BE has all the features I was looking for. I am very pleased with this saw, I turned 71 this last week, so when they say it starts like a dream and runs like a champ, I'm here to tell you it really does, and it cuts like crazy.The 5 star service I got from Ace Hardware was great, they put oil and gas in it, and took it outside and started it, gave me a full demo on the saw and then did all my paper work, I was impressed.Looking forward to using this saw as much as I can. June 2, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Great saw Most average homeowners would never need anything more than this. Lightweight, powerful and sips fuel. I've ready cut through fresh 14" trunks with ease. Couldn't have asked for anything better. May 27, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5 by First poor experience with any Stihl chainsaw I sent my wife into our local Stihl dealer (which is staffed with knowledgeable, respectful guys that know their stuff) to buy an MS 180 C-BE but they didn’t have one so they recommended the MS 181 C-BE. She called me and asked me if that was ok and I said it was. I currently own an MS 660, an 028 and an MS 180 C-BE. The MS 181 C-BE is supposed to be low emission and eco friendly. It probably is and it was a tad lighter than the MS 180 C-BE but it wasn’t even close to the 180 in regard to power. The chain speed was slower than the 180, the power was significantly less than the 180 and for some reason the MS 181 C-BE kept dying after it got warmed up and I made a cut that put the saw under a decent load. I have a feeling that the measures taken to create a low emission product have compromised the quality, power and dependability in the case of the MS 181 C-BE. I could tell a noticeable difference in the feel and design of the MS 181 C-BE and if I had been blindfolded, I never would have guessed that it was a Stihl just based on the feel of it. Also, this was the first Stihl chainsaw I have ever used that had a fuel priming bulb on it, which didn’t excite me as it is just one more part that is sure to need replaced. I am not a brand junky when it comes to tools but I generally stick with what is reliable. My 028 was purchased by my father about thirty years ago and is still as reliable as it was when it was new. I have only had this one poor experience with a Stihl product and it won’t turn me away from the brand but I did return (with no issues at all) the MS 181 C-BE and I purchased another MS 180 C-BE at a different dealer in town. I would not recommend the MS 181 C-BE to anyone because I think you could have a similar experience by spending much less on a less reliable brand at a big box store. May 27, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by This light weight rugged chain saw is a must have Excellent valueEasy to start, use, & controlStrong enough to be useful May 21, 2014