Stihl reveled in its chain saw history during the 2019 GIE+EXPO, exhibiting a hall of fame-like display of some of its past iterations of chains saws all leading up to the star of the show, the MS 500i.
The MS 500i is the first Stihl chain saw with fuel-injection technology. Stihl’s first usage of fuel-injection technology was launched on the TS 500i Cutquik cut-off machine. According to Mike Poluka, a product manager for Stihl, the company used what they learned from the Cutquik and implemented it with this new chain saw.
Thanks to the fuel injection system, the MS 500i has a power-to-weight ratio of 2.07 pounds per break horsepower (bhp). The machine has instant acceleration and is hard to bog down.
“You walk away with a smile on your face after using one,” Poluka says.
Stihl says this chain saw is ideal for professional foresters and tree service professionals. The MS 500i also has a simplified starting procedure, eliminating the need for choke operation. Users only have to push the primer bulb and pull the start cord to get going.
There is also an optional handle wrap version of the MS 500i. The MSRP for the MS 500i with the 25-inch bar and chain is $1,249.95. The MS 500i R with the 25-inch bar and chain is $1,289.95. This new chain saw will be available in 2020.
Some of the other chain saws making their debut at GIE this year include the MS 194 T and MS 194 C-E. These models will be replacing the MS 193, boasting of more power and lower emissions.
The MS 194 T is a top-handle chain saw that is lightweight, only weighing 7.28 pounds but provides 1.88 bhp. Its lower emissions allow for better fuel economy. Its MSRP is $339.95 with the 14-inch guide bar.
The MS 194 C-E is the rear-handle version of the MS 194 T. It weights 7.6 pounds and has 1.88 bhp as well. It features the Easy2Start system, which makes starting easier, no longer needing a strong pull of the starting cord. The MSRP is $389.95 with the 14-inch guide bar.
Another new addition is the MS 151 T C-E, which replaces the MS 150 model. This top-handle chain saw is built to be lightweight and compact for in-tree work. It weighs 5.73 pounds and has a 1.41 bhp. With the 12-inch guide bar, it has an MSRP of $499.95.
Moving into the battery-powered chain saws, Stihl introduced its first lithium-ion top-handle chain saw, the MSA 161 T, which is designed for professional arborists.
“I’m a professional arborist, third-generation certified arborist, and I can tell you firsthand my experience with that saw is that it’s just a great addition to all the saws I have,” says Mark Chisholm, a certified arborist with his family-owned Aspen Tree Expert Company in New Jersey.
Part of the AP Series of Stihl battery products, the MSA 161 T comes with a ¼-inch PICCO saw chain for clean, smooth cuts for pruning and in-tree maintenance.
“The best application for this for me is in pruning scenarios or light-duty removals because there’s no running out of fuel,” Chisholm says. “I love that I can just easily press the button and see how much energy I have still in the battery, so I know is it safe to finish another cut or am I getting low maybe I should change out the battery or charge it.”
This chain saw has a run time of up to 50 minutes on the Stihl AP 300 battery.
Chisholm says the new chain saw is ergonomic and balanced properly.
“The design of it makes it very easy for me to function,” Chisholm says. “It hangs on my harness properly. When I take it off my hands are in a good position to work with it, I can squeeze and go.”
There is a built-in retractable carry ring and a side-access chain tensioner, allowing the user to tighten the chain on the guide bar with ease.
It also features a captured guide bar nut on the sprocket cover to prevent users from losing the nut while servicing the saw. It has a toolless and translucent bar and chain oil tank so arborists can easily see when the bar oil needs to be refilled.
Since it is a battery powered model, it is silent when it is not running and works well in areas where workers are trying to reduce their noise levels.
“It’s quiet if I’m going work in an area where I want to be quiet,” Chisholm says. “If there’s something going on in a neighborhood, I don’t want to be disruptive.”
Chisholm also points out that the quiet nature of the battery-powered chain saw improves safety on jobsites as the quieter it is the easier crews can communicate with one another.
The MSRP for the MSA 161 T is $379.95.
Stihl also introduced another battery-powered chain saw at the trade show. The MSA 220 C-B is Stihl’s most powerful battery power chain saw currently. This model has 15 percent greater cutting performance compared to the MSA 200 C-B. It comes standard with a 14-inch or 16-inch guide bar and exclusive 3/8-inch PICCO saw chain.
There is a toolless oil filter cap and a toolless chain tensioner for simplified maintenance. With the AP 300 S 36-volt battery, the chain saw has a run time up to 48 minutes. The MSRP for the MSA 220 C-B is $399.95 with the 16-inch guide bar.
Another addition to the professional line of battery-powered equipment is the BGA 200. This model is the most powerful handheld blower in Stihl’s battery line. It has a max blowing force of 21 Newtons in boost mode and has four different power levels.
This model is low noise with a sound pressure rating of 59 dB(A) and is lightweight as well, weighing only 6.8 pounds. When paired with the AR 3000 L backpack battery, the BGA 200 can run up to 536 minutes on setting one and 85 minutes in boost mode.
The blower unit has an MSRP of $399.95.
A new innovation Stihl rolled out at the show is Stihl Connected, which is a Bluetooth-based technology that attaches to landscapers’ tools and records operational details. The Smart Connector can be attached to any tool and records the periods of operation and sends that information to the operator’s smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.
Landscape professionals can access tool usage data via the Stihl Connected app or on the web-based portal, which provides an overview of their entire fleet. It will show where a product was used most recently as well as a preventative maintenance schedule. Access to the portal is free.
Last but not least, is the GTA 26 garden pruner. This pruner is battery-powered and has 4-inch guide bar and 1/4-inch Stihl PICCO chain for clean cutting patterns. It comes with a 10.8V rechargeable AS 2 battery, the AL 1 charger and carrying case. The set has an MSRP of $149.95.
Check out the video below to see Jeff Cartwright, owner of Cartwright Landscaping based in Richmond, Virginia, demo the GTA 26.