Before I start giving you this comparison please understand a few things, there are many differences in the chain saws even from the same distributor! Stihl is absolutely in my opinion one of the best chainsaws on the market, for many reasons but your not here for that lesson today! So I will be talking about pros and cons to both today! To start with one of the most questioned chain saws currently on the market BATTERY POWERED!!
Battery powered equipment:
First I feel it is important to say! You will need to fallow instructions clearly as with ANY piece of equipment, just because it is battery doesn't mean you can not be hurt by using saw improperly or not for intended use!
Battery chainsaws are surrounded with a variety of questions... To start lets lay a few out that we will be covering today!
1. The battery dies quickly and takes all day to charge.
2. You can not get a battery powered saw that actually has power!
3. Why are they so expensive?
4. The saw will be ruined if left in weather conditions.
5. They do not cut the same!
6. You can't even put a big bar on it!
Here is the thing, most of these statements have little to no truth to them!
But lets address these anyways, because my current answer is clearly not factual at the moment! So here we go!
1. The battery doesn't last:
First of all I would like to start by saying this is dependent.. On multiple aspects of the statement... Stihl offers there battery operated equipment with 3 different options which are as fallows
AI SERIES: AI is how Stihl lets you know that that piece of equipment comes with an integrated battery, having an integrated is ideal for small yards, condominiums, as well as people who want the independence to do there own maintenance while knowing they can not work long periods of time.... The integrated batteries are not known for lasting for hours, more like they're known for lasting between 15- 45 mins, with approximately 8 hour charging period.. At this point Stihl does not offer an integrated battery chainsaw, and with the amount of power it takes to use a chainsaw VS what the battery can currently support I do not see Stihl coming out with one!
AK SERIES: AK is the second option in battery power with a pretty good operation to charge ratio, the AK battery comes in 3 options which would be the AK 10, AK 20, and finally the AK 30! The AKs multiple battery options means that it can support more equipment than the AI, AK series battery is the start of the battery powered chainsaws, your AK options are either the MSA 120 C-BQ, or the MSA 140 C-BQ.. The MSA 120 C's recommended battery is the AK 20 which you will get 35 mins working time out of and if using the AL 300 charger will only take 25 mins to charge... Now of course if you were to use a AK 30 with a AL300- AL500 charger it would run for 55 mins and charge for 60.
As apposed to the MSA 140 C which is recommended to be used with a AK 30 battery and a AL 300- AL 500 charger..
Obviously the bigger the battery and the higher number of the charger you get more run time as well as less charge time...
AP SERIES: The AP series is a bigger battery with more power and longer running times, these are ideal for people who find themselves pruning trees, aborist , or people who have wide ranges of properties... Due to the power the battery has it has more pieces of equipment that it can be used in! As far as chain saws go you have four options for the AP battery... You can use MSA 160 C-BQ, MSA 200 C-BQ, MSA 220 C-B MSA 161 T... They offer 4 AP batteries the AP 100, AP 200, AP 300, AP 300 S.
As well as the three chargers AL 100, AL 200, AL 300, AL 300 S.
The Stihl MSA 160 C is recommended with a AP 200 battery with a AL 300- AL 500 charger.. If you use the AP 200 battery you can get up 42 minutes working time on a single 100% charge, that takes about 50 minutes with a AL 300 or 35 minutes with a AL 500.
The Stihl MSA 200 C is recommended with a AP 300 battery and a AL 300- AL 500 charger.. If you use the AP 300 battery you can get up to 45 minutes working time on a single 100% charge, it takes about 65 minutes to charge on a AL 300 or 45 minutes to charge with an AL 500.
The Stihl MSA 161 T is the only battery powered top handle saw by Stihl at the moment which makes this ideal for forestry use including small limbing, pruning, and much more this is also great to be used in a tree! This saw recommends using the AP 200 with this you'll get around 40-45 minutes use running time on a single full charge using a AL 300 charger it will take 50 minutes to fully charge, using a AL 500 you will take around 45 minutes to get a full 100% charge!
The Stihl MSA 220 C has the longest running time of between 45-50 minutes, With the AP 300 S battery. The charging times are also fairly quick! With a AL 300 charger you are looking at about 70 minutes to charge to 100%, or with a AL 500 you're looking at around 45 minutes.
2. Battery powered means less power!:
To use information directly taken from Stihl USA (https://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/battery-saws/)
"STIHL battery-powered chainsaws bring the best of both worlds to your property. First, they deliver strong, consistent power thanks to their 36-volt Lithium-Ion technology. They’re also significantly quieter than gasoline-powered chainsaws and start instantly with the squeeze of a trigger. It’s big performance in a small, cordless package."
So I take that statement as "your still getting the power and quality you expect from Stihl products, just with a battery not gas!" That being said if you are buying a MSA 220C expecting to have the same power, out put and usage time out of a MS 661 well obviously you're going to be more than just a little disappointed... There are going to be standards that of course battery powered can not yet compete with because they are just entering this race! In closing you will still get real Stihl power, you just have to make sure in your expectations you're realistic.. I am not saying that this battery operated machine will not surprise you.. But if your hoping from MS 661 power from an MSA 220 C that is just not going to happen at this moment.
3. Whats with the price tag!? :
Unlike some other brands Stihl believes in selling you what you need from being able to use your equipment when you buy it as a package deal as apposed to in sections, so when you buy a Stihl battery powered unit you are not only going to get the chainsaw, you will also be receiving a battery, and a charger! So while yes the price might seem like "HMMM " in reality it's not that bad, maybe even a "Stihl" if you ask me! * insert chainsaw joke laughter here... *
4. This will be ruined in the elements :
I have some questions and statements to follow this..
How often is it heavily raining and your like i need to go cut stuff right now? I dont know this ones just odd to me, and if its not a matter of you using it during the weather, why would you be leaving equipment just out in the elements anyways? I dont know but.... anyways..
This is a question you will hear mixed reviews on and heres why.
Stihl makes some equipment that " *When paired with tool suitable for wet or rainy conditions. Tools that are suitable for rainy or wet conditions should be dried after use.* This means not all pieces of equipment are to be used in bad weather. That does not make this technology any less cool though!
5. They wont cut the same! :
Uhhhh I don't even know how to honestly respond to this other than to say its still a chain on a chain saw.. Unless improperly filed, maintained, or used... You should not run into your chain saw being rebellious and cutting anything other than a straight line.
6. You can't even put a big bar on it! :
This is a multiple point statement.
First, I don't know why anyone would want to put a 20 inch bar on a battery operated piece of equipment. I mean they have power but that's alot to ask of a little battery for the time being, I can't say that will not be an option in the future.
Secondly, there are some saws that are to have a small bar only between 10-12 inchs because they are not meant to cut down trees they are made to help in small yards like the MSA 120 C is a saw that can only use between a 10 and 12 inch bar, the saw is ideal for suburban yards, like storm clean up and limb removal. Unlike the MSA 220 C which Stihl calls the most powerful battery powered chainsaw in the Stihl line. The MSA 220 C can support up to a 16 inch bar. At the moment the MSA 220 has the largest bar option.. But this doesn't mean that it can not do the job you give it!
What I am trying to say here is Stihl battery powered chainsaws are not just a little saw used for cutting twigs.. These battery operated chainsaws are made Stihl tough and ready to work! So if any of this sounds like what you need or want! Come see us, take a look at the saw, and bring it home with you and get to work!