MSE 170 C-BQ

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A durable corded electric chainsaw with power to spare.

Product Description

This isn't your father's electric chainsaw. Power, durability and advanced cutting technology abound in the MSE 170 C-BQ. Now you can leave behind fuel costs, exhaust fumes and engine maintenance without sacrificing reliable cutting power. This electric chainsaw delivers all the power you need for tasks around the home (even indoors). With a powerhead weight of just under 8.5 pounds, the MSE 170 C-BQ is light enough for agile cutting work and features a wide trigger switch and the toolless Quick Chain Adjuster for easy operation. There's even a coast-down feature which quickly stops the rotating chain when the trigger is released. Just plug it in and put it to work.

Model Features

  • Reduced-Emission Engine Technology - Caring for Nature
    The STIHL Inc. “Caring for Nature” seal identifies its powered products that are more environmentally conscious, producing zero or low exhaust emissions. STIHL Inc. defines “low exhaust emissions” as being cleaner than EPA and/or CARB exhaust emission standards.

    More information

  • STIHL Quickstop® Plus (Q) - an additional chain braking feature
    STIHL offers an additional, manually-activated chain brake on some models. This system is designed to engage when the operator’s right hand completely releases the rear handle, stopping the chain within one second. Available on some models.

    See it in action!
  • STIHL Quickstop®
    STIHL chainsaws are equipped with a chain stopping system designed to reduce the risk of injury in certain kickback situations. It is called a STIHL Quickstop® chain brake. The STIHL Quickstop® chain brake is designed to stop the rotation of the chain if activated by the operator’s hand or by inertia if the saw kicks back with sufficient force. In some working positions, the STIHL Quickstop® chain brake can be activated by inertia, stopping the chain within fractions of a second.

    See it in action!
  • Wide Throttle Trigger


3.8 kg (8.4 lbs.)
GUIDE BAR LENGTHS (Recommended ranges)
30 to 40 cm (12" to 16")
1.6 kW (13.1 amps)
120 volt (60 Hz)
3/8" PM3
200 cc (6.8 oz.)
STIHL recommends #3636 (63 PM3 50) OILOMATIC® saw chain and 14" 3005 000 4809 Ematic™ guide bar combination. The actual listed guide bar length can vary from the effective cutting length based on which powerhead it is installed on.

Important Information

* The actual listed guide bar length can vary from the effective cutting length based on which powerhead it is installed on.

WARNING FOR CORDED ELECTRIC AND BATTERY CHAINSAW USERS! The fibers may not stop the sprocket on most corded electric chainsaws and some battery-powered chainsaws because of the constant high torque. However, to reduce the severity of injury from accidental contact with the chain, STIHL recommends that leg protection be worn when operating these types of chainsaws.

WARNING! Improper use of any power tool may cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow carefully the operating and safety instructions in your instruction manual before using such products.

STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL Dealers are for distribution in the United States only.


MSE 170 C-BQ is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 10.
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Why I hate this saw. Reason 1: Poor build quality. When brand new the trigger would stick "ON", causing the saw to unexpectedly keep running!! After a struggle with the local dealer (no, this isn't a "feature"!!) Stihl replaced half of the plastic housing because it was warped and caused the trigger to stick. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the saw. Reason 2: Poor chain design. Apparently a designer thought it would lighten the saw to drill a hole in each drive link in the chain. This nifty innovation causes endless headaches. During use, sawdust promptly fills each hole. As soon as the oiler saturates each little plug of sawdust the sawdust plug expands and becomes a highly effective little brake pad inside the bar slot. Multiplied by the number of teeth, these little brake pads work so well that the chain becomes well and firmly stuck in the bar and the motor has to labor just to spin the chain, let alone actually cut wood. It's as though Stihl never tried to USE this saw; such a design defect is infuriating and totally unacceptable. The only cure is to take the saw apart, remove the chain, poke out each little plug with a sharp object, blow the chain as clean as possible with compressed air, clean the bar slot for good measure, reassemble the whole works and hope to get at least half an hour of work done before it seizes again. Which it will. Reason 3: Poor engineering. The tiny chain tensioning knob is too small to provide enough force to tighten or loosen the chain, especially when the chain is sticking in the bar; see above. Also, the large metal sprocket which (theoretically, anyway,) actually tightens the chain gets clogged with shavings and won't turn. The only solution is to disassemble the thing, blow everything out with compressed air and re-assemble. Reason 4: The oil fill cap is plastic and overly complex. It feels like a matter of time before it breaks, rendering the saw completely useless. Reason 5: The oil reservoir is opaque plastic (i.e. completely non-transparent) so it is impossible to tell how much oil is in the tank. Reason 6: The mechanism that holds the bar on seems flimsy. It has plastic parts, a spring (?!) and fails to inspire confidence. Like the oil cap, I expect this to fail prematurely, rendering the saw utterly useless. Reason 7: No freewheeling. The motor lacks any sort of clutch or uncoupling mechanism so the chain can't be rotated by hand for on-the-saw sharpening. (To be fair, this may be common to any electric saw- I don't know.) It probably doesn't matter since the chain is perpetually bound in the bar anyway so moving it by hand is usually impossible. Reason 8: Non-reversible bar. The chain tightening mechanism is designed such that flipping the bar over to distribute wear to both sides of the bar isn't possible. These are off the top of my head. If the saw was in front of me I'm sure I would remember another dozen reasons to hate it. (It drools oil constantly so I'm not about to bring it inside the house.) I really wanted to like this saw. If the chain is freshly cleaned of sawdust brake pads, the motor generates plenty of power to cut through dry red oak. Excellent. Not having to deal with gas for short jobs is really, really nice. The saw is pretty quiet (quieter than my circular saw, far quieter than my gas chainsaw) and the neighbors appreciate that. However, in view of the above "issues," I genuinely hate this saw. I regret buying it, I dislike using it, needing to constantly disassemble and clean it is incredibly frustrating and I dread even picking it up since I'm always wondering what will happen THIS time.
Date published: 2019-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The preferred saw of professionals I'm a professional ice sculptor who relies on a chainsaw on average over 32 hours a week. As a career sculptor for the past 36 years, I've tried all kinds of electric brand chainsaws and none can hold a candle to STIHL They've always been the most reliable, and needed the least amount of repair. Other saws were either too weak, or were constantly breaking down; needing new on/off switches or major internal part. By far the STIHL is the best, All I have to do is maintenance, replacing the bar, brushes or drive sprocket for the chain. Hats off to STIHL....The brand name well earns the capitalized letters!
Date published: 2018-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to use and does the job. It's light, and works great!It's pretty easy to use, and I was able to slice up a large fallen tree branch into 40 lb chunks to haul away without much problem. I wanted an electric chainsaw so that I wouldn't have to bother with stale gasoline or any other maintenance (besides cleaning and lubricating). The serviceable parts open up pretty easily, and replacing the chain is no problem at all.It's got a few safety features that will automatically cut power before the saw becomes a hazard.When I first bought it, I didn't understand what the spikes on the front of the saw were for, but I figured it out after using it for a while.I bought the shorter model since it was cheaper, and although it was barely longer than the thickness of the branch I was working on, it was perfectly adequate.I cannot really talk about reliability since I've only had it for a short while, and only used it once (for a few hours), but it worked without any problems for all of that time.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Poor Quality Chainsaw Had this chainsaw just over a year and operated it no more than 20 or 30 minutes. Today, it would not start. Took it to the dealer and he told me it was out of warranty. I spent well over $300 for no more than 30 minutes of cutting. Will never buy another Stihl product.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST ELECTRIC CHAINSAW I HAVE USED I have used it about 3 or 4 times and it cuts like butter. Expensive, but for me it was worth it because I am very tired of gas/oil, etc...I hope it lasts for the rest of my days as often as I use it.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for home use I have purchased many types of chainsaws and this is by far the best.
Date published: 2016-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a very surprised first time user My first time using this saw was simply amazing. I had a bunch of pecan wood to work up that will eventually end up in my smoker cooker. This saw went through all of it like butter and it was so easy to handle. I really liked the idea of no more filling it with fuel and when I was done with the job I just cleaned it up, put it in its case knowing that it would be there and ready to go for the next job. I no longer go out in the woods and cut several cords of wood and my saws no longer get the use that they used to.Now I leave them sit for long periods of time with out using them and when I do its always a hassle to get the gas ones going again no matter how much care I took in putting them away. ( my other saws are not Stihl ) maybe thats the problem with the gas ones. Although I have other Stihl equipment this is my first chainsaw.and I simply love it. It has more power than you would believe for an electric. Uses the same chain thats on a gas model the automatic oiler seemed to hardly use any oil, the tool less chain adjuster, and the fact when you let off the trigger the chain stops instantly are some really good features of this saw. There is not one con I could say about this saw except maybe for the price. It is expensive but when you get this saw in your hands and start using it you wont care that you had to put out the big bucks for it. The old saying you get what you pay for stands true for this saw. Hey, its THAT GOOD!! Thanks Stihl for a simply great saw!!!!
Date published: 2015-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not a cheap electric saw I bought this saw to put in the camper and be able to use in campgrounds with out making the noise of the gas powered ones. I bought a cheap one, but wanted one with a little more power and features. This Stihl has it all. While I have only used it once, it has plenty of power and all the features of the gas powered ones, it's well built, made in Germany not China. While I haven't used it much yet, it will get a work out next month while we are in the UP of Michigan cutting campfire wood.
Date published: 2015-06-08
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Standard Features

  • Common Features for Chainsaws
    View the features common to many STIHL chainsaws.

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