MS 181 C-BE

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

Product Description

The MS 181 C-BE is our gift to anyone who gets that technology is here to serve us. (And not the other way around.) With the Easy2Start™ system on board, firing up this chainsaw couldn’t be simpler or faster. Just a light pull on the cord does it. And our Quick Chain Adjuster makes it possible to adjust the saw chain without tools. This model also has our pre-separation air filtration system – which can extend the life of your air filter up to five times over previous models.

Model Features

  • Built in the USA
    Indicates products that are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.

    More information

  • STIHL Easy2Start™ (E)
    The STIHL Easy2Start™ system makes starting STIHL outdoor power tools almost effortless, eliminating the need for a strong pull of the starting cord. This advanced starting system is designed to make starting STIHL products easier. The specific system may vary by model, but in each case, a quick pull overcomes the engine’s compression to minimize the strength and effort required to start. Available on selected products.
  • Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA) (B)
    The Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA) (B) allows the user to adjust the tension of the chain without the use of tools. This allows for easy chain adjustment.

    See it in action!
  • IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor
    The IntelliCarb™ Compensating Carburetor is designed to automatically adjust the air/fuel ratio when the air filter becomes restricted or partially clogged and maintains the engine’s correct RPM. IntelliCarb™ uses air from the clean side of the air filter to control the diaphragm and flow of fuel. As the air filter becomes dirty and less air is available for the carburetor, the IntelliCarb™ system adjusts the fuel flow to compensate for the decrease in air flow. This is in contrast to typical carburetors that utilize this air from the “dirty” side of the air box.


31.8 cc (1.9 cu. in.)
1.5 kW (2.0 bhp)
4.6 kg (10.1 lbs.)
280 cc (9.5 oz.)
180 cc (6.1 oz.)
3/8" PMM3
GUIDE BAR LENGTHS (Recommended ranges)
30 to 40 cm (12" to 16")
STIHL recommends #3610 (61 PMM3 55) OILOMATIC® saw chain and 16" 3005 008 3919 STIHL ROLLOMATIC® 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.

Note: STIHL recommends use of fuel with no more than 10% Ethanol content. Using fuel with greater than 10% Ethanol content may cause damage to your equipment and may void your STIHL warranty. Learn More…

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.


MS 181 C-BE is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 106.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the easiest starting chainsaw ever! Besides being the easiest starting chainsaw ever, it has far superior cutting speed and very easy fueling and oiling. I am 72 years old and I have used this saw for about 20 hours so far and it is still going strong. All I have had to do is adjust the chain tension. I am so glad that McDaniels store in McHenry Mississippi talked me into buying it. Thanks Stihl for making such an outstanding product!
Date published: 2019-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great little saw!!!! Bought my saw 3 years ago and have newer regretted it one time. As long as you keep a sharp chain on it, it will do what's expected of it. I only use Stihl fuel and oil as my Bomgaars Farm rep suggested and have had no problems.
Date published: 2019-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chainsaw Starting was surprisingly easy after I got used to it. Warms up quickly and works hard all day. It's perfect for home use.
Date published: 2018-11-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hard to start I have had this saw 2 weeks. I bought this saw because was supposed to be easy to start. What a joke. It normally takes me 5 to 10 minutes to get it started. I am using the Stihl fuel so that is not the issue. The dealer had great difficulty getting it started when new. The same difficulty has carried over to me. Once you get the saw started it works great. But getting it started? I would not recommend this saw.
Date published: 2018-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ideal for my present physical abilities The right weight, bar length, power for me to handle the cutting and trimming I need to do
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE IT This saw is just awesome, LOVE the easy start, can't believe how easy this is to start, and it cuts like butter!
Date published: 2018-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good saw for the average guy I bought a MS 250 end it wouldn’t start when I got it home plus it was too hard for me to pool. I exchanged it for the MS 181CE end it is very simple to start. It doesn’t have the power of the 250 but I could live with that . The chain those seem to dull Fairly quick but I will learn to sharpen it after each use.
Date published: 2018-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from quick Great for cutting smaller trees and brush. Starts easily, but a bit too heavy for the horsepower it provides.
Date published: 2018-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Our first chainsaw I had borrowed or had used other peoples chainsaw when we needed one, We bought some property and needed to do some clearing on the land, It was time to buy our own chainsaw, After doing some research this was the model we selected. It was so "Easy"to start, prime the bulb, set the choke and pull. By the second pull it would start. You didn't wear your arm out trying to start it. It has more than enough power and very comfortable to use.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome tool for homeowner great value for the homeowner with occasional need fo ra chainsaw
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great little saw that can handle the 18" bar and carbide chain with ease Good power, fast warm up and very light. Love the easy start and the quick chain adjust features. I don't make a living cutting trees though I would recommend this model to an arborist simply because it is so handy and easy to use.I would buy another if the need arises.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great saw, sold by a great dealer (Green Mountain Ace Hardware Store)! I Needed A Chainsaw For Use Around The House. I Live On ¾ Of An Acre On A Very Wooded Lot. I Wanted Something Substantial, But Not A “Professional-Grade” Saw. The Staff At Green Mountain Ace Hardware Asked Lots Of Questions To Make Sure They Understood My Needs, And Then They (Highly) Recommended The MS181 C-BE. It Is EXACTLY What I Need, And I LOVE It. The Easy2Start System Is Awesome, And The Tool-Less Chain Adjustment And Comfort Features Add To The Pleasure And Convenience Of Working with This Great Saw. I Could Not Be Happier With My Purchase, Or The Team At Green Mountain Ace Hardware That Helped Me Choose It!
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The pull cord sucks Ok. I have had the chainsaw for about 2 weeks. It cuts well when started. Within the first 2 weeks I’ve had the pull cord break twice. First time my dad took it and pulled harder than he needed [used to the older one]. Makes sense. Took it to an authorized dealer and they replaced it free of charge[very nice). After that i decided that I need to be the one that starts it. BROKE AGAIN after small pulls. I mean very small pulls. Talked to manager at the place I bought and he said something may be wrong w the mechanism inside for it to break twice like that. I’ve got to give it back to them for the second time within 2 weeks. Not starting out well at all
Date published: 2018-07-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Saw starts and run well, appears to have an issue with blade quality. This saw seemed to be a good choice for my use, I live on a small acreage in AZ with only a few trees. However after owning it for almost a year, I can tell you I'm not happy with the quality of the blades! After cutting down 1 medium sized tree and having to get the blade sharpened, I bought a spare blade and cut down a second tree. After that my only use was cutting up some logs for my nephew. I could tell both blades were dull and when I took them to the dealer for sharpening, I was told they were ruined. VERY disappointing, this is my second Stihl chainsaw and I was much happier with the first one!
Date published: 2018-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding tool I bought this for home use to take care of some down trees. It is easy to use and very reliable. It made quick work of of the jobs I have. I ha e used other chainsaws and this by far is the best. I would highly recommend this chainsaw.
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good for light work love the easystart. can i get that on my other power equipment?with the toolless chain adjuster i will probably take better care of the chain. even loosening after a cutting sessionthis is weak for cutting lots of firewood. this is to replace a husquvarna 435 that died. i went totally on what the seller recommended. after cutting up my 3 cords for the year and looking at specs i think the 211 would have been a better choice with same weight and more power. should not have relied so much on the seller.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from lightweight This saw is everything i needed in a chainsaw. small and lightweight but big enough to handle most everything a homeowner would be looking for.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Chainsaw-Easy Start and Great Handling My last chainsaw was often difficult to start. I gave it away and bought this one. The Stihl starts quick is light and easy to handle. It cuts great with much less vibration. I would recommend this chainsaw!
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice lightweight unit, easy to start and goes through wood easily I've bought many Stihl products, and wanted a chain saw that I could start without assistance. I am woman that could use a little more upper body strength. I researched to find a chain saw that would accommodate the rural homeowner, one that would be lightweight, easy to start and had an excellent reputation and repair record. This particular unit came up as a candidate. Going through the reviews, I pulled the trigger and purchased this unit. The sales staff tested the equipment, and gave me a demo of how to start, operate, and do adjustments when necessary. When I got home, I looked through the manual, then went outside and started it up (started up immediately). The saw went through a 12 inch pine trunk like butter. I then used it to cut up some white oak and various wood logs. The saw never felt too heavy, and was easy to maneuver. This machine cuts through wood very easily, and I look forward to using it year round for landscaping maintenance and storm clean up.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly easy to use I have owned many chainsaws in the past. Many used and new saws. The last saw I purchased before my first Stihl saw I had only used 3 times and started having issues with it. When I took it to a local saw shop they informed me that the saws were now being produced overseas and it would cost more to fix it than to replace it. Imagine my frustration. I finally broke down and spent a little extra and bought my first Stihl and I must say, this is an actual case of "you get what you pay for." From the first pull of the easy start feature to the very first cut into a tree, I knew I had made the right decision.This little saw cuts like a dream. I went through 3 trees on my property in a very short amount of time. With my past few saws that would have taken twice the time or longer. I am now a Stihl fan, and will not purchase another brand saw ever again. Thank you for producing such a great product.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This product has great features This saw is a great value at a great price. It is light weight, starts extremely easy and has enough power to do the job. I have had other brands at a cost similar to the MS 181 C-BE but was not of the same quality. The Eazy2start feature of this model is great for an older person, it start extremely easy, usually first pull and effortless.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to start and cuts well Great saw for older homeowner using it around the home and to cut firewood. Love the easy start feature.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Light and powerful This is a great saw! It is light and easy to use. It is easy to start! So much better than my old saw! Light enough for a woman and powerful enough for a woman!Get one!
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it Had it for a year now and have used quite a bit on all different size logs and branches. It's been very dependable. I did have one problem with it starting and took it in to the dealer. They had it a couple of days, fixed it no charge and it works like new again. It was probably something in my gas can caused the problem. It's light weight and I really like the anti vibration handle.
Date published: 2018-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything I needed I just bought MS 181 Easy Start saw on Dec 23rd. At my age, 71, I was not able to start my other saw that I'd had for over two years so I gave it to my grandson. Everything I had read about the Easy Start Stihl saw said it was the one for me. I used it for several hours the first day without a problem starting it, even after shutting it off when I needed to. The next day I cut down a tree and cleaned it all up without leaving anything lay on the ground. That's a first. The saw is light enough that I didn't have to stop using it after 15 or 20 minutes. It's the best buy I've made in years.
Date published: 2017-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great light use saw. This is a perfect saw for small jobs around the home/farm. Enough power to cut through a lot of the fallen and dying small (~4") to medium (~10") trees on the property I manage without bogging down. Obviously this is not a saw for older trees, but I have used it in a pinch and it's held up fine. The only issues I have seen with these saws is the small plastic flag that locks the choke open can sometimes break if you put a lot of force on the choke lever and the chain dulls fairly quickly (I don't have the time to sharpen my chain after each use, although it's a practice I should make a habit.). I only found one other thing I dislike which is the 16" bar. For what I and most others use this saw for I think a 14" bar would be better. It's really not a big deal, but I will be purchasing a smaller bar and chain.Overall I have found this saw to be super helpful. It's priced right, doesn't weigh much, starts easily, cuts well, and lasts a long time unless it's abused.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lightweight and easy to use Using this saw to cut 12 inch diameter, approximate 40 feet tall trees. Cuts with ease. Use to cut trees in my younger years. This is my first STIHL and appreciate the easy start and the safety additions. Not as strong as I use to be so this small stihl is very right for me. Being a female, do not have the upper body strength so appreciate my new purchase. Also chain was easy to change.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great For Home Owner Use I have had this 181C for a couple of years now and used it several times! Keep in mind this is intended for home owner use and not anything more! It is easy to start and cuts as it is intended!I have not had any issues and has been dependable!The weight is just right, not too heavy! Easy to maneuver when up in a tree! The price is just right also!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best thing since sliced bread! This is the best chain saw I have ever owned. Had another brand that I could never get started. This Easy-Start is SO fantastic! Just the right size for me. Light weight and so easy to start.
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from power and dependability I used my saw to top a tree in my back yard and several times I had to shut the saw off to change positions, and with the easy start I had no trouble restarting my saw.
Date published: 2017-09-22
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Optional Accessories

  • Bumper Spikes
    Help prevent pull-in and provide better control, making cutting easier.

Standard Features

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

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Product Safety Manual (PDF)
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