FS 38

FS 38
A lightweight, value-priced consumer trimmer with many quality design features.

Model Features

  • Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart
    Need help selecting a cutting head or blade for your STIHL trimmer or brushcutter?

    Click here to view the Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart (PDF Format).
  • Adjustable front handle
    The front handle is easily adjustable (360-degree rotation) for comfort.
  • Multi-Function Control Handle
    Having easy access to all of the controls on one comfortable handle makes it easy to complete tasks so the operator’s hand never has to leave the handle.
  • Purge Pump Primer
    By pressing the bulb, this small fuel pump delivers fuel to the carburetor, reducing the number of starting pulls needed after an extended break between uses.
  • Upright Translucent Fuel Tank
    Allows operator to easily check fuel level before starting work. Upright position makes it easier to refill.
  • Protected Spark Arrestor Muffler
    Has large baffles which reduce noise level and contains a screen designed to reduce the emission of sparks.
  • Protected Spark Plug
    Protected yet easy to change.
  • Heavy-Duty Steel-On-Steel Clutch
    Centrifugal clutch is designed to reduce slippage.
  • Protected or Enclosed Control Cables
    Eliminate dangling and loose wires.
  • Air Filter Cover
    Easily removed for fast and easy filter cleaning or replacement.
  • Throttle Trigger Interlock
    Must be depressed before the trigger can be activated.
  • Start/Run/Stop Controls on Handle
  • Protected Choke Lever/Knob
    Helps prevent damage.
  • High Tech Polymer Housing
    Housings are lightweight, withstand greater impact and are corrosion-resistant.
  • Fully Lined Drive Shaft
    Provides smooth operation and less vibration.


27.2 cc (1.66 cu. in.)
0.65 kW (0.87 bhp)
4.2 kg (9.3 lbs.)
330 cc (11.2 oz.)
* Weight without cutting attachment or deflector.

Important Information

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.


FS 38 is rated 3.4 out of 5 by 214.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Worst trimmer I ever owned. Hard to start and keep running. My son uses it. He has never had problems with other trimmers but has had nothing but problems with this one.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from BAD HEAD Kind of hard to start but getting use to the procedure that I have developed. The head is something else. Got an electric trimmer and I don't have the line feed problem like I do with this trimmer. If they get a better design head to feed the line out it would probably be a good trimmer.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ideal homeowner trimmer I've had the opportunity to use the Stihl FS 38 around my grandmother's house for the past year. This trimmer, although the smallest gas powered trimmer in Stihl's lineup, is a very durable, powerful trimmer that is able to easily trim along sidewalks, rock flowerbeds, as well as trim thicker grass growing around the creek that runs through the backyard. It is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. This is one great Stihl product.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from starts fine for me I bought this trimmer in the spring of 2016. After a full summer of use I have not had any of the problems I read about in the reviews. I bought this just to trim around flower beds. I have a larger stihl trimmer for my yard (2 1\2 acres). If you follow the instructions you should have no problems. It is not made for large yards.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I've had a hard time to get it started the first time after the first start it only takes a couple pulls but the first time at least 10 pulls. I've had to take it in twice in less than a year to replace the pull string. Got charged for the cord and the labor because the cord is not "covered " in the warranty which got extended to 4 years because I purchased the STIHL fuel mix. If it continues to break at this rate, by the time the four years are over with, I'll be better off and buy a different brand. I told the Manager that I could put a pull rope my self but guess what then it voids the warranty incase something else goes wrong. I just hope I don't have the same problem with my chainsaw and blower because I guess I will be replacing the cords my self. They then told me not to be pulling so hard and that wouldn't happen so I asked to show me how it was done and sure enough it took them a while to start it ! but in the positive side, it looks cool ! lol...
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from STRING HEAD JAMMING TO THE MAX!! Why can't manufacturers design and build a string head where the string doesn't become jammed upon itself on the spool and must be taken apart every 4 minutes and untangled so the string will advance. All trimmers are bad at this but this model seems worst than most.
Date published: 2016-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'll never regret buying this product....yes, It was more expensive but the quality is there!!! This is a great product! I wouldn't trade it for the ones I've had in the past...at all. Yes, I paid more money for it but the quality is there. Its easy to start, purrs like a cat, and gets all my jobs done. Two year warranty and I bought oil that's used for it and got another 2 years. Not bad STIHL..... I'm so impressed I'm going back for more products! Thank you!Libby
Date published: 2016-09-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Should have listen to reviews here I purchased the FS 38 based on good reviews in consumer reports. They typically are on the mark but not in this case. I purchased this trimmer after my 20 year old ______ finally gave up (can't reference competitor). Should have bought another ______ product. I have had the FS 38 for a month, used it twice and I am unhappy. The unit and motor itself are fine. Starts with a couple pulls if choked and primed properly. I saw a lot of people complained about this. The engine isn't my issue. The design of the trimmer head is horrible. It holds 12 feet of line. My ________ head held probably 30ft or more. I trim about a hour, half around chain link and half around pavers. I used to need to add line every 2 cuts (2 hours) now I am doing it 3 times in an hour. Because the unit is light the chain link tends to grab and it tends to weld the line in the head, same line I was using in my old trimmer without a problem. So you have to stop, take apart the assemble free it and start again. I did this 5 times tonight, and added line a total of 3 times. So what used to be a 1 hour job turned into a 1 hour 40 minute job to take care of trimmer line issues. You spend more time fixing it than trimming. It might be a good unit with a different trimmer head but the one with the unit is terrible. I which I could return the unit and get my money back and see if I could get a new _____ unit that had the same head design as my old one. In all honesty the _______ unit I owned would on occasion have the same line welding problem but it was maybe once every other trim not half a dozen times in one hour. I know they do review these reviews so maybe they can send me a different type of head that is designed differently at which time I would be happy to post a positive review if it deserved it.
Date published: 2016-09-27
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You Will Also Need

For Your Safety


Low-Emission Trimmers from STIHL - Video
How to Wind a STIHL Trimmer Head - Video
Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart (PDF)
Download Instructions on How to Rewind Your Trimmer Head (PDF)
Product Instruction Manual (PDF)
Product Safety Manual (PDF)
STIHL Limited Warranty
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