MS 181 C-BE - $279.95 DSRP

Distributor Suggested Retail Price
16 in. Bar

DSRP: $279.95


Reserve with STIHL Express for In-Store Pick Up

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

The MS 181 C-BE Chainsaw features Easy2Start™ and allows an easier start that requires less pulling force. The Quick Chain Adjuster makes adjusting and removing saw chains simple – no tools are needed. Reduced vibrations lessen user fatigue making this tool ideal for landscaping jobs around the home. Because of its reduced-emission engine technology, the MS 181 C-BE lowers fuel consumption and req...Read More
Print Spec Sheets
MS 181 C-BE Specifications
DISPLACEMENT 31.8 cc (1.9 cu. in.)
ENGINE POWER 1.5 kW (2.0 bhp)
POWERHEAD WEIGHT 4.6 kg (10.1 lbs.)
FUEL CAPACITY 280 cc (9.5 oz.)
CHAIN OIL CAPACITY 180 cc (6.1 oz.)
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.
Model Features
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    Built in the USA
    Indicates products that are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.

    More Information

  • Zoom
    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.
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    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!
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    Toolless fuel and oil caps with retainers
    Simply lift the lever and twist the caps to remove or tighten. There‘s no need to use a tool to tighten or loosen.
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    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.
Standard Features
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    Common Features for Chainsaws
    View the features common to many STIHL chainsaws.

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.
Click to view the STIHL Limited Warranty Time Periods
Optional Accessories
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    Bumper Spikes
    Help prevent pull-in and provide better control, making cutting easier.
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    •5.2 oz. bottle makes 2 gallon mix

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    STIHL recommends a mix of 50:1 high-quality 89 octane or higher unleaded gasoline to STIHL engine oil. This same mix ratio should be used during break-in.

  • Bar and Chain Oil Zoom
    Bar and Chain Oil
    STIHL Bar and Chain oil is formulated to adhere to the bar and chain, and to reduce wear. Special agents in the oil formulation help keep sap and pitch from clinging to the bar and chain.

    Available in quart and gallon bottles, 5 gallon pails and 55 gallon drums, in both summer and winter weights.

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    Complete Filing Kits
    Kits available for the following chain types: STIHL PICCO Mini; 1/4" pitch chain; .325" pitch chain; 3/8" pitch chain; .404" pitch chain.
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    Chain Pitch File Diameter File Guide
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    3/8 PMN 9.32 5/32 4.0 0811 411 8073

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    3/8 PM
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    5605 007 1027

    0.325 8.25 3/16 4.8 0811 412 8088

    5605 750 4328

    5605 007 1028

    3/8 9.32 13/64 5.2 0814 243 3384 5605 750 4329

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For Your Safety
  • Woodcutter Zip Chap Zoom
    Woodcutter Zip Chap
    Using rows of heavy-duty zippers, the Woodcutter Series Zip Chaps provide full wrap-around protection for a user’s lower leg area. In addition to enhanced protection, these chaps also provide enhanced convenience. Rows of zippers run along the entire inseam of the chaps, helping to ensure an effective fit that is easy to put on and/or remove. The outer material is crafted from heavy-duty Black 500 denier nylon fabric. Inside, the chap features six layers of Avertec® Pro by Engtex® cut retardant material, designed to reduce the risk or severity of injury to body parts in the event of contact with the rotating saw chain on a gasoline-powered chainsaw.
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    Woodcutter Helmet System
    The lightweight STIHL Woodcutter Helmet System is an excellent choice for budget-conscious non-professional users with chainsaws and pole pruners. Designed for comfort, the vented shell provides cooling air during use, and the 6-point mount suspension provides comfortable support. The STIHL Woodcutter Helmet System is Class G certified and includes NRR 22 hearing protection.
  • STIHL Pro Mark™ Dynamic Protective Gloves Zoom
    STIHL Pro Mark™ Dynamic Protective Gloves
    Durable and hardworking, STIHL Pro Mark™ Dynamic Gloves deliver professional-grade hand protection. The palm and inner fingers are made of full grain tanned leather, so you can work with comfort without sacrificing a firm hold. Featuring multiple layers of cut-retardant materials – Avertic Pro and Dyneema fabrics by Engtex® – these gloves will help deliver protection without compromising the dexterity you need while operating a chainsaw. Accented with an orange rip-stop nylon backing, these dynamic gloves offer style and protection. Water repellant, breathable and featuring a Velcro wrist closure, STIHL Pro Mark™ Dynamic Gloves are as ready for the woods as you.
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    Hellfire Glasses
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Are You Ready for a STIHL?

MS 181 C-BE is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 77.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MS 181 C-BE Bought this chainsaw to use around the house, trimming magnolia trees and some other trees. I had problems starting the saw when I first got it because I didn't know how to take advantage of the Easy2Start system. I took it to the dealer I bought it from and they showed me how to start it correctly. Now that I know how to start it correctly, it is very, very simple to start. You really don't have to pull hard on the rope at all. I haven't had an issue with it. Cuts through trees like butter.
Date published: 2015-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good saw I really like not having to have any tools to remove the chain and bar. Also being able to tighten or loosen the chain is so simple with this saw. It can be used all day and not tire you out. I have been using chain saws for over 40 years and I like this saw
Date published: 2015-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ALWAYS READ the MANUAL !!! I got tired of messing with my 009L was a little worried after reading the negative reviews on this site. But after reading the manual it states "1-Do "NOT" high rev for the first 3 gas tank fillings...2nd The engine develops maximum power after "5-15" tank loads..More or less it breaks-in after.. let's say 15 gas tank fill-ups.I can only assume most of the negatives did "not" read the manual.A good friend of mine that is a construction defects expert said "always read the instructions, even if it is a product you use "all" the time, just in case the company has changed something.This Chainsaw Rocks !!! cuts like a hot knife through butter on light stuff (4") using medium throttle (remember break-in).I love the tool-less gas and oil caps.I also read to "relax" the chain after using the saw (chain contracts as it cools and could damage crankshaft) I never knew..!!! I would hesitate doing this with my old saw (hassle), but with the tool-less chain adjuster..I have "no" Problem slacking the chain with the custom tool-less adjuster.I always read the manuals (as should you) and I am sure, I will have "many" years of reliable service from this saw.
Date published: 2015-11-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dissatified with this product I have another 180 that is five years old and has done a great deal of work. Same for a 310 that we have. So when Bomgaars had this saw on sale I thought it was time to give the older saws some rest. Bad idea. This new saw starts harder and takes longer to warm up. After it is warm and shut off, it is very difficult to start. Three different experienced chain saw operators have read in manual and none of us can get this saw to start until is cool. I would not recommend this saw. This is after less than 2 hours of run time.
Date published: 2015-11-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Only worked for a few minutes After buying it started right up and cut gloriously for several minutes. I left for an hour and then tried to restart it. Nothing. Tried everything including removal and drying of plug/clearing of chamber. Never would start back up. This one is going back to the store.
Date published: 2015-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic bit of kit brilliant features This is my first STIHL chainsaw and it is brilliant, light weight with plenty of power for almost everything you need. It will cut through anything up 20" trunk with a 16" chain bar. Brilliant Thanks
Date published: 2015-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly is an "Easy Start" Fed up with my old chainsaw, that failed within hours of first using, despite my constant maintenance and adjustments, I decided that a Stihl was the direction to go, both from first hand experience with my neighbor's Stihl saw, AND from word of mouth. This saw has performed seamlessly, and it cut thru a 20" Live Oak tree like it was butter. It took less than an hour to buck the whole limb, which weighed several tons, and I didn't have to adjust the chain even once during it's break-in period.
Date published: 2015-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Chainsaw This Is a very good chainsaw. Power is ok. The chain actually has to be sharpened more often than most. Glad I purchased.
Date published: 2015-05-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Does not want to start after running for a little I have had a few issues with this saw. First the oil tube came off and was leaking bar oil, dealer replaced. Same time I had them look at the saw for just stopping and not wanting to start after using 30min, they have found nothing wrong. But every time I take it out and cut for over 30 min the saw shuts off and it is a nightmare to get it going again. Sometimes it starts again other times I have to go borrow another to finish a job. It is an aggravation and has turned me off Stihl saws. I have also had the clutch stick a few times requiring teardown to fix, not easily done in the field.
Date published: 2015-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this saw !! I have owned several brands of chainsaws over the past 30 years and this saw exceeds even the two older Stihl saws I previously used till they were worn out. I really appreciate the easy starting system due to my having arthritis. It has been getting more difficult to pull an old fashioned saw to start it. After using this saw for a year clearing Cedar trees from our farm, it still starts on the first or second "slow" pull on the rope. I can say without exaggeration that we have cut and trimmed 200 to 300 trees with 6 to 12 inch trunks and only adjusted the tension once. I enjoy demonstrating how easy it starts to someone who doubts our bragging about it. My son has just purchased his own MS - 180 - CBE saw to help with the work. Thank you for making such a great product.
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 52 yo woman 21 acres with hedge tree surround, excellent saw! As the title explains, I am a 52 yo woman and this is my first real chainsaw. I have old hedgerow surrounding my property (21 acres) and I have cut trees that are easily a 30 inch diameter on down to saplings.This saw has been wonderful, this is my second season with it. It starts easily and runs until my body says no more, today I cut for a solid 7 hours. .The chain has stretched so that I can't adjust the tension any tighter so I will be out to buy a new chain before I can continue my projects.
Date published: 2015-02-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from need a reliable chain saw Ar first change of .050 thick chain, saw no longer operates. Chain too thick to move in blade groove. Spent much money & time using only Stihl moto mix fuel and Stihl bar & chain lube. Presently in SC. Will take saw back to ACE in Fairfax VA where originally purchased. 8 deg f outside this morning. Really needed a reliable chain saw. 500 miles one way approx. to Fairfax. Can't wait for when it might be fixed here.
Date published: 2015-02-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from i like the chain adjustment feature this is the worst chain saw I have ever owned I bought it a few months ago have only used it a few times a cheep saw will cut better than this I got to looking the chain is the same size as a cheep saw it does not have a stihl saw chain I asked for a stihl I got a cheep saw at high dollar I will tell all the people I know that stihl is not the saw it used to be I have a ms250 been run over dropped and still out cut this saw this saw hangs up all the time but the ms250 has a stihl chain.
Date published: 2015-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from cutting machine Always starts in cold and hot weather and just runs until you are ready to quit.
Date published: 2015-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Always ready when I need it Don't get to use it often only bought it cause I'm a home owner in hurricane alley, and to chop up refuse.Only used it once so far.But I start it if I need to pull my weed eater out or my edger.Always starts glad it has a primer bulb
Date published: 2014-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding value for the money I originally bought an MS 170 at the recommendation of the dealer. The MS 170 was under powered when used to cut 4-6 inch thick branches in my trees. I took it back to the dealer and they gave me full credit back and I bought the MS 181. Wow, what a difference. I trimmed 2 pine trees today and it has plenty of power to cut through 4-6 inch thick branches.The MS 170 was a little difficult to start. I highly recommend the Stihl MS 181 C-BE for the added power, quick chain adjustment, and especially the easy start.By the way, I was so impressed with the quality of the Stihl chainsaw and how the dealership stood behind the product when I told them the MS 170 was underpowered that I bought a Stihl FS 56 straight shaft trimmer and a BG 56 blower.If you worry about the price, shop around the big box stores for the high end equipment. Stihl is priced competitive with the upper end brands. Lastly, bite the bullet and buy the 6-pack of Stihl 2-stroke oil. It's a cheap way to double your warranty.
Date published: 2014-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Chainsaw...took down 4 Ash trees with no problem Took down 2 Ash trees one weekend and 2 more the next weekend. The saw did a great job and the chain adjuster helped make it easy. I did have an issue with the chain and the dealer replaced it. Getting the live training from the dealer and having someone to go to with questions was worth the extra couple bucks than buying a cheaper brand from the big box stores. Wish I had bought Stihl when I was younger.
Date published: 2014-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent saw Lightly pull the starter chord and the saw has a built in mechanism that uses that small amount of force to start the chainsaw. Nice saw, not heavy, cuts through wood like butter. Ace Hardware staff were excellent. A pleasure to use this saw.
Date published: 2014-08-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Required repair after two months. Used it to limb trees since I cut a lot of fire wood and have a larger chain say to do the heavy cutting. After two only two moths of use I have to take it in for repair. Also found out that apparently Stihl's warrantee doesn't cover much of anything.
Date published: 2014-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Replacement and couldn't be happier A friend had this model saw as we were doing some clean-up. I struggled with my "cheap" saw and finally gave up and tried to keep up hauling off what he was cutting. My saw had been used twice and been in the shop after each use. What was cheap was far from it. I gave it away and got a Stihl and have been very pleased.
Date published: 2014-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This saw is a dream machine! I bought this Stihl to replace a saw I bought from a home improvement store about 2 years ago. That saw nearly wore me out trying to get it to start. ('s yellow.) I tried everything, yet that saw is just a bugger. Oh, and it leaks bar oil like crazy.At this point let me state: I'm a homeowner, I do not own a woodlot, and don't use a chainsaw that often. But when I want it to work, I want it to work!Enter the Stihl. Went into my local hardware store and the owner waited on me. At no point did he try to sell me a saw, all he did was try to determine which saw best fit my needs. When he started to show me all the features of the MS-181 C-BE, I was sold...after he assembled my saw we took it outside and he taught me how to start it. And it amazed me! Gone is the tired arm, the high blood pressure, the frustration of trying to get a piece of equipment to operate. This Stihl, fresh out of the box, started for us on it's FIRST PULL. That's right, straight from carton to running in one easy tug. I thought I was dreaming!And it has continued to do that every time I have operated it. Six pumps with the primer bulb, (fear not, grasshopper, you cannot flood the carb, my dealer told me, by 'over pumping' this bulb.) move the on/off/choke lever to "full choke" and give the starter rope one easy tug. Bingo! No frustration, no swearing, no temples pounding, it simply does what it's supposed to do.As for power, well...I'm not well-enough versed on that many saws, but this one has more than enough to do what I asked it to do. It has yet to piddle out the first drop of bar oil into the carry case, meaning it doesn't leak...and the 'Easy-Start' system brings a smile to my face each time I start the saw. I absolutely love it!
Date published: 2014-06-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Underpowered with a terrible chain. I bought this unit from my local dealer, and used it for the first time yesterday. I got it to replace a 10+ year old Craftsman electric chain saw with a burst chain oil tank. I was not at all happy with the performance of the 181.First, I followed the starting instructions in the manual, and it would not start at all. I finally figured out that I had to unlock the chain brake, and start it in the run position to get it to go.Once I had it running, I tried to cut up three dead birch trees in my yard. The thickest for these trees was maybe 6" in diameter. This saw cuts like a dull butter knife through wood. I found it very frustrating and ineffective.I returned the saw to my dealer today. They were really great, and explained to me why I was having so much trouble. I guess the power problems are related to emission restrictions, and the safety chain on this unit makes it so safe that it will not cut anything.The Easy-Start system and the tool free chain adjuster on the 181 CB-E just seemed like mostly unhelpful gimmicks to me, so I traded up to a MS 251. I'm hoping that with a bigger motor, and a more effective chain, I have a better experience.
Date published: 2014-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The MS181 C-BE has all the features I was looking for. I am very pleased with this saw, I turned 71 this last week, so when they say it starts like a dream and runs like a champ, I'm here to tell you it really does, and it cuts like crazy.The 5 star service I got from Ace Hardware was great, they put oil and gas in it, and took it outside and started it, gave me a full demo on the saw and then did all my paper work, I was impressed.Looking forward to using this saw as much as I can.
Date published: 2014-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great saw Most average homeowners would never need anything more than this. Lightweight, powerful and sips fuel. I've ready cut through fresh 14" trunks with ease. Couldn't have asked for anything better.
Date published: 2014-05-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from First poor experience with any Stihl chainsaw I sent my wife into our local Stihl dealer (which is staffed with knowledgeable, respectful guys that know their stuff) to buy an MS 180 C-BE but they didn’t have one so they recommended the MS 181 C-BE. She called me and asked me if that was ok and I said it was. I currently own an MS 660, an 028 and an MS 180 C-BE. The MS 181 C-BE is supposed to be low emission and eco friendly. It probably is and it was a tad lighter than the MS 180 C-BE but it wasn’t even close to the 180 in regard to power. The chain speed was slower than the 180, the power was significantly less than the 180 and for some reason the MS 181 C-BE kept dying after it got warmed up and I made a cut that put the saw under a decent load. I have a feeling that the measures taken to create a low emission product have compromised the quality, power and dependability in the case of the MS 181 C-BE. I could tell a noticeable difference in the feel and design of the MS 181 C-BE and if I had been blindfolded, I never would have guessed that it was a Stihl just based on the feel of it. Also, this was the first Stihl chainsaw I have ever used that had a fuel priming bulb on it, which didn’t excite me as it is just one more part that is sure to need replaced. I am not a brand junky when it comes to tools but I generally stick with what is reliable. My 028 was purchased by my father about thirty years ago and is still as reliable as it was when it was new. I have only had this one poor experience with a Stihl product and it won’t turn me away from the brand but I did return (with no issues at all) the MS 181 C-BE and I purchased another MS 180 C-BE at a different dealer in town. I would not recommend the MS 181 C-BE to anyone because I think you could have a similar experience by spending much less on a less reliable brand at a big box store.
Date published: 2014-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This light weight rugged chain saw is a must have Excellent valueEasy to start, use, & controlStrong enough to be useful
Date published: 2014-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent product Easy to use and no fuss. easy to start...and does an excellent job of cutting the wood!
Date published: 2014-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Chainsaw, easy to start, chews through logs, with lightweight control. Excellent piece of equipment. Very light weight, compact, efficient and easy to start. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2014-02-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed Saw bogged down when using on the first cut (3" tree). The chain did not cut well; it felt as if it had never been sharpened! I bought an extra chain. I will see if that makes a difference; however, I don't like the idea of purchasing a new chain saw with a defective chain.My son, who works for a fire department in OK, recommended the Stihl based on its excellent performance when he uses it. Did I get a lemon?
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great small saw I've had this saw for some time so it's very durable. It's a light saw with plenty of power to cut through anything as wide as the bar is long (or can do twice as wide as the bar is you want to make double cuts). I have had to do only minimal maintenance on it. Great little saw!
Date published: 2013-12-15
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