Stihl MS 271 vs. MS 291: Which Should You Go For?

When it comes to chainsaws, Stihl is one of the household names in the business. With over  100 saws with the Stihl emblem on them, you could find it quite hard to make a choice on which to buy. However, if you need a Stihl chainsaw that offers you a mixture of power and ease of use, then the Stihl MS 271 and MS 291 are the best choices.

However, if you’re planning to buy just one, you’ll still have to make a choice. Well, that’s the hard part. If you’ve looked up the specs of both chainsaws, you’ll notice there’s little difference between both. Well, if you’re in a dilemma over making a choice between both, we’re here to solve that for you.

The main difference between both chainsaws is the power both possess. The MS 271 has a power of 2.6 kW, while the MS 291 has a power of 2.8 kW. Also, the 291 makes more noise due to its bigger engine power; however, the difference between both isn’t too large. They have more similarities than differences, including their weight and fuel tank capacity.

Stihl MS 271 vs MS 291

Related Articles

Stihl MS461 vs MS462
Stihl MS250 vs MS251
Stihl Wood Boss vs Farm Boss Chainsaw

Comparison Table Between Stihl MS 271 and MS 291

Stihl MS 271Stihl MS 291
PowerThe MS 271 boasts a smaller lugging power possessing 2.6 kW of power.The MS 291 has a higher lugging power rated at 2.8 kW.
Maximum Noise LevelIts noise level is rated at 114 dB.Its noise level is rated at 116 dB.
Power-to-weight ratioIt has a smaller power-to-weight ratio due to its smaller power.Since the 291 has larger power and the same weight as the 271, it has a higher power-to-weight ratio.
PriceIt ranges from $579.99 to $599.99.It costs $1,099.

Differences Between MS 271 and 291

The major differences between both chainsaws include their power, maximum noise level, and power-to-weight ratio. Find out more about these three differences below:


This is the most important difference between both chainsaws. Although the power difference isn’t much, we’d advise you to go for the MS 291 if you can afford it. A little more power can never hurt.

Maximum Noise Level

Part of the comfortability factors you should look out for when using these chainsaws is the amount of noise. While you should always have protective headgear to block the noise, checking out the noise rating is not bad. As expected, the MS 271 has a lower noise rating thanks to its lower lugging power. However, the difference between both isn’t much, and you shouldn’t really notice the difference when your ears are blocked.

Power-to-Weight Ratio

The power-to-weight ratio is a measurement of the performance of any engine/motor. It is calculated by dividing the engine’s power rating by the mass of the engine. Since both chainsaws have the same weight, only the power rating will determine their power-to-weight ratio. With the MS 291 having a higher power rating, it also has a higher power-to-weight ratio. 

With most engines, more power means heavier weight. However, the MS 291 offers a power upgrade without adding any weight. Hence, this makes it a better option judging by this criteria.


Your budget is another factor you must consider before making a choice. As expected, the MS 271, with its lower power, costs less than the 291. However, the 271 price also ranges depending on the bar length. The chainsaw with the 16” bar costs $579.99, the 18” bar costs $589.99, and the 20” bar costs $599.99 on the Stihl website. The MS 291 with the 18” bar costs $1,099 on the Stihl website. However, you might be able to find both the MS 271 and 291 chainsaws for cheaper prices on eBay.

Similarities Between MS 271 and 291

Listed and explained below are the various similarities between the MS 271 and 291.

Pre-Separation Air Filter

One factor common with most chainsaws is the plethora of maintenance duties they require. You have to make sure there’s enough oil and gasoline and that the filter is unclogged. A clogged filter would dampen the lugging power of the chainsaw and reduce its efficiency.

Stihl made sure both chainsaws have what is known as the pre-separation air filter. This pre-separation filtration system helps dispose of larger particles before getting to the actual filter. This way, the filters have a longer life span. Apart from saving you money on buying filters, the efficiency of the chainsaw also remains optimum for longer periods.

2-MIX Engine

Both the Stihl MS 217 and 219 house the 2-MIX engine. This engine gives both chainsaws high cutting and lugging power. With a powerful engine such as the 2-MIX, you’ll expect the gasoline consumption of both machines to be higher than ever. However, this is not the case.

The Stihl 2-MIX Engine. Credit: Stihl

The engine has a special technological innovation that helps it save on fuel consumption. This innovation helps users of both chainsaws to save up to 20 cents on fuel compared to other MIX model users. Comparing this engine to chainsaws without a 2-MIX engine saves up to 50 cents on fuel consumption. With either MS 271 or 291, you’re guaranteed to save some money on gasoline purchases.

Chain Quick Tensioning

Tightening the tension on a chainsaw is inevitable in most cases. Tightening the chain helps keep the blades sharp and makes sure the chain doesn’t get stretched out too much. Although the original chain tightening process is pretty straightforward, the chain quick tensioning feature Stihl added to both chainsaws made it even easier.

Anti-Vibration System

With most chainsaws, the vibration they generate makes them hard to use for long periods as they cause discomfort to the handler. However, you can use either of these chainsaws with minimum discomfort with the Stihl anti-vibration system. 

This innovation adds springs between the engine and the chainsaw handle, which dampens the vibrations from the engine. This minimizes the vibrations felt by the user, hence reducing the discomfort felt. Apart from reducing discomfort, the anti-vibration system also reduces the wear and tear effect on the machine. 

Which Should You Pick?

Deciding on an option could be difficult given both chainsaws are quite similar. However, if you’re on a budget, the MS 271 will be a better choice as it can do most of what the 291 can do and is significantly lower in price. However, if you don’t mind the price bump, then you should go for the 291. Finally, you should also consider the activity you want to use the saw for. Always opt for more power if you think the intensity will be high (MS 291).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.