The Stihl MS 250 and MS 390
After a heavy wind storm, I
found myself faced with the job of cleaning up some awfully, thick branches and trees. I have two saws from
Stihl, the MS 250, midsized, and the MS 390, a big dog. I decided to see if I could pick one of the two to do
all my cutting. Here is how it went.
You do not need all the muscle a saw has if you are just cutting
through branches. However if you want to cut through a tree trunk, power is the key. I put both saws to the test by
cutting logs that were 18in in diameter. Surprisingly it took more cuts than I expected to figure out which one had
It was not a big shocker that
the MS 390 was better. The cutting was smoother and took about 1/3 less time to cut through the log. They
both cut so hard that I ended up having to use my watch to determine that the 390 was quicker. However the MS
250 held its own. It cut through fine, but I had to work harder. The MS 390 has a longer bar and quite a bit
of power which I noticed when cutting a 32in oak log in half. I was able to tear through the log with a cut
capacity that was really cool.
Ease of Use
When cutting through branches of fallen trees, I used the MS 250.
It was perfect for cleanup. It was big enough and had enough power to cut through hefty limbs and also most trunks,
yet at the same time, it was still so light that I could get through the small things with very little effort.
I had no problem manipulating
it around branches that sat at peculiar angles. This saw is lightweight, quick, and full of power. However
the MS 390 will also get the job done. Its longer bar reduces some of the bending. It could not be stopped
when tackling large trunks, but gets heavier as the hours go by.
Caps, Adjustments and Starting
The oil and gas caps are awesome. They are easy to screw on and
off and are fixed to the body of the saw through a plastic lanyard which ensures that they are clean and secure.
You do not need a chainsaw wrench when trying to open or close them because they come with a flip-tab.
Chains tend to be loose as you
use them throughout the day. It is normal. Stihl’s innovative location of the chain tightening screw is
superb in these two saws. No longer is it right next to the bar; it is now found beneath the blade housing
bolts making it very simple to get to and adjust. These saws are both easy to start. There is no flooding,
and you are rearing to go right off the bat. Stihl has start-up instructions that make a great guide.
Good chainsaw service is essential. I prefer to take my saws in
to a professional to be tuned up and get the chains sharpened. The dealer I take mine to is very ardent about the
merchandise and sharpens the chains quickly and takes time to chat. This is a great way to get suggestions on
acquiring back up chains.
The Bottom Line
To complete the task you need the power to finish it up. So if
you want to purchase only one saw for use in emergencies, get the MS 390. It will cut branches as well as large
stumps and logs. You could still go with the MS 250 because it has almost as much power, and you can buy a longer
bar to make large cuts. Of course you should expect it to take longer.
If your budget is not limited
get them both. There are times when will want to have two saws anyway, such as clearing a lot or if a storm
comes through and leaves fallen trees around. The MS 250 can be used to cut up the dead fall while the MS 390
can do your heavier lifting. Both of these saws will make a great addition to your tool team.