Maintaining STIHL Battery Powered Chainsaws: The Complete Guide

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STIHL battery powered chainsaws have made cutting logs and lumber amazingly easy. Not only that, they're making yard, farm, and mountain work cleaning and better for the environment. But caring for the environment is only part of the process. Your battery powered chainsaw is just as important to care for, so it will last for years like all STIHL tools are designed to do!

Why STIHL Battery Powered Chainsaws are the BEST

Nate day using stihl battery powered chainsaws like the msa 200 and msa 220

If you are looking for quiet and clean chainsaws to work around the home, farm, or camp, STIHL is the unrivaled champion of the chainsaw. Whether or not you think you want one of the cordless chainsaws or a battery chainsaw, when you are looking for the best outdoor power equipment, quality is king. And quality is one thing that STIHL NEVER shirks on.

How to be Safe with Chainsaw Maintenance

Remove the battery before cleaning your stihl battery powered chainsaws

Like firearm safety, make sure you “unload” the chainsaw before doing any work or maintenance on it. Start by removing the lithium ion battery. Unlike a gas powered chainsaw, this saw is always ready to go! There is no “start up” required to run it. Removing the power supply is the most important step when beginning your maintenance. Be sure to read and refer to the included or downloadable instruction manual for guidance.

How to Clean the Power Cell

Nate day using an aircompressor to clean his stihl battery powered chainsaws batteries

Probably one of the easiest places to start cleaning is the power cell. STIHL has a number of options which have some amp hour differences as well as output for each of their power tools. Because these actually heat up when being used or charged, they have vent ports, which are easy to clean with an air-compressor and an indirect stream of air.

Nate day cleaning the battery for his stihl battery powered chainsaws

After blowing out dust and wood debris that might have gotten into the cell housing, give the surface some love. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down the outside of the housing and inspect for any damage. Since you are wiping dust, it's also a good idea to wipe away from the vent ports – or else you might need to blow those out again.

How to Clean Your Chainsaw

Nate day losening chain and bar before cleaning his stihl battery powered chainsaw

Just like a gas chainsaw, your electric chainsaw will accrue a lot of debris build up inside the housing. Big trees and small trees alike are moist when cutting, and even old downed timber has sap which will allow for saw dust to build up along the sprocket and chain tensioner. This debris won't necessarily stop your chainsaw, but it will make adjustments difficult and also retain friction heat inside the housing which could spark a fire.

Even a stihl battery powered chainsaw has build up to be removed

One of the best parts about STIHL battery powered chainsaws is the implementation of the Quick Chain Adjuster which allows for tool-less adjustment of the chain. Furthermore, this “C-B” model designation allows for any operator to gain quick access to the bar and chain for maintenance and inspection. As an owner and lover of my own STIHL MS 391 and MS 251 gas powered chainsaws, I fully enjoy the ease and simplicity of these models.

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To make cleaning the interior of the housing easier, remove the bar and chain and set those aside. Wearing eye protection and gloves is a good idea! The air-compressor will make quick work of most of the material caked on the inside, but it'll throw it in unpredictable directions. Finish cleaning the surfaces with a good microfiber rag.

Be sure to also look down into the gaps of the chain brake to ensure no debris might block its full function. Be sure to remove any twigs and any buildup that might have gotten wedged down there. The chain brake is a critical safety component and may save your life in the case of a kick back.

Maintaining your STIHL Guide Bar and Chains

Nate day examining the difference between two different stihl battery powered chainsaws

Though they aren't quite as varied as snowflakes, STIHL battery powered chainsaws have different guide bar lengths and purposes. The MSA 200, for example, has a 14-inch bar and runs a 3/8th inch chain while the MSA 220 has a 16-inch bar and runs the larger 1/4 inch chain. This is much like the gas powered MS 251, which runs an 18-inch bar and 1/4 inch chain as well. These types of production decisions were made for efficiency and the motor size of the saws themselves.

Inspect your Chainsaw Guide Bar

Nate day inspecting the stihl guide bar while cleaning his stihl battery powered chainsaws

For smooth operation, optimal safety, and to improve the overall longevity of your saw, make sure to inspect your guide bar. First, ensure that it is straight and untwisted overall. If you've ever used a chainsaw for anything larger than three inches and made more than a couple cuts, you know that the bar can get pinched in between a piece of timber while cutting. If we aren't careful, sometimes this can cause a bend, however slight, in the length of the guide bar.

Second, inspect and clean the guide bar track as it can become filled with debris and residue which should be cleaned out. Also, be sure to check that the track is straight and not dinged or dented as this may cause the chain to ‘hop off' the bar (this tool makes guide bar maintenance easy). At a minimum, it can cause excessive wear on the chain itself. Whether it's a bent guide bar or a knick or dent in the chain track, if left unfixed these variances can become dangerous.

How to Inspect Your Chainsaw Chain

Nate day inspecting the chain of his stihl battery powered chainsaw

Be sure to give your chain a look over as well. First, inspect all the link connections to ensure they are all solidly in place. Next, check to see that the teeth are all properly and evenly sharpened. This will directly effect your cutting efficiency. Finally, take a look at your depth gauge (the soft little ridge next to the teeth) to ensure that it is just below the actual chain tooth.

A properly maintained depth gauge will allow the chain's cutters to cut just deep enough to remove the most efficient amount of wood per revolution. If a depth gauge is too long, the cutters will make only a shallow or no cut per rotation. If the depth gauge is too shallow or worn, the cutter will “bite” too much out of the wood and cause the chainsaw motor to bog down or stop the chain altogether.

How to Lubricate your Chainsaw

Use stihl bar and chain lubricand when maintaining stihl battery powered chainsaws

A huge factor when it comes to STIHL's success is their attention to detail and uncompromising quality. This applies to everything from piston size and smoothness to the density of their plastic components and even their efficiency in production. This also goes for their in-house line of fuel, lubricant, and other disposable accessories.

One such purchase that does not change between the gas powered, electric, or battery powered lines of chainsaws is the need for bar and chain lubricant. This vital ingredient is important as it reduces the friction of the chain whed it slides through the guide bar's track during use. It is also important to help preserve and protect your chain from environmental elements such as moisture and tree sap.

Stihl bar and chain lubricant is the best for stihl battery powered chainsaws

When it comes to bar and chain lubricant, I ONLY use STIHL's bar and chain oil. Just like its gas powered siblings, the battery powered chainsaws also have an easy fill oil reservoir. With a quick twist, get your saw its oil fill.

Cleaning the Battery AND Charger

Part of cleaning your stihl battery powered chainsaws is maintaining the chargers

Since this is a cordless tool, you are going to want to make sure you spend a little tender loving care on the charger itself. It's easy to forget the “support equipment,” but it's important to remember that this will effect charging times and effectiveness. The good news is that cleaning and caring for this particular part is probably the most simple.

As the saying goes, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” With a battery powered chainsaw, there are a lot of links (pun fully intended). When it comes to the battery charger, first use a rag to wipe the dust off the exterior of the housing. If you have an air compressor available, blow (or wipe) any debris away from the charging points for the battery connection.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

Remember to use the correct stihl chain sharpener like nate day

When it comes to chainsaws, another commonly neglected chore of maintenance is chain sharpening. A lot of people overlook, or simple don't realize, that the chain is going to become dull after use. What's interesting is that the chains will wear differently depending on the type and condition of the wood you are cutting. Never fear, chain sharpening is a relatively simple skill you can learn, and it may leave you with a solid sense of personal satisfaction, just be sure to stabilize the chainsaw first.

The simplest way to start your sharpening is to purchase the right tool, such as as the STIHL 2 in 1 Filing Guide. This simple tool makes sharpening very easy, especially for beginners. It not only shows you the proper direction to move the sharpening file, but it cuts both the tooth of the chain and the depth gauge simultaneously.

To begin sharpening, place the saw on a solid, flat surface and apply the chain brake to keep the chain from moving as you work on it. Because the chain has teeth that alternate in direction (one cut side to another), choose one direction of teeth to work on first. After you file 3-4 sets of teeth, release the chain brake and rotate the chain to gain access to another set of dull teeth and then repeat the process for the opposite set of teeth to complete the process.

How to Choose a Battery Powered Chainsaw

Stihl battery powered chainsaws are environmentally friendly

When it comes to making the decision to choose a saw, there are a number of factors to consider. For a lst of us, cost may be the first consideration. You should definitely consider a few other pragmatic decisions as well, and save up if you need to. As they often say: “buy once, dry once!”

The good news is you most likely won't be shedding any tears, unless you are a “tears of joy” type. The easiest choice to make outside of cost is brand. STIHL battery powered chainsaws are the pinnacle of quality and reliability. They honestly have the corner on chainsaw legacy.

There are a number of stihl battery powered chainsaws available

Other factors to consider that you might want to take a good look at are your expected workload. When considering this, think about how often you might need the saw AND what types of lumber you are going to be cutting. This will help you pick from different power levels as well as chain and bar options. Different models have different sized brushless motor set ups.

Finally – and most importantly – remember that safety gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential when operating any chainsaw. Chainsaw chaps, gloves, protective eye wear, and a helmet with a face-shield are all available at local dealers. You can also buy those online from STIHL themselves and just drop by the same local dealer to pick it up. Also, always wear pants, boots, and non baggy shirts while cutting that lumber.

Cutting Wood with a Battery Powered Chainsaw

Make quick work of downed tree branches with a stihl battery powered chainsaws

When it comes to working around your home, maintaining property, or getting out into the wilderness, there is little that compares to the joy of using a STIHL chainsaw. Simple maintenance will not only help your saw operate at its peak potential, but also last for years and years to come.

What kind of work would you use a battery powered chainsaw for?


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