How to Distinguish an Original Stihl Chain from a Fake

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Chainsaw Stihl. A device trusted by a huge number of men for thirty years. Consistent quality and excellent work behavior. All this has been kept from the first batches of chainsaws to this day. Manufacturers did not even change the design of the device. The only drawback of the Stihl chainsaw is the huge number of fakes that are collected somewhere in the basements manually or on primitive machines. The quality of such products is inferior to the original samples, but, in principle, you can work with them.

But the thing is different. Some sellers are trying to sell a fake under the guise of the original. The difference in price and quality is enormous.

If earlier fake chainsaws had a primitive look, even from a distance not like the original, now copies are as close as possible to genuine instruments.

For this article, a comparison was made of the original and fake chainsaw Stihl MS 170/180. To be sure that you are purchasing an original chainsaw, pay attention to the following details of the device.

How to Distinguish an Original Stihl Chain from a Fake


Boxes of devices in appearance completely match. But the difference is in size. The original box for a couple of centimeters longer fake.

In addition, on the original box there is always a sticker indicating:

  • Chainsaw models
  • Manufacturing country (China),
  • Barcode
  • Serial number devices.

The number has nine positions and is assigned separately to each saw.

This number is required. Without it, repair in the service center is not possible.


To date, one of the main signs of a fake chainsaw Stihl MS 170/180 is the presence of a special measuring capacity for fuel. Original chainsaws are extremely rarely equipped with such a device.

Fake Stihl chainsaw comes with a similar capacity

In addition, in chainsaw chainsaws there are:

Tire cover

On the original there is a company inscription “Stihl”;

Original (top) and fake tire cover

On the links of the original chain you can read the inscription “Stihl”, there are no words on the fake chain;

Boxes with a cutting chain look the same

The links of the original cutting chain always bear the inscription “Stihl”

Chainsaw tire

The original tire most often goes to cardboard case. Fake. In a plastic bag. They are also slightly different in color. The main difference between the tires is the lack of additional window oil supply for the driven sprocket on the original tire.

There is no additional window on the original bus (top)

In addition, Chinese tires most often have a length of 40-45 cm, while the original Stihl MS 170/180 chainsaws are equipped with tires with a length of 30-35 cm.

Instruction manual

Instruction manual the operation of a fake chainsaw almost completely repeats the original sample. Except that the place for the company logo is empty.

On the fake instruction (on the right) there is no inscription of the company “Stihl”

Tool case

Only two tools are attached to the original chainsaw: a multi-purpose screwdriver and a key with the inscription “Stihl” without packaging. Everything.

The fake boasts a wide variety:

  • Gear emphasis;
  • Several base keys;
  • Screwdriver.

Appearance of the device

The original Stihl chainsaw used in comparison took its current form in 2015. Until that moment, she looked exactly like a fake.

As often happens, manufacturers of copies do not differ in speed of reaction in matters relating to changes in the design of the products they copy. Their copies have an old design for several years. The same thing happened with the copy involved in the comparison. She still lives in 2015.

But the original Stihl MS 170/180 chainsaw now has a different shape starter, air filter mounts and smooth bend air filter covers.


Pay attention to the screws. In the original chainsaw they are made under “asterisk

In fakes, most often the screws go under a flat screwdriver or hexagon.

However, our copy is very close to the original, so its screws are also made under the “star”.

Fuel and oil tank caps

The copies of the covers are made very accurately, except that they do not have the inscription “Stihl”.


There are two large nuts on the left side of the chainsaw. The original nuts have the letter “S”. On fake everything is clean.

Saw back

On the original device, a sticker with a 9-digit serial number is glued in this place. It should match what is on the box.

There is no such sticker on a fake chainsaw.

Muffler cover

The original muffler cover is engraved with “Stihl” and the model number. Copy silencer is absolutely smooth.

Air filter

The air filter of the original modern chainsaw design is very dense. From above he white, and brown on the other hand. The filter holder is engraved vendor code products.

In a fake filter is very primitive. It’s a piece foam rubber. The holder has a dark color, the article is not specified.

In addition, sometimes it’s enough just to take a good look at the details of the device. For example, how high quality and without burrs / sagging the plastic cover of the product is made. Of course, in the original sample, it should be made soundly.

On the inside of the original cover there is even factory number details and company logo.

Of course, for an experienced craftsman who was holding in his hands more than one real Stihl saw, such advice is useless. But for those who are just starting to conquer the heights in this matter, this article will be useful.

Interest in a good tool has always been, both from buyers and from manufacturers of fake products. Chainsaws for a long time remained not interesting for the production of fakes due to the complexity of manufacture, but demand “gave birth” to clandestine production.

In our market you can find a lot of both copies and counterfeits for original Stihl saws. In the article we will analyze all the features and subtleties, how not to run into a fake and whether there are differences in quality.


It is difficult to distinguish the packaging, since the level of printing is high. Fake saws are packaged in exact copies of the original boxes. You can distinguish by the glued information plate. If you have a few drinks before, compare these plates and the numbers on them. At a minimum, they should be different. Each number is unique.

Please note that there is a unique serial number on the box. All saws are made in factories in China.

There is one visual difference between the fake Stihl saw box and the original one. There is no pronounced white strip around the logo and the entire length of the box on the fake.

Component Differences

In the original kit, never put a canister. If you find a plastic canister. Fake.

Chain packaging is similar, differences in labeling on the chain itself. There is a company logo on the original product. He is absent on a fake.

The original protective case also has the Stihl logo. There is no logo on the fake, and the shape of the cover is different.

The original tire has no holes on the driven star. Fake give out explicit holes for lubricating the sprocket.

To the original Stihl saw, from the tool, there is only a screwdriver and a “candle” key, on which there is also an engraving company. The fake is equipped with an expanded set of tools and put it in a special case.


The original saw is twisted with asterisk screws. Fakes in 90% or a flat, or a Phillips screwdriver.

There is a logo on the tank lid. There is no logo on a fake. Also consider the logo on the screws on the back of the tank.

From the side of the muffler / tire, the original must necessarily have an identification plate with a serial number, which must coincide with the number on the box. On a fake plate or not or it is of poor quality and it can be seen that over time the inscription will be erased.

The part number is engraved on the muffler body on the original saw.

Differences in filter elements. Remove the filter cover and compare with the photo: Every Stihl Ms original saw has an article on it, every detail is perfect. On the fakes visible residues from the molds, blemishes in the plastic casting, there are no articles on the details.

review of the distinctive features of the original Stihl ms saw:

In the following, in addition to the differences of the original saw, they show the distinctive features of the chain and tire:

In conclusion, check out how to distinguish Stihl original chains and saw oil.

Saws require timely maintenance. It is advisable to use the original oil and original chains.

Click to enlarge (opens in a new window).

review of new Stihl ms saw oil canisters and how to distinguish an original from a fake with examples:

The original chain is more difficult to distinguish from the fake, use the official manufacturer information:

And a small comparing the original chains with fake ones:


Why buy an original saw if a fake is almost no different? The original saw will last for many years, original spare parts are suitable, there is support and manufacturer’s warranty. But most importantly, all original saws are tested and meet all safety rules.

Due to the huge influx of fakes, it is better to buy Stihl saws from official representatives of the company, the list of sellers can be found on the company’s website. A list of dealers.

Only a high-quality tool is able to perform its functions without fail for a long period of time. Stihl chain saws are no exception. This company has long been considered one of the leading players in the global market for gas powered tools, which, in turn, has become the main reason for the massive spread of fakes. What is the Chinese Stihl, how to quickly distinguish a fake and what is better to choose. These are the main points that we will consider in this article.

Original Stihl Chainsaws manufactured in China

Initially, chainsaws of this brand were produced only in factories in Germany. But modern realities are such that almost all world companies partially or fully began to produce their products in China for economic reasons. In order to reduce costs in 2012, part of Stihl’s production was moved to Qingdao, China. Initially, MS 170 household models were produced there with tires 30 and 35 cm long, but over time the range has increased significantly.

Currently, almost all models of Stihl gas saws, just like the other tools of this company, are made in the Middle Kingdom.

Quality of Chinese-made Stihl chainsaws: is there any difference from German

The build quality of the Chinese Stihl saws is practically no different from the German. This is due to strict adherence to production technology and meticulous exit control.

On the crankcase of the Chinese chainsaws, as well as in the German ones, there is a small stamp “TR” or the letters “QC” are applied to indicate that the plant has been tested (Test Run) or to confirm quality control (Quality Control).

Who to prefer: China or Germany

Despite the fact that the build quality of the cutting tool is almost identical, there are still differences between the saws. A key feature of the Chinese chainsaw is the not very good quality of the materials used in the manufacturing process. This is especially noticeable when comparing, for example, the air filter housing: the Chinese is made of cheap plastic and this is noticeable with no armed eye.

It is also worth noting that for some chainsaws made in China, the following disadvantages are characteristic:

  • The starter spring quickly loses its elasticity, which adversely affects the reverse retraction of the launch cord;
  • The saw bar does not do very well with its functions.

At the same time, Chinese Stihl has several advantages:

  • The price of the tool is lower, and the warranty period is the same.
  • Some models are no longer manufactured in Germany, for example, the Stihl 660, however, the Chinese factory continues to produce this widely sought-after tool and accessories for it.

If you use the saw strictly for its intended purpose, in other words, do not try to cut down the forest with a garden chainsaw and maintain it in time, then it is difficult to notice the difference between production in China or Germany.

Where to find the German Stihl chainsaw

The purebred Stihl, with the coveted inscription “Made in Germany”, can only be purchased from authorized representatives of the company.

How to distinguish Chinese Stihl from German

Each model has a number of its own characteristics, but there are signs that allow you to quickly determine the country of production, in particular, this is the serial number. If it starts at number 8, then the country of manufacture is China. A German-made instrument is marked with a serial number starting with the number 1.

It is worth noting that Stihl’s manufacturing facilities are also concentrated in America and Brazil. The instrument serial number from these countries starts with the numbers 2 and 5 (USA) and 3 (Brazil).

Regardless of the country of manufacture, the serial number should be the same on the saw and on the box. Otherwise, this is clearly a fake.

Chinese fakes Stihl

Great interest in any good product on the part of buyers causes an increase in the production of fake products. Russian branded service centers and ordinary repair shops daily refuse to repair falsified chainsaws.

How to distinguish a fake Stihl chainsaw from the original

There are several factors that make it possible to determine the original factory tool from a “gray” saw in a matter of minutes.



It is with a thorough external examination that you can identify a fake.

  1. Residues from the mold, poor-quality plastic casting, lack of part numbers on the parts are the main factors that should make you refuse to purchase such a chainsaw. No manufacturer will release such products on free sale.
  2. On the original silencer, the company logo and its serial number must be embossed.
  3. The fake is more faded.
  4. The company logo is marked on the original fuel tank cap, as well as on the screws on the back of the tank.
  5. In the process of assembling a real Stihl chainsaw, sprocket screws are used, while the counterfeit can be disassembled with an ordinary flat or Phillips screwdriver.


If in appearance it is difficult to determine the originality of the chainsaw, then you should carefully examine the components.

  1. If there is a proprietary instruction, qualitatively translated into Russian, then this is most likely the original.
  2. If the tire has holes for lubricating the sprocket, this is definitely a fake.
  3. If there are company logos on the protective case and packaging of the chain, then you probably have the original saw.
  4. If a plastic canister comes with the saw, then it is 100% fake. The original tool is completed only with a screwdriver and a “candle” key engraved with the company.

In addition, on a fake you are unlikely to find the inscription “Made in China.”

How much does a fake Stihl cost

Is it worth buying a fake

Perhaps the only thing that could be dumber than buying a fake Stihl chainsaw is to contact a repair shop. But such a day will clearly come: scuffs in the cylinder, coming as a mandatory option, constantly falling power, an uncontrollable circuit.

Is it worth buying a fake for which there are no spare parts? Is it worth it to buy a fake, getting it unsure whether it will start this time or not? Is it worth it to buy a fake so that very soon you can go and choose a new chainsaw?

Of course, there are exceptions to any rule. Small, but still, there is a chance that it is not clear where and by whom the saw made will last a long time.

How to distinguish the original Stihl 180 from a Chinese fake is described in the following:

So why choose and why: Chinese Stihl, German Stihl or Chinese Stihl fake?

If you need to use a chainsaw for several days, then you can purchase a Chinese fake. Such a tool should not be dropped by LAL-KO, “chained” by nails, or poured anything into the fuel tank. And to work with them is much more effective than hands.

If a chainsaw is needed for a long period and is bought specifically for work, and not for storage in the attic, then there can be no talk of any fake. Chinese Stihl is an excellent option for chainsaw for domestic use: the presence of a guarantee, build quality, adequate price. Everything is typical for this tool. German Stihl is preferred by people involved in the field of wooden housing construction and logging, as it is still a little more reliable.

Before buying a Stihl chainsaw, you should determine for what specific work it is needed and how often it will be used. This is the only way to choose the best option and not overpay the extra money.