Stihl Top Handle Chainsaw MSA 161T News & Opinion

Cordless Stihl Top Handle Chainsaw MSA 161T


In our recent trip to their USA headquarters in Virginia Beach for the Stihl Influencer Summit, we heard rumors of a new Stihl top handle chainsaw. However, after leaving the event without seeing or touching, it might as well be a mythical unicorn. Seems odd that the USA didn’t have a cordless Stihl top handle chainsaw since Europe has had one for a few years. Then, walking the floors of the GIE Expo 2018, voila, the mythical beast appeared from its foggy lair. Not really, it was just sitting, unassumingly, on a counter-top with some tree-geeks salivating and putting their hands all over it – so we joined in.

MSA 161T Stihl Top Handle Chainsaw Features

Power for the Stihl MSA 161T chainsaw comes from Stihl’s AP 300 battery. The AP 300 is a 36-volt Lithium-Ion battery delivering 227 Wh. We had this same battery powering the Stihl MSA 200 C and it made 43 cuts in a 10-inch oak tree, so we expect this performance and more from this Stihl top handle chainsaw.

STIHL MSA 200 C Chainsaw Review – Battery Powered

Stihl lists their AP Series as a Professional line, hence this MSA 161T top-handle chainsaw is meant for the professional arborist. The AP 300 battery sends the juice to a commercial-grade brushless motor offering lightweight and quiet performance, without sacrificing power. Maximizing performance and runtime, the Stihl MSA 161T comes standard with the 1/4″ Picco saw chain. This thin-kerf chain cuts cleanly through the wood, while not bogging down. The Picco chain is about the same width as the bar, providing a more efficient cut for smaller saws.

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Stihl Top Handle Chainsaw Tethered

“The STIHL MSA 161 T is a high-performance chainsaw built with professional arborists in mind,” said Mike Poluka, product manager at STIHL Inc. “With a powerhead at just 4.6 pounds, it provides the balance and maneuverability needed for in-tree cutting with the benefits of a battery-powered product — zero-exhaust emissions, low maintenance, and no fuel cost.”

No Loose Nuts

No worries with losing your nuts when removing or tensioning the chain. The Stihl MSA 161T includes a captured guide bar nut on the sprocket cover. When the nut is loosened and side-cover removed, the nut stays attached to the cover. Also, the Stihl Quickstop Plus is an electronic brake that controls slowing down the rotating chain when the trigger is released.

MSA 161T Stihl Top Handle Chainsaw Side

A built-in retracting carry ring allows the user to tether to the Stihl top handle chainsaw when climbing or in a bucket. Keeping an eye on the bar oil is easy with the translucent oil tank on the side of the MSA 161T chainsaw.

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Final Thoughts on the Stihl MSA 161T chainsaw

Stihl MSA 161T Top-Handle Chainsaw_5

Top handle chainsaws are sort-of a fun topic around here. They’re unassuming to the normal passer-byer, due to the small size and stature. To those in the know, they’re quite intriguing, for much the same reasons, and the power they lay to the wood. Cordless or battery-powered models add to the mystique a bit, so it’s always exciting to see a new model join the small group.

We hope to get the new MSA 161T in our hands soon, so we can validate the performance and runtime. Several of our Pros have suggested interest in this new saw, as we’ve introduced them to pictures and content. Expect to see the cordless Stihl top handle chainsaw in dealerships sometime in the beginning of 2019, and MSRP is expected to be $379.95.

Translucent Oil Tank

Translucent Oil Tank

Stihl MSA161T Top-Handle Specifications

  • Model: MSA 161 T
  • Powerhead Weight: 4.6 lbs. (2.1 kg )
  • Guide Bar Length*: 30 cm (12 in.)
  • Chain Oil Capacity: 105 cc (3.6 oz.)
  • Run Time (w/ AP 300): Up to 50 minutes
  • Chain: ¼” STIHL PICCO™
  • Chain Speed: 52.5 ft/s
  • Power Source: Battery
  • MSRP: $379.95

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Stephen Hazen
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Like to have one

Chris Driver
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whats beter 82v 58v or stihl 36v?