N on Stihl Chainsaws – what does it mean?
While most people have never heard of the N designation on Stihl saws, it apparently exists. However, I’ve not seen any saws that actually have it on them.
I came across it when I was putting together this Stihl MS382 review.
While looking into the MS380 and MS381, I saw that they had a power range listed in the manual. This was because there was an N version of the saw that had less power than the base model.
And that’s what the N on Stihl chainsaws means: a version with lower compression than the base model.
Here are some examples.
Stihl N Designation
These specs come from the Stihl MS381 manual (download here).
You can see there are 2 versions of the saw listed:
Engine power 3.9 kW (5.3 HP)
MS 381 N
Engine power 3.6 kW (4.9 HP)
And then the 2) reference on the 381 N version tells us that this saw has a low compression engine, reducing the power output.
Another example is the Stihl MS380.
The MS380 also has an N listed in the manual (download here).
There is a range of power outputs listed for the base model, from 3.6 – 3.9 kW and the reference for this is given as ‘Depending on the muffler version.’
And then there is the MS380 N which has a lower power output than the base model of only 3.3 kW or 4.5 hp.
N On Stihl Chainsaws
So that’s what N on Stihl chainsaws means, along with a couple of examples.
However, I’ve yet to see any real examples of these chainsaws outside the manual (the saw pictured above is just a friend’s 023). There are no mentions in forums, Facebook groups, or other websites, so whether they’re actually out there it’s hard to say.
These saws – the 380 and 381, like the MS651 – were mostly only sold outside North America, so there’s generally less chatter about these models anyway.
If you have a Stihl N version or know of other models with the designation, let us know in the comments!