Stihl 020T Chainsaw Review: How Does It Compare To The MS200T?

| | ,

The Stihl 020T is a chainsaw that was in production from 1996 – 2002.

It was replaced by the ever-popular Stihl 200T – a very similar chainsaw with a few big improvements.

The 020T is a very good saw as well and well worth picking up if you see it listed for the right price. 

It’s a 35.2 cc, 2.2 hp top handle saw that weighs only 7.9 lbs and is great for in-tree work.

Stihl 020 T Chainsaw

Stihl 020T

  • Original Stihl arborist chainsaw
  • 35.2 cc, 2.2 hp, 12 - 16" bar
  • 7.9 lbs
View On EBAYView On HL Supply

Stihl MS 200T

  • Best Stihl top handle saw
  • 35.2 cc, 2.2 hp, 12 - 16" bar
  • 7.9 lbs
View On EBAYView On HL Supply

Stihl MS201T

  • Best commerical top handle saw
  • 35.2 cc, 2.4 hp, 12 - 16" bar
  • 8.1 lbs
View On Northern ToolView On Ace Hardware

Holzfforma G111

  • Stihl MS200T clone
  • 35.2 cc, 2 hp, 12 - 16" bar
  • 7.9 lbs
View On AmazonView On Walmart

Husqvarna T435

  • Good Husky top handle saw
  • 35.2cc; 2.1 hp, 12 - 16" bar
  • 7.5 lbs
View On AmazonView On Acme Tools

The overall consensus on the Stihl 020T in the chainsaw community is that it is an awesome saw.

It was designed by Stihl as a pro arborist saw and when it was released, Stihl called it ‘The Ultimate Arborist Saw’ (as they did the 200T when that was released).

The 020T is extremely well balanced with the same durability and a narrower profile than the legendary 020S and 24% lighter.

Other performance features include a side access chain tensioner, Master Control Lever, adjustable oiler, Stihl Quickstop chain brake and retractable carrying ring.

The 019T was the other top handle chainsaw for sale at the same time. This was also a 35.2 cc chainsaw, but it had a lower horsepower (1.7 hp) and an extra pound on the 020T.

The 020T has become a popular saw for anyone and everyone – not just arborists and other tree climbing folk.

However, Stihl did put this warning on the chainsaw.

Due to the special compact handle design (closely spaced handles), there is an increased risk of injury from loss of control. (Cut injuries due to uncontrolled reactive forces of the chain saw or leg injuries due to the saw “dropping” at the end of the cut.)

For this reason these special chain saws should be used only for work in the tree by persons trained in special cutting and working techniques and who are properly secured (lift bucket, ropes, safety harness).

All chainsaws should be used with chainsaw gloves, chaps, and other PPE – but I’m sure you know all that!

Stihl 020T Specs And Features

stihl 020t chainsaw specifications

You can see most of the important technical specs in this screenshot from the original 020T sales page.

Keep in mind that some details can vary depending on exactly when and where the saw was produced – many were manufactured in Germany, but Stihl has facilities around the world.

Stihl 020T specs:

  • 35.2 cc (2.15 cu in)
  • 2.2 hp (1.65 kW)
  • 7.9 lbs (3.5 kg)
  • Bore 1.60 in (40 mm)
  • Stroke 1.10 in (28 mm)
  • 14,000 RPM max speed
  • 2,800 RPM idle
  • Spark plugs Bosch WSR 6/NGK BPMR 7 A
  • Poly fabric or wire mesh air filter

A 14-inch bar is recommended, though it will do alright with anything from 12 – 16-inches. Some people do run it with a 10″ bar but it’s not recommended.

Features of the saw include a side-access chain tensioner, Master Control Lever, adjustable oiler, Stihl Quickstop chain brake, and retractable carrying ring.

If you have problems starting this saw the reason is usually the carb (besides other obvious reasons like bad fuel).

Aftermarket carbs are reasonably cheap whereas something like a new OEM Zama will run you 4 or 5 times the price.

Download the Stihl 020T Chainsaw Manual here (download will start automatically).

Stihl 020T Review

The Stihl 020T is reviewed very well by basically all who try it.

Reviewers state things like:

  • Best saw ever – I run a 16″ bar on mine
  • That saw was the king of them all!
  • Best top handle ever made

How does the 020T compare with the 200T?

I believe the 020T has a bit more grunt than the 200T, but only marginally. However, I would say the 020T is the choice saw as it doesn’t have the flip caps that leak.

It’s one of those saws that runs really well and performs at a top-notch level over the years. It can be run daily if necessary (and maintained properly) and is considered a real workhorse.


  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Great power to weight ratio
  • Interchangeable parts with other models (like the 200T)
  • Great resale value
  • Good for climbing


  • Parts not interchangeable with the 201T
  • Some OEM parts hard to find
  • Expensive to buy in good condition
  • Hard to find

Stihl 020T Price

how much for a stihl 020T

What is a Stihl 020T Chainsaw worth?

A model that is in very good condition that is original or has been fixed up with OEM parts could fetch over US$500.

If it was in excellent condition it could go for quite a bit higher than that, depending on your location.

Of course, inflation is a big factor these days. Perhaps it won’t be long before they’re selling for over $1000?

Chainsaws may end up being a good investment and/or hedge against inflation, but only time will tell.

When buying a secondhand chainsaw just find out what parts have been replaced and what they’ve been replaced with.

A 020T in poor condition may only get around $100, and at that price you’d be better hanging onto it until you can fix it up a bit yourself.

Stihl 020 T

The Stihl 020T Chainsaw is another great saw from Stihl that will stand the test of time and be popular as long as they are still running.

The new Stihl 201T doesn’t get quite the same amount of love as the older top handle models, but it’s still good for those wanting a new chainsaw.

Other good alternatives include the Husqvarna T435 or the ECHO CS 2511T – both are lightweight climbing saws that perform very well.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about the 020T below – would love to hear your experiences with it if you have one!


The Competition Thrower Review: A WATL Throwing Axe For Newbies And Pros

Stihl 019T Chainsaw Review: Specs, Features, Price, Problems, Parts, Alternatvies


1 thought on “Stihl 020T Chainsaw Review: How Does It Compare To The MS200T?”

  1. Being pedantic but the 020T came out in 1992-3 not ’96. It replaced the metal bodied 020. In my opinion it accelerated faster than its MS200T update as the carb/exhaust was different (for new emission targets). also it used less fuel. Overall a great saw. I should know I ran a pair of them full time in tree surgery from ’94-2009 when they were stolen!


Leave a Comment