The Stihl 026 was made between 1988 – 2002, while the 026 PRO was produced between 1996 – 2002 – we’ll get into the differences between the two.
Although the Stihl 026 is no longer in production, it is still a highly regarded chainsaw in the Stihl community. It’s a 48cc, 2.97hp chainsaw that is usually run with a 16 to 20-inch bar. It is suitable for processing firewood, dropping mid-sized trees, and clearing land.
Whether you’re using it (or want to use it) at home, on the farm, or commercially, a Stihl 026 that has been looked after will be an excellent addition to your toolset.
When it was first sold back in the 90s, it was described as “A mid-range professional saw – heavy-duty saw that makes the work easier.” While they are no longer for sale new, you can often find them listed for sale on online marketplaces. Stihl 026 parts are also readily available.
The saw pictured throughout this article is owned by Edward Knapp – thanks again to him for sharing his saw.
Stihl 026 Chainsaw
Whereas the Stihl 026 is a good all-around chainsaw, you should note several things before purchasing one.
For starters, consider your needs.
If you go full lumberjack mode, a bigger and more powerful chainsaw will be better – you might even consider the new 500i. However, the Stihl 026 is an excellent option for farm, home, and light commercial use.
Secondly, remember that you will need to purchase it second-hand as it’s no longer in production. As such, you have to ensure the unit you are buying is still in good working condition and offers more value for your money.
Next, are you willing to work on it if needed?
Depending on how much it’s been used, the saw may need some work done. Whether it’s basic stuff like a new air filter or more significant work like a new piston and cylinder, keep in mind your mechanical abilities when buying an old saw.
Either way, the Stihl 026 is a very good saw that is highly respected in the chainsaw community and sought after, no matter the condition.
Stihl 026 Versions
As with all Stihl chainsaws, there are a few versions.
- Stihl 026 – base model
- Stihl 026 C – includes a catalytic converter
- Stihl 026 Pro – decompression button and adjustable oiler
- Stihl 026 Arctic – heated handle
The main question that comes up is ‘What’s the difference between a 026 and an 026 Pro?’
There’s a good thread in the Stihl Fans FB group in which Brady shares:
The only difference is the adjustable oiler and decompression valve. All other differences in the 026/260 line were generational.
Things like an opaque or solid tank, compensating vs adjustable high jet carb, air filter size, etc. were due to design changes and are not a difference between the pro and “non-pro” 026s.
Both versions of the saw are Pro range chainsaws.
In another 026 thread, John shared:
Arguably the best Stihl saw built in the last 30 years. Power to weight ratio is great and will pull a 20″ bar all day long. Pro has an adjustable oiler and a compression release.
And Andrew said:
Great saw. 026 pro saws have an adjustable oiler, compensating carb, and decomp valve. All pointless marketing by Stihl.
Stihl 026 Specs
You can compare the 026 with other chainsaws of its time in the chart above.
You can see that it’s more powerful than the Stihl 024 (41cc) but significantly less powerful than the 036 (61cc) or the 044 (70cc). It’s also a much more powerful chainsaw than the current Stihl MS180c – a homeowner or beginner-level saw.
The Stihl 026 is made of die-cast magnesium and injection mold polymer, making it tough and durable.
- 48.7cc engine
- 3.5 horsepower
- Best with a 16 – 20 inch bar
- 026 weighs 10.4 lbs (4.7 kgs); 026 PRO weighs 10.8 lbs (4.9 kgs)
- 1.73-inch (44 mm) bore
- 1.26-inch (32 mm) stroke
- Bosch WSR 6 F or NGK BPMR 7 A spark plug
- Electrode gap 0.5 mm (0.02 in)
Exact specs may vary depending on when and where your chainsaw was manufactured, and whether or not it’s had any aftermarket work done on it.
Stihl Pro 026 Features And Benefits
There are several notable features and benefits of the Stihl 026.
20-Inch Sprocket Nose Bar Full Comp Chain
For basic cutting needs, the 20-inch sprocket nose bar full comp chain is highly effective. However, that’s not all.
The teeth are squared, and there’s the minimal spacing between them. This feature adds to the efficiency and speed of the chainsaw’s cutting ability.
Anytime you deal with a power tool, caution is necessary.
Any momentary loss of awareness or the device falling into the wrong hands can cause injuries or damage to property.
To help prevent such occurrences, the Stihl 026 comes with a throttle lock. Once active, the chain cannot propel even if you accidentally press the trigger.
Adding to its safety measures, this Stihl chainsaw also features a hand protector.
Should the chain break while in use, it can ricochet back from below and hurt you even if you are wearing gloves. Thanks to the metallic hand protector, you won’t have to worry about that happening.
Stihl 026 Price And Parts
Because you can’t find a new Stihl 026 (unless there are some NIB or NOS saws out there), this chainsaw has a vast price range.
Some of the factors that play a role in this include condition, how much you want it, and whether the owner still thinks it’s useful. With all these in play, you can pay anywhere from $50 to $400.
A mint condition 026 can sell for a lot more. Some have gone for over $600 on eBay and prices rise each year.
Is it easy to find parts for the Stihl 026?
Although Stihl 026 replacement parts are not as available as those for newer models, they remain accessible.
You can find them on platforms such as:
- Here on eBay – original and aftermarket parts (including complete 026 chainsaws)
- On Amazon here – a lot of aftermarket parts
- HL Supply – a great range of parts for all chainsaws
- Sears Parts Direct – may or may not have parts for the 026
Local Facebook Groups are another good spot to ask around for chainsaw parts. I’ve found there’s always someone nearby with the parts I need.
Stihl 026 Review
When purchasing a chainsaw, the most important thing to consider is whether it can deliver on expectations.
With the Stihl 026, that’s exactly what you get. It’s simple yet effective. With the features, it offers that support functionality and safety, it’s a great tool for personal use. Moreover, you won’t experience extremely rough vibrations when cutting, making the user experience more friendly.
However, if there’s a drawback with this chainsaw, it’s that some spare parts might not be readily available at stores near you. Fortunately, you can still access them from various online platforms.
Here are some comments from people who have owned and used the 026 extensively.
Yep [it’s good]. Unless you’re getting into some wood that’s bigger than 24 inches and it’s a little underpowered and you’re not gonna be able to use as big a bar.
The 026 is the perfect saw. Very durable and if you take care of it saw will outlast you.
Don’t let these other guys tell you “it wasn’t $300 brand new.” Get real people. This is one of my best-selling saws and coming from someone who builds them EVERY SINGLE DAY this saw is worth every penny.
But yes bring a t27 bit with you and pull the muffler. That will tell you everything you need to know.
And Tony said:
Great saw, retains it’s value well…If you take good care of it, can prob get your whole investment back if you decide to sell/upgrade..
Here’s a summary of the pros and cons.
- Powerful, well built, pro grade chainsaw
- Reliable when looked after and it will go all day
- Durable – can take a bit of a beating due to it’s magnesium case
- Most parts are easy still to find and there are plenty of repair or mod tutorials on YouTube
- Good resale value
- Awkward choke
- Doesn’t have the most modern features
- Parts can be pricey, especially OEM
Stihl 026 Alternatives
A chainsaw is not something you purchase frequently.
For this reason, you need to be sure the brand and model you choose best suits your long-term needs. As such, an essential step when buying a chainsaw is assessing several options.
In this regard, the best alternatives for the Stihl 026 include the following models and brands.
1. Stihl MS 261
One of the alternate options to consider is the saw that followed the 026, the modern Stihl MS 261.
This is another gas-powered chainsaw that offers professional-level performance and efficiency. It has an engine capacity of 50.2cc and 4 hp.
At 4.9kg, it’s light and also has an electronic ignition, unlike the 026 model. Another key feature is its anti-vibration system that enhances comfort.
2. Stihl 031
The 031 takes us back in time as an old vintage Stihl saw.
It’s similarly powered at 49 ccs but it makes for a good firewood chainsaw if you spot one for sale second-hand.
The downside of these older saws is that they do vibrate a lot more, have much higher emissions, and they’re a lot louder. Some people like that while it gives others a headache.
3. Husqvarna 460 Rancher
The 60-cc Husqvarna 460 Rancher is an all-around homeowner chainsaw.
It uses petrol and has a bar length of 20 inches. To prevent dust and other debris from reaching the air filter, it has a centrifugal air cleaning system.
Another key feature of this chainsaw is the combined choke and stop control. These features significantly reduce the risk of engine flooding and make starting the machine easier.
Stihl 026 Chainsaw FAQs
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Do you have any reservations or concerns about the Stihl 026?
Here are some frequently asked questions by chainsaw enthusiasts such as yourself.
What CC is a Stihl 026?
The Stihl 026 is a 48-cc chainsaw.
Whereas it might fall a bit short in this category compared to other chainsaws of its caliber, this shouldn’t discourage you from seeking out and using this model.
It’s relatively effective and efficient thanks to the saw’s squared teeth and minimal spacing.
Is the Stihl 026 a good saw?
To put it simply, yes.
With the Stihl 026, you have a reliable asset for your domestic cutting needs. Whether it’s for firewood, farming needs, or even outdoor escapades such as camping, it will meet your needs.
For more info, see our post comparing the 026 with the 260 and 261.
What year was the Stihl 026 made?
The Stihl 026 was introduced to the market in 1988 (026 PRO 1996) and was sold until 2002.
To attest to its effectiveness and efficiency, many people still use and prefer it now nearly three decades later, even if it’s no longer in production.
What Stihl saw replaced the 026?
Though Stihl halted production on the Stihl 026, the company continues producing user-friendly and effective chainsaws. The MS 260 and 261 model replaced the Stihl 026.
How much compression Should a Stihl Have?
One of the key things to consider when choosing a chainsaw is compression.
Stihl USA indicates its chainsaws offer a minimum compression of 110 psi. However, you’ll find it varies with models, as some can read a bit higher or lower.
026 Stihl Chainsaw
Whether the Stihl 026 is great is beside the point when shopping around for a chainsaw.
It’s one thing buying a great chainsaw and another altogether having one that suits your needs. So, begin by determining how you intend to use the chainsaw to guide you on key aspects such as power output.
The Stihl 026 falls under the category of chainsaws designed for light-pro use. As such, if you want a tool that can handle your farming and household firewood needs, it’s a great option.
Moreover, you can also take it with you when you go out into the woods. Take it from me. It’s no fun running out of firewood when you are in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with no electricity during winter.
Ultimately, the 026 is a reliable chainsaw.
All you need to do is make sure you purchase one in good working condition, and you’ll be good to go. It’s a good gas chainsaw, but for light tasks around the home, have you considered a strong battery-powered chainsaw?
Stihl has some of those as well!