Stihl 028 Chainsaw Review: Specs, Features, Price, Parts, And BEST Alternatives

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This is what you need to know about the STIHL 028:

  • It’s a Stihl series 1118 chainsaw produced with varying designations from 1979 – 1990
  • There are 4 major versions, including the Wood Boss and Super
  • Different specs and features, from the 47 cc, 3 hp base model to the 51.1 cc, 3.2 hp Super
  • It’s not a professional chainsaw but is designed for light-to-medium homeowner use
  • Weigh around 12 lbs and are used with 13 – 20″ bars (depending on the version)

028s are considered to be good, durable chainsaws.

Some users complain about the power-to-weight ratio, especially when being used for a long stretch. “Heavy and slow” was one description, but others are happy to state “The 028 is my favorite saw.”

Images from eBay seller Sherman Saw Parts are used with permission. This STIHL 028 WB sold on eBay for US $399.99 in Sept 2023.

Stihl 028 Versions

stihl 028 AV super
STIHL 028 WB

The 028 was manufactured for over two decades, so there is are differences between a 1979 model and a 1990 model.

That makes listing exact specifications tricky because you really need to know the exact year and designations for your particular saw to find out precise specs.

There are many different Stihl 028 Chainsaw models:

  • STIHL 028
  • STIHL 028 AV
  • STIHL 028 AV EQ
  • STIHL 028 Super
  • STIHL 028 WB
  • STIHL 028 WB AV
  • STIHL 028 AV Super EQ
  • STIHL 028 AV Super Wood Boss EQ

Most of the 028s have the AV designation for the Anti Vibration system. However, some of the earliest models did not have this AV system.

Wood Boss (WB), like STIHL Farm Boss, is just a marketing term that was used at different times in different markets. EQ stands for Electronic Quickstop which means the saw has an electronic ignition and Quickstop Chainbrake. AV EQ features have been standard features on all Stihl saws for decades now.

Saws without the E designation likely have points and condenser ignition. For example, the Wood Boss above does not have electronic ignition. Our STIHL 031 review has more on this.

stihl 028 chainsaw versions
STIHL 028 WB AVS EQ

The Super designation means something significant.

It’s actually a more powerful chainsaw with a larger 46 mm bore, compared to the 44 mm bore of the non-Super versions.

Compare the 028 Super specs with the other versions of the 028 in the following table.

STIHL 028 AV / WB 028 Super
Displacement 47 ccs / 2.86 cu in 51.5 ccs / 3.14 cu in
Power 3 hp / 2.23 kW 3.2 hp /  2.39 kW
Bore 44 mm / 1.73″ 46 mm / 1.81″
Piston 31 mm / 1.22″ 31 mm / 1.22″
Max speed 12,500 rpm 13,000 rpm
Weight 12.6 lbs 12.6 lbs
Bar Length 13″ to 18″ 13″ to 20″

Because it’s more powerful, the 028 Super is better than the 028 AV or 028 WB, though they are very similar.

The 028 was a best-selling Stihl chainsaw for many years because it was reliable and just the right power, weight, and price for homeowners. It’s a handy saw for firewood and other home clean-up tasks.

Stihl 028 Chainsaw Review

STIHL chainsaw 028 AV WB Super
Sold for US $399.99 in 2023

“Not the biggest or most powerful but the best all-around saw ever made,” is how one Stihl 028 user described the saw.

While we don’t personally go that far, it gives a sense of how some owners feel about it. Those who prefer powerful Stihl chainsaws aren’t going to think a whole lot of the 028, but those who are simply fans of all Stihl saws think it’s pretty good.

Here are some Stihl 028 user reviews:

  • David said: “Still use my 028 Super, just about every week… And I have 6 other saws.”
  • Chris said: “One of the best, most durable saws ever made.”
  • Mark said: “Nice saw but parts are being discontinued.”
  • Rick said: “My 1989 vintage 028 Super is still going strong.”
  • Jarred said: “Run a 16″ .325 with RS chain and they will cut great.”
  • Rory said: “Very good saws. They go and go and go. I’d rather have one of those than an STIHL 026.”
  • Matt said: “Problem is many parts are NLA. Still is a nice saw and much better than the 290.”
  • Brandon said: “My favorite saw is a 028 Super WB.”
  • Daniel said: “The 028 is a legendary Stihl saw. Still a bunch of them running and cutting today.”
  • Greag said: “Great saw but tough to get parts for.”
  • Gary said: “I used mine for 30 years… it still runs good but needs new rubber mounts.”

Justin said:

They are heavy and slow compared to new saws. But the 028 will live longer then a saw sold today.

Isac said:

Best firewood saw ever in my opinion. It was so good that they discontinued them and replaced it with the less torquey 026. But yeah parts are getting really hard to find, but they are built really really well.

Travis said:

Great saws . They are a little heavy for their power ratio but virtually bullet prof. If you can find a bow blade to fit it its an outstanding combo for bucking smaller rounds up to 12″ or so . The extra weight is actually a good thing with a bow.

Ken said:

Terrific saw.

My son had mine for over five years, never used it – he bought a newer saw, so I asked if I could get it back… I always used gas stabilizer in it, got it back, fresh gas, and it started on the fifth pull… awesome Stihl technology.

You look after it and it will probably outlast a human being LOL.

Nathan said:

A little faster than the 024, but a little slower than the 026. But they are really durable little tanks of a chainsaw.

stihl 028 homeowner chainsaw reviews
An early 028 WB

Daniel said:

One of Stihl’s best saws. Bought one used in 1990, still runs great with no mods. The only things I have changed are the air cleaner and oil pump gear.

Everett said:

I know some parts are hard to come by on the 028 AV Electronic Quickstop I am working on for a friend. For some parts, the only replacement has to come from a donor saw.

Wayne said:

Great saw! I have a 028 AV Woodboss. Bought it new long time ago. Still using it. Still going strong.

And Chris, a huge fan, said:

The 028 is the most notable chainsaw Stihl has ever made. If you find a nice one I’d be jumping on it. Paid $185 for mine in good condition. The 028 is one of the most well known if not the most well known Stihl saw ever built.

Most reviews of the 028 are very good and positive. Everyone seems to love it. Every so often you’ll see someone call it a “Women’s chainsaw,” but other than that, it only gets praise.

The main cons are:

  • Some parts are difficult to find or expensive
  • The power-to-weight ratio is not as good as newer saws
  • It’s not an everyday or big job chainsaw

It’s built for light to moderate duty work, not felling a forest.

Specs And Features

what is the stihl 028 worth
Specs vary from version to version

The 028 specs and features vary depending on the year made, place made, and version. We shared most of those above.

Here are the specifications not shared in the table above:

  • Fuel tank capacity: 0.5 L / 1.06 US pint
  • Oil tank capacity: 0.3 L / 0.63 US pint
  • Spark plug: Bosch WSR 6 F or NGK BPMR 7 A
  • Electrode gap: 0.5 mm / 0.02″
  • Air filter: Bisectional flat wire mesh type

The anti-vibration technology changed a lot from 1979 to 1990, so those later models are going to have a higher level of comfort when in use.

Or, for another example, some of the earlier models had a front chain tensioning screw (the older style), while the newer saws have an easier side-tensioner.

You can expect the following types of features:

  • Automatic chain oiler
  • Easy access air filters for cleaning
  • Chainbrake (not on all – some only have  handguard)

The designation ‘Electronic Quickstop’ that you see listed on many of the 028s – it’s what we now call a chain brake that stops the saw immediately when activated. Non-Quickstop 028s only have a guard.

Price And Parts

028 parts NLA
The price depends mostly on the condition

As with everything else to do with the 028, the price varies!

We’ve seen them listed, or heard of people finding them for literally $20. Then at the other extreme, you will find see them selling for between $300 all the way up to $600.

As already stated, the 028 pictured through this post sold for US $399.99 by eBay seller Sherman Saws.

This is how they described it:

This is a very nice clean low hours STIHL 028 chainsaw with a used 18″ bar and chain (I have added a breather hose with vent plug since the photos were taken). Runs, Oils, Idles Great!

Please view all photos closely for a detailed condition description. It is used and has signs of wear and tear.

Price will come down to these factors:

  • Year it was made – its features and specs
  • Condition – a barely used model can go high
  • Modifications – if there are any and whether it was done with aftermarket or OEM parts

As far as where to find parts for the Stihl 028, there are a number of good spots, but OEM is expensive.

Compare parts prices:

EBay also usually has entire old chainsaws that can be bought cheaply for parts – sometimes these saws can even be repaired by the right person.

Stihl 028 Super FAQs

stihl 028 chain
Stihl 028 bar and chain

How many CCs does a Stihl 028 have?

The CCs of different models:

  • 028 AV – 47 ccs
  • 028 Wood Boss – 47 ccs
  • 028 Super – 51.5 ccs

What chain does a Stihl 028 use?

The 028 runs a 0.325″ (7 tooth sprocket) or 3/8″ (8 tooth sprocket) pitch chain.

The exact chain specs will depend on the chainsaw version and bar.

What is the best Stihl chainsaw of all time?

That is certainly up for debate and everybody will give you a different answer. 

The Stihl 261 is a very good all-rounder, but other more powerful saws like the 880 or 881 have a lot of fans. 

Is a Stihl 028 AV Super a pro saw?

The 028 Super is a mid-range saw from Stihl.

It’s not a professional logging or forestry saw like the 026, but it’s certainly more powerful than small homeowner saws like the Stihl 011 AV.

Though there are plenty of small, lower-powered saws that are still professional-grade. The Stihl MS 200 T, for example, is a 35cc pro arborist saw.

How much is an 028 or 028 Super worth?

Because the value of a chainsaw is dependent on condition and location, it’s best to compare your saw with others listed in your location.

Check Facebook groups, eBay, and other online platforms to get a real-time indication of what your 028 is worth.

Generally speaking, running 028s sell for between $200 – $400.

How long is the 028 bar?

The 028 is recommended for use with a 13 – 18 inch bar. The 028 Super can run a bar up to 20 inches long.

Users recommend a 16″ for the 028 or 18″ for the 028 S for optimal power.

What is the fuel oil mix ratio for the 028?

Stihl recommends a 50:1 fuel oil mix for the 028. Some users suggest a 40:1 ratio.

STIHL 028 Chainsaw

stihl 028 chainsaw value
A good chainsaw for homeowners

The STIHL 028 is a great old Stihl chainsaw that’s worth picking up for the right price.

There are many accounts of people who inherit them from fathers or grandfathers and intend on keeping and using them forever.

The 028 really handy saw to have around – a bit heavier and a bit more sluggish than newer models like the MS 271 Farm Boss, but good nonetheless.

Let us know if you have any comments or questions below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on and experiences with the 028 as well, alongside any more about the Stihl 028’s history.

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31 thoughts on “Stihl 028 Chainsaw Review: Specs, Features, Price, Parts, And BEST Alternatives”

  1. I have a 028 super I purchased used back in 2019 was not running for $75. I tore it down rebuilt it with SKS bearings all around, new piston rings, ported old cylinder, new crank, and exhaust mod. Final price complete about$ 300. I’ve been running it hard for the last 2 years and it has not failed me yet. I’m glad I picked this saw.

    Reply
    • I’d love to get some more details from you on your rebuild! Parts etc. I inherited an 028 Stihl from a friend whose dad bought it new in 1988. I found the receipt in the shop. He’s long since past away. The old guy made it through D day on Normandy beach saw. I got to keep this thing running! It runs rough. Had to adjust the idle but the chain moves slightly as the idle is a little high. Would love to tear it down and rebuild it.

      Reply
    • I have an original 028 AV Super that’s till has all stickers and was kept in Stihl hard case. I would take 500 usd for it. It is a German made saw and is absolutely in the best shape you’ll find. It may have 15-20 hours on a 40 year old saw.

      Reply
    • Good find. But this article was a terrible and misleading review. The 028 is by any standards just as a professional saw as any other. Saying it is for light homeowner use is outright stupidity.

      Reply
  2. Just got an 028 Wood Boss AV from a junk removal cleanout job a couple days ago. It fired right up and runs great! It’s a keeper. Probably needs a new chain and some cleaning up, but otherwise in very good used condition. Surprised how quickly it started and how well it idled and revved.

    Reply
  3. Was cruising around looking for parts for my 028 AV when I ran into this article. I have to replace the anti-vibration mounts. I bought this saw new around 1980 and this is the first maintenance I’ve ever done. It has cuts tons and tons of wood. I used to heat with a wood furnace. It’s one of the best pieces of equipment I’ve ever owned.

    Reply
  4. The original 028 was introduced in 1977 and it was a 43cc saw (42mm bore)
    in 1979 the type 2 was introduced with a bigger 47cc engine (44mm bore)
    and then in 1986ish the super was introduced with a 52cc engine (46mm bore)
    with the exception of the super its kinda hard to tell which model you have without very close inspection as parts have most likely been swapped and replaced multiple times.

    Reply
  5. I was on my way to work this morning and saw a028 at the end of someone’s driveway so I picked it up. When I got to work got it to start on the 4th pull!!!! Runs great!! Great find

    Reply
  6. Like everyone else said here, I too have had an 028AV for many years of infallible operation, and it gets hours and hours of bucking up firewood every year. The only thing I ever did to it was, (when I acquired it used) was change the clutch housing to the replaceable chain driver style, and added a chain brake assembly. My neighbor is blown away how it will start second pull, even if it’s sat unused for several months. Of all my saws, it’s the one that I am most likely to reach for first.

    Reply
  7. Matt D gives the most accurate information in this whole article. The 42mm early 028 does not have a chain brake, the starter cover, rear handle/tank and clutch cover all are metal and it has points ignition. The 44mm was the standard model with the 46mm super being the upgrade. Both had electronic ignition and more plastic parts. An 028 is a more powerful saw than an 026, the latter related to the 024. Any comparision between an 028 and 011 or 880, as mentioned, is ridiculous. The 011 is not a firewood saw and the 880 is a quite expensive pro grade logging saw. Owners of 028’s will mainly use for firewood, storm cleanup, basic land maintainence. It’s a good all around saw for farm or home use. And like the 024, 026, 034, 036, 038, 044, 046 and up, it has a magnesium crankcase with cylinder bolted to it as well as the bar. More solid than Stihl’s homeowner models or many saws sold today.

    Reply
  8. I have a Stihl 028 AV Wood Boss w/electronic quickstop. A older gentleman friend of mine literally gave it to me 15+ years ago and it still starts on the second pull (at most) to this day. It needs a little TLC, just a cleanup, which I am going to take it to a shop to have done. It is by far the best chainsaw that I have ever owned.

    Reply
  9. I’m pretty sure that the 028 Woodboss was built into the late 1980’s. I just got one given to me by a colleague who said he bought it new in town and he didn’t move here until 1987. To be clear it’s not an 028 Super Woodboss.

    Reply
  10. I have a pair of 028’s. Both run fabulously. One was my brother’s. My brother had a Stihl shop replace the clutch, then the crank broke. Turns out there was a batch of 028’s with a bad crank casting. The saw was ten years old, but Stihl stepped up and offered to pay for either the parts or labor. My 028 was twelve years old when I had the clutch replaced. I mentioned the crank issue, and the shop talked with the regional Stihl director. They offered me the same deal. Two weeks later the crank broke. Stihl stepped up and made it right. Name another chainsaw manufacturer who stands behind their products like that. Their old hat used to say, “It’s not a deal unless it a Stihl”.

    Reply
  11. Good reading. I’ve heated with wood as supplemental heat since I built my house in 1984. I bought an Echo 452 in 1982 and still use it. I also have a pair of 028 Super Wood Bosses and ironically just yesterday picked up an 028 Wood Boss that is in mint condition from a friend who’s brother purchased new and had put up in his shop. He passed two years ago so she gave it to me knowing I heat with wood. I literally poured the old gas out of it, put fresh gas in and in less than 10 pulls it fired up and ran like a sewing machine! I just shook my head in amazement. No doubt my grandchildren will probably be using these saws. Using them is like a drug to me and it never gets old. Take care.

    Reply
      • I purchased my first chain saw brand new in 1980 and it was an amazing 028wb . No chain break, no electronic ignition . I do not rember how much it was $180 or $280 rings a bell . This I remember well I used it hard for 10 years and had no repairs just chains sold it for $10 MORE THAN I PAID FOR NEW . Bought a 038 and regret it to this day……….
        I will buy another one soon

        Reply
  12. My 028wb has been the best saw I’ve ever owned and now that it’s had a base gasket delete ported n polished muffler mod and tuned it’s not a wood boss now it’s a wood beast

    Reply
  13. My dad gave me his 028 av super that was sitting in his garage for years, and then in my garage for years. He passed away a couple years ago, it was his birthday on 2/1. So I decided to see if I could get it running. I added new fuel, cleaned air filter, 3 pulls and it started up and is running great. Very impressive

    Reply
  14. I inherited A well used and abused 028AV Super. Put some fresh gas and A little clean up. 6 pulls and it started right up. I put A 20″ bar and new chain on it 2 years ago. It’s one of the most reliable saws I’ve ever owned.

    Reply
  15. I have a Stihl 028AV super that I bought new on 8-21-85. I know that because I am looking at the receipt. New with oil grease and case total 365.00. I have heated with wood all these years and I am sure it has cut over 500 face cords of wood. 90% of the 500 were trees I had to drop, cut and split.
    Yes, I have replaced the bearings once and the piston and cylinder twice.
    I LOVE THIS SAW!

    Reply
  16. Really appreciate this thorough, clear and well written review! I was about to pull the trigger on a new Husqvarna, but reading this made me realize that a used, well maintained 028 that I’ve been eyeing should be fine for cutting firewood and felling a few trees on my property now and then. Thanks!

    Reply
  17. Well, let me chime in here. I was logging in the Black Hills for Homestake in the late 70s and early 80s and a buddy of mine showed up with an 028 for bucking and limbing. I borrowed it for a few trees and went right out and bought one. That was in 1979 so I guess the first year of production. In no time there were 028s all over the woods. Superb little saw, most of us quickly switched to a 20″ bar and even used it for occasional felling of smaller caliper trees because it was so handy and light weight.

    I’ve long since quit logging, I saw most of my older mentors that couldn’t stand upright so I sold my big saws and got into construction, but I still have that 028 and still use it around the place. It’s been busy the past few weeks as we had a hard freeze a couple years ago that killed a bunch of my ash trees and I’ve been cutting them down. I’m 70 and don’t feel like handling a bigger saw and frankly I don’t need one. The 028 still starts 3rd pull when cold. I’ve used a few of the newer ones in the past few years when helping an arborist friend and I’ll take my old 028 any day. Less plastic, less epa crap like the chinese epa compliant carbs and especially the worthless gas and oil caps.

    Reply
  18. The 028 will rev higher but lose some torque if you go electronic 290 farm boss coil instead of the points it came with. Fits perfectly and you use the original flywheel. Just leave the old points in there if you want to.

    Reply
  19. I just happened upon this page looking for a schematic for the handle area of the 028 WB I have. To say I love this saw is an understatement. I bought it in 1983 with case and extra oil for $280. I’ve used it continually up until 2020, when the points went bad and I was told by a Stihl dealer that I could no longer get points for it. Needless to say, I was heart broken, as my saw was in very good shape overall. I started looking to see if I could find spare points on eBay when I ran across information on converting the O28 to electronic ignition. I bought a kit for around $25 and found it easy to install. Amazingly to me, it fired right up, and actually seemed to run better than it ever did before. Recently the choke lever quit working in the handle, so I can’t crank it. After 40 years of use, I may have to shelve the old boy. I find it very hard to think of trashing it, so I’ll just find a spot on a shelf in my shop.

    Reply

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