Stihl 036 Chainsaw Review: Specs, Features, Prices, Parts, And Best Alternatives

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The Stihl 036 is a powerful 61.5 cc 4.4 hp chainsaw that was produced between 1991 and 2002.

It can be run with a 16″ – 28″ bar, weighs only 12.5 lbs and is excellent for use as a “go all-day” firewood chainsaw or for dropping mid-sized trees.

The 036 is a pro-grade Stihl chainsaw, so it’s built better and tougher than the homeowner saws and can be expected to last for decades if treated right.

036 owners and users love this:

One of the best pro model firewood saws Stihl ever produced. The 036 Pro that I bought new has been absolutely fantastic. A friend had one for his tree trimming business. Ran it for 21 years before she blew.

The 036 pictured here is another one of Edward Knapp’s chainsaws – we’ve been sharing many of his saws, many of which are vintage collectibles.

Stihl 036 Versions

is the stihl 036 good
Stihl 036

There are three different versions of the 036:

  • 036
  • 036 Pro
  • 036 QS

What’s the difference between the Stihl 036, Stihl 036 QS, and Stihl 036 Pro?

The saw was produced over a period of 11 or so years, so it did go through some changes over this period.

The base model and the PRO are basically the same saw but the PRO has a decompression button and a slightly different air filter.

Some say the Pro has an adjustable oiler, whereas the base model does not, but this doesn’t appear to be true unless only the very earliest 036s were sold without an adjustable oiler.

difference between 036 and 036 pro
Stihl 036 Pro

Some people also believe the base 036 is a homeowner series saw while the 036 Pro is the pro series saw, but this is not the case. Both are pro-level saws, the Pro version just has those few extra features.

Most (if not all) of the base model 036s have adjustable oilers as well.

Stihl 036 QS

variations of Stihl 036
Stihl 036 Quickstop

Then there is the 036 QS.

The QS designates the additional Quick Stop Brake feature which is an additional chain brake system stopping the chain within one second of taking your hand off the rear trigger.

Often, the ‘E’ designation for electronic ignition went hand in hand with QS, but by the time the 036 came out, electronic ignition came standard.

Parts associated with the Quick Stop version are more difficult to find.

It’s still the same 61.5 cc chainsaw as the Pro, but the QS version does weigh slightly more – 12.8 lbs compared to 12.5 lbs.

Sometimes you’ll see people talk about an 036 AV or 036 Super, but there were no 036s designated Anti Vibration on the model name/number (though it did have an AV system) or Super (which designates a larger bore or stroke).

You might also see mention of an 036 AVSEQ, but I’ve not come across one of those either.

Stihl 036 Specs

old stihl 036 pro
The 036 is a fantastic firewood saw

While most of the 036 specs have been shared already, here they are summarized.

Stihl 036 specs:

  • 61.5 cc, 3.75 cu in displacement
  • 4.42 bhp, 3.3 kW of power
  • 12.5 lbs or 5.7 kg (the QS is slightly heavier)
  • 16 – 28″ bar
  • 20″ recommended bar size
  • 48 mm/1.89″ cylinder bore
  • 34 mm/1.34″ piston stroke
  • Bosch WSR6F, NGK BPMR7A, Champion RCJ7Y spark plugs
  • ZAMA C3A-S39-B series carb
  • Nylon mesh air filter

The following screenshot comes from the Stihl website in 2001 when the 036 Pro and QS were available for sale new.

stihl 036 specifications

They said:

Designed for professional pulpwood and firewood cutting. Good power to weight ratio. Includes IntelliCarb compensating carburetor with decompression valve and adjustable oil pump.

Here are the 036 QS specs.

stihl 036 qs specs and features

Of which they said:

Featuring dual chain braking system.

Depend on Stihl – the first saw manufacturer to offer a chain brake – to come up with an exclusive braking system on the 036QS. As is true on other Stihl saws, the chain brake can be activated via the front handguard or by the inertia in certain kickback situations. Includes decompression valve for easier starting.

The braking system on the 036QS can also be activated with the interlock lever by removing your right hand completely from the rear handle.

Today, Stihl has this chain brake feature standard on all new saws.

Stihl 036 Review

Check out the video review of the Stihl 036 Pro above.

You’ll see and hear the saw in action plus hear the review of someone (Outdoors With The Morgans) who has been using it for over 25 years to cut thousands of trees.

It’s a great saw for firewood – much more powerful than other old Stihls like the 018 or the 026. Especially if you’re cutting thinner-width trees and logs, the 036 really rips through them quickly.

Pros:

  • Pro-grade saw extra durable and reliable
  • Powerful and can be used extensively
  • Most parts can be found easily

Cons:

  • Some parts difficult to find
  • A bit heavier than the modern replacements

And here are some positive and negative comments from real users of the 036 (from the Stihl Chainsaw Fans group).

Positive:

  • Best firewood saw ever…
  • Great saw. Mine is 30 years old and still has 160 PSI compression.
  • Mine is not a pro but she runs great with a 20” bar.
  • Great saws if they’re not worn out!
  • My favorite piece of hardware.
  • It’s not a showpiece but she’s a worker and a strong runner.
  • I have an 036, but not a Pro. Beast of a saw. Haven’t found anything to slow it down yet.
  • I have a ported 036 that’ll hang with a stock 462. I’m my opinion, the best firewood saw ever made. They run forever.
  • I own a 036 red lever and it’s a fantastic saw it runs a 25-inch bar with a skip tooth chain. It’s a great saw.

Eric, one of the members, has fond memories:

That was my favorite saw until somebody came to my house and took it out of the back of my pick up truck in my driveway. I almost liked it more than my 661. Obviously not as much power but all around amazing saw. I’m looking for another. Was 20 years old.

And here are the not-so-positive comments, which are much harder to find.

Negative:

  • Find a 360. The is a 036 good saw just not as good as a new model.
  • The only con is if they want too much money.

Besides the fact that parts are harder to find for old models than new models, and that it doesn’t run as smoothly as a new perhaps, there are very few cons.

Stihl 036 Price And Parts

Stihl 036

  • Produced 1991 - 2002
  • 61.5 cc, 4.4 hp, 16 - 28" bar
  • 12.5 lbs
View On EBAYView On HL Supply

Stihl MS360

  • Produced 2002 - 2005
  • 61.5 cc, 4.4 hp, 16 - 21" bar
  • 12.5 lbs
View On EBAYView On Amazon

Stihl MS361

  • Produced 2004 - 2010
  • 59 cc, 4.4 hp, 16 - 25" bar
  • 12.3 lbs
View On EBAYView On Amazon

Stihl MS362

  • Produced 2010 - current
  • 59 cc, 4.4 hp, 16 - 25" bar
  • 12.3 lbs
View On Northern ToolView On Acme Tools

Husqvarna 460 Rancher

  • Husqvarna alternative
  • 60 cc, 3.62 hp, 14 - 24" bar
  • 13 lbs
View On AmazonView On Tractor Supply

036 parts are not overly difficult to find, especially if you ask around some of the Stihl Facebook groups.

You can pick up the 036 for anywhere between $100 and around $500. Anything under $300 for a working saw could be considered a good deal.

Once it starts getting towards that top end of the price people would rather spend the money on an MS360 or MS361.

The MS362 which is the current 036 equivalent retails for between $800 – $900.

The price depends on the condition, but there are a lot of tidy and barely used 036s out there that are in excellent condition.

See current prices and parts:

Stihl 036 Chainsaw

The 036 is a very popular saw that should be snapped up quickly if you see it listed in good condition for the right price – if you don’t grab it someone else will!

Even if you see a saw for sale that needs a bit of a rebuild, it’s usually well worth doing.

Reviewers all love the 036 for firewood and felling trees, so you’re unlikely to go wrong with it.

Find out more about other old Stihl chainsaws and, if you want to check out some more of Edward’s chainsaws, here’s his 017 or his 075.

Thanks for reading!

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