Stihl 056 Chainsaw Review: Versions, Specs, Features, Price, And Parts

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The 056 is an iconic Stihl with a good reputation.

It is an 81cc saw that didn’t have a long production run, only being made between 1980 and 1985. The saw was also available in a Super and Magnum version alongside the standard version.

While some people consider it a dinosaur, others think it’s one of the most capable and underrated chainsaws. The 056 is not rare, but it is certainly vintage. Parts can be hard to find, which is standard with all saws of this age, but it was a great saw in its time.

Stihl 056 Versions

stihl 056 vs 056 super

The Stihl 056 pictured in this article is one of Edward Knapp’s chainsaws. He keeps his saws all original, as much as possible.

The saw featured here is an 056 AVE.

As always, there were many versions:

  1. 056 AVE – standard with electronic ignition
  2. 056 AVSE – Super with electronic ignition
  3. 056 AVEQ – standard with electronic ignition and chain brake
  4. 056 AVSEQ – Super with electronic ignition and chain brake
  5. 056 AVMEQ II – Magnum with electronic ignition and chain brake

Of course, AV means anti-vibration, which came stock with all 056 saws.

Super means the saw had slightly higher displacement, resulting in more power. In this case, it’s the same with the Magnum II.

The differences between the base model, Super, and Magnum versions.

Stihl 056 056 S 056 Mag
Displacement 81 cc / 4.94 cu in 87 cc / 5.31 cu in 94 cc / 5.74 cu in
Power 5.6 hp / 4.2 kW 6.1 hp / 4.5 kW 6.6 hp / 4.9 kW
Bore 52 mm 54 mm 56 mm
Stroke 38 mm 38 mm 38mm
Weight 18 lbs 18.1 lbs 18.52 lbs

The stroke is the same on all versions, but the 056 Super and Magnum have wider bores than the standard version.

We don’t think there was a Magnum I, only a Magnum II – let us know in the comment section below whether that’s correct.

Stihl 056 Reviews

stihl 056 S vs 056 Mag II

The Stihl 056 is well-reviewed, and that includes all versions.

It’s a powerful saw with much history and nostalgia behind it. Due to its weight and the difficulty of finding parts for it, it’s not an everyday logging chainsaw, but it’s a great firewood saw or shelf queen.

The following comments are typical of what you’ll read about the 056.

Positive 056 reviews:

  • “056 my favorite saw used for years logging.”
  • “That 056 is a beast of a saw!! Make sure the timing is right or you’ll stretch some fingers!!”
  • “I still use the 056 Magnum to cut 90% of my wood and I cut at least 100 tonnes a year.”
  • “It’s a great saw I have an 056 AVE. Love it, easy to work on, and very dependable.”
  • “Strong saws when running right.”
  • “Very strong and has lots of low-end torque when running well.”
  • “They are the absolute torque monster…”
  • “The 056 is an angry hot saw.”
  • “One of my favorite saws.”
  • “I love the 056, I still have one for big trees and used them logging back in the day.”
  • “I’ve cut hundreds of cords of wood commercially with them.”
  • “I just have to rebuild my carburetor on my Magnum and then I’m going to use it on my mill.”
  • “Raw low-end torque and they sound beautiful in the cut.”

It’s a good saw to pass on to the next generation, as Evan shared:

My 056 was given to me by my father-in-law. It’s one of my favorite saws.

Has spunk like newer saws but also has the low end like the old ones. Normally has a 30″ bar on it.

And for those wondering if the 056 is collectible, this comment sheds some light:

I think people are finally figuring out this is one of the best vintage saws they made.

Some people choose not to use their 056 to preserve them, like this guy who said:

I retired mine even though it didn’t get used but a few times.

Bought it a few years ago for my collection and didn’t want to wear it out.

Parts are getting scarcer.

The downsides are the same with all old saws. 

It’s heavy, parts are hard to find, some parts are finicky (such as the 056 ignition system), and it’s lacking some of the modern features we all appreciate.

Ryan summed it up with his comment:

Great power but heavy.

Awesome saws unless ignition goes out. Can’t get parts to fix.

My dad has one with a 25″ bar. I bought a 462 because I don’t want the weight.

And Joe isn’t a fan:

Boat anchor! Heavy heavy! Why I got an 064!

We must admit, the 064 is a nice saw as well!

Ultimately, as long as you know what you’re in for when buying an 056, you can’t go wrong.

You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting a saw with the best user comfort and easiest maintenance.

Specs and Features

“A very powerful muscle saw that was made in Germany” is how the Chainsaw Man describes the 056 in this video.

It has all the best features available on Stihl saws in the early 80s. To name a few, they all had AV systems, automatic oil pumps, and magnesium cases.

Features of the Magnum shown in the video above:

  • Kill switch and choke on top of the saw
  • Throttle lock
  • Hand protector (in case a chain is thrown)
  • Footpad for starting
  • Chain brake (not on saws that aren’t marked Q)
  • Wrap handlebars
  • Large falling spikes

The base model did not have Quickstop Chain Brake, though all models have electronic ignition systems.

Some people change it to a points and condenser ignition system (as the 031 AV came with) if they cannot source replacement parts for the electronic.

Stihl recommended the 056 be used with a bar size of between 16 – 25″, but you’ll see people going much larger than that, especially on the Magnum II.

Basic specs (displacement, power, bore, stroke, etc.) for each version are listed above.

Weight is difficult to pin down exactly as different manuals list different values, but the dry weight appears to be between 18 – 19 pounds.

You’ll often see it listed as between 20 – 22 pounds, but this is the weight with a 14.5″ bar and chain.

Parts and Price

stihl 056 price

Price will always depend on the condition of the saw, your location, and how and where you buy it or market it.

We’ve seen guys buying or selling them for anywhere between $100 and $800.

On eBay at the time of writing there is only one complete working 056 saw for sale for $350.

It’s described as:

Rare 056 AV Super. Chainsaw has a newly rebuilt carburetor, fuel line, fuel filter, and choke rod. It runs good and comes with a  20″ bar and chain.

If you can’t find the 056 parts on eBay or the other usual places, the next best place to ask is in the Stihl Facebook groups (of which there are many).

The electronic module for the 056 can be found on eBay here (its the TS 360).

To help you identify the parts you need, here are the 056 manuals and guides.

065 Manuals

stihl 056 parts ignition

Manuals:

The Tech Notes are helpful as they have information on the different ignition systems, parts numbers, and diagrams.

You will learn, for example…

Compared with the 056 and 056 S, the following assemblies were changed on the 056 AV Magnum II and are not compatible with the other versions:

1. The crankcase assembly, with bearing, has been modified to suit the larger cylinder

2. The new cylinder and 2.2 in (56 mm) piston are installed with a new cylinder gasket

3. The carburetor (WJ 4) has been adapted to suit the extra power of the new 056 Magnum II

4. The air filter assembly, 1115 120 1630, consists of two air filter elements 1115 120 1629, new, with enlarged cut-out, and 1115 120 1605, as on 056, 056 S

5. The new carburetor box cover, 1115 141 1020, differs from the one on the other versions of 056, in that it has two cutouts on its lower edge

This follows with a summary of all the new parts and their numbers.

Information on the ignition system includes…

A new electronic ignition system will be introduced on model 056 chain saws starting with serial number X 14 038 764.

The previous Bosch Electronic Ignition System, 1115 400 0506, with Flywheel, 1115 400 1208, has been deleted and will be replaced by the SEM Module Plate, 1108 400 1208.

The new flywheel has fan blades and therefore also replaces the previous fanwheel. Like the original armature plate, the module plate is located behind the flywheel and secured by two screws.

The SEM module plate and flywheel have to be used as an assembly and are then interchangeable with the previous Bosch Ignition, 1115 400 0506, or SEM Ignition 1115 400 0507.

The service notes, diagrams, and images are helpful in this manual.

STIHL 056 Chainsaw

The 056 is a great old saw that’s worth preserving or using.

It’s heavy, clunky, and smelly, but it’ll get the job done in style. They aren’t making them like this anymore.

Along with the 056, the 075 AV, 041, and 026 are also worth collecting. These saws are of the same era, with a similar style and pedigree.

They’ll last forever and likely only increase in value!

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6 thoughts on “Stihl 056 Chainsaw Review: Versions, Specs, Features, Price, And Parts”

  1. I own a STIHL 056 AV with the word SUPER written below. You do not refer to this version. I personally bought it in 1980 (I believe). Is the saw the same as the AVSE? Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

    Reply
    • Hi Glenn, yes I think it’s the same. As far as I’m aware all versions of the 056 were electronic ignition. Does yours say ‘electronic’? Otherwise look up how to tell the difference between an electronic ignition and points and you’ll be able to check.

      Reply
  2. Yes there was a 056 magnum, I can’t remember the year, the Mag ll came out right after. I bought both for felling. Here in the Northwest. I do remember taking my Mag in before the Magll came out to check out the RPMs, and shop said It was turning 13,000 and they couldn’t get it down. Anyway it was a great saw

    Reply
    • I have never seen a magnum 1
      My self. But, I did read about the AVEQ stating it was the preferred pro logging saw w/ chain brake and the big 97cc same as mag ll ? However I’ve also read conflicting statements saying it is the base aveq 81cc electronic quickstop ? I have no idea bought this saw at auction and received it yet to check serial numbers the metal plate is showing ( 056 av)at top (electronic) in middle and (quickstop) at bottom of tag
      Can anyone enlighten me ?
      I should have serial number and saw in a few days.
      Thanks in advance

      Reply
  3. I aquired one years ago that had no spark. I adapted a module from a newer Stihl but the ti ing was off. I moved the plate under the flywheel to set the ti ing rather than delete the key on the flywheel. I used it to cut firewood a couple times and it was a monster. I think the av mounts are worn out on it.

    Reply
  4. I have my dad’s 056 mag II. He ran it with a 20″ bar and it was like riding a mad bull. You couldn’t it bog it if you were standing on it. It made your lower back ask for mercy. You had to really pay attention because of how fast it would cut. When I got it, I put a 36″ bar on it with a skip tooth chain and added an elastostart pull cord. It’s much nicer to operate now that you can stand up straight, cuts a little slower, and is much h easier to fire up. I will be trying a no skip chain soon to see how the old girl handles it. I love this saw.

    Reply

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