Stihl 070 Chainsaw Review: A Vintage Saw From The 60s, 70s, And 80s

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The Stihl 070 is considered by many chainsaw collectors and enthusiasts as being one of the best chainsaws ever made.

It’s a Stihl series 1106 chainsaw that was manufactured between 1968 and 1977 for the “developed” world. It is still being made in Germany for the likes of the Philippines, South Africa, and South American markets.

The 070 replaced the Stihl Contra 070 (1959 – 1968) and was produced at the same time as the more powerful Stihl 090 (also 1968 – 1985). See all Stihl production years here.

The 070 pictured throughout this post is (or was) owned by Simon Spence of Scotland and is in great condition.

He bought it from a man whose father had it stored away in a locker for over twenty years. It’s all original, apart from the bar and chain, and is believed to be a 1967 model with very few hours on it.

The Stihl 070

stihl 070 chainsaw review
The 070 has the old Stihl logo

This is the Stihl 070, but it can be easily confused with the 090.

I’ll get into some of the ways you can determine if you have an 070 or an 090 below, but let’s just check out this saw first.

stihl 070 review
The saw is heavy, weighing 28.6 lbs or 13 kg

Simon was selling this saw and his best guess was that it was a 1967 model.

However, someone in the comments said:

Orange top started around 1979, if the muffler is original, it is date stamped, month and year, on the handle side.

Though I’m not sure if this is 100% accurate either.

restoring stihl paint
The AV version had a handle that ran across the top

You can see the 070 tag has come off this saw, which can make it difficult to identify if you don’t know what to look for.

The saw is still very popular for use in parts of Asia for freehand ripping. In the West, it’s commonly used as a milling chainsaw.

stihl 070 muffler
They don’t make mufflers like they used to

The earlier 070 Contra didn’t have the hand guard that you can see here.

This particular saw is in very good condition.

contra vs 070
The saw has a manual oiler

The paint condition is pretty good, but many people choose to repaint when restoring them.

The paint chips and imperfections give the saw a bit more character.

While this is an 070, there is also an 070 AV.

The AV version has a different handle that connects the back handle with the front – it’s a bit like a top handle saw.

Air filter and spark plug are easily accessed

The 070 is also very similar to the Stihl MS720 which is in production for sale in some regions.

The 720 can’t be sold in most countries because of emissions and safety standards but is still sold in countries like South Africa.

stihl 070 bar
The saw comes with decent spikes

This is a 30-inch (75 cm) bar.

It’s listed as being able to handle anything from a 21″ bar to a 60″ bar.

Differences Between 070 And 090

The clutch shoes are under the silver disk

When Simon first bought this saw, he wasn’t 100% on whether it was an 070 or 090.

He put up some images in the ‘Stihl Contra, Lightning, 070, 090, 1106, and 1109 Chainsaw Group’ (here) and asked for help and received these responses.

One of the quickest ways to start identifying it is to remove the clutch cover and check if it has 3 clutch shoes. The 070 had 3 whereas the 090 had 6 shoes.

Another helpful comment from Scott said:

There are a few differences between the 106cc 070 and the 137cc 090 including:

  • 6 shoe clutch for the 090 – 070 has the 3 shoe clutch
  • The fan housing is larger on the 090 – this one is correct for an 070
  • The jug/piston  – 66 mm piston on 090; 58 mm on the 070
  • Orientation of the decompression lever – 090 jug has the decomp oriented front to back

And as you’ve probably figured out, all these parts are interchangeable. It’s not uncommon to have a variety of different parts on a saw today, so while it looks like an 070 externally, it may still have an 090 jug.

For the record, here is the 070 jug.

070 jug
070 under the cover

Others chimed in and added:

  • The carb number on the 090 is 244 and 112 on the 070
  • The 070 carb has a much smaller intake
  • 070 has concave fin fan housing/starter

On an 070, if the muffler is original, it will have the year and date of manufacture stamped on it.

It can be tricky working out exactly what you’ve got because there are a few saws that look very similar, from the 070 and 090, to earlier contra models and newer 720s or 780s.

If you’re still really unsure, best to post some pics in the Stihl FB groups and someone there will tell you quickly.

Stihl 070 Specs

Stihl ms070 chainsaw

stihl ms070 chainsaw
The Stihl MS070 specs

This screenshot comes from the Stihl South African site in 2007 when the saw was listed as the MS070 – not something many of us in the West have come across.

Specs are the same as with the original saw:

  • 106cc, 6.47 cu in
  • 6.5 hp, 4.8 kW
  • 28.6 lbs, 12.6 kgs
  • 58 mm (2.32″) bore, 40 mm (1.6″) stroke
  • 21 – 60″ bar

It’s a powerful Stihl saw and it differs from newer saws like the MS880 in that it’s a more simple design and construction, and it has less features.

It’s a lot louder and will put out more fumes, the AV system isn’t going to be nearly as good, and it won’t run as smoothly.

There’s no chain brake or electronic ignition, and parts can be hard to come by. However, there are those who would say the 070 is more reliable than a modern saw.

Avoiding Clone 070 Saws

Stihl 070 chainsaw price
This bar is half the size of what it can take

When it comes to distinguishing a genuine 070 from a knock-off clone, here’s some advice from Paveen Raj.

He sells Stihl saws, including the 070.

1. Flat head screws

These are dead give aways, the OEM saws have always had these since the beginning. If you come across phillips or allen head then walk away, most likely its a clone or someone has been in there.

2. OEM Stihl emboss

Over the years to combat clone stihl has taken number of steps. One of them is the embossing of Stihl on almost every part of the saw. The MS720 has a raised shroud in order to counter clones. They probably realised soon after there’s no way stopping fakes so they kept offering 070 and 720 to 3rd worlds.

3. Serial number

I guess everyone knows this, but I wont share the number for a number of reasons.

4. The lettering of words

Stihl has their unique logo. Over the years the clone saws have closed the gap but still its obvious for trained eyes.

The last one can be what makes people suspicious initially – fake Stihl branding is usually pretty obvious.

However, it doesn’t always mean you’re dealing with a clone. Sometimes the saw has just been badly restored.

clone 070 details
FAKE 070 on the left; Original 070 on the right

You can see our full article with pictures of fake and original Stihl 070s – it’s obvious which are knock-offs.

Check out Holzfforma chainsaws if you want to buy something that you know is a Stihl clone.

Stihl 070 Review

When you search for the 070 on YouTube, you’ll find tons of videos from users in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and other parts of Asia. The video above is one example of a brand-new 070 being put to use (with quite a different tree-felling technique).

The 070 is really popular over there as they have a lot of large hardwood trees that the 070 makes light work of. Also, the saw is very durable, easy to maintain, easy to repair, and all-around easy to use. It’s heavy, but you get used to it.

In the US, Canada, and so on, most people buying 070s are doing so to add to their collection, and not so much to use regularly or at all.

Some parts are difficult to find in the US, UK, and so on, but they can be easier to find in Asia, especially if you don’t mind aftermarket parts.

Here are some comments from 070 users:

  • I use it as a rainforest chainsaw every day and wouldn’t use anything else
  • I love the old 070s
  • The saw runs great and there’s nothing like it
  • My 070 sits on the shelf now as I’m too old to run it but I won’t be getting rid of it will pass it on to my son when I’m gone
  • Faithful saw they will go and go
  • Well made saw, wish they still made them like that

And when it comes to the cons of the 070, they’re as you’d expect.

Parts can be difficult to find, it’s louder and smellier than a modern saw, it weighs a ton, and will vibrate you half to death (reminds me of the Stihl 075).

But as with all vintage chainsaws, if you take it for what it is remembering when it was first designed, you’ll love it.

Stihl 070 Price

Stihl 070 parts
070s are hard to price

As with all saws, pricing depends on the condition.

Simon was asking for £550/US$660 for this saw in August 2022, which is a really good price. Some go for a lot more.

At the time of writing, there are no complete working 070s for sale on eBay, but you’re more likely to find them listed in the Facebook groups.

You can expect to buy or sell a tidy 070 for anywhere between $500 – $1500. They do go for more than other vintage saws like the 056 or newer saws like the 064.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments down below – would love to hear your feedback on the saw we’ve shared in this post today.


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