What Does Stihl Electronic Quickstop Mean? The E And Q Chainsaw Designation

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What does Electronic Quickstop mean on Stihl chainsaws?

The answer is pretty simple, unlike the meaning of the C on Stihl chainsaws (it gets complicated).

Electronic Quickstop, or EQ, means the chainsaw has both an electric ignition and a chain brake. When these features were introduced they were rather novel so Stihl felt they had to put them prominently on the label.

Electronic = electric ignition

Quickstop = chain brake

The electric ignition means the chainsaw has an ignition coil instead of a points and condenser set-up. It was first introduced on the Stihl 041 AV Electronic released in 1968.

And, of course, basically every chainsaw has a chain brake these days. This stops the chain from rotating when the handguard is moved forward – whether it’s done on purpose or as a result of chainsaw kickback.

Check out these examples and see how this feature has developed into the Stihl QuickStop Super Chain Brake.

Old Stihl Chainsaw Quickstop Examples

stihl 028 av specs
The 028 AV Super Wood Boss w/ Electronic Quickstop

The Stihl 028 AV is one chainsaw example that had electronic quickstop splashed across the label.

Many of the old Stihl saws before the MS range had a version with the EQ feature displayed in this way – the 031, 034, 038, 056, and 064, for example.

As you will have assumed, these saws also had a base model version that did not have EQ.

You can see the non-EQ version of the 028 Wood Boss in the following video (I’ve set it up to show the lack of chain brake, but go back to see all the features of this saw).

If you’ve not used a saw without a chain brake, it can be a strange experience shifting the handguard and finding that the chainsaw keeps running. These saws need to be stopped with the kill switch.

In this next video, you can see the Stihl 064 Magnum WITH Electronic Quickstop.

So where possible, it is best to get one of the saws with EQ as they are easier to use and safer, minimizing injury from kickback and other chainsaw accidents.

Stihl Quickstop

best stihl ms230 chainsaw
The MS230 Chainsaw

For many years now, even decades, all Stihl chainsaws have had a chain brake, or what they call Quickstop. They first introduced it to their saws in 1972.

The Stihl MS230, for example, has Quickstop, but they no longer feel the need to put it on the chainsaw itself. It’s just a standard feature.

As already mentioned, this just means the saw chain stops rotating within a fraction of a second when activated. It is activated by inertia or when the handguard is shifted forward.

To state the obvious, if the chain isn’t moving but the engine is going, this means the chain brake is on and it needs to be pulled back to start the chain.

stihl quickstop meaning
From Stihl’s site in 2002

If you buy a Stihl chainsaw with a production year after 2000, you can safely assume it has a chain brake.

However, a great many of the Stihl saws before this also had Quickstop.

Let me know in the comments below if you know when they introduced it universally!

Stihl states on its website:

STIHL chainsaws are equipped with a chain stopping system designed to reduce the risk of injury in certain kickback situations. It is called a STIHL Quickstop® chain brake.

The STIHL Quickstop® chain brake is designed to stop the rotation of the chain if activated by the operator’s hand or by inertia if the saw kicks back with sufficient force.

In some working positions, the STIHL Quickstop® chain brake can be activated by inertia, stopping the chain within fractions of a second.

And they now have Quickstop Plus.

Stihl Quickstop Plus

stihl 261 quickstop plus
The MS261 Chainsaw

Quickstop Plus was an additional safety feature that appears to have been discontinued in the gas saws.

It was introduced to some saws around 2015/2016 but wasn’t very popular as it added additional potential complications to the chainsaw and didn’t present a whole lot of benefit.

Also, it added some weight to the saw.

The Stihl MS261 was one saw that got this additional feature for a time, it had the title MS 261 C­MQ.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Q means on Stihl chainsaws, that’s referring to the Quickstop Plus feature.

What did Quickstop Plus do?

Quickstop Plus is a way to manually trigger the chain brake from the rear handle. When you release your right hand from the back handle, it automatically stopped the chain.

Many people found this inconvenient, annoying, and/or not that helpful, leading them to return chainsaws for the non-Q models.

No doubt, this is what led to them discontinuing the feature in most chainsaws.

The Stihl battery chainsaw range, such as the MS161 T, all seem to still have this feature, which makes sense.

Stihl Electronic Quickstop

stihl electronic meaning
The Stihl 045 AV electronic – no quickstop

So that’s what the Stihl Electronic Quickstop feature is all about.

As you can see in the image above, the ‘electronic’ designation was initially standalone with the 045 AV chainsaw that it was first released on. 

However, I think that once Quickstop came along, they were always featured in tandem.

All Stihl chainsaws have a good range of safety, comfort, and ease of use features like electronic quickstop, with the most expensive Stihl chainsaws having the best options.

Let us know if you have any comments down below!


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1 thought on “What Does Stihl Electronic Quickstop Mean? The E And Q Chainsaw Designation”

  1. Cool thanks for explaining. I wouldn’t have guessed that it meant two things. I thought it was like it’s got and ‘electronic quickstop’ – a quickstop that was electric, if you know what i mean? 😆


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