Stihl 500i Chainsaw Reviews, Features, Benefits, Specs, Price, Alternatives

| | , ,

The STIHL MS 500i was designed with professionals in the forestry and tree service industries in mind.

Released in 2019, it weighs only 13.7 lbs (6.2 kgs) and has an engine power output of 6.7 hp (5 kW).  This gives it an exceptional power-to-weight ratio of 2.01 lbs/hp (1.24 kg/kW).

This makes the 500i fantastic for those who regularly put in long hours with their saw.

After five years on the market, it’s well-regarded by users for its reliability, ease of use, and power; but is it the right choice for you?

Stihl MS 500i Chainsaw

the 500i has great power to weight ratio

The 500i featured throughout this post belongs to a dude named Jimbob – he’s a New Zealand-based tree worker.

He uses this saw for dropping trees and processing firewood. He’s worked with and owns many other Stihl saws and likes the 500i for what it is.

He said that compared to the 661s he’s worked with, he much prefers the 500i. That’s largely because, in his words, it weighs so much less but performs just as well, if not better.

At this time, there are two versions:

  • Stihl MS 500i – standard base model
  • Stihl MS 500i W – with heated handles
  • Stihl MS 500i Z – spark arresting muffler (on all saws, but not always designated)

And we can’t forget the STIHL 500i Launch Edition.

This saw is identical to other 500is, so it can’t really be called a “version,” but it has the special limited edition numbered tag.

rare stihl launch edition chainsaw

Pretty cool!

In 2024, there is talk of a new STIHL 500i version coming soon.

In some countries, such as Australia, the current model is being sold at a steep discount. We’re told this is to make way for the updated version.

Before you purchase a Stihl MS500i, there are several things to consider.

It’s been on the market since 2019, so there’s been plenty of time for criticisms to emerge. Overall, though, they haven’t.

Issues are few and far between, with the most common limited to:

  • Some reports of high fuel consumption
  • A few complaints about low oil capacity
  • Problems encountered due to misuse
  • Difficulty diagnosing problems
  • Failing quickly

Most people who have used the Stihl MS500i have nothing negative to say, which is impressive for a target market of industry professionals who know chainsaws.

Examples of negative comments you might see:

  • “Our dealer doesn’t sell them; he doesn’t want to deal with the program’s cost to tune/diagnose, etc.”
  • “They don’t like smokey or dusty environments as it upsets their advanced electronics.”
  • “My 500i motor blew at 2hrs 33min. It was in the shop for over a month, waiting for parts to come in.”

But these complaints are few and far between. We’ll get into more reviews shortly.

Electronic Fuel Injection

The MS 500i is notable for its unique electronic fuel injection system.

It’s the first production chainsaw of its kind, though the STIHL Carbon Concept Chainsaw helped pave the way.

Initially, Stihl fans and potential buyers were a bit cautious.

Stihl’s carburetor models work just fine, so why make changes?

As some said, “More technology means more opportunities for something to go wrong. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken?”

These concerns mostly (but not completely) dissipated when reviews and videos of the Stihl MS500i appeared online. Fuel injection may be a game-changer for the chainsaw industry.

It allows for more consistent power output, improved fuel efficiency, easier starting, reduced emissions, and, theoretically, less maintenance.

Stihl MS 500i Reviews

reviews for the 500i stihl

With its power-to-weight ratio among the best on the market, the 500i chainsaw is a phenomenal saw.

While it’s a more expensive chainsaw, you’ll recoup your investment with increased productivity.

It’s comparable to the Stihl 461 and 462 but more powerful and efficient. The electronically controlled fuel injection system puts the MS500i in a class of its own, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Jimbob, the owner of the saw featured in this post, far prefers his 500i to his 661 (he’s run a lot of them). He often uses the 500i all day, all week, and hasn’t had any issues.

Pros/positive reviews and comments:

  • Bryan said, “The majority of issues are due to operator error. I have several I’ve used endlessly, and they’re all running fine.”
  • Keith said, “I find it to be a really good saw. I use it the most and really love it, but it is a little thirsty.”
  • Dylan said, “Bought one when they first came out and it’s still running strong. And it’s used a lot.”
  • Stacey said, “Love my 500. I was never a Stihl fan until I got it. Best saw I’ve ever had.”
  • Buckethead Alan said, “I’m a Husky man, but it’s probably the best timber saw I ever had in my hands.”

Kevin said:

Great saw the 500i.

Only complaint is that its heavy on fuel, but I only use it on trees 18in or bigger.

I only use Stihl Motomix gas in it. Never have had problems starting it even after a 3 month period with Motomix fuel.

All my Stihl buddies love it on how smooth and powerful it is on big trees bucking them up.

Alf said:

Mine has never let me down. Always starts, runs like a champ, and cuts like nothing else I’ve got. Well worth the money.

Glenn said:

Love it. I have had mine since March 2019, now with 804 hours on it. And not a single problem.

David said:

Love mine. Won’t use anything else…

But do away with those 25 inch bars and a world of difference. I use a 20 inch bar…

Donald said:

I sold just about all of my other saws from 60cc to 80cc when I got my 500i 2 years ago.

MS 360 Pro, 036, 038, MS 441, MS 461, even my 064.

I refused to use them after I had this thing.

Of course, there are bad 500s that blow up. Look up reviews on anything with an engine.

And Andrew said:

The biggest issue is my heavy 461 and 661 sit on the shelf now!

Rick said:

Had it for at least a year… broke one in the first week, took another $1500 and bought a new one immediately – love the power.

She’s a screamer! Wear your ear protection.

The 500i quickly became the favorite saw of many arborists, loggers, and other tree workers.

Cons/negative reviews and comments:

  • “I heard they don’t perform well in the cold weather, but I don’t have one so I can’t say for sure.”
  • “Only problem is that they’re loud as hell, you’ll know about it when you’ve screamed one all day.”
  • “The air filter sucks but you can buy a good one. I did and I like the saw but I do use the 400 more.”
  • “I’ve used the 461, 462, and 500i, and prefer the 461. Easier to fix in the field.”
  • “They’re overpriced, overhyped junk.”

Laquita said:

My husband is a logger in Tennessee. He bought one and it locked up on the first tree.

So he’s staying with the 661. He cuts lot of big timber.

Eston commented:

EVERYBODY I know that has one or has had one has told me to stay away from it if I was going to have one as a daily user.

That’s because one guy’s saw blew the engine the second day and the other three guys told me they’ve had numerous problems in and out the shop often.

I’ll just stick with the extra weight of the 661c that has not failed me yet, and I run the Hell out of them every day.

But Gary replied:

I’ve run mine almost daily for well over a year. Flawless.

My dealer is also a friend. They go out to loggers and no problems reported yet.

So I don’t know who’s doing what but I’m running my saw hard from freezing cold to over 90 degrees out with zero problems.

But, I also maintain my stuff.

Make sure you’re using the gear right and It’ll look after you.

You can see these 500i reviews in our numerous Facebook posts on the saw here, here, here, and here.

Specs and features

stihl 500i specifications

One of the best parts of shopping for a new chainsaw is looking at the specs of what’s on the market.

As you might have guessed from the hype surrounding the MS500i, its specs are impressive.

MS 500i specs:

  • Displacement: 79.2 cc / 4.83 cu in
  • Engine power: 6.7 hp / 5 kW
  • Weight: 13.7 pounds /6.2 kgs
  • Power to weight ratio: 2.01 lbs/hp / 1.24 kg/kW
  • Fuel tank: 785 cc / 0.785 l
  • Oil tank: 325 cc / 0.325 l
  • Chain pitch: 3/8″
  • Bar length: 20 – 25″
  • Spark plug: NGK CMR6H
  • Electrode gap: 0.5 mm
stihl 500i bar and chain specifications
0.050″ bar and chain combinations

For the best performance, Stihl recommends the 25” 3003 000 4030 Ematic guide bar and the 33 RS3 84 Oilomatic saw chain, which the saw initially comes with.

0.063 ms500i combos
0.063 bar and chain combinations


  • Anti-vibration system so you can work longer and be more comfortable
  • Decomp button for easier starting
  • ElastoStart for easier starting
  • Ematic lubrication system decreases oil consumption
  • Retainers for the fuel and oil caps
  • Easy access to the chain tensioner

This chainsaw is best for professionals who spend long hours felling trees, limbing branches, and dealing with the mess.

It’s also a great saw for those who aren’t in full-time tree work but want one of the best Stihl saws.

MS 500i Price

pros and cons of the stihl 500i

One factor that might make you balk when looking at the Stihl MS500i is its price, especially if you want a chainsaw for home use.

If that’s the case, you’ll likely be better off with a different model. The MS 461 or MS 661 are good alternatives. Older saws like the STIHL MS 440 are also great.

No matter what country you buy in, this chainsaw will be more expensive than the average high-end chainsaw.

Current prices:

If you’re a forester, arborist, logger, tree service professional, or in another field where you spend a lot of time using a chainsaw, most think it a worthwhile investment.

Other cheaper alternatives include the Husqvarna 572 XP (70 cc, 14.5 lbs, $1019.99) or the ECHO CS-7310P (73.5 cc, 14.9 lbs, $1,029.99).

These saws are durable and robust but are slightly heavier than the 500i.

Alternatively, the old STIHL ‘0’ series saws are another alternative. Check out the 70cc Stihl 044, the 81cc Stihl 056, or the 111cc Stihl 075. They’re all beasts!

MS 500i Pro Chainsaw

stihl MS 261 chainsaw price

If you’re a forester, arborist, or logger, you need a saw with the power to cut through thick hardwoods.

You also need it to be light enough that you can use it for hours at a time without becoming fatigued. With its power-to-weight ratio, that’s the Stihl MS500i.

If you’re looking for a chainsaw for personal use around your home or farm, the MS500i is more heavy-duty than anything you’re likely to need. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight, powerful saw geared toward professional users, this is the chainsaw for you.

If you need something a bit smaller, check out the Stihl MS 261, another of Stihl’s most popular chainsaws.


17 Farmhouse Fireplace Tile Ideas: “This Transformed My Fireplace”

Cubic Mini Wood Stove Discounts, Coupon Codes, And Sales


11 thoughts on “Stihl 500i Chainsaw Reviews, Features, Benefits, Specs, Price, Alternatives”

  1. When your review listed comparable saws, (Husky, Makita, Echo) you failed to mention the fact that the 500i is the only fuel injected saw. So the others are really not “comparable “.

  2. I like powerful saws. They make my work easier. I just cust firewood for personal use; about 6 cords per year. I bought my 500i for $1180. Maybe the dealer looked up the wrong price!

  3. I have been using my saw for a month or so now, and have cut a couple or 3 cords of firewood. When it is running, it feels more powerful than the specs indicate; it is far more powerful than the MS441C it replaced. My only gripe is that it is actually harder to start. I have been unable to drop start it or wedge it between my legs. I have to put it on the ground and step on the handle. And then, it usually runs for less than 2 seconds before stalling. I sometimes have to try 2-3 times before it runs long enough to engage the microprocessor; after that, it runs fine. Some say it uses a lot of fuel. I say it uses a lot of fuel per run time, but not per unit of cutting. I would guess it uses less fuel per cord cut than my MS441, because it cuts much faster. I cut through 12″ seasoned white oak rounds in under 5 seconds, and through 18-20″ red oak rounds in about 10-15 seconds. I use about 3 tanks of fuel per cord, which is not bad, considering the relatively small fuel capacity.

  4. I’ve never used a 500 . But I have a stihl ms 661 magnum . Best saw I ever used . Put my 24″ bar on , cut wood like you never imagined , or logs . But , if I need it , change bar , 36″ and get my chainsaw mill , and cut some boards or even some beautiful slabs . Love my 661 , and wouldn’t trade it for any other saw . More versatile than one other saw I could find . And dependability .

    • 661 is a great saw. However, I can cut all day with my 500i. The 661 is a brute and I am wiped after 3-4 hours. I usually spend 8-12 hours a day cutting wood and the 500i is perfect.

  5. I think the500isno doit. A greatsaw. But when it comes to chainsaws and trimmers exc I think girl injection goes beyond our needs in the real world. It’s to advanced considering the equipment you need for working on it unless it’s a leave it and not pay an arm and leg to keep it in good running condition it’ll cost twice as much as would a comp like a Ms 462. I think fuel injection is more than what’s needed in this industry.

  6. I have a new 500i and it starts fine in warm weather, but it is a real pain in the but in cold weather, after you can keep it running long enough to warm up it is fine , cuts great, but to much crap to deal with going back to MS 661 ,much better and less trouble-but heavy, that’s what got me to buy the 500i to start with. And 500I has already had a sensor go out , can only imagine what it will be like when it gets old! No thanks advanced junk I’ll keep the good saws 261 -440 magnum -461-661 !

    • when it is super cold. Bring it inside after work. When your getting ready to leave, start it and put it outside the door. Put on your boots. Carry your saw to the truck. Turn it off and load it up. No Problems starting. Plus it won’t be stolen out of your truck over night.

  7. I am engineer with a farm. I bought this new and it’s been maintained properly. At less than 50 hours, not only did the saw fail on the electronics, but the piston and cylinder was scored so badly that it needs rebuilt. Shop that I purchased from could not figure out! let’s think about this. Has electronics that keep track of number of pulls and time run. If these were any good the warranty would be on hours run. You are just a tester for Stihl. Clearly not good quality or engineering. I pitched mine at the dealer in the parking lot in front of all. Too bad Toyota does not make a chain saw. German crap and overpriced.


Leave a Comment