What Does MS Mean On Stihl Chainsaws? Meaning Of MS, MSA, and MSE Designations

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What does MS mean on Stihl Chainsaws?

There’s nothing cryptic or mysterious about this designation. It’s very straightforward.

MS stands for motosäge.

Motosäge is German for chainsaw.

You will also find Stihl MSA (battery) and MSE (corded electric) chainsaws – I’ll share the meaning of those designations down below.

Stihl MS Meaning

stihl 440 chainsaw review
The Stihl MS440 Chainsaw

The earliest Stihl chainsaws were made in Stuggart, Germany by Andreas Stihl – the German inventor and businessman behind the Stihl chainsaw brand.

So even though Stihl chainsaws are made in the USA and many other facilities around the world, they still retain their German heritage through these naming conventions.

The first Stihl MS Series Chainsaws were released in the year 2000 and the designation continues to this day.

Before the Stihl MS series chainsaws were released, the saws didn’t have a letter designation before the model number.

They were simply Stihl 064, Stihl 090, and so on, but without the MS.

stihl ms series meaning
The Stihl MS 230 homeowner chainsaw

The very first Stihl MS chainsaws were the MS 290, MS 310, and MS 390 all introduced in the year 2000.

There were many more released in 2002, including the MS 260, MS 210, MS 230, MS 250, MS 360, and MS 180.

You can see all of the Stihl MS series chainsaws production years here.

Stihl Motosäge

stihl ms series meaning

You can check out the translation of motosäge from German to English in Google Translate.

It just simply means chainsaw.

We’ve reviewed a lot of the MS series chainsaws on the blog, including the MS440, the MS310, and dozens of others.

The MS name is applied to all of their gas-powered chainsaws, it doesn’t matter if it’s their forestry and logging chainsaws or their entry-level homeowner saws.

However, there is a slight twist on the electric and battery saws.

Stihl MSA Meaning

stihl battery saw 140c
Stihl MSA 140c

The meaning of the Stihl MSA designation follows along the lines of the MS meaning.

You can probably guess that the A stands for the German word for battery – and you’d be right.

MSA stands for motosäge batterie.

Motosäge batterie is German for battery chainsaw.

Stihl battery chainsaws are getting better and better.

The Stihl MSA 161 is one example of top handle model. The MSA 140c is another Stihl battery saw with a standard back handle.

Stihl MSE Meaning

stihl electric chainsaw review
The Stihl MSE 141 C

And again, you will be able to guess what MSE means on Stihl chainsaws.

MSE stands for motosäge elektrisch.

Motosäge elektrisch is German for electric chainsaw.

Stihl electric chainsaws are a good option for those working close to a power outlet and who don’t mind the restrictions of a cord.

Some people refer to battery saws as electric, but in the world of Stihl ‘electric’ only refers to corded models, not battery.

Stihl MS Chainsaws

stihl ms chainsaws
A friend’s well-used MS310

Now you know the answer, MS stands for chainsaw.

Do you think you can guess what FS stands for on Stihl brush cutters?

The designation looks like this – Stihl FS 55 brush cutter or Stihl FS 45 line trimmer.

Take your best stab at an answer and then click through to find out if you’re right!


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