What Does The C Mean On Stihl Chainsaws? Stihl Chainsaw Model Designations

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What does the C mean on Stihl chainsaws? What about the other Stihl model designations?

If you’re searching this you already know what I’m talking about.

You can get the Stihl MS180 0r the MS180C. You can get the Stihl MS230 or the MS230C, or even the MS230C-BE.

The C stands for ‘Comfort,’ and we’ll get into what that means next.

The Meaning Of The C On Stihl Chainsaws

stihl 230c review

The answer to the question ‘What does the C mean on Stihl chainsaws?’ can depend on the chainsaw model and date of manufacture.

Yes, the C stands for comfort, but what exactly this entails can vary from chainsaw to chainsaw.

Stihl states the following:

Comfort can have one or more of the following features: Easy2Start, Quick Chain Adjuster, ElastoStart.

I asked some Stihl enthusiasts what they thought the C meant.

Here are some of their answers:

  • I believe comfort means quick opening oil and fuel caps
  • That the chainsaw will have either an easy pull start or an easy chain adjuster
  • In some chainsaws, it means it has an M-Tronic carb
  • Clean your chainsaw (as I included an image of my 230 above)

Someone else responded by saying it’s ‘one of Stihl’s cryptic and inconsistent designations.’

One of the better answers, and the most correct, was this one:

C = comfort feature, then the letters after that tell you what that feature is. For example, with a Stihl C-BE chainsaw, the comfort features are B = Quick Chain Tensioner and E= Ergo Start.

Here’s an illustration of that explanation:

what do stihl chainsaw model numbers mean

At first, that didn’t really seem to answer why you can buy a 230, a 230C, and a 230C-BE, but apparently, on the straight C models, the extra comfort designations are listed on the serial number label.

For example, this sticker for a Stihl MSE141C which then has an additional Q designation which means Quickstop.

what is the c designation on stihl chainsaws

This chainsaw is the Stihl MSE141 with the comfort feature Quickstop – though Quickstop is technically a safety feature.

So basically, the C means there are at least one of a number of different comfort features that are added on top of the base unit.

I think this is the definitive answer to what the C means on a Stihl chainsaw, but if you have anything to add, please do so down below in the comments and I’m happy to update this post.

One last example is the old model Stihl 025 and 025C. The 025C has the comfort features of Elasto Start and the Quick Chain Adjuster, whereas the base model did not.

Other Stihl Designations

stihl ms180c chainsaw review

If you want to find out what the comfort features are on your Stihl chainsaw, check out the serial number sticker.

If this has long gone, it might be listed on a receipt, model plate, instruction manual, or other saw identifiers. If all else fails, call up your local dealer and they’ll probably be able to tell you the likely comfort features that were included with your particular chainsaw.

When you find your additional letter designations, here’s what they mean:

  • AV – Anti Vibration
  • B – Quick Chain Adjustment
  • D – Catalytic Converter
  • E – Electronic Ignition (designation for older models- no longer used)
  • E – Easy2Start (now used on new models)
  • i – Electronic Fuel Injection (as on the 500i)
  • M – STIHL M-Tronic
  • FB – FARM BOSS (Stihl Farm Boss chainsaws)
  • L – Low Noise
  • MB – STIHL MiniBoss
  • Q or QS – Quickstop (additional chain brake system)
  • R – Wrap Handle
  • T – Top Handle (such as the MSA 161 T)
  • W – Heated Handle/ Carburetor
  • Z – Spark Arresting Muffler

Not all of these additional features go hand-in-hand with the comfort designation, but this is something of a Stihl chainsaw serial number decoder.

Here are the modern Stihl chainsaw prefix meanings:

  • MS Chain Saw
  • MSA Chain Saw, Battery-Powered
  • MSE Chain Saw, Electric Powered

Stihl Chainsaw Model Numbers

stihl ms251c

Hopefully, that helps explain what the C means on Stihl Chainsaws, along with answering a lot of other Stihl model number questions – at least relating to the feature designations.

Always remember that things like this can change quite a lot over time, which is part of the reason there is no one answer to what the C means, but that it can mean a variety of things.

However, it’s safe to say that the C designation means that you are getting an upgraded chainsaw from the standard base model. Usually, it means it’s going to be easier to start, work on, and work with.

If it’s in your budget, it’s worth getting the add-on comfort features.

See this post for info on Stihl chainsaw production years made – we take a look at all models from 1950 to the present day. It’s always interesting to see the developements!

Let us know if you have anything to add in the comment section below, and find out more about the Stihl MS251C (pictured above) here. Or, for those who prefer the more old-school models, the Stihl 026 here.


Stihl MS230 Chainsaw Review: Difference Between 230, 230C, And 230 C-BE

Stihl Chainsaw Production Years: Years Made For All Stihl Chainsaws


2 thoughts on “What Does The C Mean On Stihl Chainsaws? Stihl Chainsaw Model Designations”

  1. Great informative article. I’m a dealer and once got in a discussion with a guy that was telling people the C meant it was a model made in China. I basically summarized what you did above and he got it.


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