Stihl MS 390 Chain Saw

Nov 06, 2007
review #106743

This review is in regards to new Stihl Chain saw purchased 2 weeks ago. (Model MS-390) The saw is advertised as the number 1 chain saw in performance and value. Chain saw documentation was read, and recommended service procedures have been followed. (such as fueling mixtures, daily chain tensioning, and manufacturer recommended oils used. Usage has been medium duty at most.

The chainsaw appears to be underpowered, whereas it bogs down with relative ease, and has significant difficulty cutting through logs of around 10 inch diameter. In fairness, the power is advertised to increase after the first 15 chain tightenings. ( 7 tightenings, so far)

My most significant disappointment with the product is the non-robust operating, in particular, the extremely difficult start up. (after the saw has been run, and shut down for 5 minutes) It is almost impossible to start in the scenario.

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dyno

Aug 25 Eureka, Montana

The guy doesn't have a clue. I've ran stihl for 20 years they all start the same. Choke them when there cold till they fire then back it off to half choke. If you shut it off for 5 minutes choke it again it will fire right up.

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Anonymous

Dec 02, 2013

My 390 is a great saw! Ive had it for about 4 years and have never been disappointed! i cut at least 30 cords with it a year and 4 feet wide trees. i love it. great saw!!

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jakes

Oct 20, 2013

OP i dont mean to sound condescending as i only recently learned about regular chains and "low kickback" chains. I have to ask are you using the former or latter?
My wife picked me up the low kickback kinds for months and then one day i went into tractor supply and bought a regular chain and i swear it was like night and day.

Just a thought.

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Rolled

Jun 29, 2013 Lexington, Massachusetts

My MS390 runs excellently, cuts big rounds like butter, takes my abuse without making me pay, and starts every time (I have the easy starting version with the compression valve.) Once I used bad fuel and started hard until I changed it. But otherwise this saw is a champ.

If you really have a bad saw then you should go back to Stihl and ask for help. Their engineering tops any I have seen - including Husqvarna (not trying to start trouble, just pointing out that Stihl really thinks through use and maintenance issues.)

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woodchuck

Apr 26, 2013 Gouverneur, New York

I have an MS-390 and I have to say she bucks! I have had this saw for 4 years and cut probably over 150 full cord of wood with it. Now I will say that at first it did start hard.You can thank the carbon footprint freaks for that. The saws today are leaned out so much to meet standards that you have to have Arnolds arm to start them. My advice is to scrap the NGK plug that comes in it as well as the spark screen in the exhaust, Which are for city folk and California wild fire areas. "unless you must have it by law". Of course this is after the break in period. 93 octane and Stihl oil. Your hardwoods will shake with fear!!!Trust me

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Ryan

Dec 08, 2012

I worked for a home builder for a few years and ran both the MS390 and the newer MS361, both with 20" bars (don't remember what chain) The 390 quit one summer just before i took over the job and at the time the 361 was the "best" they bought one that day. The next year I took over beam cutting and ran into problems with the 361 heating up (lean) and grabbed the 390 adjusted the car and ran it for the day.

Friday came, while cleaning them I hogged out the 390's muffler and retuned again, it became my saw, that 361 couldn't touch it... Anyone else was instructed to use the 361. The 390 is a great saw, always starts and runs, biggest thing is that they always seem to be tuned lean after coming back from the yearly visit to the shop.

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dave

Nov 12, 2012

I have a stihl ms391 which starts second pull when motor is cold but when i go to refuel it is impossible to start.any ideas?

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barkbuster

Oct 29, 2012

This saw kicks ***... tons of power and cuts like a knife through cake.
If your chain is new or sharp, this saw is tough to beat. Ninety percent of the loggers in the pacific NW only use Stihl saws for a reason,
and this is one of the finest I have ever used...

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Johnie

Sep 27, 2012

Had my saw for about 4 yrs now. Bought it new, ran it about 2 yrs stock then after the warranty was up hogged the muffler out and retuned and runs like a raped ape till it Runs the tank dry. Run a 25" full skip square 3/8! cuts great!

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Randy

Aug 21, 2012

stilh ms 391 sat over the winter now wont start. new gas, plug sparks, still wont start.
put a shot of starter fluid in it and it caught for a second, so I guess it's not getting gas.
pulled it 100 times. Only 2 years old. shouldn't have problem but it does.

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RandyZeitvogel

Jul 27, 2012

I have found that the air filter clogs very rapidly and when it is clogged the saw is almost impossible to start. I now clean the air filter every time I go to use the saw, which is only occasionally. It has plenty of power and it starts to big down when it is either low on fuel or the air filter is starting to clog up.

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revesco

May 11, 2012

This saw sucks compared to the cheap McCullough I had for 14 years.
Heavy, very hard to start after warmed. Low power. Anyone want to buy it!

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jeff

May 02, 2012

Funny there are people whinin' about this saw here because if you don't like it, go to the depot or blowes and get some mass produced garbage there and see how it runs for you. 390 with good chain a tune and new gas has plenty of muscle and flat out rips and it'll bench most other saws in it's class.

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Efrain

Mar 25, 2012

I have a 390 for over 10 years maybe almost 20 years and it still works like new. The correct chain is very important. I have used every brand of chain saw but nothing compares to the stihl. Stihl saws are the best i used mine without a clip to hold the sprocket and it cuts just fine.

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Mark

Mar 19, 2012

I had a tremendous amount of down or dead trees in my 9 acre yard that I will never completely clear (I just work around the house). The MS-390 is my 4th saw and without a doubt the best. Folks might complain about anything, but to write it is underpowered is completely false as far as I am concerned. With a sharp chain you can cut just about anything, including a wide variety of thick, hard, old oak. I have NEVER thought it was underpowered, in fact, it is a monster that demands respect. The fact of the matter is that the chain will dull and I will tire while the saw keeps cranking out huge gobs of power. Maybe the author did not have it adjusted correctly or that particular saw had an issue. Put it another way. How much power do you want?

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bill

Nov 10, 2011

Iv had my 390 for 4yrs never had a problem starts 2nd pull full choke pull cord saw starts stalls flip to high idle pull cord warm up cuts hard until it out of fuel refill good weight to power ratio with a 20in bar and yellow chain I can cut 20in dead locust trees with no problem we have destroyed 2 huskys cuttin these tough trees we go threw a lot of chain but the saw is still runnin hard I'm currnetly lookin to by a 460 for big wood

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tj

Nov 07, 2011

i have had me 390 for atleast 3 years, great saw, if people would understand how to start a saw they wouldnt grip, full choke, pull twice, it will fire off,,,, put on fast idle and the VERY first pull it will start JUST fine,,,,,, i have a 25 inch on mine and have cut over 15 BIG loads already this year and havent had a problem,, other then pulling tree's over it...lol

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Gerberman

Nov 06, 2011

Mine was hard to start, but cuts great. It seems to. E a little heavy for the power at the chain.

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Sasquatch

Oct 19, 2011

My 390 runs great. Ditch the green low kickback chain that comes with it. Get a yellow high chisel from stihl. Until I got the right chain, I thought the saw kind of sucked as well. I have a 025 stihl, and usually would use that. I bought a 20 inch bar and use yellow chains on both now. I wish I had figured that out years ago.

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