Stihl MS 280 Chainsaw

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If you are in the market for a solidly built, mid-size, all-purpose chainsaw, the Stihl MS 280 chainsaw is a good option that is worth exploring.

Although the MS 280 is no longer in production, it is still possible to find a good, quality second-hand chainsaw at a Stihl dealer, small engine shop, or through an online dealer.

Is it worth it to seek out a Stihl MS 280?

The short answer to that is yes!


Stihl chainsaws have a reputation for being well-built machines so if the Stihl MS 280 fits your situation, it should make a worthy addition to your outdoor power equipment collection.

What Does MS Mean On Stihl Chainsaws?

Before we go into details about the Stihl MS 280 chainsaw, let’s take a moment to understand the naming system that Stihl uses.

What does “MS” stand for?

What does the model 280 refer to?

As a German company, it should come as no surprise that Stihl’s naming system for their chainsaw models reflects their heritage.

Glance at all the Stihl models listed online or on the hardware store shelves and you will notice that each one starts with “MS’, “MSA”, or “MSE.” “MS” stands for “Motorsage,” the German word for “chainsaw.”

Standard chainsaws, like the MS 280 will begin with “MS.”


If there is an “A” at the end, it indicates that the chainsaw is battery powered.

An “MSE” designates an electric chainsaw.

Now for the numbers.

It is not an absolute science, but the first digit of the model number is supposed to designate the engine size or power of the machine.

Perhaps a better way to think of the model number is in relation to price.

You will find that the higher the model number, the more expensive the chainsaw is.

By this system, the MS 280 has an engine RPM of 2,800.

It is not the lowest-price chainsaw in the Stihl arsenal, but it is far from the most expensive.

For many homeowners, this means that the Stihl MS 280 falls in the right price point for them and still has enough power to get the job done.

Is The Stihl MS 280 Chainsaw The Best Choice?

Before you settle on the Stihl MS 280 chainsaw, you need to evaluate your needs and do your research.

That way, you know you are getting the right chainsaw for your situation.

The goal is to match the chainsaw’s intended usage with your needs.

Beyond this, you will want to look at the power of the chainsaw, the features, and, of course, the cost.

As a mid-sized chainsaw, the Stihl MS 280 is a sturdy and reliable piece of equipment for average wood-cutting jobs around the house or farm.


This is not the ideal chainsaw if you plan to fell large trees, but if you need it to clean up fallen limbs, trim up branches, or cut up windfall for firewood, the MS 280 is up to the task.

Since it is not a big, powerful, commercial-grade chainsaw, you might assume it lacks some of the features of more expensive Stihl chainsaws.

Guess again!

The Stihl MS 280 comes equipped with an anti-vibration system, so you won’t feel as much muscle fatigue at the end of a long day of cutting firewood.

It also has a hand guard for safety, as well as a chain brake and chain catcher.

The Stihl MS 280 used Stihl’s Rollomatic brand bars, in 16, 18, or 20-inch lengths.

These sprocket-nosed bars are specially designed to reduce kickback.

It might be a mid-sized chainsaw, but Stihl doesn’t skimp on the safety features.

The Stihl MS 280 is designed for ease of maintenance.


The average homeowner, with minimal mechanic skills, should be able to do the routine maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep on the chainsaw with little trouble.

Since you will most likely be purchasing a used chainsaw, it may not come with the owner’s manual.

No worries.

The owner’s manuals for all chainsaws in Stihl’s line can be found online.

There are even tutorials and YouTube videos that will walk you through the basic maintenance for your MS 280.

If you are too intimidated (or simply too busy) to work on your chainsaw yourself, you should have no trouble finding a small engine repair shop near you that can help you keep your chainsaw in good working order.

How Much Power Does The Stihl MS 280 Have?

The Stihl MS 280 has a single cylinder, two-stroke engine.

With a displacement of 54.68 cubic centimeters, the engine has a cylinder bore of 46 mm and a stroke of 32.9 mm.

The engine runs at 2,800 PRMs when idle.


Stihl High Performance Premixed Fuel

The engine runs at optimal efficiency when fueled with a mid-grade gasoline.

A gas with an 89-octane rating or better is your best choice.

You can hold 1.1 pints of fuel and oil in the MS 280’s gas tank.

A 50 to 1 gas-oil mixture is needed, and Stihl recommends using oil that is specifically designed for air-cooled, two-cycle engines.

There is a separate bar oil tank, with a capacity of 0.6 pints, for lubricating the chain while in use.

Features On The MS 280 Chainsaw

You will head into the woods with peace of mind knowing that the Stihl Corporation built the MS 280 chainsaw with ease of use and the safety of the end user foremost in their minds.

With a heavy-duty air filter, you’ll be able to trim branches and cut firewood for much longer before you will need to clean the sawdust from the air filter.

Both the oil and fuel caps are easy to remove without tools and attached to the chainsaw, so they won’t get lost in the brush.

You can access the chain tensioner from the side, which is easier and more convenient.


The anti-vibration system that comes standard on the Stihl MS 280 offers a more comfortable user experience.

There is a chain brake that keeps the chain immobile when you start it up.

This can prevent unexpected accidents from happening.

The chain brake also engages if the chainsaw kicks back when it encounters an obstacle when cutting.

If the chain were to break, the MS 280’s chain catcher keeps the chain from snapping back and injuring the user.

Lastly, the Stihl MS 280 comes equipped with Stihl’s trademark IntelliCarb compensating carburetor.

Whether you are trimming branches in the summer or cutting firewood in the winter, the carburetor will adjust to the conditions.

How Much Does A Stihl MS 280 Chainsaw Cost?

Stihl no longer makes the MS 280 chainsaw, but there are plenty of them out there for sale.

Buying a used piece of equipment is always a bit of a gamble, but Stihl products have a reputation for longevity.

Be sure to ask the seller how often the chainsaw has been serviced and what the average usage has been.

Because you will find Stihl MS 280 chainsaws in varying conditions, the costs will range greatly.

At the low end, you can expect to find a MS 280 for around $275.

At the high end, you may see a price tag of $550.

On average, though, you can expect to pay between $350 and $400 for a well-maintained Stihl MS 280 chainsaw that is in optimal condition.


About the Author

Nick Greenway

Obsessed with firewood, Nick is behind over 350+ of Firewood For Life's articles, as well as countless reviews, guides and YouTube videos to help readers like you reduce heating costs and create the perfect fire.