The 14-inch Stihl MS 180 C-BE is chosen in reviews as one of the top gas chainsaws for homeowner use. Reviewers praise this Stihl chainsaw for easy starting and fast, smooth cuts. It combines convenience with safety, with automatic chain oiling and tool-free chain adjustment plus an anti-vibration handle. The bar tapers at the end to help prevent kickback, and a kickback sensor triggers the inertia chain brake automatically if kickback does start. If you want to spend less for a gas chainsaw, reviews recommend the Poulan Pro PP3516AVX (*Est. $150) .
We found the most objective ratings of the Stihl MS 180 C-BE gas chainsaw at ConsumerReports.org, where editors compare it to other gas chainsaws based on objective tests of more than 25 gas and electric models. Comparison tests at The Wall Street Journal are less formal, but the review is more detailed -- and especially interesting because it's written from the point of view of a woman who's never used a chainsaw before. We also found a 2008 discussion thread in the ToolShed Forum at GardenWeb.com that compares two Stihl chainsaws, the MS 180 C-BE and the MS 210 (now the MS 211 C-BE).
This review ranks the Stihl MS 180 C-BE in relation to other gas chainsaws. In all, 25 chainsaws, both gas and electric, were tested and rated on cutting speed, safety, ease of use and ease of maintenance. Noise level wasn't measured.
Review: Chain Saws, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. The Wall Street Journal
This comparison review is interesting because it's written from the point of view of novice chainsaw user Gwendolyn Bounds. She evaluates three gas chainsaws plus one electric model, with assistance from two professional landscapers familiar with 15 brands. Comparing the gas chainsaws, she says that the Stihl MS 180 C-BE is by far the easiest to start, and the Husqvarna 142E (now discontinued) proves fastest in tests of cutting speed.
Review: Joining the Chainsaw Gang, Gwendolyn Bounds, Feb. 4, 2006
In this short discussion thread, participants compare the Stihl MS 180 C-BE and the Stihl MS 210, which has since been discontinued. A couple of other chainsaw brands and models are also mentioned. The last comment, posted on June 28, 2011, is that the MS 180 is "too small for firewood."
Review: Stihl Chainsaw -- 180 or 210, Updated June 2011