Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 vs Stihl MS 261 Side-by-Side Comparison

husqvarna-550xp-mark-2-vs-stihl-ms-261

In today’s article, we are going to compare two leading brands on the market, the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 vs Stihl MS 261.

But before kicking off, here is a brief synopsis for chainsaw beginners…

Related: Stihl MS 311 vs Husqvarna 460 Rancher Comparison

Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 vs Stihl MS 261

For those of you that are new to chainsaws, both the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 and Stihl MS 261 fall in the category of pro saws in the 50cc class.

There are…

  • homeowner-grade chainsaws,
  • farm and ranch chainsaws,
  • and pro-level chainsaws.

It’s important that you match the right chainsaw with the job that you have to do as well as with your level of experience.

If you’re looking for a big powerful tool, then there are two giant saws in this category and we hope this article would help you get pointed in the right direction.

Now, let me give you some quick specs of the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 and the Stihl MS 261 specs

Quick Specs

Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2Stihl MS 261
50.1 cc50.2 cc
1.3L/h1.66L/h
3Kw3Kw

Weight

There is a difference of 500 grams between these two chainsaws.

When fully filled, the Husqvarna weighs more or less 13.2lbs (or 6 kilograms) and the scale says the Stihl weighs in at 12.1lbs (or 5,5 kilograms.)

Obviously, it’s up to you to decide whether this slight difference in weight is important or not.

Though it’s lighter, the Stihl MS 261 is kind of forward heavy, which can also be good for limbing. But what I did notice though is that whenever you are holding the Husqvarna 550xp 2, it just seems a little bit more balanced and a little bit better to operate.

Actually, you might not even really notice the difference in terms of weight and it’s only a pound, so we’re not really talking about a lot.

Related: Stihl MS 261 vs MS 291 Comparison Review

Horsepower & Cutting Speed

Both the Husqvarna 550xp Mark and the Stihl MS 261 have four horsepower.

The new 550 is referred to as the miniature version of the 572, which has been Husqvarna’s flagship chainsaw for almost 20 years. It is known for its cutting speed and low-end torque.

The Stihl 261 falls within a new generation of pro-level chainsaws and it comes with nice features that were missing in its predecessors.

Pull Cord

The start cord in Stihl MS 261 is less resistant and it stretches easily resulting in less impact when you are pulling on it. It results in low effort start of the engine.

Fuel Tank & Consumption

The Husqvarna has a slightly larger fuel tank and also a bigger oil tank.

The 550 XP runs a little bit more between re-fuels.  With a 6% larger fuel tank, you will have longer runs.

When the saws are emptied, there was more oil in the 550. This is no surprise as it has a larger tank.

Both chainsaws offer optimized fuel consumption.

Related: How To Choose A Chainsaw For Your Everyday Adventures

Case & Handle

husqvarna-550xp-vs-stihl-261-case

These chainsaws have different cases. Stihl has a magnesium side cover whereas the Husqvarna has a metal one. But the case on the Huskavarna seems a little more substantial to me.

Also, the handle on the Husqvarna is metal, which in terms of long-term use, I’m probably going to give that to the Husky.

Obviously, with something being a little bit more durable like that, you’re going to give up a pound of weight. It just kind of depends on what you’re looking for.

Bar Links

When comparing both bar links, the Stihl has 62 drive links while the Husqvarna has two more drive links on its chains. The reason is Stihl generally has shorter bars.

It is worth mentioning though that despite having more drive links, the Husqvarna has less effective cutting length.

Bar Nuts

Both chainsaws have captive bar nuts on the clutch cover so when you unthread them, they stay attached to the side covers so that you don’t risk losing them in the woods or so.

And then both have the removable cylinder head that you’re able to take off from the top.

It’s not like a clam-shell, it’s what is called type system in the farm and ranch or homeowner chainsaws.

Cylinder Removal

The design in both chainsaws is pretty cool as they both have a removable head.

All you have to do is just take off the cover and rebuild or replace a part.

The cylinder is easy to disassemble and replace as well allowing you to see the clearance holes and reach in with your tool.

But do make sure you inspect everything is where it should be on your chainsaw before returning the head.

Husqvarna Autotune vs Stihl M Tronic

The Husqvarna has the Autotune feature which means that it automatically adjusts the air and fuel ratio depending on your altitude, which is similar to Stihl’s M-Tronic system.

These two features automatically adjust the air and fuel mixture to give you maximum levels of performance regardless of weather conditions.

Engine Start

Both engines start easily and get up to speed immediately when you hit the throttle.

Cutting Speed

Obviously, speed is not the only feature that you want to look at whenever you’re deciding between the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 and the Stihl MS 261, but it’ll help you to see which one is faster and ultimately make your choice.

First Cut

husqvarna-550xp-mark-2-vs-stihl-ms-261-first-cut-test

Second Cut

husqvarna-550xp-mark-2-vs-stihl-ms-261-second-cut-test

Third Cut

husqvarna-550xp-mark-2-vs-stihl-ms-261-third-cut-test

When tested, the Husqvarna was 2 to 3 seconds faster than the Stihl. So again, we are not talking about a lot.

What You Will Like 

  • Both chainsaws are well-balanced and steady due to their compact design.
  • Both are super functional and handle great.
  • They are perfect for limbing, bucking, and even for felling trees.
  • you can get into the air filter without the use of any tools at all. Just unscrew it and you’re in there.
  • The oil and gas caps are both nice and easy to open.

Last but not least, both the Husqvarna 550xp Mark II and the Stihl MS 261 chainsaws have a black line on the rewind housing and cylinder cover.

This allows you to have better guidance of the chainsaw through felling trees as the line should be parallel to the intended path when making the cuts.

Final Thoughts

There are certain things you need to consider before making your choice…

Think of your dealer support.

Do you have a dealer right nearby that you can go to and purchase the chainsaw and have it serviced or pick up its parts?

That’s going to determine in a big way which one you should go with.

If you have both, you’re going to have to weigh the pros and cons laid out in this article.

Let’s say you don’t have either dealer within a distance that you can go to, I will say the Husqvarna 550xp is a little bit more readily available online as far as getting parts and even purchasing the chainsaw.

So, if you’re out there and you’re not able to purchase something in person, you might lean towards the Husqvarna 550xp Mark II.

The Stihl to me is all about top-end horsepower. It revs really high and works really great in that range.

Whereas I feel like the Husqvarna has the edge whenever it comes to low-end torque, which you actually feel whenever you’re cutting most of the time.

But at the end of the day, if you purchase the Stihl 261 or the Husqvarna 550xp, you’re not going to be unhappy regardless of which decision you make.

That’s it folks. I have highlighted some of the things you might be thinking about whenever you’re looking at the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 or the Stihl 261.

Hopefully, this will make you decide on which chainsaw to go with. If you have any questions, be sure to put them down in the comments and let me know if I missed anything.

Also, let us know which one do you think is the winner between the Husqvarna 550xp Mark 2 vs Stihl MS 261 and which chainsaw you enjoy running out of these two.

Stay safe and see you on the next one.

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