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When looking for a reliable workhorse of a chainsaw, the brands Husqvarna and Stihl come to mind. Both companies have been in the business of chainsaws for a long time. They have built a reputation on their products’ quality and performance. Husqvarna has its roots in Sweden, and Stihl in Germany but they both have factories in the United States. These manufacturers both have a loyal fan base, returning customers, and sizeable market shares.
They’ve been competing with their product lines for decades, and today we’re taking the Husqvarna 460 Rancher and Stihl Farm boss (MS 271), head to head. We’ll look at each chainsaw’s specifications and features and compare these two capable saws.
If you’re a land owner, rancher or farmer, these two chainsaws are marketed towards you. Both are farm ready and intended to do heavy work reliably for years. Husqvarna’s Rancher lineup are feature heavy, durable and intended for clearing land, bucking lumber and general heavy usage. The Rancher lineup has the benefit of coming in few different power-head outputs and guide bar sizes. The Stihl Farm Boss only comes in one size, the MS 271.
These two chainsaws share many similar features. They both feature a centrifugal air filtration system. They work by separating large particles out of air intake charge. These systems basically extend air filter life, and allows for an increased time between servicing the filter. They help maintain power and performance over long use periods.
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher and Stihl Farm Boss both have anti-vibration features. These mechanism reduce the engine vibrations on the chassis. This is important and helps reduce fatigue when operating. Chainsaws are one of the most dangerous tools you can own, and we like this feature. If you plan on doing a large amount of cutting or processing, consider this an important feature for making the work session for comfortable and safe. Both chainsaws weigh about 13 pounds. The Stihl has a smaller fuel tank, giving it a small edge in terms of weight. However, you will need to do more frequent fill-ups when compared to the Husqvarna.
The maneuverability and ergonomics of a chainsaw is important to consider. The 460 Rancher handles are better designed for safety and movement, allowing you do to angled cuts safely and easily. The Stihl design, although sufficient, is not as safe as the 460 Rancher’s. The extra time, research and development that Husqvarna took for it’s ergonomics really shows. You want a saw that feels like a natural extension of yourself.
When working for longer sessions, it’s almost a given that the chain will need tensioning. This is true for both Stihl and Husqvarna chainsaws. Both the 460 Rancher and MS 271 have a side-mounted tensioner. These are located at the base of the guide bar on the chassis and provide easy tensioning. They can be adjusted with a screw. When comparing the two systems to each other, we like the 460 Rancher setup. It’s simpler and more open, allowing for quick adjustments.
If you are looking at two different chainsaws, the main component to compare is the powerhead. This is the core of any chainsaw and where you can get your money’s worth. The engine’s output is the determining factor when determining the guide bar length. The larger the guide bar, the more work you can do. At the base of both guide bars are the bucking spikes and felling marks. The spikes are intended for bucking lumber and the felling marks when used correctly aid in the precision of where the tree lands.
The winner of this power-head matchup is the Husqvarna 460 Rancher. The Rancher has a bigger 60.3cc (3.68 cu.inch) engine, compared to the smaller and lower powered 50.2 (3.06 cu.inch) engine of the Stihl Farm Boss. The larger engine of the 460 Rancher, means it can power up to a 24-inch guide bar. The MS 271 however can only power up to a 20-inch guide bar. The minimum size guide bar length of the 460 Rancher is 18-inch, and 16-inch for the MS 271. The 460 Rancher can do larger cuts and could process more when bucking lumber. It’s the winner here.
In terms of engine output power. The larger engine of the 460 Rancher gives it an advantage here as well. While the smaller Stihl Farm Boss ouput is 3.49 hp (2.6kw) the Husqvarna’s output is 3.62 hp (2.7kw). The beefier engine of the 460 Rancher allows it to power through cuts faster. The extra output is an important factor to consider if you plan on getting through a lot of wood, or you need a larger sized chain guide bar.
Both the Husqvarna 460 Rancher and the Stihl Farm Boss are mighty chainsaws. Our pick and favorite of the two goes to the 460 Rancher. It’s more powerful, can support a larger guide bar. It’s safer and easier to use, has all the features of the Stihl and more. It’s also a better value, and has a lower purchase price.
Husqvarna owners report long-term satisfaction, you get a quality farm ready tool that you can depend on for years to come. You simply get more tool for the money with Husqvarna.