Aimed at ground workers, the rear-handled 201 has a gizmo that does everything for you. This one features electronics in the form of an engine management system that adjusts ignition timing and fuel metering in all operating modes.
This model takes into account a range of conditions such as altitude, temperature and fuel quality, along with timber and workload, to give a constant maximum speed as well as rapid acceleration.
All very good but, to be honest, the first thing we notice is the appearance of the 201. "It looks quirky," says Cullen. That is because the chassis is the same as that designed for the top-handled 201.
The second thing we notice is the weight - or lack of it. At just 3.9kg, this 35.2cc chainsaw is light, and with an output of 1.8kW it has a power-to-weight ratio of 2.2. It is also highly manoeuvrable. This is an agile all-rounder of a saw but we reckon it would be ideal for those situations where precision is essential.
There are a lot features we like - the slots on the air filter nut that provide leverage for a spanner, the pop-out flip grips on the fuel cap and the captive nuts on the sprocket. But Northard does not like lifting the Combi-lever switch to turn off the saw - it feels unnatural. At least it means you cannot accidentally leave the choke on.
In use we find it does everything expected of this brand. Typically Stihl, it is quick to accelerate and provides high cutting and plunging performance. Gardeners and landscapers should find it attractive. But typically arborists, the testers are showing more interest in the 150T top-handled model.
Bar sizes: 30cm or 35cm
List price: £630 + VAT (30cm)/£640 + VAT (35cm)
Tel: Stihl - 01276 20202
Tested this issue
STIHL MS 201 C-M
STIHL MS 150 T-CE
Hyundai HYC36Li 36V
Hyundai HYC2610 Top-handled
The Review Panel
Jason Buckton, level 3 student, arboriculture, Bridgwater College
Darren Chambers, lecturer, arboriculture, Bridgwater College
Mike Cullen, head of arboriculture, Bridgwater College
Andre Gardner, manager, Cannington Centre for Land-based Studies, Bridgwater College
Gareth Martin, level 2 student, arboriculture, Bridgwater College
Simon Northard, level 3 student, arboriculture, Bridgwater College