Friday, May 27, 2011

Celebrating the STIHL 015

As we celebrate 85 years of STIHL, we thought our fans would enjoy taking a look at some of the equipment that over the years has helped STIHL become the number one selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in America.*

Recently we ran a “Name this STIHL” photo challenge on our Facebook page. It didn’t take long for folks to correctly identify this iconic product. The STIHL 015.

But how much do you know about this venerable chain saw? We asked STIHL’s own Eddie Anderson to provide a little background. Eddie is our technical training supervisor and leads our STIHL Gold School service technician training program. He also has a wealth of knowledge and experience with our products.

Introduced in 1973 and manufactured until 1983, the 015 was STIHL’s first small chain saw designed specifically for the “hobby” or homeowner market and was produced in several forms including a top handle version and a rear handle version. It’s power was around 2 BHP with a max RPM of 12,500.  The saw was introduced at an interesting time for the company. STIHL’s founder, Andreas Stihl had passed away in 1973 and his son Hans Peter Stihl had taken over the management of the company with his sister Eva Mayr-Stihl. The STIHL group had also reached the 3000 employee mark. And in 1974 when STIHL opened its U.S. operations in Virginia Beach, Virginia the STIHL 015 was the first product that the new facility assembled.

This unit hangs in our
museum in Virginia Beach
Known for its power, durability and easy handling the STIHL 015 soon gained widespread popularity. In what perhaps was a precursor to STIHL’s very popular present-day Kombisystem, the 015 also had optional attachments that could allow it to become a brushcutter or hedge trimmer. Another feature that was added to the STIHL 015 AV was the anti-vibration system that STIHL had introduced in its professional saws in 1964. The incorporation of features and technology developed for professional models into homeowner models is a hallmark of STIHL manufacturing and leads some to claim that no matter what STIHL you buy, it’s a professional model.

Be sure to follow our Facebook page as we continue to celebrate 85 years of STIHL and share more products and stories from our past.

Its all about Marketing. This ad was part
of our 50th anniversary
 *"Number one selling brand" is based on syndicated Irwin Broh Research (commercial landscapers) as well as independent consumer research of 2010 U.S. sales and market share data for the gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment category combined sales to consumers and commercial landscapers.


  1. As we look over the past , I want to add that I too have a 015av Stihl and used it quite often on my three acres of land. I was a hand me down from my Grandfather who used it more than I but it still runs strong and starts well after all these years. I plan on uses it many more years and only after a bar , and chain replacement,ever couple of years , I'm off and cutting agian. Thakns for the great Saw.
    Ron Revello
    oconto Falls, WI

  2. I use two Stihl 015 saws for cutting brush here in Alaska when I go hunting. I have newer saws but those old 015s go everywhere with me on my ATVs and snowmobiles. While some new ‘other brand’ saws don’t last very long I marvel at how durable those old Stihl’s are! And they are quite the conversation piece when people see them. And your big Professional saws are what I depend on all summer long.
    Keep up the good work!
    Professional sawyer in South East Alaska.

  3. Sorry to post as "anonymous"
    I just rescued a 015 from a co-worker. I own (too) many Stihl saws (per my wife). This 015 was realy nice. I took the bar/chain off. put gas in the tank. 2nd pull, it sputtered. 5th pull, it started. This saw hadn't run in 12 years! Bar/chain on, I cut with it just for giggles! Thank You for the AWESOME products you produce.

  4. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your find

  5. I have an 015AV that has probably less than 10 hours. I lost the oil Cap so I had to turn a new one on the lathe, as they are unavailable.

    Hope I can get parts if I need them, it's only 32 years old.....

  6. How does one go about getting a new chain for the 015? My total length of the bar guide is 13.5" and the chain has a total of 64 links wich is a 1/4 pitch.

    1. You should be able to visit your local STIHL dealer and get the right chain for your needs. You can use the dealer locator on the right hand side of this blog to find the dealer closest to you.


    3. Sorry, didn't pay close enough attention to the specifics of the chain you were referencing. You are correct that we no longer produce it.

  7. How does one go about getting a new chain for the 015? My total length of the bar guide is 13.5" and the chain has a total of 64 links wich is a 1/4 pitch. I have been told by 2 dealers the chain is no longer made. The saw is like new and can you help me find a chain that would work on my saw??

  8. Looking back through your "book of life" there are very few things you buy or acquire that fulfill your expectations, or more bluntly, the seller's promotion. The STIHL 015 deserves a bookmark. I bought one when they first came out. Still runs, still cuts. Will probably outlive me.

  9. Chains can be made to fit this saw. I work for a Stihl dealer and we have 1/4" pitch bulk chain and can make one to fit. I just bought a used 015 out of our junk parts bin and plan on putting it back into service. It's the best looking 015 I've seen since I worked for a dealer many years ago and sold them new.