Whereas STIHL products are characterised, among other things, by strict quality and safety standards, this is not the case with imitations. Often the counterfeit machines break down after only a short time in use, and as spare parts are not available they cannot be repaired. Moreover, safety-critical devices may be faulty or totally absent. For example, the hand guard for the automatic chain brake - the most important safety device on a chain saw - was found to be broken when one counterfeit saw was unpacked.
STIHL chain saws have become a focus of attention for imitators. Most of the counterfeits come from China and they look like the original STIHL products, especially with their orange/light grey colour scheme. Furthermore, consumers are taken in by forged stickers with the 'STIHL' brand name, and in some cases familiar model designations like 'MS 440' are marked on the saws. Apart from their colours and the model designation, these chain saws have nothing in common with the original STIHL chain saws.