chain saw purchase

YardcleaningmonkeyFebruary 12, 2011

Looking to purchase a new chainsaw. The job is trimming mature oaks, with some braches 10" plus. After job, only maybe once a year use. Looking to not spend much more that $300, but would like something that stores well because I will not be firing it up monthly. I am 33 and may live at many different places in the future so I would like to get a quality saw that will start ten years from now or more (if that's possible only spending 3 Franklin notes. I'd appreciate some advice from the guys/gals out there that cut on the regular. Thanks

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Yard: Either Echo CS-400-18 or Efco 4000 will get you a quality saw for just under $300.00 bucks .

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Cost of saw really has nothing to do with starting in ten years. That all about how you maintain the saw and store it. 10" plus limb trimming IMO not a good reference starting point. That could be saw with bar length from 10" to 28". For trimming I would recommend trim saw thats lightweight and maybe 14" bar, but in most cases 12" bar is better if you off the ground. Less weight, less swing, especially if any climbing involved. Another saw to look at for trimmiing would be Stihl MS192T around $300 bucks. Like I say depends if your trimming and topping vs. dropping?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 1:22PM
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most upper end saws are from a servicing dealer who has been there a while. I spent 10 years as a logger in the north maine woods.I usualy bought 2 saws a year. When we went to a new job site I would look arround and buy a saw from a local dealer. I have had mac's, pioneer, husky, shindowa, jonsered, echo and homelite. I always have had 3 saws one to work, one to back it up and one for a realy bad day. even my third saw had to be ready to go to work as we got paid only for what wood hit the landing, and it might be 100 miles to get them fixed. When I got out of the woods I kept my first and second saws 20 years I still use them to cut 4 cord of firewood a year. when logging I cut 12 cord a day. A used saw from a good shop might be a better buy.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 7:29PM
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A Good Used Saw from a Reliable Dealer might be a Wise Decision lol :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:25AM
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I use a Homelite Timberman chain saw which I've had for about 5-6 years and works great but I also have a black and decker alligator lopper which I can use about 90% of the time. The alligator lopper can cut branches up to 4" in diameter. This lopper has a small cutting chain but is safer to use than my regular chainsaw. If I have a choice, I always opt to use the alligator lopper because of the safety factor. You might want to look at getting a lopper as a possible option. They sell for less than $100. Mine is battery-operated.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:18PM
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strelnikov(NE IL)

Don't know if an electric chainsaw is feasible but if it is I've had great luck with my Remington electric saw with 14" bar. Works great as long as the cord will reach what you're working on.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:29PM
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As mentioned a Echo CS400 or Efco 4000 along with a Dolmar 400 series saws have good quality and are priced good. A 192t Stihl is built cheap compared to the above saws. I'd stay away from modern Macs, Homelites, and Poulans which might or might not run for a while but they are built real cheap. Steve

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:06AM
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Stihl ms250, forget all those also ran brands like Efco and Echo. Echo does make a good saw but their retail prices are too high, power to weight ratios generally are uninspiring, and who knows what kind of dealer support you'll have in six months.

I've dealt with Dolmar, can't recommend their smaller saws.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 2:41PM
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While the MS250 is a decent saw it doesn't have the quality or power per cc as the smaller Echo, Efco or Dolmar saws mostly due to the open port cylinder vs the pro style closed ports on Echo saws. I,ve run my muff modded 40cc Echo against my stock 56cc 029 Stihl and they were just about dead even in cutting speed with the edge going to the 029 by 1 second in a 16 second cut. On a good scale full oof fuel and oil with 16" bars the CS400 wieght is 13#, the 029 is 17-3/4#, the 029 stays home. Steve

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:02AM
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Yeah agree 100% Steve the Stihl Homeowner Series really lack the power and quality of either model of Efco , Echo or even the Dolmar PS401 which comes with decompression (for the lady's) and Magnesium Crankcase for $259.00 are proven quality Prosumer Saws with very competitive pricing. I have never seen Echo as over priced actually just the opposite locally ? Yes the Dealer availablity is still spotty with Dolmar, but for anyone that is reasonably mechanical it's a no brainer . Hell I have both MS-260 and 361 Pro Models so I have nothing against Stihl just trying to be honest with the Op .

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:42AM
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The 029 is and always has been a pig of a saw....notice that I didn't recommend it for a few sheckles more than $300.

The fact that you equate a closed port cylinder with superior quality suggests to me that you don't really understand what you are talking about. Furthermore, closed transfer port design does have some inherently greater power potential, not inherent quality, but it is by no means a given, infact there have been many examples of open port saws eating their lunch.

Closed port design adds cost to the manufacture and most often adds nothing of value to a saw that won't be used for a couple thousand hours. Nikasil has made cyclinder wear on open port edges nearly cease to exist and the rings that Stihl and Husky use are superior to that of the Dolmars, even on the much vaunted 7900 which has been known for soft rings. Fact! Check with people who have actually used a 7900 professionally, not just to cut cookies and make youtube videos.

The much bragged about small Dolmars and Efcos are really nothing special in any way. The only people I see bragging about them are people whom I perceive as wanting to appear that they know something that the "uneducated" don't but that's all smoke and mirrors. The small Dolmars and Efcos are cheesy and built to only marginally better standards than a Poulan, infact they are on par with the smallest homeowner Stihls and Huskies except that dealer support for Dolmar and Efco pretty much is nonexistant in most locales.

The small Echoes are cheesy too but I do believe their engines are better. Their dealer support is marginally better than that of Dolmar and Efco, anyone with a few thousand bucks that wants to be a chainsaw dealer can sell Echo products and offer nearly no tech support, look at eBay for prime examples. Echo is a gateway brand, ie; gets a person started in OPE sales with minimal investment until they can make a name for themselves, then that shop normally drops Echo and moves onto a bigger seller. This doesn't reflect on the quality of echo products per se but it does reflect on the quality of the experience that a person who is not well versed in maintenance of OPE is going to have if they buy an Echo. They become totally at the mercy of the local mechanic who may or may not know what he is doing and who has no corporate reputation or relationship to maintain, in other words, hold on to your shorts!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Most every pro saw has closed port cylinders and make more power per cc than the open port homeowner saws, the only exception I know of is a 63cc Dolmar which has huge open ports and makes good power. That aside the build quality and poweer of the odd number Stihls is not near as good as the smaller Echo, Efco and Dolmar saws and yet they cost just as much. Stihl is living off thier name with these lower quality saws. I own a MS170, 029 and 044 Stihl besides a lot of other saws to compare them too. Steve

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:26PM
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"Most every pro saw has closed port cylinders and make more power per cc than the open port homeowner saws, the only exception I know of is a 63cc Dolmar which has huge open ports and makes good power."

There you go again Steve, illustrating that you don't understand the differences between closed port and open port saws. Huge open transfer ports would result in low velocity of the fuel charge, poor atomization, and possible if not probable incomplete evacuation of the fuel charge from the base as the piston moves down after combustion, which in case you don't realize it yet, would result in lower power due to the "huge open ports".

Factors far more important to the production of hp are intake and exhaust port timing, blowdown, and compression....all significant factors which are tweaked further in "pro" saws. Have you noticed that pro saws typically produce peak horsepower at around 9,600 rpm and that most all others produce peak power at 9,000 rpm? Closed transfers are a factor in making power at a higher rpm in a production saw but an excellent contradiction to the supposed rule is the Husky 359 with the muffler opened up. There's lots of them chronicled on the internet and are pretty good anecdotal evidence that the open port/closed port argument is mostly moot, it's a combination of a lot of factors that are important, but still, closed port does not a pro saw make nor does it mean quality.

What is your evidence that the build quality of "odd number Stihls" is not as good as the quality of Echo, Efco, and Dolmar saws? Have you ever even operated one of the small Dolmars or Efcos? Even been close enough to touch one? Their build quality is exactly on par with the smallest Stihls and Huskies.....not to be recommended to anyone besides a homeowner pruning apple trees.

The 025/ms250 has a substantial track record of good performance and excellent durability in professional use by real landscaping outfits, companies like Davey tree, and other arborists who don't feel the need to spend a lot of money for show. The ms250 may be an anomoly in the realm of mostly smaller (I'm not a big fan of the ms290-390 either) clamshell Stihls but it is one heckuva saw for the money and you can't touch their dealer network with any other brand on the market. Dealer network = places to get support when needed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:14PM
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I like my Echo saws but I think the small Dolmar saws are the best built in the 40 to 49cc saws. A Stihl MS250 is cheezy compared to say a Dolmar 401. Also if you or anyone wants to run a MS250 against my CS400 come on over. Steve

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:17PM
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