ok..just spent 3-4 hours reviewing various websites regarding chainsaws, and I finally made a purchase...and then another one the next day. Background..not an expert saw user but I have used an old echo cs280 12" for the past 3 years on my 1/2 acre of hardwoods. Here's my experience...I initially, after all my careful research, chose a Husky 435. 41cc, 16" bar, bought at Lowes, I thought I was set for the next 10-15 years...WRONG, although I did get it started twice, and actually used it once to quickly tear through a 12" log(worked great), it was very hard to start right out of the box,(followed directions to the letter) AND pulling the starter cord was very difficult..it seemed to catch and get stuck, so BACK TO LOWES FOR FULL REFUND.
Next, over to HD to buy what my gut told me right from the start, another ECHO. My original Echo, the cs280, was 15 years old and still working well, but it's time for something a little bigger and stronger. The 16" 36cc CS-370. It started just fine right out of the box and I just finished ripping through a fallen 12" elm with ease....with plenty of power to spare.
The thing I've learned is that the chainsaw arena is similar to the automobile arena. Stihl's and Husky's are like BMW's, Audi's, or SAAB's in terms of style, power, and performance, but break down all the time and are terrrible for quality/reliability. The Echo, while not quite as good from a power/style/performance perspective, "kicks their but" in terms of quality and reliability in the same way a Lexus does versus BMW, Audi, SAAB or Mercedes. Bottom line...if you are a toyota/lexus type of person, buy the echo, if you're a bmw/audi type, then buy a husky or stihl.