Which Chain Saw Stihl - Echo- or ?

jeep461(5)July 6, 2010

I have a Echo trimmer and it has been good. I have a craftsman chin saw relatively new but have no faith in it. It will be worked hard for about a week and then set until we have a hurricane. Most of the trees I am working with are live oaks 16-20 inch diameter. I will also use it for occasional trimming.

We have a Echo deal near by. Stihl dealer is 25 miles away.


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Jeep : Both have quality products. Still has the Dealer Network almost in every town and berg. Echo not quite as extensive but growing. Since you have set the parameters of usage and tree size normal cut , I would recommend a 50cc class saw with a 16 inch roller tip bar . Personally I would steer towards a MS-260 Pro . Echo has similar Model which your Local Dealer can advise you of it Merits. Don't be fooled either Manufacturer can provide you with a Consumer Homeowner Version at a discounted Price but you will not be receiving the same Quality . If you can afford the additional 75-100 bucks you will be rewarded with metal casing , ball bearings , forged steel rods ...etc . I think you get the picture . Do yourself a favour go to your Echo Dealer ask him pertinent questions why a Echo Product over a Stil or Husky and to demonstrate the features of his saw line along with Parts Support . Don't forget to use A Stabil Product during Storage and a Carb Cleaning Fuel Additive Annually , along with Personal Protective Equipment , you won't regret it !

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:37AM
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Right now the best deal out there is the Echo CS600p off Ebay for around $400, it has just as much quality, cuts just as fast per cc, as any Pro Stihl saw and costs WAY less. Either you, a dealer or your local small engine shop would need to pull the limiter caps and adjust for your fuel, temp and alitude. Most new saws come set to lean now days. for cutting 16 to 20" oak a good 50cc would work but a 60cc will cut a lot quicker. Steve

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 7:30AM
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Give the Craftsman A Chance! If it's a mid range built by Pouland, they have worked well for me. I have had 2 Pouland S-25 models the last 30+ years with no problems. Any saw will have problems and maintenance is critical (as sharpening and cleaning after major jobs). I have cut an average of 4 cords a year and mainly red oak and live oak up to 20" dia average (some larger). The first saw lasted 10+ years before a wrist pen ruined the cylinder wall. After over 12 years the 2nd saw locked due to the oil mix or TX 100 degree heat. I replaced the piston and rings and the saw is still going strong.

I will admit itÂs a medium use saw vs a Pro model. What model Craftsman do you have? I have been given over 10 chainsaws of all brands due to a lack of maintenance or understanding the sawÂs operation vs the saw having a true problem.

Do you have a hydraulic log splitter? Please respond to my splitter's question (posted close by) that is very loud and what I might do to make it quieter. JOW

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Ladylake is correct , the Echo CS-660P is a 60 cc Class Pro Grade Saw . The CS530 would be the equivalent of the MS-260 Pro . I have cut 20 inch Oak with no problem with both MS-260 & 361 with 20 inch bars. The 361 certainly work less hard . It all depend on your needs and $$ . Both the 60 cc saws will run you in the $550.00 - $600 Range at their Respective Dealers , aprox . $100.00 less for the 50 cc Units. You may get better $$ via E-Bay on the Echo Line but I never trust such transactions myself (Buyer Beware) . As far as the Craftsman Brand they use to make a descent saw in the 70 's (Homelite) but the Poulan Remakes are really for the Occasional Homeowner Usage . You stated work it hard for a week , any Poulan would be hard pressed to last lone cutting 16-20 Oak for a week . On the upside you could probably purchase a couple of Poulan Pro's for the Price of a Professional Grade Echo or Stil or Husky . All the Best in your Selection .

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 1:53PM
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It is a hard decision. I hate how particular they are to start when hot. It is brutal hot outside here and all of its work will always be in the Texas heat. It was purchased just to do storm cleanup. I have always wanted a Stihl but only Professional grade. My Craftsman was not a cheap saw, It is just from my experience when you need them to work they quit. I always mix premium fuel,oil and stabil on all my equipment. It solves many problems.

I chose my trimmer over Stihl because of there being no local dealer. If you buy quality then it should not need a dealer...

I have some feelers out awaiting responses on the 60 cc Echo. Stihl is basically a dealer only and it is 20+ miles away. I may have to make the trip or call 1st and makes sure they have a 362. Ouch at 700.00 with tax. I loved Stihl because they were German made. Now they are American ?
I also used to love Mercedes when they were German made. If I pay 700 I would expect a no compromise built saw with all ball bearings,forged pistons,rods etc. I just do not know if the new Stihls are that machine. The EPA has caused major modification to all new machines.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 1:23AM
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Jim: Seems you have answered your own questions lol ! Where the saw is made is not the concern the Specifications of Manufacturer are the real issues , thus my recommendation of Pro vs Homeowner Grade. Yes the Prices are going over the Top . Your Original question was Stihl vs Echo , Husky along with Dolmar , Solo , Efco and Makita also provide very reliable 50 & 60 cc Saws . As for the 362 it has not received the rave reviews that had been expected , hard starting due to EPA . Numerous 361 Models are still at Dealers at substantial savings over the 362 should you decide a 60 cc saw is required. Anyhow let us know how you make out Dude !

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 5:34AM
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I would also look a Husqvarna 359 $450 to $550 range, with about 20" bar. these saws have adjustable oilers. something else to compare to.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:51PM
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I am sure there are many other good saws out there. I am just partial to Stihl and Echo. I need to have that feeling that no matter what they will be dependable. My time is limited to do projects here. I do have backup to backups.

I ran my 1st Stihl 35 years ago. Amazing saw. Switched my weed eater to Echo a few years back, amazing trimmer. 2 pulls and you are running. I do not mind the extra amount for piece of mind. There is not much use for a chain saw in South Texas coast. LOL I do have about 300+ Oak trees. We had the worst drought in over 100 years last year. It caused some of my oaks to drop their leaves and die way back. I am cutting out the dead and they are coming back. I have never seen a big oak die due to lack of water. I will go to the back of my property more often in the summers to come. I have put in irrigation lines in case I need them.

Thanks for all the replies. It really helps make an informed decision. I will let you know the outcome. It might be a few days as we are having another tropical wave coming in. Last one dumped 6" in an hour and a total of around 10+ inches. No lack of water this year.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 1:31AM
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I finally bought some saws... I started out looking for 1 and wound up with 3.

Stihl 192T Chainsaw - 14" Bar & Chain $152.50

Echo CS-4500P Chainsaw - 17" Guide Bar $80.58

Stihl chainsaw MS 361 $ 250.00

All professional grade saws lowest compression was 145.They are all used 1st 2 off ebay and the 361 was a local purchase. Total was 482.58. Not bad since a 362 would have cost $ 700.00+ dollars.

Thanks for all the info. I still have my eye on a CS 300 arborist saw since they can be had for under $ 100.00. From looking at the prices and model Stihl holds its price very well. I should have more saws than I need.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:13PM
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Hey well done Jim ! You have the Best of both Worlds between limbing Saws and Feeling & Bucking . With the Money you have saved any small issues can be dealt with easily . All the Best within your cutting Dude don't forget the PPE you don't often get second chances with Saws :) .

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 5:35AM
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Do not have much PPE but will look into it. I am a very safe person with more than nine lives and cat reflexes. I could use some Kevlar chaps though. Know a good source ?


    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:35AM
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Do yourself and your Family a favor Jim and check out Baileys or Blue Ridge Arborist for a pair of Chaps , Hearing Protection and Gloves . Chaps run the most $$ around $50-75 for a quality pair . Using a Saw once a Yr for a few hrs or every day sooner or later accidents can happen better Proactive than Reactive . Happy Cutting Bro !

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 5:36AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

For chaps, I'd go with the Labonville brand. US made and very good quality. You can get them through Bailey's, Wesspur or even Labonville direct.

You made some good purchases, money wise. Used saws can be a hit or miss market. I hope yours are in good shape and work well.

That 361 purchase is probably your best one. If it is in good working order, you'll probably be using that one alot.

I have not run any of the Echo's but it should give you good service.

The 192T purchase has me scratching my head. Unless you are climbing with the saw I would not recommend a top handle. You can get the light weight in other small saws and better comfort and control from a rear handle saw. The top handle gives you more work positions options for when you are in a tree. They are not very comfortable for extended use on the ground. The 192T is decent but weak compared to the 200T. Don't feel like you're doing something wrong if you end up not using the 192 much.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:28PM
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Nothing wrong with the 192 T for that Price Mas , especially for occasional limbing and Light Cedar cutting for kindling etc. I have used Top Hand Homelite of my Brother's for Yrs when ever small brushing and limbing was involved . The only disadvantage I have identified with any top handle design is the kick back danger , you have less saw to begin with and much less leverage for control in a kick back situation . Proper cutting technique and presence of mind with small saws is always a priority . But it's a no brainer that the MS-361 is the Prize of the Lot !

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:40PM
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The 192 T was bought as a tree saw. I still have a few hundred oaks that need some trimming. I really like the saw, it is light easy to maneuver and is perfect for 1-2" limbs. I am going to do some rope work for fun.

I watched some video on you tube for the Labonville brand. Impressive !!

The MS-361 is quite an impressive saw. I have not cut much yet with it as it is too hot with heat factors over 108. The only time I cut is from about 7-8:30 PM. I have developed an interest in collecting saws. Go figure ! I just bought a Echo MS-520 for $141.00 delivered.

I try to buy running saws from 1/4 to 1/3 of original price in excellent running condition with UPS delivery from established sellers with a 100% rating. Echo's bring about 1/4 and Stihl's 1/3. It is fun to run a saw capable of 12,000 RPM's. I can go play in the fall and winter. I still need some protective gear but it is sooo hot. I hope the chaps will not burn me up.

I have 3 chainsaw gas cans mixed now. Echo (42:1),Stihl (42:1)and Amsoil (50:1). Is the Amsoil stabilized ? I now want a 80 cc saw but have a hard time justifying 6 saws and no trees bigger that 3 feet. Maybe a chipper ??? LOL


    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 11:04PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Nothing wrong with the 192T, it's just not a saw I would recommend for anything other than in tree work. They are handly lightweight saws, just uncomfortable for anything other than quick cutting IMO. I wouldn't say never use it for general cutting, but I would recommend a small rear handle saw over a T saw. JMO though.

You should be able to run your Stihls at 50:1, I believe. I am not sure on which has more priority, the oil or the saw but I think it is the oil. Meaning the older saws may specify 32:1, 40:1 etc. but that was based on oil formulations then, IIRC. Current formulations lubricate better and require less oil, hence 50:1.

If you want an inexpensive 80cc saw, look around at your local HD Tool Rental centers. They sell their Makita 6401's for $180-225 (depending on age and rentals). They are decent 65cc saws (rebadged Dolmar 6400). You can pick up an P&C kit from Baileys from ~$190. This gives you one of the best 80cc saws around for under $400 and it will be nearly new. Baileys also has a Big Bore aftermarket kit that has good reviews. It gives a little more cc's (85) and maybe a little more power but it is only ~$120 for the kit.

I'd run the 80cc with a 24" bar and maybe a 28-32" bar for the occasional larger stuff.

You are doing well on your purchases.

The Labonville chaps are quite well made and that video is an interesting view. They are way cheaper than any hospital visit you might have from an accident.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 4:29PM
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I would run all your saws at 50-1 Ratio . If you intend to use Amsoil you could go lighter I have used up to 70-1 over 10 yrs on Older Pioneer Saws. Have torn down one saw for a head gasket change-out and the head and rings where like new and it still runs great today. The only changes to the saw has been a new bar and sprocket and chains over a 45 yr period . Still cut a few cord a yr with it although I use my 361 and Husky more often with my Son these days . However with your extreme Ambient Heat Conditions , you will probably sleep better with a 50-1 mixture. I have witnessed the damage done from excessive oil mixtures cause extreme carbon build up causing local hot spots and burnt pistons and blow by caused from carbon fouling of rings .
Have a great time with your saws !

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:19PM
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I do appreciate the PPG reminder. It is easy to forget it. I probably should update all my PPG to true chain saw with Kevlar. Suggestions would be nice. As I really have no idea other than names, brands and advertising.

I will back off on the oil some as I feel more comfortable with the saws. You never know what the previous owner did with it. They are all 1 gallon cans so it will go fast.

I will wait on the 80 cc do some research and look at kits etc. I have given up a lot of hobby's due to time. I have read a bunch of forums on modding saws. Interesting stuff. LOL, I believe I am hooked ?


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:05AM
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Never buy echo chain saw. Warranty is not worth the paper it is written on. Bought new on eBay. Registered the warranty with Echo. 5 year warranty Ha, Ha. Used about 6 times when it stopped. Took it to nearest dealer and was told no warranty unless I bought it from them. Called echo and they said take it to a Signature Repair shop. Took it in and was called back 7 days later. It had piston damaged and no warranty because even though gas in tank showed proper lubrication, it could only be my fault.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 10:10PM
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