Whats a good/step up, chainsaw?

pyratejim(6b)September 26, 2006

I currenlty have a PoulanPro sm4018. 40cc with an 18" bar and have no idea what the sm stands for, or for that matter what the difference is between a Poulan Pro and and Poulan, other than it seems the choices with the Pro are slimer. Anyway, it eats chains somewhat regularly and leaks chain oil something fierce. I've also noticed that the "teeth" on the only chain that seems to fit this model are slightly smaller than other 18" chains. For small projects around the house and for a few small trees it is great but I now find the need to move up a notch or two.

What would be a good chainsaw as an upgrade? I would like to stay with the 18" bar as that would serve 95% of my needs. I am new to chainsaws and the variety of brands and their little differences can be somewhat overwhelming. I am hoping to make the upgrade in the next couple of days.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

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The best brand chainsaw you can buy is a Stihl. Most professional use them but they also make lighter duty models (non-contractor grade) suited for homeowners as well (like me). I have one and love it. Very well made machine. Consumer reports also rates them at the top. I use it to cut down trees around my house for firewood.

However, you can't buy them at Lowes or home depot, etc, and usually only sell at your local power equipment dealer (which is a better place to go buy this type of thing anyway). They can help you alot better in selecting a model suited for your particular needs because their are alot to choose from, even from the Stihl product line. My local place (a Stihl rep) has great service all around and helped me select a unit in my price range for what I wanted to use it for. After that good experience I've gone back to them to buy other equipment (like a brush cutter) as well when I was looking for one to use around my property. They know the equipment and models very well and it's also where the contractors go. They even show you how to use it, fill it gas and tossed in some saftey glasses. Don't go anywhere else to buy a chainsaw but a power store. Best advice I can give anyone buying a chainsaw or any power equipment after learning the hard way.

You can start by visiting www.stihlusa.com and find your local rep and check out different models before going to the store.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:30PM
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A little more info is needed.
How much wood are you going to cut?
What is the diameter of any trees you plan to drop?
What type of trees are you going to cut - oak, maple, hard woods - soft woods?

How much do you want to spend or can afford to spend?

Having asked all these questions, I would look at the Stihl line of chain saws. For general homeowner use, the 250 is an excellent saw.

Enjoy the journey.

eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:33PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Your Poulan is likely running picco chain. It is designed for saws under 2.5 hp. I will be the devils advocate here and suggest the Husqvarna 55. It is one of few saws under 59cc that has the torque to pull regular 3/8 chain, same as what the big boys use, yet is reasonably priced.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 11:05PM
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Right now the best 45-50CC chainsaw is the Dolmar PS5100. It's sweat spot is 18".

However I'd throw away the safety chain that Dolmar supplies with the saw.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:24AM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Few Dolmar dealers here so far but I'm really interested in trying several models. I am hearing a lot of good things about them.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:50AM
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Stihl is not the only good saw. Dolmar, Echo, EFCO (at your John Deere dealer), Husqvarna, Jonsered, and Shindaiwa all make models that excel in performance and durability. Some of the cheapest Stihl and Husqvarna models are no better than your Poulan, and some of their mid range models are too heavy for their horsepower. You can't pick on brand alone.

Compare local dealers. Ask for the name of the chain saw mechanic and how long he has worked there. Take your Poulan along and explain what you would like to be different about your next saw. Try out a demonstrator saw on a log out back.

Plan to spend over $400 for a light saw with the beans to spin chain around an 18" bar. Examples would be the Husqvarna 346XP and the Stihl MS260 Pro. For $100 less you could buy a Husqvarna 350 and keep a lot of the performance by giving up some durability.

I think if your number one concern is easy starting and reducing hassles you might prefer the Echo or Shindaiwa. I'm very happy with my Shindaiwa 488.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Try Echo or Redmax - if you buy Stihl you have to be really careful about which model you buy, and I've had bad experience even with their pro line saws. I wouldn't buy Stihl again.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 5:55PM
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