Best chain saw for the money?

boopster(8)October 13, 2005

Sorry if this has been covered before. My friend wants to get a chainsaw for her husband for his birthday in a couple of weeks. I told her you guys would know the best deal:) I think my husband has a Craftsman, but we don't use it enough to be able to make a judgement one way or the other. So what's her best bet, without breaking the bank? Oh, we're in Texas, he'll be cutting mostly oak...probably can expect moderate to heavy use...thanks for any help.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd suggest a gift certificate at the local Stihl dealer - that way he can check out the different models and get the one he likes for the kind of cutting he will be doing. Stihl makes very good saws and with the proper saw for his needs, it will last a very long time.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yup. Echo, Stihl, Husqvarna... as long as there's a dealer near. I bought a mid-line Stihl, and beat the hell out of it for 2 years now. It's been really good.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have no idea what size trees he will be cutting,but Im gonna go out on a limb and suggest a 250 or 290 Stihl.The 290 is probably one of the most popular saws around where I live,and everybody seems to like the price and performance of them.I believe a new one can still be bought for around $300-320.Stihl saws are some of the best and $300 is a great deal for a saw the size of a 290.Husqvarna 55 Ranchers have been discontinued,but can still be bought new.It would also be a good choice.Good luck with whatever you choose,Doug

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 8:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well looks like Stihl is the chainsaw of choice LOL. I don't know that I've seen that brand around this area, but I'll take a look and let her know. Thanks a lot for all the replies.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think chain saws are one product where it's better to buy too small than too big. Unless you know the saw will regularly be used to cut down trees larger than 2' in diameter, I'd look at something like the Echo 3400 or even the 3000.

A friend of mine bought a Craftsman chainsaw and hated it because of problems with the chain adjuster and other hardware. On my recommendation he bought a Husqvarana 350, and he loves it. The 350 is a better bargain than the other saws that have been mentioned, and is much lighter than a Stihl 290.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
turnkey4099(SE WA)

Although it is rather difficult to arrange a 'surprise', buying a chainsaw for someone else is about the equivalent of picking out a wife for him. Gift certificate or make arrangements with a dealer so he doesn't know what your ceiling cost is going in and let him make his own choice. Another way is buy a chainsaw with the dealer agreeing to take it back (unused) for the price you paid on whatever other one he wants.

As for model/brand. Stick with major brands (stihl, Husky, etc.) and go for a midline 'consumer' grade. My newest is a Stihl MS310 (currently going under $400, Husky has equivalents for about the same amount. There is a big jump from mid/topline 'consumers' to 'professional' grade in the same size (up to $200 and more for the same size) Do not buy from a big-box store.

Harry K

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stihl's midrange and lower saws are no better than saws from Husky, Jonsered, Echo, Efco(John Deere and Cub Cadet), Shindaiwa, or Redmax. You have many good saws to choose from, but if it must be a Stihl.....

I feel that the ms290 is too heavy for the performance it offers. The 310 is built on the same platform as the 290 so the weight is comparable with a better power to weight ratio. If the saw is actually going to be used this becomes important.

The ms270 and 280 offer much better power to weight and significantly better antivibe but they are pricier.

The ms250 is a pretty good saw for a home firewood cutter.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Without knowing exactly how it will be used, it might be best to spoil the surprise and have him help in the selection process.

As as an all around good saw I'd suggest a Husqvarna 353. Its a "semi-pro" saw half way between the cheap homeowners models and expensive professional models. I have a 16" and a 20" bar for mine. A 20" bar in oak is pushing it a bit with this saw, but the 16" rips through like butter. If I had to get one bar, I'd go with an 18".

I got one when they were a new model about three years ago from Southwest Fastener and its been great for day to day cutting. I also have a 385xp. Its great for cutting down huge trees and milling them, but its too big and heavy for day to day use.
If he will need local service for the saw its probably best to purchase it locally, but I've had great experiences with

Another possibility is to buy chainsaw accessories and let him buy the saw himself.

Consider a helmet/earmuff/faceguard combo for ($30-$45). I thought they were a bit silly until I got one myself. They are wonderful. They keep the wood chips out of your eyes, the rain off your head, and its easy to pop the ear muffs open to talk to someone and then pop them back down and continue cutting.

Chainsaw chaps ($30-$90) that shred to jamb the chain and steel toe boots ($20-$200) are great safety items. It turns potentially life threatening injuries into a quick emergency room visit.

A pair of extra chains ($9-$19 each) for each size bar and a chain sharpener (anywhere from $10-$400) would also come in handy.

If he's cutting firewood, consider a timberjack ($30-$60) that allows one person to easily move large logs and lift them off the ground to cut them.

Plastic wedges ($2-$9) are great for controlling fall direction, keeping the saw bar from pinching, and getting the bar unstuck if something goes wrong.

A great online sites for all these chainsaw accessories are,, and

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had good luck with my Shindaiwa products. I've got a C35 brushcutter, a handheld blower, an older 500 chainsaw, and last year purchased a 488 chainsaw that has worked well so far and seems to have a good power to weight ratio. I would only go with this brand if there was a local dealer as with any tool that gets worked hard, eventually you are going to need a small part or two. I've got access to a big ole mean Stihl for cutting the big stuff but for most of my firewood cutting anything with an 16-20" bar should work.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 7:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You need to know what he will be cutting, what size trees he will be cutting, how much of it and how often he will be cutting. Then you can choose a couple of models of saws in the Stihl line up.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ive had both Stihl and Husqvarna saws,and other brands to.I recommended a Stihl because my best luck has been with them.Its been my experience that some of the Husqvarnas have more power than a Stihl saw of the same size,but Stihls to me are put together better.The Stihls seem tighter,and Ive never had problems with parts falling off.On some of the Huskys Ive had,I had problems with little things like the throttle cable breaking or coming loose,bolts backing out,anti-vibration mounts getting loose and so on.Huskys are great saws,but if I were stranded on a dessert island,and could only have 1 saw,Id have to pick the Stihl.Ive never owned or used an Echo or Shindaiwa,but have heard good things about both.Doug

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ohmyrakinback, what model husky saws did you have?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 8:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My first one ever was a used model 40.Ive had a 50,51,55,257(excellent saw),and a 268.All were good saws with no major problems.That 257 was an amazingly fast cutting saw,but it did have problems like I mentioned before.Im sure lots of other people think Husky is better built.Doug

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Artey, I agree the Shindaiwa 488 is a great saw; that's what I'm using now and I love it. Forum wise guys Fish and Butch and Canguy to all said wonderful things about it, and that's kind of like seeing Haley's comet, so I ran out and bought one.

However, I'm not sure it's the best buy. They retail for around $400, and most of the dealers I checked were selling for pretty close to retail. My closest dealer made me a great deal, but if you shopped that hard for a Husqvarna 350 or a Stihl 250 you could buy one for $275-300.

If I had it to do over again I'd still buy the Shindaiwa, for the combination of high quality and excellent power to weight ratio. But I'd like to run it alongside a Husky 346XP some time to see how the next step up lives.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a McCulloch 2.0 Eager Beaver. At least I have pieces of one in a box. Doesn't run any longer, know whats wrong, but can't get parts anywhere. Leaked oil really good from day one and was always hard to start.
Would not, not, not, not recommend the little yellow headache to anyone.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I picked mine up off e-Bay with an extra chain and case for $240.00. It was a demo saw that had only been started a couple of times. It was pristine when it arrived. It had never been put to wood. I've seen several on e-Bay that are brand new.
I got the 500 for $100.00 but it was in rougher shape, but still runs great after many years of cutting wood. I did have to replace the spark plug connector on the end of the wire after several years of use.
I can't knock their products even with the price, but again I wouldn't buy if I didn't have dealer support nearby.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A new Shindaiwa 488 for under $300 really is the best saw for the money. Congratulations on your find.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have a 488 saw.
Main problems:
Have had problems with the clutch constantly clogging with sawdust. Saw needs frequently diasssembeled & cleaned out. Can't cut up a whole tree without at least one disassembly/cleaning. The sawdust clogs so completely in this area that the chain will not turn.
Have disassembeled the bar so many times that the nuts & threads are too worn now to keep tight.
Clutch is now exploded, and needs replacement along with the bar studs & fasteners.
First start before using requires extensive priming and about 10 pulls to start, once it has been running it starts easily again after that.

Currently considering replacing saw with a Husqvarna model 345 rather than repairing the Shindiawa.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 8:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

T.Sharpe, I've only had my Shindaiwa a few months but I've cut down and cut up a couple dozen trees with it and never had a clogging problem. Mine also starts on the first pull when cold. What do you mean by "extensive priming?" Mine has a choke, not a prime button.

Did you get the saw new or used? Did it ever work right?

You couldn't run fast enough to give me a Husky 345.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't had a problem with mine. It fires up 2nd or 3rd pull on a cold start. I don't have a primer bulb on mine that I am aware of. I'm mostly cutting Alder and Maple which may be why I'm not plugging it up. I haven't been able to try it out on a Fir or Hemlock yet.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 1:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

So I'm a wieguy huh LOL. I think it was a compliment but not sure.
Anyway, is the clutch clogging with fine sawdust? I wonder if your chain is not properly sharpened. The species of wood may have something to do with it though. A properly tuned Shindaiwa with good compression should start easily.
It is a fine saw if a bit pricey and certainly not for everyone.FWIW, my regular use saw is a Husky 345 and am very happy with it. No problems at all after 4 years but it might see 20 hours a year

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Canguy, would you prefer "forum oracle"? I pay attention when I read something from a poster who is in the business, especially when I see a pattern of good advise, carefully worded. I put you and Butch and Fish in that category, along with Walt.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Stihl MS250 is an excellent choice for power with modest weight and reasonable price. A pro saw will be significantly higher cost and weight.
If a friend asks to "borrow" it, tell them that you will come and cut what they need cut. Do not lend the saw. My Dad's 028 Wood Boss was toast after an untrained person used it. The same person burned up his riding lawnmower engine as well.
My 038 Super still runs great, but is quite heavy.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I give another positive vote to the Shindaiwa 488. I own one with an 18" bar and it's one of my favorite pieces of OPE. It's fairly light, minimal vibration, always starts, plenty of power, and never experienced a problem. I'd highly recommend the saw.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think "boopster" got more than needed, I don't see a post from boopster in the last 12 or so.

I think the best chain saw for your money is one that wears out in 10 years or so, otherwise you have overbought. I like the lower end Poulan and Homelite saws. Craftsman too. All of these cost about 1/2 or less of what a Stihl cost and don't last anywhere near as long, but if you run you saw under 2 hours a year, who cares if it'll run from 500 hours? I haven't had any problems with chain adjuster anything to do with the chain save needing sharpening in these lower cost saws. My oldest a Homelite 14" has some running problems, but it is a throwaway and has given me about 15 years of service, at about 2 hours per year. I replaced it a couple of days back with a Homelite Bandit, 14" $99.99 and it looks and runs like new, it should it is new.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 10:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

I like your frugal attitude, Jerry. No sense is over-buying when your not going to use it very often. I have a 18' Poulan I paid around $160 for that's never been out of the case...but when I need one, there it is. Stihl's, Echo's, etc are great saws for those that are gonna use them an a regular basis.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Using a Poulan is a bit like wiping with corn shucks. Sure it's initially less expensive, but wait 'till the cow gets into your cornshuck pile and you have an emergency--you're going to end up with stinky fingers.

I swear, some of you are so tight you couldn't pass prune juice if you were giving cardio-pulminary-recussitation to a leaf blower.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use a Husqvarna 372xp as my main felling/bucking saw, but I use a little Poulan 2950 for limbing. I used to, in the "I cant afford a bigger saw" days, use the Poulan as my only saw. It has held up a he11 of a lot better than I figured it would! It still does great for limbing, but I sure do love that Husky for the big stuff! Even the little cheapies can hold up if you take care of them....that little 150 dollar Poulan is proof.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was going to but a 20" Poulan @ Home Depot but the tool rental corral had a reconditioned Makita 6401 for $175.00 It's 64cc with a 20" bar and it made short work of a fallen tree. I've had a Jonsered 2036 and an old Echo The Makita straight pisses on them all! I discovered that Makita bought Dolmar, which is a reputable saw co.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 12:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the older craftsman(poulan) saws,like the 2.0 for trimming and cutting up to about 6".After 6" ...I like my older McCullouch,even more than my Echo 750evl,up to about 14" .... . .,and beyond that,I use the echo,wich is dissapointing on the power/weight ratio,but it has nice features............I like the older saws with metal housings,so I can't give an accurate up-to-date comparison,to the new stuff,but my uncle bought a new Craftsman saw,and I thought it was stupid!The gas tank only lasts for what seems like about 2 minutes of run time,wich is very aggravating!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

buy echo.. best bang for your buck. unless u could talk me outa my 026 stihl modded saw. but u cant.. so get yourself an echo
good luck

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In preparation for another Hurricane here in South Florida, I took it upon myself to compare chainsaws from Echo, Husqvarna, Shindaiwa and Stihl. I compared Power to Weight ratios as well as Fuel Tank Capacity. I did not take into consideration the cost, which may be a deciding factor with some brands.

Arborist ( 34cc) - Stihl MS-200T

Echo 346
Stihl MS-200T

Homeowner ( 36 - 41 cc) Â Stihl MS-230

Echo 370
Husqvarna 142
Shindaiwa 377
Stihl MS-230

Handyman ( 42 - 46 cc) Â Shindaiwa 446

Echo 440
Husqvarna 345
Shindaiwa 446
Stihl MS-250

Contractor ( 47- 52 cc) Â Stihl MS-260 Pro

Echo 520
Husqvarna 353
Shindaiwa 488
Stihl MS-260 Pro
Stihl MS-280

Commercial ( 53 - 61 cc) Â Stihl MS-361 Pro

Husqvarna 455 Rancher
Husqvarna 460
Shindaiwa 577
Stihl MS-290 Farm Boss
Stihl MS-310
Stihl MS-361 Pro

Commercial ( 62 - 74 cc)- Stihl MS-390

Echo 670
Husqvarna 357
Shindaiwa 757
Stihl MS-390

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

The only ones I take issue with are the Husky 142 which is a re badged Poulan and the Stihl 290/310/390. The latter are definately not commercial class saws, they are built for the farmer/rancher and serious weekend cutter. Their weak areas are weight and chain oiling.The Husky 455 is also aimed at the weekend warrior and has a stronger torque curve than the similarly sized Stihls.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 12:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I labeled the various sizes with a name for a means to categorize them. "Commercial" is simply a state of mind. I left off "Weekend Warrior" simply because I didn't think of it.

More importantly is the attempt I made at finding the Best in class chainsaw. I'm kind of analytical so I like to compare things on an Excel spread sheet. Unfortunately, I was unable to cut and paste the extent of my analysis to this forum.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
groundhogva(z6 VA)

Great list.

How does the Husky 350 fit into the list? How does it match-up with the Husky 455? The 455 and 350 are common in the stores in my area.

Is it possible to have one saw do it all, in most cases? Cutting limbs off and cutting into firewood. I'm talking oaks with an average of 14 to 16 inches diameter with an occasional 20. Anything over this would be an exception.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stihl 026 or 260. Bulletproof!.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am looking to purchase a chainsaw for homeowner use. Just to cut some trees and firewood around the house. I have pretty much narrowed my choice down to two saws.... Stihl 250-c and the Husky 455 rancher. What are the pros and cons of each? I keep hearing about the Stihl having problems with their fuel lines. What is going on with the online dealers of Husky? Are they reliable and why would a company undercut their own dealers? I beleive you can buy echo online also. Is Echo a good brand? I have their string trimmer and it is great.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

The 455 is a larger, more powerful saw and can easily run the larger chain. IMHO, the QCA and Easy to start on the Stihl 250C are gimmicks and not worth the extra money.
I am a Husky dealer sales rep and certainly not happy with their on line sales but there is nothing we can do about it so we dont worry. I get the occasional customer wanting me to match their prices but it wont happen, especially in Canadian dollars.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I recently bought a Stihl MS 250 chainsaw with 18 inch blade. I got the basic saw with no easy start or easy chain adjuster. I'm not that old, so the easy start seemed like a waste of money to me and many have said to not get the quick chain adjuster. I love it. Starts easy and has plenty of power plus at 10 lbs it's nice and light. I'll use the saw maybe 10 times a year, so it's perfect for my needs and at $289 the price was right. I think the 250 compares with the husky 345 saw not the 455. The 455 seems like a nice saw with a little more power and step above the ms250. When I looked at Husky and Stihl, the one thing I didn't care for the choke on/off level on the husky. It seemed kind of cheap.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After reading through (thanks for all the good info), I need a bit of weight/bar/repair advice. As a woman, in 50s, good hand-eye coordination (which I attribute to playing third base as a kid), I need something that won't overwhelm me. Three acres, lot of minor tree shaping and cutting out some pernicious trees. Very little firewood cutting, need a few larger dead trees felled and wont be topping out the plane trees (thats for y'all) but will be doing a lot of under 4" diameter. husband (no hand-eye coord, his only fault) is freaked about me using one (which i have in distant past). No interest in electric, want gas and repair ease. will buy locally for very reasons mentioned.
thanks for any observations.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

Husky 345 or Stihl MS250 would be worth looking at. The 340 and MS230 are a bit less money but also have less power with the same weight as the larger saws. I suggest you not use a top handle saw with your lack of experience. They are designed for skilled arborists and there is a high risk of kickback.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks very much, canguy.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
masiman(z7 VA)

I agree with canguy on the 250. I don't know the Husky line but if comparable weight, cost and power, it would also be a good choice.

Another option is to get a smaller chainsaw. They have much less power but are very light and easy to handle for trimming. The downfall is that you would not want to do alot of bucking with them due to the lower power and bar size.

Echo has some well liked smaller saws. In the Stihl line they have the MS170 and MS180. I do not know what Husky models would be equivalent.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

Unfortunately, the base Husky saws are the 137 and 142, made by Poulan. They are heavy for their size and their track record is not good. The smallest Swedish built saw is the 340.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wise_guy(NW MN)

Cossack, I'm sure your XLS would be beneficial to some people in the future. You could upload it to some web space and post a link to it or upload a picture of it to a website and post that picture if the XLS is of manageable size.

Like so:

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 1:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
newjerseybt(5b NE PA)

Hmmm...Talking about missing the runway. It is time to
punch in your "go around" and throttle up. lol

Anyway...Regarding Stihl...Is there any significant difference in the engines/carbs in the homeowner/medium priced and pro models? Cast iron sleeves etc. Other quality differences?

I went to Baer Harley Motorcycle sales and service located in NE PA and they seemed more interested in selling bikes then helping me out and selling me a chain here I am with questions. This dealer is an "XXX out". No service now, no service later.

One thing not mentioned here is the labor if you have to hire someone to cut down one 14"D 75' pine for instance. The saw pays for itself in one use!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 10:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

There are significant differences in the construction of the consumer and so called semi pro versus the pro models. The pros use an all metal crankcase with a vertical part line pressed on the bearings and a bolt on cylinder. Most of the lower priced saws split horizontally and the plastic fuel tank/handle assembly form the lower half. The Husky 55, an older design, is a notable exception. Also, pro saws generally use higher quality materials for the cylinder and piston coatings as well as the rings.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
newjerseybt(5b NE PA)

Thanks canguy. I suspect that will equate to many more hours of operating service before a major overhaul is necessary.

On other types of proline equipment that I am familiar with, I usually find the better engineering makes for
smoother running, more power, easier to handle, a better result (in capable hands). Bearings vs. bushings, tungsten carbide bits vs. H.S., available torque etc. I just appreciate great engineering as opposed to "OK" engineering. Proline equipment in general is just more fun to use IMO. Maybe it's all in my head. lol

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For what it's worth...

I destroyed two Poulans before I finally bought a real chainsaw. I have a Shindaiwa 488 and love it ... all the cheep plastic and alloy pieces that busted on the Poulans are high quality metal on the Shindy.

What am I cutting? I have a home in Interior Alaska. I bring down and buck up 8 to 16 inch diameter birch and spruce ... about a hundred tree so far.

I took the Shindaiwa over to a friends house who had an old dried-out, 30" diameter spruce trunk. It was left over from a previous owner (probably 20 years earlier) and cut into four 8 foot long pieces and needed to be diced up for transporting it out of there. My Shindaiwa barely bruised it... as did the commercial stump remover we rented. The point is, it's all about having the right tool for the job.

Here is a link that might be useful: AlaskaJohn

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

The 488 is a little dated but is an excellent saw, a real favorite with the log home builders.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Best bang for the buck are Echo's, they are built a lot better than homeowner Stihl's and Husky's that cost just as much. I'd try and get a CS440 off ebay for around $200 they cut good run and handle real nice. If you could find a CS520 for a little more they cur really good. I'd stay away from Poulan's. too many problems. Steve

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 7:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Pouland chainsaw died today...took it to the local shop...90lbs compression not good...3 years young...the local shop sells Shindaiwa....he said it will be the last chainsaw I buy in my life time (Im 57).....he had a big pile of Pouland chainsaws in a corner dead...anyway looking at the 488 18inch bar..his price $359+tax...what do you think?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 8:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

"he had a big pile of Pouland chainsaws in a corner dead" I think you have answered your question.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2007 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The quality of the 488 is excellent but if you are willing to spend that much money there are other good saws with more modern features and better anti vibe such as the Husky 353 that would also be worthy of consideration.

I also don`t care for the flimsy single sided attachment of the brake flag on the 488 and to compound this short coming, IMO the flag material is way too soft, allowing too much deflection which must surely equate to a delay in the activation of the brake in the event of a kickback.

I also think that Shindaiwa`s hp rating for the 488 is extremely optimistic, it doesn`t seem to have the power of the Husky 346 or the older ms260 that are/were similarly rated. The 488 is nonetheless one of the best ~ 50cc saws available.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would definitely not say that the brake flag on the Shindaiwa 488 is flimsy. It is actually very sturdy.
Of course, the 488 is now N.L.A, replaced by the 490, although you could still find left overs at some dealers.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well kylaba I`m saying the flag is flimsy compared to any saw that has the flag attached on both sides and Shinny could have used a harder plastic, what do you base your assumed comparative opinion on? I`ve got two 488s and as I said I think they are durable, probably as much so as any other saw on the market, but they do leave something to be desired in other areas.

You aren`t one of those people who`s never compared your 488 to anything else are you? If you`ve never looked beyond the spec sheet you can`t really offer much of an educated opinion on comparisons.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

Now now, no need to get snarky just because he disagrees with your OPINION. kylaba, has the 490 been released? When I asked our Shindaiwa rep about it, I got a blank look.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 4:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Without going into a long story, I really like my MS250 (standard model). And the Stihl folks did backflips to get me out of a warranty bind that was more or less self inflicted.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 5:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

canguy, we can not even order them here any more. We got a load of 490's in a few weeks ago.

barbedwire, my opinion is based on the 488's track record. The chain brake has never been an issue (as far as breakage), while I've seen breakage on other popular brands using a guard attached on both sides.

As far as the 488's performance, I'm not contesting that.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 6:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I don`t recall posting anything saying that the brake flag had broken, I posted in regard to the flag being attached on only one side and as having too much deflection because of the single sided attachment and the softer material that it is made from. Perhaps this is why the 488 doesn`t have a record for breaking the flag, they just bend out of the way?

That in my mind does not however make for a quick or even adequate actuation of the brake.

It is obvious from your latest post in this thread that you are a dealer, perhaps not a user, and that throws up an immediate bias flag IMO. Perhaps you have handled a thousand of the 488s as they were going out the door of the shop but frankly in no way does that relate to how the saws function in the real world at work. I offered my strong reply to your statement that you don`t see or perceive any weakness because your post had assumed an air of authority on the matter and I want(ed) to know just what you base your authoritative stance on?

As I suspected, you are in the supply chain. That doesn`t in any way make you a bad guy but your opinions in regard to certain features of this product as compared to others is very likely to be different than mine. I don`t feel that showroom or spec sheet comparisons offer much validity to a person who is actually looking at a product to use, much the same as the earlier poster`s spread sheet comparison of various saw models. I don`t think that he even realizes that he has several apples to oranges comparisons within his product(spreadsheet) and the absence of several models of a certain brand while including obvious dogs of another is quite conspicuous to someone who has a broader saw knowledge base. This forum however does not seem to cater primarily to those with a broader knowledge or experience base, at least as pertaining to chainsaws, so I prefer to have posters qualify how they have derived their opinions of the saws which they are posting about.

Then, maybe, those who are using the opinions expressed here can develop a weighted comparison of the opinions to understand how they relate to how they will be using the products and what they can reasonably expect.

Sorry about the offense kylaba, you handled it very diplomatically. My personality is less diplomatic. barbedwire isn`t a moniker given to me by a random name generator. hahahaha

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

As you have probably gathered, I am a dealer sales rep as well as a chainsaw user. As such, I get to see what works and does not work every day with the parade to the service counter. If I sell a product that does not meet the customer's expectations, believe me, I hear about it.
We see broken flags often on the box store saws but seldom on the better brands such as Shindaiwa unless someone has dropped the saw or left it in the trailer while loading wood.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am familiar with you from this forum and others, I have a pretty good idea of your knowledge and experience base and don`t question your credentials. I will however quote for you from my post just previous to your last reply.

"I don`t recall posting anything saying that the brake flag had broken, I posted in regard to the flag being attached on only one side and as having too much deflection because of the single sided attachment and the softer material that it is made from. Perhaps this is why the 488 doesn`t have a record for breaking the flag, they just bend out of the way?"

I did not say anything in any other post regarding a BROKEN flag on a Shindaiwa either. If we are to "argue" a point, shouldn`t we at least be arguing the same point?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
canguy(British Columbia)

All I am saying is that if the Shindaiwa flag design was an issue for most users, I am sure I would have heard about it. When resetting the brake, I grasp the flag over the pivot and have never had a problem with it..

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought and broke this in a few months ago. Used it the other day....two pumps on the primer, pulled out the choke, two pulls on the rope and it fired right up. Worked like a charm. I've used the same Mac for 24 years until it finally wouldn't start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chainsaw

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am not seeking an argument with you but I still have to emphasize that what you are stating does not exactly relate to my complaint. Sure, put your hand over the pivot when you reset the brake and it`s all good, but what if your left hand is in the normal position, which by necessity and design is to the left of the pivot, where does your hand bear on the flag in the event of a kickback?

Out toward the unsupported side.

I also frequently roll my wrist forward to set the brake when walking or changing position, something that everyone is supposed to do every time. This is where I first noticed the shortcoming in the Shindaiwa design. With my Huskies and Stihls it is a nearly automatic action requiring very little hand or wrist movement, not so with the 488.

This whole thread is about what is the best chainsaw, aren`t safety features a factor in what`s best? I have over 30 years experience using saws in employment, firewooding, and competition and my worst accident to date is a nick in the outer covering in a pair of chaps. I also use the built in safety features of the saws and proper body position so that I am not in the path of the bar and chain should reactionary forces come into play. The problem is that too many people buy saws who shouldn`t be using them because they don`t respect what can happen before they even know it`s happening. Also, too many have a false sense of security when a saw has a brake.

It`s my opinion that every saw should have a freely and properly functioning brake virtually regardless of how your hands are positioned provided one hand is on the top front handlebar. Single side attached flags are at a disadvantage here, especially if the material is soft and will deflect. I`m willing to bet that most new or causual users of chainsaws wouldn`t even think of this until they get themselves hurt.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi folks. I'm new here. Just wanted to add my two cents regarding best chainsaw for the money. I've owned two big Jonsereds since 1984. A 630 and a 670. Both saws still run without any issues and both will cut wood with a vengeance all day long. As far as "best" goes, one must determine application. If a person is in the forest industry and will be doing a lot of cutting, there is no replacement for displacement. A large rugged saw is necessary. In this situation, I would definitely go with the high end Jonsereds/Husky then Stihl. I have no experience with Shindawa, Echo or other relatively recent quality brands that would meet the demands of a professional woodsman. Now, if the requirements are relatively moderate to light duty, I'd definitely look at Echo. I have a number of their yard maintenance products and their stuff is top notch.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stihl makes 3 quality of chain saws ms 170 ms180 ms250 are the low end, ocassional user saw, these have an EPA rating of 50 hours which can relate to the life of the motors. The mid range saws ms270 ms280 ms290 ms310 ms390 cary a 125hr rating, the pro saw ms260, ms361, etc, are rated as 300 hours. All Echo saw are 300 hour EPA Rated and have a 5 year warranty, where as stihl is a 1 year. I also priced some parts on Echo and Stihl, on the same size saws. Echo parts are a lot cheaper!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 11:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi! Just make it through Hurrican Ike. Houston is a mess. A big tree fell in my yard. Any suggestions on a chain saw that will be easy for a novice to use? I know, I know, it's not the ideal situation, I'd rather hire a tree professional. But basically it is such a disaster here that I'll have to learn to use the saw myself or the tree will never get moved. The tree is a Cypress tree,I'm guessing 20 inches in diameter.

Yes! I am one of the lucky few people who actually has power, so I'll check this site for responses.
Thanks for your advice.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


My advice is to go to your local Stihl or Echo dealer (NOT LOWES OR HOME DEPOT) and talk to them. They will set you up with a QUALITY saw that is right for you, and will even give you some instruction on how to use it.

If you have a few minutes, check my post on cheap power tools and don't make the same mistakes I have.

Good luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: cheap power tools

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sasha, you are in a tough spot. a 20" tree is not really for a novice. The problem that you are going to run into is that you will need a good sized bar for that, and the bigger the bar the bigger the engine the more it weighs the harder it is to handle, not to mention price.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks all. Unfortunately, I cannot go to a dealer here in Houston,everyone is sold out. My friend is in Austin and can go to the farm equipment supply there. This is not the ideal situation, but it was a hurricane and we are in disaster mode now. If I buy the saw, I'm sure I can find someone who has saw experience to use it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
masiman(z7 VA)

If I had my way I would get a nice Stihl or Husqvarna, but I use chainsaws. If you don't think you'll ever use that saw again, you could go cheap and get a Poulan or Craftsman, although I'd spend a little more and go with Echo.

I know it's a disaster but it would be an even bigger disaster if you got hurt doing this. Downed trees can be tough in that there can be alot of things under pressure. Making a cut can release that pressure quite suddenly, causing branches and the tree to move with alot of force.

If you have to do anything, clear away only that which you absolutely need to and leave the rest until you gan get someone to come in.

Good luck. I wish I were nearby that I could help.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For what it is worth, Dolmar is worth serious consideration. The name is not well represented in the US despite the fact that Dolmar is the world's original manufacturer of gasoline-powered chainsaws (Stihl patented the "Cutoff Chain Saw for Electric Power")(Dolmar became Dolmar-Sachs and I believe is now owned by Makita). I had an older Poulan 351 that was built like a tank. Based upon that experience, and wanting to buy a USA-made saw, I purchased a newer Poulan Pro PP4620 with that stupid tool-less chain tightening setup. It only uses one stud on the bar, it never could keep the bar tight and shortly broke the bar tension lug (plus it comes with an ultra-low-kickback chain that is gutless). Disgusted with this purchase, I spent some time on, learned about Dolmar and bought a 16" Dolmar PS420 (42cc). The saw is my new go-to saw for most everything. It is well-built with a great power-to-weight ratio (10.56lbs/2.9bhp). Only for really big stuff do I pull out the 24" Stihl 044 (70.7cc). Dolmar does not seem to differentiate between pro/homeowner models like Stihl and others. My Dolmar PS420 is as well constructed as the Stihl 044, a pro-series saw.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Really think it all depends on what you're going to be doing specifically with the chainsaw. Just cutting firewood? Good link attached with some up-to-date info on chainsaws.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Chainsaws

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll never figure out why people lump all Stihl chainsaws together when there is night and day difference between thier low end models and thier pro models. Thier low end and mid range models are'nt worth owning any more, quality gets worse every year. Nothing wrong with thier pro saws except for the price. This it's a Stihl craze will be ending after more and more people get burnt with thier lower end equipment. Steve

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stil 345 XP or 346 XP Stil MS-361 or MS-362 Best Pro Line Middle Weights being Manufacturered . If you will being cutting 18"-20" Maple you will never look back in the 60 cc Class . I personally love the New MS-260 Pro Decompression and Adjustible Oiler Feature in a 50 cc All Metal Saw . Pricing for either saw certainly has gone up in the last decade .

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 5:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Right now one of the best buys is the Echo cs600p on Ebay for just a little over $400 that will cut with a Stihl MS361 all day and the quailty is every bit as good. You need to know how to tune a saw if not buying from a dealer and even a lot of dealers don't tune them right. Most new saws come set way to lean now days. Steve

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steve: I agree the Echo Line is very Competitive as is the Solo Product Line . The Only downside is local Dealer Support . If you handy this is not a big deal . Most Homeowners with a little guidance can repair & maintain wear and tear issues. I have found that both Husky and Stil have much more coverage when it comes to convenient dealerships. I guess it really comes down to preference and pricing .

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I ever find a good dealer I'll let you know, seems all they want is a lot of money for a bad repair job. Steve

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have to agree Steve , getting Quality Work without being Gouged is few and far between apparently on either side of the Border .

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Without tearing this thing completely apart and not knowing how to put it back together...where in the world is the AIR FILTER?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roflmbo , take the top cover apart . Filter is located upstream & attached to the Carb Smokey !

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 5:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Speaking of dealers, I was out fishing yeaterday, came back to the landing and there was a brand new pontoon with a 50 hp Merc that wouldn't start. The delivery man that was driving a dealer truck just kept cranking and cranking on it untill I was sure either he'd burn up the starter or the battery would go dead. In asked if he had primed it with the squeeze primer, yes he had but it didn't feel right, so then asked if it was on in the right direction, the new owner looked at it and it was on backwards pumping fuel from the engine to the tank. I loaned them a screw driver, they turned it around and the motor took right off. More good dealer work that I've come to expect. Steve

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 6:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steve , Roflmbo don't mind me I'am still cleaning the Coffee Spew off the Monitor lol . Must of been a one of those University Type Grad's ! Wonder if he charged him for a new Starter and Solenoid :) .

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been using chainsaws for many years, but am not a pro. I currently run Stihl 029, 026 PRO and MS 361 saws. None of them like to start cold, and i am always having fuel lines replaced. The saws have good durability but are not reliable. Even with three saws i can have one in the shop, one waiting for a part, and the third won't start today! I use them enough that the fuel is always fresh and purchased from high volume stations. Problem got worse when they added ethanol to the gas. I fell and buck about 10-12 cords of firewood a year for heat and maple syrup, in addition to wood cut to maintain a growing sugarbush and clean up after ice storms. I am also clearing some for fields and pasture and sell some logs to mills. Any pros out there with suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lok: Yeah the 361 is very lean on starting . I re-jetted mine . As for the Older Stihl Models and Ethanol Fuel , get some Star*tron from Walmart . I was advised of it for consideration from a fellow forum member and it has worked very well within my Daughters Snowblower which is ethanol fueled . I also bought some for my Diesel and have found increased fuel savings . If all is fine with Compression and the Ignition Modules a simple fuel circuit cleaning should solve your issues with the older saws .

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are replacing fuel lines all the time, I would recommend that you use only non-oxygenated gas. It has no ethanol. I was taught to use the non-oxygenated fuel in everything (Chainsaw, weedwacker, lawnmowers, tiller, boat) I would not buy anything else. The fuel is usually sold for off road vehicles, so you may have to look around. We have several around especially near the big lakes.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Husky and Stihl both make good pro saws but cheap home owner saws, Efco, Echo, Dolmar all make better saws for about the same price. Steve

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had a husqvarna 357xp for six years now and it has never let me down. Super fast and easy to maintain. No arguments about stihl versus husqvarna they are both excellent chainsaws.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
wertach zone 7-B SC

I bought an 18" husqvarna a month ago, it wouldn't start, no spark. I took it back and they couldn't get it to fire either. They gave me another, same problem.

I returned it and bought an 18" Stihl from another place. I bought a small 14" Echo also for smaller jobs. They both start on the first or second pull.

I might have saved some money on the Stihl if I had bought the same size Echo. That little thing is just as fast at cutting as the Stihl.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

'Best tool for the money' that is a dangerous phrase.

A gift certificate to a good store sounds wise. If he is not familiar with different sizes and models have someone go with him.

His age and condition may be factors to consider as well. And if he does not have CHAINSAW safety equipment, tell him to buy that first. I only bought chain saw chaps, helmut and gloves after 'visiting' the hospital.

If he is torn between two sizes of saws, probably go with the smaller one.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Recently bought an Echo CS 310 with 14" bar. What a great little saw. The home center sells Huskys, Poulans, Stihls and Echos. They reported very few problems with the Echo compared with the others. Not even close, he said. And with a standard homeowner 5-year warantee!! Had to pay extra for extended warrantees with others (if offered) Easy choice for me.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I saw the Best Chainsaws online. They provided the genuine Chainsaw Reviews.

You can also visit this website to saw the reviews

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:22AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Building storage shed on a terraced slope
Is it safe to build a storage shed occupying two levels...
Thomas Lu
Any owners of the Troy-bilt Cultivator Plus?
I bought this around 1984 and have never seen another...
Looking for a new "top box" for my tool chest.
My old one died of old, old age and I didn't replace...
honda snowblower problem
i have a honda 928 snowblower... good machine, but...
Temperature alarm app for Android?
I am wondering if anyone knows of an Android app that...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™