Husky 268xp replacement

nysffNovember 7, 2010

I posted this last spring, but I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a new chainsaw, so I thought I would see what the current responses might be.

I've had a Husqvarna 268xp for about 20yrs. Great saw, but it's somewhat oversized for what I'm using it for now and I'd like something lighter. Originally I was thinking I could save a few buck and stay with a landowner or "prosumer" saw. However, I've been coming to conclusion to stick with a smaller pro saw - specifically the 346xp. Looks as though I could pick one up for about $460. I've got 2 Stihl and 2 Husqvarna dealers close by and I took a hard look at Stihl, however, there mid-range saws like the MS270/290 just didn't come across as something I should consider - too pricey or too heavy. I've got nothing against Stihl - I own a 18 yr old Stihl string timmer that won't quit and a leaf blower I've had for 2 years that I'm very satisfied with. The 260pro saw would be a good option, but it no less than 346xp and even up, I'd stick with the Husqvarna.

I'm doing a final check of a few saws against the 346xp. One if the Husky 353, seems to have a number of pro saw features and would save me $60+. The other are the Echo CS-530 and Dolmar PS-5105. Dealer options are much less than the Husky or Stihl but I can still find dealers within a reasonable distance. Neither saw appears as though it would save me significant $$ against a $460 346xp, but I thought I would see what others might think of these three saws against the 346xp.

I use the saw primarily for a maintaing my property (heavily wooded rural/suburban), a family vacation property, a few other family properties, neighbors every now and then, along with storm clean-up etc. I don't cut much firewood. A pro saw is probably definitely overkill for my use, but I don't like buying consumer junk and I expect this saw to another 20 years with no issues and with a pro saw, I can expect to sell it at that time for something more than peanuts. I've given the Echo and Dolmar a little harder look since they seem to have only one "line" of saws, opposite of what Husky and Stihl and have done. Maybe with these, I could spend less than a pro Husky saw and get pro or near-pro quality, performance, etc. Any comments on these 3 specific saws and how they might stack up against a 346xp?

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Nys: Welcome back , you certainly have done your homework . The 346 XP is a great Saw . The Stihl also is head to head probably the Best 50 cc Pro Saw Stihl has ever produced. Either one would last you 20 + yrs of Hard Service. One other saw to seriously consider would be the Efco 152 same 3.4 Hp / 151 cc $359.0 or one size larger the 156 4.1 HP / 156 cc @ $449.00 both very good saws with Walbro WT Carbs .
Its really up to you Dude . The Husky will never let you down either. Dolmar has proven products also but service is problem normally and they are more pricey . Let us know your final selection.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 5:27AM
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Thanks for the response. Probably take a look at the Echo this weekend. One of the larger OPE dealers in my area carries Echo and they swear by them. A slightly longer drive gets me to the Dolmar/Jonsered/Shindaiwa dealer, may take ride out there as well. I've seen those Efco's, didn't know much about them. Unfortunately I'm in no man land's for a Efco dealer. I'm not expecting to rely on a dealer for that much support, but I don't want to be SOL if I do need it. That's where you can't go wrong with a Husky or Stihl. I actually think one of the other saws would fit the bill for me, but I don't know whether the savings is worth the lack or less dealer support and I'm probably giving up performance as well vs. the 346xp. Very well may end up with the Husky, but we'll take a last look at the others.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:07PM
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You are certainly correct with the Dealer Network of both Husky and Stihl , The Echo Line as you have indicated is also a sound investment , quite often it a personal preference or . Good Luck with your search Dude !

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 5:44AM
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Out of my 20 or so saws all brands my Echo CS520 is my favorite. Another one that I like is my little muff modded CS400, with that NK chain it cuts just as fast as home owner 50 cc saws and can be bought off Ebay fot around $200. Steve

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 6:42AM
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Just a word to the wise , although I doubt you are interested within the Jonsered Line , if so , be advised many of the smaller units are Poulan Clones ...Buyer Beware much the same with the 235 and 245e Husky Models . Husky really shot themselves in the foot trying to compete with Poulan within the disposable saw market . As Steve has indicated as a secondary choice Echo would be much Safer Choice .

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Probably Echo is the only brand I'm going to seriously consider other than the Husky or Stihl. Echo might not match the Stihl or Husky is dealer coverage, but I think their close, at least in my area, and these are full blown OPE dealers, not some of the secondary type dealerships I see with Dolmar,etc. As I was saying earlier, the Echo dealer near me is a big OPE dealer, there a bit farther out in the country, probably not a great retail location, but I think they have a big commericial business.

What do you think of the CS-530 up against a 346xp? It's not a big $ savings, but maybe a better choice in some respects?? I was actually also looking at the CS-450P at around $360/370. I'm coming from a 268xp, so I need to adjust my expectations, but would I be real disappointed with 450P with a 18" bar buried in some oak? Interesting you mentioned the smaller saws like the 400. I thought about a small 2nd saw and keep the 268xp. Ok for my place, but when I travel to the other properties, I might be taking two saws or trying to guess if I can get away with one. Somewhere I was reading that if you have to live with a single saw, something in the 50cc range is probably the sweet spot. I'd be interested to hear anything comparing the Echo 450p or 530 against the 346xp. That's probably what it is coming down to if I give serious consideration to the Echo after my visit to the dealer this weekend.

I would agree with you on the disposable Husky saws. It kind of blows me away when two of the premium professional saw brands (at least my novice perception) like Husqvarna and Stihl put the same name on low end consumer models sold at the big box retailers. I know Stihl is trying to stay more "pure" by staying out the big box stores, but it seems like they have taken the same path. It does make you take a hard look at other brands like Echo that appear to have only one "line" and where you might be able to get a higher quality smaller saw without being in the 60cc+ range.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 8:44PM
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Nys: The CS-530 would be a little flatter on Torque than the 346 XP but a comparable unit in Price although not Pro Class Saw . Your 268 is a Professional 67 cc Saw with Magnesium Crankcase and one piece steel crank and Full Cage Torrington Ball Bearings and Chrome Plated Cylinder Bore . Quite a Fine Saw lol . I never mentioned the CS-400 , Steve recommended it due I believe to excellent pricing. I concur for a 40 cc class saw it has merit , but not even close to a 346 XP . Not to confuse you but there are numerous Manf. Solo (German Made) for example which also provide both Professional and Semi Professional (not homeowner) Grade saws like Stihl Mid class units , but rather like Efco units . But as you have indicated service (Dealer) may be an issue . I would stay with the HP or CS 50 cc units or perhaps keep your 268 and opt for the CS-400 for a back up . You can't go wrong with the Big Husky for Felling . Like I said you will have to finally make the decision Bro !

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Took a ride out to the Dolmar dealer, a little ways out, but seemed like a good operation and I'd buy from them. Only dealer in fact that had demo saws available and I was able to cut with them. In my range they had the PS-420, PS-510, PS-5100S and PS-5105. Overall I liked the Dolmar, seemed like a quality saw all the way down to the 350/420 series which others don't offer in that cc range. The PS-420 seemed like a lot of saw for the money and was pretty light. In the 45cc +/- range, I think I'd go with the Dolmar PS-420 over what else is out there. I was test cutting 15" seasoned oak - coming from the 268XP, I tended to bog it down at first, but once I started to lighten up a bit, it handled it pretty well. The 510 is definitely a step up, but the extra weight is somewhat noticeable on the 510 vs. what else is out there that I'm looking at. I'm not ruling it out though, price point isn't too bad. Looks like it could get me into a quality 50cc saw at a reasonable price. 5100S and 5105 seemed both in the 346XP range, relatively light and plenty of power. Pricing is getting close to the Husky and at that price I might just try to get my best deal on the Husky. Stopped by the local Husky dealer on the way home and without asking, he offered up $477 on the 346XP 20" with the Trio Brake. I actually liked the 5100S, but I've read some issues out there on the web with them burning up - not sure what the deal is with that.

In the 45cc range, I like the Dolmar PS-420 over the comparable Echo. It's closer on the PS-510 vs the CS-530. I weighed my 268XP and it's about 18lbs total, so even the PS-510 is quite a drop. That's a tougher call, but I'm leaning toward the PS-510 in the category. The problem with the Echo is that it's bumping the 346XP on price and it didn't look like the Echo dealer was that willing to negotiate.

So I think I'm at Dolmar PS-420, Dolmar PS-510 (maybe a Echo Cs-530) or Husky 346XP. All depends on how much saw and how much money I want to spend. I don't know if the 420 is enough saw, it's tough coming from the 268XP. Dealer says I'd likely be satisfied with it for my use now. If I want to bump up to 50cc and give up a little power/weight, the PS-510 looks pretty good and is still in the range of $100 less than a 346XP. And if I want to the better power/weight in a premium saw and spend $450 on up, I might as well get a 346XP.

So that's where I am. I think that's it on my options, no dealers for the other brands anywhere close. Sorry Stihl fans. 346XP is my preference over the 260Pro at that price point and

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 9:56PM
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The best deal is a Echo CS400 off Ebay for right around $200 new but they need a muff modd and carb tuning to perform well, pulls a 16" bar buried in white oak good, real good. Also it will wieght 2# less than a 346xp full of fuel and oil 13# on a good scale vs 15# for the 346xp. If buying from a dealer the Dolmar 420 or Husky 346xp would be my choise, nothing wrong with the other saws mentioned. Steve

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 6:58AM
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nysff: My last word on the Subject , don't buy anything smaller than a 50 cc unit . All units in that class that your are considering are excellent choices. You will be please with either Manf. or Model in that Class . Your 268 may finally fail and you wiull be with only one saw less than 50 cc will be tight with Oak .

Note: I love all my Saws , ( My Son's included) since we Saw Pool and cut together for Safety Reasons,but a word to the wise . The 346 XP will cut with MS-260 Pro but the Stihl has starting issues (temperamental) you must know the technique . The MS-361 will out Fell the Solo , but not even close to the Solo for limbing and bucking . Last but not least my New 460 Rancher will Fell and out Buck the Solo , but need a back brace within extended usage . Then there are the Old Tried and Proven Pioneers 11-60 & P-20 these Old Girls will give all the Youngin's a run for their money and are easy on the back , but have to be fondled and cherished (something to do with age and gender) anyhow all the Best Bro ! Keep us Posted :)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2010 at 8:50AM
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I just bought an Echo CS 400 and am very pleased with it.
The one thing I did not like was the low kick back chain.
I took it to the local hardware store and they made me up a couple of fast cutting chains for it. I got the 16" inch bar instead of the 18" because for what I do the shorter bar length is more than sufficient. The 2 things I love about the saw is ease of starting and the power/weight ratio.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Ray: You purchased a fine Saw. I wish I could persuade more customers and friends to spend a few Bucks more and buy Quality rather than offshore Junk. I guess I would be shooting myself in the foot , but would have a lot Happier Clients . Something Sad about telling a person their Girly saw is worn out after 2 yrs Limited Service lol .

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 5:35AM
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Settled in on a 50cc saw and started looking hard ready to purchase. I had landed on a Dolmar 510, but pricing and dealer issues have stopped me. I've got a long-time Dolmar dealer about 25 miles from me, looks to be a good operation and I was ready to buy from them. Problem is they're selling the 510 at $399 and they won't move (throw an extra chain for some good will). After tax, I'm at $425+. I like the saw at $350-360, but at $425, it's on the heavier side and it's bumping up against their 5105 and the Husky 346XP, higher performing 50cc saws. I can get one online, but my dealer says the warranty would be void. I called Dolmar USA and they say although dealers aren't supposed to sell online, if I buy from a dealer, they will register my saw and it can be serviced at any dealer. I have a feeling though, my local Dolmar dealer won't be too happy with me bringing the saw in if I need something done under warranty. So I'm a little sour on Dolmar at the moment.

I know I'm pushing it, but I'm trying to get a decent quality 50cc saw for mid to upper $300s - save me in the ballpark of $100 over a 346XP. I'm going to head to the Echo dealers and see where they will go on a 530. One other option I'm seeing out there is an Efco. One of online OPE dealers I often buy parts from sells Efco and I could get a 152 to my door for $368. 51.7cc/3.4HP/10.7 lbs with I think a magnesium crankcase. At least on paper, pretty decent specs for $368 and looks to be a higher end saw than anything I could get from Stihl or Husky at that price. If I need service, there seems to be a fair number of servicing dealers although their sales dealers are thin. I think I've read some decent reviews on the Efco's. I'll be at the Echo dealers over the next few weeks to see what I can get a 530 for, but maybe I should give the Efco 152 a hard look as well. If I'm staying at 50cc, there is also the Husky 353 which can be had for about $375. Looks to be a definite cut above the homeowner Husky saws, not sure though if it's closer to pro end, or consumer end though. I guess I'm getting close - not quite there though.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 9:06PM
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Ewalk A Echo CS400 is either made in Japan or the USA and there is nothing junky about it, ratred for 300 hours like pro saws are . Yes it's a clam shell motor which I have no problem with clam shell motors and I'd bet in the future more pro saws will go that way. Just about every motor on my place is a clamshell, trucks, tractors etc. The major gripe on clamshell motors is that they are hard to work on, some are not Echo saws you can have the whole motor out of the saw in 10 minutes. One thing you can't do is mess with the squish for more comopression but 95% don't do that anyway. With a muff modd and carb tuning the CS400 cuts right with 50 cc homeowner saws from Husky and Stihl. I have 20 or so so saws from 30cc to 95cc and I use my CS400 a lot so don't be telling people not to get a 40cc saw and that they are junk. If I was looking for a GOOD cheap saw you can't beat a CS400 for around $200 off Ebay but they need a mudd modd and tuning. Steve

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 5:43AM
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Interesting you mention the Echo CS-400. A friend of mine had his saw crap out and needed something pretty quick. He knew I was looking and I filled him on what I researched. He was planning on a Stihl, probably a 290 Farm Boss and after looking into the Echo CS-400, he bought one off eBay for $200+. Neither of us are likely to do any mods, etc. on a saw, so I hope he's satisfied with the performance out of the box. At the Dolmar dealer I ran a 420, 510 and a 5105. I really liked the 420, but I felt a performance jump to the 510 and then to the 5105. So I settled in on a 50cc saw for mid to upper $300s which there seems to be at least a few options and saves me in the range of $100 over a 346xp. It's too bad the manufacturer's other than Husky, Stihl, and Echo don't have a better dealer network (Dolmar, Efco, Shindaiwa, etc.). To the novice like me, they look to have better saws in the typical consumer/prosumer price range than the lower end Husky and Stihl saws.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 9:32AM
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nysff : Check out my Nov 8th reply on the Efco units . Yes they are Pro Class featured Units much similar to the Echo Brand . I have a Friend who can get you the Pricing that I indicated through his business to your door .

Lady: Steve , I don't know where you are coming from I think Echo CS-400 is a Great Saw . 40 cc Poulan's are what I was referring to as Junk lol . That is why I stated to Ray that he had made a great purchase with his North American Made CS-400 .

Note: I do think though that my MS-260 Pro will probably out cut your Muffler Modified CS Bro . If not then I will take you on with my Old P-20 Pioneer cutting Canadian Maple Head to Head lol :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Ewalk I missread your reply, sorry. Nysff On the Echo CS400 or any Echo you sure dont have too modd the muff but that just about doubles the power, but either your friend or a small engine shop has to asdjust the carb as most are set too lean, they bog easy and could burn up with the factory settings. Steve

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 12:00PM
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Thanks ewalk, I went back and looked at your Efco post. I see that Efco has a $75 rebate until the end of year. That puts the 152 at probably less than $300. That seems hard to beat for a decent quality 50cc saw.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Lady: No Problem Steve lol . As for the Muffler Mod , I did Polish and Port our MS-361 , just for my Son's sake . The MS-260 is pretty well stock other than routine intake and exhaust port polishing (Clean up). My Hunting Buddy bought a New MS-362 and still is cursing the New EPA Carb Starting Ritual . He currently has my former Solo that he still uses whenever he get impatient or frustrated . I tried to convince him to bring it over for a look-over but he insists that he will wait until the warranty period is over before any changes .
Nysff: Check out Scott @ the Site for any additional info on the Efco Product line , he's a straight shooter and will give you no bull answers . I have dealt with him for numerous parts sourcing for Vintage Saws. Good luck with the final decision :)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 10:40AM
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