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chainsaw review

Posted by golfnbrian MN (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 28, 09 at 0:04

ok..just spent 3-4 hours reviewing various websites regarding chainsaws, and I finally made a purchase...and then another one the next day. Background..not an expert saw user but I have used an old echo cs280 12" for the past 3 years on my 1/2 acre of hardwoods. Here's my experience...I initially, after all my careful research, chose a Husky 435. 41cc, 16" bar, bought at Lowes, I thought I was set for the next 10-15 years...WRONG, although I did get it started twice, and actually used it once to quickly tear through a 12" log(worked great), it was very hard to start right out of the box,(followed directions to the letter) AND pulling the starter cord was very difficult..it seemed to catch and get stuck, so BACK TO LOWES FOR FULL REFUND.

Next, over to HD to buy what my gut told me right from the start, another ECHO. My original Echo, the cs280, was 15 years old and still working well, but it's time for something a little bigger and stronger. The 16" 36cc CS-370. It started just fine right out of the box and I just finished ripping through a fallen 12" elm with ease....with plenty of power to spare.

The thing I've learned is that the chainsaw arena is similar to the automobile arena. Stihl's and Husky's are like BMW's, Audi's, or SAAB's in terms of style, power, and performance, but break down all the time and are terrrible for quality/reliability. The Echo, while not quite as good from a power/style/performance perspective, "kicks their but" in terms of quality and reliability in the same way a Lexus does versus BMW, Audi, SAAB or Mercedes. Bottom line...if you are a toyota/lexus type of person, buy the echo, if you're a bmw/audi type, then buy a husky or stihl.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: chainsaw review

I think you are seriously mistaken with these broad generalizations.

If Stihl and Husky always break down and are unreliable why are they the saws of choice for professional arborists, loggers, tree fallers who rely on these saws to put bread on the table?

If you make this claim with models such as MS260, 361, 440, 460, 660, 346XP, 372XP and even the consumer saws like MS290, 359, 460, and 455 you'll get laughed at.


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RE: chainsaw review

I think you'd have more credibility talking about Golf, Brian. You can hold those opinions if you want about chainsaws, but those that know chainsaws will overwhelmingly respectfully disagree with you.

Don't get me wrong, I think echo makes a fine lighter use saw. You will likely get long and good service from it.

I think that bar is too big for that saw though, it would do better with a 12-14" bar. If you take it slow and keep the revs up, the 16" will do okay.


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RE: chainsaw review

broad generalizations indeed...but based on a bit of truth. Whether you're talking cars or chainsaws, there are definately extremely loyal and serious owners of each. With cars, you have a huge group of "german engineering" car enthusiasts that swear up and down about the quality and performance of their BMW, Audi, or Mercedes, but it's common knowledge to most that lexus really makes the highest quality, most reliable trouble free cars in the industry...this has been proven in numerous reviews over the years such as JD power...etc. With that said, it doesn't mean a lexus LS is going to outperform a mercedes sl, bmw 7 series, or audi a8 on a track, but the lexus won't break down as often because the quality of the build is better. I think the analogy is accurate, there are some extremely loyal owners of stihls and huskys, that are just enthralled by having just a tiny bit more power, size, and an extra gadget, and that (like a BMW owner) is why they put up with the breakdowns and time in the shop.

If you were spending $500 on a saw, the stihl or husky will probably slightly outperform an echo...but they'll probably break down more often and have a shorter life..generally speaking of course.


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RE: chainsaw review

I know you think the car analogy works for chainsaws but it does not.

What chainsaws have you run? How often? How long have you been using chainsaws? Do you do your own maintenance/repairs? You can argue all you want, but your sitting out there with not much company for a reason.

I can only think of one person with what I would consider wide experience that will moderately support your view.

That saw should do fine for light around the house work. Start cutting 3 or 4 days a week for 3+ hours this year and let us know what saw you really want (hint it will probably be a Husky, Stihl or some other saw that enthusiasts own).


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RE: chainsaw review

masiman...I think the echo cs8000 could handle 99% of jobs just fine. I tried a husky, had to return it...it didn't work right out of the box...quality control?? I spent 3-4 hours reading reviews(more than a hundred) from saw owners on various internet sites that referred to huskys(more than stihls) that had problems right out of the box..and/or their saw was in the shop. The companies have done a great job of creating a brand that has appeal based on prestige/power/tech/history, just like a BMW, Mercedes, or Audi. Word of mouth isn't reliable, when your buddy buys a $600 husky, you can bet that he's going to talk about how great the power and performance are (just like a bmw) but that doesn't mean it won't break down over and over again because the quality just isn't there....do a google search on echo's, you'll barely find anyone that has posted a negative review about them...do it again on huskys.


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I bet the cs8000 could handle 99% of jobs too. The just fine part would depend on what other requirements you might have. Things like do you need to do this job 40 more times today? Do you need to have parts available if something breaks? How easy is it to work on the saw? And many more.

A simple search of problems should turn up more Husky than Echo problems..... there are more Husky's in use than Echo's. When you see pro tree service and loggers running Echo saws, let us know.

I don't know the Husky lineup very well. My guess is that model Husky is a homeowner model. Sorry it did not work out of the box. A good dealer would have spent the time getting you to the right saw and making sure the saw works. I bought my two HO saws at a dealer and liked them both. After running them for awhile I have since sold them and moved onto pro model saws. I have not bought any pro saws at dealers, always used. Reliability is about the same, but that is not a good comparison because I use the saws much more now. Capability is night and day. One of my cutting buddies bought one of my saws. He only uses it when he can't use on of mine.

You will do fine with the Echo. If you start cutting as much as I said before, let us know if you decide to step up the saw or stay with the Echo.

Good luck.


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RE: chainsaw review

So you bought a low end Husky, (ie low end Husky = rebranded Poulan), at a homecenter and it had problems. Now with that single data point you generalize that Huskys and Stihls are unreliable???

Stihl's aren't exactly the top performers in power to weight but their reliability in the field has been proven over time in the harshest of conditions.

I have no problem with Echo. I'd rate all three brands as having good quality and reliability.

Stihl and most higher end Huskys don't have problems out of the box because they're not allowed to even be sold in the box. In the case of Stihl, the dealer is required to set up the saw and check it out before handing it over to the customer.


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RE: chainsaw review

I cannot keep quiet any longer. I am a Registered Forester in Southwest Alabama and have worked with and around loggers since 1972. Loggers are hard-working people who use their equipment on a daily basis in order to make a living in a field that is extremely competive with extremely tight profit margins.

When I began my career,I saw a lot of different brands of chainsaws in the logging woods. Homelite, McCulloch, Poulan, Jonsered, Stihl, Husqvarna and a few others whose names I can't recall. Today 99% of loggers that I know use Stihl saws.

These loggers use Stihl saws because they are tough and reliable. Based on my personal observation, my saw is a Stihl MS 440 Magnum with a 20" bar. This saw came in very handy in September 2004 after the area I live in was devastated by Hurricane Ivan.

I don't know of any loggers who buy their equipment at one of the big "box stores". They all depend on a local dealer who knows what they sell and can keep them in the woods working. If Stihls were prone to breaking down all the time, I assure you that loggers wouldn't use them.


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RE: chainsaw review

you guys make good points.

cosidering the fact that echo makes only commerical quality saws from the top all the way to the bottom of their lineup, and their warranty is 5 years versus 1 or 2 years, then let me restate my opinion...

...for a homeowner or landowner looking for an occassional to moderate use saw for less than $300, then you have to take a hard look at an ECHO over a stihl.....and probably forget about the husky for under $300.

am I getting it right guys?


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RE: chainsaw review

Yes golfnbrian, you made a fine choice of saw for your purposes. Echo's do well in the smaller light-moderate use market. Their larger saws do okay but not as well. At the larger saw point (say 60cc+), you'd be better off with a different brand.

A good rule for bar length is 3:1, 3cc for every 1" of bar. You can go bigger, but the saw won't pull the sawchain as well. This is more important in hardwoods. Of course, if you go slow enough you can eventually cut through anything. Just keep the chain sharp, the oiler oiling and you will be fine.


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Just a little story on why I question things when someone says "this is what the Pros use" Which is pretty much what everybody says about stihls and huskys.

I used to be a golf pro, and for as long as I can remember, pro golfers have used titleist golf balls as their preferred choice...it is the long term #1 golf ball for the best golfers in the world. Even today most in the industry would agree with this. With that said, most professional golfers didn't know that their titleist golf balls were made by bridgestone in japan, and then shipped here to the us. Bridgestone also makes a pro ball, and it's a little less expensive than the titleists, not nearly as well known, and not used by many pros, BUT it's just as good a ball as titleist - if not better.

So when people say.."all the pros use XYZ brand, you should too!"...it's usually not that simple.

took out a 12-14" diameter elm with ease..just can imagine most home/landowners needing much more than what I have.

pkg1....I envy you, I'd love to be out in about in the forest for work every day rather than sitting here in a office building...what's your best short story over the years?


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These guys that tell you that Echo saws won't last are full of it, I've been running Echos for the last 10 years cutting 30 to 40 cords a year and so far have had to replace 1 AV mount. Time after time I find the Echo saws have more power per cc than homeowner Husky and Stihl saws and a little less than their pro models, open the muffler up some(Echo saws are real choked up from the factory compared to Husky and Stihl saws) and they're right with their pro models. Over here I own 15 or so saws Husky, Stihl, Echo. Efco, Solo and a Dolmar and the Echos don't take a back seat to any of them. Steve


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guys...you all know much more than me about saws so a quick question...I just spent the past 3 hours taking down and cutting up five 8-12" diameter(30-50 foot) trees with my new echo cs 370...at what point do I sharpen the chain?...I know I know, what a newbie question, but I definately notice it not cutting as well as it did in the first couple hours out of the box.


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RE: chainsaw review

If your hand filing it's time, the longer you run it the more you'll have to file to get sharp again. If you take it in you could run it a while if it still cuts OK but don't run it where you have to lean on it a lot to make it cut. that creates heat and causes lots of wear on the bar and chain. As always keep it out of the dirt, if you have to cut through a dirty log cut so the chain enters the clean side. Steve


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RE: chainsaw review

Unless I missed it ladylake, I don't think anyone said Echo's don't last. I think posters were saying that Stihl and Husky were not as unreliable as earlier posts stated.

golfnbrian, some like to "touch-up" their chain after every tank. That will keep your chain in better shape. You'll find your stride with what you like to do. But as ladylake stated, don't let it get so dull that your saw and the wood are smoking. You should be cutting chips, if not, you need to swap chains or sharpen.

Your first hand sharpenings will probably be slow and maybe not so good, but keep at it. You'll get better. If you find that after a few sharpenings,your saw is not cutting right (off center, slowly, etc.) take it in to be sharpened. Hopefully you'll have some place where they can sharpen well. It should be less than $10, hopefully $5-7. Some places will charge more if the chain is on the saw.

While you are there, get yourself a spare chain or two. Get a non-safety chain also. If you look at your current chain, it likely has extra "bumpers" in between the cutters. They help prevent kickback but also slow down your cutting. Ask for non-safety chain.

On the subject of safety, wear your PPE, or buy it if you do not have it. Helmet, chaps, glasses (min), face shield, steel toe boots, hearing protection. Forestry helmets are nice. The stuff is cheap compared to an ER visit.

Also, extremely important to learn how to cut. Don't put your head in line with where the saw might kick back. Understand what causes kickback. Use your chain break, don't walk around with a live saw. Keep kids and distractions far away from you when cutting. When your tired, stop cutting, that is when many accidents happen. Alot of construction types will tell you one of their most dangerous tools is the utility knife, a chainsaw is a bigger, heavier, motorized utility knife. Respect it and come home in one piece.


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Well wpoken, masiman. I could have said it any better. You really hit the nail on the head when you talked about PPE and chainsaw safety.

I have spent the last 10 years conducting safety programs for logging crews. While the increased mechanization of logging in the South has lessened chainsaw use, they have not been eliminated totally.

Good work!!


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Thanks pkg1! I know I only covered the basics and did not touch on understanding how a tree releases forces when cut. I'm still learning how to mitigate that myself.

I should have posted a link to a favorite video of many chainsaw enthusiasts, Labonville chaps test. There is also this test on side of pork. I'll give a shout out to Labonville chaps. Almost any of the name brand chaps should work well and at less than $100, don't skimp. You'll pay thousands in medical and rehab, weeks maybe months of recovery and may not regain full use if you end up needing them and don't have them.

Stay safe.


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RE: chainsaw review

Echo chainsaw threads:

Echo CS-310
Echo CS-670
Small Saws


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I know the one I have is a smaller unit, the MS290, but after sitting all Winter with Stabil in the gas, my Stihl started right up. I used it for about an hr. the other day. Maybe it was the "Team Stihl" cap I was wearing at the time...


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RE: chainsaw review

Excellent links masiman!

The following link has some good safety rules and procedures for logging and chainsaw use:

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/logging/mainpage.html

A word of caution: one of the most dangerous tasks when using a chainsaw is cutting storm-damaged timber. Every tree or damaged portion thereof is under tremendous tension and pressure-just waiting to be released. When cutting storm-damaged timber, many homeowners and others inexperienced in the use of chainsaws get hurt while trying to cleanup after tornados and hurricanes.

I don't follow all of the rules on draining all of the gas out of saws, etc, but my Stihl 440 fired right up after being stored with gas in the tank over the winter. Guess I'm just lucky.

Good luck and safe chainsawing!!

Paul


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I messed up the chainsaw test on pork link. This one should be fixed.


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Nice tips Paul. I had not seen that one before.

I linked to the manual logging portions of the website.


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Paul..Masi..anyone...I'm currently facing this problem on my lot, give me your advice..

two trees, both 12-14" diameter, roughly 50 feet tall, surrounded close by by dozens of other like tress...one of the trees is slightly bigger, and it blew over from a storm so it lays at a 45 degree angle on/in the first main "crook" of the other tree(which is roughly 10 feet away)...so unfortunately, it's not going to come falling out some day when the wind blows hard. I started to cut the tree that it fell on and after I got 1/3 through the tree started cracking like it would fall..it didn't, but it did fall a little bit but is being supported by other trees that are nearby so it hasn't come down...now, I'm apprehensive about getting close enough to try again..hard to run after cutting as there is underbrush all around....suggestions/advice.


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RE: chainsaw review

Take a look at this page...

Here is a link that might be useful: Tips


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RE: chainsaw review

Had a similar thing happen to me after Hurricane Katrina! Katrina Loosened up a 28" diameter poplar that was about 80 feet tall in my back yard. The tree was sbout 50 feet from my house. Luckily yhe tree was leaning away from the house at about a 45 degree angle. I was scared to get near rhe tree, because it was leaning at a very presarious angle.

I had a couple of friends with winches on their pickups pull on the uncooperative tree. We broke winch cables and straps, but the tree would not move. A logger friend of mine came by the house with one of his sawhands who was expert at using a chainsaw (Stihl of course).

This guy had the tree safely on the ground in 5 minutes. My point is: Don't try to do it yourself, but get an EXPERT who can handle a chainsaw do the job. Good luck in your search for an expert.

Paul


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I don't know that I would have approached it the way that you did, i.e. cutting the standing tree to try to get the leaner to come down. Most times you will end up introducing variables into the cut that make it more difficult to have things go the way you want. Hard to say unless you can see it though.

My general advice would be to either 1) Get a pro to do it or 2) start with the leaner, rope it, piecemeal from the bottom until it is standing more vertical then pull it over. All the while keep looking up for any limbs that might be coming down on your head.

You are very likely to have a lot of tension, compression and twist issues in your scenario. If you know what you are doing you can get them down fairly quickly and safely as pkg1 had done. On the other hand, there are many ways to get bitten with these.

I think the toughest working conditions are blowdown areas. You have alot of leaners, trunks and spars with all sorts of stored energy waiting to do things you did not predict.

If you really want to try it, post some pics. The better and cheaper long run option might be to get a pro.


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Many people have been either killed or seriously injured trying to knock down a lodged tree by cutting another tree into the lodged tree. A logging crew has heavy machinary to use to pull or push the tree over. In the interest of safety and your life--get a pro!


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update...not good, I'm currently posting from the hospital after the tree snapped and nah, just fooling with ya. After reading your comments, I'm just going to leave it alone for a while and hope something good happens...if nothing good happens, I'll call a pro on your advice....though I'm really tempted to do something myself rather than spend a couple hundred bucks.


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The longer you wait the more likely you will have problems, assuming that they are solidly hung. The leaners branches will be more likely to come off on their own, the base of the one you cut will not be solid enough to hold a hinge, etc. I would do it within a year if it is an area you or others use.


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RE: chainsaw review

The interesting part comes in about the 4:00 mark of the video link in this hung up poplar thread


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I have a Stihl farm boss and a poulan 245a which are well over 30 years olds that still start every time and cut between 15 and 20 cords a year to heat two homes. I am well satified and would buy a new stihl any day over any thing out there. Poulan has gone Harry Homeowner.


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RE: chainsaw review

Echo saws have a 300 hour EPA rating, lots of others don't. Steve


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My only recommendation is to buy something u like. Don't labor over garbage.


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A little perspective on what EPA 300 is and does. Does it certify anything? I am not sure it does anything other than regulate emissions standards. Something similar to the new gas mileage bill signed where cars have to average 35mpg by 2016 or something like that. Just because the car meets that standard does not mean it is a better built car. It means it complies with the regulations for a certain standards level. What do you give up or gain for that compliance.

This thread although a few years old, gives some good detail on the regs, what they mean and how they affect the equipment.

I think it is dangerous to use the EPA 300 hour rating as a measure of quality. I think more factors should be used in a purchase decision.


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Why aren't homeowner Stihls rated for more than 50 hours. Does something wear out by then or what? Steve


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I have no idea what causes them to not make the higher epa standard. I would be more interested in an objective study of long term cost and performance analysis of the saws. The emissions adds to it but is not come close to completing the picture.


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RE: chainsaw review

You can thank the EPA for your problems with the Husky. 5 min of tuning would have had it running perfectly. On the other hand, Echo is an excellent brand. Build quality is much better than Husky consumer models.


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I have an Echo that is about 3 years old. It has been a POS since the first day I used it.

I went to a large cc engine with a smaller than recommended bar to gain rpm. It will not cut through a tree larger than about 12 inches without bogging down. I have had it back to the shop on two different occasions and still no luck.

Guy next door has an Echo and he has the same problems.

I had an older Polan and it would cut circles around this Echo. It just wore out after about 14 years.


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RE: chainsaw review

A lot of new saws come set to lean and will be boggy unless richened up, either you or your dealer has to pull the limiter caps and adjust for your fuel, temp and elevation. Sounds like your dealer isn't getting it done, find a different dealer or do it yourself. Newer Echo saws cut REAL GOOD when tuned right. Steve


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John 3rd post above , you hit the nail on the head . Most new saws need to be adjusted to run right and quite a few dealers don't . Your right on Echo quality also, way better than homeowner Husky or Stihl. Steve


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