I had a Pioneer Farm Saw for 30 years cutting 5 cords per year. It died two years ago. I bought a new Stihl Farm Boss to replace it. The Stihl is a little lighter, much quieter, and a bit faster cutting. For me the important thing is the vibration dampening is much better. The Stihl allows me to do a couple of times as much cutting before my arms hurt too much. My teenage son usually helps with my little Echo trimming saw. I had him try the Stihl while I used the 25 year old Echo. The Echo vibrates too much. Both of us now prefer the Stihl. If you get a Stihl only use their oil in the gas. When its on sale its about the same cost as others but several mechanics I've worked with insist that its better for the saw. Good Luck
Posted January 23, 2013 - 07:24 PM
Posted January 23, 2013 - 07:38 PM
There are many good saws out on the market now. All the consumer grade and most of the farm / ranch saws have a polymer construction whereas a professional saw will have a magnesium case. The mag case is lighter and stronger but costs more to manufacture.
I've really been disappointed with Stihl over the last 5 years. They use to only build super high quality saws including their budget saws but now their cheaper saws are about equivalent to the Poulans.
On another note Husqvarna is owned by a parent company who also owns Jonsered and that is their specialty saw brand not anything better - ie Husky still has their professional line the same as Stihl. In fact one of the biggest saws is the XP3120 which is a 119cc saw that can handle a 6' bar ($1700 msrp). BTW all of the cheaper saws that Husky carries are actually Orange Poulans as Husky is held by the same company who also holds Jonsered and Poulon. So thanks to corporate America we have started to tarnish the really good name brands to catch the unsuspecting consumer off guard - who think its a Husky or Stihl - its gotta be good right?
If you want a professional grade saw and do all your own mantainence - check out the Makita DCS510 which has an aluminum crankcase instead of polymer. A tiny bit heavier than mag but just as robust. Makita saws are manufactured by Dolmar which is the other large European saw company that isn't as well talked about. I've had several Dolmar's & Makita's and love them for the money. I've read a couple reviews of people saying they wont start / can't keep them running and thats mainly due to the fuel line collapsing due to the ethanol that we have in the states causing the fuel line to break down. Replace it with Tygon fuel line and the problem will be gone - you shouldn't have to do this but a lot of new power equipment / fuel lines don't like the alcohol from ethanol fuels.
You can find some of the better equipment here at Bailey's to give you an idea of what's available and at what cost.
If you want a really nice saw that will last forever with a set of rings every decade check out one of the pro's saws but you may be served just as well by a farm / ranch saw such as a Stihl Farm Boss which is a polymer saw but still made very well. Expect to lay down at least $400 for a decent new saw. I just checked online and the Farm Boss (I believe) will get phased out by the new MS291 (with a $100 higher msrp) ....
Lastly if you are looking at the Huskies look for a made in Sweden tag not USA (Poulan) and make sure the Emission Life is at least 300 hours as the Consumer grade stuff is only good for 50 hours.
Yeah I have CAD (Chainsaw Addictive Disorder) too
Edited by jrk, January 23, 2013 - 08:12 PM.
- boyscout862 said thank you
Posted January 23, 2013 - 07:49 PM
You also have to think of how big of a saw you really want. I've had several large 60-80cc saws but they aren't all that well balanced and can get heavy after working for a while. A nice 50-60cc saw built on a small frame is nice for bucking, falling, limbing etc when you're not doing it for a living.
I've had really good luck with Echo saws in the past but they're usually a little underpowered per CC when compared to Stihl, Husky, Dolmar saws that I've cut with.
The Makita DCS510 that I reference above goes for about $430 with a 18" bar whichi is equivalent to a Stihl MS290 Farm Boss. If you want dealer support go Stihl all the way - as it can't be beat. In fact that is one the the biggest factors to consider; having a dealer who can help, order parts quickly, etc.
Lastly do yourself a favor and throw away the safety chain that comes with any saw as they don't cut worth a darn. I prefer running a skip tooth chain which helps keep the saw in it's power band - not necessary on the old saws which ran at a lower RPM to make their power but definately nice on the new saws. Also most companies put a bigger bar than is really optimal for the engine size because everyone thinks bigger is better. Thus the skip tooth chain also helps to make up for the extra cutting length by lessening the amount of "cutting" teeth.
Just some rambings that came to mind
Edited by jrk, January 23, 2013 - 08:16 PM.
- boyscout862 said thank you
Posted January 23, 2013 - 08:08 PM
My dad ran a small engine shop up until 1983. He sold Homelite for a long time, but they got so cheaply made that he couldn't get them to run satisfactorily (too much plastic). The older Homelites would be a good used saw - XL12 and some of their older pro saws.
He was one of the first Stihl dealers in central Missouri. Neither he or his customers ever looked back after their experiences with the Stihls - especially their farm and pro line. Used models you might find under $200 would include 020 trimming saw, 028, 032, o34. I have an 028 that I got in 1981 and it's still starts and saws great. Besides chains and sprockets, I finally had to replace some vibration mounts and overhaul the carb, but it's a good all-round saw with 16" or 18" bar. I recently saw an excellent 028 sell at an estate auction for $250.
Most companies that are seriously in the chainsaw business are selling two classes of saws - one for the price market, usually aimed at occasional, homeowner use. The other class is for the more serious user - like you describe yourself. Stay with that class of saw and you will be more satisfied.
- Kurtee and boyscout862 have said thanks
Posted January 23, 2013 - 08:39 PM
Well Ryan I am sitting here reading this and learning about saws. I own 2 Huskies, 1 Homelite, 2 Echo pole saws, and a Remington electric saw. I have used several others including Stihl, McCullouh, Mono and some others. One name comes up over and over. That name is Stihl. In my eyes the Stihl is hard to beat. Well built and does a good job. It sounds like you need a quality saw that you can depend on. One old saying to think about is "Quality will be remembered long after price is forgotten" Nuff ramblin, good luck.
Posted January 23, 2013 - 09:30 PM
Ryan, Ive had my Stihl 041 Farm boss for a while now, bought used and worked it hard. Darn good saw but it is heavy (and old). My dear wife bought me a new echo this year for my birthday, first NEW saw I ever owned. 16 inch bar, cuts real nice, weighs a bunch less than the Stihl, quieter, well balanced and is also easier on gas. It was supposed to be a step above the homeowner grade. The Stihl has been turned into a dedicated grubbing saw, I will keep the echo chain out of the crud and see how long she holds up.
Keep in mind repair parts availability when looking at used saws. A "good deal" on a saw may not be so good if you cant get the replacement parts that you may need.
Good luck in your search!
Posted January 23, 2013 - 09:32 PM
I had a Poulan Pro for my first saw. It lasted about a year. I then bought a Homelite Ranger, which I used to start a really nice fire two years ago. I got tired of doing carb rebuilds, and replacing chain brakes and throttle cables. It is the saw in my avatar, which explains the chain brake replacement.
I spent a lot of time looking for a new saw. I found out what the guys above have said: China bought all of the top names in chainsaws and now quality and service suck. I bought an Echo 370 and was reasonably happy. What made all the difference for me was buying an electric chain sharpener. It is a Timber Tuff CS-BMM. It gives you a repeatable, even, bevel on the chippers. Now I get an even profile so the blade doesn't wander left or right. It is sharper than ever & cuts through walnut & maple like a hot knife through butter.
Saws are like mowers: more hp won't help if the blade is dull.
Edited by New.Canadian.DB.Owner, January 23, 2013 - 09:34 PM.
Posted January 23, 2013 - 09:39 PM
More than probably the 260 would exceed your needs. Especially with a a basic knowledge of keeping a sharp chain in tune.
Posted January 23, 2013 - 10:21 PM
I'm in the Stihl camp. We have an 041AV at the farm that dad bought new in the mid 70's. That saw still runs to this day and even though it is getting tired from being old it will still cut wood and serves us well. We have replaced it about 4 years ago with a new MS390. An awesome saw with an 18" bar and it will go thru everything we put in front of it. It's definately a LOT ligther than the old stihl and it revs higher as well. My grandfather gave us a Poulan a while back and having had experience selling them at TSC years ago I can say for sure they are about the most worthless excuse for a saw there is.
Before I got my current job at the lumber yard I worked for a friend for a while at his small engine business. He sells Husqvarna, Ferris, Hustler, Shindaiwa, Echo and Toro. After having worked with him for 6 months I can honestly say I would never own a Husqvarna chainsaw. I know of people that swear by them and say they get great service. However I saw more saws come back in the door in those 6 months for major repairs then I would have ever dreamed. Most of them were their mid to high range saws. The problems were either engines that would have failures or chain oilers that quit working. The chain oilers were the big offenders. I did warranty claims for at least 20 of them in a 6 month time period. A LOT of saws from a small business with the same exact problem and most of the failures were saws that were less than 3 months old and had been setup properly.
Posted January 24, 2013 - 06:47 AM
Posted January 24, 2013 - 07:39 AM
I'm firmly in the Stihl camp also. I've got 2 Stihls 16 and 20 bars and a 1050 Homelite with 36 inch bar.
Just set the Homelite on a log and wait It will chew threw anything just from the weight of it. And it makes a heck of a pile of shavings;
Posted January 24, 2013 - 08:17 AM
It will be a surprise to some but I have an electric 16" Poulan for bucking limbs and small work that a customer gave me.
If it EVER quits, I'll buy another just like it.
For heavy , remote, work you can't beat a Stihl or Husqvarna-new or older models, and Older model Macs, or Homelites.
- marlboro180 said thank you
Posted January 25, 2013 - 12:21 PM
I decided to call a guy my Dad and I did a lot of tree work with; he is a good family friend and has a tree service buissness. I asked if he had a saw he would sell me, and I told him generally what I was looking for. He said he has a saw in mind, but he will have to look when he gets home to see what options I have to choose from. I will keep you guys updated.
Posted January 25, 2013 - 10:48 PM
Seems like sound decision making right there Ryan,
Edited by marlboro180, January 25, 2013 - 10:48 PM.
Posted January 26, 2013 - 05:37 PM
- MH81 said thank you