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The BEST homeowner chainsaw

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by flyfishingman, May 8, 2007.

  1. flyfishingman

    flyfishingman New Member

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    Good Morning-
    I presently own a Sears (dont laugh) 16 inch 38 cc saw with a semi chisel stihl chain on it. It has treated me well for the last 5 years in doing simple yard care as well as dropping some decent trees but the oil pump has died and it will be cost ineffective to try to fix it.
    We just bought a larger property and I want to upgrade from the Craftsmen level. I have been looking at Stihls in the 50 cc range with 18" bar as well as the Husky Farmboss in the same range.
    I am not planning on doing any major forestry jobs but want something reliable with the power needed when the opportunity arises.
    Any suggestions or guidlelines.
    Dave
     
  2. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    husky 359 probably gives most bang for the buck.
    some even consider 359 a pro saw...
     
  3. MrGriz

    MrGriz ArboristSite Member

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    I'll put a plug in for the Dolmar 5100s. It's a very well made 'pro' class saw and will be a huge step up from the Craftsman. I don't think you can beat them for bang for the buck either; you can pick one up online for under $400.00.

    You may also want to check out the chainsaw forum. I picked up a ton of good advice there when shopping for basically the same upgrade. Just be careful you don't walk away thinking that the Stihl MS361 is the only saw that is still made ;)
     
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  4. NEK VT

    NEK VT ArboristSite Operative

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    Same Here

    I had Craftsman / poulan / and Partner saw before I got my 390. I own a large piece of land have need to cut alot but I don't do forrestry for a living. I just bought an Sthil MS390 and love it!! I dident break the bank either.
     
  5. computeruser

    computeruser Addicted to ArboristSite

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    There are a number of good choices out there that should be a nice upgrade from the Craftsman you have been running. Here's an overview and some editorial material:

    Stihl's MS290/MS310 would be good choices for a reliable and powerful homeowner chainsaw. Despite their plastic engine cradle assembly they are durable and more than capable of pulling an 18" bar with authority. And unlike the Husqvarna saws with the green gas caps that have catalytic converters in their mufflers, you don't have to go and drop $40 on a new, non-cat muffler as soon as you buy the saw.

    Stihl's MS270/280 are also very good choices for your intended role. They are a step up from the MS290/310 series in that they are lighter, have better anti-vibration systems, and have a magnesium crankcase (horizontally split, though). They cost a hair more than the 290/310, though.

    Stihl's MS260/260Pro is also an excellent saw with a proven trackrecord of durability. It is the only true *pro* saw of the Stihl saws I mentioned, having a vertically-split magnesium crankcase with a bolt-on cylinder, making top-end rebuilds a 20 minute task. I personally own an 026Pro (earlier version of the 260) and find it to be a great saw in the smaller stuff, for limbing, and for trail clearing. But I do not like it with anything larger than a 16" bar - the balance isn't right, the powerband doesn't feel right to me. As strange as it may seem, having owned both the 026 and the MS290 I actually prefer the MS290/310 for an all-around saw for a homeowner/firewood cutter.

    On the Husqvarna side of the equation, the 350 is a superb saw for the homeowner, providing a good balance between price and performance. Its all-magnesium cousin, the 353, is probably a better investment in the long run. Both saws weigh about the same as the MS260, which is 10.5lbs or so.

    Slightly heavier but a bit more powerful, the 359 is a pro-grade saw with immense potential once you ditch the catalytic converter muffler. The only disadvantage to doing this, of course, is the fact that it requires you to spend an extra $40 or so and it voids the warranty. By the time you do this, you're on your way to having spent as much as a 357xp or Stihl MS361, both of which have a substantial edge on the 359 in power-to-weight (at a price, of course $$$$).

    The last choice from Husqvarna in this size range would be the 455Rancher/460. I have run the 455 side-by-side with the MS290, buried in hard maple, and the 290 walked all over the 455. I know that some folks have had good results with the 455/460, but I think that Stihl's older design actually has the edge in this corner of their respective product ranges.

    There are also good choices from Dolmar (510, 5100s), Echo (520), and Efco/JohnDeere/CubCadet (same saws, different clothes; look at the 952 and 956). Dealer support may or may not be a consideration for you, but if it is something you value than you might wish to stick with the brand(s) that are available locally from shops that actually know saws.

    As much as it will rub folks the wrong way here at ArboristSite, I'd probably go with an MS290 if I was in your shoes. It will be a marked improvement over what you're used to, it won't break the bank, and with a good chain it will be a surprisingly good firewood and property-upkeep saw. I really enjoyed mine while I owned it and can honestly say that I have never had any other saw that was as monotonously reliable.
     
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  6. Fumbler

    Fumbler ArboristSite Operative

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    Best performance?
    Probably the Dolmar 5100

    Best cost/performace?
    The Husqvarna 350. It should cost you $320-330.
    I have one and it has been absolutely reliable.
    Keep it sharp and tune the carb and it'll do all the cutting any homeowner needs...Those 34 inch diameter oaks do take a little while though.....
     
  7. DGG

    DGG ArboristSite Operative

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    Great saws have been mentioned previously but if you want something that is really great to work with, here are my two choices. I would suggest you go to www.Husqvarna.com and www.Stihl.com and look at their websites. They each have a section about "What Chainsaw to Buy" that walks you thru some steps in selecting a chainsaw. Since price wasn't mentioned as an issue-

    Here are my suggestions:

    1. Husqvarna 385XPW.

    6.3hp, 5.2 cu in, felling marks, about 17 lbs dry weight.

    http://store.baileys-online.com/cgi-bin/baileys/878


    2. Stihl MS-650 Magnum, 6.4hp, 5.2 cu in, about 17lbs also.

    http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/MS650.html

    They will handle anything you come across. They are reliable and both have good service networks. 3' oaks, no problem.

    I also think a smaller backup saw for limbing is very handy. Also don't forget the safety equipment. These are big powerful tools that can easily send you to the ER if you don't handle them properly and have the right safety equipment.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2007
  8. computeruser

    computeruser Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yup, these look exactly like the sort of 50cc saw he was looking for. :bang:
     
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  9. rb_in_va

    rb_in_va Addicted to ArboristSite

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

    Maybe he could scrounge up an 090 somewhere.
     
  10. Pilsnaman

    Pilsnaman ArboristSite Operative

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    How much are you willing to spend on your new saw. If money isn't an object i would say go with either the Stihl 280 or Husky 359. If your heart is set on a Stihl or Husky but money does matter some then I would say the Stihl 270 or Husky 350 at around $350. Last, if these saws are still beyond your pocket may I recommend either the Stihl 250, Husky 345, or Echo 440 and either can be had for around $300. While I may get a lot of flak for recommending an Echo, I have a 346 and just two weeks ago it was buried in oak for a stump cut and it did just fine. It all depends on how often you plan on using the saw. Most of the guys here are pros and think in terms of using the saw every day for a living but as a homeowner you probably don't need so much saw but could use a few extra bucks. As for the Stihl/Husky dispute, I say go with which ever has more support around your area because you really can't go wrong with either. My wife and I are not big fans of the Husky exhaust that comes out the front because of the extra heat your left hand gets. When its 100+ deg you don't need more heat but thats just us.
    BTW, my wife is a Virginia certified sawyer, did I pick the right woman or what!!!:cheers:
     
  11. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

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  12. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Nothing bad to say about a 359, or any of the others for that matter, but I will put in another plug for the Husky 350, IMHO it's the BEST bang for the buck going right now!!
     
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  13. SawTroll

    SawTroll Information Collector

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    The best consumer class 50cc saw is no doubt the Husky 350/Jred 2150.

    No others are even halv close.........:greenchainsaw:
     
  14. JUDGE1162

    JUDGE1162 ArboristSite Operative

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    Take a look at the 455, I have one and really like it for what it is a semi-pro/home owner saw. You get a lot of bang for your buck, a 55 cc saw for around $300 you can not beat it. Yes, it is heavier than other 55cc saws but is also $100 less and if you are only using it for a few hours one or two days a week the weight is not that big of a deal. Good wide power band good for a homeowner with only one saw can take up to a 22" bar (I use 18" and 20") on mine in hardwood with little to no problems. It has lots of goodies the de-compression valve (nice feature), adjustiable oiler, full size bar and 3/8 chain, great anti-vibe system, and it is a husky:biggrinbounce2:

    The 455 is not the right saw if you plan on modifing your saw due to the new strato-enginee but it also uses less gas, which means less stopping to fill the tank. Like other husky saws it has a great air filter, good power, full size bar and 3/8 chain a great saw for $300 if you got the cash to burn give the 359 a try and you will be very happy but plan on spending $400+ for the saw.
     
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  15. Big Woody

    Big Woody Banned

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    The best Homeowner saw by far is the one in your neighbor's garage!:cheers:
     
  16. rb_in_va

    rb_in_va Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Unless your neighbor shops for OPE at Walmart.
     
  17. stihltech

    stihltech Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Homey

    MS250 or MS290. Will do anything a homeowner would want. Very reliable.
     
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  18. techdave

    techdave ArboristSite Operative

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    'Walkerize' your sears, buy a harbor commie sharpener+++

    Howdy, drill ou tyour sears muffler, keep your chains sharp, and runthe sears 42 cc until it dies. My 42 cc "walkerized"=muffler baffles drilled and carb metering lever readjusted crapsman regularly outperforms the stock 290 and 353 of the public agency where i volunteer.

    run it until it blows up, THEN buy your professional saw!
     
  19. Pilsnaman

    Pilsnaman ArboristSite Operative

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    So whad ya buy?!?!?!?!
     
  20. nilzlofgren

    nilzlofgren Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you go the MS290 route, you might aswell get the MS390. More power, same weight. Also, I thought Stihl was farmboss, not Husky.
     
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