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Which saw to buy?

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by aandabooks, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. aandabooks

    aandabooks Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hello,

    Brand new here. Just found this site when I was trying to research which saw I should purchase.

    I cut wood for my woodburner. Alot of oak, hickory and elm. Doesn't matter the size of the tree because I drop it in the field where I cut. Nothing to hit on the way down.

    Been cutting for two seasons now with a Craftsman 18" 42cc and a Poulan 20". Occasionally for brush cutting I get out the little Homelite 12". I've decided it is time to move up in quality.

    Here's what my limitations are:

    The new saw needs to stay under $400. I want to run an 18" bar the majority of the time but possibly purchase a larger bar/chain combo for occasional use.

    There are four models that I have been looking at and would like opinions from people that have more experience than I do with better saws.

    Husqvarna 460
    Husqvarna 455 Rancher
    Stihl 290 Farm Boss
    Stihl 310

    All four of these are capable of running larger bars. They are all at least 55cc. What is the best value and is dependable? I have dealers for both of these brands near me.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. grandpatractor

    grandpatractor Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you have a dealer in your area you should consider a dolmar 5100. You'd be the envy of the neighborhood.:hmm3grin2orange: :greenchainsaw:
     
  3. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie ArboristSite Operative

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    Hi Matt, Welcome to Arboristsite. Do a little research on Dolmar PS-5100S and compare, If you want to stay at $400.00 and want the best saw for the money. It weights less than the Stihl MS310 but same power. All the models you mentioned have a Plastic front handle where the Dolmar uses an Aluminum with a grip like all the Pro saws. The Dolmar has a Magnesium crankcase for more durability and LESS WEIGHT. All the models you listed have a plastic or polymer front oil tank under the exhaust, but the Dolmar has a magnesium crankcase under the front exhaust and one of the advantages is a place to bolt a brace for the muffler. All manufacturers use magnesium on their top of the line Pro saws so the PS-5100S will give you features the Big Boys use.
     
  4. CharlieG

    CharlieG Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Buy the 346xp

    You nan get the Husqvarna 346XP at Norwalk Power Equipment $413 (18" w/ 3 chains, Husqvarna T-shirt, Husqvarna baseball style hat) or Alamia $419 (18") w/Free Delivery. Contact your local dealer and see if they can meet prices for a local sale.
     
  5. CharlieG

    CharlieG Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Buy the 346xp

    You can get the Husqvarna 346XP at Norwalk Power Equipment $413 (18" w/ 3 chains, Husqvarna T-shirt, Husqvarna baseball style hat) or Alamia $419 (18") w/Free Delivery. Contact your local dealer and see if they can meet prices for a local sale.
     
  6. davefr

    davefr Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Another vote for the Dolmar PS5100 given your criteria of <$400 and 18". It's superior to the other saws you mentioned.

    However if local dealer support is critical then that may dictate other choices.
     
  7. grandpatractor

    grandpatractor Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I did a search off Dolmars web site and there looks to be plenty of dealers all around the bloomington/normal area. Ya outa be able to find one that has a half a clue. If not, you may need to educate him on keeping a 5100 in stock.:monkey:
     
  8. Cut4fun

    Cut4fun Faster is Better

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    I would go for the Dolmar 5100S also, forget your list.
     
  9. SawTroll

    SawTroll Information Collector

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    :jawdrop: That is exactly the saws you should stay away from - all are overweight for the power they have, and all have plastic cases......

    I agree with those who suggested the Dolmar PS5100S for that price point - or spend some more money, and get a MS361 - sound like exactly the right saw for your needs. :greenchainsaw:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
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  10. kevlar

    kevlar Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +1

    I didn't want to be the one to say it,but Saw Troll is 100% correct none of those saws on your list would ever make it into my shop(but that's just me!)The two other saws he mentioned are great(don't know what the prices are in the states though)just my two cents.
     
  11. aandabooks

    aandabooks Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Thanks for all of the replies. I have some more research to do on the Dolmar saw that you all recommend. To be honest, I've never heard of them. Everybody around seems to swear by Stihl. At least of the five or six tree service woodcutter's I have known over the years. Maybe they are all running the professional grade Stihl saws and don't bother with the mid-range.

    Is the only way to buy a Dolmar through a dealer? Norwalk has some good deals on throw ins on the Husqvarna's but I had never considered one until quite recently and don't know much about them.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
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  12. XJWoody

    XJWoody AboristSite Guru

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    Three Saw Plan

    :dizzy: there goes the $400 budget! :censored:
     
  13. Just Mow

    Just Mow Don't touch my Willie !!!

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    My vote is for the Stihl MS361, it will allow you to do what you are wanting to do with the power to run the larger bar when needed.
     
  14. 103scooter

    103scooter AboristSite Guru

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    I agree with the Dolmar 5100. I'm getting 2 of them next week, one with heated handles 1 with out. I have access to a lot of saws, and in its class its my favorite.
     
  15. bcorradi

    bcorradi Arboristsite.com Sponsor

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    Aren't you a stihl dealer also? The Stihl 260, 360, 361 all have plastic handles and are "Pro saws". I haven't ever seen any durability issues with the nylon composite front handles have you?
     
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  16. Sprig

    Sprig Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +2, for all choices folks seem darned happy with the 5100 s bang-for-buck-wise in a mid-size saw, it seems for your budget to be the best bet in my humble opinion. A few extra sheckles would get you a nice MS270-280 though *stir stir stir* :D
    Welcome to the start of your new life as a saw addict :D We will enable you any way we can help ;P

    :cheers:

    Serge
     
  17. DPSElias

    DPSElias ArboristSite Lurker

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    Well if you want to throw your list out the window and want a high quality cheap saw call your local HD rental departments the first week of the month and see if they are selling any Makita DCS6401's same as the Dolmar PS6400, I did from searching on this site and I don't regret buying a used rental saw one bit, been a real work horse for me and it will blow all the ones on your list out of the water for ~$200. If it needs to be new then I would go with the Dolmar 5100S because if its anything like the Makita it will be top notch. Not knocking Stihl or Husky as I was looking at the same saws at your list until I found AS and stumbled upon the HD rental 6401.

    Now I am proud to be a Chainsaw-O-holic and want a 7900 just because.
     
  18. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Of the saws on you're list, I wouldn't buy any of them!!! If the 5100s and 361 is beyond you're budget, look at the Husky 350, great power to weight, yes it's a home owner saw, but very durable and bang for buck, I don't think it can be beat!!!
     
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  19. dustytools

    dustytools Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +1. I have a friend that bought his 350 new 3 years ago and his saw is still just as strong as the day he bought it. He cuts enough firewood to heat his and his in-laws homes each year with it. I think that he got it at TS for right around $300 plus some change.
     
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  20. flashy

    flashy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    your list is just fine

    Go ahead and buy a saw from your list. They are excellent values. Stihl and Husky sell huge numbers of them and they are very reliable.
    I have gotten alot of good advice here and I value these guys opinions.
    That being said.....
    These guys are either pros or saw nuts or both. Thats not a bad thing. However, they tend to be saw SNOBS. I never knew that my 029 super had a plastic crankcase until I got hooked on this site. I cut alot of wood just the same. The biggest knock on my 029 seems to be the weight. 13 lbs. But I don't walk around with the saw. Its in the log most of the time. When I get to the point when 13 pounds is too much for me to carry, I will officially know it is time to stop cutting wood. I will have officially reached the point where I am too frail to cut wood.
    Feel free to buy any of those saws, and enjoy many years of good sawing
     
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