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New vs. Used chainsaw

Nathan Paziuk

Nathan Paziuk

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Hey there,

The question to the forum is, for someone with limited chainsaw knowledge, is it worth trying to purchase a used saw, or is the likelihood of making a bad purchase high enough that we should just sink the money into a new one?

We've just purchased 3 acres of wooded North West land. We'll be keeping many of the trees, but certainly have some cutting to do. I do not have much experience with chainsaws. I had a very light duty, "cheap" chainsaw and tried to cut down a big old cherry tree in our front yard and realized I'd wasted my money, ruined a saw, and was going to have to hire an arborist to get the stump out anyway. But, we really do need a 'proper' saw now to cut up deadfall and take down trees that our in the way. They're generally pine but there is some maple amongst them and even a bit of arbutus.

I've been combing through the forums and realize that between checking compression, filters, mixture, etc, that purchasing a used saw takes some experience, which, maybe if I spend enough time doing some learning, I may be able to figure out, but just as likely, I'll see a saw and have no way to decide if it's a good buy or not.

Please, let me know what you think, thank you,
Nathan
 

BenK

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If piece of mind is what you seek and you have good local dealer support go new. If you like to tinker and work on your own equipment go used.
Your used dollar will usually stretch farther in terms of size
Just my .02
 

svk

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Depends really on what you want. You can find awesome deals on new if you shop around.

However if you want more bang for your buck the trading post here sees some absolutely sweet used saws at fair prices and the chance of getting stiffed by a long time member is relatively low.
 
TheBrushSlasher

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Redmax GZ4500 if you can find one, echo cs400 or 490, or dolmar 421. If you want a little more saw go echo 550p or 590. From my personal experience the 445 husqy is very lacking.
 
ken morgan

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I f you have three acres and plan on keeping that property forever or at least 10~12 years you will want a new "good" saw.

I have nothing against cheap saws, they have their place..but the chance of me being able to get parts for my poulan PP4218a 10 years from now are slim..hell I can't even get anybody to send me the correct air filter and its only 2 years old. the Husky xp's i own one is 16 years old and I can still get all of its parts new form the dealer, not to mention great aftermarket support. So, it does not have to be pro level, but it must be at least one of the upper tiers. (think parts availability) next step is to look at support what do you have for local dealers?

I am partial to husky simply because the parts are cheaper than stihl (quite a bit as I am forced to shop on line only do to location) but stihl, echo, dolmar, all have good offerings too, so what is closest in terms of GOOD support. if the local place cannot diagnose issues without throwing parts at it they are a hack and you need to look further out, or resign yourself to studying here and learning.

With a new saw, proper fuel mixing and some basic maintenance oils, filters sharpening etc. then one of the upper tier saws from any of the above listed will probably last you longer than needed....
 
s sidewall

s sidewall

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I own a bunch of different brand saws, my low maintenance saw that i own is an echo cs400, never have any problems with it and can be made to run. I have mostly older made Poulan saws that was built well along with a few Mac's. The Echo is lighter and quieter and sips fuel compared to my others.

Steve
 
jackjcc

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Check dealers for used saws as well. They don't always put out a sign or have them on the shelf, but they have trade ins.


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Dieseldash

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Redmax GZ4500 if you can find one, echo cs400 or 490, or dolmar 421. If you want a little more saw go echo 550p or 590. From my personal experience the 445 husqy is very lacking.
My J-red 2245 ( Husky 445) is a little ripper. Great little trim/limbing saw, excellent anti vibe, good fuel economy, and punches way above its weight. Plus it was cheap. Wonder if yours is set up wrong? It's not quite a 346/353 but still great bang for your buck.
 
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TheBrushSlasher

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My J-red 2245 ( Husky 445) is a little ripper. Great little trim/limbing saw, excellent anti vibe, good fuel economy, and punches way above its weight. Plus it was cheap. Wonder if yours is set up wrong? It's not quite a 346/353 but still great bang for your buck.
My Ryobi/redmax gz400 was a running a 20 inch bar with no issue but the 445 running the same sized bar just couldn't keep the chain spinning in 16 inch pine. I do like saw though and the craftsman version I have very good looking compared to the husqy orange.
 
Griffdog1

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Be clear about what you think you are going to be using the saw for. Have a really good think about this. If it just clearing up relatively small trees then getting a quality mid range saw is going to be fine. But if you think you are going to be doing a lot of firewood type work you are really best to go for something that can handle this bigger workload. Small stuff 40-50cc will be fine. But bigger work you really want 60-70cc. Being clear in the usage should be your first priority.

Personally I would not buy a new saw. There are so many excellent second had pro saws around that would look at something quality in either a husky, dolmar/makita or stihl. Chainsaws are not hard to look after if you take some time to learn about them and to be honest if you are going to own a chainsaw you should really learn about them. I personally would plump for something like a 365 Husky which you can still get parts for easily, is a simple and robust saw and which can do pretty much any job asked of it.

I understand that some people are not going to feel comfortable with something older, but there are some great saws our there that will last another 20 years if looked after. Having said all that I would agree that a mid range echo or shindaiwa is a very well put together saw for the price. You would be happy with one if you never got your hands on good husky, dolmar or stihl....
 
PaulB84

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PM jonnystihl about his masterminded 241cm.

While a ported pro saw for a first chainsaw may feel like jumping into the deep end, I'd offer this:

It's the smallest pro saw stihl makes
It has fantastic on the ground reviews from people who run saws for a living
It has been massaged by one of the best and will perform like a bigger saw
It has the new mtronic auto carb adjustments so you'll never have to worry about burning it up by running too lean (intimidating for first timers)

Good luck!
 
Pioneer

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If you decide to go with a used saw just to beat on and get used to maintenance chores, look for a Homelite xl-12 in good shape. Tough, easy to maintain, and used parts are still available as they made these by the truckload.

If you go with a new saw, pick a mid sized saw with a dealer near you, as you will be needing parts in the future.
 
harpersend

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I may have a different view from a few others that have posted before, but I believe I would do the following:
1) Purchase a new Husqvarna 562XPG with AutoTune and the largest bar it can run.
2) Purchase the 3 cans of premix fuel for the extended warranty.
3) Remove the bar.
4) Purchase a lightweight 18"-20" bar for normal use.
5) Purchase some PPE.
6) Get some training.
7) Unless you get CAD, not purchase another saw for 10-15 years.
 
DND 9000

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Yes backhoelover is right, that`s one of the most importand things. See also if you can get some training with a professional how to use the chainsaw safe. Here in Germany everyone who wants to make wood in the forest has to make training lessons with an examination at the end. After a succsessful training you get a certification. Without this you are not able to buy wood from the woods that you can cut and split by yourself.
 
7sleeper

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I would say new but wouldn't go crazy. something like a good 40-50cc saw under $400 like echo cs 400 or 490 dolmar 421 husqvarna 445 or 450
Great recomendation! Might add the Stihl line with the 251/271. Another great bang for the buck would be the poulan pro 5020, you probably won't get more saw for the money. Personally I favor the Dolmar 421 = Makita 4300 or Echo 490 by far in your situation!
Forgot to mention that the Dolmar name is being replaced by the Makita name. Same company absolut same saw just changed the name!
...
While a ported pro saw for a first chainsaw may feel like jumping into the deep end, I'd offer this:

It's the smallest pro saw stihl makes
It has fantastic on the ground reviews from people who run saws for a living
...
It has the new mtronic auto carb adjustments so you'll never have to worry about burning it up by running too lean (intimidating for first timers)
... Just for your information the Stihl 201 is the smallest pro saw Stihl makes with a electronically adjusted carb. And these saw equally easily burn up due to fuel or mechanical problems. Buying a pro saw for only 3 acres is about as senseless it can get debatable. Even if you drop the whole area and buck everything up into firewood size pieces, it won't take you longer than a few weeks. What will you do with your saw after that?

Used saws are only interesting IF you have the knowledge & tools to repair your equipment. If not repairs are VERY expensinve when taken into account the purchasing price. F.e. if your used saw cost 250$ purchase price and it needs a carb/fuel line replacement incl. some dampeners the repair bill will quickly arrive the 100$ bill size. With that in mind the Dolmar 421 or others mentioned are hardly (~50$) more or some even less expensive but include typically a year warrenty!

The recomendation proper training & proper ppe = personall protection equipment (chaps, helmet with eye & ear protection, etc.) are far the best sofar.

I would choose one of the stronger 40-45cc saws in the 2.5-3hp range. Good luck & safe cutting.

7
 
Fatty-McGee

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I would recommend purchasing a saw that you can get dealer support from in your local area. Plus what all these other guys said....I purchased a used but in good shape saw off here that needed a carb kit but ended up at a little over half the price of a new one.
 
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