Buying Advice

OakeyDokey

OakeyDokey

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I am a new member and I came across this forum through a google search. I've lurked here for awhile and read threads regarding chainsaws, firewood, and tree care. I hope to continue to look here for advice and information.

I know that there are a lot of questions here regarding the purchase of a saw and from people seeking the advice of pros and frequent users. I have read some of those threads and some have compared the saws that I am looking at but I could not find one that looked at all of the ones that I'm considering. I apologize in advance if this seems redundant.

First of all, I will let you know what I use my saw for.
  1. I primarily cut firewood into 18" lengths prior to splitting it with my 12 pound maul or Fiskars x27 splitting axe (a great tool, btw). The majority of the wood that I'm cutting for this is between 12" & 24".
  2. Occasionally I'll need to take a tree down and the majority are between 12" & 16" with an occasional one close to 24ish".
  3. Cleanup of limbs after storms, heavy winds, ice, etc.
  4. Honeysuckles - I have a lot of honeysuckles on my property and I am trying to get rid of as many as possible. I've cleared probably around 25 of them that are close to my house and I've probably got 100+ more of them on my property. It's a constant battle. Some of them are not "large weeds" either and are more like trees with trunks that have intertwined into a single mass and are close to 16" in diameter. The wood is surprisingly hard on these honeysuckles and can dull up a chain pretty fast. Once they're down I cut them up to go into the brush pile to burn later or to dispose of in some other way.
I am replacing a Craftsman saw that is 42cc with a 16" bar. When I bought it my primary concern was primarily getting rid of some of the honeysuckles and light cutting of firewood. It has served me well but I really ask too much of it and need something a little more heavy duty and reliable. I only paid $100 for it on sale at an Ace Hardware store so I think I've gotten my money's worth out of it.

Here are the saws I'm looking at replacing it with:

  1. Stihl MS 250 - This has a 45.4 cc engine and an 18" bar. Additionally, Stihl is running a $60 off nationwide promotion on these until almost the end of November. That makes the price $299. The warranty is 1 year but is extended to 2 years if you use the Stihl-branded premixed fuel that does not have ethanol.
  2. Husqvarna 445. Has a 50.2 cc engine. With a 16" bar it's $329 and an 18" is $339. Husky will also extend the warranty on these with the purchase of 3 cans of premixed fuel.
  3. Husqvarna 440 - 40.9 cc engine with an 18" bar for $299. With the 445 being so close in price I'm not sure why I would buy this one unless it has some feature that I am not aware of. It is lighter and a bit easier to handle. The other factor is that it is easier to find in retail stores than the 445 - at least the stores around me.
  4. Echo CS-490 - 50.2 cc & 18" bar for $349. My dealer says that they will include a small size of the premixed fuel with the purchase of all Echo saws.
  5. Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf - 59.8 cc & 20" bar for $399. Also, Echo is running a nationwide promotion that with the purchase of this saw they will include a 3 pack of chains. Also, as above, a small size of premixed fuel is included. The dealer that I contacted for this say that they will not participate in the Echo 1 day sales event that allows dealers to choose the day that they can host this sale. I do not wish to get into a discussion about covid, political or otherwise, but they sited covid as the reason they are not participating.
  6. Jonesered CS 2245 - 45.7 cc and an 18" bar. This has a 2 year warranty. It is $319. At Meanard's, with the 11% rebate, it comes out to $283ish. This saw seems to have a lot of features that are common with the Huskys and in looking at info about the company, I see that Husky owns them. It seems almost identical in many respects but I did not see a Husky that is between the 440 (40.9 cc) & 445 (50.2 cc) above. Unless I am missing something this seems like a better deal than the Husky 440.
I'm trying to avoid buying the saw from a big box retailer but I do have several shops near me that do excellent service work so that may not be a big factor. The Tractor Supply store just ran a 10% off promotion that is over. If I do decide on one of the Husky's it's unfortunate that I missed that sale because they are a Husky retailer. Home Depot is an Echo retailer but I am not a Home Depot fan so I would but from an independent dealer if I decide to go that route.

A few weeks ago I thought that I had made up my mind and nearly pulled the trigger on the Echo 590. The thing is a beast and when I started considering that I thought that it would be too much saw for me. Then I was in my local hardware store that sells Stihl and I learned of the promotion on the MS 250. Now I am totally confused. I think I have it narrowed down to what's above but if there is something else to consider, please let me know. Again, I apologize if this is redundant and thanks in advance for your input and help.
 
OakeyDokey

OakeyDokey

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^ Thanks, Duce, I'll look into it.

I see that you're in Roscommon. I love Higgins Lake. It's probably one of my favorite places to ski. Good times. The last I was there it was still crystal clear so hopefully it still is. I think that there was an issue with people putting in nice lawns and using fertilizer and the worry that it would cloud up the lake.
 
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^ Thanks, Duce, I'll look into it.

I see that you're in Roscommon. I love Higgins Lake. It's probably one of my favorite places to ski. Good times. The last I was there it was still crystal clear so hopefully it still is. I think that there was an issue with people putting in nice lawns and using fertilizer and the worry that it would cloud up the lake.
Lake is fine, clear, big push to limit fertilizer. Made northwest side of lake put in a sewer system. I live West of lake, family has owned cabins around lake and have been coming here since 4-5 years old. Grandfather and several of his friends from England built cabins (bunkers), after living through WWII and depression, it would be a safe haven with hunting and fishing. Can remember walking through rows of supplies, early Preppers. Moved here in 1989.
 
OM617YOTA

OM617YOTA

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I did a very similar search recently. Out of your list, I'd go with the CS590, no question. I was planning to buy a CS590 on an upcoming weekend, and the only reason I don't have one is that I came across a VERY good condition 034 at a good price during the week before.

The smaller Echo would be fine too, but for $50 for 20% more cc's, it's a no brainer. If that lets me fill the truck 20 minutes faster, multiplied by how many loads of wood over the next decade with that saw, how much more time has that $50 bought me? Not even a question, get the bigger saw.

The other saws you list, for 3x the cost of our Poulan, you're not getting 3x the saw. For the CS590 and 4x the cost of your Poulan, you're getting way more than 4x the saw.

Make sure you yank the limiter caps and tune the Echo from the very beginning, they're reputed to be very lean from the factory. I'd yank the caps before I started it for the first time, and tune it before I cut anything. A muffler mod is supposed to wake them up quite a lot as well.
 
Paul Silvestri
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S.W Montana
Another awesome option/choice would be the 562xp, its very light for the power and almost no vibration. I'm getting used to mine more and more and i like it. However its about 200 ish bucks more than the echo but I still think the 562xp is a great value given the work its capable of doing.
 
Mad Professor
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North East USA
The 590 echo is most bang for the buck and ~60cc.

If you go stihl or husky get a professional grade saw , and spend the extra $200.

I'd get at least 50-60cc saw. A 60cc won't be much heavier and will shine when you get into bigger wood.

Concerning the honeysuckles, I use an old bar/chain combo with a chain that is sharp but still cuts well. Cutting that small stuff/brush will throw chains easy and small bars are less prone to that. The used chains come into play when you are trying to cut near ground level and sometimes turf the chain. I have a collection of used chains saved for such. You can find used stuff on the trading post here.

Longer bars have the advantage of longer reach so you are not bending over as much, but will throw a chain easier.
 
softdown

softdown

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The 590 echo is most bang for the buck and ~60cc.

If you go stihl or husky get a professional grade saw , and spend the extra $200.

I'd get at least 50-60cc saw. A 60cc won't be much heavier and will shine when you get into bigger wood.

Concerning the honeysuckles, I use an old bar/chain combo with a chain that is sharp but still cuts well. Cutting that small stuff/brush will throw chains easy and small bars are less prone to that. The used chains come into play when you are trying to cut near ground level and sometimes turf the chain. I have a collection of used chains saved for such. You can find used stuff on the trading post here.

Longer bars have the advantage of longer reach so you are not bending over as much, but will throw a chain easier.

Regarding throwing chains - made a "big discovery" yesterday. The one that I hoped to achieve. I use a Milwaukee M18 volt chainsaw quite a bit. I have four really huge batteries for it. The 16" .043 bar was prone to throwing chains and spindly at times.

I decided to try a 14" .050 bar and could not be happier with the decision. A really big reason is that it is ~ 75% less likely to toss a chain. Going to try a 12" .050 bar next.

.043 is popular on the battery driven chain saws. But I believe they are prone to tossing chains when the work gets real. Of course hours of hard cutting yields stretched chains. But the .043 would even toss taut chains pretty easily. Certain angles it just could not hack.

As for OP - many posters here have forgotten more than I know. My feeling is that two chainsaws are great to have. For one thing - it isn't unusual to have a saw have problems on any given day. Plus you have a back up to cut out a pinched saw. The big reason though? Sometimes a 24" bar is very nice, perhaps even needed. Most of the time, for most users, a 14" or 16" bar is more appropriate.

I like to cut significant trees with a good 64cc saw and 24" bar. For cleaning off limbs and smaller cuts - I love a 14" bar on a battery saw. But battery saws have pros and cons and many have no interest. On the other hand, many pros have found they are ideal quite often. They are shockingly strong with good batteries. Here is my rundown:
DeWalt - cheapest. 12" bar and limited battery power available. Easiest to handle I am almost sure.
Makita - 16" and uses two batteries. But two 5 aH batteries only last a somewhat short period of really hard work
Milwaukee - 16" but comes with monster 12 AH battery. You can do really serious work with a couple 12 aH batteries!

So many options it boggles the mind.

Use ethanol free gas! Or you will be rebuilding carbs!
 
ammoaddict

ammoaddict

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From your list, the 590 is the most saw for the money. They are not the fastest or the lightest but they get the job done and will last a very long time with occasional maintenance. Like stated before keep the craftsman for the little stuff. On the other hand as Duce stated the 550xp will put a smile on your face. There is supposedly going to be a 20% off Husqvarna one day sale this month through another site. Just let me warn you though, if you hang out here long you will be buying more saws than you need, you will have a different saw for everyday of the week. Don't ask me how I know.

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Nothing wrong with the 590. But for what you're going to be using the saw for, a pro 50cc saw would be the most logical choice IMHO. A pro 50cc saw will be easier to handle as well. I like the Stihl ms261 best, the Husqvarna 550-mkII is a little heavier than the Stihl, but looks to be a good saw.
550mkII is nice running and cuts great. Starts easy, revs fast, pulls well and if that saw is heavy, should not be running a saw. IMHO. :cheers:
 
bfast250

bfast250

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I started out like you about 8 years ago. This site has incredible information and kind folks who are willing to share their knowledge. I had the 42cc craftsman and my use/situation was exactly the same as you. I went with a used Makita 6421 rental from Home Depot and recently picked up a new echo cs-400 to replace the worn out craftsman. You will be very happy bucking firewood with a 60+ cc saw.

I recently purchased two 550xp mkii for our storm cleanup team and had the opportunity to run it all day. It's super smooth and has surprising power. Definitely not heavy. I would really consider this saw if you don't want to venture into the 2+ saw plan.

Best of luck in your decision. I don't think you can wrong. Lots of great options.

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Andyshine77
Joined
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Cincinnati, OH
550mkII is nice running and cuts great. Starts easy, revs fast, pulls well and if that saw is heavy, should not be running a saw. IMHO. :cheers:
The older I get, the more pain I have, the more attractive lighter saws become. Being tough is fine, being wise is even better.[emoji111]
 

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