Stihl 201T or Echo 355T as Go-To saw in 4-saw amateur arborist lineup?

Colt Marlington

Colt Marlington

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Hi all. New to the forum and have not so suddenly developed an artistic interest in trees. And I have recently channeled my OCD towards chainsaws.
I'm too old to race dirt bikes anymore. Crotch rockets are also a thing of the past for me. And can't really get into wrenching on cars without feeling like it's a job. Rifles and hunting gear never get used as much as I'd like. Boats seem to be an endless money pit
So I am getting more into specialized equipment of the landscape variety, and have started getting some new equipment that I hope will give me many years of service. As an aspiring amateur arborist who might make a dollar now and then using said equipment, I feel this is a worthwhile endeavor.
I won't be climbing very high up in trees. But might venture up a well secured ladder with a saw on occasion.

I've decided for what I do that a 4-saw lineup would be ideal.

My biggest purchase so far, in cash outlay and size, is an Echo PPT-2620 telescoping power pruner. This machine has already started paying for itself in many ways.
I chose this over the Stihl because of it's perceived durability advantages. And because I may want to upgrade with the available 4 foot extension in the near future.
It's a great tool that has let me safely cut limbs a little piece at a time that were hanging over power lines, I've done some tree shaping, raising the canopy on a large tree to 20+ feet providing a high shade and turning an otherwise unsavory tree into an interesting specimen. And have been able to get on the roof and eliminate the potential of future storm damage from limbs that were hanging precariously. It's also a great workout that could potentially save me hundreds by not joining a gym or buying exercise equipment.

Next up in my lineup is my big saw. I chose a not so big saw for my big saw because my firewood production consists mainly as a side effect from pruning large limbs and the occasional removal.
This saw may only see use a couple or six times of year, so it wasn't in the budget for me to get a Stihl MS 241. But I still thought it was important in my lineup and was lucky to find a great deal on an Echo CS-490 that is not too far off in power to weight ratio from the 241. And although it still has a good deal of plastic in the construction, I do appreciate the magnesium case.
I like this saw very well so far as it's already partially paid for itself with a couple of large stump removals that could not have been accomplished so easily with a smaller saw. The saw is lightweight and well balanced for a 50cc saw, and so far has displayed acceptable power. Also, due to the higher power numbers of all the other Echo 50cc saws, I believe it has the potential for a bit more power hopefully without any exorbitant expense.
This saw should serve me well for 95% of my BIG work. And if I have to rent something bigger once every few years, so be it.

For my smallest saw I have about decided that I really want and need an Echo CS-2511T. This may be somewhat of a luxury saw, but I can potentially see it being a key player in my working saw lineup as well as extending into recreational use more than just about any cutting tool other than maybe a small axe or a good knife. I really love the look and feel of this little saw.

And finally, my main everyday workhorse saw. For me I think this should most likely be one of the largest, most powerful top handle saws. I've grown used to doing 95% of my chainsaw work with a Stihl 009L, and haven't quite been able to warm up to the small/midsize rear handle saws, as I've been using one recently and I just don't love it. But I won't mind having a saw that's a little lighter with a little more power.
I've considered one of the rear handle conversion saws, like the 201C or 361P but still think I'll be happier with a big top handle.
So....Is the Stihl worth the price for a new MS 201TCM? Or is it worth taking a chance on a slightly used one that still costs more than a brand new Echo CS-355T? I do appreciate the way the Stihl is constructed out of so much metal. And I think the ergonomics and external durability might be a shade better. But so far the Echo's have been nice runners.
Are there any other candidates in the same weight/power range that can also compare in quality?

Can the voice of great experience here help me decide? I am struggling in that I love the metal body of the Stihl. And I'm hoping to purchase a saw with great durability that won't require a lot to keep it going for many years to come. But dang there's a good bit of difference in the price.
 
The Singing Arborist

The Singing Arborist

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
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I used to work for a company with a 200t and a 201tc. I used these saws for 2 years. As I was asked more and more for side work, I decided to get a 355t...mainly for price. Pretty soon, when I had a long day in a tree and didn't want to screw around with a chainsaw, I started bringing my own 355t to work. This saw is now 2 years old, being run every day (except sundays I guess), and it still starts without a second thought. It still cuts without stalling in 12" wood. I haven't replaced anything on it and haven't done any mods to it. It's an amazing saw.

The stihls that I used at work had issues of not starting without a fuss, and not feeling as smooth and solid in the cut. I put a lot of work into their tuning, chains, and cleanliness and I still never loved them like my 355t.

Looking at the specs, the 201 boasts a mild amount more hp. From my experience, both saws will last as long as you take care of them. If you are constantly cutting 12" plus wood with it, maybe you want the extra hp. That extra hp of the 201 comes at almost double the cost of the 355 though.
 
Colt Marlington

Colt Marlington

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Joined
Oct 6, 2018
Messages
856
Location
Texas
Thanks for the reply. I'm pretty slow, so I won't constantly be cutting anything much less 12" logs. My average large stuff is 6 to 8 inch limbs.
But I'm mainly just trying to get a little bit lighter and a little more power than the two saws I've been using which are about 9 pounds and just under 2hp. While hopefully staying close in size and maneuverability to the 009.

I was considering trying to trade for a 201TC tomorrow, but am unsure of what I'd be getting into. And I certainly don't want to work on anything anymore than I have to.
 
caesarleigh

caesarleigh

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
30
Location
British Columbia
I have both the 355T & a shiny new 2511T. I have one season on the 355T, it starts, runs, stops, just like it should. The 2511T is also a runner, the best part is the size/weight or the lack of it. I packed it all day on a trail maintenance hike & it weighed the same at the end of the day as at the start, so small I hardly noticed it. I recommend both without reservation. My Echo dealer is top notch.
I tried a Stihl 201TCM & it was an expensive disappointment, compounded by the dealer who was unable to resolve the issues over a two season span.
A quality dealer who is responsive is a big plus in my book & makes or breaks the ownership experience.
 
Colt Marlington

Colt Marlington

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Oct 6, 2018
Messages
856
Location
Texas
Hey, thanks caesarleigh!
I'm definitely going to get the 2511T next. Probably in about two and a half weeks if I can stand to wait that long until the local 20% off sale. But I'm Jonesin for a fix so I may have to go get one sooner.

Starting to think I could just get by with the little 2511T for 80% of my work and then use the 490 for the other 20%.
Maybe I should just put the idea of a midsize saw on the backburner until I find a deal I can't pass up, or there comes a day when I can no longer do without it.
 

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