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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: New chainsaw recommendations?  (Read 677 times)

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  • Sea Lion
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I am a first time buyer. I have used a Stihl 026 and liked it. I'm going to be cutting dead standing madrone and oak up to around 15" for firewood. I think I want a Stihl. What say you guys?
If you don't know where you're headed, any road could get you there.


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  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: th' Doon, CA
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I have a "saw guru" neighbor who rebuilds saws for several arborists and their crews.
He like Husqvarna so those are the saws I use. However, he's not averse to Stihls and says in some ways they are superior.
If you won't be doing all of the maintenance yourself it also pays to take into account where you'll gt service. I bought my first saws from a close shop that was a Husky sales and service place,so I got huskys.

can't go wrong with either brand IMHO.

I'd get wrap around chaps and a helmet to go with the saw :smt002
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Mojo Jojo

  • Sea Lion
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Living up north of you in a logging/fishing community all the timber fellers up here have Stihl saws in ther rigs, for hunting and just around camp I use a cheap Homelight but when I cut firewood for our previous property (big farm) I used a Stihl best damn saw I ever had stolen out of my truck bed (fother mucker) methheads  :smt013

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  • Sea Lion
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What I meant to say is, which model Stihl? There are so many!
If you don't know where you're headed, any road could get you there.


  • Sea Lion
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Just go to a dealer and tell them what type of work you are planning and they will direct you to the right model. 


Here is a comparison chart. 

I have an MS291 which is a 20" between home and pro use.  Have been using it like crazy and it works real good.  I only use ethanol free gas which I think helps. 

With the harder wood just make sure you have a sharp blade and it will cut like butter. 

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  • Sand Dab
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I worked in the woods in my younger years (30 years ago) and the go-to saw for general bucking and falling was the Husky. For the big wood and ripping logs too big for the yarder was the Stihl. I'd go with a Husky but would have no arguments with anyone going with a Stihl.


  • Salmon
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You have a lot of room in a choice like that I sold my landscaping company after ten years of building it up that's another story
I love the stil saws your going to wind up with a Safty  chain which isn't completely a bad thing it's like riding a bike with training wheels
You can pick from several powerheads and bars you don't need a monster
Just get something manageable
You don't need a fifteen inch blade to cut a fifteen inch tree
Then again there's nothing wrong with Having a bit more 
Modern saws are much lighter than there predecessors
And the power is chocked down no matter what size motor it has your only going to be able to use what will drive the chain and the chain is limited for your safety a nice trimmer saw would probably do you just fine
glade you made it
now let's get our fish on

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I've had craftsman, Poulan, some off brand, Stihl and Husquevarna.
Husquevarna for me hands down.
It's VERY reliable and quite the work horse.


  • Salmon
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I just bought a Stihl ms261 after doing a LOT of online reading.  No primer bulb to worry about.  When cold, give it one pull on full choke then switch to 1/2 choke and it starts with the next pull.  The saw starts with one easy pull once warm.  It revs quicker than my Husquvarna 350 and seems to have more torque with less vibration.  I've only got one tank of gas through it, but so far love the saw. 

I've had my Husquvarna for over 10 years and it has always been a cold blooded bitch.  There have been times when it just wouldn't start and I've had to put it away for another day.  Aside from the starting issues, it has been a great saw.  I'm moving to Michigan next year (retiring) and looked at dealer/service options for both Stihl and Husquvarna.  Stihl got the nod.

The only thing I don't care for on the Stihl is the need to flip the kill switch "up" instead of "down" like on my Husquvarna.  It almost makes it a 2 handed operation.  I've never had an oh shit moment where it would make a lick of difference but...
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  • Salmon
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  • Date Registered: May 2014
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 I own a tree service.
 Stihl and Husky are both top notch.
I own several of both.
I recommend buying the pro model ( vs homeowner model) on which ever size/brand you buy.
Few more buck goes a long long ways.


  • Sand Dab
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  • Location: Salinas, CA
  • Date Registered: Sep 2017
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I run a landscape company and we do a fair bit of arborist work.  I also try to save money where I can.  Starting out 19 years ago I used my dads equipment.  So I had a stihl 025 and I had a friend sell me a 028, so a home owner vs pro model.  The 028 was board over and would never bog down no matter how big the wood was on the east coast.  The 025 might take and extra second or 2.  Now I use 192T, 193T, 025 (dads), 250, 028, 361, if I need bigger I have friends that want their saws run so it benefits us both.  Personaly I'm a fan of the stihl ergonomics, but I like other brands.  I ran an echo 500 and it felt a lot like my 028 and would match up to the stihl 261 today.  I had my 250 on the truck and did a cut off obviously the 500 won but still the difference doesn't make that much difference at the end of the day.  For me I love the 250's because they are light for ground work, especially big trees where your doing a lot of cutting above the waste line.  For big logs I grab my 361.  I think the biggest benefit to pro models is power and very little bogging with felling trees = safety.  Honestly the next saw I buy will probably be the echo because I like the feel and it matches the stihl 261 fairly close, but I save atleast $150 on msrp and I can get the saw at a discount.  My dads been running echo for the last 5 years and its been fine.  Honestly I see very few problems out of equipment that is run often.  I have clients that have me work on their equipment, mostly stihl because the buy the "BEST".  Biggest problem is they use it a few times a year or less. 

I will say new equipment seems to be more particular and fouls my plugs more often so I'm always cleaning them.  Dealer says its my gas and oil mix.. but it doesn't bother my 025, 028, or 361, so I say BS to that.  Probably an emissions thing.  Most of those problems are on blowers and bar trimmers. 

Also my dad had a start problem with the 025 when he bought it in the 90's dealer say carb need to be replaced and it was my fault for using bad gas.. charged $100 to fix it and me being a smart ass finished using my gas in that saw and its been running fine ever since (97 ish).  That kinda rubbed me the wrong way, so I try not to use that dealer for parts.  That said I think any saw can have a problem they are made from multiple molds and some can be slightly different so you can get great and bad for any brand. 

Pick your priorities and look at different brands, find out whats convenient to get parts (online or local shop).  RUN the heck out of it and it will work just fine


hope this helps


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  • Sea Lion
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I have a sweet Stihl ms271 farm boss.  It's heavy and maybe a bit much for dead wood.  After I cut a tree down I switch to my little 16" echo from the Depot to limb.  That little echo is bad ass and warms up way quicker then the Stihl.  Light weight is pretty sweet and for dead wood you don't need hella horsepower.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas Edison


  • Salmon
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 As an
 owner of a Tree Service ,
I stand by my word.
I also run 110 octane in all my saws.
A few extra bucks goes a long ways.
Smells good too.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 02:36:28 PM by sandshred »

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  • Location: Placerville
  • Date Registered: Feb 2012
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Saws, or any 2-stroke operating tool for that matter, is different in California compared to other states due to CARB regulations.  I've turned to eBay to buy my chainsaws, backpack blowers, pole saws, lawn mowers even.  After Katrina, there was a flood of 'em on eBay, new in the box, from all the donations and FEMA. 
As far as maintenance and repair, it's not that hard.  Learn to do your own and don't worry about where you can get your saw or other gas powered tools serviced. 

For saw recommendation, I prefer Echo but mostly have Huskys.  However, the Huskys are problematic with fuel sold in California.  To fix that, I buy a 5 gallon can of VP Race Gas called C12.  When it evaporates, it leaves no residue to gum up the carb.  I used to be able to just add toluene (available at any paint store and most hardware stores) to pump gas, but California banned that stuff too.  The Echos never seem to be bothered by straight pump gas sold in California. 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 02:50:21 AM by Ski Pro 3 -- Jerry »

Da roblo

  • Sea Lion
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Stihl MS170 great homeowner saw