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Old 08-13-2018, 09:47 PM   #1
bigdog
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Default Chainsaw Recommendations ?

Looking to purchase a new chainsaw for yard work, trimming and may take down a number of trees.

Looking at 14 & 16" models.
Brands at the top of my list are: ECHO, Stihl, Husqvarna.
My main concern is durability.

All recommendations appreciated !
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:13 PM   #2
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Sorry, hit the thanks by mistake.
I have used Stihl saws and other equipment all my life. It seems they have a bigger presence in the area these days as Aubuchon and MB tractor have taken on the line. More shops selling them the better service you’re likely to get although any small engine person can work on them. Usually it’s a carb adjustment that needs to be made if they bog at all. Chain sharpening is easy if you buy the right tool for it.
Others will have their favorites as well but I go with Stihl.
Another tip...go with the biggest saw you can handle as it will handle big or small jobs. A small saw will struggle with a bigger job.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:52 AM   #3
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Go with Stihl. Great machines.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:55 AM   #4
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Stihl all the way. Also, I gave up on chain sharpening. I just clean up the teeth a few times, then I put a new chain on the saw. Cost is minimal but the results are huge. The Stihl chains are better than any I have seen on the market.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:59 AM   #5
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If you're taking down trees, 14" is too small. Unless they're large, 16" would work, but as Hill said, having a larger saw is almost always better--though it might be a tad heavier, the power will make it quicker.

My suggestion on brand follows my boat-buying advice: buy one that your favorite shop sells and services, so you'll have a place to go for support. I have a cancer-curing Stihl 361 (old joke on hearth.com given the 361's legendary reliability, power-to-weight ratio, etc.) with an 18" bar that has cut lots and lots without skipping a beat. Brands that get consistently good ratings are Stihl, Husqvarna/Jonsered, Echo, and Dolmar/Makita.

As usual, be careful with "real" vs. "big box" versions.

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Old 08-14-2018, 06:04 AM   #6
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Can't go wrong with any of the 3 mfg's listed.

Seems the new e-carbs can be problematic on certain models so take that for whatever it's worth.

If you are a new operator, I would advise against going with the biggest saw you can handle as they can get quite aggressive very quickly.
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:15 AM   #7
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PS There are sometimes great Craigslist deals to be had from people who bought a saw but realized they never really needed it. There's a Stihl MS250 on there that could be a good option.

Godspeed!

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Old 08-14-2018, 06:48 AM   #8
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I have a 16" Husqvarna that I've had for about 20 years. Because it was showing its age I purchased an 18" Stihl last year. The Stihl is now my main saw, the Husqvarna is my backup and for branch work. I usually cut about 2 cord a year, used for secondary heat both at home and the cottage.

Hope this helps,
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:38 AM   #9
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Default STIHL the one

Have a Stihl 261 that I bought years ago, still runs like a champ. I bought it with a 16" bar, big enough for me. I've cut my fair share of trees but I'm not a lumberjack. Anything bigger I get somebody else to cut.

As a side note, I've bought the STIHL weedwacker and blower years ago
as well. All use the same oil/gas mix, simplifies things.

Also I have kit, includes gas,bar oil, wrench, extra chain, rag. I also bought
a case for the saw, just to protect chain, saw.

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Old 08-14-2018, 07:47 AM   #10
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I recently purchased the Husqvarna T536LI XP battery powered saw, and I must say I am in love with it! The T is the top handle, but they also have a standard handle 536LI XP. It is a 14" saw.

Believe it or not it has tons of power and cuts like crazy. The battery life is incredible. It will take down any tree that a similar sized gas powered will, with less noise and no fuel/carb issues.

They had a battery promo when I got it, so I was able to get a 2nd battery for free. Since then I have picked up their pole saw and line trimmer, all operating off the same batteries.

They are definitely worth looking at. I got sick and tired of carb issues on gas engines, even though I always use the premix canned fuel.
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:03 AM   #11
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Default Stihl

2 years ago I looked at both Stihl and Husqvarna at MB tractor. I think that either would be good. These are higher compression engines than saws of old so the Husqvarna had the advantage of compression release starting on many models. However the close by (for me) Gilford Home center (old Agway building) sells and services Stihl so that is the way I went.

I got a MS 250 with 16" bar and that will take care of anything that I would ever attempt on my own.
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/ch...er-saws/ms250/

My brother has a MS 270 Farm Boss that he really likes.
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:33 AM   #12
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I have 3 Husqvarnas and am very pleased with them. Stihl saws are very nice and I would gladly buy one too.
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:37 AM   #13
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For a steal of a deal on a very sturdy WorX corded, or battery powered cordless, electric chain saw in like 12", 14", 16" ....... go to ebay ..... ebay is the outlet for WorX in South Carolina to unload their defective return, unhappy customer returned items at about 66% off from list price. It has pages of different items.


For $42.99, shipping included, you can get a WorX corded electric chainsaw, 8-amp, 14" size ...... sturdy make/design ....... totally perfect for yard work around your mega million dollar cabin ...... so long you have electric power in the wires ..... and you paid the last electric bill?

Maybe, is time to get a hand saw....... and saw-saw-saw-saw-saw-saw-saw?
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
2 years ago I looked at both Stihl and Husqvarna at MB tractor. I think that either would be good. These are higher compression engines than saws of old so the Husqvarna had the advantage of compression release starting on many models. However the close by (for me) Gilford Home center (old Agway building) sells and services Stihl so that is the way I went.

I got a MS 250 with 16" bar and that will take care of anything that I would ever attempt on my own.
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/ch...er-saws/ms250/

My brother has a MS 270 Farm Boss that he really likes.
MS 250 on Craigslist for $250 right now. The only issue I see is that it comes barred with an 18", which I think is a bit underpowered for that. I actually have a new 16" bar and chain I'd be willing to sell cheap (if you bought used) or swap (if you bought new).

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Old 08-14-2018, 10:35 AM   #15
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As usual, be careful with "real" vs. "big box" versions.
I don't believe this statement to be true.

Other than changing a few materials out for cost and/ or weight savings, they are the same saw when it comes to performance.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:18 AM   #16
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I don't believe this statement to be true.

Other than changing a few materials out for cost and/ or weight savings, they are the same saw when it comes to performance.
The materials they often change "for weight and cost savings" are what makes the difference between big box machines. Ask my friend, who just had to replace his "John Deere" walk-behind from HD because their version uses an unrepairable (cost-effective-wise) deck. A few hundred more at a mainline dealer would've saved him thousands of dollars, and hours of time, in the long run.

The other aspect of this discussion is that big box stores sell the homeowner, rather than pro versions.

To the OP, these two things might not matter much, but for me--and, historically, my philosophy has paid dividends--buying the "real thing" is worth the money.

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Old 08-14-2018, 11:40 AM   #17
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Thanks everyone for all the great advise, greatly appreciated !

I didn't hear anyone mention 'JONSERED' chainsaws ???
Anyone have experience with this brand ?
I'm looking at a Jonsered CS2240 a 16" saw.
Thoughts ?
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Thanks everyone for all the great advise, greatly appreciated !

I didn't hear anyone mention 'JONSERED' chainsaws ???
Anyone have experience with this brand ?
I'm looking at a Jonsered CS2240 a 16" saw.
Thoughts ?
I posted Jonsered above, with Husqvarna, because they're essentially the same these days. In fact, last I knew, Jred lost some of their design features to simplify Electrolux's product lines.

So, Jred is as good as Husky, which is good stuff (but not as good as Stihl--begin Chevy vs. Ford debate!).

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Old 08-14-2018, 12:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
The materials they often change "for weight and cost savings" are what makes the difference between big box machines. Ask my friend, who just had to replace his "John Deere" walk-behind from HD because their version uses an unrepairable (cost-effective-wise) deck. A few hundred more at a mainline dealer would've saved him thousands of dollars, and hours of time, in the long run.

The other aspect of this discussion is that big box stores sell the homeowner, rather than pro versions.

To the OP, these two things might not matter much, but for me--and, historically, my philosophy has paid dividends--buying the "real thing" is worth the money.

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Lawn mower build quality is a completely different discussion and those are usually rebranded from a place called Acme Lawnmower Company. I would otherwise completely agree with you and would also be leery of the box store offerings in this regard.

For whatever it's worth, my "fake" Husq 455 has been deadbolt reliable in the years I've owned it and it has shown me that the XP was not worth the extra $200 to buy-in. This saw regularly handles 5+ cord to heat my home every winter in addition to the semi-regular tree work I already perform on the side.
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Old 08-14-2018, 01:06 PM   #20
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Your Rancher (or is it Farm Boss?) is a solid saw, but the XP would've provided a better power/weight ratio, serviceability, and held its value better.

Again, these may not be things the OP cares enough about to spend the extra money, but I think it was worth mentioning.
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Lawn mower build quality is a completely different discussion and those are usually rebranded from a place called Acme Lawnmower Company. I would otherwise completely agree with you and would also be leery of the box store offerings in this regard.

For whatever it's worth, my "fake" Husq 455 has been deadbolt reliable in the years I've owned it and it has shown me that the XP was not worth the extra $200 to buy-in. This saw regularly handles 5+ cord to heat my home every winter in addition to the semi-regular tree work I already perform on the side.
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
Your Rancher (or is it Farm Boss?) is a solid saw, but the XP would've provided a better power/weight ratio, serviceability, and held its value better.

Again, these may not be things the OP cares enough about to spend the extra money, but I think it was worth mentioning.

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Farm Boss is Stihl.

Rancher is Husqvarna.

I won't further argue our difference of opinion. Just know the offerings from Stihl and Husq aren't going to be anything like your friend's experience with his lawn mower with regards to box stores vs farm supply stores.
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Old 08-14-2018, 03:52 PM   #22
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Not my intention to argue--sorry. Just pointing out that there are different levels of saw and that the big box stores carry homeowner versions while mom-and-pops (usually) carry both homeowner and pro versions. While they may be similar in terms of specs, the pro versions have benefits MAYBE worth paying for.

Either way, the OP really can't go wrong with the brands listed.
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Farm Boss is Stihl.

Rancher is Husqvarna.

I won't further argue our difference of opinion. Just know the offerings from Stihl and Husq aren't going to be anything like your friend's experience with his lawn mower with regards to box stores vs farm supply stores.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:58 PM   #23
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I have 3 gas saws, the one I reach for first is now the DeWalt 60V DCCS670. It has a Oregon 16" bar but you can also get a 18". I have 4 60V 9.0AH (at 20V) batteries and I can run it all day. It goes thru anyting the other saws can. While the others are trying to get the saw to run I'm cutting away. Finger off trigger and it's off. I really like it and in fact just picked up a second.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:19 AM   #24
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I'm not a big tree cutter, I let the professionals do that. But I do have a couple of older Homelight chain saws, a 14" and a 16". They have to be 20 years old plus. They could be sitting in my shed for 2 to 3 years and always start up when I need them with no issues. I don't think the newer Homelights are of the same quality. If I had to throw them out tomorrow I've got more than my moneys worth, but they keep on running.
I probably just jinxed myself because I have to cut some limbs this weekend. I think if I had to buy a new one I would probably go with the battery powered Dewalt for the small limb cutting jobs that I do now.
I did the same with the weed whacker. It always took longer to get them started than it took to trim the weeds. The battery powered ones are so much easier.

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Old 08-15-2018, 07:12 AM   #25
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Quote:
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I'm not a big tree cutter, I let the professionals do that. But I do have a couple of older Homelight chain saws, a 14" and a 16". They have to be 20 years old plus. They could be sitting in my shed for 2 to 3 years and always start up when I need them with no issues. I don't think the newer Homelights are of the same quality. If I had to throw them out tomorrow I've got more than my moneys worth, but they keep on running.
I probably just jinxed myself because I have to cut some limbs this weekend. I think if I had to buy a new one I would probably go with the battery powered Dewalt for the small limb cutting jobs that I do now.
I did the same with the weed wacker. It always took longer to get them started than it took to trim the weeds. The battery powered ones are so much easier.


I have the battery powered DeWalt and love it for small jobs like limbs and saplings less than 4” in diameter.


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Old 08-15-2018, 07:27 AM   #26
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All this talk about batteries has me questioning my choice to buy a new Stihl gas weed whacker. My $80 Weed Eater has lasted 11 years without a thing other than clean, rated treated fuel. Kinda hard to believe a battery-powered unit would last as long? Concerns are both battery longevity as well as lighter materials (to increase efficiency). I've got a lot of defunct electric batteries--Makita sticks, Hitachi packs, etc.

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Old 08-15-2018, 07:54 AM   #27
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Quote:
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All this talk about batteries has me questioning my choice to buy a new Stihl gas weed whacker. My $80 Weed Eater has lasted 11 years without a thing other than clean, rated treated fuel. Kinda hard to believe a battery-powered unit would last as long? Concerns are both battery longevity as well as lighter materials (to increase efficiency). I've got a lot of defunct electric batteries--Makita sticks, Hitachi packs, etc.

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Don't change what works. I had a Husqvarna weed whacker that I had to **** with every spring to get started. I got tired of spending 20 minutes trying to start it every time I needed to use it for 20 minutes of weed whacking. I have gone through a few batteries but I don't have stress of trying to get it started, and I'm a mechanic!
I don't have that issue with my Homelight chain saws. If I did they would go out with the trash. They sit for years and have no problem starting. I had a Homelight blower that was the same way but that finally died after 15 years of use and abuse.
I will say I hate yard work. So anything that makes it easier I'm all for. That's why I have a landscaper at home in ma. now.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:21 AM   #28
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Quote:
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All this talk about batteries has me questioning my choice to buy a new Stihl gas weed whacker. My $80 Weed Eater has lasted 11 years without a thing other than clean, rated treated fuel. Kinda hard to believe a battery-powered unit would last as long? Concerns are both battery longevity as well as lighter materials (to increase efficiency). I've got a lot of defunct electric batteries--Makita sticks, Hitachi packs, etc.

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If you do go with the gas Stihl go for one of their “4 stroke” engines. Somehow, through their technology the 4 strokes still use mix fuel but they are the easiest starting motors. Usually one or two pulls even after sitting all winter. Quieter too!
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:48 AM   #29
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Quote:
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All this talk about batteries has me questioning my choice to buy a new Stihl gas weed whacker. My $80 Weed Eater has lasted 11 years without a thing other than clean, rated treated fuel. Kinda hard to believe a battery-powered unit would last as long? Concerns are both battery longevity as well as lighter materials (to increase efficiency). I've got a lot of defunct electric batteries--Makita sticks, Hitachi packs, etc.

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As far as overall longevity of the battery over the years I cannot speak to it, as it hasn't been long. As for as usage, I ran the trimmer for 90+ minutes on one battery and did not run out. Very impressed with that. After picking up 2 of my weedwackers and neither would start I got pissed and bought electric. I plan on grabbing the hand blower at some point as well.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:58 AM   #30
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Lithium polymer (LiPo) is all the rage now because the chemistry is remarkably stable during high current charge and discharge cycles. Additionally, the discharge curve is basically a horizontal line until the safety circuit kicks in around 3v.

Even when core temps rise during usage, the LiPo chemistry retains its efficiency with minimal (if any) chemical memory over the long term.

This was something we could only dream about several years ago and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) was as close as we could get once the NiCad batteries were phased out.

As long as those LiPo batteries are cared for properly, they will last many years and thousands of charge/ discharge cycles.

Last edited by Poor Richard; 08-15-2018 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Corrected the voltage
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:19 AM   #31
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Lithium polymer (LiPo) is all the rage now because the chemistry is remarkably stable during high current charge and discharge cycles. Additionally, the discharge curve is basically a horizontal line until the safety circuit kicks in around 5v, IIRC.

Even when core temps rise during usage, the LiPo chemistry retains its efficiency with minimal (if any) chemical memory over the long term.

This was something we could only dream about several years ago and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) was as close as we could get once the NiCad batteries were phased out.

As long as those LiPo batteries are cared for properly, they will last many years and thousands of charge/ discharge cycles.
It's the care part that bothers me. My current gear will sit for 8 months and start right up in spring when I need it. Not sure what I'd need to do with those batteries to keep 'em healthy.

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Old 08-15-2018, 11:57 AM   #32
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Do a search for LiPo care and find that all the reading makes it sound incredibly tedious to charge, discharge, and prep for long term storage.

I've figured the average of all the information out there is as simple as this:

Don't leave them fully charged

Don't leave them fully discharged

For long term storage, bring the cell voltages to 3.85v per cell (the charger should be of the cell balancing type anyway), place in a LiPo storage bag and move it to a cool, dry location.


Yes, there are certain precautions that need to be considered as LiPo can become very unstable if the cells are damaged or over charged/ discharged. Stay within those limits and it's plenty stable otherwise. I use LiPo in my RC truck now and won't look back.....and I was, at one point, a diehard nitro guy.

That all said, for my type of saw work application, an electric is not desireable at this time however the battery technology and chemistry is becoming more tempting to adopt and more difficult to ignore.



Last note...the voltage I stated in my previous post was wrong. The shut off circuit kicks in at 3v per cell, NOT 5v as I originally stated. Post has been edited.
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:59 AM   #33
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Personally I think Husqvarna has gone the way of many others and is now making crap, IMO. I had a Poulan lawn mower for over 15 years that always started and never gave me any issues but it began to burn oil and smoke so I thought it was time to retire it even though it still worked fine. I bought a new Husqvarna which was very similar to my Poulan. After sitting the first winter I had to **** with it to get it going.
This new lawn mower is suppose to be maintenance free. No oil changes ever, it has no oil drain plug. No primer pump like on my old mower. I already HATE IT!
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:49 PM   #34
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Personally I think Husqvarna has gone the way of many others and is now making crap, IMO. I had a Poulan lawn mower for over 15 years that always started and never gave me any issues but it began to burn oil and smoke so I thought it was time to retire it even though it still worked fine. I bought a new Husqvarna which was very similar to my Poulan. After sitting the first winter I had to **** with it to get it going.
This new lawn mower is suppose to be maintenance free. No oil changes ever, it has no oil drain plug. No primer pump like on my old mower. I already HATE IT!
I have a Husqvarna push mower too...the high end one with the HONDA motor which I suspected would be trouble free. It’s in the shop now because it won’t start without a hundred pulls...something that gets old when you’re old.
We cleaned a mouse nest out of it this spring and it still hard to start. Hopefully the small engine guy we brought it to will find more mouse shenanigans when he gets deeper into it. He tried it when I dropped it off and said “something is holding the auto-choke open.”
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:51 PM   #35
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I have a Husqvarna push mower too...the high end one with the HONDA motor which I suspected would be trouble free. It’s in the shop now because it won’t start without a hundred pulls...something that gets old when you’re old.
We cleaned a mouse nest out of it this spring and it still hard to start. Hopefully the small engine guy we brought it to will find more mouse shenanigans when he gets deeper into it. He tried it when I dropped it off and said “something is holding the auto-choke open.”
I guess rodents (or lack of) is a benefit for battery-powered gear.

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Old 08-15-2018, 01:06 PM   #36
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I have a Husqvarna push mower too...the high end one with the HONDA motor which I suspected would be trouble free. It’s in the shop now because it won’t start without a hundred pulls...something that gets old when you’re old.
We cleaned a mouse nest out of it this spring and it still hard to start. Hopefully the small engine guy we brought it to will find more mouse shenanigans when he gets deeper into it. He tried it when I dropped it off and said “something is holding the auto-choke open.”
When it takes you longer to get these tools started than it takes you to do the job at hand, something is very wrong. I think it's just us old people. Things don't always work properly from lack of use.
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:29 PM   #37
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I guess rodents (or lack of) is a benefit for battery-powered gear.

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Apparently, you’ve never heard of these battery eating rodents!
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:41 PM   #38
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My 2 cents. Last year I made the change to a battery trimmer. I always dismissed these as not able to do the job. I bought the B+D 40 volt trimmer and absolutely love it. Much tougher than I thought it be on heavy thicker(1/4") growth. Dont know how long it will run on a charge cuz I've never seem to come close to discharging it yet.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:46 PM   #39
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Default Chain saw and safety

I have owned three Stihl saws in my lifetime . Two are still running . I have one Jonsered . They range in size from 16", 18" , and 20" .The only one no longer running was laying in the brush and it was run over by a pickup truck years back ! I never owned a Husqvarna but my buddy swears by them . Each of those brands are reliable and priced right. Buy from someone who can and will service them for you in the future . The few dollars you save from going with the big box guys will be repaid when you return to your local shop with a saw that you purchased there for service .
On another note : SAFETY !!! I refocused on safety after an accident occurred when I was tired and lost concentration . I was wearing a helmet with ear protection , work boots and long jeans . I figured that all bases were covered until I lost my grip on the saw while trimming off a branch a foot or so above my head and the saw went through my jeans and thigh like a knife through hot butter . Missed my femoral artery by a few inches. I bought a good pair of chainsaw pants and always wear them now . Be safe !
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:50 PM   #40
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I have a Stihl MS361 (pro grade) and MS170 (homeowner grade) - both are awesome and neither have given me any trouble since the day I bought them new. Stihl makes a great saw, would not own anything else. There is a noticeable difference in performance and build quality in the pro saws though, but they are significantly more $$.

That said I have seen as many guys in the tree business with either Husky's or Stihls so that pretty much says a lot.

I had a jonsered 3050 which was considered a semi pro saw - was not happy with it and sold it. Did not have enough power, bogged down a lot. Build quality left a lot to be desired as well.
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Old 08-24-2018, 07:00 PM   #41
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Thumbs up $216 Sounds Pretty Good...

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For a steal of a deal on a very sturdy WorX corded, or battery powered cordless, electric chain saw in like 12", 14", 16" ....... go to ebay ..... ebay is the outlet for WorX in South Carolina to unload their defective return, unhappy customer returned items at about 66% off from list price. It has pages of different items. For $42.99, shipping included, you can get a WorX corded electric chainsaw, 8-amp, 14" size ...... sturdy make/design ....... totally perfect for yard work around your mega million dollar cabin ...... so long you have electric power in the wires ..... and you paid the last electric bill? Maybe, is time to get a hand saw....... and saw-saw-saw-saw-saw-saw-saw?
I've gone totally Greenworks electric on yard maintenance items—chainsaw, pole saw, weed trimmer, and two leaf blowers. The pole saw has kept its blade sharpness very impressively, although used for bigger jobs than intended. Next season, I expect to buy a powered wheelbarrow that takes the same battery, termed "g-max 40v". Tractor Supply stores have these wheelbarrows presently.

Great thing about the lithium batteries is that there's no memory to worry about and the charge time is only one hour.

Refurbished Husqvarna chainsaws are at eBay for $216, with free delivery:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Husqvarna-4...374%3AFeatured
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:25 PM   #42
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Default Stihl

I have changed over to all Stihl outdoor maintenance equipment including string trimmer, chain saw and backpack blower. I love them all, very reliable and powerful. Buy yourself a six pack of the 2 gal. small oil mixers and it comes with full conditioner and stabilizer in it. This is the #1 problem with 2 cycle engines, lack of fuel conditioning and stabilization.
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Old 09-05-2018, 06:41 PM   #43
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Yesterday Arbor Tech out of Gilmanton took down 2 very large 120 +/- year old white pines at camp on Welch. A very skilled group:
https://www.arbortechnh.com/

I noticed that all of their saws from small climbers saws to the 36" cut the trunk off saw were Husqvarnas. So I asked Courtney Kelly about that saying the I got a Stihl as there was local service nearby. Court replied that the two brands were both quality; each had their own pluses and minuses. He moved to all Husqvarnas a few years ago for the same reason, local service nearby.

So it looks like you can't go wrong with either brand.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:57 AM   #44
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I think it would help you to have two...A smaller limbing saw like an Echo (maybe a good used craigslist), and then a Husky rancher with an 18 or 20" bar. It's all about the chain, so buy a replacement for both, and in the meantime take the chain to your local sharpener to be ready to go..
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