Another "best" chainsaw thread

woytovich

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ISO "best" chainsaw for homeowner/overland/expedition use.
I won't be felling redwoods or clear cutting the back 40. This is for yard work and trail maintenance.
I'm trying to get an idea if there is some compelling reason to buy a particular brand/model, to spend $200-250 vs $90-120... Ease of maintenance, ease of use, warrantee, basic quality...
I'm not afraid to spend the money, I just want a solid saw that is not overkill and I don't want to throw the money in the toilet buying junk. I understand that at least some of this is personal preference.
(FWIW: I am Warn, never Harbor Freight, kinda guy.)
 

e9999

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well, if you are a Warn guy, then you probably best stick with Stihl, Husky, Echo (in no particularly meaningful order). All are good. I've had all three. One main difference is that Stihl only sells through physical dealers at pretty much fixed (high) prices, and you won't be able to find much online. That has not prevented me from having much of my stuff be Stihl, though. I'm happy with it. But you won't get much new for $200.
For light yard work and especially trail use, I would suggest a small top handle arborist type saw. With a 12" bar, they are incredibly handy yet don't take much room, especially if you take the bar off (easy). And you can still cut a pretty dang big tree with them, especially if it's lying across the trail.
I should add that all of my saws are gas and the above brands reflects that. However, if I were to buy a new one now, I'd probably go with a battery one. I've been impressed with what I've seen of the electric saws. And if your favorite brand of battery power tools has a good electric saw, you're already half there since you'll need more than a couple of batteries to do real work.
 

woytovich

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Thanks... I'm in the Ridgid world for cordless so I think I'm SOL.
 

e9999

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LOL, me too. Been looking at Makita just for that reason. But maybe Ridgid will come out with something.
The battery saws are not very expensive, but it's the batteries cost that'll kill you.
 

woytovich

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Maybe an extra long blade on a recip saw would do the trick...


 

e9999

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Been using those in the yard some. Ok for pruning trees but slower than a chainsaw. But safer. Of course, not great for cutting bigger stuff. And some issues of control for me.
Don't overlook the advantages of a very good arborist hand saw, like a Silky, though. You can cut big stuff with those, amazingly fast. Will surprise many who have not used a saw in that class. Cutting 2" soft wood is practically instantaneous with those. Might be all you need for trail maintenance. A folding one with a medium size blade would do wonders at much lower cost, easy to store and carry. Admittedly, it will still take a bit of time to cut a 12" limb but how often will you need to do that?
 

woytovich

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I carry a small folding saw in the truck now. I also own a bow saw.
This all started when my Craftsman chain saw wouldn't start. Admittedly it has not been maintained as it should - plus it came to me used already. I spent some time cleaning the plug and carb. Carb looked to be all functional. The little fuel lines are trash. A fuel line kit from HD didn't have the right size lines. I'm thrown over an hour at it so far and I'm not really sure it is in good shape otherwise - although it ran a couple of years back albeit not well.... my time vs money equation is running out.
 

e9999

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Looking at the big picture, I think electric devices are vastly superior to ICE ones, precisely for those reasons. (Although Craftsman is more HF than Warn, lately...)

But if you want to go gas, I'd go Stihl then (close) Echo. Husky a more distant third for me. Don't remember the latest arborist saws from Echo but from Stihl I'd go 193T (about $350?) or 150T ($500?).
 

woytovich

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I think a trip to HD to get a new blade for the bow saw is in order....
 

e9999

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"Internal Combustion Engines", sorry.

If you have never had a truly good outdoors handsaw like the Silkys, try one. There is no comparison with the stuff you buy at HD etc. I didn't realize it until I finally bit the bullet and finally paid the $$$ after reading reviews from pros who know those things. Worth it.
 

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I second the 193T recommendation. I purchased a 193T back in May and have been very impressed so far. Back in the spring I spent several hours in a lift up in a tree to trim dead out and had very little fatigue. It is light and well balanced in the hand. Its also faily compact, so it would pack up nicely in a rig for weekend trips. Its at the "cheap" end of the Stihl arborist saw spectrum, but its no slouch. You won't cut really big stuff easily but cutting small stuff for firewood or to clear smaller trees from the trail, it should work nicely.
 

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In my camper van I carry a Stihl MS 170. It was $200 on sale at the Stihl dealer.
Its great for whipping firewood for the night/weekend camping.
Its small, lightweight, I buy pre-mixed fuel wtih the stabilizer in it and carry a quart of chain lube and a sharpening file.
I burn about 1-2 quarts of fuel a year.

I haven't had an electric (corded) chainsaw for 20 years but I wasn't impressed with it.
 
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I’m a Husqvarna fan forever. Stihl just never worked for me. Partly when I was young and started in the bush the only saws I saw were Hq’s. I never worked the really big saws that’s where Hq and Stihl reign kings. I currently own a 372XP which is bigger than what you need, but I also use a 18” bar in the truck and physically the body dimensions aren’t too much bigger.
That being said, modern saws should always work unless they have hundreds of hard hours on them. Maybe look second hand from old retired guy.
I’d recommend any saw you hold comfortably that seems to fit. Don’t go too small trying to save weight.
Make sure you get an extra chain.
IMExperience, my axe will go through any tree smaller than 6-8” faster than you can go get and start a saw.

I like the idea of electric, but I just would be really pissed if at the end of the day I just wanted a nice litttle bundle of firewood and I’d used up my battery. For the price of one battery you can buy enough gas for the months of gas.

TIP: use those MSR fuel bottles you get at REI or wherever for chainsaw gas and oil. They are light, and when screwed down don’t offgas, so fuel and oil can be carried inside without smell. They are totally safe.
 

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If you have never had a truly good outdoors handsaw like the Silkys, try one. There is no comparison with the stuff you buy at HD etc. I didn't realize it until I finally bit the bullet and finally paid the $$$ after reading reviews from pros who know those things. Worth it.

Agree and pay attention on how to use it.
 
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