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Author Topic: First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.  (Read 584 times)

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Offline Inaotherlife

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First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.
« on: October 02, 2018, 11:30:31 PM »
About 30 or maybe a few more years ago I bought my first chainsaw. I donít remember what brand it was. Maybe a Craftsman or Poulan. Maybe McCulloch or Homelite, I forget.
I used it to cut a good amount of firewood for a couple of years that we sold by the pickup load at the local grocery store parking lot, mostly for beer money. It was a good cheap saw.

Sometime later I picked up a brand new Poulan Wildthing that I used on my dadís farm a bit, and around the house. And it was a good cheap saw also. 
Did everything I needed. Still, it eventually went down the road.

Many years later I decided I wanted to try out a name with more prestige and bought the cheapest Stihl saw I could find. This was about 10 years ago and the saw was an 009L.
I still have that saw and it has paid for itself many times over. 
Itís also the first chainsaw Iíd ever had that never leaked a drop of oil. And that is one of the reasons I still have it. Along with, in my opinion, being just about ideal in size for a small saw that was just big enough to do almost everything I could throw at it. And I put a lot on that little saws shoulders.

My big saw is actually my fathers. A bought used old Poulan 3400. And it leaks a ton of oil.

Now these saws still work. So I didnít really have to get a new saw. But they can take a bit to start sometimes. And they can heat up a little quicker than they should. Probably both need a good going over. Old technology and all. And weíve got a lot of trees, and some rather large, that need a good amount of attention between our two residential properties. His being the larger at a bit over an acre with what seems like around a hundred trees. 
So maybe I did need a saw.

And it turned out that I needed a saw right now as a large old redbud split on my place and I needed to cut it down, along with a few other redbuds.

Not feeling like messing with an old saw, on a whim, I ran down to the closest place I could get some semblance of a quality saw with cash in hand.
Iím not brand loyal to any chainsaw manufacturer. 
Iíve owned and enjoyed Makita tools for a long time. But I wanted a brand new saw and I didnít have a clue where to buy a Makita chainsaw.
Many many years ago I had a Husqvarna CR250 motocross bike that I did a bit of cross country on. And I loved that big heavy dirt bike. But the only place I knew that sold Husky chainsaws was in the wrong direction and I was in a hurry.
The only Stihl dealer I could think of was Ace Hardware, also too far away. And I wasnít ready to get all googly eyed and plop down seven hundred bucks on a pro saw.

You know where I ended up. Down the street at Home Depot. 
This was a convenience buy. I did no research. But I have owned Echo trimmers and edgers in the past, and currently own a battery powered trimmer of theirs, and it is pretty rugged. And I had some familiarity with their saws. So I was fairly confident.
And even though Iím not a professional, and probably wonít use it as much as a lot of people, I have no question that I can justify the expense of spending a few dollars more.

So what I really thought I wanted was a top handle saw. I donít climb trees anymore, but I do have a very tall extension ladder that Iíll venture up and do some pretty heavy pruning on some elms, oaks, and a couple of large hackberries and mullberries.
But they donít have any of the professional type saws there. And I needed a saw right now.

So I was thinking maybe the 400 would be all Iíd ever need maybe. Just middle of the road between small and medium. 
But they were out of stock. And in hindsight I feel I might have gotten lucky.

I looked at the 490 and 590, but too much saw for the moment.

Then I thought Iíll just get the 310. But then saw the 352, that I wasnít familiar with, and decided I wanted that extra power and left with it.

I got home with it and fueled it up and added oil. I was very excited. I primed the bulb and then set to pulling that cord like a madman but it wouldnít start.

Iíd just finished cussing and was about to load it up and take it back when I realized that in the excitement of it all I had forgotten to flip the switch on.
It was likely a blessing in disguise as  flooding it out probably gave me a chance to calm down a bit and give the saw at least some semblance of a break-in.
Another dozen or so pulls and it came to life. 

The saw was very quiet. And I like that.
Itís got a decent amount of power and made quick work of taking down the very large, as redbuds go, split tree along with three other mature redbuds that I didnít like the lean of. I figure the soft wood of these trees also aided in breaking the saw in.
I was really pleased with the saw. It was super controllable, enough power for a small saw, and exceptionally quiet. And since then the saw has started very easily every time. I could start it with one pinkie finger.
But itís not perfect. It seems big for what it is to me. Somewhat more of a cheap feel to it in my mind that what I thought I was setting out after. And not what Iíd have picked given a larger selection of Echo saws.
If I had went to a dealer with a large inventory, Iím sure I would have chosen to spend a bit more money and come away with the 355T or the 361P.
I still feel the 352 is a good value for the money. The price was right at the moment. And am glad I was willing to spend a few dollars more to get it instead of the 310. 
But Iíd rather have the 361P, or ideally the 355T for my all around small saw.

Now on to my BIG saw and how that came about.
Like I said, I looked at the 490 and the 590 and wasnít ready to commit to a large saw, even though Iíd eventually realize that I could use one for felling three large trees on the property. And Iím sure Iíll find use for one in the future also. The 590 was still bigger and heavier than I wanted or needed though.
But now I had the fever.

As fate would have it, a few days after buying the 352, I walked into a pawn shop with three brand new 490ís on the shelf. They were marked at a very good price of $280. When I inquired they said $230. I casually walked away, still content with my earlier purchase.
But the fever....and the price....
I thought it over and went back the next day and they had one marked down showing the special price. So I asked a young lady, ď230 out the door?Ē To my astonishment she countered, ďI can do 220.Ē
I couldnít get my money out fast enough. The final ticket said 220.01 but they didnít collect the penny, and gave me an additional 60 day in store warranty. I service and all that, but....

Anyway, the following weekend I fired the 490 up. I love this saw. The weight and balance and quality feel is terrific. It seems to have good power. The 20Ē bar doesnít seem like too much for it.
I zipped through a couple of large dead cedars, taking them down to ground level. About 20Ē diameter or a little over at the base, and split into two trunks about three feet high. I saved the poles and plan to use them for a little pole barn, and may make some carvings or turnings with the base.

I know that cedar isnít a realky good test by any means, but the saw sounds and feels great. Itís small enough that Iíll use it far more often than I would the 590, yet big enough that I wonít feel under gunned when tackling larger jobs. 
A fantastic saw so far, and at that price I couldnít say no. 
The 490 is a keeper for sure. 
I donít know that I could have gotten anything closer to perfection for several times the price. Only time will tell I guess.

Not entirely sure I want to keep the 352 though. I mean I like it. Itís so smooth and quiet and easy to start. But Iíd really like something with a bit smaller feel for that power range. And the fever has me wanting something with closer to a pro feel to it.

Offline ladylake

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Re: First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 08:32:38 AM »

 Nice post, I use my CS352 around the mill a lot, I did open up the muff and tune properly which really woke it up, I wear ear muffs all the time so the extra noise doesn't bother.  Sure are nice light easy to start saws.   Steve
Timberking B20 12000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Offline Inaotherlife

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Re: First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2018, 10:25:51 AM »
Thanks. It is a nice handling ground saw, and starts so easy, but big.
It has about the same power and weight as my 009L, but looks huge sitting next to it. Still a great saw for someone that wants an easy to use saw and has no intention of carrying it up in large trees or needs it to fit in tight nooks and crannies.
Actually the powerhead is about the same height and length as the 490. But a little narrower.
Iíd like something a little more compact and versatile for my everyday workhorse.
I hate to sell it unless it was to family or friend because Iíd surely take a loss.
Maybe this is a good reason to get a more specialized extra lightweight climbing saw to add to the collection. But Iíd still prefer to just have a 355T or similar for my use.

Offline samandothers

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Re: First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 10:35:28 AM »
Thanks for your post.  I have a CS341 for small stuff and around the mill.  I may get a larger Echo one of these days.

Offline Inaotherlife

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Re: First impression of new Echo 352 and 490.
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 11:56:30 AM »
That CS-341 looks like a good one.
But I think Iíve decided I might as well go to the extreme and try and get a CS-2511T on the upcoming 20% off sale.

If I can get the 009 tuned up real well that might put the 352 out of business...or probably not. Itís a good stealth saw.
But I can imagine spending most of my time with the 2511.

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