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Author Topic: Home Owner chainsaws???  (Read 19290 times)

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Offline rbhunter

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Home Owner chainsaws???
« on: December 02, 2010, 09:18:48 PM »
Since I have moved to Missouri several years ago I have not had a place to cut my own firewood. My wife works with a guy who has some hedge that he wants cut in his pasture. I have an old Craftsman chainsaw that worked well for many years cutting wood and heating my home for over ten years in Kansas but it has finally died.

Since I am not sure how long I will have a place to cut I am trying to decide on what chainsaw to get for a cheaper price. I have checked reviews on different saws but some of the reviewers are obviously biased and some of them have very little knowledge of chainsaws and how to use them. I am no expert.

I am looking for suggestions. I am looking at possibly a homeowner grade stihl or husky or possibly a husqvarna. I have also considered even a Craftsman. From the reserach on the internet I am not sure if there is much difference between the homeowner grade chainsaws by Stihl and Husqvarna and the Craftsman chainsaws. There is even mention of husqvarna, craftsman, poulan all being under the same company now called American Yard Products.. I am not sure what is true since I have learned that you cannot believe everything on the internet.

The top pick so far is the Stihl 250 for $299 but I am also wondering about the Craftsman 50cc for $199 since somewhere on the web it was mentioned that the first three digits of the SN was the same as for the Husqvarna meaning it was made in the same factory as the husvarna (I am not sure if this is true or makes much difference). I have also found an echo cs-400-18 it has a 40 cc motor and a 18" bar and also has a five year warranty for $299. Husqvarna 46cc 18" bar for $319.

 I would like to stay under $300 or just above and will use it for personnel firewood. I know I would get a stihl if I was going to go for a higher grade saw. I am wanting to pay cash.
"Said the robin to the sparrow, I wonder why it must be, these anxious human beings rush around and worry so?"
"Said the sparrow to the robin, Friend I think it must be, they have no heavenly father, such as cares for you and me."
author unknown. Used to hang above parents fireplace.

Offline Bill Gaiche

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 10:14:07 PM »
rbhunter, I have a Stilh 211 with 16" bar. I really like this little saw. Opened up muffler a little and remove screen. Saying that I would think that the 250 would be just fine for sawing wood for the home. bg

Offline tlandrum

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 10:26:22 PM »
you could buy a used ms260 for that price and have a really nice saw
www.wickedworksaw.com
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Offline JohnG28

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 10:27:38 PM »
I think that the Stihl 250 would be a pretty good firewood cutting saw.  I have not run one but its decent sized and should cut pretty well.  First saw I bought was a Husqvarna 142, and it still runs great, I love that little saw.  Weighs almost nothing and will cut small wood fine.  Depending on how big of wood you would be cutting and what kind of wood would make a difference in size saw to look for.  Echo makes a good saw from what people here have said, though 18" bar on 40cc saw is probably a little more than you would want, 16" probably be better.  Not sure of where Craftsman makes their saws or what they may have in common with another brand, but if you went with Stihl Husqvarna or Echo you will probably be happy.  Also you would want to consider what you have in terms of a dealer to service it in your area, bad support can make a world of difference.  Good luck to you.
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Offline rbhunter

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 05:02:54 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I really like the Stihl dealer in our area and he does the work on my small engines. I will probably look at the ms250 again and talk with him. I may also talk to a Jonsered dealer I just found out about and check thier deals. They have a special going when you trade in your old chainsaw.

I enjoy cutting firewood. I can buy firewood for (oak) for $35 a load. It takes two trips with my ranger and I have to stack part of the two loads to get it in my ranger. I have a trailer now so I can make it in one load. But it is a 30 mile drive one way. With firewood so cheap it makes it hard to justify cutting but I really enjoy it and also I like to burn some hedge. It is about the same distance to where I will be cutting firewood.

I think a 16" bar will be big enough but would like 18" just in case I need the extra size sometime.
"Said the robin to the sparrow, I wonder why it must be, these anxious human beings rush around and worry so?"
"Said the sparrow to the robin, Friend I think it must be, they have no heavenly father, such as cares for you and me."
author unknown. Used to hang above parents fireplace.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 05:20:22 AM »
Having a good dealer is a big factor sometimes. If you do have a minor problem, and they can fix it easy, have parts in stock etc, that's a big plus.

I don't think you can really go wrong with the Stihl. Yes there is a difference between the "homeowner" and "professional" ranges, but you want a part time firewood saw, something like the MS250 will get the job done.

Most important with any saw is learning to keep it sharp. A nice sharp chain on a ms250 will out cut ANYTHING with a blunt chain.  :D

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 07:03:05 AM »
We went with the Husky 55, I think it's discontinued model now. We got two on sale for under $CDN400 each. They are 55 cc or in that ball park. We tried the smaller models and they never had enough grunt for our firewood needs. We just used them for bucking firewood logs.
Move'n on.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 08:10:44 AM »
You like the Stihl dealer? That would do it for me,even $50 more for a saw. A good dealer is hard to find.Support him and you both will be happy.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline John Mc

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 10:47:09 AM »
I agree with thecfarm. If you like the dealer, and he's good at servicing the saw, go with the Stihl. The only question let for me would be "which model"?

If you are not stuck on Stihl, the other brands mentioned in this thread all have good options for you (Husqvarna, Jonsered, Echo). To them I would add Dolmar as an option. They make some good saws. I'd probably own one by now, but the only dealer in my area is not very good on service and has some odd policies.

The Stihl 250 is 45cc, but has decent HP for that size. You can get away with that for occasional use, especially if you are patient when cutting larger hardwoods. I'd stick with the 16" bar. You may have to cut some larger logs from 2 sides to get all the way through them, but the saw is really underpowered for an 18" bar anyway.

The comparable Husky would be the 445. Slightly less power, a slightly more weight similar price as the Stihl MS250. If you like the Stihl dealer and are set on this price range, I'd go with the Stihl.

If you are willing to step up in price a bit to a 50cc saw, but still don't want to go to a pro saw, consider the following:

Stihl MS290 (56cc, 3.8 HP, 13 lb, about $360) (Note: I think the MS280 is a better saw, but it also costs more than $100 more).

Husqvarna 450 (50cc, 3.2 HP, 11.3lb, about $370-380?) a bit less power than the 290, but significantly less weight. I've heard some decent things about the 450. For a homeowner saw, it seems to have a decent reputation. (The Husky 455 is a bit closer to the MS290 in HP, but is also a pig on weight at 13 lb).

Jonsered 2250 (or the older 2150, if you can still find any) very similar to the Husky 450.

Dolmar PS-510 (50cc, 3.3 HP, 12.1 lb, about $365??) Dolmar makes some good saws. I think the 510 is more of a landowner/semi-pro saw, rather than a homeowner/occasional use saw, but others on here may have a better idea than I. The only real complaint I've heard is that the Dolmar dealer network is pretty thin. (The only Dolmar dealer in my area is getting out of chainsaws - which is why the price listed is uncertain. I found this price for a new one on eBay.)

I'm not a big fan of the new tool-less chain tensioners, or some of the new saw designs which only have one bolt holding the bar on... but maybe I'm just old-fashioned in that regard.

John Mc

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline stump farmer

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2010, 11:29:51 AM »
I remember working with some professional fallers in Montana who all used Husky saws. I asked why and they replied that there was an excellent dealer nearby who only sold Husky.

Offline ga jones

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2010, 02:00:05 PM »
I would agree  go to the local dealer you like. I switched to jonsered from husky . I had a couple of duds! And there is a new jonsered dealer That i like.
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Offline rbhunter

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2010, 06:23:40 PM »
Stopped by two dealers today. The stihl dealer had the ms290 wihich is more than I want to pay but got my attention for $269. I am now wondering if I should go ahead and spend the extra $60 dollars for it or if it would be money wasted. The Jonsered dealer had the 2250 on sale with a tradein for $279. The stihl dealer is very good about service and I have dealt with them before so I have to give Stihl the edge and now to decide on whether to go with the ms 250 or if I should go with the bigger saw in the 290. I don't think I need the extra power now but it may be handy in the future sometime. Also will the bigger saw be more durable and last longer if I keep it maintained and buy gas without alcohol as long as possible. They told me where to get the gas. In other words what is the pros and cons of going to a bigger saw in this case or staying with the smaller saw?
"Said the robin to the sparrow, I wonder why it must be, these anxious human beings rush around and worry so?"
"Said the sparrow to the robin, Friend I think it must be, they have no heavenly father, such as cares for you and me."
author unknown. Used to hang above parents fireplace.

Offline JohnG28

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2010, 07:11:34 PM »
Either the 250 or the 290 should last well with good maintenance.  The biggest part of making it last is taking care of your saw.  Try to use gas without alcohol and keep your fuel fresh.  If it sits for a while get fresh fuel, also may consider using a stabilizer.  I use high test in all my equipment even though they don't require it.  If you think you will need the extra power at some point then may want the 290, or if you want an 18" or 20" bar.  The 250 is rated to run 18" max but would probably be a stretch.  The 290 should be comfortable with an 18" bar, and should run 16" well. 
Stihl MS361, 460 & 200T, Jonsered 490, Jonsereds 90, Husky 350 & 142, Homelite XL and Super XL

Offline John Mc

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2010, 08:51:55 PM »
rbhunter - Are you sure you got those prices right? I would have figured about $100 higher than the $269 and $279 you noted.

I think you will be happy with a decision to step up a bit in size from the 45cc saw you were originally considering. The 50 to 60cc range makes a decent general-purpose saw for someone not doing this professionally.

A few things to consider between the Stihl MS290 and the Jonsered 2250:

Both are decent saws from for their intended use

Stihl does have more power, but is significantly more weight than the Jonsered - an extra 1.75 pounds (13.0 vs 11.24) as compared to the 2250. Whether this makes a difference to you depends on your cutting habits. Less than 2 pounds may not sound like much - and it probably isn't if you are just going to cut for an hour or so at a time occasionally. If you are lugging the saw around for a day of cutting, however, it makes a difference (especially if you tend to be a "weekend warrior" like me, as opposed to someone who does this type of work every day).

What kind and size of wood will you be cutting? The bigger the logs you'll be bucking, the more difference some extra power will make. If you are cutting all 8" softwood (or even 8" hardwood), you might be quite happy with a 40 or 45cc saw. The bigger you go, the more the extra power makes a difference. If I had just one saw, I wouldn't necessarily size it for the biggest, toughest stuff I wanted to cut. I'd find one suited for 80 or 90% of my cutting needs, and just be patient when cutting the occasional bigger stuff. If you

I have to bring up again having a good servicing dealer. Unless you are going to do all your own work on your saw, it helps to have someone you can trust and who knows what they are doing to work on your saw.

A last couple of tips:
1) Learn to sharpen your own chains, if you don't already know how. A sharp chain will make a bigger difference than an extra 5 or 10 cc's of engine size. If you have to take the chain into a shop to sharpen, you'll end up pushing it and cutting with a chain that is dull more often than you like to admit.
2) A lot of saws come with a safety chain so overloaded with anti-kickback features that they don't cut very well. Throw that chain out (or keep it as an emergency spare) and put a good chain on it. (You generally won't find a good chain at your local hardware store, regardless of what brand they carry.) From your first post, it sounds as though you've got some experience with operating a chainsaw, so this shouldn't be a real issue for you.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2010, 09:29:25 PM »
If you can't work on them then it's best to go with a brand where you can get reliable service. That's worth a lot .One reason I might add why you won't see many Husqvarnas in this area .The saws are fine but the service and parts are lacking .

Offline CX3

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2010, 10:50:34 PM »
Nothing wrong with the 250 for personal firewood use.  Good little cheap saw
John 3:16
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Offline ErikC

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2010, 11:18:37 PM »
 I bought a stihl 250 for my mother in law, who uses it only on a rare occasion but wanted one at her place just in case. It has the easy start and tool-less chain tension. Not sure how I feel about those, but they are nice for her and seem to be holding up.  I have ran it a few times and it is a pretty nice little saw. Feels light and cuts good. Get rid of the safety chain and it cuts a lot faster. I wouldn't mind having one like it if I didn't already have a 260 and 290. I don't know about longevity but I have had good luck with both 290 and 039 stihls, and they are in that same line of homeowner saws.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2010, 11:52:47 PM »
I'm not trying to knock the MS250. It's a decent little saw for what it is. I do tend to lean towards smaller lighter saws. However, the 250 would not be my choice if I only had one saw, even if all I was doing was cutting a few cords a year for my own use.

Just because I think that way, doesn't mean it's not the perfect saw for someone.

John Mc
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline ladylake

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2010, 05:00:48 AM »
 The Stihl MS290 has overrated HP and is heavy, quite a few 50cc saws with the same or less hp cut faster, Husky 346xp , Dolmar 5100 to name a couple. If your getting a home owner Stihl i'd go with a MS211 or the 250 . My favorite saw around the mill is a Echo CS400 that can be bought off Ebay for $200 new but will need carb tuning and a muff mod to perform well, real well. It cuts a hair faster than my Rancher 55 which is good for a 13# ready to cut 40cc saw.   Steve
Timberking B20 14000 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     Suffolk  setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader

Offline albirk

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Re: Home Owner chainsaws???
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2010, 06:03:30 AM »
I have a ms250 18" bar that is used almost ever weekend cuts 25 plus load of wood per year great saw this year i up graded to a ms260 pro 16" bar it is also a great saw (more money) the one thing to keep in mind if you only have one saw is to get a second bar and chain, wedges and any thing else that will help incase you get your bar pinched.

just remember it is alway nice to have somone along when getting a tree on the ground (just a safety thing) when you are getting back into cutting


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