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Forum topic by knotscott posted 01-10-2016 10:39 PM 2331 views 1 time favorited 83 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8178 posts in 3613 days

01-10-2016 10:39 PM

Just lost a large ash tree in the back yard, and need to clean it up. I am looking for suggestions on the best bang for the buck in a home owner grade chain saw. Size, brand, models, etc. I’ve owned two Poulan’s previously that really haven’t held up all that well. I don’t want to spend a fortune, but would like this saw to last many years. TIA!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

83 replies so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10369 posts in 4290 days

#1 posted 01-10-2016 11:00 PM

I needed a small chain saw to cut down a Pine tree in our back yard…

I ended up getting a chain saw from Harbor Frt. for about $50… Yes, $49.95 ….
Electric… 120 vac…
Need a good extension cord…

I started by just cutting the lower limbs off gradually leaving just the Trunk… Tree was only about 20’ high…
Got on ladder & cut the top off as high as I could… the rest was a piece of cake.

It is a light-duty saw… but works great on the small-medium sized cuts…
On larger cuts you may have give it a rest now & then to get all the way through…

A great saw for just Trimming… Electric is good… don’t have to mess with fuel, etc.
I really like it…

You DO NOT want to give it Heavy Duty use… be prepared to just taking a break once in awhile… When it needed a rest, I did too… so it worked out pretty good! :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3886 days

#2 posted 01-10-2016 11:05 PM

I can’t complain about my gas Craftsman… I’ve used
it plenty, enough that I need to contemplate buying
a new bar for it. Keep the chains sharp and the
motor gets less strain… juts like plane irons saw chain
works better with frequent touch-ups in my experience.

You might look on the Forestry forums. They really
know chain saws.

View tomsteve's profile


897 posts in 1457 days

#3 posted 01-10-2016 11:06 PM

husky 455 rancher
shihl ms291
jred cs 2250 or 2255
echo cs500

View AlaskaGuy's profile (online now)


4991 posts in 2547 days

#4 posted 01-10-2016 11:16 PM

One time=Rental

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View mramseyISU's profile


564 posts in 1783 days

#5 posted 01-10-2016 11:17 PM

I’m partial to the Stihl 250 myself. It’s a good occasional use saw that will last forever as long as you take care of it. I have one and my grandpa who until he retired had been a logger since 1956 has one that became his go-to saw anytime there was storm damage to clean up.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View MrUnix's profile


7106 posts in 2437 days

#6 posted 01-10-2016 11:40 PM

How big is the tree and how often do you plan on using the saw? My FIL has a cheap electric and it’s all he has ever needed. He has a small lot in town and just a few trees that he trims once every other year or so, and it’s perfect for him. I live on a rather large chunk of land and have some rather large oak trees coming down once a month at least, so that electric thing would quickly be toast. Renting one, if this is a one time deal, is also a good idea and would let you get a larger saw that might be way more than you would want to spend otherwise.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3914 days

#7 posted 01-10-2016 11:41 PM

You can’t go wrong with Stihl Homeowners models. They just don’t have all the bells and whistles of the pro models.

I tried a Poulan too. Just cheap garbage, disposable saw.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MrUnix's profile


7106 posts in 2437 days

#8 posted 01-10-2016 11:54 PM

You can t go wrong with Stihl Homeowners models. They just don t have all the bells and whistles of the pro models.

Actually, the homeowner models are the ones with the bells-n-whistles to make it ‘easy’ for a clueless user. They are also built with lesser parts and won’t last as long. But in general, Sthil is pretty much considered the best all around manufacturer behind Dolmar, and at par or a bit better than Husqvarna, Jonsered and Echo.

I tried a Poulan too. Just cheap garbage, disposable saw.

Most are… but the “Wild Thing” is an odd duck and frequently sought after by arborists. I had one that never failed me for almost 15 years of hard abuse and a couple dozen chains/sprockets. Had a cool paint job too :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View EMWW's profile


23 posts in 1151 days

#9 posted 01-11-2016 12:13 AM

If you just need an occasional saw I would go with the Stihl MS170 or MS250. I have used both and if you can justify the MS250 get it. It has a bit more power and I think is built better,for a homeowner it will last may years. The advantages of the MS170 are it will only be about $200 and that should leave enough to get some fuel, a quart of bar and chain oil, and a file. Another advantage of that is it is only about 9 lbs. That was my first saw and now I am in the 95cc range.

View knotscott's profile


8178 posts in 3613 days

#10 posted 01-11-2016 12:22 AM

I prefer to own it rather than rent, so I don’t feel so helpless when I need it. A cord for an electric saw would have to be pretty long and would be a hindrance, so I’m definitely leaning toward gas. Stihl has always been the name I’ve heard is good, but I also hear good things about Husqvarna, Echo, and Jonsered.

One of my old Poulans was the Wild Thing. Had it for a few years before it began starting hard….is that worth trying to fix?

The tree is probably 60 feet long or saw with maybe a 24” diameter. I use them periodically…maybe 2-3 times per year…not a ton, but enough that I like to have one.

Thanks for all the info so far.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View BurlyBob's profile


6031 posts in 2503 days

#11 posted 01-11-2016 12:25 AM

My neighbor was a pro tree faller for years. He swore by Husky’s. I had an old Stihl 045 that did me well for years.

View Luthierman's profile


222 posts in 1325 days

#12 posted 01-11-2016 12:33 AM

Another vote for the stihl ms 250. Probably called the 251 by now with the newer models. I bought one 12 years ago and it still starts right up. The nice thing about it is if you need to in the future, you can throw a larger bar on there in the case you need a larger saw. Me, I just bought another saw. I can justify it tho as I burn wood for heat and have been for eons. You absolutely cannot go wrong with stihl.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2534 days

#13 posted 01-11-2016 12:41 AM

Stihl MS250 is what I have now. Be sure to learn how to start it properly. Any more than three or four pulls in choke mode floods it and you’ll need to pull the plug and blow it off.

Then get the dirt cheap Harbor Freight electric chainsaw chain sharpener. I tried to sharpen by hand for so long, but never got consistent results. I bought the HF unit with a coupon for about thirty dollars and tax and was blown away by how nice my saw cut afterward. Big chips and nice and straight.

Also – GET CHAINSAW CHAPS and wear eye protection. You get one body in life – protect it.

View teejk02's profile


489 posts in 1363 days

#14 posted 01-11-2016 12:42 AM

A friend (chain saw enthusiast…probably owns 20 or so that he has owned/bought on Ebay/inherited/whatever) loves the “Echo” brand for the saws he actually uses. Might be because he tends towards US made. Our local dealer is a nice guy to deal with so that might explain it also.

View jeffswildwood's profile


3669 posts in 2215 days

#15 posted 01-11-2016 12:55 AM

Stihl is the best. No doubt. Personally I have a polen. A small 14 inch blade “wood shark” model. This summer I had three silver maple trees blow over in my yard. Took care of all three with it with no problem. These three make five I have done with it. It may sit for years but when I need, it runs great. Correct mix and 100% gas. NO ETHANOL! Ethanol will kill one faster then you think!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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