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Looking for some feedback for the best chainsaw in my budget

Post in 'The Gear' started by rygar, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. rygar

    rygar New Member

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Five cord of six inch trees or forty-eight inch trees?
    jaychino415 and TreePointer like this.
  3. rygar

    rygar New Member

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    i think the largest tree's ill be going through will be 30"
  4. Jim in CT

    Jim in CT Member

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    Both good saws. I have the husky, going on 6 years now without a problem, 6 cord a year. Lowes hours have come in handy a few times when I needed a chain or bar. Never needed service, so I don't know how that would factor in for you.
    rygar likes this.
  5. rygar

    rygar New Member

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    Good info, i agree with the availability of Lowes. where do you get most of your wood from? Southern CT here as well
  6. Jim in CT

    Jim in CT Member

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    Storm wood, Water Co. woodlot and been dropping my own oaks here and there.
  7. mstoelton

    mstoelton Feeling the Heat

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    Locally the Home Depot rental departments are replacing their chainsaws. They use Makita 6421 saws for rental. I just picked one up for $285. They can pull up a history of use, repairs, etc for each saw.

    This is a professional quality saw that normally costs about $680.00. This is a Dolmar saw that is dressed in Makita colors made in Germany. Apparently Makita owns Dolmar.

    I bucked out a 70' mulberry last night (36 inches in diameter at the base) in an hour. This thing cuts through wood like it is butter. If you can catch one of these from a local HD, this is the best deal you will find in your price range.

    Make some calls to the local HD's and ask if they have any for sale and when they get their sale list. I struck gold on my third call.
  8. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Your budget of $300 is your limiting factor assuming you want to stick with a new saw. I recently purchased the Stihl MS251 you listed as an option and can say it is a saw with quality features, but I remain concerned it is slightly under-powered. It went through all the 18" wood I cut this year yet there were several times I wished I had purchased a more powerful saw. My sweet spot for scrounging wood is around 12" to 16" so my MS251 is going to get that done if I can keep the chain sharp. You mention 30" wood and I can't see you being happy.

    If I was to buy again I would look for a saw with at least 3.5 HP which gets you out of the homeowner class saw range. But that brings us back to your budget, so would seriously consider brands other than Stihl and Husky which are going to command premium prices. The folks on arborist site seem to equally appreciate brands like Jonsered and Echo.
    Jon1270 likes this.
  9. Clyde S. Dale

    Clyde S. Dale Feeling the Heat

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    Of the 2 I would go with the Stihl MS251 for the dealer support.
    D8Chumley and Lakeside like this.
  10. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    I bought a husky 61 back in 84'. It's the only saw I've owned and still going strong. It was offered with a package-your choice of a maul, helmet etc.-I chose the maul and then upgraded the bar length to 18". Right around $385 out the door and into the truck.
    If you plan on burning for years and not just a short while, be sure to spend some extra and get something worth the long haul.
    You may also consider a refurbished saw. Don't know where you're from but maybe there is a Northern Tool store near?
  11. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Wahoowad; both of those saws are going to be underpowered for 30" trees. They will do it, of course, but what you didn't pay in cash for a bigger saw will instead be paid in extra sawing time and effort, and you won't feel that you saved anything. If you only plan to slice and dice a 30" tree only once every few years and otherwise stick to stuff about half that diameter then sure, get one of the smaller saws.
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I would say under powered is a very understatement. If you really have 30 inch hardwood your first 300 bucks you spend is 300 wasted!
    Mike Fromme and TreePointer like this.
  13. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    I would look for a used 372xp or a MS440/044. 30" trees need power. If most trees are 12" to 20" I would look at a MS260/026 or a 346xp. These are not in any order but "I" can't use the Huskys because I broke my wrist years ago and it hurts to use them the handle angle is wrong.
  14. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    +1

    Rygar, cutting a large amount of 20"+ wood means you want to run a saw that competently can run regular 3/8 pitch chain. That would be a quality ~60cc saw at a MINIMUM and preferably a larger one.

    Sure, you can get it done with a 45cc saw, but you'll be disappointed at how sloooow things progress and how much physical effort you need to exert to make 5 cords.
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Oh what the heck. Go for it.

    big ass stihl saw.jpg
    D8Chumley likes this.
  16. splitoak

    splitoak Member

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    You can pick up an ms 250 with a 16" bar for $300..great saw with the right chain...i have bucked some big stuff with it...a sharp rs chain and it will serve you well
    pma1123 likes this.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    For ~300 bean pods the home despot 64xx machine is a great deal and gets you into a quality saw. If I were starting fresh, it would be a serious consideration. It is a good mix of size and performance for a firewood saw.
  18. mstoelton

    mstoelton Feeling the Heat

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    I just found another Makita. On my way to HD to pick it up. I was considering a Dolmar 5105 for a back-up, but that is almost twice as much as the Dolkita 6421. Just can't justify the price difference for a smaller saw. I guess I'll just have to suffer through with the bigger one as a back-up. It was the third call again!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  19. splitoak

    splitoak Member

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    Oh the sufferage....;hm
  20. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    I agree......I LOVE my MS 290 and would recommend it. But when you get that entire bar buried in hardwood (something bigger than 18" across) it is a challenge. For stuff under 18", it is great, but the notion that you will cut 30" wood with two cuts from a 16 - 18" bar is A LOT of work and VERY slow.

    It is a great saw, but not for that size wood.

    Now if most of his wood is 12 - 18" with a rare "monster" in the scrounge, it may be different. But if you are regularly getting big stuff, I would add money to the pot or seriously look for a good used PRO saw.

    Stihl has several older models that can sometimes be found in good shape (044, 064, 066, etc). They will run a 20" bar and cut quickly even with completely buried in wood (my coworker has 088 magnum with both a 20" and a 36" bar). The shorter bar makes it more manageable for every day cutting.

    Best of luck in your search, but for 300 dollars, you will be very disappointed trying to cut wood that big.
  21. mstoelton

    mstoelton Feeling the Heat

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    1. sufferage
      Web definitions
      1. Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, distinct from other rights to vote, is the right to vote gained through the democratic process. ...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufferage
    2. I think you mean suffering!:cool:
    splitoak likes this.
  22. rygar

    rygar New Member

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    you guys are great. i really appreciate the input. i might do a couple side jobs and bump up to 400. I should have been more specific. i will cut wood up to 30". most probably wouldnt go beyond 24"
  23. Longstreet

    Longstreet New Member

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    It's not for everyone, but you might want to look at reconditioned.

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200622084_200622084

    Gets you a little more power than the Lowes saw for a few bucks less on sale. But I think they come with only a 30 day warranty, so beware. If you won't be cutting 30" regularly, it might be worth it.
    jatoxico likes this.
  24. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I went w/ a reconditioned Husky. Was able to buy the saw, carb tuning tool, chaps, wedge, a replacement electric saw, files for both and scabbard covers all for only a couple dollars more than the same husky new. Mixed reviews on how the saw comes as far as tuning so you can't be afraid to tune the saw but w/ advice from here and elsewhere it was easy enough if you have a little inclination. Most report they show up clean, mine had hardly been run but was grossly out of tune, running good now.
  25. bobdog2o02

    bobdog2o02 Minister of Fire

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    I know its not on your list but i own this model http://www.homedepot.com/p/ECHO-18-in-40-2-cc-Gas-Chainsaw-CS-400-18/100675470#specifications and it served well until i could get into a 67 CC saw. I bucked 4 big 32" oaks and it was really the limit of the saw, not quite enough power and not long enough. I struggled. Its great for 12-20" stuff though.

    I agree with the other guys, with the larger material you should save your pennies longer and buy a larger saw.

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