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Pro vs. Homeowner saws?

Post in 'The Gear' started by BobUrban, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Those that are way more knowledgable about these tools than I please tell me the difference between a homeowner and pro saw of the same make and size. I currently have a Husky 350 that I received as a gift but would like a little more power and speed. My next saw will probably be the 346xp so what can I expect from a similar sized Husky in a pro model?? More power, speed? Longer life if same care is taken? I average about 10 cord a year for perspective and rarely run saws in the summer. I like to have all my cutting done by the time the temp stays above 60 degrees. My current saw has about 30 cord on it.

    Thanks

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Generally speaking, and I'm no expert, pro saws are more powerful, lighter weight, more serviceable, and vibrate less than their homeowner counterparts. They also tend to have additional features like adjustable oilers and decompression valves.
  3. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    You can go with consumer/homeowner,"mid-range" farm/ranch or professional duty models depending on your needs & wants. I'd stay away from the consumer models unless you're just cleaning up stuff around the yard.Go with farm/ranch (Stihl 290 FarmBoss,Husky 455/460 Rancher), or professional models (Stihl 260,311,362,or any of the Husky XP models from 346/550 on up)

    My Poulan 380 62cc/3.8 cubic inch is among the last true 'farm/ranch' saws they made in the mid-late '90's.Magnesium case,chrome plated cylinder,dual thin piston rings for more RPM's.Not a plastic clamshell case w/metal inserts around the crankshaft like newer models.!!!

    In almost 13 yrs its got 100+ cord under its belt & all kinds of abuse.Other than regular cleaning/maintenance - all I've done to it is replace the clutch in May 2011,the original bar last September & air filter/spark plug a few times since then.

    They certainly dont make 'em like they used to.....
  4. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Better hurry on that 346 Bob......they are no longer being made, but can still be found.
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Not in a hurry - but thanks for the tip. I am sure if I buy new there will be an equvilant model available in Stihl or Husky. I like my Husky a lot but as I mentioned I really have not point of reference from personal use. My friends in the UP that work in the woods professionally have advice but they all run MONSTER saws and I am not ready to take that leap either financially or saw wise. Really just doing my homework and keeping an eye on the CL locally for potential good deals. Thanks for the help. I am kind of anal about my mechanical toys and run quality gas and synthetic oil in all of them(Quad/Mower/saw/trimmer) and do routine maintenance often. I do a basic tear down of the saw and clean it really well after every couple trips to the woods with brushes and an air compressor for the drive, clutch and air filter so it should last as long as they were made too. I just know that it is a lighter duty saw so the next one will be a bit tougher!!

    My only complaint is this saw is cold blooded on first start-up and takes a lot of pulls to get her going. After she is running it is a 1-2 pull saw and gets the job done. I have read here and on arborist this is just the nature of this model and the one downfall so I have learned to live with it. Well that and the exhaust liked to vibrate loose until I put a little locktite on the bolts. Since the locktite I have had no problems there.

    Thanks for the help. I know when the time comes I will be here asking more questions before my purchase.
  6. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    The replacements are all autotune. Which to me means you better have a good dealer because if something goes wrong, it goes in to the shop to be plugged in to a computer.
  7. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Nah, going to be just like cars are nowadays. You get the little diagnostic device and it tells you what is wrong with the thing. The $100 or so I spent on the code reader for my cars has saved me thousands of dollars. Will bet something like that will be available for the auto-tune saws too.
  8. Freakingstang

    Freakingstang Feeling the Heat

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    You'll not gain anything going to a 346. It's the same saw that revs up quicker with less grunt in the cut.

    Get a 550xp and don't look back
  9. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    The pro saws come with more bells and whistles than most of the homeowner saws. The decompression valve is one of those bells and whistles. Also, the pro saws will be lighter weight for the same amount of power you get from a homeowner saw or mid range saw. For instance, my Stihl MS261 weighs about 2 pounds less than the mid range Stihl MS290 Farm Boss but they have about the same amount of power. If I were to only have a single saw for all my firewood needs, I think it would have to be the Stihl MS362. Have no idea what that equivalent is in Husky terms, but right now I only speak Stihl. If you get a mid range saw, I think it will be just fine for 10 cords of firewood a year for about 20 to 30 years. With that said, I was using my MS261 all day long and then picked up a buddy's MS290 and his saw felt like a brick.

    I bought pro saws just because that is my MO. If I am going to use something for a decent amount of time during the year, it will last 20+ years, and it is only $100 more than the mid range item, I will pay the extra $100.
    LEES WOOD-CO likes this.
  10. trailmaker

    trailmaker Member

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    I don't know much but I can tell you that my Stihl MS280 (a mid range saw between home owner and pro) has held up for years with routine maintenance. It never takes more than a few pulls to start.
  11. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Actually there is a big difference between the 350 and the 346XP mainly weight but also better balance. It's not the same saw at all.
  12. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Motion seconded.

    562XP.
  13. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    350 = consumer / homeowner grade - plastic crank case, screws hold on air filter cover, spur sprocket
    353 = prosumer / farmer grade - magnesium crank case, quick release air filter cover with quick release air filter, more grunt with same rpm
    346 = pro grade - same crank case & air filter setup as 353, rim sprocket, less grunt with more rpm


    Any of them should fly through small wood with a 16" bar. The 353 & 346 are a bit less failure prone and a bit easier to rebuild with the metal case. But they fit the same need.

    If you want to cut faster in small wood try a more aggressive chain, a light touch, tune your chainsaw with a tach, and possibly grind out the porting a bit. If you want to cut faster in medium or large wood (1'+ diameter) try more CCs.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  14. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    562xp seems like a great saw per reviews. What is the XP vs. XP-G? Without any intention of running out and buying one at this moment this seems to be the saw I am liking from my limited research so far :)
  15. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The G designation is usually for heated handles.
  16. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Well certainly no need to pay more for that option.
  17. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The 353 I cut with before was quite a bit different than my 346. I find the 346 is a better all around saw that can be used for both limbing and for smaller timber (20" and smaller). When you say less grunt I would say with the increase in horsepower that really isn't true, especially with the 50cc version that is standard now.

    If you are looking for something with slightly more power but roughly the same weight as your 350 the 346 is a good choice. If you want more power it's likely you'd be happier with a larger saw like a 361/362, 372XP, Dolmar 6400 ect.
  18. Nixon

    Nixon Minister of Fire

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    Its been available for a while now . it costs about $250.00 . Just had mine updated by the dealer this afternoon .

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