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Should I just pay the extra for the Stihl 260 Pro

Post in 'The Gear' started by sgcsalsero, Jan 30, 2008.

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  1. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    ClevelandRocks
    I'm buying either a Stihl 260 Pro or 290 from a local dealer, can someone help convince me one way or the other on features. The price difference is only $110 and once I buy it I want this saw to last me 10+ years. I'm only using for firewood duties (no felling).

    Thanks

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  2. fullbore

    fullbore New Member

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    For $110 I wouldn't hesitate to buy the 260. It is considerably lighter and will last a lifetime if properly maintained. The 290 is a great value saw but it is not a professional saw. I've owned a 390 which is the same class as the 290 and can tell you it is not as well constructed. I can cut with my 260 for twelve hours a day and not get fatigued...
  3. fullbore

    fullbore New Member

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    You might want to consider the normal ms260. It may save you $50 as long as you don't need compression release and adjustable lubrication...
  4. kenora

    kenora Member

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    Nov 20, 2007
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    Loc:
    Kenora, Ontario, Canada
    spent the $$ and get the 260 pro..........great saw. a friend has one and he cuts a lot of wood and researched the he-- out of a purchase to get the best saw he could since he only wanted a single saw not many...he decided on the 260 pro and has been very happy with it.
  5. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I have a 260 pro
    I really haven't adjusted the oiler much, pretty much keep it in the middle, but I haven't played around with different oils either.

    Sometimes I forget to push the decompress in and it realy isn't so bad to pull with it not decompressed. I do like it though.

    My brother has ended up with two of them after using mine one afternoon out in the state forest.
    He had some sort of farm boss model that the engine seized before these. He cuts mostly delivered log lengths in his yard, but also has a trailer and goes cutting down oak all over with permission.
    I cut mostly cherry and maple on my own prop.
    I've cut down 2 150 year old eastern white pines and kinda wished I had a longer bar for a little less work and a quicker drop. For just two it was just fine.


    Manual says to run premium or high octane. Dealer told me regular and I've tried both and regular does seem to run a bit cooler.

    Can't think of which bar/chain I have but man this chain stays sharp. I stay off the ground but i'm impressed nonetheless.
    Before this I had a jonsered that was a POS.
    Was supposed to be a nice saw, but I needed a tool kit and had to keep an eye out for dropping bolts and parts while cutting.
    Cut, tighten bolts. Cut, locate, replace, tighten bolts. Repeat ad nauseum. Kinda nasty vibration too. I wouldn't ever think of cutting for a whole day, especially if I were to make a wekend of it.
  6. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    Well, I can tell you my father, after two years with his 290, is looking for a lighter saw, and will probably sell me the 290 and buy the 260.

    I would personally buy the 260 over the 290 if buying new. I've used both, and the 260 is much lighter, feels better balanced and more damped.

    Although I have to say, the majority of the cutting we do is felling, limbing and bucking whole trees. If I were getting log lengths delivered to me and that was all I used the saw for, I'd take the extra power in the 290 and the weight as the weight wouldn't matter as much, but the extra power is nice for bucking where you're not supporting the weight of the saw anyhow.

    My $0.02. Do with it what you will, but don't spend it one place.
  7. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    With regards to durability, if properly maintained, I am of the opinion even the homeowner and firewood grade saws from Stihl will last as long as you want them too, especially if you're using them like a homeowner.
  8. olive wood

    olive wood Member

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    I’ve got an MS290. Don’t go anywhere near the thing. Too heavy, too plasticy, too labour intensive to strip/ repair, air filter needs cleaning too often…..

    No one with any mechanical understanding and foresight would buy this saw (IMHO - and sure, I was in too much of a hurry - I thought because it was a Stihl I couldn't go wrong!).

    Stay away from the orange handle – the white handle is king!
  9. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I like Stihl saws, but I would NEVER recommend the 290 to anybody.

    I have a used a friends 260 (and 290), and the 260 is one great saw. I would expect much beyond 10 year service life if maintained correctly.
  10. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    What are you planning on cutting? What length bar do you anticipate running most of the time? What is the longest bar you'll ever want to run?

    Having used both saws for firewood, storm cleanup, and to make money, here's my take:

    1. MS260: it needs its muffler opened up. Badly. Once opened up and retuned, it is a strong little saw. The emphasis here being on little saw. Keep a 16" bar on it and you'll be happy. Oregon 20LP is the chain to use, as it cuts a slightly narrower kerf than Stihl RS, which in every other respect is a better chain. But the performance gain with 20LP, coupled with its ease of hand sharpening, is well worth it. If you intend to run a longer bar on the 260, which I would not encourage, then the adjustable oiler would be nice; I don't have the specs with me, but I think its maximum output is greater than the fixed oiler on the 260 non-Pro. If you're running a 16" bar only, then save your money - you don't need the PRO's adjustable oiler. Under no circumstance is the decomp necessary.

    2. MS290: it is plasticy, it is overweight for its power, and it is somewhat more difficult to rebuild (but not that much harder, really) than the vertically-split crankcase "pro" saws. That said, it is a dead reliable design with a very low failure/service rate. Having owned both (026 and 290) at the same time, I can say without question that the 290 has more torque and can honestly pull a 20" bar better than the 260. It, too, is at its best with a 16" or 18" bar, in terms of balance and performance. The lower revving, higher torque design tends to work better with wider-kerf chain like Stihl RS, though Oregon 20LP would work fine on this saw, too. The 290 also benefits a lot from having its muffler opened up.

    Given the choice between the two saws, I'd honestly go with neither and get an MS280. As a firewood saw, I think it has a lot going for it - more power than the 260, a wider/lower powerband than the 260 but peppier than the 290, and it is much lighter weight and more nimble than the 290. Price-wise it's right in the middle, too.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I ended up selling my 290 and my 026, and for my "middleweight" saw I have been running a rebuilt (soon to be woods ported!!) Husqvarna 154 made back in 1984. It outruns both of the Stihls, weighs and handles like the 026, and actually cuts side-by-side with a broken-in Dolmar 5100.
  11. whenley

    whenley Member

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    Loc:
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    If you can swing the extra cost for the 260 - get it by all means. The 260 with a 16" bar is an excellent combo. And I think the 260 comes with a compression release for starting. Not a necessity, but a nice luxury to have.

    I have an 029. I agree with all the comments above. Its an ok saw, and as compuser says, quite torquey. But it is HEAVY. If all you are doing is bucking up logs, it would be ok. But the 260 is a much nicer saw, but thats why it costs $100 more!
  12. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    I'd take compuser's advice.

    There are certainly pro's and con's to each saw, and only you can decide on which criteria is most important to you and which saw fits your intented application best. You probably have all the information now to do so.
  13. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    computeruser is tooooo good at this stuff.

    I can't comment with the detail he can, but I'll say this: I've got a 260pro and I love the hell out of that little saw. I keep the 16" bar on it, although I've used the 20" on occasion to knock down a big tree or two. In my opinion, it loves the 16" bar and really cuts well with it.

    My grandfather, who has owned Stihl saws his entire life, was also really impressed with how nice the 260Pro is. Couldn't believe how fast it cut and how easy it was to handle. He probably would have stolen it, if I didn't keep my eyes on it.

    I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
  14. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    ClevelandRocks
    I plan on using the saw for bucking firewood (initially). But, once the newb sheen totally wears off I'm going to be actively scrounging so the weight will become an issue. I passed up two opportunities to get downed trees in the past year (oh make it three from the windstorm two days ago) but now I am getting some training from an ISA dude mainly to get rid of bad habits (like using my right hand to engage brake instead of left wrist) and make sure I'm taking smart precautions.

    What really throws a monkey wrench into this is that I just found a Dolmar dealer 25 miles away, spent time explaining his saws and he does all the service and repair. Even with my company discount the 260Pro is more expensive than a bunch of the Dolmars.

    Thanks for all your input, much appreciated.
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