1 2 3 4
Hasbro (Forum Supporter)
Hasbro (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/14/20 8:50 p.m.

I bought a cheap 20" Ryobi 2050 for I think $135 at Lowes or HD to get the hang of it after a twenty year abstinence. Figured I would beat the E36 M3 out of it and buy another one or two before shelling out for an expensive battery Stihl. Three 80' to 115' oaks came down last year. It still starts right up and is still kicking, go figure. But go Stihl or whatever the closest reliable supplier and servicer has.

 

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/14/20 8:54 p.m.

I love the Stihl Farmboss that I picked up 15 years ago.  Never, ever let me down.

Brian
Brian MegaDork
5/14/20 9:11 p.m.

Stihll won't let you down. My dad's saw does anything you ask it. The weed trimmer is at least 10 years old and hasn't needed anything more than gas. The trick is to shop the bottom end of the pro grade gear. 
 

Otherwise the electric stuff looks good for light work without small engine maintenance. Although I couldn't give any suggestions on brand. 

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
5/14/20 9:29 p.m.

I bought a Stihl Farm Boss about 10 years ago and love it. My Dad had his Farm Boss for 40 years, and was always cutting with it to keep the wood stove cranking. That was enough of an endorsement for me. I've used it a ton, it starts every time, and it just plain works.

With that being said, a smaller model may do just fine for your needs, so I'd ask at the dealer and see what they recommend. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
5/14/20 9:39 p.m.

I have one of the "homeowner" Stihls, and while it's been fine, I wish I'd gone with the Farm Boss or some other more professional model. I have some big ole trees on my property, and something with a bit more oomph would be nice.

carguy123
carguy123 UltimaDork
5/14/20 10:40 p.m.

I didn't want another small gas engined appliance that I had to spend zillions of hours trying to keep running, nor did I want to have to find, mix, tote & fill so I went a 12 amp 16" Craftsman from Lowes ($85).  I hadn't used a chain saw for years because they were just too much trouble and this has been awesome.  I've gone through 2 chains and over 50 trees to down and chop into firewood size pieces.

My neighbor just hired a professional to trim his trees back.  He was having issues with his Stihl bogging down and then there was all the time it took to get it running every time he shut it off.  I offered to let him borrow mine and he was amazed.

The torque is much better than a gas and he said he was going to ditch his gas powered and get electric.

I had to buy another extension cord (working around a cord is so much easier than babying a gas engine) to reach further back from the house and that's the only other expense.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa Dork
5/14/20 10:43 p.m.

When I was five or six Dad bought a Stihl.  It's still running and Dad uses firewood from his 40 acres to heat his shop and part of his home.

Stihl would pretty much be the end of the search for my money

Jay_W
Jay_W SuperDork
5/14/20 10:59 p.m.

I have a 20" farm boss and love it but my neighbors' Husquvarna chews through wood faster. I ain't switchin' though, I've only had this saw for 5 seasons and suspect it will continue working for as long as I need it to..

oldopelguy (Forum Supporter)
oldopelguy (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/14/20 11:10 p.m.

Twice a year Stihl runs a sale on most of their saws and typically the small homeowner ms170 or so goes on sale for @$150. I bought one when I bought my bigger saw and it's honestly plenty of saw for most homeowners. During the big spring sale you basically get a free case if you add a spare chain to the new saw.

When you go to buy one, remember to ask about extending the warranty.  The dealer will probably tell you about extending the 1 year warranty into a 3 year warranty if you buy oil when you buy the saw.  What they sometimes forget to tell you is that you get the same extension buying their pre-mixed fuel, and since it's shelf stable pretty much forever it's not a bad way to make sure you have good fuel on hand. 

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/15/20 6:35 a.m.

Ten plus years ago my mom bought me a Husqvarna 51 at a yard sale for $100.  It was probably 20 years old then and was reported to have a "bad clutch".   It would run and the chain would spin but when you tried to cut anything the motor just revved and the chain stopped.

I took the cover off and discovered that the PO had put the chain on wrong and the drive teeth were riding on the side of the drive sprocket.   I put it back together properly and it works perfectly.   20" bar and all the horsepower to use the whole thing.  I also have a Poulon pro 18" saw and using the two back to back is comical.   The Husky has double the power and is smoother (less fatiguing).

 


 

Taught my son how to cut two weeks ago with it.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/15/20 7:04 a.m.

I've about given up on small 2-stroke gas engines.  I know that I will never use them often enough or maintain them well enough to have them last more than a year or two.  My weedwhacker and chainsaw are currently cheesy battery-powered appliances.  It has been a bitter pill to swallow, as I generally disdain battery-powered anything.

So my response to anyone asking "Best homeowner chainsaw?" would be "How often are you going to use it, really?"

engiekev
engiekev Reader
5/15/20 8:15 a.m.

For battery powered Ego comes out on top in almost all tests for cuts per battery and cutting power. They have a lot more battery powered products than Stihl, and the battery type is the same between every tool, just in different capacities.  

They have a few models, the 16" is a good middle ground while the 18" has more speed (11,000 rpm vs 6800 rpm for 16"):

https://egopowerplus.com/16-inch-chain-saw/

I've used it pretty extensively and it easily performs as well as our larger gas saw.  It does tend to bog down and just stop when the battery is getting low, but otherwise behaves the same as a gas saw.  It's really nice not having to start a cold engine and just start cutting, take a break, whatever and its ready to go again.  Far less noise and vibration.  The 5.0AH battery lasts about the same as almost 2 tanks of gas in the larger older gas saw, so if you're out without access to a charger (fast charger charges in 20min) its better to have two sets of batteries.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
5/15/20 8:50 a.m.
engiekev said:

For battery powered Ego comes out on top in almost all tests for cuts per battery and cutting power. They have a lot more battery powered products than Stihl, and the battery type is the same between every tool, just in different capacities.  

They have a few models, the 16" is a good middle ground while the 18" has more speed (11,000 rpm vs 6800 rpm for 16"):

https://egopowerplus.com/16-inch-chain-saw/

I've used it pretty extensively and it easily performs as well as our larger gas saw.  It does tend to bog down and just stop when the battery is getting low, but otherwise behaves the same as a gas saw.  It's really nice not having to start a cold engine and just start cutting, take a break, whatever and its ready to go again.  Far less noise and vibration.  The 5.0AH battery lasts about the same as almost 2 tanks of gas in the larger older gas saw, so if you're out without access to a charger (fast charger charges in 20min) its better to have two sets of batteries.

I've been pretty tickled with my EGO lawnmower, and I must admit I'm sorely tempted to replace all of my small two strokes with their stuff. Eventually, at least. It ain't cheap...

engiekev
engiekev Reader
5/15/20 9:18 a.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:
engiekev said:

For battery powered Ego comes out on top in almost all tests for cuts per battery and cutting power. They have a lot more battery powered products than Stihl, and the battery type is the same between every tool, just in different capacities.  

They have a few models, the 16" is a good middle ground while the 18" has more speed (11,000 rpm vs 6800 rpm for 16"):

https://egopowerplus.com/16-inch-chain-saw/

I've used it pretty extensively and it easily performs as well as our larger gas saw.  It does tend to bog down and just stop when the battery is getting low, but otherwise behaves the same as a gas saw.  It's really nice not having to start a cold engine and just start cutting, take a break, whatever and its ready to go again.  Far less noise and vibration.  The 5.0AH battery lasts about the same as almost 2 tanks of gas in the larger older gas saw, so if you're out without access to a charger (fast charger charges in 20min) its better to have two sets of batteries.

I've been pretty tickled with my EGO lawnmower, and I must admit I'm sorely tempted to replace all of my small two strokes with their stuff. Eventually, at least. It ain't cheap...

The nice thing is you already have the battery, but the price of the bare tool isn't a big enough difference with the Ego tools to justify not getting the tool + battery.  I grabbed the 16" when it went on sale at Home Depot for $260.  Pretty good deal considering it came with the 5.0ah battery and those go for $250 alone. The 16in chainsaw is $228 for tool only, right now $300 for tool + 5.0ah battery.

I was hoping to replace my honda gas lawnmower with the Ego but haven't had an opportunity to test the two side by side. Also wanting to replace our Honda handlebar brush cutter and a different pole saw with the Ego "multi head" trimmer and the pole saw attachment, but that is a very pricey setup.  Ego multi-head trimmer $350, pole saw  + extension $210, $560 total!  Some of the Ego stuff is hard to justify the extra cost over older gas units.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/15/20 9:32 a.m.

I went through the same thing, got tired of having to work on a saw more than use it. About 5 years ago I bought the smallest Stihl that has their easy-start recoil thing. I think it's an MS180. I use it a few times a year and I don't treat it kindly. Cut firewood, brush, clear MTB trails. It's light, strong, and starts every time I need it to. Once it's warm it restarts with one pull every time. 

I bought the string trimmer that has the same recoil thing. IT starts great but takes a few more pulls to get running the first time. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/15/20 4:12 p.m.
EvanB (Forum Supporter) said:

I was all set to buy a new Stihl a couple years ago when I found a good deal on a used Dolmar from an arborist. It has been great so far. They also make Makita saws so I would add Makita to the Stihl and Husqvarna list.

How well can you make food with it?

Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter)
Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/15/20 5:03 p.m.

Guys thanks again for all of the input.  I contacted my JD dealer and he suggested Stihl MS250 or MS271 Farm Boss.  They are $359 and $409 respectively with an 18" bar.  I'm still mulling over those two vs. any other options but I'll likely go new Stihl and one of those.

Because of your input regarding cordless I bought a second saw because I had an immediate need and to give me some time to settle on a good saw.  I have a full set or Ryobi One+ tools and they are amazing.

I noticed that HD carries the 10" 18v saw that uses the batteries i already have for $99.  I grabbed one today and (slowly) chewed through a semi rotten stump that was disintegrating in our yard.

While its a teeny tiny saw my thinking is that it will be totally fine as a small brush saw and justifies the purchase.  

Because I managed to get the stump project completed it gives me a week or two so I don't need to make an emergency purchase for the bigger saw.

I'm hoping the next one will be the last saw I need to buy.

Thanks again!

 

Azryael
Azryael Reader
5/15/20 5:10 p.m.

I bought a Stihl MS211C a few years back as my very first saw, to replace the electric hand-me-downs I was given from my dad who didn't know any better.

Back in Germany, the family uses nothing but Stihl, Bosch, Hazet, and Husqvarna for tools, so that's what I actually grew up working with. My parents and I never had much in the way of yard tools of our own being a military family and moving every few years anyway.

At any rate, the Stihl sees a fair amount of use yearly, and just chews through whatever I decided to cut. The shop I bought it from used to offer free, lifetime sharpening of the chains, but they were bought out by a larger company a few years back and since that service has been sunset, so I'm back to sharpening them myself. I have three sets of chains, with two of them being sharp and ready to go at all times, and the third being whatever is currently on the bar.

I've also got one of their KombiSystem multi-tools (can't recall the model at the moment), that have an edger, cultivator, weed whacker, and telescoping pole saw attachments for. It's one of the best investments I've made, and normally I'm weary of "multi-" anything.

Echo is another popular brand around here, and actually my backpack blower is an Echo unit, as the Stihl one I wanted was not in stock and wouldn't be for quite some time. I haven't used an Echo chainsaw, but if the quality is anything like my blower, it's just as good as the other two orange brands.

Nathan JansenvanDoorn
Nathan JansenvanDoorn Dork
5/15/20 7:43 p.m.

I just bought a used Husqvarna 365 (Actually Jonsered 2065). We heat our house with wood, so it needs to work, but it's not getting used a lot outside of wood collection season. 
Heaps of power (24" bar), great parts availability.

After using a cheap saw that "did the job" for 5 years, I feel spoiled using this (older) pro level saw, but everything about it is nicer. I'd probably feel the same with a used pro level Stihl. 
 

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
5/15/20 8:15 p.m.

One note: I've used my Stihl a lot over the past 10 years I've owned it, and there's only been one time I've needed more than the 16" bar I bought it with. I'm currently cutting up the trunk of an weeping willow that's over 3.5' in diameter. Once I'm done, I'm going back to my 16" bar.

Call me a wimp, but I prefer the shorter bars for easier maneuverability, lighter weight, and they're tougher to bog down.

Nathan JansenvanDoorn
Nathan JansenvanDoorn Dork
5/15/20 8:27 p.m.

In reply to dj06482 :

Fair point: pick a size that suits what you need to cut. Around here I'm running out of bar even with 24" bar cutting from both sides. 
 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
5/15/20 8:32 p.m.
Azryael said:

I bought a Stihl MS211C a few years back as my very first saw, to replace the electric hand-me-downs I was given from my dad who didn't know any better.

That's the exact Stihl I have. I swapped out the original 16" bar for an 18" last year. Earlier this spring I was using it to cut down a large branch and it jammed up. Turned out it lost the circlip that holds the drive sprocket bearing in place, and the bearing decided to depart the premises. I just now got the parts to fix it, hoping to get it back up and running tomorrow.

I'm hard on yard equipment...

Azryael
Azryael Reader
5/15/20 8:40 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

It's a great saw, to be sure! I've often thought about moving up to an 18" bar myself, but what I may ultimately do is just get a beefier saw, and then use the 211 for cutting things up into smaller chunks. I've had it jam up on me once, but I was through far enough what I was cutting to use a strap and yank it down, freeing it again.

I'll actually be taking down a few limbs, and an entire tree again in the next few weeks, so it'll be getting a workout.

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
5/15/20 8:46 p.m.
Nathan JansenvanDoorn said:

In reply to dj06482 :

Fair point: pick a size that suits what you need to cut. Around here I'm running out of bar even with 24" bar cutting from both sides. 
 

Apparently you're cutting real trees!

CJ (He's Just an FS)
CJ (He's Just an FS) HalfDork
5/15/20 8:56 p.m.

I bought a Husqvarna 440 saw a couple of years ago on sale.  Always starts and works well on the little stuff I cut with it.

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
e11OCpPzdoQjgYEm6dfqsbeF83aUb4RX45vih7cIhprbQceOtUVMjBwskHXQCBZU