If you’re reading this guide, you may have already decided to purchase an Echo chainsaw. Or perhaps you’re still deciding which brand will work best for you, and wanted to learn more about Echo’s offerings before narrowing the field. In either case, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll highlight some of the most sought-after models in the Echo lineup, complete with details about performance, customer response, and whether or not the product might be worth the investment.
With high-powered performance tools like chainsaws, there are more than just aesthetics to consider when it comes to choosing the right one. You’ll need to know what type of wood you’ll be cutting and how often, and also take your own size and strength into account. These tips will help you avoid the pitfalls of being saddled with a machine that will be either ineffective or impossible for you to handle. Fortunately, we’re here to help you avoid making any of these mistakes by giving you a comprehensive view of what’s available. We’ve also included a comparison table, in case you need an “at-a-glance” reminder of a specific model’s features.
Things Everyone Should Know Before Shopping for a Chainsaw
The first question you should ask yourself is, what will I be using the chainsaw for? For pruning and light shrub work, a smaller model (even an electric one) will work just fine. If, however, you’ve already decided to look into the Echo line, you probably need a saw that can handle more intense jobs. This guide will explore the features of five Echo models, with a minimum bar length of 16 inches.
Bar (or Blade) Length
The guide bar is sometimes referred to as the blade of the chainsaw. Bar length is determined by measuring the bar all the way from the tip of the chain, to the point where it disappears into the body of the saw (also known as the “housing”). In general, you’ll want to look for a bar length at least two inches longer than the diameter of the wood you’ll be cutting. Therefore, if the trunk of the tree you want to cut is about a foot and a half thick, you’ll need a saw with a 20-inch blade.
You should also be aware, though, that the above guidelines apply only if you want to cut through the wood in a single pass. In theory, an effective saw can cut through a surface that’s twice its total length. So an 18-inch chainsaw should be able to cut through a three-foot-wide tree trunk—you’ll just have to make two cuts.
Here’s a guide to give you a general idea of what size to look for. Remember to take your size and fitness level into account as well, and never buy a saw that’s too big for you to handle.
- 16″: Cutting medium trees, trimming small-to-medium firewood
- 18″: Trimming medium firewood, cutting medium-to-large trees
- 20″: Cutting large trees
- 22″ and up: Bucking (shaping a huge piece of lumber into more manageable sizes), toughest cutting jobs
With gas chainsaws like the ones on our list, the engine strength is measured in size—more specifically, in cubic centimeters (cc). The higher this number is, the stronger your engine will be. Remember, though, that as the number refers to the size of the unit, the more powerful engines will also weigh significantly more.
- 30 cc: Pruning, trimming, cutting small trees and limbs
- 35 cc: Trimming small firewood
- 40-50 cc: Trimming medium firewood, cutting medium trees
- 55 cc and up: Bucking, cutting large trees
Our Echo Chainsaw Reviews
Echo CS-620PW-24 Chain Saw 24″ Bar — Best Product for Heavy-Duty Tree Work — $$$$
This saw is equipped with a 24-inch bar, and also features a rear handle for a stable grip and a powerful 59.8-cc engine. The blaze-orange color will make it easy to spot, even when it’s surrounded by all the quality logs that you’ll be harvesting. The translucent fuel tank allows you to check your gas level at a glance. This is a professional-grade saw that can handle a number of tough jobs. There’s also a five-year consumer warranty included in every purchase.
Testers have praised the performance of the Echo CS-620, with only a few mentioning some minor issues when starting the engine for the first time. The customer warranty is appreciated by many across the board.
Note that the 59.8-cc engine is very heavy, and packs a serious punch. Only professionals and others with a great deal of experience should consider this model.
- Bar wide enough to handle the toughest jobs
- Extremely powerful engine
- 5-year warranty
- Should be handled only by the strongest and most experienced operators
- Too big for a number of household jobs
Echo Chain Saw Gas 16 Bar 36.3CC — Best Product for Trimming Firewood — $$$
While this is one of the smaller models on our list, the 36.3-cc engine makes it strong enough to take on most basic household chores. It’s also suitable for felling small- to medium-sized trees and trimming them into firewood—something that will likely come in handy if you use a wood stove or wood furnace to heat your home in the winter. The model is blaze orange with a rear handle, appearing as a smaller-duty version of the CS-620. A five-year consumer warranty is included.
Consumers who had never tried an Echo model before have been pleasantly surprised at the results they’ve gotten from these multi-purpose saws. The shorter bar length gives it versatility and maneuverability, but the high-performance engine takes it to the next performance level.
The 16-inch bar means that you’ll need to use more than a single stroke to cut through some wider trees.
- Manageable bar length
- 5-year warranty
- On the smaller end of the spectrum; will require more work to cut through thicker trees
Echo Chain Saw Gas 18 Bar 40.2CC — Best Product for The Serious Hobbyist — $$$$
With its 18-inch bar, this saw is big enough to mean business, but not so large that it can’t be handled by a non-professional operator. If you’re looking to remove a significant number of medium-sized trees from your property—whether to harvest the wood or simply clear a patch for a future lawn—the 40.2-cc engine should help you get the job done. This is another blaze-orange model with a rear handle for stability, and a five-year consumer warranty.
Testers report that the blade cuts well and that the engine has a solid amount of power for the size. Again, there were a few accounts of slow beginnings (the engine taking more than a few pulls to get started), but once that was overcome, the product performed as well as advertised, if not better.
As there are many saws in this size and power range, the warranty is what gives this Echo model a competitive edge.
- Middle-of-the-road size and engine power makes it a good fit for a number of jobs
- 5-year consumer warranty
- The engine could be a little too heavy for amateurs to manage
Echo CS-590 20″ Timber Wolf Chainsaw — Best Product for Bucking — $$$
It’s all right there in the name: TIMBER. The 59.8-cc engine on the 2-stroke engine gives this model a tremendous amount of power. This benefit, coupled with the relative maneuverability of the 20-inch blade (as opposed to the 24 inches offered by the CS-620), make the Timber Wolf into a lean, mean, bucking machine. Blaze orange, with a rear handle and a decompression valve to make the starting process easier. Five-year warranty included.
The Timber Wolf comes highly recommended, with testers praising its performance and power, as well as its value for the price. For professionals who cut multiple cords of wood per season, this saw could make the job go much more smoothly.
This is a heavy, professional-grade model with an exceptionally heavy engine, and therefore is not the best choice for the casual landscaper who just needs the hedge trimmed.
- Powerful, efficient saw
- Excellent value
- 5-year warranty
- Too large for anything except the most heavy-duty jobs
- A 20-inch bar might not be sufficient for very large trees
Echo CS-600P Gas Chainsaw, 20 Inch — Best Product for Property Clearing — $$$$
Like the Timber Wolf, the CS-600P features a 59.8-cc engine and a 20-inch bar, but its sleeker design makes it better suited for felling trees than for bucking. That’s not to say that it can’t be used for both, but if you’re looking to clear a large number of trees in a hurry and worry about the firewood later, this might be the better choice. This model is also blaze orange, with a rear handle and a five-year consumer warranty.
The majority of testers were pleased with this saw, claiming that it holds up well even after years of frequent use. A few mentioned that the powerful engine is better suited to a longer bar, but that can be easily remedied with this model (see below).
The oiler for the CS-600P is clutch-driven, and it comes with a heavy-duty air filtration system for maximum efficiency. Note that while it comes with a 20-inch bar, this can be swapped out for either a smaller or larger size.
- An engine that’s both powerful and efficient
- Effective for chopping down large numbers of medium- to large-sized trees
- Changeable bar size
- 5-year warranty
- A 20-inch bar might not be able to handle exceptionally large trees
- Better suited for felling than for bucking
Here, we’ll talk a bit more about the inner workings of gas chainsaws, complete with details about the advantages of gas-powered models over their electric counterparts. We’ll also answer any lingering questions you might have about chainsaw use in general.
How Gas Chainsaws Work
A chainsaw is an extremely powerful tool used to make wood-cutting easier on the operator. They work with the aid of a two-stroke engine, which powers a chain that runs along a guide bar (sometimes referred to as the “blade”). The chain is set with a series of sharp “teeth” that cut into the wood when pressure is applied. The more powerful the engine, the easier it is to cut through the wood. However, larger engines are also heavier, and this can make them more difficult to maneuver.
Advantages of a Gas Chainsaw
While electric chainsaws are fine for handling smaller pruning or trimming jobs, they generally don’t have the strength required for more intense work. Gas models are not only more powerful, but they’re also more convenient, as they don’t need to be charged using a battery or plugged into an electrical outlet. This gives them greater versatility.
It should be noted that you do have to remember to purchase gasoline regularly and perform the necessary maintenance required. Gas models also tend to be heavier than their electric or battery-operated counterparts. On the whole, though, the strengths greatly outweigh the weaknesses in this category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you think you’ve narrowed your search down to a single model, there are still certain things that everyone should know before investing in a chainsaw. Here are some of the most common queries from people who are looking to buy a chainsaw, whether it’s for the first or the fiftieth time.
Why does my size and fitness level make a difference? Doesn’t the chainsaw do all the work?
This is a faulty and dangerous way of thinking, especially for beginners. A chainsaw is a tool that can become a weapon more quickly than you might imagine. Yes, a chainsaw with a longer bar or a stronger engine is more powerful, but that will do you no good if you aren’t able to maneuver it into the desired position. This can lead to serious injury. If you aren’t strong enough to maneuver the chainsaw on your own, you won’t be able to operate it safely.
Do I need to invest in safety equipment?
Yes, definitely. No matter how small the job, safety equipment is always recommended. Safety goggles, ear protection, heavy boots, and gloves should be worn at all times, and be sure your clothing is comfortable yet form-fitting. Too-loose clothing can easily get caught in the chain.
Is there anything I should know before starting the chainsaw for the first time?
First of all, you should familiarize yourself with the instruction manual to ensure that you’re following the correct procedure. Make sure there’s fuel in the tank, and that all of the parts are in order. Point the blade away from your face (and any bystanders). That’s when you can switch the safety and the choke to the “on” position, and disengage the brake, if applicable. Don’t pull the starting cord more than six times on the first attempt; this might result in flooding. Contact the manufacturer if you continue to have issues.
What are some other safety tips I should be aware of?
Safe handling is an important part of chainsaw ownership. Here’s a basic list of considerations:
- Always handle carefully, never touching the chain unless you’re wearing gloves (and even then, only when changing the part)
- Turn off the chainsaw before transporting it more than a few steps
- Always allow the chainsaw to cool before putting it in a vehicle
- If the unit has a chain brake, use it as much as possible when carrying the unit
- Invest in a bar guard to keep the chain from being exposed when not in use
Are there any additional tips that apply specifically to transportation?
These guidelines apply especially to professionals who may have to transport their chainsaw frequently.
- Invest in a good carrying case for protection (for the chainsaw, as well as everyone around it)
- Keep the chainsaw and/or carrying case secure during transit
- Drain the fuel before loading the chainsaw to avoid leakage
- Never transport the chainsaw in the passenger cabin of any vehicle
What is “kickback”?
Kickback occurs when the chainsaw encounters unexpected resistance, causing the machine to jerk upward. If you’re in complete control of the chainsaw and haven’t overextended your strength, you should be able to guide it back into position. This is another reason why it’s important to wear safety equipment at all times.
Do I need to buy a special type of gas?
Most gas chainsaws operate using the same regular unleaded gasoline you use to power your vehicle. The more you use the chainsaw, the more gas you’ll burn through, so be sure you invest in a storage container that’s the right size for your needs. You don’t want to be running back and forth to the filling station every few days, but there’s no need to keep a mostly-full 10-gallon barrel around all the time, either.
What type of oil should I use to keep the bar lubricated?
Despite the claims of some old-timers who used motor oil on their chainsaw bars, you should invest in bar oil for this purpose. Bar oil is rated for either summer or winter use, but each manufacturer will have its own specifications. Check your user’s manual for more information.
Will I need to perform any other maintenance?
Aside from keeping the gas reservoir full, keeping the bar oiled, and maintaining basic safety procedures, you don’t have to do any of the maintenance yourself, especially if the machine is under warranty. However, you should keep an eye out for certain things. If the saw is producing mainly dust instead of larger chips, the chain is likely worn out and in need of either sharpening or replacement. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, contact the manufacturer or your local hardware store for assistance.
If I do need to replace a part, is it all right to use a part from another manufacturer’s model?
This is inadvisable, as the parts are generally specific to the model you’re using. If you do decide to go this route, for whatever reason, the results might not be as efficient as you’ve come to expect from your chainsaw. If you have any questions, call the number in your user’s manual, especially if the product is still under warranty.
We hope you’ve found our guide on the different types of Echo chainsaws both instructive and enjoyable. As you can see, this collection features models that are quite similar to one another. The main differences are in bar length and engine power, which we discussed earlier in the guide. In essence, though, these two qualities are the first things that you should consider when shopping for a new chainsaw. Whether or not the model performs as advertised, though, is another matter. That’s why we’ve tried to explore the specific tasks that each chainsaw is best suited for. This will help you find the model that will best suit your needs in the years to come.
Our Best Choice
Now that we’ve gone through the process of reviewing all the basic features and offerings of each product on the list, which one is the best all-around choice?
Echo Chain Saw Gas 18 Bar 40.2CC
While some of the other models are better suited for exceptionally heavy-duty work, and others would make excellent trimming and pruning saws, this model offers the best of both worlds. Most people who are shopping for a gas-powered chainsaw are doing so because they either want to clear trees, cut firewood, or perform a combination of both duties. For these purposes, unless the trees you want to cut have trunks greater than three feet in diameter, this model should be able to get the job done.