Dave Murison says when it comes to chainsaws, the leading manufacturers are the ones to turn to. Here he picks his all-time favourites
When buying a chainsaw there are so many manufacturers to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. There are a number of factors to consider including usage, build quality and budget, the last of which is a priority for many people nowadays.
The beauty of shopping online is that it gives you the chance to compare prices and opinions before you buy. A few of the big names you will come across are Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo and McCulloch. Some tools offer high power but don’t give you the confidence you get from a well-known brand, so try to stick with mainstream manufacturers as they offer good saws that are worth the price you pay. That said, here are the ones that stand out from the rest in my eyes.
Best for handling
There are many saws in the Husqvarna range but the one that does it for me is the 560xp. This machine has a 59.8cc engine that can easily cope with a 13-24in bar (I would recommend 13-18in). It comes with .325in chain as standard but I have tried a 3/8 conversion with an eight-toothed sprocket and this makes it an even better saw.
The X-Torq engine with AutoTune carburettor delivers 3.5kW (4.7bhp), consumes up to 20% less fuel and produces 75% lower emissions. The chainsaw weighs only 5.7kg, giving it lovely handling characteristics.
Best for adaptability
Again, there are so many saws I could tell you about but the one that sticks in my head is Stihl’s MS 261 C-M. This is a versatile machine with a 50.2cc 2-MIX engine controlled by the M-Tronic system. An electronically controlled carburettor, ignition timing and fuel metering mean it can adapt to ambient temperatures, delivering 20% lower fuel consumption and 50% more power to drive a 13-18in bar (I recommend 15in). The M-Tronic system will also remember your last setting when presented with the same ambient conditions. It has the HD2 cyclonic air filter, which is very easy to clean and lasts twice as long as the older style. The saw also has captive side casing nuts and the top casing has quarter turn screws, so your regular cleaning is a doddle. Weighing in at 5.2kg, this machine has become very popular with professionals.
Best top-handle Stihl saws
• The all-time favourite Stihl MS 200 T has now been superseded by the MS 201 C-M. This saw has all the M-Tronic functions of the above-mentioned MS 261 C-M so the performance is phenomenal. It weighs only 3.9kg and has a 35.2cc engine that delivers 1.8kW (2.4bhp).
• The new MS 193 T has a manually adjustable carburettor, a 30.1cc 2-MIX engine producing 1.3kW (1.8bhp) and it weighs in at 3.5kg.
• At only 2.8kg, the MS 150 T is an ultra lightweight pruning saw with a 23.6cc 2-MIX engine producing 1kW (1.3bhp). It has a manually operated carburettor and has proven to be very popular.
With emission control levels and ethanol levels getting stricter, manufacturers are now looking at lithium ion technology.
David Murison has worked at Acle Garden Machinery in Norfolk for the last nine years. Acle Garden Machinery is a dealer for DMM, Petzl, Stihl, Vermeer, Sherrill, Arbortec, Marlow, Aspen, Silky, Workware and Stein.