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Aside from being the trademark weapon of slasher film antagonists, chainsaws are an extremely useful and powerful tool for the toughest landscaping jobs like clearing trees, cutting brush, and cutting firewood. There are an awful lot of chainsaw brands out there such as Husqvarna and Dewalt, so it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
One brand that I am especially keen on is Echo. A Japanese tool manufacturer, Echo offers a wide variety of professional grade lawn care tools including their fantastic lines of chainsaws. I have gone through and selected 5 of the best Echo chainsaws that aim to make your lawn care effortless and effective.
Table of Contents
- Top Pick
- Buying Guide
- The 5 Best Echo Chainsaws
- Final Thoughts
My choice for the top reviewed product is the Echo CS-590. Rarely do you find such a stunning piece of equipment that is as versatile. The large 20” blade is perfect for felling large trees and can be used for smaller jobs too. It is a bit on the pricey side, but that is to be expected from a high-end gas powered chainsaw.
Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
So, who is Echo?
Echo is a tool manufacturer that is a subsidiary of the Yamabiko Corporation. Founded in 1947 under the name Kyoritsu, Echo Tools has long been a renowned manufacturer of gas-powered lawn tools. At the time, Kyoritsu created agricultural tools whose development was spurned by post-WWII agricultural shortages in Japan. Kyoritsu changed its name to Echo in 1978.
In 1963, Echo released its first commercial chainsaw, the CS-80. Since then, Echo has developed their line of chainsaws into models of varying size, power sources, and purposes.
What’s So Good About Echo Chainsaws?
Echo chainsaws excel by virtue of their technological sophistication and engineering precision. Below are some premium features included with Echo chainsaws.
2-stroke Gas Engine
All of the engines in Echo chainsaws are designed with their proprietary 2-stroke engine technology. During the first stroke of the engine piston, the fuel/air mixture is drawn into the crankcase via vacuum suction.
With the second stroke, the injected fuel/air mixture is compressed, and the spark plug ignites the fuel mixture, the force of which drives the piston down and continues the cycle. The 2-stroke system is designed for maximum fuel efficiency by keeping the ratios of air and fuel constant.
All Echo chainsaws also feature Pro-fire ignition coils for combusting fuel. Pro-fire ignition coils are highly rated pieces of equipment and give a consistent spark to activate fuel each time they fire.
Gas engines require an intake of air to work properly. Contrary to popular belief, gasoline by itself is not that combustible. It must be mixed with air before you get the explosive action that makes the pistons of the engine turn.
Over time, air intake can damage your gas engine by pulling in dust and debris. All Echo chainsaws are made with their proprietary G-Force engine technology that pre-cleans air before injecting it into the engine. Ultimately, this results in a longer lasting engine, as it slows the rate of degradation.
Operating a chainsaw can be physically demanding. The power and torque generated by the rotating blade and chain can make it hard to keep the saw steady while you are cutting. This can be dangerous, especially if you are not familiar with operating a chainsaw.
Echo chainsaws are made with vibration reduction systems that absorb and minimize the amount of torque produced by the saw blades. The result is a more steady cut and superior handling, reducing user fatigue.
Lastly, Echo chainsaw brands stand a head above their competition in their excellent quality materials and construction. Their products are designed by a qualified team of engineers and scientists for maximum efficiency and performance.
All Echo chainsaws offer a 5-year extended warranty at purchase. While, ideally, you won’t ever have to use your warranty, it is nice to know you are covered in the case of some accident or machine failure.
The 5 Best Echo Chainsaws
The first product on the list is also my choice for the best overall Echo chainsaw. The CS-590 is a rear-handle, gas-powered chainsaw that features a 20” blade.
This thing is an absolute beast of a chainsaw, to put it lightly. The huge 59.8cc engine is large and powerful enough for felling even the toughest trees. At just under 17 pounds, it’s certainly not the lightest chainsaw, but it comes with the extra power you’d expect from a bigger tool.
As far as usability goes, the CS-590 works like a dream. Chainsaws are notoriously difficult to start, as it can be hard to pull the cord with the right amount of force. The CS-590 has a special decompressor that releases pressure from the valve, making it easier to start when you rip the cord. A built-in purge pump also injects that extra bit of fuel to get a clean start every time.
It does a fairly decent job of minimizing vibrations, which is saying a lot considering how powerful it is. Of course, no chainsaw can eliminate vibration completely, so it’s a necessary evil.
It also features an automatic oiler which keeps the chain links well lubricated. Don’t worry about it puttering out mid-cut on you either; the .57 liter capacity gas tank has respectable lasting power.
To be completely honest, the CS-590 has very few negatives as far as performance and quality go. Aside from the weight, the only other deal-breaker may be the price. Echo chainsaws are high-quality machines, so it makes sense they’d cost you a pretty penny. However, the steep price is backed by a 5-year extended warranty which far exceeds that available from most other manufacturers.
- 20” blade is longer than average
- Great minimization for vibration
- 8cc engine is powerful and tough
- Decompressor makes starting the saw easier
- The guard is made of plastic and may need to be replaced
- Saw may be heavy to some users
Overall Rating 4.8/5
Coming in next on the list is the small yet mighty CS-310 14-inch gas chainsaw. This mini-chainsaw is shorter than most but does not lack for cutting power. The CS-310 features a 34.0cc engine giving it a great power/weight ratio. At only 8 pounds, it is on the lighter side as far as chainsaws go, which makes it an excellent entry-level choice for a novice lawnkeeper.
The 14-inch blade lets you get in close and make precise cuts—perfect if you are operating in cramped spaces or just need to cut specific sections of something.
One of its better features is the low price. Lower price, of course, means lower quality overall, but even the low-price Echo tools are made with the same ingenuity and care as their more expensive models. You may be able to find competitors for a lower price but none of comparable quality.
The CS-310’s light weight makes up for its relative lack of power. It’s a perfect chainsaw for medium-sized jobs around your property, as it’s extremely easy to maneuver in and around branches.
Like many other Echo chainsaws, it has an auto oiler as well as an inertia-activated brake chain that stops the blade as soon as you cut power. This is a nice safety feature, as idling blades can cause serious injury. The only downside is that you need a pair of relatively small needle nosed pliers to adjust the chain without frustration.
Overall, the CS-310 14” is a good choice for those who need something compact, powerful, and reasonably priced. It may not handle hacking a huge tree to the ground, but it will be more than enough for most medium-sized lawn jobs.
- Small, light, and easy to handle
- Inertia brake chain is a neat safety feature
- Not as powerful as other models
- Gas tank is somewhat small especially if you are using the saw for extended periods of time
Overall Rating 4.5/5
The next on my list is a newer product from Echo, one of the first in their line of electric battery-powered chainsaws. Battery-powered chainsaws are typically easier to use and require fewer resources than gasoline chainsaws but sacrifice some power and grit.
Luckily, the CCS-58V does a great job of balancing the ease of use and efficiency of an electric chainsaw with the strength of a traditional gas-powered one.
The 58V, 4-amp hour battery is a true testament to how far lithium ion battery engineering has come in recent decades. Although the actual battery capacity is lower than some competitors, it is the best in energy efficiency and can perform the most cuts per unit of charge.
The 58V does a great job of mimicking the power of its petrol counterparts and does so without all the noise and vibration of a gas-powered chainsaw. It can cut through an 8-inch pine log in just under five and a half seconds, an impressive performance for an electric chainsaw.
The CCS 58V is on the heavier side, coming in at just under 20 pounds. This high weight may be a turn off for some, as it’s not incredibly easy to maneuver. The weight is compensated by its good control due to the fact that battery powered chainsaws produce much less torque than gas powered ones.
The 16” blade is a good mid-size length that works for most purposes.
Overall, the CCS-58V is a good option for someone who needs a powerful chainsaw but does not want to deal with all the intricacies of a gas-powered engine. With the 58V, you can just plug it in, charge it, and be ready to go; no messing with fuel ratios or intake valves.
- Battery power removes the need for gas
- Produces less torque and vibration than a gas chainsaw
- As powerful as a gas chainsaw of comparable size
- Good battery efficiency
- Some users reported the saw as heavy
- Some may not like the “feel” of a battery-powered chainsaw
- Plastic bucking spikes may interfere with cutting big things
Overall Rating 4.5/5
The CS-400 could be considered the mid-range version of the more expensive CS-590. The CS-400 is the “prosumer” model and offers a nice middle ground between professional and personal use.
Don’t be off-put by the word “prosumer”, though; the CS-400 is a top-quality chainsaw that features Echo’s signature quality, build, and power. It works for smaller delicate jobs and also for ripping through large trees.
If there is one word that could describe the CS-400, it’s “no-nonsense”. The design is rather minimalist, and it does not come with any “user-friendly” features that, while nice, ultimately end up compromising the performance.
For example, the CS-400 does not have tool-free chain adjustment capabilities which, while it makes it harder to adjust the chain, the chain lasts longer, and there is less risk of it coming loose. It’s design choices like this that make the CS-400 a serious choice for people who want to do serious work.
The 18” blade is standard size and contributes to the nice balance. The 40.2cc engine has some real juice and can easily quarter a mid-sized tree stump in a few minutes. Despite being powerful, the CS-400 weighs only about 10 pounds, on the lighter side as far as chainsaws go. The lighter weight makes it easy to use, but some may prefer a heavier chainsaw with more weight behind it, especially if you do a lot of big jobs.
In short, the CS-400 gives a fantastic mix of quality and price in a model that works for both pros and amateurs. As the cherry on top to these nice features, it comes with a 5-year extended warranty.
- Great mix of weight and power
- Extremely versatile for both big and small jobs
- Controls are easy to reach and use
- Some may prefer a heavier chainsaw
- The bar may be too small
Overall Rating 4.5/5
Rounding off this list is the power-packed CS-271T, a 12” chainsaw that contains a powerful 26.9cc engine.
The CS-271T is one of Echo’s top-handle model chainsaws and is designed for one thing ease of use. Unlike the traditional rear-handled model which you hold from the back and cut primarily by pulling the blade down, top-handle chainsaws have a upper handle that allows you to push down while cutting.
At only 6 pounds, the CS-271T is incredibly light and maneuverable. The mini-sized 12-inch blade is meant for smaller delicate tasks, like clearing small trees or making fine cuts in wood. Even though it is small, it is still pretty powerful and can easily hack through some thick underbrush.
The CS-271 also shines in ergonomics. The top handle is made of a soft textured no-slip rubber and its position lets you use the natural weight of the chainsaw to press your cuts, easing the strain on your hands and wrists. The small design gives it a really good balance, and the 12” blade does not produce that much torque, even though it is powerful.
So, the bottom line is this the CS-271T is a great choice if you need something small for more delicate work. Even then, it can still chew through wood pretty well, so you could potentially use it to fell small trees.
- Extremely lightweight and compact
- Good fuel efficiency for its size
- 12” blade is good for delicate and small jobs
- Somewhat expensive considering the size of the saw
- Top handle can get in the way of the refilling oil compartment
Overall rating 4.5/5
Best Overall Product CS-590
My overall choice for the best product is the Echo CS-590. The CS-590 offers top-of-the-line performance and an extra long blade for effectively handling any kind of job. The extremely powerful 59.8cc engine can rip through the toughest wood, and the engine is manufactured to be long-lasting and easy to start.
Best Value Product CS-310
My choice for the best value is the Echo CS-310 14” chainsaw. The smaller blade is ideal for more delicate jobs, but it can still handle some pretty heavy-duty use. Out of all reviewed products, the CS-310 has the lowest price point yet still manages to be very high quality. Basically, the CS-310 is the perfect choice if you need something that will work well and won’t break the bank.
At the end of the day, determining the right chainsaw is a subjective process that depends on your wants and needs. At the very least, I can provide my take on the issues to help you make a better-informed choice.
To that end, I hope that this guide puts you on the right path to figuring out which Echo chainsaw is best for you. If this model isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you can check out the Homelite chainsaw review.