Author Topic: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?  (Read 8698 times)

offgridmontana

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Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« on: October 06, 2009, 01:46:39 PM »
Hello, we could always use another chainsaw up here in the gulch. I'm on a limited budget of 1,200.00 a month and can't blow 300-600 on a saw. I've seen the Poulsons for 100-199 40cc 18" blades. I cut Lodge Pole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fire, and Aspen. I'm talking falling trees and cutting ones already fallen. Thanks for all suggestions.

Offline 96Charlie

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 02:46:43 PM »
Recently read a thread regarding tools and the consensus was that the Poulon saws had neither power nor durability.  Stihl and Husavara got top marks so maybe if you could run down even a used one you'd be better off.

ChiefCornerstone

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 05:37:56 PM »
  I would recommend maybe wait extra month or 2 to save up for a stihl or husgavarna.. I have the middle of the road husgavarna with 20 inch bar and it runs runs runs.  Buy 1 first time  then a couple over a lifetime.. You will not be sorry waiting to save the extra coin for one of these saws.. I believe the 18 or 20 runs in the low 300 dollar range..   I have cut down some big oaks with my 20 inch so a 18 husky would eat up what you would be putting it through..

Offline chris

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 10:56:07 PM »
Buy a Poulan and you'll be buying new ones pretty regularly. I've never had one last more than 6 months of regular use. I don't have any experience with Husqavarna, but Stihls are exceptional.

offgridmontana

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2009, 04:55:39 PM »
I bought a Stihl at Mountain Stihl in Helena, MT today!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Got a 20" (MS, not sure but either 290, 310, or 390) package deal and introduction to the chainsaw and the dealer even tuned it up. The package included oil, gloves, extra chain, file for sharpening, and one year warranty, and he even filled the fluids. I'm happier than a pig in shit at this moment in my life!!!

Paid 419.95 and no tax.

HumeMan

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 07:12:10 PM »
For about $250 you can buy a decent condition Stihl on ebay.

offgridmontana

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2009, 07:51:37 PM »
For about $250 you can buy a decent condition Stihl on ebay.
I could have bought the 16" for 279.00. Too late now, but I'm not bitching.  :)


Winter is here (well at least in the mountains) and wood goes fast. We use wood in the sauna/bathing area, three stoves in the main house, one little house with one stove, our trailer with one stove, the shop has two stoves, and the bunkhouse above the shop has a stove. We go through about 20 cords per year, and we have 13 cords remaining to cut. I haven't mentioned we are building a cabin and need to fall some trees.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 07:56:10 PM by offgridmontana »

Offline mobilus

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2009, 08:02:12 PM »
I vote for Stihl.  Have one, and the only time I kick myself is when thinking back on the Poulans that I owned previously.  Oh, and if you ever start losing power, it will probably be the little flame arrestor screen between the cylinder and the muffler.  If you are cutting on public lands, it might be a good idea to keep it, but regularly clean it.  I don't, so I just removed it.  It gets clogged up with carbon from the exhaust.

Offline Steve W

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2009, 08:09:46 PM »
I vote for pooling your monetary resources with others until you can buy a pair of good saws, the safety gear needed to operate them, spares, gas cans and cases for the lot.

I'd rather share in a quality group resource properly done than set a budget so low as to not leave room for even a full set of pro-grade safety gear.

YMMV


Joel

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2009, 09:30:33 PM »
Yeah, gotta go with the consensus here.  I worked in a chainsaw shop for almost two years and saw what becomes of the Poulans and other saws you can buy at Lowes or Home Despot.  They're not made for serious use.  If you really need your chainsaw to start, run, and have enough power to actually cut wood, you need a Stihl or a Husqvarna.  Yeah, they're pricey, but anything else is a false economy.

Having bought it, please please fergodsake maintain it properly.  Otherwise spending the money won't help a lot.  Don't store it for a season with gas in it.  Mix the gas right.  Keep it clean.  Don't let the bar oil run out, and use proper oil.  Watch the air filter.  Get a case.  Keep the chain sharp.  Do those little things and a good saw will last for years.

Offline bartsdad

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2009, 09:45:16 PM »
Yeah, gotta go with the consensus here.  I worked in a chainsaw shop for almost two years and saw what becomes of the Poulans and other saws you can buy at Lowes or Home Despot.  They're not made for serious use.  If you really need your chainsaw to start, run, and have enough power to actually cut wood, you need a Stihl or a Husqvarna.  Yeah, they're pricey, but anything else is a false economy.

Having bought it, please please fergodsake maintain it properly.  Otherwise spending the money won't help a lot.  Don't store it for a season with gas in it.  Mix the gas right.  Keep it clean.  Don't let the bar oil run out, and use proper oil.  Watch the air filter.  Get a case.  Keep the chain sharp.  Do those little things and a good saw will last for years.

This applies to everything.Saws, generators, power tools, anything really. My Jonsered saw is 25 years old has cut a forest's worth of wood and still starts on the first pull. Take care of your investment and it will take care of you.

Offline Citizen Zero

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2009, 01:10:05 AM »
+100 on the Stihl idea.

I have a Craftsman/Poulan that I have used hard for the last six years, it is more likely the exception in the fact that it starts and keeps running every time.

The MS-290 Stihl that I bought was one of the best investments that I made for taking care of the property. Quality is  expensive upfront, but it quickly pays for itself.

Buying cheap tools is a worse fate than not buying tools at all.


Joel

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2009, 08:46:47 AM »
Jonsered is still a good saw - if you buy in the upper ranges, it's basically a Husqvarna.  Used to be, twenty or thirty years ago, serious woodcutters all bought MacCullough.  There are still a lot of those great heavy things in use; they're basically heirlooms.  They're no fun to use, but sure can cut wood.  We stripped the dead ones for parts with frickin' reverence - the owners of the ones that still run don't like to hear that you can't get new parts any more.  But you can't - what they sell now as "MacCulloughs" are cheap trash.  It's not the same company at all.  Poulan used to make professional-level saws, but no more.  Still, every now and then you see one that just sort of transcends its nature and won't die.  They're never the most powerful saws, but exceptions are reliable.  Trouble is, it's a crapshoot.  I don't know where the variation lies, but most are junk right out of the box.

Thing about a chainsaw: They work in an incredibly dirty and abusive environment.  Maintenance is everything - if you spend $200 at Lowes and the saw starts and runs when it's new, it might still work for you ten years down the road if you never neglect maintenance.  It'll never be very powerful, you have to buy power, but I've seen some cheaper saws last well - as long as the owner treats it like a fragile lover.  But once it's done, it's done.  If a cylinder gets a snootful of dust because of a neglected air cleaner, or varnishes up because of trying to burn old gas, the engine isn't worth the price of fixing even if you can get parts.  I can't ask a customer to spend $400 to repair a $200 saw that'll still be worn out when I'm done.  I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen somebody spend bux on a good saw and then use waste oil in the bar oil reservoir.  WTF?  It isn't just that you tear up the bar and stretch the chain: Those can be replaced though it's expensive.  I've seen guys cut the drive sprocket right in half trying to drive a stretched chain through a mashed-up bar groove.  And what that's doing to that little over-revving engine just shouldn't happen.  And it's all so avoidable. 

Yeah, save your money and buy a good saw, big enough to do the job you need done.  Don't ask a Stihl MS170 to cut down oak trees, and don't put a 20" bar on an MS310 (A damn good firewood saw, BTW).  Keep multiple chains so you're not stretching them out trying to compensate for dull teeth by bearing down - next to bad gas, that's the worst thing you can do to a saw.  Keep it clean so it can breathe and not run hot.  Maintain it with fanatical zeal, and you will get your money's worth.

Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2009, 10:48:03 AM »
I bought a Stihl at Mountain Stihl in Helena, MT today!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Got a 20" (MS, not sure but either 290, 310, or 390) package deal and introduction to the chainsaw and the dealer even tuned it up. The package included oil, gloves, extra chain, file for sharpening, and one year warranty, and he even filled the fluids. I'm happier than a pig in shit at this moment in my life!!!

Paid 419.95 and no tax.
Congrats.
That Stihl will last you a long time. A lot longer than 3 Poulans.
 I have 2 that have been chugging along for years. I love running chain saws.
 Now you just need some safety gear. The cost of chaps, ear muffs and steel toed boots is cheaper than 1 trip to the ER.



Offline JLMissouri

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 10:43:17 PM »
 I apparently have the only good Poulans. I agree the new ones are junk. I burn wood and logged for awhile (not with a poulan). I can't compare between the brands too much, as I have only used Homelites, Poulans, and Stihls. The Stihls are the best if money is no obstacle. They are dependable, and well built. They have more power but cost more upfront, and parts are higher, but they are good if you are a logger, or use a saw to make a living. I used my first Poulan for 4 years untill it was stolen. It worked fine, and cut some larger trees that I would have prefered a bigger saw for. My current Poulan is on its fifth year, and still going. I thought hard about buying a Stihl, but decided it didn't make economic sense. I gave $75 for my Poulan, and can buy a whole parts machine for around $30, or another running one for $50. A used Stihl would run triple that, and in this area the bars and chains are higher for the Stihl than a Poulan. The Stihl will run longer, but cost more to operate, and repair. So far besides normal wear items like bars and chains the Poulan has only needed a new pull rope, and the carb cleaned out. DON'T buy the new Poulans, as they are junk. The brand new ones have a chinese carb, and other internals, vs the Warlbro carb in the older ones. They look similiar, but can easily be identified. The ones with a Chinese carb have the choke and kill switch on the left together, the older ones have the choke on the right, and kill switch on the left. The new ones look very similiar otherwise. Homelite is also a good saw, but I have no experience with the new ones, only old ones.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2009, 12:12:41 AM »
If you still want to stay at your $200 dollar cap then a homelite might be a good choice. I bought one at home depot several years ago. No complaints. It starts everytime and cuts well for a 200 dollar saw.
If I did alot of tree work I would have ponied up for a Sthil.

Offline Zombie Axe

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Re: Recommend a good chainsaw for under 200.00?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2009, 09:48:54 PM »
I really depend on Husqvarnas and they have never let me down. Don't think you can go wrong with either a Husqvarna of Stihl, but for me it is Husqvarna all the way!