Echo vs Stihl

Bucknut

Well-Known Member
Until a few weeks ago I would have scoffed at anyone who favorably compared Echo to Stihl. Stihl seems to have a real stranglehold on the industry. Our company had run Stihl exclusively for about 30 years, and would swear by them. All their pro saws are well built and, most importantly, reliable and durable.

We have bought all our saws from a local small dealer for many decades as well. Good guys, family business. Recently Stihl decided that they (the dealer) weren't moving enough product and pulled their line. So Echo swooped in and was happy to offer their stuff. We decided to give them a try since the next closest Stihl dealer is about a half hour away and a bit pricey on service.

Recently bought an Echo 355t and a 2511t. Gotta admit I was probably the perfect customer since I have run MS192 and 193t for about 15 years and never sprung for the 200/201t. So you can imagine how happy I have ben with the 355t. It is noticeably heavier than the 193, but the power difference is remarkable. And it's roughly half the price of the 201t. Like most folks I have the usual complaint about the small fuel and oil fill holes, and also the lack of a transparent fuel tank. Can't overstate the importance of knowing your fuel level at a glance. If you've ever run out of gas halfway through the backcut on a big top you'll know why. Other than that the 355t has been eye opening.

Then we got a 2511t. Everyone who has held it says the same thing: It looks and feels like a toy. But it isn't. The older I get the more I appreciate light weight tools that are still capable. This saw is seriously amazing. Like a Silky with a trigger. Here's a pic of the two saws together. Not sure most guys appreciate just how tiny the 2511 is. Keep in mind the the 355t is not particularly large:


fullsizeoutput_c9e.jpeg

I can't praise this saw enough, and like I said I've been a Stihl guy essentially my whole life. Bigger fill holes than the 355 which tells me Echo is listening to their customers. Never been a fan of the diagonal handlebar design, but soon discovered that it actually facilitated snapping into my Vault without even needing a lanyard. Climbed with it yesterday and truly couldn't tell if it was on my hip without looking. What dark sorcery is this Echo? I love it so far.

Summary: Stihl makes great stuff, but increasingly so do others. In my market (and in my opinion) Stihl seems to have gotten too big for their britches. Opened the door for their competition and I'm glad they did. Time will tell if they're durable, but I have faith. (They're Japanese after all!)
 

CanadianStan

Well-Known Member
Until a few weeks ago I would have scoffed at anyone who favorably compared Echo to Stihl. Stihl seems to have a real stranglehold on the industry. Our company had run Stihl exclusively for about 30 years, and would swear by them. All their pro saws are well built and, most importantly, reliable and durable.

We have bought all our saws from a local small dealer for many decades as well. Good guys, family business. Recently Stihl decided that they (the dealer) weren't moving enough product and pulled their line. So Echo swooped in and was happy to offer their stuff. We decided to give them a try since the next closest Stihl dealer is about a half hour away and a bit pricey on service.

Recently bought an Echo 355t and a 2511t. Gotta admit I was probably the perfect customer since I have run MS192 and 193t for about 15 years and never sprung for the 200/201t. So you can imagine how happy I have ben with the 355t. It is noticeably heavier than the 193, but the power difference is remarkable. And it's roughly half the price of the 201t. Like most folks I have the usual complaint about the small fuel and oil fill holes, and also the lack of a transparent fuel tank. Can't overstate the importance of knowing your fuel level at a glance. If you've ever run out of gas halfway through the backcut on a big top you'll know why. Other than that the 355t has been eye opening.

Then we got a 2511t. Everyone who has held it says the same thing: It looks and feels like a toy. But it isn't. The older I get the more I appreciate light weight tools that are still capable. This saw is seriously amazing. Like a Silky with a trigger. Here's a pic of the two saws together. Not sure most guys appreciate just how tiny the 2511 is. Keep in mind the the 355t is not particularly large:


View attachment 55064

I can't praise this saw enough, and like I said I've been a Stihl guy essentially my whole life. Bigger fill holes than the 355 which tells me Echo is listening to their customers. Never been a fan of the diagonal handlebar design, but soon discovered that it actually facilitated snapping into my Vault without even needing a lanyard. Climbed with it yesterday and truly couldn't tell if it was on my hip without looking. What dark sorcery is this Echo? I love it so far.

Summary: Stihl makes great stuff, but increasingly so do others. In my market (and in my opinion) Stihl seems to have gotten too big for their britches. Opened the door for their competition and I'm glad they did. Time will tell if they're durable, but I have faith. (They're Japanese after all!)
I got to handle a 2511 at a local saw dealer and My initial impression was “I can’t be trusted with this toy.” It almost feels like 2-handing is ridiculous with it, “silky with a trigger” as you put it

I think I’ll get one when I get home though, $600 CAD with muffler mod already done
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
I know I'm bumping but upon seeing Jeff's setup, and how it's what I'm aiming-towards (and about 50-75% of the way towards) so, w/ time-passed, I would LOVE to hear current thoughts given these old posts!

That's the problem, right there... Brand Loyalty Blindness!

View attachment 37342

All I can say is, try an Echo. Most of my saws are Stihl but by the end of next year I believe it will be about half-and-half. Well, and the one Dolmar.
There are things that I think Stihl does better at, and things I think Echo does a little better at, but they're both fine saws in my opinion.
I've only ever owned one Husqvarna saw... years ago. Never was my favorite saw, but it most certainly was not a "piece of shit"... it was a very good saw. I just like the Stihl saws better. And lately, I'm finding that I like most of the Echo saws, too. There are certain Stihl models that you'll never see in my garage. I wouldn't call them shit, but they aren't up to my standards for a work saw. I definitely know what you're talking about, the way people badmouth an entire brand because cousin Bubba had one that broke when he dropped it off the ladder onto concrete, and now all that company's products are suddenly a "piece of shit" henceforth.

[pic is of most recent saw purchases on saw cleaning day]
WOWZERS beautiful collection!! I've got the ppt-266 for pole-saw and, from left-to-right, I have/need:
- big saws: my 42cc/18" is my biggest, and only other rear-handle is 35cc poulan 16"..
- climbing: 25cc/12" ebay saw (still great @1yr!), 32cc/14" Tanaka, 36cc/16" Echo 355t

If I'm not mistaken from the photo, your 3 climb saws are 200/201t, 150t and echo 271t (dunno why I'd had you as a 360t advocate in my head, am mistaking users I think :p ) I would love to know what you're using now, why you're using what you are, anything you could share! I'd gotten crappier 25cc&32cc climb saws but finally got an echo 355t (which is amazing!!) and plan to get a 2511 or, hopefully, its lithium-equivalent (echo has released it already!) for use as a main/lightweight saw. In hindsight though, I wish I'd just gone w/ a 2511 for main use, and a 355t for big stuff (and of course a PPT pole saw, my 266 has a magnesium case and starts easier than anything I've ever owned, am almost done repairing its broken drive-shaft :censored:

Have always found your gear, posts, advice etc to be spot-on so when I saw your "arsenal" was of a similar type to what I'm aiming at (a >60cc echo rear-handle is likely next-purchase), and time had gone by, figured it'd be awesome to hear your current thoughts, honestly anything you can share here is greatly appreciated :D


I started using all stihl when I first started probably cause everyone else I knew was over the years I've switched ground saws to huskys and some stihl. Climbing saws have always been 200t's and now I run a modded 150 which I love and use 90% of the time when I'm in a tree. I've heard good reviews on the Echo 355t so I pulled the trigger and just ordered one from sherrill tree $349 shipped can't really go to wrong there. Will be here tomorrow so it'll be my first echo to date.
Same as my thoughts towards Jeff- could you update on your purchases, and what you use now&why? The 355 isn't comparable to a 150, it'd be competitive towards a 200/201(stock, not looking to argue this one!) The 2511t would be echo's answer to the 150t. I'd say a 355t for your 16"(or a 201 or a 540xp), and a 150t(or 2511t) for 12" or 14" 'regular-duty' usage, is about as optimal as you can get. IMO there's no "best saw", it's a "tool-for-the-job" type thing, and aiming for a "best top-handle" is a faulty premise, the optimal should be at least "a big & a small" climb saw (or more, lol! I know sometimes saws go down, hell sometimes I'll swap just due to heat or running a saw too-hard, it's nice&convenient having extra saws on-site: I know a local company, no idea how he survives lol but he has 1 top-handle(t435) and 1 ~50cc ground saw, the top-handle is taped&beaten and I know for fact it's gone down on jobs and had him using his rear-handle all through a tree!)


I only run the Stihl Professional Series saws, so I would be comparing to whatever Echo considers professional saws. I don't know if Echo actually has saws they consider professional or homeowner. If they do it is not as clear-cut as Stihl.
How does Stihl achieve this? When I was looking at their top-handles, it was basically 3 offerings a high-30cc's, low 30cc's and mid-20's....I'd gotten a 194t, their mid-range power top-handle, which was definitely not a pro saw (felt cheaper than anything I owned), unsure if the 201t is one but seems silly they'd just do a pro offering for "large climb-saw" and none for "small/regular climb saw" (of note is that it's the opposite w/ Echo, they do in fact have a pro series "X", but the 355t is not a pro saw while the 2511 is - look at its labelling and see the X, that's Echo's version of Husqvrn's "XP", w/ Stihl - you say it's clear-cut - w/ Stihl I'm uncertain how to tell how they're categorizing pro/non-pro saws..
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Until a few weeks ago I would have scoffed at anyone who favorably compared Echo to Stihl. Stihl seems to have a real stranglehold on the industry. Our company had run Stihl exclusively for about 30 years, and would swear by them. All their pro saws are well built and, most importantly, reliable and durable.

We have bought all our saws from a local small dealer for many decades as well. Good guys, family business. Recently Stihl decided that they (the dealer) weren't moving enough product and pulled their line. So Echo swooped in and was happy to offer their stuff. We decided to give them a try since the next closest Stihl dealer is about a half hour away and a bit pricey on service.

Recently bought an Echo 355t and a 2511t. Gotta admit I was probably the perfect customer since I have run MS192 and 193t for about 15 years and never sprung for the 200/201t. So you can imagine how happy I have ben with the 355t. It is noticeably heavier than the 193, but the power difference is remarkable. And it's roughly half the price of the 201t. Like most folks I have the usual complaint about the small fuel and oil fill holes, and also the lack of a transparent fuel tank. Can't overstate the importance of knowing your fuel level at a glance. If you've ever run out of gas halfway through the backcut on a big top you'll know why. Other than that the 355t has been eye opening.

Then we got a 2511t. Everyone who has held it says the same thing: It looks and feels like a toy. But it isn't. The older I get the more I appreciate light weight tools that are still capable. This saw is seriously amazing. Like a Silky with a trigger. Here's a pic of the two saws together. Not sure most guys appreciate just how tiny the 2511 is. Keep in mind the the 355t is not particularly large:


View attachment 55064

I can't praise this saw enough, and like I said I've been a Stihl guy essentially my whole life. Bigger fill holes than the 355 which tells me Echo is listening to their customers. Never been a fan of the diagonal handlebar design, but soon discovered that it actually facilitated snapping into my Vault without even needing a lanyard. Climbed with it yesterday and truly couldn't tell if it was on my hip without looking. What dark sorcery is this Echo? I love it so far.

Summary: Stihl makes great stuff, but increasingly so do others. In my market (and in my opinion) Stihl seems to have gotten too big for their britches. Opened the door for their competition and I'm glad they did. Time will tell if they're durable, but I have faith. (They're Japanese after all!)
WOW awesome post!! Yeah I've found scores & scores of "I'd had 200's/201's but then..." anecdotes, glad to see you got that combo I saved the pic actually LOL as that is my dream-combo (just got the 355, can't splurge on another 'extra saw' so soon :p )

Could I ask what %% of time you're using the 2511 versus the 355? 75/25? Would imagine I'd have a 14" on my 2511, mod it, and rely on it for almost everything til I was chunking the main stem..

Great photo/write-up, would LOVE to hear you current thoughts (and setup!) a couple years down the road now :D
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
My 201 is still running great, and I do use it... but the Echo 271 gets a lot more use. The 150 is my favorite, when it is running right. Problem is, it's very temperamental and needs to be retuned whenever the weather changes.

I'm seriously thinking about replacing the 150 with the Echo 2511 by the end of this summer.

I still use the 261C-MQ saws (I have two of them) for everything that isn't bigger than 18" diameter. They always start and run great, despite the weather, and auto tune themselves effortlessly. I've never felt that I needed anything bigger with a 20" bar. They do require a very sharp chain on them if you want good performance in hardwoods, so I have about a dozen chains on hand and will swap it out if the saw seems to be slowing down in the cut.

Lately, I'm seeing so many Echo saws used by tree services, I think their popularity is going up. They're priced right, and perform great. That PPT of mine, by the way, is still smoking along. I absolutely love that thing. It and the 271T saws are absolutely the most reliable starting/running saws I own when it gets really cold, or really hot outside.
 

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