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
Location
Tampa-Area
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
Location
Tampa-Area
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.
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
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.
So much awesomeness in 1 post (as usual ;) ), thanks a ton :)

Some Q's if you've got a minute:
-what bar size(s) do you run?
- did you mean you don't see need for >20" b&c, or for >20" on that particular saw?

I ask these q's because I've begun "seeing a paradigm" for myself & my 'arsenal'....I see "climb saws" as something I want 2 of, a 'small' and a 'large' (25cc/10 or 12" and 35cc+ with 16" for when the small one isn't sufficient), before counting backups (my new 355 leaves me w/ that and "extra" 32cc/14" so I can swap about while working if something's cooking, maybe it's being in FL or maybe it was pushing the unit but my 355 gets so hot so quick) Would consider a 2511+355 to be an "optimal" climbing-setup, if not considering lithium. [note- my 355's 14" setup was heavier than my 16" Oregon Versacut setup so I figured swapping it in was a no-brainer, still can't figure why Oregon's 16" would beat Echo's 14", I guess the 14" must be tougher?]

For the ground...my biggest saw is still my trusty 42cc poulan-pro, older but reliable (still noticeably out-performs the 355, even though it's pulling a bigger chain) Has covered me for everything I've needed so far but cannot drop the feeling I 'need' a 60+cc, 22"+ machine for felling larger stuff (have decided I'll just buy one when I need it and pay for it w/ that job :p )

The ppt266...what a frickin' beauty!! Unsure if you saw my older thread, mine was (like my 32cc climb saw) received as broken/totalled, I only had to buy a coupler-cuff ($35) and I've got it working, am not using it yet because my intention is to go (today) and get an aluminum pipe as an "outer-overlay" so it doesn't snap again, will use the old/snapped cuff's halves as "spacers" on the fiberglass post and grind an alum pipe in-halves, lengthwise, and use wire-clamps or something to "bind it up" so it is diesel...thing already weighs a ton so figured I'd rather it be stronger even if it was ugly-as-sin and heavy-as-hell :p
19700126_080737.jpg

Maybe not ^that high-up the pole, uncertain...about to head to the hardware store for supplies then it'll be grinding all afternoon, hopefully it's not too hideous lol will try and remember to grab spray paint Probably 3+ wire-clamps, or something stronger am not certain what's available so going to Ace for 1st stop to hopefully get a very tight-fitting pipe (note the handle mounted higher-up on the fiberglass handle....it's just kinda dangling from a pair of wire-clamps on the pole, once I've got it 'in real use' I figured that may force better handling-habits, do you think a handle like that would work or be cumbersome?) LOL that new cuff takes T27 and I used T25 like a moron so 1 of those screws is stripped/stuck in the *new* cuff! Going to buy new t27's while out and, w/ the thinnest cut-off wheel, carve a flathead-slot in my stripped screw to hopefully get it out that way, otherwise it'll be an ugly "grind it in-half, then drill-out the threaded portion" ugh this unit has seen enough drills/machinery had to pledge a stupid amount of work to a neighbor to use their drill-press when reconfiguring the driveshaft//coupler-bearing assembly!

[edited-to-add: I still can't find reason why a sawzall isn't of use, I remember being roundly chastized (or felt like it!) for bringing it up with me but honestly I've had entire jobs where I did nothing besides scooting around an Oak pulling Spanish Moss clumps and knocking-off lil sucker-growth, maybe knock-down an occasional 1-2" dead(or living) branch, the trusty lithium sawzall still has a belt-loop DIY'd to its handle ;D If nothing else you can 1-hand reach like crazy w/ it, can 'grab' clumps of moss & vines...maybe it's a FL thing :p ]
 
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JeffGu

Well-Known Member
I'm not real keen on putting bars on chainsaws that are longer than the OEM thinks it will pull effectively, so the 20" bars on the 261 saws, although aftermarket, are the same length as the originals. Most of the time, I don't need anything bigger until I get down into the trunk wood. We don't have a lot of huge trees on the prairie.

I use a reciprocating saw to cut tree roots, because the blade isn't trashed from running it in the dirt. If you run one side by side with a small chainsaw for about 30 seconds you'll figure out why they're not good for delimbing. They cut much slower and the vibration will leave you blistered in no time at all, even with gloves on. Not a problem if you're just going to whack a few little things off, but a small saw like the Stihl 150 or Echo 2511 will do that all day long at about ten times the speed.
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
I'm not real keen on putting bars on chainsaws that are longer than the OEM thinks it will pull effectively, so the 20" bars on the 261 saws, although aftermarket, are the same length as the originals. Most of the time, I don't need anything bigger until I get down into the trunk wood. We don't have a lot of huge trees on the prairie.

I use a reciprocating saw to cut tree roots, because the blade isn't trashed from running it in the dirt. If you run one side by side with a small chainsaw for about 30 seconds you'll figure out why they're not good for delimbing. They cut much slower and the vibration will leave you blistered in no time at all, even with gloves on. Not a problem if you're just going to whack a few little things off, but a small saw like the Stihl 150 or Echo 2511 will do that all day long at about ten times the speed.
Oh ok gotcha- your big saw in the pic looked over 20" to me :p I've taken down some sizeable stuff w/ my 18" doing '2 sides' approach..

And yes absolutely for roots I forgot about that, hell sometimes for larger stuff's ground-level cuts (like severing a ground-level buttress b4 felling something) but yeah you're not going far, it's a tool-for-the-job thing, I keep a Stihl (not Silky, am told there is big difference?) hand-saw I carry anytime I go up and the sawzall isn't 'replacing' it it's just sometimes a better option(not often/majority, by any means!), 95% of the time a 25cc w/ 12" of sharp-chain (esp w/ short rakers!) is plenty for anything I'm trying to do and most of the other stuff needs a bigger saw not a sawzall, but I still find a place for it. Think the rapid&numerous 'sucker growth' may be more exaggerated here in FL which, combined w/ our vineage, makes for more circumstances where I'm finding these niche cases where my sawzall is totally the tool of the day and I never start a saw...have only had a few times where it was the day but plenty of cases, would never show to a job w/o one of all the necessary tools, minimum :)
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
My big saw, I have 28" and 32" bars for, which usually covers me for getting the spar to the ground. There's been times when I wish had something with a 48" or so bar, but usually I can get stuff down with a little more work and the 32" bar. I only see those trunks over 30" DBH every blue moon, so I don't want to spend a bunch of money on an even bigger saw with a longer bar. Besides, I'm not sure I can do this work for too much longer.

Some of these guys live where a 6' diameter trunk is just a twig. I'm too lazy to sharpen chains that long, and I prefer to stay down low where there is still oxygen and no vultures flying around.
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
My big saw, I have 28" and 32" bars for, which usually covers me for getting the spar to the ground. There's been times when I wish had something with a 48" or so bar, but usually I can get stuff down with a little more work and the 32" bar. I only see those trunks over 30" DBH every blue moon, so I don't want to spend a bunch of money on an even bigger saw with a longer bar. Besides, I'm not sure I can do this work for too much longer.

Some of these guys live where a 6' diameter trunk is just a twig. I'm too lazy to sharpen chains that long, and I prefer to stay down low where there is still oxygen and no vultures flying around.
How many cc's for your big saw? Yeah I'm definitely not from one of those places, my 12" does the lion's-share of my work, but most of my saws are climb saws / only have one solid ground-saw the modded PP4218 42cc/18", it is great I love it for what it is (and would happily put a 20" on it -- honestly have been thinking it's worthwhile to put a 20" skip / non-safety chain on it, thing is a beast w/ safety chain in fact I don't feed that one new chains like my climb saws I just sharpen it now & then since it gets such little use)
Feeling like 60cc, or some 60-something-cc's, at least, could be a good option...dunno, am eager to hear your largest cc because your arsenal, and how you speak of things, makes me think your average work sites are more comparable mine than not.

Re age....would love to hear anything you can tell me on that!! On one hand I know the adage of "climbing is for young people", I'm mid-30's and just getting underway in it and honestly between sports & physical work I can already feel my body aging lol...climbing/cutting has quite literally influenced how I look at health in fact I've had periods where I wasn't getting enough climbs and felt a need to go jog and think it's generally been making me try to stay more 'tree ready' (stretching more is another)

The PPT repair is coming along hilariously-great, probably added almost 5lbs or will-have by tomorrow I had to let some epoxy sit before I can reassemble it but it's "done" right now, I'll definitely shorten the aluminum "outer reinforcing sleeve" (2" galvanized conduit, had to buy 10' so will surely be making at least 1 more 'final' version of this) My pole's fiberglass, right at its base where it sits in the coupler/cuff, is all in horrible shape so it'd pop right back out w/o this reinforcement but honestly I look at the design and think how do any of them *not* break? They are not light units and the forces on that juncture....and it's only what 2" (at best) of fiberglass-post seated in a metal cuff, combined w/ drive-shaft-rigidity, to keep it from a snap? I didn't break this unit myself, but expect I would've broken one in this manner if I'd had it, just maneuvering it is a pain that thing is tall am so pumped tomorrow it should be 'in service' although I don't have any gigs tomorrow so just backyard testing :D
 
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