Compare Stihl, Husqvarna, and ECHO Chainsaws
Stihl, ECHO, and Husqvarna are the three big players in the chainsaw market. Each chooses to focus on slightly different groups of people and thus they have different chainsaws with different features. In the sections below are breakdowns of what you can expect from each brand and some recommendations on what you might want to buy for each. All three brands make excellent saws and you really can't go wrong with buying one, but you can ensure you get the right saw for your needs.
The information from this article comes compliments of the Chainsaw For Sale website.
Stihl has been the more responsive of the three companies to consumer demands. They realize that most professionals already have their favorite brand and it will be tough to move them. Stihl holds a large portion of the professional tree service and logging industry, but they know there is a huge consumer market.
The average consumer isn't quite as concerned with the comparisons of durability and maintenance when comparing chainsaws. Instead they focus on price, power, and features. Stihl delivers on all three categories by offering simple to operate chainsaws that offer good power and have the features that consumers are looking for. Features like the Easy2Start™ system that removed the intimidation of trying to start a chainsaw.
Overall, Stihl is the brand I most commonly recommend for home use. The only thing that you will have to remember when buying a Stihl is that they are NOT available at stores like Home Depot and you will have to go to a power equipment dealer to find one.
This is the saw I recommend to the people on acreages that need to cut down and buck trees more frequently or whom need to cut firewood on a frequent basis. The ECHO and the Stihl chainsaws are great at this too and I would equally recommend them, but if people ask me who buys a Husqvarna, I say it is mainly for folks that know their way around a chainsaw and that want to use it a lot.
In terms of the average home owner, I would not recommend these saws because they don't have a lot of the features that are good for people expecting to use the saw only once or twice a year.
If you are looking at using your chainsaw a lot and like working with chainsaws I recommend the 400 lineup, especially the 450 and 460 rancher.
ECHO ends up falling in between Husqvarna and Stihl in most respects. They offer simple, solid, effective chainsaws that do the job. They have a lot of the features you see on the Stihl saws, but not quite as many. They have the power and durability of the Husqvarna and you see plenty of ECHOs in the hands of tree service professionals.
ECHOs have great engines and internal components and are very dependable saws. Perhaps this is traced back to their Japanese heritage. In terms of polesaws they are top of the line and very highly recommended.