Rated 3.1 out of 5 by 119
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by scientists Excellent Saw, great price
If you're like me, you read the reviews and notice the distinctive "U" shape: Lots of 5's, and a troubling number of 1's, which may imply a "lemon" problem or an operator issue. Knowing 2-stroke engines and saws, I took a chance.
I hate buying "cheap" tools and I despise overpaying for a good one. The first thing I checked is where it is made. Made in the USA, and owned (now) by Husquverna. I've had few US/Japan/German products that have minor QC issues or rough finish, but never junk. The same cannot be said of products from China/India. This was my primary motivation for giving this one a shot. There were three general issues I saw in the negative reviews, which I address more below:
* Running, idling, and bogging issues: This implies tuning issues, though mine worked perfectly out of the box. It idles smoothly and revs cleanly after a brief warmup. No issues starting warm or cold. I was cutting through a 14" log within minutes of filling. I was switching between a Stihl and this saw, and honestly this saw was starting on one pull, and the Stihl needed about 3. (In all fairness, the 50:1 gas for the Stihl was a little more stale than the fresh 40:1 I bought for this saw)
* Chain (low quality, a few reports of jumping): This is a low quality chain, which is easily mitigated by a $20 Oregon chain, or better yet, an Oregon $50 Pro-Lite chain/bar combo. Chains stretch, and cheap chains stretch even more. You MUST tighten this chain after 30-40 minutes, whereas higher quality chains are pre-streched. After break-in, it was throwing chips.
* Bar oil leaking and over-oiling. There's some truth to heavy oiling, but this is not bad. The correct amount of oil is highly wood-dependent (eg: wet woods tend to wash the oil off), and I'd rather have too much than too little oil. High quality bar oil is $10/gallon. Bar/chain damage is more expensive.
* Minor issues in the other reviews: Stuff loosening (Not on mine. Opposite: everything was very gorilla tight).
I also own Stihl. While I do not currently own another comparible class saw to this one, I can make some general observations. Stihl makes their own high quality bars and chains, I think sometimes to force you to go back to the STIHL dealer to get parts, at a greater cost. Their chain offerings are confusing, to say the least.
I purchased a Pro-Lite Oregon bar and chain combo for this PoulanPro saw, because the reviews said that the chain was rather cheap (yep!), and there were a few reports of chains jumping. This added $50 to the cost, but the bar/chain is where the rubber meets the road, so quality is most important here. They are correct: the chain is junky, but does cut (no jumping at all if adjusted properly). It throws smaller chips, and is only able to bog the motor down with high bumper spike pressure. I'm betting the Oregon chain will make it work harder, but I have not yet tried. I'm still trying to burn up the factory bar/chain.
* What are you getting with a Stihl that this saw doesn't have?
1). Mostly, the dealer. When I buy a Stihl, the dealer takes me out back, fires it up, shows me a bunch of features and such, and makes sure that saw is running like a swiss watch. If not, he takes it inside and tweaks it. With PoulanPro, it comes in a box. If you're making money with the saw, the time YOU spend tweaking it is time you could have spent revenueing, so the Stihl premium may pay for itself.
2). The ergonomics on my Stihl are second to none-- Well balanced with all the controls in the right places.
3). Power to weight. Ironically, the "plastic" that people complain about on a cheap saw is even more prevalent on the expensive one, which is how they make it lightweight. My Stihl is light for the power it produces, but all the plastic does give the Stihl a (false) aura of cheap.
4). As mentioned above, a quality bar and chain, but this is easily swapped.
I don't see a major difference in the two brands to indicate one will outlast the other. As others have mentioned, many parts on the PoulanPro are Husquverna parts. The difference is in the dealer experience and the "feel" of the unit. My Stihl is not without problems. For example, the oiler on my Stihl clogs often and generally under-oils on many woods. The dealer says it's normal for certain wood, but it's annoying to stop and clean the bar and/or carry an oil can to manually douse the chain. Reviews of the PoulanPro claim the opposite problem: overoiling. Bar oil is cheap-- I prefer overoiling to underoiling. (I miss the extra manual oilers!)
Are these things worth the extra money? If you use it professionally, having a dealer there to hold your hand may be. If you use it every day, the ergonomics and slightly lighter weight may be important. Given that I could buy three of these for what I paid for a Stihl, the Stihl would not have been the right "investment" for me. The main cost difference is for the dealer. Some people routinely drop $150 on the Stihl dealer for a tuneup (almost the cost of this PoulanPro saw!). If you're making money with it, that service might be worth the time savings. I prefer to spend some "quality time" with my saw in the evening and do it myself. Also, routine maintenance parts for this saw are very reasonably priced and widely available, unlike Stihl.
I won't be getting rid of my Stihls-- They are great saws. But for the money, I won't be parting with this PoulanPro either. The case is nice, and they included 3 oz of 2-stroke oil. Stihls just came with a bar scabbord.
In summary: If you cut a lot of wood, but are not mechanically inclined, then the Stihl dealer will take good care of you for a price. But if you work on your own saws, and you replace the bar/chain with a quality set, you'll be very happy with this Poulan at 1/3 the cost. This is a serious, well-built saw at an incredible value.
April 28, 2015
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by BuckheadBob Look for another brand
Purchaced this saw in the spring of 2014 and used it to cut up a fallen limb.(about an hour) It was not used again until this spring and the starter cord recoil failed on the first pull. My son worked with it and got it running long enough to cut up a fallen tree. Now the start cord will not return, again.
I'm getting too old fight poor material and engineering like this.
October 8, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by danw1 works great for a homeowner
I bought this saw yesterday and I cut a tree into pieces with ease. I'm not sure about the long term but if you have a downed tree you need to make it to fire wood this is the saw for you.
May 11, 2015
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by tlawoodchucker25 the clutch got stuck
Brought home from store and start to use this afternoon and the saw keep smoking after it got started..
at first I thought was just cold eng. prob but after few min the smoking is coming out inside the chain clutch area.. I opened the chain cover and notice the chain is set at too high of rpm to began with the inside clutch is touching the fly wheel without even setting in the chain in clutch . very disappointed with this machine didn't even cut anything and made the whole afternoon wasted. Will take this saw back to store. sorry
September 7, 2015
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by tlawoodchucker hard to start
this saw is tricky to use. it takes some expertise to start the engine . the price is good that's why I bought it. however when starting the engine the instruction says to prime the gas bulb 6 x it always flooded my engine and ended up wont start at all. Also after the engine started you have to make sure you turn down the throttle or else the machine may over heat and you may have problem with the clutch because it is overheated. Above all , it is powerful once started but it is just too much to handle on the starting issue. I would recommend for novice . I had return this saw about 3 times and finally got the hang of it starting engine
September 29, 2015
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by Bonafide They Don't Make Them Like They Use To!
I too have been using chainsaws over the last 30+ years. This saw defiantly needs TLC when in use. The saw is a little heavy for cuts above your shoulders. So use caution. The body to me feels a little cheap and loose. I believe the reason for this is to absorb the vibration of the saw. I too, had trouble getting the saw to run after a couple hours of use. Turns out that if you run out of bar chain oil, the saw shuts down or won’t start. Need to check the documentation to see if that is a true statement. Ever since this little discovery, I have been able to keep it running. It is a average chain saw for me. You get what you pay for i guess.
Any saw of substance, I would plan on paying 300+
August 24, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Woodtick Great cutting saw
I've had this saw since March of this year and have cut down about 20 trees with it and it just keeps going!!!! It's easy to start and maintain. Don't forget to get carb adjusted after the first few hours of use though!!. I cut nothing but hardwood with this saw and as long a you keep a sharp chain on it, it will do what it is supposed to do--CUT WOOD!! The price was right and it is made by Husqvarna.
October 22, 2014
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by SouthJersey Good saw, minor quality control issue.
I spent a great deal of time reading the good and bad reviews, and being mechanically knowledgeable and on a tight budget I decided to go ahead and buy this saw.
Sure enough, right out of the box it wouldn't start or run at all. A few coughs, pops and backfires was all I got after 20 minutes of trying. Before admitting defeat and returning it however, I thought I owed it at least an equal amount of time in basic troubleshooting as I did cursing and grumbling.
Two stroke motors are simple- they need only spark, air, fuel and compression to run. Pulling the plug told me it had fuel as it was wet. A quick pull on the starter with the plug out and grounded on the head showed me a weak and intermittent spark. Additionally, backfiring on engines is almost always attributable to spark or timing issues. I decided to pull the starter cover off and have a peek at the ignition coil and flywheel.
Once the yellow outer cover is removed (4 screws), there is a black plastic shroud that sits behind it, around the flywheel and over the coil. Upon lifting that off, I immediately saw a wire coming from the coil pinched by that cover against a ground wire also coming from the coil and connected to the kill switch. Closer inspection revealed that the insulation of the wire was cut and that it was grounding out on the other connector, essentially applying the kill switch periodically. I separated the two wires sufficiently enough to allow me to add a rubber insulator around the damaged wire, put it all back together and guess what- that baby fired right up on the very first pull!
I ran a tank of fuel through it (32:1- the instructions suggest 40:1 but that isn't enough oil for breaking in a new motor) and it ran almost perfect- just a slight bog when whacking the throttle wide open from idle. I decided that it was a bit lean on the bottom (low speed); so when I stopped to re-fuel, re-oil and adjust the chain, I used some forceps to reach in and open the low speed mixture screw about a quarter turn. I also noticed that the air filter was hardly sealed to the manifold- add some grease to the groove around the filter plastic so it seals to the plastic manifold attached to the carb.
Fired up first pull again after these tweaks and sitting for about 30 mins- it's good to heat cycle a motor when breaking it in. Ran much much better- perfectly as far as I am concerned- for two more tanks of fuel.
I am very happy with this saw- having owned nothing but worn out, under powered second-hand saws up until now, it is wonderful to have a saw a new and as powerful as this one. There is no doubt some quality control issues and for anyone not mechanically experienced, it would have been a deal breaker and a one star review. Hopefully this review helps someone get theirs running right without returning it and getting frustrated like so many others! Another interesting fact- all of the major components are stamped with the Husqvarna "H" (muffler, clutch cover, carb manifold, etc).
January 20, 2015