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I live in an area that has a lot of old pines and a lot of wind, so I find I'm having to clear downed trees every few months. I've found that an 18" saw is sufficient for most jobs.

I've owned a number of chainsaws. Each time I've purchased a new saw I've gone up in price hoping for better results, but without fail, after a season or two, it takes so long to get the saw running, I often give up and do the work with a bow saw instead.

I understand the normal maintenance of two cycle engines. I have a lot of other yard equipment that I keep operational. For some reason, chainsaws seem "special".

I am interested in purchasing yet another chainsaw, but this time I want to get some advice from other chainsaw owners.

What I am looking for is an 18" saw that will start and run reliably for many years. I have a life, so I don't want something I have to work on regularly to keep running. I am more concerned about long term reliability than price. Maybe I'd like to find something for under $300.

Ok. I'm not asking anyone to do any research for me. I'm doing the normal stuff you do to check out products. I've got access to consumer reports.

I would like recommendations from real chainsaw owners. Just make and model.

Thanks

  • Have you considered switching to an electric model? – DA. Mar 11 '13 at 7:53
  • @DA Yes, I have a 16" electric. It was inexpensive and it has been very reliable. It just doesn't cut it for anything more than a few hundred feet from my home. – B Z Mar 12 '13 at 22:59
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I think make and model matter less than care & feeding. I have a cheap Husqvarna and a used Jonesered that was fairly expensive when it was new. Neither of them will start reliably if they aren't taken care of, but they are both easy to start when well maintained.

Chainsaws are "special" in that they seem to need more maintenance than other 2-cycle equipment. The saw generates a lot of dust, and the dust+bar oil combination gets gunked up around the engine.

Since you're familiar with keeping equipment running smoothly, I'm sure you know some of these things, but here's what I do to keep my saw in good shape:

  • Keep the saw sharp so that it is not making so much fine dust. The bigger chunks of sawdust from a sharp saw don't seem to gum up the works as quickly.
  • Use fresh gas.
  • Make sure your gas:oil mix is correct and that the oil is well mixed-in.
  • Frequently (as often as daily if you do a lot of cutting) pull off the cover, clean out the air filter, make sure everything is clean around the air intake, check the spark plug.
  • If it is hard to start, do the cleaning mentioned above. Sometimes I get lazy and skip a couple of cleanings and then pay for it later when I try to start and it won't cooperate; after a good cleaning it is like night and day.
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I have a 18" Poulan, and it was my grandfathers, I guess it is 15 years old... last year I bought a new gas cap, plug, bar and chain, so 45 bucks for what now runs like a brand new saw was a great purchase.

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Ok, so the answer seems to be...

Take better care of the chainsaw and the manufacturer won't matter. I suppose the is possibly true for the typical home owner. Professional users seem to use particular makes and models. I assume they do this for a reason.

In any case, I'll go back over the chainsaw I currently own, which ran OK for 1 season and then never started again, and see if I can make it happy. This could save me some money if it works, so it seems worth a shot.

Thanks for the feedback.

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How long are you storing your chainsaw fuel? My saw refuses to start if it has been more than 2 weeks since I mixed the oil and gasoline. Shaking up the fuel before use does not make any difference. So, I always dump out all the remaining fuel before putting the chainsaw away. That way I am always starting on fresh fuel.

Gasoline blended with ethanol seems to have an even shorter shelf life. Stabil, sea foam or other fuel stabilizer can extend the fuel life out to a month or so.

I have taken to buying fresh chainsaw gas in 1/2 gallon quantities. Any that that is not used within a month goes in into the lawnmower. (I swear old that old thing will run on swamp water :)

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I think you need to store your saw properly. By doing so, you will get a working saw every time you want.

Drain tank, run it dry, I usually wait for it to sputter, then choke it to get last drops.

Putting several drops of chainsaw oil in cylinder and crank it a few times will help super long storage.

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