Echo Vs. Stihl Chainsaw (A Complete Comparison)

If you are in the process of buying a chainsaw and are in two minds when having to choose between an Echo or a Stihl model, you are not alone. Many a man has faced the same dilemma. Luckily selecting any of the brands will result in you owning an excellent tree-cutting machine. A choice has to be made, so let us compare these two chainsaw powerhouses.

Echo’s chainsaws are powerful, lightweight, and geared towards easy-to-use functionality. Stihl’s chainsaws parts are manufactured in-house, and they have a wider range of models (gas-powered, electric, and battery) than Echo. Stihl has the upper hand when it comes to special features in their models.

When comparing these two chainsaw manufacturers, it’s important to note that both create outstanding products. One manufacturer may be deemed better than the other through innovative designs incorporated in their products or a simple feature that the other one lacks. A known fact is that both an Echo, and a Stihl chainsaw, are very capable of cutting through wood. Let’s find out which one does it a little better.

echo vs stihl chainsaw

Echo Vs. Stihl Chainsaw

Echo and Stihl’s chainsaws are both heavyweights in the cutting industry. The following comparisons will measure them against each other in a pound-for-pound fashion. Exposing each manufacturer’s weaknesses and also highlighting their strengths. Let’s get ready to rumble!

Fighting out of the blue corner is Echo, a company owned and run by the Yamabiko Corporation in Japan. Echo is a well-established brand, and the company has been operating for more than four decades. Echo was chosen as the name for its products in 1978, whereafter they started to manufacture chainsaws. Echo’s general features make for impressive reading.

Fighting out of the red corner is Stihl, founded in 1926 by a chainsaw innovator Andreas Stihl. Stihl’s headquarters is situated in Waiblingen, Germany, and the company is known for being the only chainsaw manufacturer that makes its chains and guide bars themselves. The list of Stihl’s chainsaw features is a list of beauty.

Just like any heavyweight fight, there will be a deep analysis of the fighter’s skillset and attributes, as well as perceived weaknesses. Usually, after the comparisons, a punter will place his bet, having a picture in his mind of how the fight will play out. Let us find out who you’re going to put your money on.


Echo sells its chainsaws via large home-improvement companies such as Home Depot and also through a wide variety of independent dealers, making it very easy to find an Echo chainsaw on the market.

Stihl, on the other hand, doesn’t sell their products in the stores of big home-improvement companies. You can purchase Stihl chainsaws through a network of independent retailers numbering around eight thousand stores in the United States.

Product Range

ProductsEcho Stihl 
Gas-Powered10+ Models30+ Models
Battery3 Models6 Models

Echo might not have the product range of Stihl, but they do offer a product in all the necessary categories when it comes to specific job requirements. Most of Echo’s product range is gas-powered two-stroke engine chainsaws.

Stihl opts for a wide variety of products that differs in power and function. Their wider range of products offers their clients specific chainsaws for specific job requirements. Stihl has a broader range of electric and battery-powered models, and these machines that do not require fuel could be the best option for people with a smaller yard.

Both manufacturers have the required range in their products that can do little things like pruning trees, cutting firewood, in-tree cutting, logging, and cutting down giant trees. Stihl manufactures special chainsaws for use in the emergency field called the MS 460 Rescue, a heavy-duty chainsaw.


Echo has a warranty on their products that range from 5-years for consumers to 1-year for commercially used products.

Stihl has a 1-year warranty for consumers on their chainsaws, while a 90-day commercial warranty is in place for commercial use.

Design And Build

Echo chainsaws are generally lighter in weight and design than similar Stihl models. Echo utilizes a Pro-Fire ignition system, which helps the machine achieve a complete power cycle in just two piston movements. The engine combusting internally reduces the chainsaw’s moving parts, making for a compact design while still producing a powerful cutting tool. 

Stihl chainsaws are a combination of German engineering partnered with superb American manufacturing. Stihl does not outsource materials required for making their chainsaws. Instead, they develop the manufacturing components in-house, leaving no room for error regarding perfect guide bars and saw chains. The extra weight on Stihl directly translates to the quality of the parts used.

For some job types, the extra weight may be a problem concerning maneuverability and stress on the body, but it could indicate that you are using the wrong chainsaw model. The general lightness of the Echo chainsaws makes them better tools for fallen trees and when you are working for long periods.

Automatic Chain Lubrication

Echo uses an automatic and adjustable oiling system that lubricates the chain automatically when the chain starts to move, helping to reduce friction, and can also be manually adjusted.

Stihl uses automatic oil pumps in its products. Whenever the engine reach a high enough speed that engages the chain, the pump will be activated, which takes the hassle out of engaging the oil pump manually. The oil flow to the chainsaws bar is automatically controlled.

Kickback Reduction

Echo incorporates additional technology that helps to minimize the risk of kickbacks from happening, like reduced kickback chains, reduced kickback bars, and the chain brake system. Echo’s chainsaw safety manual advised that you fit a kick guard, especially if you are new to the chainsaw world, that prevents all rotational kickback.

Stihl has kickback reduction parts, such as reduced kickback bars and low kickback chains in most of their models. Stihl’s chainsaw safety manual recommends that you use the chain brake (Quick Stop Plus feature) whenever a kickback scenario occurs.

The main difference in the features listed above is that Echo offers a kickback guard as an optional accessory which is safer. The problem with this safety measure is that not everyone will be pleased with the plastic guard that can accidentally hinder sawing operations.

Reducing Emissions

Echo has low emission models like the CS-621SX and generally maintains low levels of emissions. Compared to Stihl, constantly finding ways to reduce their machines’ emissions is not as high a priority as power output and functionality.

Stihl’s battery product line is lightweight, powerful, and much quieter than gas-powered chainsaws. These machines are available in three tiers of performance and produce zero exhaust emissions which are great for the environment. 

Stihl also produces corded electric equipment with the same quality, safety features, and performance as gas-powered models. The fuel-powered range of chainsaws emits emissions lower than EPA/CARB exhaust emission standards.


Similar Echo and Stihl products are similarly priced on the market. The unique features incorporated in the machine will usually lead to one being a little more expensive than the other. The variances in price are generally below the $100 mark.


Both Echo and Stihl chainsaws employ 2-stroke engines. However, they differ significantly in their durability and construction.

Echo chainsaw engines are preferable for their lightweight design. They are ideal for maneuverability, control, and use over an extended period of time.

On the other hand, Stihl chainsaws prioritize durability and strength. They sacrifice lightweight maneuverability to endure tough and (more often) professional jobs.

Chain-Tension Adjusting

Both Echo and Stihl chainsaws use a tool-less chain tension adjustment system which is known for its simplicity and user-friendliness. 

Where they differ is that Echo models utilize simple knobs or levers for straightforward adjustments, while Stihl chainsaws have the capability for more advanced settings. 

This makes Echo chainsaws perfect for beginners and Stihl for those after high-precision equipment when tackling more intensive tasks.

Air Filtration

Echo chainsaws have easy-to-use air filtration systems that can be removed and cleaned without much fuss. If you opt for a higher-end model, you can even score a multiple-stage filtration system perfect for dusty or debris-heavy conditions.

Stihl chainsaws offer a more comprehensive air filtration experience. 

For example, many models have an additional pre-separation feature that is ideal for extreme working environments. This gives the user a lot more control than Echo models when it comes to general maintenance and cleaning.

Anti-Vibration Systems

Stihl’s anti-vibration setup often features a four-point mounting system, while Echo models can vary. 

This allows Stihl products to provide the user with consistent control and additional stability for tougher tasks. Many Stihl chainsaws also come with a decompression valve to reduce the kickback from ignition.

It must be noted that Echo chainsaws still employ fantastic anti-vibration methods despite not having the four-point mounting system found with Stihl. 

For example, a key point of difference is in the handle design. Although it’s up to personal preference, the placement of cushioning and the shape of the handle must be considered when purchasing a chainsaw. 

When it comes to vibration dampening, some users prefer the ergonomics provided by Echo over Stihl.

Safety Features

While both models have your typical safety measures such as handguards and throttle lock systems, there are some distinct features.

For example, most echo chainsaws come with an anti-kickback chain to reduce the risk caused by a sudden backward jerk. 

Additional stopping power and stability are also provided by a dual post-chain brake that secures the chain from moving when you change position.

On the flip side, many Stihl products have a master control lever for a one-stop end to all operations. 

They also have a chain-catching feature that prevents it from dislodging and potentially hurting the user.

Fuel Efficiency

Echo chainsaws are inherently more efficient than most products by employing the 2-stroke engine instead of 4. The lightweight design also contributes to a more efficient working experience.

On the other hand, Stihl places greater emphasis on emission reduction. It uses 2-Mix technology to combine low exhaust emission and fuel consumption while still providing the user with lots of power. 

Some models even have an eco-speed mode and variable displacement feature that allows the engine to adjust power output and speed depending on the task.

Echo CS-490 Vs. Stihl MS-271

Time for the real fight to begin. Two engines that have the same power output are the Echo CS-490 and the Stihl MS-271. Both machines have a 2-stroke engine capable of a 50.2 CC power output. These machines make light work of tree pruning, cutting of firewood, and cutting down full-grown trees. Let us compare some of their features:

DescriptionEcho CS-490Stihl MS-271
Engine50.2 CC 2-Stroke Engine50.2 CC 2-Stroke Engine
Weight10.6 Pounds12.3 Pounds
Bar Size20’’18’’
Warranty5-Years Consumer Warranty
1-Year Commercial Warranty
1-Year Warranty
UsesTree Pruning
Cutting Firewood
Cutting Down
Full-Grown Trees
Tree Pruning
Cutting Firewood
Cutting Down Full-Grown Trees
FeaturesMinimal Vibrations
Great Cutting Power
Light On Fuel
ES-Start System
Reduces Emissions
Fantastic Fuel Efficiency
Pre-Separation Filtration
Easy2Start Starting
Non-Petroleum Oil And Lubricants
Kickback ProtectionYesYes
Chain Tension AdjustmentRequire Tensioning ToolsTool-Free Adjustment
Automatic Chain OilingYesYes

Echo CS-490 

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The machine is an excellent representation of what an Echo chainsaw will offer its buyer- a well-built device with a lot of power!  Thanks to the ES-Start System, the chainsaw has no problem starting quickly, almost as if it’s raring to go to work. The huge bar and chain make light work of thick wood and big trees.

The Echo CS-490 weighs only 10.6 pounds, making it the lightest chainsaw fitted with a 20” bar. It’s equipped with ergonomic handles that keep vibrations to a minimum, comfortable working with, and puts minor strain on the user when used for full-day use.

Despite being a potent machine, it is light on fuel (0.3 gallons per hour at maximum engine power). Its portability allows you to work in the most awkward conditions without losing control of the saw. One drawback is that replacement parts for the Echo CS-490 are on the expensive side

No products found.
  • weighs 10.6 pounds.
  • lightest chainsaw fitted with a 20” bar.
  • Svibrations to a minimum.
Check Price on

Stihl MS 271 Farm Boss 

No products found.

As usual, when it comes to quality, Stihl had produced a fine specimen of a chainsaw when they made the MS-271 Farm Boss. The machine’s weight is 12.3 pounds, a little heavier than the Echo CS-490, but this can be attributed to the fact that it is equipped with real quality parts. As its name suggests, the machine is a boss and has a list of features that the Echo CS-490 struggles to compete with.

This chainsaw’s added features make the time spent in the field or woods so much easier. Some of the features that stand out are the following:

  • Pre-Separation Filtration System: The system captures and expels dirt before it can even reach the air filter. Dirt and dust that blocks an air filter, or gets inside the engine, can diminish the power of the machine. This pre-separation filtration system allows you to do less cleaning and maintenance while working in the field (air filter can last up to five times longer because of the filtration system.)
  • Anti-Vibration System: Stihl keeps on renovating this patented technology from the ’50s with new positions and materials in their chainsaws.
  • Reduced Exhaust Emissions: Compared to the MS 270 model, Stihl has managed to cut exhaust emissions in half with the Farm Boss. Using various engine technologies that deliver low emissions and increased fuel efficiency, Stihl chainsaws emit emissions clearer than EPA/CARB exhaust emission standards.
  • Non-Petroleum Based Oils And Lubricants: Stihl’s lubricants and oils (ester or vegetable-based) are highly biodegradable and less harmful to animals, plants, and humans.

When it comes down to overall chainsaw features, you will be hard-pressed to find a chainsaw manufacturer that puts the amount of research and technology into their products as Stihl constantly does.

The Verdict

Even if it’s hard to choose between the above models, as they are perfectly capable of doing what they were designed to do, there has to be a winner. Stihl edges Echo in this comparison due to its extra features, the main one being its superior pre-separation filtration system and advanced fuel efficiency (combined with the low-emission output).

The one area where Echo had an edge is their extended warranty compared to Stihl’s. Echo’s machine is powerful, but in the end, the Stihl chainsaw is more durable with regards to the quality of the parts used (bar and chain). Regarding price, Stihl is a little more expensive than Echo, but it’s down to the quality of the overall machine. Replacement parts for an Echo model can be more costly than its Stihl counterpart, something to consider.

When comparing the two chainsaw manufacturers, it should be mentioned that both make some pretty durable and robust machines. While Echo is all for the user’s comfort and providing powerful engines, Stihl is more geared towards constant innovation and building machines that will last for years if maintained well.

When comparing the different features of standard chainsaws in their various product ranges, it is notable that Stihl’s list is much more advanced than Echo’s (dare we expect anything less from the innovative and precise Germans). That being said, Echo is not far behind when keeping up with the big boys. Either choice won’t let you down if you go for an Echo chainsaw or a Stihl model.


Echo and Stihl are both options. If you want a powerful and lightweight chainsaw, then an Echo model might be the right choice for you. Stihl makes more sense if you are after a well-built, durable, full of extra features, fuel-efficient chainsaw. 

Hopefully, after working your way through this article, it will help you decide which chainsaw manufacturer gets to pocket your money.


Are Stihl chainsaws worth the money?

Yes, Stihl chainsaws are definitely worth the money. They are known for their quality, high performance, and durability, and are used by amateurs and professionals alike.

Their long-term value and performance justify the higher price point of Stihl chainsaws. You are much less likely to require replacement parts or additional products if you purchase a Stihl chainsaw.

Do loggers use echo chainsaws?

Yes, loggers use Echo chainsaws. This is because higher-end Echo products are known for their advanced features and durability – perfect for professional and heavy-duty environments. They are an all-round great choice for cutting and processing timber.

Is Husqvarna as good as STIHL?

Whether Husqvarna is as good as Stihl is dependent on personal preference and the task at hand. Both have distinct features and advantages that must be considered when purchasing one or the other. 

Regardless, both brands are known for their quality and reliability. No matter the choice, you’re guaranteed a great chainsaw that will produce fantastic results.

Why does Home Depot not sell STIHL?

Home Depot does not sell Stihl products because Stihl operates independently through its own network of dealerships and shops. You can purchase Stihl chainsaws at Stihl-branded locations or through authorized retailers. 

The reason behind this strategy is that it allows the company to develop and maintain a close relationship with its dealers and customers. They believe that it is much easier to provide expert advice and support when their product is one of the only models in a small store.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

16 thoughts on “Echo Vs. Stihl Chainsaw (A Complete Comparison)”

    • I’ll go with you it’s way easier to work on Stihl is like working on a Maserati a pain in the neck compared to Echo and the weight is a big thing you will run out of gas before it does I am with you with Stihl there is just more to go wrong Echo thinks if it’s not broke don’t fix it

  1. People who use chainsaws as part of their profession could care less about “kickback or emissions”,… We are only interested in engineering / build quality/ longevity.. Price is not a factor, that is why you will need to shell out upwards of $ 800 for a used MS 200 T…Those individuals would be better off spending that money to purchase the Echo CS 355 T. You can buy two of these saws with a much longer warranty for less than that !…

  2. The echo saws are choked off by a really restrictive muffler system and almost universally the stihl will have higher chain speed compared to an echo. Echo also uses a magnesium crank case in I believe all of their saws, instead of the cheaper, less durable, plastic clamshell design basically all other “homeowner/ranch” saws use.

  3. Oddly I found that telling me that Stihl saws weigh more because of better quality parts, made me think that perhaps they are to cheap to invest in lighter high quality parts for there saws. I own one of each and my personal preference is my Echo, although I have no issues with the Stihl saw I own.

  4. You’re clearly passionate about tools, but your Stihl bias comes through loud and clear, no matter how you may try to conceal it, and unfortunately it detracts from your credibility.
    I’ve owned both Stihl and Echo over many years and my honest opinion is that they’re about equal. Both last for a very long time if cared for correctly and the only feature that distinguishes one from the other is that an equivalent Echo machine is lighter, which becomes increasingly apparent after a couple of hours.
    Contrary to your view, Echo parts are no more expensive than Stihl and I have difficulty in understanding your suggestion that Stihl bars are in any way superior; I’ve found their quality to be indistinguishably equal.
    To anyone considering the purchase of a chainsaw, my advice would be to look for a good deal and be mindful of dealer/service proximity. Other than that, both are excellent products and neither will let you down.

  5. Thanks for the review and comments! I have worn out my cheap Menard’s sale off-brand chainsaw and need and upgrade and your comments and review has helped!

  6. Own Echo CS-346, Jonsereds 630, 670, Stihl 024AVS. All good saws. Do not discount the durability, reliability and power of Echo products. I’ve owned numerous Echo products (trimmers, blower/shred n’ vac, lawn mower) since the 90s. Everything still works. Had to replace the carb on the shred n vac last year. The machine is 16 years old. I bought the Stihl as a basket case. This year I replaced the fuel line, impulse line, carb and carb boot, cylinder, piston, wrist pin, spark plug and chain. The saw isn’t particularly easy to work on, but part are readily available and aftermarket part are a great deal less expensive than Stihl parts and look exactly the same. Put the saw together and it runs great. So a big plus for Stihl is availability of inexpensive aftermarket parts.

  7. Really ..a great review. One thing I noticed is that you mention German quality a lot. The Echo is 100% made in Japan, and based on my Yamaha outboard and my Honda motorcycle I can say that Japanese quality is excellent. The chrome cylinder and magnesium crankcase go up against German made easily. I own both and both have their positives and drawbacks as you pointed out! The new Echo 5000 56v saw is incredible ! Just bought one .

    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for sharing your experience! It is very valuable for our site and our readers.

      You make an excellent point about the Echo chainsaw being made in Japan.

      Congratulations on your new Echo saw! I hope it serves you well.

  8. My MS- 271 Farm Boss came with a 20″ bar. I love it. Solid powerful saw that does quite a bit of work on a tank of fuel.


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