I fed my wood stove 3 cords a year for 12 years with a 42cc craftsman saw that I stuck a 16" bar on.
My advice is, if you have a lot of work to do buy the biggest best saw you can afford, your back will thank you.
I do not recommend a craftsman saw, even though I had great luck with mine. I recently replaced the craftsman saw with a jonsred (made by husqvarna) 50cc saw. That saw is one of the "mid grade" saws that's built better than a home owners grade saw, but not as serviceable as a pro saw. A quick way to tell what you're looking at is by the "emissions compliance period" on the tag. The home owners saws (that I'd avoid) are like 50 hours. The next step up is 300 hours.
I'd recommend something like the saw I just got. For your uses, I'd say something in the 45-50cc range with a 16" bar and buy two loops of full comp, semi chisel chain. That should do 95% of what you'll need a saw for. I have a bigger pro saw for when I run into bigger trees, but like i said, I've filled my wood shed a lot with the little craftsman saw.(don't buy the craftsman saw).
I finally replaced my craftsman saw this year, because I got mad at it when I was out cutting wood. I quit wanting to start when it was warm, so I ended up having to do all of my cutting that day with my big saw and my lower back was smoked at the end of the day.
If money was no object, I'd have bought a stihl ms261, but they are expensive. That would probably be a great one saw option for someone who doesn't cut 20"+ trees very often. In the end, my good luck with my cheap saw made me second guess my buying a pro saw and the jonsred I got on clearance for a great price and that was that.
Tldr; don't go buy a giant saw, heavy saws suck to swing around all day. If you dont have any, buy a pair of chaps, get good chain and a mid grade or pro grade saw between 45-50 ccs and run a 16 or 18" bar on it.
I own one of these. I stuck a loop of stihl "yellow" chain on it, and it's a beast. I got it for like $305 from home depot and it was in great shape. It took me over a year of consistent looking to find one around here though. They always sold wicked fast.
I was looking at the Makita branded Dolmars that Home Depot is selling off rental. Looks like it might be a really good deal.
Bought it Saturday. Got the saw with 20" bar, gallon of oil, chain file/sharpening set,protective box/case, and 3 cans of Husky brand pre-mixed fuel that extended warranty to 4 years.....all for $508.00
Husqvarna 455 Rancher
Very happy with it so far. Thanks for all the info
I only run that canned pre mix in all my small engines and I have been very pleased
Get a good metal gas can. Plastic cans still allow the light ends of fuel to slowly evaporate.
I have a couple Just Rite type 2 safety cans for equipment fuel.
A taller narrow 2 gallon dark green can with a 5/8 hose for mixed fuel. I didn't want a 1 gal can because it looks like the hose would be in the dirt all the time. I also didn't want the short pancake 2.5 gal can.
Then I have a red 2 and 5 gal cans for non mixed fuel. Both of those have 5/8 hoses as well.
The 3/4 hose would work better if you were filling large equipment. Tractor / truck.
This has been my experience as well.
For what you're going to do with it I don't think you can go wrong with either.
I am personally a Husq fan as well and my 445 has been amazing. It's an 18" bar and since I burn wood for heat, I use it moderately heavily. I've had it for 7 years and have never done a lick of maintenance to it with exception to cleaning the air filter from time to time. It still fires up right away every time.
As for running it dry like the other poster mentioned, I suggest against that. If it sits dry for long periods (which inevitably happens) the lines and plastics are more suceptible to dry rotting and cracking. What I would suggest, instead, is one of two things.
A) Buy the pre-mixed ethanol free fuel mixtures and make sure it is full when stored. Let it run to make sure there are no voids in the fuel system before storage.
B) If you have a gas station near you that sells ethanol free gas, buy that and make your fuel mix with that.
That is sound advice for any small engine you go with, whether it be a chainsaw or weedwacker, etc. I do this, and like I said, 7 years no maintenance. I can walk out there and pick it up after 6 months idle and fire it right up. No Stabil, no nothing.
I have only run stihl chainsaws but if I had to research new I would add Jonsered to my search options
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