Echo and Stihl both produce a wide variety of chain saws. While some chain saws are designed for professional loggers and rescue workers, others are more suited for home use. Both Echo and Stihl chain saws come with protection from kickback (when the blade rebounds back at the operator).While Echo chain saws are generally more affordable, more widely available and have longer warranties, Stihl saws come in more models and have features that Echo saws do not.
Stihl sells its chain saws through a network of about 8,000 independent retailers. By avoiding large home-improvement corporations, Stihl to some extent avoids the mass market. Echo sells its chain saws through large companies like The Home Depot and through independent dealers.
Both Echo and Stihl chain saws feature automatic chain oiling and kickback protection. While Echo chain saws utilize plastic kickback guards and chain brakes activated by inertia, Stihl saws solely rely on chain brakes. While this may make the Echo slightly safer, users may find that the plastic guard gets in the way. Echo chain saws come with air pre-cleaners to help with air filtration, but they lack anti-vibration handles and tool-free chain-tension adjusting, which are featured in Stihl models. Stihl chain saws also have Easy 2 Start systems, which make the ignition process much simpler.
Price and Warranty
According to PopularMechanics.com, the Echo CS-370 chain saw costs $279, while the Stihl MS 210 C-E chain saw--which is a similar size--costs $290. The Stihl MS 180 C-BE MiniBoss, another chain saw that is often compared with the Echo CS-370, costs $229. While Echo chain saws come with a five-year warranty, Stihl saws only come with a one-year warranty.
Echo makes 13 gas-powered chain saws, including two that are specifically designed for tree cutting. One of its more popular models is the Echo CS-370. Stihl offers 33 gas-powered chain saws including the MS 460 Rescue, which is a heavy-duty model designed specifically for emergency crews. Stihl also offers three electric models.
Both Echo and Stihl chain saws produce smoke and fumes, as well as a lot of noise. According to PopularMechanics.com, the Stihl saw it reviewed produced102 decibels, while the Echo saw in the study produced 99 decibels. A downside with Echo chain saws is that they come unassembled.