Echo CS-620SX chainsaw review

The Echo CS-620SX is a great pro-level, medium sized petrol chainsaw. This is my personal review after a year's worth of ownership.

Background

Although I had previously been a long-time, and happy, Stihl user there were three things that made me consider Echo as an alternative brand. Firstly, Stihl have taken a stance of preventing sales via online resellers by insisting that customers can only purchase from registered dealers and then only in face-to-face transactions. Secondly, around the time I was thinking of a replacement chainsaw I found lots of positive reviews for some of the other Echo models and also specifically for the CS-620SX. Lastly, and this is probably more emotional than rational, I have a 30 year old Echo strimmer and brushcutter (SRM-250E) that just keeps going and going.

Echo CS-620SX

Echo CS-620SX (left-side) showing pull-starter, fuel tank and tiny kill switch.

I did give serious consideration to models from Stihl, Makita and Husqvarna but in the end plumped for the Echo and I'm glad I did. Obviously, I can't say that the Echo is definitely better than a saw from one of the other brands but nothing in twelve months of ownership makes me regret my decision.

Real-world usage

As standard the saw comes with a 50cm (20") bar but I chose a 60cm (24") one as I cut mostly mature spruce, beech and sycamore and the slightly larger bar and chain is useful. The claimed output of 3.32kW from the 60cc engine translates into effortless power even when the bar is completely buried into beech or sycamore. Cutting spruce is like the proverbial hot knife through butter. For my actual use the Echo is easily able to cope with the larger bar.

For a saw of this size and power output I don't find vibration to be a problem and I can happily continue cutting for long periods without tiring. Excessive noise doesn't seem to be a problem either.

I haven't done any measurement of fuel consumption but it hasn't struck me as either really frugal, nor overly thirsty. Importantly, for me at least, the saw seems to be quite happy using a vegetable based oil for chain lubrication, specifically rape seed oil. Undoubtedly, Echo might not be so happy about me using "veg" oil for lubrication and it might even invalidate the warranty. Which would be a shame as the saw comes with a two year commercial warranty and five years for domestic use. However, both warranties require the saw to be dealer serviced every year. Echo must have some confidence in their product as they wouldn't feel able to offer such long warranties even with annual dealer servicing. That must be a good sign.

The Echo has an auto oiler which is clutch controlled, meaning that oil is only pushed out when the saw is being used. It seems to work efficiently as it is quite happy to squirt when needed but one fill of the 300ml oil tank easily outlasts the 645ml tank of petrol (as it should).

Echo CS-620SX (right-side) showing chain tensioner and twin cutter bars with spikes

Echo CS-620SX (right-side) showing chain tensioner and twin cutter bars with spikes

Starting and stopping

Starting the saw is pretty easy and reliable. When cold, starting normally takes four pulls on the cord. The first two pulls with the manual choke fully out and the decompression button in. Just before the third and fourth pulls I normally push the choke button back in. When the saw starts the decompression button automatically pops-out. The saw is very easy to start, the decompression button just makes it even easier. Once warm, the saw always starts on the first pull. Seasonal variations in temperature don't seem to affect the reliability of starting.

The chainsaw idles nicely when not being actively used but then roars back into life on pressing the trigger. I have never experienced any engine stuttering or misfiring.

The kill switch is incredibly small and consequently is a bit difficult to operate with gloved hands. The brass kill-switch is just visible in the first photograph, above the fuel tank. I would have preferred the switch to be a bit larger. The chain brake feels very solid and is dual post mounted so should be quite strong. A slight movement with the left hand is all that is required to engage the brake manually. I have found that the automatic chain brake engages rather easily when underbucking, but I won't complain about this too much.

The saw will quite happily keep cutting for hours if neccessary and it is usually the operator who tires first. The saw with guide bar, chain and filled with petrol and oil is probably just shy of 10kg and my arms do tire after a while, particularly when limbing. However, that would be the same for any chainsaw in this weight class. The Echo does have a nice front-back balance with the 60cm Sugihara bar fitted. Manoeuvring the saw around cuts using the large handle is very easy.

Maintenance

Filling the chainsaw with petrol and oil is straightforward and thankfully Echo have fitted traditional screw caps that also have a screwdriver slot. Chain tensioning is achieved by loosening the guide bar locking nuts, holding the bar up and making the adjustment using a screwdriver. Once the right tension is achieved the locking nuts just need tightening again. The whole operation is done from the right-hand side and is very easy to do. Cleaning the airfilter is even easier and can be done by hand, without any tools.

I always do chain sharpening with a file guide while the chain is still mounted on the saw. I tend to take the little and often approach to chain sharpening so leaving the chain on is easiest. That said, removing the chain and bar is not difficult. After every few sharpenings I do take the bar off and flip it over so wear can be distributed.

I can't comment on any other procedures as I haven't had to do them yet.

Conclusions

The Echo CS-620SX is a powerful and capable saw for felling and processing larger coniferous and deciduous trees. The saw handles nicely, cuts easily, does not vibrate excessively and isn't particularly noisy. I can't say that the Echo would be ideal for every type of situation but it suits me perfectly. If I had to choose again I would still go for the Echo.

A full list of the CS-620DSX specifications can be found on the Echo website.


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