We asked experts from two leading equipment manufacturers: “What’s the one thing tree care professionals need to consider when purchasing a chain saw?”
Here’s what they had to say:
I think most tree care professionals know what they’re looking for in a saw when they go to buy. Mostly, the purchase process is a matter of finding a dealer that they feel comfortable with and who has a good supply of parts for the particular models that they’re purchasing and the technical knowledge to support those products down the road. M-Tronic is the intelligent engine management system that Stihl has on many of our professional chain saws. It has a computer chip inside the ignition module that monitors the running of the engine multiple times per second and then sends a digital signal to a solenoid on the carburetor. One advantage to the user is that you get optimal performance across the whole power range. Another benefit is realized not only by the user, but by the tree care company that purchases the saw: One of the issues facing tree care companies these days is fuel quality and where to buy fuel. Stihl’s M-Tronic technology senses if the fuel isn’t up to the right quality and it’ll adjust for that. M-Tronic also helps in longevity from a maintenance standpoint on the air filtration; as the air filter gets clogged, you can run a little bit longer between maintenance periods with the M-Tronic, because it’s sensing that it needs to make an adjustment to the air-fuel mixture and the amount of fuel that’s going in.
Depending on what you’re using the chain saw for, the size of the trees you’re cutting, whether you’re climbing or working in a bucket — make sure to choose an appropriately sized chain saw for that task. It’s all about balance and performance; a long bar equals a long chain and that requires more power to drive that chain. A lot of dealers have log piles at their dealerships where you can go out and make some cuts to try out the chain saw. Some dealers might even be willing to lend you a saw over a day or two. With Husqvarna’s AutoTune [technology], you don’t have to do anything with the carburetor. Normally, when you work with a chain saw, you have to adjust the carburetor depending on the fuel you’re using and elevation you’re at and how many hours the saw has been run. It’s looking basically at three things: different climates (humidity, for example), the fuel you’re using (percentage of ethanol) and altitude (how much oxygen is in the air). We also see battery top-handle saws gaining a lot of ground. They’re lightweight and have a lot of power. A lot of people think that battery saws are just for consumers, but we see a lot of arborists and climbers who love these chain saws. Since you’re not running it all the time; you’re doing a lot of climbing; you’re moving around in the tree, doing some cuts here and some cuts there; you can use a battery for half a day. Plus, there’s the convenience of just pushing a button and the chain saw starts — that’s one of the big benefits, as opposed to trying to pull the starter to crank it up, which can be awkward, depending on where you’re sitting in the tree.
Editor’s note: The following responses were taken from the article “Choose Wisely” from the November 2016 issue of Tree Services.