Echo CS 590 Review
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Echo CS 590
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|Bottom Line||A high-performance two-cycle model that can handle huge jobs||A battery-powered model with exceptional cutting performance and boost mode||If you want an easy-to-use cordless electric chainsaw with a long-lasting battery and a long bar this is the one||With a slick tensioning system and fast cutting performance, this corded model is a great option||An easy-to-use corded electric model that will hardly dent your bank account|
|Rating Categories||Echo CS 590||Husqvarna Power Axe...||Ego Power+ CS1800||Makita UC4051A||Oregon CS1500|
|Saw Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Power Performance (25%)|
|Specs||Echo CS 590||Husqvarna Power Axe...||Ego Power+ CS1800||Makita UC4051A||Oregon CS1500|
|Model Number||CS 590-20||350i||CS1800||UC4051A||CS1500|
|Bar Length||20 inches||18 inches||18 inches||16 inches||18 inches|
|Power Source||Gasoline||Battery||Battery||Corded Electric||Corded Electric|
|Measured Weight||18 lbs||14 lbs, 6 oz||12 lbs, 4 oz||12 lbs, 6 oz||10 lbs, 10 oz|
|Measured Battery Weight||n/a||4 lbs, 2 oz||3 lbs, 8 oz||n/a||n/a|
|Amps||n/a||7.7 amp||5 amp||15 amp||15 Amp|
|Motor Size||59.8cc 2-Cycle||36V||56V||15 Amp||15 Amp|
|Measured Runtime||29 minutes||51 minutes||60 minutes||n/a||22 minutes|
|Measured Run Time Eco Mode||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Recharge/Refuel Time||1 minute||2.75 hr||90 minutes||n/a||n/a|
|Measured Average Cutting Time||4.9 seconds||7.07 seconds||5.9 seconds||5.7 seconds||7.8 seconds|
|Measured Wind Up Time||Instant||.25 seconds||1.25 seconds||0.5 seconds||0.5 seconds|
|Measured Decibel Reading at 48in||92.3 dBa||82.1 dBa||88.8 dBa||94.1 dBa||86.6 dBa|
|Control Type||Palm safety w/ chain brake||Electronic button, palm safety, and chain brake||Palm safety w/ chain brake||Side safety w/ chain brake||Thumb safety w/ chain brake|
|Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type||Included Tool||Tool free||Tool Free||Tool free||Tool free|
|Metal Bucking Spikes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type||Side||Side||Side, Screen||Top||Side|
|Measured Body Dimesions||16.5 x 8 x 9.5 inches||18.5 x 8 x 6 inches||16 x 9 x 8 inches||19 x 6 x 6 inches||17.5 x 12 x 6 inches|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Echo is a world-renowned brand and one of the go-to manufacturers for consumers and professionals alike. The CS 590 showcases Echo's 50 years of research and development of two-cycle gas-powered chainsaws. Where this particular model stands apart from the other saws that we've tested is its raw cutting power. If you know that you need tons of power to tackle your projects and don't want to wait around while your chain slowly chips away at a log, this is the model for you.
First and foremost, the way that a chainsaw performs while cutting wood is the most important factor to consider. For this reason, we dedicated the largest portion of our overall score to this section of our review. This metric is a combination of objective dimensional lumber-cutting tests with our team's personal judgment of the saw's cutting performance in various typical situations that you might find, such as slicing up firewood rounds before a long winter or trimming trees around your property.
We built a sawbuck and then stacked 8' long Douglas Fir 4"x4"s in a diamond shape in order to mimic a natural log but also ensure that we can always keep the test controlled and repeatable. We then timed five cuts per saw and threw out the lowest two trials to eliminate as much human error as possible, then calculated an average. The Echo CS 590 put up an extraordinary average time of 4.9 seconds, slicing most of the competition to pieces.
After the time trials, we took the saws out to a property covered in Pinyon Pines that is under development to see how each model did while removing problem trees, pruning branches, and bucking firewood so that we could get a feel for the ergonomics and balance outside of using a simplistic sawbuck. The Echo CS 590's performance was on par with the best of the best. It had no problem slicing branches off of downed trees, leveling stumps, or any other task we could throw at it.
Ease of Use
The next portion of our overall score is dedicated to how easy each chainsaw is to operate. For gas-powered saws, we looked at the switches, the air filter compartment, the choke, and the gas cap. We also conducted a side-by-side comparison of the elements that all chainsaws have — an oil tank, a throttle system, and a chain tensioning system. We noted any elements that made each model either easier or more difficult to operate.
Running the Echo CS 590 is reasonably straightforward, but there are certainly simpler models on the market. Unless they have some sort of innovative starting system, gas-powered models take more effort to get going than battery or corded-electric models. However, compared to some of the other fuel models that we've seen, the 590 is easy. The controls are as basic as can be. With a simple pull choke, a tool-free air filter cover, and a self-priming gasoline delivery system, there really isn't much to figure out.
For changing and tensioning the bar and chain, the Echo CS 590 uses the old-school "scrench" system. While it is certainly more involved than tool-free plastic chain tensioning systems, it's hard to debate whether this system still offers the most precision and the tightest bind. However, it definitely isn't the easiest to use. We do love the fact that the designers of this model thought to install metal guides on the top and bottom of the saw body that help to ensure that the chain stays lined up with the drive wheel even if it slightly loosens.
We dedicated the next portion of our overall score to determining the runtime of each saw. Portable chainsaws are divided into two categories — battery-powered and gas-powered. We made sure that batteries were charged to 100% and that gas tanks were completely topped off before beginning our assessment. We then strapped the saws down and clipped the throttles wide open, and timed how long each gas tank or battery lasts. We also timed how long it takes for each battery to recharge and how long each gas tank takes to refill.
With a measured runtime of 29 minutes, the Echo CS590 lasted longer than several other gas-powered models in our review. This comes as a surprise considering this saw has a 59.88cc cylinder while other models have 50ccs or less.
Where the Echo CS590 and other gas-powered models earn bonus points for this metric is when it comes time to refuel. While all battery-powered models have a charging period, some lasting hours, two-stroke gas tanks can be refilled in a matter of seconds. If you're tackling a big task and want to be as efficient as possible, gas is the way to go, which is why this type of saw is the weapon of choice for professional tree services and wildland firefighters.
The remaining portion of our overall score is dedicated to the amount of noise each saw emits. While running the saw at full throttle, we used a sound pressure level meter to measure decibel levels from 48 inches away. We also subjectively judged the pitch of each machine from various distances to determine if they were more whiny or annoying than the others.
The Echo CS 590 emits 92.3 decibels at a distance of four feet from the motor. While this is substantially louder than some battery-powered models, it is much quieter than every other gas-powered chainsaw that we've tested.
Should You Buy The Echo CS 590?
The Echo CS 590 is the way to go if you need an absolute beast of a chainsaw. With a big engine and a long bar, this model offers top-tier cutting performance. There are some trade-offs for the power, such as needing a tool to adjust the chain tension and the fact that it is louder than battery versions. If you're willing to deal with these downsides, this model will make quick work of large tasks and is even suitable for professional use.
What Other Chainsaw Should You Consider?
Gas-powered chainsaws are not for everyone. They require maintenance, they're loud, and they emit fumes. If you want a battery-powered model that performs on par with gas guzzlers, the Husqvarna Power Axe 350i is a great option. For those that are in the market for a light and affordable model for smaller backyard tasks, the Worx WG322 is a 20-volt model that performs reasonably well. If you know that your tasks will always be within an extension cord's length of a power source, corded-electric models such as the Makita UC4051A and Oregon CS1500 are solid options.