Two names are synonymous with power and dependability regarding lightweight chainsaws: the Echo CS 310 and the Stihl MS 170. Although both saws are a must-have tool for every homeowner, they differ in features and specifications.
The Echo CS 310 has a top-mounted air filter, professional-grade 2-stroke engine, side access chain tensioning, dual-post chain brake, and an i-30TM starting technology. On the other, the Stihl MS 17O features an ematic lubrication, anti-vibration system, and single-lever master control.
In this article, I’ll expound more about the features of the Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170 and how they make each chainsaw suitable for various tasks. In addition, I’ll look at the pros and cons of purchasing either of the saw. Please continue reading to find out more.
Overview of the Specifications of the Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170
|Key Factors||Echo CS 310||Stihl MS 170|
|Engine Displacement||30.5 cc||30.1 cc|
|Power output||1.1kW||1.2 kW|
|Weight||4.0 kg||4.1 kg|
|Fuel tank capacity||0.25 l||0.25 l|
|Maximum speed||12,500 rpm||12,500 rpm|
|Guide bar length||12, 14, and 16 inches||12, 14, and 16 inches|
|Sound pressure level||97.0||100 dB|
|Sound power level||107.7||111 dB|
|Warranty||5-year(residential), 1-year (commercial)||1-year(domestic), 3-months(commercial)|
|Price||CHECK LATEST PRICE||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
The Echo CS 310
The Echo CS 310 is a professional gas-powered chainsaw designed to handle light tasks at home or on the farm. It’s small build and ergonomic design makes it one of the best entry-level Echo chainsaws. Here are some of the key features of The CS 310:
- Powerful 2-Stroke engine
With a 30.5cc engine that delivers 1.4 horsepower, the Echo CS 310 is guaranteed to provide high performance and reliability. This contributes to the chainsaw having an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
- Tool-Free Access Air Filter
The Echo CS 310 has a tool-free access air filter that makes maintaining the saw a walk in the park. Cleaning and maintaining the air filter regularly is essential to keep your engine free from dirt, sawdust and other harmful debris.
Consequently, having an air filter that is easy to access saves you a lot of time and effort and helps you to ensure that your chainsaw is operating at its peak.
- Vibration-Reduction System
For increased operator comfort, the Echo CS 310 has a state-of-the-art vibration-reduction system that helps to ensure your comfort while operating the saw. Given its powerful engine, the Echo CS 310 has a significant amount of vibration that causes fatigue.
However, you can efficiently work more than a few hours without discomfort.
- i-30 Starting System
The i-30 starting system is a feature found on Echo chainsaws specifically. This system reduces the time and effort you need to pull the starting chord to start the engine. You will find this helpful feature whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned user of the CS 310.
- Side-Access Chain Tensioner
To help you ensure that your chain is tensioned correctly, the Echo CS 310 comes with a side-access chain tensioner. This feature lets you adjust the chain tension without removing the Echo clutch cover.
This can help keep your chain well-tensioned for excellent cutting performance. It also makes maintenance simpler.
- Automatic Clutch-Driven Oiler
The Echo CS 310 has an automatic clutch-driven oiler that lubricates the chain only when it is in motion to reduce oi wastage. This system ensures that the chain operates efficiently by delivering oil in this manner.
Pros and Cons
The Echo CS 310 is a remarkable machine with several advantages. However, it also comes with its fair share of problems. Here are some of them:
- A powerful 2-stroke engine that ensures the chainsaw performs at its peak condition
- i-30 starting system, which makes the saw easy to start even in cold weather
- Very comfortable to handle thanks to the vibration-reduction system
- The side-access chain tensioner makes it easy to keep the chain tensioned and maintain it
- The automatic clutch-driven oiler lubricates the chain and bar regularly, reducing the need for maintenance.
- Not suitable for demanding cutting tasks
- Some users have complained of oil leaking from the oil pump
Performance and User Feedback
Most homeowners adore the Echo CS 310 due to its powerful engine, ease of use and lightweight design. One user praised its effectiveness in trimming and cutting small trunks measuring 10-12 inches thick.
Another user recommended it to property owners who needed clearing work, as it was easy to handle. A user was delighted by how easily you could start the Echo CS 310 and how it maintained its speed constantly.
One user notes that the CS 310 started well but missed power. He said this chainsaw was only suitable for small and medium size jobs but struggled with more demanding tasks such as cutting through thick logs.
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The Stihl MS 170
The Stihl MS 170 is what many people call a homeowners delight. Like the Echo CS 310, the MS 170 is a compact and lightweight machine perfect for performing relatively light tasks around the yard or at the farm. These include felling small trees, cutting firewood, and trimming branches. Let’s dive into its features:
- Stihl-2-Mix Engine
Stihl MS 170 features a 2-stroke engine equipped with the Stihl 2-Mix technology. Unlike conventional 2-stroke engines, the MS 170 produces emissions at a much lower rate and consumes way less fuel. However, it still delivers top-notch performance.
- Stihl Ematic System
The Ematic System, present in many Stihl chainsaws, including the MS 170, reduces oil consumption by as much as 50%. How does this system work? It delivers a precise amount of oil to the bar and chain, depending on the task you’re carrying out.
This reduces the amount of oil that goes to waste because of over-lubricating the bar and chain. It also reduces the rate at which the bar and chain wear out, thus prolonging their lifespan.
- Stihl Anti-Vibration System
This Stihl MS 170 feature reduces the vibration transferred from the engine and chain to your hands when running the chainsaw. It uses a set of springs and other elements that dampen any vibration generated, thus making the saw more comfortable to handle.
- Intellicarb Compensating Carburetor
The intellicarb compensating carburetor controls the fuel-air mixture to prevent the engine from running too rich or lean. It does this by regulating the fuel flow to the carburetor, depending on the operating conditions.
If the air reduces, the compensator minimises the fuel flow to the carb and vice versa. This ensures that the chainsaw performs at its best consistently.
- Single-Lever Master Control
One feature that makes the Stihl MS 170 easier to operate compared to its competitors is the single-lever master control. This feature incorporates the choke, throttle, and stop functions on a single lever, thus making it easier to operate the machine.
Pros and Cons
Before deciding whether to purchase the Sthil MS 170, you should weigh its upsides and downsides. Some of them include the following:
- The Stihl-2-Mix engine not only produces sufficient power but also consumes less fuel
- This saw is easy to operate thanks to the single-lever master control
- The advanced anti-vibration system enables you to use the saw for extended periods
- Reduced oil consumption due to the Ematic lubrication system reduces costs
- Can perform in a wide range of operating conditions due to the intellicarb compensating carburetor
- Relatively pricier when compared to its competitors in the same class
- Chain dulls quickly if not maintained well
Performance and User Feedback
The Stihl MS 170 has received many raving reviews from first-time and longtime users. Most of them termed it light, reliable and easy to maintain. Given its power, one user called the Stihl MS 170 a small little beast.
Another user said that he had added the MS 170 to his farm boss because it was easy to start and light enough to carry out trimming jobs. However, one user expressed dissatisfaction with how quickly the blade wore out, saying they needed to sharpen it quite often.
Comparison Between the Echo CS 310 vs Stihl 170
Now that I have elaborated all the features of the Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170, it’s time to make a head-to-head comparison to know which one is better for you. Both of these saws are light in weight and mainly used for home and farm tasks.
However, they have some minor differences that will help you pick one. After using both saws, I was able to compare them based on the following aspects:
The Echo CS 310 has a 30.5 cc engine with a maximum power output of 1.1 kW/1.5bhp. On the other hand, the Stihl MS 170 comes with a slightly smaller machine with a 30.1 cc displacement. However, it produces more power than the CS 310 (1.2kW/1.7bhp). So, in terms of power, the MS 170 takes the day.
Winner: Stihl MS 170
Both of these chainsaws are placed in the lightweight category. Although both were easy to carry, the Echo CS 310 is slightly lighter (4.0 kg) than the Stihl MS 170(4.1 kg). This makes the CS 310 the better option when it comes to weight.
Winner: Echo CS 310
There is no denying that both chainsaws come with a wide range of impressive features that make them perfect for light-duty jobs at home or on the farm. The Echo CS 310 has a vibration-reduction system, an automatic clutch-driven oiler, a side-access chain tensioner, and an i-30 starting system.
On the other hand, the Stihl MS 170 comes with a Stihl-2-Mix engine, intellicarb compensating carburetor, single-lever master control, Stihl ematic lubrication system, automatic clutch-driven oiler and a Stihl anti-vibration system.
It is difficult to separate between the two saws with regards to features, but the Echo CS 310 has extra vital features that the MS 170 lacks.
Winner: Echo CS 310
Regarding cutting, both the Stihl MS 170 and the Echo CS 310 can accommodate 12, 14, and 16-inch bars. Both saws also have chains with a 3/8 pitch.
The Echo CS 310 has a wide-open throttle speed of 12 500 RPM, while the Stihl MS 170 also has a maximum rotation speed of 12 500 RPM. In terms of cutting capacity, these two saws match up quite well.
Ease of Maintenance
The Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS 170 are designed to be very easy to maintain. The Echo CS 310 has a tool-free access air filter for easy filter maintenance, a side-access chain tensioner for chain tension adjustment, and an automatic oiler for precise lubrication.
The Stihl MS 170 has an ematic lubrication system for easy bar and chain lubrication. It also has an intellicarb compensating carburetor that reduces maintenance done on the filter. Looking at the features of both chainsaws, the Echo CS 310 has a slight advantage.
Winner: Echo CS 310
Regarding fuel efficiency, the Echo CS 310’s engine has a relatively low consumption. However, the Stihl has a 2-mix engine and intellicarb compensating carburetor designed to keep fuel consumption minimal. I can confidently say that the Stihl MS 170 edges the Echo MS 310 in this department.
Winner: Stihl MS 170
Are you wondering which of the two saws is quieter? The Stihl MS 170 has a sound power level of 111 decibels and a sound pressure level of 100. The Echo CS 310 is slightly quieter producing 107.7 decibels and having a pressure level of 97 decibels.
It is evident that the Stihl MS 170 is louder. However, this is due to its slightly more powerful engine. So, if you don’t mind sacrificing performance for a quieter machine, the Echo CS 310 will serve you right.
Winner: Echo CS 310
Price and Warranty
According to the official Echo website, the CS 310 retails for $219.99 and comes with a 5-year warranty for residential use and one year for commercial use.
The Stihl MS 170, like all other MS chainsaws, comes with a 1-year warranty for household use and three months for commercial use. It costs approximately $299.99. It is safe to say that the Echo CS 310 is much cheaper and offers better warranty terms than the Stihl MS 170
Winner: Echo CS 310
Comparison Table of the Echo CS 310 vs Stihl MS 170
|Category||Echo CS 310||Stihl MS 170|
|Ease of Maintenance||Loser||Winner|
|Price and Warranty||Winner||Loser|
|Overall||Winner: 4/8 (Winner)||Loser: 3/8|
Overall Winner: Echo CS 310
Based on my experience using the two chainsaws and the comparison I drafted above, the Echo CS 310 takes the day.
Although the Stihl MS 170 produces slightly more power, the Echo CS 310 has more features that make it easier to use.
It is also lighter and easier to handle. In addition, it is cheaper and offers better warranty terms than the Stihl MS 170.
If you don’t mind the slight power output difference, the Echo CS 310 should be your go-to tool.
WINNER>> Echo CS 310
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Chainsaw
There are three crucial things that I always consider when choosing a new chainsaw. They include:
- Engine Size and Power
It would help to always consider the power of the engine before purchasing a chainsaw. This is because the power output of the chainsaw will determine the type of work you can carry out. The more powerful the engine is, the more demanding the task.
Another vital factor to consider is weight. If you’re going to use the saw for a long period, then you should go for a lighter saw for you not to be fatigued quickly. However, more lightweight saws may not be as powerful.
- Fuel and Oil Tank Capacity
The size of your fuel and oil tanks will determine how long you will use your chainsaw without the fuel or oil running out. Always choose a chainsaw with a larger capacity to avoid refueling frequently and work for longer sessions.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Which chainsaw is better for cutting through thick branches?
None of the saws I mention in this article is suitable for cutting through thick branches. They have smaller guide bars and do not pack as much power.
What is the warranty offered for the Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS 170?
The Echo CS 310 offers a 5-year warranty for residential use and a 1-year warranty for commercial use. On the other hand, the Stihl MS 170 offers a 1-year warranty for domestic use and a 3-month warranty for commercial use.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, deciding which chainsaw you should pick between the Echo CS 310 and Stihl MS 170 will depend on your needs and preference. Both models are reliable and have stellar features, but they differ slightly.
The Echo CS 310 has more features, is lighter, and is cheaper than the Stihl MS 170. The MS 170 packs more power, is more fuel-efficient, and is more expensive—the Echo CS 310 is a much better tool, especially for beginners.
However, the Stihl MS 170 is also a reliable machine. Consider the factors mentioned in this article before choosing between these two chainsaws.