Andy Fielding of CTS Forestry & Arboriculture puts Echo’s first battery-powered top-handle chainsaw to the test.

HAVING worked with both Stihl and Husqvarna top-handle battery saws for the last few years, I’m familiar with what they can deliver and how they compare to the petrol versions. I was therefore keen to put the Echo DCS-2500T through its paces when recently given the opportunity to review one.

For anyone that hasn’t used battery power yet, nor had a chance to try different saws, here’s a quick table comparing various key features of three battery-powered top-handle saws. All these figures are taken from the specification section of each manufacturer’s website.

Unpacking the new saw from the box reveals a small, compact and well-designed top-handle saw. The handle for the right hand includes the standard trigger switch lockout mechanism in an ergonomically designed anti-slip handle grip, with the on/off button positioned so the thumb can operate it without taking your hand off the saw.

The handle for the left hand again seems to be designed to provide an aesthetic and practical purpose, which also incorporates a lanyard hanging hook. On the rear of the saw is a quick draw harness ring. Essentially an offset ‘square’ metal loop allows for one-handed hook on/off from a harness caritool. The battery slots in nicely and is easily removed from the rear. The weight of the battery balances the saw perfectly. The oil filler cap is easily removed and, as the reservoir is clear, makes checking oil levels simple.

Forestry Journal: The DCS-2500T is an electric saw designed to meet the needs of the arborists and tree care professionals who use top-handle chainsaws daily for pruning and arboriculture.The DCS-2500T is an electric saw designed to meet the needs of the arborists and tree care professionals who use top-handle chainsaws daily for pruning and arboriculture.

From a voltage aspect, this chainsaw certainly packs some punch. At an equipped weight (saw body, battery, guide bar, chain and full oil tank) of only 3.2 kg it’s a very good, lightweight saw for branch removal and, with the narrow kerf, produces an excellent, clean, finished pruning cut.

The saw I tested came equipped with a 250 mm (10 inch) bar and for the period I’ve been using it on trial it’s taken down quite a number of trees up to and slightly over that diameter.

However, the most asked question about any battery saw is always ‘how long will the battery last?’, so let’s address the elephant in the room before we move on. Echo states “up to 20 minutes” on its website, but elsewhere this figure is reported as being only up to 18 minutes. Battery life is always a subjective matter and can be affected by a whole combination of different factors. In reality, I found it to be a lot less, which is the main issue I have with what is otherwise a good saw.

The on/off button will flash green once pressed to show the saw is on. When the chain brake is released, the light turns to constant green indicating that the saw is live. The manual does say that if the saw is not used for 90 seconds it will power off and, with the chain brake engaged, it will power off after five minutes. Perhaps to achieve the “up to 20 minutes” battery life promised, the unit has to be completely switched off after each operation. As with other battery saws I’ve used, it’s essential to have two batteries on hand for when one does run out. The batteries do recharge relatively quickly, so having the means to recharge them on site would be a major advantage for this saw.

Given this is Echo’s first foray into the world of battery top-handles, this is a commendable effort with some handy features not found on other ‘first generation’ saws.

Would I buy one? Not at the moment, simply because I own one of the other saws used in the comparison table above. But, when I need to replace my existing saw, would I opt for an Echo DCS-2500T? Yes, I’d give it serious consideration.

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