Launched late in 2020, the CS-7310SX is the largest professional chainsaw in Japanese manufacturer Echo’s range and features a low-emission 73.5 cc engine with an output of 4.1 kW. Arwyn Morgan took it into the woods to see what it’s capable of.

I WAS supposed to do this trial of the Echo CS-7310SX chainsaw some time back but, unfortunately, I contracted COVID-19 and had the stuffing knocked out of me. But at last, here we are. 

I had been looking forward for some time to trying out the Echo 7310. Like many cutters, when I find a saw that I like, I tend to stick with them. And, for the best part of the last 20 years, the Husqvarna 372 has been my mid-range saw of choice. I would have been happy for it to have remained that way but, alas, time and tide wait for no man, and manufacturers are keen to bring out new models. For Husky and Stihl this has meant a gradual transformation of their saw ranges, to include chips – not the potato variety, but the silicon type.

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The feedback I have received from cutters I work with is that they’re fed up with having to continually return these saws to the dealerships so they can be plugged into the computer for re-tuning. In fact, the guy who does my tree climbing has reluctantly decided to get rid of all his chipped saws and change over to Echo (more of this later).

The major players say that, due to emission regulations, they must develop chipped saws. Yet, so far, Echo has not gone down that route.

Personally, being an old, cantankerous dinosaur, I have a disliking for chipped saws. Or perhaps what I dislike most is when a chipped saw is brought out it seems to be between £100 and 150 more expensive than its more traditional equivalent. Considering that chips are generally made in China (and are as cheap as chips!) it does make you wonder how the can justify such a mark-up – or is it just a case of ‘rip-off Britain’ again? In any case, a bit of healthy competition in the form of other makes is most welcome.

I’ve noticed Echo has put considerable effort into its saws over the years. Quite a few years back, I undertook a trial of two Echo chainsaws for the old Forest Machine Journal (as Forestry Journal was once called). The only similarity between the two saws was their high build quality – they were literally chalk and cheese! One represented the old Echo, which had very few creature comforts, while the other had all the special features you look for on a Husky or a Stihl. What Echo has done, over the last 15 years, is develop a range of saws that are not trailing the big two, but can favourably compare or even outclass them.

I picked up my Echo 7310 at Jenkins Garden Machinery, a local family-run company headed up by father-and-son team Hywel and Emyr Jenkins. Their extensive display of Echo equipment highlights their commitment to the brand that they’ve been dealing with for over 10 years. Looking at the various models, it’s plain to see Echo is not a cheap alternative. Hywel was keen to highlight that Echo prefers to build up its customer base not by selling at bargain basement prices, but rather by building on its reputation for offering a quality product. And talking about quality, Echo is willing to back up its products with a two-year professional warranty or a five-year domestic warranty, once again highlighting the manufacturer’s commitment to its customers with what is probably one of the best warranty offers on the market.

The staff at Jenkins had run up the saw, as they do with all new Echo saws, and had fuelled it with Aspen. Now, I’ve always mixed my own fuel, but for the purposes of this trial I only used Aspen to fuel the 7310. While I admit to considering Aspen nastily expensive, I have only positive things to say about the quality of the fuel itself, i.e. no smoke, easier starting, etc. If I was going to make any sort of criticism about it, apart from its price, it would be that its emissions, unlike a normal two-stroke mix, do not keep horse flies at bay!

The Echo 7310 was supplied with a 24” Sugihara guide bar which had been re-badged as an Echo guide bar. From what I can gather, it seems to be Sugihara’s solid pro guide bar.

Forestry Journal:

Once again, it was a new one for me, as I’ve never used Sugihara bars before. I know they have a good reputation, but the solid pro bar has a lot of weight and it made the saw somewhat nose-heavy. Having used the saw in many different situations, I have come to the conclusion that if I was just cross-cutting at roadside, doing arb work or cutting off root plates, the solid pro could not be beaten. But for me, having to carry the saw some distance into a woodland, and covering a lot of ground, Husqvarna’s 24” guide bar (rebadged Oregon) was much more suitable. The saw was no longer nose-heavy and was far sweeter to handle – in fact, it made quite an improvement. I realise some readers will scream at me that you can’t compare a Sugihara to an Oregon guide bar, but

I’m not talking about build quality, but rather about handling ease and there’s no doubt if you want an easier handling Sugihara, you would opt for their pro light guide bar.

Overall, the Echo 7310 is built to a high standard, and although it has considerable plastic components, it doesn’t have a cheap-and-nasty plastic feel. It seems built to last, even down to its various small features, which only become apparent when you use the saw. For instance, the on/off switch is a solid metal toggle switch, rather than those red plastic switches that several manufacturers use, which can easily fall apart (or is that just me?). It has good clearance all around the sprocket area, so if you’re doing any along-the-grain sawing, such as trimming toes after felling a tree, the long shavings can easily evacuate the saw. The air filter has quite a large surface area, which is always good, yet due to the overall design the pre-filtered air blows and cleans the filter area, thus avoiding having to clean the filter too often.

Forestry Journal: The Echo CS-7310SX on test was supplied by Jenkins Garden Machinery in Llanelli.The Echo CS-7310SX on test was supplied by Jenkins Garden Machinery in Llanelli.

Its first job was to fell 3–4 m³ Sitka and Douglas fir. Although it is supposed to be a 73 cc saw, it behaves more like an 80 cc, and with a 24” bar it has considerable pep when needed. A few of those early Sitka and Douglas trees were limbed out with the saw – definitely not recommended with the 24” Sugihara.

Its power range is considerable and it is a good saw to handle a 24” bar. I felled quite a bit of diseased ash with it. The trees were some 2–3’ in diameter, and although we’re taught to use as small a guide bar as possible, due to the difficulties of the terrain, having a longer guide bar proved helpful. As most of the treetops smashed up, only a few limbing cuts were needed to produce the main pole lengths. During this time, I thought it might be interesting to see how the other Japanese saw maker compared with the Echo, so I also used a Makita 7900, with the heavy-duty air breather system.

Although the Makita 7900, on paper, is the more powerful saw, during use this was not apparent. I would even venture to say that the 7310 had a better power range from low-down grunt to high speeds. The two saws weigh a similar amount, but I was continually going back to the Echo 7310 due to its sweet handling and balance. It just felt right.
Eventually I put an 18” bar on to the 7310 – just a standard Oregon bar and chain, nothing fancy – and oh brother, it became a super-fast saw, even more so when I lowered the rakers, once again felling ash up to 30” diameter. It was a joy to use, cutting very fast, the ideal felling saw. 

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Of the timber that I’ve cut with the Echo 7310, from ringing firewood to felling sizeable softwoods and decent hardwoods, and rounding out large hardwoods, it proved itself the ideal saw, offering plenty of power, designed with the operator in mind. How does it compare with my old 372? It is heavier, but in reality if you’re anticipating a lot of limbing work, Echo’s 60 cc saw would do that job better as it has more than enough power and is lighter.

Echo’s 7310 is an excellent felling saw. It seems Echo has been listening to cutters and, if it produces a 90–95 cc saw of similar quality to the 7310, it will then have a complete range, offering most timber cutters all the models they will ever require. Then the other two big manufacturers had better watch out.