Having navigated the intricate landscape of power tools for years, I’ve realized that selecting cost-efficient equipment is a more nuanced task than most anticipate. While there are legacy outdoor power equipment brands such as Echo, it’s still entirely possible to end up with a saw that doesn’t align with one’s cutting requirements.
To address this, I personally reviewed and tested the Echo CS-400, gauging its performance against other chainsaws in the current market landscape.
What I Like
What I Don't Like
Design and Build Quality
Echo CS-400 packs a significant weight of 10.1 pounds, noticeably similar to battery-powered chainsaws. This estimation excludes the bar and chain disassembled from the powerhead upon purchase.
It’s noteworthy that Echo opted to skip the excessive body molding often seen on typical gas chainsaw options. And since CS-400 runs with a two-stroke motor engine, any construction industry professional will surely find this gas chainsaw handy in various cutting conditions.
Another design that sets the Echo CS-400 chainsaw from the rest is its automotive-style air filter. It improves the unit’s filtration as it operates with a G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner system.
Thanks to these features, the nasty stuff building up inside the air filter gets removed. It also minimizes the maintenance you have to execute in the long run.
While nearly all other manufacturers think that the best chainsaws need toolless systems, I liked that Echo CS-400 foregoes this idea and gives the unit a proper chain tensioner. Its straightforward design also includes a simple steel toggle switch for cut-off functions.
It may not be the latest power tool, but it can withstand operational vibrations without affecting the chainsaw’s performance because of its rubber bushings. And even with bar lengths of 16 and 18 inches, the tool body remains balanced and easy to wield.
You’ll also spot its pull starter from the left side of the chainsaw. It provides efficient and convenient access to the unit’s chain oil and fuel filter.
Echo CS-400 Features
Overview of Specifications
Weight and Balance
It’s apparent that Echo performed their due diligence to create a perfectly balanced gas saw in the form of CS-400. Since the chainsaw arrived with a solid wrap-around handle, even an 18-inch bar length won’t make the saw jump or tip.
Nevertheless, I still recommend using a shorter bar (16 inches) for Echo CS-400 to gain a better balance during cutting operations.
You may wonder how this chainsaw powered through cuts despite its lightness. The main reason is that Echo CS-400 doesn’t include cheap and substandard materials.
Above anything else, I had the most positive experience with the Echo CS-400 chainsaw’s easy starting system. If you look closer, the unit has a fully-enclosed gripping handle. You may not know, but it can be a stable step plate when revving the engine.
Unlike most gas models, Echo CS-400 doesn’t require multiple pulls to start up. And while it doesn’t produce excessive noise as you turn it on, it’s still necessary to wear safety equipment like ear protection to avoid unexpected hearing loss.
On top of exerting less effort in starting this chainsaw, it also showcases a cold weather by-pass option that optimizes the unit for the winter season. You can also count on its digital ignition to adjust the engine startup according to your duration needs.
Given that CS-400 runs with a 2.7 HP engine, I can vouch that it can execute regular cutting jobs in different wood types. Its strength also stems from its displacement of 40.2 cc and 2-stroke motor system.
As several successful online publications implied, I agree that CS-400 has enough power to cut logs, branches, and trunks faster.
Furthermore, the Echo chainsaw’s impressive power range is a key factor enabling it to support a guide bar as long as 18 inches without any risk of tipping over.
While it’s true that CS-400 can remain stable in the entirety of the cutting operations, its performance differs according to the material you’re handling. Here’s my detailed experience.
Trees and Branches
When cutting a fallen tree, it’s evident that this unit works better in handling two to three inches of branches and trunks from smaller trees. It can even clear the remaining tree stump in one go.
As already mentioned, this Echo model carries an adequate power range. Thanks to this, cutting through a typical lumber size of 2×4 won’t be an issue, even for pressure-treated boards.
Slicing through a 5/4” wooden decking also didn’t appear as a hindrance for Echo CS-400. The chainsaw struck some nails and other fasteners during the cutting test, but no kickback transpires from these incidents.
Tool kickbacks are typical issues when tearing up decks. Fortunately, this model minimizes the chances of the chainsaw jumping right in the operator’s direction.
Executing plunge cuts to slice the slumps into portions was relatively easy for Echo CS-400. It didn’t take too long to quarter it, even when I used it on nasty pulp-like debris from a palm tree.
Unlike harder woods like birch, this specie is full of sap that’s hard to cut. And the fact that CS-400 can handle it makes it a suitable choice for a virgin chainsaw to remove remaining stumps.
Ease of Use
A big part of CS-400’s edge over other previously viewed Echo chainsaws is its convenience which stems from an idle adjustment screw. Besides managing the speed, this function can halt the Echo chain from operating before you can activate the throttle trigger.
Since most components are easy to access, maintaining and cleaning this chainsaw isn’t as challenging as other models. You can also tighten or loosen the tensioner and other screws with the T-wrench  included upon the tool’s purchase.
Every part, starting from the starter rope, is easy to spot. It also features a trigger release that eliminates the need for multiple pulls that can frustrate most operators while starting the chainsaw’s engine.
Vibration and Noise Levels
While other tool brands equip their products with coiled springs to dampen motor vibrations, Echo went a different route and included rubberized bushings.
These components are made from polyurethane materials. For those who don’t know, it has the flexibility and durability to shield the engine from potential damage caused by regular exposure to vibration and impact.
It’s a gas chainsaw, so producing 82dB sound levels isn’t surprising. However, it’s quieter than most high-powered cutting tools in today’s market.
So long as you maintain a sharp blade and keep the components in excellent condition, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter unexpected vibrations or noises from this chainsaw.
Price and Warranty
Comparing this chainsaw with other options of the same size and quality, I can confidently say that CS-400 justifies its cost. Even if you add its guide bar and chain attachments, the tool’s overall price still ranges under $500, which is still a great deal.
Best Uses for the Echo CS-400
With its adequate power and secured durability, cutting small fallen trees (less than 16 inches in diameter) into portions is child’s play for this saw. Besides branches and trunks, you can utilize CS-400 for decking removal and plunge-cutting tree stumps.
Echo CS-400 Alternatives
1. Echo 30cc Gas Chainsaw
At nearly half price, Echo 30cc Gasoline-powered chainsaw is an excellent alternative to CS-400. It can carry 14-inch guide bars with an 8.5 oz fuel capacity, so expect it to handle smaller-scale cutting operations.
Nevertheless, it has enough power to cut firewood and wood branches from smaller fallen trees.
3. Husqvarna 435E II
If the model above is too much for you to handle, you can opt for a smaller, more handy chainsaw like Husqvarna 435E II. It’s slightly lighter and less powerful than CS-400, but you can count on it for regular household tasks. You can also consider the Husqvarna 435.
How big of a bar can you put on an Echo CS-400?
You can put a bar as big as 18 inches on an Echo CS-400 chainsaw. However, using 16-inch guide bars is the industry standard for safer usage and better cutting results.
Where can I buy parts for the CS-400?
Review Conclusion: Echo CS-400
As you can see, this Echo CS-400 review doesn’t imply that it’s the best chainsaw in every cutting application. Instead, it’s a serious tool with enough power and durability to act as a stump grinder or tree branch cutter.
Other pro tool reviews will tell you it lacks a tool-free chain tensioner, but its overall non-complex features will benefit you in the long run.
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