“Definitely has its place in a professional tree surgery company”
As a progressive company, we adopted the use of battery tools quite early on in their development. Previously our experience had been limited to handheld hedge trimmers and long-reach trimmers. The earliest chainsaws, whilst interesting, didn’t really seem to offer a viable alternative on paper.
Fast forward just a couple of short years and battery chainsaws seem to have come on in leaps and bounds, so we were delighted at the opportunity to get our hands on and review the new ECHO DCS-2500T. As a medium-sized company, typically running 3-4 teams on any given day, we felt we could give put this saw through its paces. By rotating it within our teams we hope to be able to provide arborists with a well-rounded review based on the opinions from each member of our staff.
Build Quality & Design
As a company, we are new to using ECHO chainsaws, although in past years we have owned the ECHO extendable pole pruner and hedge cutter attachment. Our first opinion of the ECHO DCS-2500T is that for its incredibly low weight it still appears to be quite robustly made. You can tell it’s a battery chainsaw made with the professional arborist in mind. One of the first things we looked at was the chain brake. As any tree surgeon knows this is one of the first things to break when crawling your way through tight canopies. This seems to be very sturdy compared to similar brands, although time will tell if any weakness develops.
The overall ergonomics of the machine are clearly well thought out. The low overall weight (as already mentioned) is spread evenly through the machine when using the provided 12” bar and chain, giving a well-balanced feel, perfect for aerial tree work.
The saw comes with a patented harness clip for stowing the harness when moving through the canopy. This appears to be well thought out, sturdy, and fit for the task at hand.
Doing away with the petrol engine leaves a chainsaw that requires minimal maintenance. No dirty air filters or pull cords to worry about, in fact the only thing that needs doing to this saw is checking the chain tension and ensuring the oil tank is topped up….I will get to that later. Of course, the usual safety features are there as expected, and should always be given the once over prior to use.
Using The ECHO DCS-2500T
There are a number of key things that make this saw a joy to use which I will outline below:
Small and versatile - This is the smallest chainsaw that our crew have used before and on small pruning jobs or tight canopies, it really makes a massive difference. Not having to pull-start the engine when out at the tip of a branch is like a breath of fresh air. Possibly one of our favourite parts about using battery chainsaws in the tree so far.
Responsive - We hadn’t expected a battery saw to be so quick off the trigger. It was surprising how much punch this little unit packs and how quickly it gets there. A fast-running saw is something we consider a necessity for achieving smooth pruning cuts.
Pruning quality - Speaking of pruning cuts, the supplied bar and chain which I believe are .25 pitch really do leave a smooth cut, almost comparable to a silky saw. The other great thing is the narrow tip of the supplied guide bar. We found it perfect for getting into tight areas, for example when pruning Lime trees covered in multiple epicormic growth. It can be next to impossible to achieve the perfect cut with a Silky blade sometimes, which is where the tight nosed bar really came into its own.
Stowing the saw - I mentioned earlier the unique attachment point for stowing the saw when not in use. The proved to be a really valuable asset to the saw. It is easy to stow and release one-handed, and stays secure when clipped to the harness, with minimal swing when moving through the tree’s canopy. Due to the low weight of the saw and the unique attachment point, its easy to forget you are even carrying it.
Noise levels - I am what you would consider an old school climber. In fact at my peak even the use of handsaws wasn’t commonplace, so the idea of running a chainsaw which makes virtually no noise compared to its petrol counterparts is somewhat foreign to me. With the noise of a petrol saw giving the ground crew good indication that you’re in the process of cutting, it does cause me a little bit of concern losing this. It is certainly something all climbers and ground crew should be conscious of and have drilled into them prior to its use.
Whilst I personally find this to be a concern from a safety point of view, its also nice not to have a chainsaw buzzing in your ears all day. In the warmer weather this will certainly come into its own, with the necessity to wear ear defenders largely removed. From a safety point of view, and perhaps taking into account the mildly annoying drone of a motor over prolonged periods, it might still be an idea to have some sort of ear protection in place.
Chainsaw vibration - Great! Taking a petrol engine out of the equation also removes virtually any vibration that you’d normally expect to find with a chainsaw. Us older climbers and chainsaw operatives have to suffer the price of years of vibration-induced HAVS. Hopefully for the next generation of tree surgeons and foresters coming up through the ranks, this will be a thing of the past in our industry.
Kickback - Possibly due to the tight radius of the guide bar, but this saw exhibits a remarkably low level of kickback. Although rare to experience in a tree (if using the chainsaw correctly), it's still nice to know that this risk has been reduced.
Battery life - For small pruning jobs and light reductions (for which this saw is really meant for), the battery life exceeded my expectations. Although we were only supplied with one battery, for certain jobs this was often enough to last a full day’s work. Although we predominantly used the saw for lighter works, we couldn’t resist seeing what it could actually handle. It was surprisingly powerful even on wood with a diameter equal to the full length of the guide bar. However using in this manner drastically cuts down on battery life, we were still seeing the battery last up to an hour on some trees.
One thing definitely worth making a mental note of is the oil tank. Typically the oil and petrol would be filled at the same time. However, with the need for stopping to refuel gone, its quite easy to overlook the fact that the oil might need a top-up. Remember to check this!
The ECHO DCS-2500T exceeded our expectations in almost all areas. Having another manufacturer launch a competing saw against the other main players in the industry can only be a good thing. This saw is a serious contender in the battery chainsaw market, and I would imagine will make all the manufacturers look at ways to up their game. This can only be a good thing for the innovation of the next generation of battery chainsaws.
All the staff that used this saw were unanimous, it definitely has its place in a professional tree surgery company. In fact it even reached the point that the lads were starting to fight over who would take it out each morning.
As a company, we look forward to seeing this technology gradually move into saws in the larger category. Given the amount these saws have improved in just a few short years, hopefully it won’t be long till we see a saw big enough to handle the larger jobs we carry out.