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Husqvarna Chainsaws - to XP or not to XP?


Ben Pinnick

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On a recent thread in the forum the question of why would you not buy the XP version of a Husqvarna saw was raised. The obvious answer is price, but price isn't everything, and so here I try and delve into the differences in the saws, and see whether, at least on paper, the budget saw versions make any sense.

 

What is an XP saw?

 

Husqvarna offers 2 saws (at least) at each CC size, the 'regular saw, and the XP version. XP stands for Extra Power, and at a basic level offers just that - extra power. However the power comes at a price; both in terms of actual cost to the buyer, as well as physical factors such as size, weight and fuel efficiency. The question is does the XP price hike translate into an equivalent performance bump?

 

What factors did I look at?

 

In terms of determining the performance of the saws, Ive considered the following aspects:

 

  • Price
  • Weight 
  • Engine Power
  • Torque
  • Chain Speed
  • Fuel consumption

 

What factors didn't I consider?

 

  • Vibration Levels
  • Noise Levels
  • Emissions levels

 

I chose not to consider these factors for various reasons, mainly because from my personal experience Ive not found noise or vibrations to be a significant factor on any Husqvarna saw I've used, they've always been acceptable, and neither did I consider emissions, as that will vary from fuel to fuel, mix of the oil etc. While we may be concerned by emissions, they effect neither the saw's cutting ability or running costs, and so didn't qualify here.

A note on power and torque

A quick note on power and torque at this point is probably sensible. Whats important to remember is that power is 'fixed' and based on the engine, where torque can be easily manipulated through gearing. What this means in practice is that any saw can have (within reason) any torque. However as you increase the torque through lower gearing, the chain will slow. Torque therefore equates broadly to bar size you could theoretically run, but without enough power to match it the chain speed would be too slow to be useful. Or put another way, as you add power you can add torque, or chain speed or both, but just manipulating the torque through gearing without additional power will slow the cut speed. It's critical that the two are balanced therefore, but also important to remember that adding power doesn't necessarily gain you an ability to cut something the lower power saw can't, it might only do it a bit quicker but otherwise no more competently.

 

The Comparisons - 585 vs 592XP

 

First up is the big guns, the 585 and 592XP. These are the only two in the comparison that run different sizes engines, but they're still the same 'class' so it counts!

 

What I've done is found the numbers for each saw (not as easy as it sounds) and made a comparison. The final column shows how much more or less the second saw has relative to the first. In the class battles, this is always the XP saw relative to the non XP. In each case, the red or green highlights whether it is better or worse. For example +10% chain speed is better (so would be green) but +10% fuel consumption would be worse, so is red. Green good, red bad.

 

1988719034_Screenshot2022-01-12at09_19_39.thumb.png.d7f1a03a593ad9dc25d322fd8d26147a.png

 

So straight up we can see the 592XP is 11.68% more expensive, offering a 9.8% boost in power, but only 4.82% in torque, and the same chain speed. This is not replicated across the whole of our comparison saws, with extra power normally equating to chain speed. Perhaps Husqvarna felt no chain speed should exceed 30ms? I don't know the answer to why, but it looks like the 592 could cope with a slightly bigger bar / tree diameter but won't cut it any quicker.

 

As with all saws in the engine class comparison, the Extra Performance option comes at a price in terms of running costs, at least for fuel. While the fuel consumption per kW produced is similar, if you're looking to utilise the additional power, then you're going to consume more fuel, both while enjoying the faster acceleration that will be had with more power kicking in at the early stages, and more power at peak output. Its hard to say exactly what the average extra would be, but we can see its going to use 12% more fuel at peak power. that works out at 0.4L per hour of use, which at current prices would be 60p on e10 (£1.45 a Litre), and 76p on Aspen 2 (£19 for 10L). While that doesn't sound much, every 100 hours on a 592XP with Aspen 2 is £76 more than the 585. It starts to add up. With out an additional boost in chain speed, I feel anyone but the most experienced operators would struggle to gain a significant enough cutting advantage to make up for the additional upfront and running costs with the 592XP over the 585 based on the numbers alone*.

* More on that later.

 

The Comparisons - 565 vs 572XP

 

From here on in the saws follow the current 'normal' for Husqvarna, where the CC is the same for both saws. The 565 is one of the saws in my shed, so this is a comparison I made when I was looking for mine, and where this all started.

 

176506484_Screenshot2022-01-12at10_12_05.thumb.png.d21247055652a1fb33002d2d09e9f1f9.png

 

For me I was doing the comparison the other way, looking at the 565 over the lower models, as the really big price drop from 572XP to 565 makes the 565 the same price as the 562XP, but again more on that later. In the comparison between the two 70cc models, we see a big price difference that equates to bigger power and torque differences, but while the price difference doubles, the difference in power and torque doesn't quite match it, but this time the chain speed is lower for the 565.

 

Again the running costs are well up on the 572XP versus the 565, but here maybe start to see more balance - if you're a paid operator, harvesting trees for revenue based on the quantity harvested, then the higher chain speed will likely mean that the additional running costs are worth the extra. Add to that the lower likelihood of wasted time in freeing stuck saws, and the possibility to run meaningfully bigger bars/cut bigger diameters, and this version of the XP saw makes a lot of sense over its less powerful brother. 

 

But, and it's a big but - if you're not too worried about the speed of the cut (27.5 is still fast - comparable to the high end Stihls, and may mean you need, theoretically at least, new chainsaw trousers and boots if you're upsizing your saw) or maxing out the bar size, the the massive price discount and lower running costs mean that the 565 looks excellent value, and even more so when you compare to the next model down.

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8 hours ago, Mick Dempsey said:

Isn’t there a blanking plate or something in the 365 that’s easily removed to give it 572 power?

Its a fin in each of the transfer covers . just dremmel it off and shazam ! 🙂

Edited by Stubby
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2 hours ago, Mick Dempsey said:

Isn’t there a blanking plate or something in the 365 that’s easily removed to give it 572 power?

That was to convert 365 to 372 Mick

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Don't remember the exact prices but the 365 xtorq was more like 35% cheaper than the 372, it was odd how cheap it was. I bought one and sent it to Spud, even paying for the mods and porting total cost was less than a 372.

 

It cuts really fast, just weighs a bit more than my MS400.

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