Echo CS 390 ESX – a low weight 40-cc saw in a 50-cc suit

Test of Echo chainsaws

This is the third article in our series about the two testing days we had in the forest. You will find links to the two first articles at the end of this one.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The Echo CS 390 ESX.

Echo CS 390 ESX, where the ”X” stands for Echo’s professional range, and the ES for Easy Start. The starter has some kind of mechanism that makes it easier to pull the starter rope. We didn´t actually notice any big difference between the Echo saws we tested, they were all easy to start.

The cylinder is 38,4 cc and engine power is 1,9 kW (2,6 hp). The weight with full tanks and 13” bar is 5,7 kg (12,6 lbs) which is approx. 1 kg lighter than the Husqvarna 550 XP with 3 kW (4,1 hp), but 0,6 kg heavier than the Stihl MS201 with 1,8 kW (2,4 hp). Those were the two saws we compared the Echo saws with during the test.

Echo CS 390 ESX – a light chainsaw

The body of the CS 390 reminds a lot of the CS 501 which also means it reminds of a Husqvarna saw. The angle of the handles and position of controls are more or less the same. As with the CS 501, if you are used to the Husky saws you will feel at home with this one. In young thinning the power of the 40-cc engine is enough and the lower weight, compared to the Echo CS 501 and Husky 550 XP, is of course positive.

A problem with the CS 390, that also occurred on the CS 501, was that we got the feeling that the saw couldn´t give full gas. The rpm wasn´t enough, especially not during delimbing. We tried to set the carburetor with a screwdriver, but it turned out that a special tool was needed for this. The Swedish Echo importer, Ariens, informed us about the special “D-driver” (a “D”-shaped tool) and told us that the customers weren´t supposed to do the settings themselves and therefor no tool was delivered with the saw. We received a “D-driver” after a while and could set the saw to run better.

Personally, I think it´s a big mistake not to let the customer set the carburetor as different types of forest could demand different settings. Not to mention that different loggers want different settings.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The special “D-driver” that is necessary for setting the carburetors on the Echo saws.

According to Ariens, Echo only offers one chainsaw with electronical setting of the carburetor, like Husky’s Autotune and Stihl’s M-Tronic. That is a semi-pro saw called CS 420 EMS that we unfortunately did not test. Ariens also informed that he CS 390 ESX will be replaced after the summer with corresponding model named CS 4310.

Are bumper spikes/dogs really needed on a 40-cc saw?

Bumper spikes are standard on this 40-cc saw, as on many other saws. If you work in young thinning, for which this saw is suitable, you don´t really need those. Our recommendation is to remove them. The question is if you ever need bumper spikes on a 40-cc saw?

Test of Echo chainsaws
The Echo CS 390 ESX with (unnecessary?) bumper spikes.

The chain sprocket cover on the CS 390 is made of plastic. The two cover nuts are easily lost during chain and bar switch as they are not attached to the cover. The chain tensioner is placed at the front of the body, upward just inside the bar. The chain sprocket is outside the clutch which makes it easy to switch the chain.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The chain tensioner is placed on the inside of the bar. The clutch is turned inward which make it easy to remove chain and bar.


This is for sure a nice saw to use in young thinning. It feels like a 50-cc saw but it´s much lighter than both the Echo 50-cc CS 501 and the Husqvarna 550 XP. In a young spruce thinning with lots of delimbing this 40-cc Echo CS 390 ESX is a good alternative but if you want to fell larger trees or cut thick firewood, a larger saw would be better.

Here you can read previous articles in this series:

Introduction article

CS 501 SX

And here is a film of the CS 390 ESX:

Echo CS390ESX - 40-kubikssåg i klen gallring
Test of Echo chainsaws
Torbjörn in action with the cs 390 ESX.
Test of Echo chainsaws
Me in action with the CS 390 ESX. The design reminds a lot about my Husky 550 XP.

Film and photos: Torbjörn Johnsen

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Test of Echo chainsaws

Echo CS 501 SX – a Japanese 50-cc saw

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