Echo CS 501 SX – a Japanese 50-cc saw

Test of Echo chainsaws

We tested some Echo chainsaws and wrote a summarizing article about that a while ago. In that article we promised to get back and go deeper in each of the tested models. So, here is the first one.

Echo CS 501 SX

Echo CS 501 SX is a 50-cc saw that we matched against the toughest possible opponent, Husqvarna 550 XP Mrk II. The Echo CS 501 SX has a displacement of 50,2 cm3 and has 2,57 kW or 3,5 HP. The weight is 6,3 kg (13,9 lbs). The Husky 550 XP Mrk II is a bit stronger, 3,0 kW/4,1 HP and the weight is 6,8 kg (15 lbs). The weight/power ratio is 0,7 HP/kg for the Echo CS 501 and 0,8 for the Husky 550 XP.

Test of Echo chainsaws
Echo CS 501 SX. Also available with handle heating, CS 501 SXH.

Echo CS 501 SX a light weight saw

For those who are used to operate Husky saws the Echo 501 feels familiar. The design, the handles and the balance are similar to most Husqvarna models. The handles are ergonomic, and the controls are placed where you are used to. The Echo saw starts easily, also when coming directly from the box as new.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The CS 501 SX is well balanced and easy to work with.

When we first tested the Echo saws, we felt that the carburetor wasn´t properly set on this one, the 501, and the CS 390. The rpm was too low during delimbing and we tried to set it with a screwdriver (as usually done). It turned out that for this a special tool, a “D-driver” was needed, and this was something that you were not supposed to do yourself. The Echo dealer, Ariens, explained that the saws were set at the factory for max torque which is suitable for cutting and felling. Unfortunately, that is less suitable for delimbing which is a pity as the design of the saw actually is suitable, as good as perfect, for delimbing.

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

After pushing a couple of times, we received a “D-driver” and managed to set the saws to suit our kind of work better.

Remove the dog?

Then CS 501 SX feels robust with simple and understandable details for service and maintenance. Air filter and spark plug are easy to reach as the top cover screw is loosened by hand. The clutch is turned inward with the chain sprocket closest to the chain cover which make it easy to replace chain and bar, or to remove chain and bar if the bar is stuck in a tree.

The chain cover is made of plastic. The two bar nuts are attached to the cover also when they are loose. The chain tensioning screw is also placed in the chain cover. At delivery, a big dog, or bumper spikes, are mounted on the saw. This should be removed when working in young thinning. If nothing else, it makes delimbing easier.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The CS 501 SX is delivered with bumper spikes, nothing you need in young thinning. But they are easy to remove.
Test of Echo chainsaws
The chains sprocket cover is made of plastic. The nuts are attached to it also when they are loose.

Echo CS 501 SX is not a so-called ES-saw (as in easy start), but it actually was easy to start, especially compared to the Husky 550. The CS 501 has a decompression valve you can use when you want less resistance when starting. When using that, the saw is really easy to start. It´s worth mentioning that the CS 501 we tested was easy to start every time during the two test days.

Test of Echo chainsaws
The 501 is easy to start.

The Echo CS 501 also comes with handle heating as an option, Echo CS 501 SXH. It weighs 0,2 kg (0,44 lbs) more but up here in the northern hemisphere it could be worth it, especially in the winter.

A small detail is the ignition switch that is a simple toggle switch. It feels a bit out of date and it´s easy to turn the saw of accidentally. However, none of us did that during the tests so …

Test of Echo chainsaws
The ignition switch feels a bit out of date, but it works.

A smart detail is that the fuel tank is partly transparent so you can see how much gas you have in the tank.


Assuming that the saw has good quality, and so it seems, this is a price worthy 50-cc saw if you don´t need “the best of the best”. It doesn´t reach the same performance as for an example the Husqvarna 550 XP Mrk II, but it works well. So, for a part time/ hobby logger or firewood maker it could be the best option.

Here you can read the first article in this series.

and here is a film:

Echo CS501sx - japansk femtiokubikare i gallring

Film and photos: Torbjörn Johnsen

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Test of Echo chainsaws

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

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