Husqvarna 338XPT

Having tested top-handles from Makita, Echo and Tanaka, and knowing Stihl’s top-handled saw very well, the test team are keen to see what advances have been made on the Husky. Although initially on site for a test of larger, rear-handled saws, the company’s rep is carrying the full range in his van. Within minutes the 338XPT is up and running.
Compared to its predecessor, the 335XPT, this saw does have a number of improvements. For starters it is that little bit more powerful — 1.7kW compared to 1.5kW. Then there is the starting mechanism. The 338XPT is fitted with Husqvarna’s Smart Start.
This is a decompression valve that reduces piston pressure when starting the saw. It reduces required pulling force, which makes starting easier and reduces wear on starter parts. It’s not quite the “walking the dog” yo-yo pull we saw with the Tanaka, but nevertheless will be appreciated by those needing to stop and re-start the saw regularly.
The Husqvarna’s teardrop design, combined with the flat underside, is intended to make the saw easy to handle and easy to lower through the branches of a tree. A tester reports it to be a bit “forward heavy”. He has no problem using the saw but says he is not 100 per cent comfortable.
Husqvarna tells us this saw has an “easy accessible” air purge – it’s located at the front, just in the shadow of the front handle. Yes, it is easy to reach and use but again we wonder how well protected it is against being damaged. In terms of construction, however, the 338XPT is well built and is expected to stand up to commercial use — and abuse — although it is noted that the chain brake has some flex in it.
Huskies are noted for their high revving, and this one does not disappoint. It has a good chain speed but a tester finds the saw performs much better on the down cuts. Also, the vibration system on the Husky works well.

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