Makita DCS400SP, DCS4600S and DCS7901

We’d hoped for a first go with the much awaited Makita four-stroke chainsaw. But it was not to be. That project is still under development, though we are told there could be an announcement soon. Instead, we begin with the DCS400.
Now eight years old, this semi-professional saw shows that Makita has always had an eye on construction. It has a full metal chassis yet only weighs 4kg and is compact. It also has plenty of power. But its age shows in the way that chain tensioning is undertaken from the front and not the safety of a side position. Hussey finds it has an over-sensitive inertia chain brake — annoying, but better than it not working at all. When it is running, it is smooth.
This 39cc saw, we are told, still sells in quantity and has proved reliable. We like the fact that you have to twist the choke and the on/off switches — it makes you conscious of what you are doing. Nevertheless, being eight years old, this model could be superseded in the not-too-distant future.
Again, with a full metal chassis, the DCS4600S is a 46cc machine delivering 3.5hp. It uses a heavier crankcase material, so expect it to be just over 5kg. We like the self-compensating carburettor — it really gets the emissions down on tick over — and the high torque delivery that will see this unit standing up to demanding professional conditions.
The engine is separated from the handlebars for low vibration levels and we also like the on/off choke combination switch with automatic half-throttle lock.
But it’s the 7901 that steals Davis’ heart. “The power is terrific and it’s really comfortable,” he says. This was the first saw to achieve a 1hp to 1kg power-to-weight ratio. It has a 79cc engine, delivering a massive 6.2hp. Weight is 6.3kg. And starting is still simple.
It has all the features you want — enclosed oil adjuster, side tensioning, clip-access air filter and sturdy construction. It’s supplied with two air filters — a flock filter for hardwoods and a gauze filter for softwood. Like the 4600S, it has full metal chassis, decompressor and inertia chain brake. We are surprised to hear this model is six years old.

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