If you tried the old 560XP and were disappointed, you should give the new model a test. Everything is closer together and lower, the fulcrum of the flywheel has been changed and there is a pull-out/push-up choke. It also has half-throttle, Auto-return stop switch, Smart Start, AutoTune and an advanced X-Torq engine to give it high power and improved torque.
Then there is RevBoost, which should appeal to arborists. This provides the rapid acceleration and higher chain speed for best limbing performance. Of course, all that technology, plus the 59.8cc engine, does add heft. It weighs in at 5.7kg.
Taylor notices. "It is quite a bit heavier than the 261, but then it is bigger. It's very powerful," he says. Cullen finds the rear-handle profile uncomfortable. "It's not circular enough for my hands," he explains
The bar has also changed. Additional bearings in the roller dissipate heat and pressure while the cut-out centre helps reduce weight. Heated handles are an option.
Put on a big bar for logging or a small one for snedding - this is a saw that likes to be worked. It is not one for idling. It needs to be run to keep the air flowing through. Having heard some people have had starting issues with the old 560, we set it aside awhile and test the other machines. When we pick it up again, the 560 takes three pulls to fire it up. We kill it and start it again first pull.
Engine displacement: 59.8cc
Power output: 3.5kW
Chain speed at max power: 21.3m/s
Max power speed: 9,600rpm
Idling speed: 2,800rpm
Max torque: 3.65Nm
Fuel tank capacity: 0.65 litres
Oil tank capacity: 0.33 litres
Recommended bar max/min: 20in/13in
Chain pitch: 0.325in
Chain gauge: 0.058in
Sound pressure level at operators ears: 106dB(A)
Sound power level, guaranteed (LWA): 118dB(A)
Vibration levels: 4.4m/s2 front, 5.3m/s2 rear
Weight excluding cutting equipment: 5.7kg
Price: £819 including VAT
Tel: Husqvarna UK - 0844 243 5263
Tested This Issue
- Husqvarna 536Li XP
- Husqvarna 545
- Stihl MS 261 C-M
- Husqvarna 560 XP
- Husqvarna 450
- Husqvarna T540 XP II
- Stihl MSA 160 C-BQ & MSA 200 C-BQ
Darren Chambers, arboriculture teacher and apprenticeship assessor, Bridgwater College; Claire Prangley, gardener, Cannington Campus and Walled Gardens; Jim Doble, Sedgemoor Tree Services; Joe Taylor, Mendip Trees & Landscapes; Mike Cullen, head of arboriculture, Bridgwater College.
Perhaps more than any other power tool, the chainsaw is a matter of personal preference. Depending on the task, different users may want a compact, powerful, top-handled or even battery saw. But with so much choice available, there should be something for everybody.
We put a wide range to test at Bridgwater College's arboriculture department. We look at the Stihl 261 C-M, a popular machine recently improved. Four petrol models from Husqvarna include updated units and the Mark II top handle. Then we consider rear-handled battery chainsaws from Husqvarna and Stihl.
Conditions on the day were warm and sunny. Note: the Mark II T540 XP is for use by professional arborists only and should not be used on the ground. Lacking time to rig up, we gave it a thorough inspection but hope to run it on another occasion.