Echo CS 490 Chainsaw Review


The Echo CS 490 stands out as an exceptional value in the chainsaw market, priced at $350. Known for its robust construction and performance, this chainsaw brings premium features to a more accessible price point, making it an attractive option for both casual and serious woodworkers.

Echo CS 490 Chainsaw on a white background


  • 50.2cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine-Delivers outstanding power
  • 20″ Bar Length
  • Automatic, adjustable clutch-driven oiler-Reduces oil consumption
  • Magnesium crankcase- Provides lightweight durability
  • Dual-post chain brake handle-Increases durability
  • G-Force engine air Pre-Cleaner™-Reduces air filter maintenance
  • Heavy-duty air filter with tool-less access-Provides superior air filtration for long engine life
  • Chrome plated cylinder-Extends engine life

Starting Mechanism and Build Quality

The Echo CS 490 features a simple choke lever and a kill switch that enhances its ease of use. Users will appreciate the saw’s fast start-up capability, often starting more quickly than many competitors.

Person lifting the Echo CS 490 Chainsaw kill switch

The chainsaw’s crankcase is made from durable magnesium, not the lesser-quality plastic found in many other saws. It includes solid, burly metal dogs for handling and a 20-inch bar, which provides substantial cutting capacity without the compromise of durability.

Design and Cleaning

Echo CS 490 Chainsawopen plate near cutting area

A standout design feature of the Echo CS 490 is its open plate near the cutting area, which prevents sawdust from clogging the machine, ensuring it stays clean and functional after heavy use. This open design contrasts sharply with other brands where sawdust accumulation can lead to performance issues.

Maintenance Features

Person holding the Echo CS 490 Chainsaw Air Filter

Maintenance is straightforward with the Echo CS 490, thanks to its easily accessible air filter and spark plug. The bar oil adjustment is conveniently located, making it easy to maintain optimal lubrication for smoother cuts and longer chain life.

Ergonomics and Balance

Person lifting Echo CS 490 Chainsaw

One of the critical selling points of the Echo CS 490 is its balanced weight distribution. When held, the chainsaw naturally balances itself, which is particularly beneficial for felling trees as it reduces user fatigue and improves precision in cuts. While it lacks a dedicated aiming indicator, users find that the existing bolt provides adequate guidance for accurate cutting.

Performance and Power

Echo CS 490 Chainsaw Cutting big log and sitting in the forest

With a 50.2 cc motor, the Echo CS 490 is equipped to handle substantial and hard wood materials, ideal for trail clearing and other demanding tasks. It demonstrates remarkable capability in field tests, handling large cuts efficiently and effectively, showcasing performance often expected from more expensive models.

Overall Value

Compared to other brands in the same category, often referred to as “the orange brands,” the Echo CS 490 offers significant value. It combines power, efficiency, and user-friendly features in a package that’s hard to beat for the price, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to invest in a reliable chainsaw without breaking the bank.

Comparison Table: Echo CS 490 vs. Stihl MS 271 vs. Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Engine Capacity50.2cc50.2cc55.5cc
Bar Length20 inches20 inches20 inches
Weight10.6 lbs12.3 lbs16 lbs
Start-UpQuick startStandard startStandard start
Cutting CapabilityHigh (Soft & Hardwood)High (Soft & Hardwood)High (Soft & Hardwood)
Warranty5-year consumer2-year consumer2-year consumer

Summary: The Echo CS 490 stands out as a high-performing chainsaw with a robust 50.2cc engine and a 20-inch bar, matching the specifications of models from Stihl and Husqvarna. It boasts a lighter weight and quicker start-up process, enhancing user comfort and efficiency. Priced at approximately $350, the CS 490 is notably more affordable than its competitors, making it an excellent value proposition. Furthermore, it offers a superior warranty of 5 years, doubling what is typically provided by its competitors. This combination of affordability, performance, and a generous warranty makes the Echo CS 490 an attractive option for both casual and serious woodworkers looking for a dependable chainsaw without the hefty price tag.

Safety Tips

Using a chainsaw requires careful handling to ensure safety at all times. Here are some essential safety tips for users, particularly those new to using such powerful equipment:

  1. Wear Proper Safety Gear: Always use safety goggles, hearing protection, gloves, and sturdy boots. A chainsaw helmet and chaps are also recommended to protect against flying debris and accidental cuts.
  2. Read the Manual: Before starting your chainsaw, thoroughly read the manufacturer’s manual to understand its specific safety features and operation guidelines.
  3. Check the Work Area: Ensure that the area where you’ll be working is free from obstacles. Be aware of your surroundings, especially other people or animals that could enter the vicinity.
  4. Maintain a Firm Grip: Hold the chainsaw firmly with both hands and keep a balanced stance. Never operate the chainsaw with one hand as it significantly increases the risk of injury.
  5. Avoid Cutting with the Tip: Never use the tip of the saw to cut, as this can cause kickback, where the saw is thrust back toward the operator, potentially leading to severe injuries.
  6. Shut Off When Moving: Always turn off the chainsaw or engage its chain brake when moving from one place to another, even if it’s just a few steps.

Maintenance Advice

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and optimal performance of your Echo CS 490 Chainsaw. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you keep your chainsaw in top condition:

  1. Cleaning the Air Filter:
    • Step 1: Disconnect the spark plug for safety.
    • Step 2: Remove the air filter cover. Usually, this can be done without tools for the CS 490.
    • Step 3: Clean the air filter with warm, soapy water and allow it to dry completely, or replace it if it’s heavily soiled.
  2. Checking and Replacing the Spark Plug:
    • Step 1: Locate the spark plug and remove it with a spark plug socket.
    • Step 2: Inspect the spark plug for wear and carbon build-up. Replace if necessary.
    • Step 3: Set the correct gap according to the user manual and install the new spark plug.
  3. Sharpening the Chain:
    • Step 1: Secure the chainsaw and clean the chain.
    • Step 2: Use a file suitable for your chain size, filing each cutter with uniform strokes.
    • Step 3: Ensure all cutters are filed to the same length for even cutting.
  4. Bar Oil Level and Chain Tension:
    • Step 1: Regularly check the bar oil level and refill as needed to ensure proper lubrication.
    • Step 2: Adjust the chain tension before use and during work as it can loosen. The chain should be snug, yet still able to rotate freely without sagging.
  5. Troubleshooting Tips:
    • Problem: Chainsaw Won’t Start – Check fuel mix, clean or replace spark plugs, and ensure the carburetor is clean.
    • Problem: Excessive Vibration – Check for loose parts and ensure the chain is not overly tight or too dull.


The Echo CS 490 Chainsaw offers remarkable performance and value for its price point. It excels in both design and functionality, making it a top choice for users looking for a high-performing chainsaw capable of tackling big jobs with ease. Its balance, ease of maintenance, and robust build make it a dependable tool for any serious woodworker or outdoor enthusiast.


  1. What is the oil ratio for the Echo CS 490 Chainsaw?
    The Echo CS 490 should be operated with a 50:1 oil ratio, meaning you use 2.6 ounces of oil per gallon of gasoline.
  2. Why does my Echo Chainsaw have starting issues?
    Starting problems could be due to a variety of issues such as old or improperly mixed fuel, a dirty or faulty spark plug, or carburetor troubles. Ensuring fresh fuel, checking the spark plug, and cleaning the carburetor are good first steps.
  3. Can I adjust the carburetor on my Echo CS 490 myself?
    Adjusting the carburetor can often resolve performance issues. The chainsaw has three carburetor adjustment screws for idle speed, low speed, and high speed, which you can tweak as needed.
  4. What should I do if my Echo CS 490 overheats?
    Overheating can be prevented by ensuring there’s sufficient bar and chain oil, the air filter is clean, and the fuel mix is correct. Regular maintenance is crucial.
  5. How do I properly tension the chain on the Echo CS 490?
    Chain tension should be checked and adjusted regularly to ensure good cutting performance and to avoid safety hazards. The chain should be snug but still able to be turned by hand with a gloved hand.
  6. What are some signs of wear to look out for on the Echo CS 490?
    Signs of wear may include dull chains, uneven cuts, or excessive vibration. Regular inspections can help identify these issues early.
  7. How can I ensure the longevity of my Echo CS 490?
    Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the air filter, sharpening the chain, and checking the engine’s oil level, will help extend the life of your chainsaw.
  8. What are some common cutting performance issues with the Echo CS 490?
    Common issues include a dull or damaged chain and improper chain tension, both of which can affect cutting efficiency.
  9. Is the Echo CS 490 suitable for both professional and home use?
    Yes, the Echo CS 490 is designed for durability and performance, making it suitable for both professional and residential tasks.
  10. What warranty does the Echo CS 490 offer?
    The Echo CS 490 typically offers a 5-year consumer warranty and a 1-year commercial warranty, underscoring its reliability and manufacturer support.

Do you have experiences or tips to share about the Echo CS 490 Chainsaw? Your insights could help others make informed decisions! Feel free to drop your comments below and join the conversation. Let’s learn from each other and share our chainsaw tales!

David Murray
David Murray
Forestry Author

I'm David Murry, a forestry equipment specialist with a focus on chainsaw operation. With over 13 years of experience, I've honed my skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of machinery, from chainsaws to log splitters. My passion for the outdoors and commitment to sustainable forestry drive my work, which emphasizes safety, efficiency, and staying updated with industry advancements. Additionally, I'm dedicated to sharing my expertise and promoting environmental awareness within the forestry community.


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