Echo 501P vs Stihl 261 – What’s The Better Chainsaw?

Every chainsaw has its pros and cons and are designed for a specific type of work. It is important for you to select the correct saw that will suit your needs.

Before deciding on which saw to choose, consider your specific needs such as efficiency over handling and other important factors.

There are many options available on the market and choosing can be daunting, but to assist you with your decision we have simplified the search.

We have reviewed two chainsaws: the Echo501p and the Stihl 261, comparing the similarity and the differences between the two and giving our recommendation.

An Overview of the Echo 501P and Stihl 261 Chainsaws

The Echo is smaller and lighter which makes it more manoeuvrable. It also has the G-force air pre-cleaner filter technology. The Stihl has the anti-vibration technology and emits low emissions. This allows for easier handling and safer use.

Let’s dive deeper and look at the specifics of each machine.

Quick Facts Comparison Table


Echo 501P

Stihl 261


10.6 lbs

10.8 lbs

Fuel Capacity



Engine Displacement

50.2 cc

50.2 cc

Engine Power

2 stroke engine

2 stroke engine

Blade Guide



Main Differences Between the Echo 501P and the Stihl 261

The Echo is lighter and more compact than the Stihl, allowing for ease of use. The air filtering system between these two vary as the Echo uses a G-Force air pre cleaner, whereas the Stihl uses a pre-separation air filter system.

The Echo is more ergonomically designed which allows for easier movement and longer work time. The Stihl has anti-vibration technology so even though it is slightly heavier, it is easier to handle.

Key Selling Points for Each Chainsaw

Echo 501P

  • Users in the tree felling industry will find that the Echo 501P is a good option due to the light weight of the chainsaw
  • The automatic chain oiler with the screw adjustment ensures that the blade is effectively oiled
  • Captive bar nuts ensure no more lost fasteners

Stihl 261

  • Will suit a professional setting
  • Anti-vibration system allows for easier handling
  • Low emissions
  • Adjustable oil mechanism to ensure the right amount of oil is provided
  • Innovative 2-MIX engine.

How Do they Compare?

Which Chainsaw Has a Lower Price Tag?

Looking at price, the Echo 501P sells for cheaper than the Stihl 261. The Echo 501P retails between $499.99-519.99, whereas the Stihl 261 retails for around $600. Despite the higher price, the Stihl is a good chainsaw for homeowners taking on small projects.

Which One Is Easier to Handle?

The Echo is slightly smaller and lighter with a comfortable handle making it easier to handle. The Stihl’s handle is a little smaller and takes longer to adjust to using it.  Once you get used to it, it handles like a dream.

Which One is More Powerful?

The engines between the Echo and the Stihl are almost identical, but the power output of the Echo is higher. This extra power does come at a cost as the start-up noise of the Echo is higher than the Stihl. Most people don’t mind this, but if noise is a factor for you, this information might come in handy.

Which One is More Durable?

The casing of the Echo appears to be less robust than the Stihl which may lead to early breakage. The Echo is easy to maintain and is easier to access the fuel filter which allows for more convenient cleaning and changing.

Other Features

Features of the Echo 501P chainsaw include the following:

  • For professional and home maintenance use
  • The controls are simple to use
  • Quick and economical starting

Features of the Stihl 261 chainsaw include:

  • Has a good power-to-weight ratio
  • An effective chainsaw with low emissions
  • The design is durable and is effective in all temperatures
  • Excellent filtering and cleaning system
  • Lightweight

Pros and Cons of the Echo 501p and Stihl 261 Chainsaws

Stihl 261-1

Echo 501P Pros and Cons:



Simple controls

The plastic covering is not of high quality

Automatic idle

Starting noise

Stihl 261 Pros and Cons:



The design is solid and durable

The cost is higher than other machines

It is simple to use

Parts can be difficult to find

What are Some Common Problems You May Experience?

The Echo is noisier when starting than the Stihl which may be an issue. The casing of the Echo is not as durable as the Stihl. The Echo is a good starter chainsaw that can be used within your company or for a home maintenance chainsaw.

A problem that you may experience with the Stihl is the handling. The design is not ergonomically designed as the handle is too small which can make it difficult to hold.

What Other Similar Chainsaws Could You Consider?

Before you read our recommendation consider reviewing similar chainsaws. We would recommend that you investigate the Echo 500P and the Husqvarna 550XP.

Start with reading the comparison between the Echo 501P and the Echo 500P and then look at the review of the Stihl MS 261 vs Husqvarna 550XP.

Which One Should You Buy? Our Recommendation

The Echo 501P is a good starter chainsaw that can be effectively used within your company or if you are looking for a home maintenance chainsaw. The Echo is a good choice for smaller projects due to the size and the cheaper price.

For professionals, we’d recommend the Stihl 261, due to the efficiency of the chainsaw and the added feature of the low emissions.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, these two chainsaws are almost identical. We believe that this comparison will assist you in making the best choice between these chainsaws.

Both the Echo and Stihl are excellent brands and both will provide you with efficient and long-lasting use.

We hope that the differences listed here assist you in making the right choice depending on your specific needs.