Poulan Pro PP3816AV 38 Cc 16" Anti - Vib Chainsaw (952802030) Reviews
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Poulan Pro PP3816AV 38 Cc 16" Anti - Vib Chainsaw (952802030)

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Move Over Stihl! (A Little Bit...) Poulan Pro is Taking Over!

Dec 16, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Inexpensive, easy to use

Cons:Too much plastic

The Bottom Line: A nice back-up saw!


In my last review, I ranted on about how Stihl chainsaws are so over-rated.  When they work, they can't be beat!  They zip through wood effortlessly (provided the chain is sharp).  However, maintaining the saws is expensive and frequent. 

I know other guys who think I am crazy. They have Stihl saws and said they have never had a problem with them.  But, when I ask them how much wood they cut with them, they answer a couple of cords each year.  Then, earlier this fall, one of the guys was having guests over.  A tree had fallen down across his driveway and it was the only access to his house.  He went to cut it down with his Stihl saw but he couldn't get it started!  He called me and I brought a couple of chainsaws down (yep, Stihls) and we made quick work of the project.  Later, he told me it was a faulty fuel line that rotted.

Furthermore, I read on these internet forums how great Stihl is all the time.  I own several Stihl saws and I don't know what the heck these people are talking about!  They are good saws when they work - nice features, powerful, and sturdy.  But when they need to be fixed, the Stihl dealers corner the market on parts and it becomes very expensive.

Well, this year, ALL seven of my Stihl saws were in a state of disrepair all at the same time!  My two MS 440, the supposedly lumberjack saws, went down first with bad pistons - despite using only Stihl oil mixture and quality gasoline.  Those saws cost over $900 new.  The Stihl dealer wanted $400 dollars to repair them!  Bah!

I needed a saw to cut up some trees I had in the yard.  I went to Lowes and saw they had this Poulan Pro 16" saw for sale for only $145.  I heard nothing but bad news about Poulan saws, so I immediately decided against getting one:  "Why do Poulan saws stink?" you might ask.  "Because to start them you gotta keep Poulan and Poulan on the starter rope!"  Ha, ha, ha... now you've heard it all.  I walked away and headed over to the flooring department.

But, as often happens, I came to reason that I really needed a chainsaw to cut up the pile of trees.  Wouldn't it be nice to get that job done so it would be out of the way?  Besides, if it does not work well, Lowes has a liberal return policy.... I went back, grabbed one and headed for the check out.

Lowes folks always ask if I want to buy an extended warranty for gas powered equipment.  Actually, this might not have been a bad idea, if you see how much wood I cut in a year.  But, I figured I was buying a disposable saw and opted out.

When I got home, I took the saw out of the box, checked over the chain and start up procedures.  I added fuel and chain for the oil and I was ready to go!  This was easy!  Furthermore, the saw started right up on the first pull! 

At 38cc, this was by no means near as much power as my smallest Stihl saw.  But, for a small saw, I must say it was not half bad!  I began cutting branches off of the trees and I diced them up into manageable sizes.  That went quickly, so I started cutting up the trees.  In no time, I was done cutting up three average sized Ash trees that had cut down by beavers a couple of years ago. 

The saw handled rather nicely.  It has a self-oiling mechanism, similar to those found on my Stihl saws.  It also has a tool-less chain tensioning devise, so you do not need a screwdriver to tighten the chain (you turn this dial with your thumb).  The saw is rather light and easy to hold.  It has an anti-vibration handle.  It also has an "easy-start" system; which was, well, easy to start!  I have not taken a very close look at it, but I believe their is a spring that helps recoil the starter and something to lower the compression when the rope is being pulled to start.  Not that this was needed for a small saw, but it was nevertheless a cool feature.

On the down side, the saw has plastic all over it.  I can't stand plastic tools!  Why can't these saw makers switch back to aluminum?  Too much plastic gives a cheap image to the saw and the plastic pieces are bound to break over time.

Will I continue to buy Poulan saws?  Maybe.  I am rating a brand new saw here, pretty much fresh out of the box.  I remember when I got a new Stihl saw I was on top of the world!  All tools wear down over time.  However, if this saw holds up, at the cheap price I paid for it, it sure beats paying for repairs for the expensive Stihls!  I believe I might switch over to Husquavarna, another brand carried by Lowes.  These saws appear to be better quality saws and a Rancher saw only costs $419 regular price.  Plus, it comes with a two year warranty and I can purchase an extended warranty for a few dollars more!

I am going to work the heck out of this Poulan saw over the next year.  I already placed an order for some 16" replacement chains.  I did not throw the towel in on the Stihl saws yet...my buddy managed to repair two of the saws already and I am using them now for the bigger trees I need to cut up.  But, I may just sell them and buy a couple of Husky saws for the big stuff and use my Poulan Pro for smaller stuff.  We'll see...

Overall, I was impressed by this Poulan Pro saw.  I would never expect to see a lumberjack using this saw.  It is what many arborists call a "home-owners saw", or an occasional use saw.  Poulan saws have been around for years and they are sold in many stores, such as Lowes and Walmart, as well as over the web.  Look for a sale for the best bargain!  Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a nice day!

Mike


Recommend this product? Yes

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