Poulan Wild Thing 18" Chainsaw - Review
No one is ever going to mistake us for lumberjacks, but we're also not going to pass for city-dwellers either. Because of the wood stove and all the trees on the property, we need a half-way decent chainsaw. We happen to have gotten this Poulan a few years back as a gift from our old boss and we've been using it ever since despite the fact that it's purple and green and has the words 'Wild Thing' printed on the bar (which, thank the heavens, has finally rubbed off).
But aesthetics aside, it starts when we want it to and it cuts when we need it to. We neglect it most of the year and don't pay too much attention to properly winterizing it. From time to time, we have to fiddle with the idle, but that's not a bother. The only thing that's functionally wrong with it is that the pull cord got all tangled up once and in the process of fixing it, we lost a few revolutions of tension, so it hangs a bit loose. No big deal. It still starts.
We don't think a whole lot about the saw (like we said, we sort of neglect it), but what spurred this review was last weekend's project of making a patio/planting bed border out of railroad ties (have you ever tried picking up a railroad tie? Oh man, are they heavy). The front of the patio has a curve in it to follow the driveway, so we had to make a number of relatively precise cuts with the saw. Like all the other times, the saw started right up and acted just like a chainsaw should. It handled the railroad ties without a problem and other than a fine creosote dust on everything and a chain the needs sharpening, all is good in the world.
Seriously, the only problem we have with the saw is the whole "Wild Thing" thing. Had this not been a gift, we would have never purchased it ourselves based on that alone. We think it's just kinda lame. Sort of like the tool equivalent to having neon lights on the under-carriage of your car.
The Wild Thing costs about $150 and as long as you can handle the look of the thing, it's a great choice for someone looking for a reliable homeowner saw without a big price tag.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at May 27, 2010 5:22 AM
Ok thanks for the review. I've used both pro saws (Stihl & Echo) and Poulans - recently the similar to your Wild Thing model, the PP 4218, sold at WalMart.
I think we need to appreciate things for what they are intended to be, not what they're not.
Jeff Williams the prior commenter might recall that the Poulan sells for $ 150, so limited use, or budget limited folks can also cut wood & keep warm.
Yes, the Poulan will probably last only 3-6 months of commercial use, but it's designed for the 'occasional use' a homeowner will give it, and as this review shows, it will stand up nicely to medium duty usage.
My Poulan, the nearly identical PP 4218 is doing just as well. With a more aggressive 'pro' style Oregon Chain, it was cutting faster than the far more expensive ECHO CS-530 - a pro saw costing 3 times the $$ of the Poulan.
Of course, the ECHO has a full magnesium case and would last 3-10 years even if used daily for commercial work, so the pro will buy that saw.
The home handyman will do fine with the Poulan - which is exactly it's purpose.
Either saw will die with bad maintenance or live long with proper maintenance.
Thanks again for the review & forum to discuss these tools !
It is a toy. I started with a consumer-level Husqy (345), and now have moved up to a 262XP for big stuff, and a Stihl top-handle for climbing work. Craftsman, McCullough, Poulan, Homelite, and plenty of other brands have been sold out to Chinese manufacturers, and their saws are not pretty much crap for any serious work. However, they are cheap, and disposable. Its nearly impossible to find parts for any of those saws, as they change things all the time, and there aren't any IPL's for them.
Stick to Makita (rebadged Sachs-Dolmar), Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo, or Eftco.