Echo CS590 Timber Wolf Chain Saw Review – Howling In The Woods

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echo cs590

Our little farm south of Erie has electric heat (boo). It also has two wood stoves and around five acres of trees (yay!). In an effort to keep those trees in line, and the stoves fed (it sometimes gets a mite chilly up there), I drag out my chainsaw every so often, fire it up, and make some sawdust fly. When the folks at Echo sent us their Echo CS590 Timber Wolf chain saw to evaluate, it seemed like a good opportunity to top off the firewood supply.

The Echo CS590 is aimed at property owners just like me – with several wooded acres, or a smaller property with a lot of trees. This saw would be overkill for someone who just wants to do a little pruning every year or so; its power is designed for frequent and extended use. Hell, just the fact that it has a rugged name like Timber Wolf lets you know this saw means business! Here are the specs from Echo:

Engine Displacement (cc): 59.8
Engine Displacement (cu in): 3.65
Starting System: Standard
Ignition System: Digital
Carburetor: Butterfly-Valve Diaphragm (without purge pump)
Oiling System: Automatic/Adjustable (Clutch-Driven)
Vibration Reduction System: Standard
Standard Bar Lengths (in.): 18, 20
Optional Bar Lengths (in.): 16, 24, 27
Fuel Capacity (fl. oz.): 21.8
Oil Capacity (fl. Oz.): 10.1
Dry Weight (lbs.): 13.3 (without bar and chain)
Bar Cover: Plastic
Bar Type: Pro-Lite w/ ProAm material
Sprocket Type: Spur
Handle: Plastic
Consumer Warranty: 5 years
Commercial Warranty: 1 years
Rental Warranty: 90 days

Here’s a quick video overview of Echo’s chainsaws:

Out Of The Box – Let’s Be Safe Out There!

The Echo CS590 comes with two manuals. One is the typical instruction manual, the other is a chain saw safety manual. Both are excellent – they’re very clearly written, seemingly by someone who speaks English as a first language, and contain a LOT of useful information. (I wish my Husqvarna chain saw manual was this good!) They cover pretty much every aspect of operating and maintaining the saw. As a bonus, they provide techniques and safety advice for performing various tasks with the saw, from limbing, to felling a tree, to bucking it up. They also explain what kickback is and what causes it, something it pays to be very aware of. Even though I’ve done a fair amount of cutting, I picked up some good tips.

A chain saw is an inherently dangerous tool, but Echo has taken steps to make the CS590 as safe as possible. One safety feature, included on all Echo chain saws, is a Kick Guard® attachment for the tip of the bar, to prevent rotational kickback. The Echo CS590 also has a chain brake, which is designed to stop the chain’s rotation immediately if kickback occurs. The saw comes with a low-kickback guide bar and saw chain. A chain catcher, located at the base of the bar, is designed to reduce the risk of the operator’s hand being hit by a broken or derailed chain. Their web site has several videos demonstrating chain saw safety and operating techniques. Another inspirational video to help you get in a proper frame of mind for chopping down trees is Monty Python’s Lumberjack song…

The Echo CS590 comes mostly assembled. I just had to install the bar and chain, which was simple to do using the combination tool that comes with the saw. I also installed the Kick Guard on the tip, as recommended in the manual. That was quick and easy, too, and just took a minute.

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Just a couple of pieces to put together…

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Remove the cover, slide the bar into place, pop on the chain…

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Re-install the clutch cover…

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Snug up the chain, and tighten the nuts…

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Then bolt on the kick guard.

The engine on the Echo CS590 is a two-stroke model, so it needs a gas/oil mix to run. The instructions say to use a 50:1 ratio, which means 2.6 ounces of oil to a gallon of gas. Echo also calls for use of a mid-grade (89 octane) fuel, to prevent knocking and possible engine damage. After mixing the oil and gas well, I filled the tank. The saw holds almost 22 ounces, which is a pretty decent amount of fuel.
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Ready to get lubed up…

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The oil reservoir holds about 10 oz.

After adding chain lube to its 10-ounce reservoir, and getting my safety gear together, I was ready to fire it up. (Note: I forgot to bring along two essential pieces of chain saw safety gear – steel toed shoes and a flannel shirt. I’m a semi-professional junior lumberjack; you should NEVER attempt to cut wood without those items—especially the shirt). All gassed up and ready to cut, the saw weighs about 18 pounds.

Prepping The Echo CS590

The tree I had originally intended to cut as a test of the new saw had splintered partway up, and was leaning on a couple of other trees. After taking a closer look, and noting the tangle of pricker bushes all around the base, the way the tree was barely connected at the break, and the overall sketchiness of the whole situation, I decided not to become fodder for a HomeFail post. The tree still has to come down, but I’ll do it when I have more helpers available.

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I’ll get this one after I check my insurance coverage…

I looked around for a less-hazardous but equally deserving tree to fell, and decided on a tree near our fire pit. The tree was in tough shape, and had been partly taken down by the previous owners, but still had the main trunk, which measured about 20” by 23”, and was about 14’ tall. It was pretty rotted around the base of the trunk, but the rest of it was still solid wood. The site required a bit of prep, as all the limbs that had been cut off were in a tangled heap at the base of the tree. I cleared the area around the base of the tree, leaving myself enough room to maneuver around it safely.
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Old and in the way…not me, the TREE

The Echo CS590 comes with a handy quick-start card. We recommend you take a good look at the manual before first using this, or any, chainsaw. If you’re anything like me, though, if more than 24 hours pass before I use it again, I’ll be muttering to myself and trying to remember the exact sequence of actions to fire it up. THAT’S where the quick-start guide comes in handy.
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The quick-start card is a good remedy for senior moments

Getting the Echo CS590 running is actually pretty straightforward. Push forward on the chain brake to engage it, flip the ignition switch up to the “ON” position, push the decompression button, and pull out the choke. Now pull on the starter rope a few times until the engine coughs. Push the choke in, push the decompression button again, and tug the starter rope until the saw is running, then just pull the trigger to let the saw idle.
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Set the chain brake…

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Ignition on, aye, Captain…

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My favorite part – the decompression button!

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Choke it…

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Give it a few tugs ’til the mighty 2-stroke roars.

A note on the decompression button: I LIKE the decompression button! I tried pulling the starter rope with and without using it, and the difference is amazing. It’s much easier to fire that sucker up when using the decompression feature. The engine coughed after five pulls, and started on the third pull after pushing the choke in. After letting it warm up for a minute, I introduced it to the old tree.

The Echo CS590 Makes Some Sawdust!

The top of the tree was leaning to the northeast, so I made my notch cut on that side of the tree. The saw had plenty of power, and easily made the cuts. Then I maneuvered around the back to make the felling cut. Again, the Echo CS590 easily sliced through the tree.

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Cutting the notch

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Can’t quite make the back cut…

Unfortunately, because the tree was around 23” across, the Kick Guard on the end of the bar stopped me from being able to make the entire back cut. I shut off the saw, grabbed a wrench, and did a little field surgery, temporarily removing the Kick Guard. The saw started back up with one pull, and I easily finished the cut – down came the tree.
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Emergency field surgery kick guard removal

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NOW it fits!

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Down and ready to slice and dice

Once the tree was down, the Echo CS590 made short work of bucking it up. The tree was pretty dense hardwood, possibly some sort of fruit tree. The saw bogged down a couple of times, for a second or two, while cutting through the thickest parts of the trunk. After backing the saw off a touch, it tore through the rest of the cut with no problem, and I quickly had the entire tree cut up.
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Cleaning off the small stuff…

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The Echo CS590 made it smooth and easy to buck up the old tree

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Impressions On The Timber Wolf

After my introductory experience with the Echo CS590, I was impressed. The saw is well designed, and feels solidly constructed. It starts easily, thanks to the decompression feature. The 60 cc engine runs strongly, and has less vibration than other chain saws I’ve used. It’s easy to remove the air cleaner – no tool is required, just twist a knob. Chain tension adjustments are quick and easy with the provided tool, and the translucent fuel tank allows you to see how much fuel you have left. The weight and balance are good, and the saw is comfortable to use. The saw has an automatic chain oiler (no more button pressing!), and it’s adjustable, so you can make sure the chain stays well-lubed on hot, dusty days.
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There’s one other feature that may be of interest. Although the saw is sold with either an 18” or 20” bar, the manual lists three other optional bars and chains the Echo CS590 can use: 16”, 24” and 27”. That should take care of pretty much any tree most farmers, ranchers or homeowners are likely to come up against.

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Want a bigger – or smaller – bar? Go for it!

The Echo CS590 is a big step up from the average “homeowner” chain saw. If you do a lot of tree work, and want a saw that’s powerful and reliable, I believe the Echo would be an excellent saw to consider. The saw is covered by a generous five-year warranty (lifetime on the electronic ignition module). The CS590 has excellent reviews on both Amazon and Home Depot’s web sites, but at $399, it’s $79 cheaper at Home Depot.
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Photo of author

About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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7 thoughts on “Echo CS590 Timber Wolf Chain Saw Review – Howling In The Woods”

  1. If you use the Echo 590 very much and decide to replace the spur drive with a center drive clutch drum the cost is highway robbery. The parts needed are part # 556001610 for the clutch drum and about 20 more dollars for bearing and rim. I get about 65 dollars plus shipping. Compare that my Sthil 029 at around 25 bucks for aftermarket parts.. Echo may sell reasonable good saws at competive prices but I fear the cost of consumables may be sticker shock. Do your homework. I like my saw but will be using my Sthil more often. Upkeep is a bugger.

  2. I love my 590 Timber Wolf. I use an Echo 310 which is light and cuts well. With both saws I get a choice that covers all my timber needs.

    • I’m with you, Chief – the 590 is a great saw. I have a couple of smaller saws, too, for lighter work. Always good to match the tool to the job.

  3. I was thinking about buying this saw. on the Echo site, it says it I can put a 24” bar on it. Also on a lot of forums, people are saying they have put 27” bars on their timber wolfs. In your opinion, is that too big a bar for the saw? I would like to get a 27″ if it would work decently.

    • It’s a pretty beefy engine. I’m guessing it could handle a 27″ bar, with a good, sharp chain, at least for occasional use. The forums are a great source of info, since you’re getting feedback from people who have actually (hopefully!) used the saw in various configurations, and if they’ve had good luck with a bigger bar, go for it! Having said that, the folks at Echo are likely much more aware of the saw’s capabilities, especially over the long run. It wouldn’t hurt to contact them for their two cents worth.

      • I bought a chain and 27 inch bar from my dealer. I always deal with Tubbshardware in bossier.My 590 just cut a huge oak and never flinched. I keep the 20 inch bar and chain on the saw and use the longer bar as needed. The 590 will take down almost any size with the big 27 inch bar and chain. My bar is actually longer. The cutting portion is 27 inches. File the new chain a few strokes before using it for best results. Have another strong saw standind by for a back up. My 029 Sthil normally waits just in case.


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