Echo CS-2511T Review – The Lightest Top Handle Chainsaw

ECHO CS-2511T Chainsaw FI 2
PTR Review
  • Build Quality 8.5
  • Ergonomics 9.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
  • Feature Set 9.0

If you have to climb a tree with a chainsaw on your hip, you might as well have the smallest and most powerful. The Echo CS-2511T top-handle chainsaw delivers in compact size and power.

Overall Score 8.8 (out of 10)

ECHO CS-2511T Chainsaw Cutting
ECHO CS-2511T Chainsaw Cutting

Echo recently announced the release of the lightest top handle chainsaw on the market, the Echo CS-2511T. Available now, the feature-laden saw should increase productivity and maneuverability for the arborist or lawn care pro. Weighing in at only 5.2 lbs (dry weight), the CS-2511T comes with either a 12″ or a 14″ bar and chain. Echo claims that this model in their line of chainsaws is over 20% smaller than the leading competitor’s saw. From Echo’s point of view, the benefits of a smaller, lighter chainsaw should be obvious.

We took the opportunity to put this Echo CS-2511T top handle saw in the field with one of our experts. Tom is the man for the job. Not only does he have a lawn care business, but he also spends some time in and around the trees. Previous years would find him more in the trees, but he says that age and wisdom keep moving him closer and closer to the ground. Still, the knowledge and wisdom of tree-trimming and felling abound.

Echo CS-2511T Product Highlights

The new chainsaw features an innovative top-mounted bar oiler. Unlike the traditional location on the bottom of the saw, the top-mounting allows the user easy access, as well as preventing the oil adjustment screw from getting clogged. The user can adjust the flow rate of the saw’s oil by adjusting the bar oiler. The oiler only operates when the chain moves, which saves oil and prevents it from collecting under the saw during idle.

The Echo CS-2511T has improved ergonomics and a textured grip. It also utilizes a captive bar nut to keep you from losing hardware. A side-access chain tensioner allows for easy tension adjustment. The CS2511-T also features a spring-assist starter that reduces the effort the user has to put in to start the saw.

And, finally, this new saw features a rear-mounted, two-piece air filter with a spit-back plate. Echo positioned it away from where dirt and debris most typically end up, and with its two-piece design, the filter is a breeze to clean.

Echo Top-Handle Chainsaw
Echo Top-Handle Chainsaw

Real Deal or Toy?

4" Limbs - No Match
4″-8″ Limbs – No Match!

Sure, no doubt about it, the Echo CS-2511T is small and light. However, if it can’t cut it (pun very much intended), then it might as well be a toy. This Echo top-handle chainsaw is the real deal. Sure, it’s small, but the 25.4cc 2-stroke motor can really chew some wood. Removing 4″ – 8″ limbs is no problem for this little guy. Our CS-2511T came with a 14-inch bar and chain, so we tried cutting some larger stuff. Even cutting 12-inch oak, the Echo top-handle chewed right through, hence no issue with power. Typically, this is not the go-to saw for felling trees, but we had to push the limits a bit.

Obviously, with such a small chainsaw and trying to stay light, there is a lot of plastic on the Echo CS-2511T. One of my concerns was that it would feel a little toy-ish and it might have too much flex. I’m happy to report that it surprised us in both ways. Once you hold this chainsaw and you get a little of the “new” worn off, it’s pretty robust and tough. While there is a lot of plastic, Echo has made sure that it’s sturdy and usable.

Pro Tip: This is a great read for anyone looking to use chainsaws. Chainsaw Basics for Apprentices and Pros

Start Me Up

Not only is performance and ergonomics important in a top-handle climbing saw. Starting a chainsaw can sometimes be quite cumbersome. The last thing you want is to be tethered forty-feet up a tree, yanking on a starter rope over and over. Even cold, this Echo CS-2511T seemed to start by the 3rd pull. The choke with automatic fast idle is a nice feature, especially in a climber. Once the saw was warm, it started on the first or second pull, every time.

Our Thoughts

Chain Lock
Kickback Protection

We had the opportunity to see and hold the Echo CS-2511T while at the GIE Expo back in October 2017. The pictures don’t do this top-handle saw justice, as to the size. This thing is small and light. Using this Echo top-handle saw in the field has proven with appropriate results. With this compact design, the Echo CS-2511T is centrally balanced, easy to control, and very light. While I like to do as little one-handed cutting as I can, Echo makes it easy with this very light and small chainsaw.

While the compact and light features are obvious, performance is impressive as well. There’s plenty of power on tap to handle any job this top-handle should be facing. If I had my druthers…I would: First, as mentioned, our Echo top-handle came with the 14-inch bar and chain. I would rather have this outfitted with the 12-inch bar which is available (just a preference selection). Second, it would be nice to have some rubber on the handles, even if it’s just over-molding. That’s it! Pretty small list of recommendations.

Rear of the Echo CS-2511T
Rear of the Echo CS-2511T

We mentioned in another article: “If the performance inversely matches the size, then the CS-2511T should be a big hit with climbers.” We’re excited to say that Echo has done just that with the CS-2511T top-handle chainsaw. Please understand, this is a professional chainsaw that should be handled with much caution.

The Echo CS-2511T costs around $379.99 and comes with a 1-Year commercial warranty. It is available now from any Echo retailer.

The Echo CS-2511T Features

  • 25cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine
  • Clutch-driven adjustable oiler – oiler only runs when chain is moving
  • G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner for extended filter life
  • Textured grip for optimum control
  • Choke with automatic fast idle for easy starting
  • Dual-post chain brake for durability
  • Fine grid starter cover to prevent debris ingestion
  • Side-access chain tensioner for easy chain adjustment

The Echo CS-2511T Specs

  • Engine Displacement: 25cc
  • Starting System: Spring-Assist
  • Ignition System: Digital
  • Carburetor: Butterfly-Valve Diaphragm
  • Oiling System: Automatic/Adjustable
  • Vibration Reduction System: Standard
  • Available Bar Lengths: 12″, 14″
  • Chain: 91PXL
  • Fuel Capacity: 6.4 fl. oz.
  • Oil Capacity: 4.7 fl. oz.
  • Dry Weight: 5.2 lbs.
  • Bar Type: Double-Guard 91
  • Sprocket Type: Spur
  • Handle: Plastic
  • Consumer Warranty: 5 Years
  • Commercial Warranty: 1 Year
  • Rental Warranty: 90 Days
  • MSRP: $379.99

For more information, click here to read up on the CS-2511T from the Echo website.

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Richard Cervi

Thanks for an informative review. I’ve long been a fan of Echo saws and consider them to be great pieces of equipment at an attractive price point. Having said that, I want to point out that both photos of the saw in use in this review, show it being operated one-handed and above shoulder height. This is a concern and could set a bad example for users unfamiliar with chainsaw operation. Using a chainsaw one-handed (yes, even top handled models), removes the ability of the saws chain brake to stop the revolution of the chain in the event of kickback.… Read more »

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