First Time

Owner Guide

Right tool for the job

Before you can get started cutting wood, blowing leaves, or trimming for the first time in your very own yard, you’re going to need the right tool for the job. Luckily, we’ve got the right tools you’ll need, whether you’ve got a little patch of grass behind your house or a whole ranch to call home.

Choosing the Right Chain Saw

Chain saws come in plenty of sizes and in two basic configurations: rear handle and top handle. Top handle saws allow more control and work well for cutting low branches up in a tree, whereas our rear handle saws are more popular for general use. If all you need is a saw for light on-ground pruning and occasional firewood cutting, you’ll only need a 30-40cc range rear handle saw. Here’s an easy way to break it down:

Beginner, Occasional User: You can start with any of our light-weight models, like the CS-310 through the CS-400. These saws are easy to use and easy to start—the CS-370F has the FasTension™ tool-less chain tensioning system to make quick and easy chain tension adjustments or bar and chain replacements without a scrench or tightening tool. 

Experienced, Frequent User: Our CS-400 is popular for both new and experienced users, but if you’ll be using your saw professionally for landscaping or tree service work, you’ll want to have a little more power. Starting with the CS-4510 all the way through our CS-620PW, all our professional-grade saws have incredible power and performance.

Once you have the right saw body, you’ll need to choose the right chain saw bar length, which will usually run about one to two inches longer than whatever you’re cutting. Bar lengths for most consumer saws will be 14”, 16”, and 18”. Not sure how to gauge that diameter without measuring? There’s a quick way to eye cutting-size:

Choosing the Right Blower

Like choosing any piece of equipment, selecting the right blower will really depend on the size of your property, the type of work you’ll be doing, and what is most comfortable for you.

If you’re moving light debris every now and then in the close-quarters of a small yard surrounded by other homes, you’ll want a small, quiet handheld blower like our PB-2520, while large yards with a lot of leaf ground-cover in the fall will need something more like the PB-580 backpack blower with either hip-mounted throttle (PB-580H) or a tube-mounted throttle (PB-580T).

Choosing the Right Trimmer

Whether you’re trimming around fence posts after mowing the yard, edging along the sidewalk, or clearing away heavy brush and maintaining a large property, ECHO has a wide range of trimmers. Just like our saws, trimmers come in two main configurations: curved shaft and straight shaft.

Curved Shaft: Lighter weight, great for maneuvering around objects like trees and fence posts, and popular among shorter individuals (under 6’ tall). Our GT-225, easy starting GT-225i, and GT-225L are all great options if you’ll be doing light trimming around the yard.

Straight Shaft: Longer reach, with a wider choice of engine displacements and gear reduction for greater cutting torque. Our popular SRM-225 and our new SRM-2320T will give you the reach you’re looking for with remarkable fuel efficiency and ease of use. If you're looking for more torque to power through tough regional grasses like Bermuda or St. Augustine, or use a trimmer for edging applications, ECHO offers the SRM-2620 or SRM-3020 that feature 50% more torque than standard models.

There are other shaft configurations available, too, including a split shaft design that can accommodate most ECHO Pro Attachment Series™ attachments and ones with a steel drive shaft for increased cutting head acceleration.

Still not sure what trimmer is right for you? Here’s a helpful video with more information on Selecting a String Trimmer.

Getting Started safely

Now that you’re set with the right equipment, let’s get ready to put those machines to work.

Before You Can Start Up Your Equipment, You’ll Need the Right Fuel


Mixing Your Own Fuel: If you want to mix your own fuel, you’ll still need the right fuel and, especially, the right fuel mix. ECHO outdoor power equipment (and really all power equipment) is designed to tolerate up to 10%

You’ll also want quality mix oil that is JASO FD and ISO-L-EGD rated. Both ECHO PowerBlend™ and ECHO Red Armor oils carry this rating. Red Armor Oil uses powerful detergents that quickly remove performance-robbing carbon deposits the first use and protects against future buildups.

Check out this video for proper fuel mixing techniques and check out this infographic about how to get the most of your equipment when mixing your own fuel and oil.


Fueled up and ready to go? There are a last few safety steps you’ll want to take when you get out in your yard with that equipment!


  • Always start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area.
  • Use a funnel or a flexible hose when pouring fuel into the saw, and never try to fuel a hot (or running) saw.
  • Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw's chain path. Look for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.


  • Don’t ever direct the blower toward bystanders, open doors, or windows.
  • Always wear eye protection, such as goggles or safety glasses and ear plugs, and don’t wear loose fitting clothes.
  • Start with the nozzle close to the ground at first and then raise it to a height where it doesn’t generate dust.


  • Remove any debris in the yard including glass, limbs, rocks, and trash that could become a projectile before you start trimming.
  • Monitor the string length. ECHO trimmers feature a cut-off knife in the shield that keeps the line at a safe, optimal length so always keep the shield in place to avoid too long of line – which is unsafe and will wear on the gear case.