By Steve Bullman


Husqvarna T540 XP Review



Following 6 months of extensive use of the T540, please read on for my views on the saw.

Firstly, after what was widely regarded as a disappointing top handled chainsaw in the 338xp, Husqvarna have certainly gone all out in totally redeveloping their new offering from scratch.  The fact that they kept us waiting what seemed like an age for this saw hopefully means all the teething problems we have come to expect with new products have been mostly ironed out……read on and see.

From the very first time I picked up the T540, it felt right.  The balancing, probably one of the first things you notice with a top handled saw is spot on…at least with the 12” bar I have been using.  The looks of the saw itself look both sleek and robust at the same time.  I am certainly no chainsaw technician, so the focus of my review will be on the practical application of the saw and on a few of the nice little touches that make the saw stand out from the crowd for me.

Saw attachment point and belt eye-let:
The T540 has what looks like 2 attachment points, but its important to note that only the metal point is to be used as the main attachment.  There is an additional plastic eye which it’s sole use is for attaching to a harness tool hook.  I use a Petzl caritool, and stowing the saw onto the caritool after use couldn’t be easier.  This has become one of the features I miss most when using other top handled saws.

Auto return stop switch:
Another handy little feature thats taken for granted is the auto return stop switch which basically does what it says.  In practise I did find myself constantly knocking the engine off during use at first, but this issue eventually disappeared as I became more familiar with the machine.

Visible fuel level:
The T540 has a useful fuel level situated on the petrol tank so the user can see at a quick glance how much fuel is remaining.  Not an essential feature in a saw but useful all the same.

Individual grip size:
To my knowledge, no other saw comes with 3 different sized grips to choose from.  Is it necessary?  Probably not, after all we have managed pretty well without them up till now….but it is a nice edition in my opinion.

Basic maintenance:
Short of changing chains, and blowing out the air filter, I have had very little to do to this saw, and as I said previously I am no chainsaw technician.  Worth mentioning though is the captive side casing nut which totally eliminates those annoying moments scrabbling round in the dirt for lost side casing nuts.  Access to the air filter is nice and simple as you’d expect.

This is a bit of an unknown quantity in my eyes.  I do not have any understanding of how it works, all I know is it does work….will it in another 6 months?  Time will tell.  It was interesting when first starting the saw up, listening to the saw tune itself.  This did take a few minutes in the first instance, and over the course of the first week the engine did seem to stutter here and there, mostly first thing in the morning.  I am assuming this was all part of the breaking in process  as these symptoms have all disappeared now and the saw runs consistently well.  One thing I have noticed in general running, is that the saw doesn’t seem to stay warm as long as other models, for example if left on the harness for 10 minutes between cuts I do find I need to give it a little choke when starting….again, not an issue at all really, more of an observation.

So how well does it run?
The most important question of all!  I picked up my T540 a couple of weeks prior to the storms of October, so after a relatively casual couple of weeks doing smallish takedowns and prunes the saw was well and truly thrown in the deep end.  Anyone who has done storm work knows the importance of a fast cutting saw, and the T540 cut every bit as fast as I could have hoped, wether on small limbs 3-4” or larger limbs guide bar length and longer.  Rather than switching to a bigger saw for the thicker diameter stems,  I actually found myself using the saw for longer due to the ease with which it handled timber approaching twice the guide bar length.
As the weeks went on I pushed the saw harder still, keen to find its breaking point.  One particular job that stands out was the removal of two 100ft Poplars.  Both trees had a fair spread on them, and were cut and drop which gave me a great opportunity to really test out what grunt the saw actually had.  A few of the limbs were approximately 18” diameter(one and a half times guide bar length) and extending horizontally approximately 40ft.  Under normal circumstances I would have perhaps removed some end weight to reduce the chance of splitting, but in order to really see what the saw was capable of I opted to tackle them with the 540.  With the correct cuts in place, and myself positioned safely, all that was left was to see if the saw had the grunt and speed to get through the timber without the limbs splitting…which it did very comfortably.

So in answer to the question, If you are looking for a top handled saw that has the grunt to get the job done, then yes the T540 XP will not let you down.  I will look forward to revisiting this review 6 months from now to hopefully give a more insightful opinion on the autotune feature as well as the saws general longevity.

Looking for a saw for lighter pruning work?  The 540 is more than light and compact to use on pruning jobs, but for that occasional use, be sure to read my review on the T536 Li XP



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