While designing their brand new generation of 50cc professional-grade chainsaws, Husqvarna didn’t just make mild improvements to an existing platform. They went all out to achieve massive improvements in performance and maneuverability. Digital prototyping and sensor-based data collection laid the groundwork for a revolutionary new chainsaw design. Husqvarna used feedback from tree care professionals and loggers to make an already excellent chainsaw even better. The Husqvarna 545 Mark II has very little in common with the original 545. It packs more power while cutting down on unnecessary bulk. And the result is a chainsaw that performs just as well in trees as it does on the ground.
Table of Contents...
- 0.1 How Husqvarna Reinvented the Chainsaw —
- 1 Alternatives to the Husqvarna 545 Mark II
- 2 REVIEW : Husqvarna 545 Mark II
How Husqvarna Reinvented the Chainsaw —
The Husqvarna 545 Mark II isn’t just more powerful on a spec sheet, that additional muscle actually translates into faster cutting on all types of wood. Plus, vibration levels have been reduced significantly thanks to the new Low Vib suspension system. Low Vib uses specially designed shock absorbers to isolate engine vibrations from the chainsaw handles.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the ► Husqvarna Mark II 545
I find the 545 Mark II to be an impressive piece of kit even if you aren’t a professional user. It is well worth the money since most of the components are built and assembled in Sweden or USA unlike Husqvarna’s cheaper saws. Plus, this chainsaw isn’t too heavy or unwieldy compared to some of the other 50cc saws out there. So you as a homeowner can comfortably use it for chopping firewood. The more firewood you cut per year, the more you’ll get out of your purchase. The 545 Mark II has better air filters compared to its predecessor which increases endurance and allows it to run even in extremely dirty environments. As long as you’ve got fuel, this saw will keep slicing through all the wood you throw at it.
A Few Notable Features: 545 Mark II
Anti-vibration systems are essential with more powerful chainsaws. The vibration from vibrating tools can cause serious long-term damage named HAVS. This is far less likely for casual users.
Magnesium is used on higher end chainsaws to reduce the weight while increasing the strength. It’s the ideal alloy, allowing for thin walls, greater accuracy when casting and superior reduction of vibrations.
The 545 Mark II has an excellent air flow system which keeps the engine cool while you work. Heat is the enemy of power tools, The filter is large and you have easy access with quick release clips.
Alternatives to the Husqvarna 545 Mark II
I’m a genuine fan of Husqvarna products, including chainsaws. They are one of those brands that consistently make great products. But based on my experience and all the time I’ve spent looking at other brands there are better options for less money. Because Husqvarna is a premium chainsaw brand means you end up paying more money for their chainsaws.
It’s not a secret that Husqvarna is known for their chainsaws. Sometimes a brand’s reputation can work against them. It’s the reason why Mercedes cars are so expensive. Lexus makes better cars. They’re far more reliable, with better engineering and they’re cheaper to own. But Mercedes costs more. I’m not here to debate cars but you can compare the reliability ratings of Lexus compared to Mercedes to see it’s a better luxury car.
Husqvarna is a great brand but at the lower end of chainsaws you can get do more with your money. Here are my two recommendations if you’re open to seeing what the competition is for the 545 Mark II. It’s good to know your options. Ultimately you need to decide what’s best for you.
Makita EA5000PRFL / 20″ Gas
This is an excellent Makita chainsaw for the price. It’s about $150 cheaper than the Husqvarna 545 Mark II — and it’s better in some areas and Husqvarna is superior in other ways. For the difference in price the Makita is a better buy and it handles better than the Husqvarna, but some of differences are subjective so don’t take our word for it.
Why is it the best value professional chainsaw? Price is an important factor but you also get a lightweight chainsaw with a magnesium housing. Some of the key features: commercial-grade engine, low-vibration system, auto-tension chain system, easy-start system, and tool-less bar and chain adjustment.
This is perfectly suited for larger jobs and reduce user fatigue and effort.
ECHO CS-501P / 20″ Gas
ECHO chainsaws are underrated but people who know chainsaws are well versed in the value that ECHO provides. The CS-501P is another excellent value 50cc gas chainsaw that’s more enjoyable to use than the Husqvarna 545 Mark II.
It does not have a magnesium housing like the other two brands, instead ECHO uses plastic on this model. Overall, the vibrations are minimal thanks to the effective anti-vibration system. A good value but not as good as the Makita. The 545 Mark II is an excellent chainsaw, and it’s a bit of a toss up between these two but you need to factor in the $100 cheaper price tag.
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what matters to you the most.
Video: See how fast the Makita EA5000P can cut through large logs
You can’t argue with facts. Have a look and decide if this will get the job done. Makita chainsaws are underrated, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone.
REVIEW : Husqvarna 545 Mark II
- Husqvarna 20-inch 545 Mark II gas chainsaw is ideal for tasks such as professional tree work and land clearing
- 3.6-HP X-Torq engine reduces fuel consumption and gasoline emissions
- LowVib anti-vibration system reduces vibration levels for the operator
- Side-mounted tensioning system allows for quick adjustments chain while working
- Smart Start starter helps the gas chainsaw start quickly with minimal effort
- Inertia-activated chain brake on the gas chainsaw reduces the likelihood of injury due to kickback
- AutoTune carburetor delivers optimal engine performance in any environment
- Husqvarna X-Cut chain and X-Force bar included with the gas chainsaw ensure precision cutting performance
- Quick-release air filter for easy cleaning and replacement
- 2-year consumer warranty can be extended up to 5 years with purchase of 96 oz. of pre-mixed fuel
This chainsaw was created for heavy-duty users, but despite that it’s one of the most approachable tools you’ll ever lay your hands on. Compared to the average gas saw, starting the 545 Mark II is a piece of cake. It has an excellent automatic tuning function for the carburetor (AutoTune), which uses microchips and sensors to adjust air-fuel ratios on the fly.
Putting the techno mumbo jumbo aside, it means your 545 Mark II will start irrespective of the altitude or temperature. One of the key focus points for Husqvarna while designing this chainsaw was to make sure that it works even in extreme climates. Whether you’re out on snow-covered mountains or in the middle of a hot tropical rainforest the 545 Mark II will not fail you.
But how did Husqvarna end up with this exceptional chainsaw platform? What prompted them to create an improved version of an already existing product? Surely it wasn’t sales alone, their products have been selling like hotcakes ever since I can remember. Everybody knows Husqvarna makes quality stuff, and there are still plenty of loggers out there using Husqvarna saws from 15 or even 20 years ago.
They could have coasted along just fine, making minor tweaks to proven chainsaw platforms. Why take the risk designing something from scratch? Because Husqvarna has always pursued innovation, their goal is to make the best chainsaws money can buy. It isn’t just shallow commercialism for them. They actually care about the products they make and what their customers hold in their hands. You see it in their exceptional build quality, top-notch customer service, and constant improvements on existing product lines.
The 545 Mark II and it’s more expensive cousin, the 550 XP Mark II were both designed to be better chainsaws than their predecessors — Not just from a performance perspective, but also in terms of efficiency and handling. They can run longer before the engine overheats, they can keep running even with a clogged air filter, and they won’t leave your hands feeling fatigued from vibration. Limbing, felling, bucking, the 545 Mark II can do it all. Whether you’re cutting firewood or clearing out a tree that’s blocking the road- this chainsaw performs better than any other 50cc saw I’ve ever seen. Except the 550 XP Mark II, and even then the performance gap isn’t much between the two.
Husqvarna prioritized 3 metrics while designing the 545 Mark II:
- Comfort & Maneuverability
The 545 Mark II was created with the harvest forestry and urban forestry sectors in mind, using feedback from professional users. Felling, limbing, bucking, and cross cutting of small to mid-sized trees was the initial use case. With the amount of R&D resources it has at its disposal, Husqvarna could’ve easily been carried away into adding a bunch of gimmicky features. But they didn’t want complexity for the sake of it, the goal was refinement and efficiency. So instead of making a chainsaw that does a bunch of things but excels at none, Husqvarna focused in on creating a saw that arborists and loggers will love. It packs tons of performance into a compact package without compromising on endurance or ergonomics.
To improve performance, Husqvarna upgraded their X-Torq engine so it puts out even more RPM than before. And low-end torque is even higher, so the saw doesn’t bog down while cutting through wet or sappy wood. According to Husqvarna’s Christian Johnsson (NA product manager), the 545 Mark II has 8% more power with 4% more torque compared to the 1st gen 545. It may not seem like a ton, but that is actually quite impressive considering the fact that engine displacement is the same. Plus, you get even more runtime now.
\The 545 Mark II’s tank lasts 14% longer compared to the old 545, and cutting performance is 25% better. It is easy to increase performance by sacrificing runtime, but increasing runtime AND performance simultaneously? That’s an example of good engineering. Finally, the 545 Mark II feels more responsive than its predecessor. Possibly due to the lighter flywheel, there is virtually no lag between you pressing the trigger and the change in engine speed.
Endurance was boosted with a new AutoTune system that adjusts the carburetor electronically depending on changes in altitude, fuel type, temperature, etc. This ensures your saw will never stall or fail to start even under extreme conditions. You spend less time tuning the saw and more time cutting wood, because AutoTune does all the hard work for you. Even if the air filter is clogged, it will adjust the air-fuel mixture to keep the engine spinning. On top of all this, Husqvarna completely redid the crankcase and flywheel design. The new Mark II crankcase is built with a Magnesium alloy which reduces weight and improves high rpm performance. The flywheel is also lighter than before, so there are less gyroscopic forces acting upon the wrist of the user as they fling the saw around. Which results in less user fatigue over time.
The 545 Mark II has improved cooling capacity over the first generation 545, thanks to new airflow channels and the addition of extra cooling fins in critical areas. Husqvarna also came up with a new heat shield that seals the cylinder area and reduces heat leakage. Overall, the 545 Mark II dissipates heat 13% faster than the first generation 545. And because it gets rid of heat more efficiently, you push it harder without running the risk of overheating. This is especially useful in hot climates. Also, chainsaws tend to be quite hot when you use them to cut wood and empty the tank. You normally have a “cool-down” period before you can safely refuel and resume operations. That cool-down period is significantly smaller with the 545 Mark II. If you run a tree care or landscaping business, every minute of downtime you chop off means more cash in your account.
User comfort and maneuverability was another key point of focus for Husqvarna while making the 545 Mark II. Which is why they moved a few bits and pieces around to give you better leverage while operating the saw. One improvement is the longer distance between both handlebars. Your front hand acts as a pivot point while cutting, the rear hand is the primary control point that moves the saw around the front hand. By increasing the distance between the two handlebars, Husqvarna made it so you can pivot the saw with less force. Even though it weighs around 11lbs dry, the 545 Mark II actually isn’t that hard to use. Even for a novice, although I wouldn’t recommend getting a 50cc saw if you just want to prune your orchard and have never used a chainsaw before.
Husqvarna also increased the distance between the cylinder cover and front handle. This is good news for people working in the winter while wearing thick gloves, there is more space for your hands. Also comes in handy if you’re a large person, the handle won’t feel cramped at all. Apart from the better ergo, Husqvarna tuned the 545 Mark II to generate less gyroscopic force, by lightening the flywheel. They also tweaked the clutch position and made it so the rotational force of the chain works with the oscillating force of the piston. This way, they don’t fight each other and create unnecessary chatter. Instead, they are in harmony and the result is further reduction in vibration/ gyroscopic force. All this means the saw is way more balanced compared to its predecessor, and much more maneuverable as a result. You can move it around like it’s a part of your body, and precise cuts are easier to make.
Talking of precise cuts, the 545 Mark II has two felling sights- one vertical, the other horizontal. Both of these sights are molded into the plastic panels so they never fall out of alignment. If you want a 545 Mark II designed specifically for operation in freezing environments, check out the “G” model. The 545G Mark II is essentially a 545 Mark II with a heated handle. The 545G Mark II also has a heated carburetor to prevent icing in extremely cold conditions. A heated carburetor also assists with cold starts. Carburetor heating is provided by an electric element, and the temperature is controlled by a thermostat. A similar system is used for the heated handles.
How Good Is The Husqvarna 545 Mark II At Cutting Wood?
This should come as no surprise, but the 545 Mark II will handle pretty much anything. Whether you’re felling medium-sized trees (trunk width up to 50 inches) or chopping up some lumber in your very own sawmill, the 545 Mark II is more than adequate. Even if you’re just cutting up some 6 x 6 pressure treated pine for a project, the 545 Mark II will make for a better choice than most electric saws. It is faster than any electric/ cordless saw you can buy, and the advantage of not being tethered to a cord or having to recharge batteries is really worth considering. Especially if you have a lot of wood to cut.
Unlike cheaper gas chainsaws like the ones from Poulan or Harbor Freight, the 545 Mark II can keep cutting for extended durations without overheating. Remember when I talked about its enhanced endurance thanks to the AutoTune feature and improved cooling fins? Yeah, those come in handy if you cut several cords of firewood each season. Another big factor to consider is how often you maintain your chainsaw. A regular gas saw without autotune will need timely air filter changes. You will have to adjust the carburetor if you shift from sea level to high up in the mountains. But with the 545 Mark II, you just have to set the choke and pull the cord. That’s it, you are ready to cut. Even with an air filter that’s covered in debris, the 545 Mark II won’t bog down because the microprocessor inside senses reduced air intake and adjusts the carburetor accordingly. It even takes into account altitude and air pressure changes.
Casual users may not have the time or the know-how to change their air filters or clean them up when they get dirty. In that situation, having a 545 Mark II is a blessing because it will start up and run irrespective of your maintenance schedule or experience with operating a saw. In a way, this chainsaw is better for novice users than a smaller 35cc gas saw that weights much less. And you know the 545 Mark II will chew right through 20 or 30 inch logs of oak, maple, cherry, etc. Plus, you can take it through dirty wood or attach an aggressive chain with more “bite” if you want. The 3.6hp engine is more than capable of handling stuff like that.
VIDEO : WATCH / Extend your Husqvarna Warranty
EXTEND Your Husqvarna Warranty by 3 Years
To extend the warranty by 3 years to a total of 5 years:
- Two steps: First, YOU must purchase at least 96 fluid oz (2839 ml) of Husqvarna brand pre-mixed fuel at the same time as the qualifying handheld product purchase and both purchases must be on the original product invoice/receipt. Second, the consumer must register their product online.*
►LEARN MORE BY VISITING THE HUSQVARNA WARRANTY PAGE : Read Carefully
💡 You can extend the warranty by one year or 3 years, depending on what you purchase with the chainsaw. Get the 3 year extended warranty. It’s an amazing upgrade. I wish it wasn’t so specific. Again, read the instructions very carefully on the Husqvarna site.
What Technologies Are Present In The 545 Mark II?
Husqvarna has a bunch of proprietary technologies that they’ve developed over the past few decades. And in the 545 Mark II you’ll find the most refined and up to date versions of those systems. Let me show you what some of these names mean.
Air Injection: When a chainsaw starts cutting through wood, tiny chips of debris are flung into the air. There is fine sawdust, and there’s larger wood chips. You don’t want the larger particles getting to your air filter, because then it will clog much faster than usual. A clogged air filter means an engine that can’t breathe. And that results in a stalled saw. Air Injection works with centrifugal force, it picks up the largest and heaviest debris so it can send them outside the saw. There are fan blades on the flywheel (part of the recoil starter assembly). These fan blades cool the engine, but they also function as a filtration system. Fresh air is drawn in, carrying debris of all sizes. The fan spins this air inside a specially designed section of the chainsaw housing, so the heavier particles collect on the outside. Then, these larger and heavier particles are expelled first from an outlet port. This system works a lot like what you’d find in a bagless vacuum.
AutoTune: No, this isn’t the pitch-altering device used by every modern pop star. Husqvarna’s AutoTune is an automatic carburetor adjustment system that uses a combination of microchips and sensors to alter the air-fuel ratio going into the cylinder of your chainsaw engine. Too little air coming into the carburetor because of a clogged filter? AutoTune will prevent the saw from stalling. Using a different fuel mix than usual? AutoTune will optimize efficiency and performance depending on the type of fuel being used. AutoTune is reserved for prosumer and high-end saws from Husqvarna, so you won’t find it in a 439 or 455 Rancher. It increases chainsaw endurance, reliability, and your ability to adapt to changing environments.
Smart Start: It’s a combination of intuitive controls and an engine decompression valve that reduces recoil starter tension significantly. Suffice it to say, the 545 Mark II is extremely easy to start even though it features a 50cc engine.
X-Torq: Now, a gas chainsaw is certainly not very environment friendly. What with that rudimentary 2-stroke engine and its main purpose being to cut down trees. However, it’s all about the little things. Like not wasting more fuel than is needed. Husqvarna’s X-Torq engine improves runtimes and increases low-end torque. It is a special scavenging system, or method to replace the burnt exhaust gases in an engine with fresh air-fuel mixture. The technology was originally introduced in 1998 by RedMax, they called it “Strato-Charged”. The company was later purchased by Husqvarna who rebranded the tech and incorporated it into their own saws. Strato-charged engines are 20% more fuel-efficient than conventional 2-stroke engines, and they generate 15 to 20 percent more horsepower. Using this scavenging method also removes the need for a catalytic converter to bring emissions in line with regulations. No catalytic converter means a lighter and smaller tool.
LowVib: Vibrations from a gas saw are no joke, get exposed to them for long enough and you’ll lose nerve function in your palms. Which is why it’s recommended to wear gloves while operating chainsaws. Still, any half-decent gas saw comes with a vibration dampening system. Even the small 30cc Chinese saws. However, not all vibration dampening systems are created equal. The type of spring, number of springs, mounting systems, etc. matter. And Husqvarna’s LowVib is the industry leader in terms of chainsaw vibration dampening. The 545 Mark II actually more comfortable to operate than smaller, cheaper gas saws with less powerful engines. It has a robust vibration dampening system that isolates most of the engine vibrations from the handlebars.
Ease of Use / 545 Mark II
Performance and endurance aren’t the only things that make a chainsaw good. Professional saw users spend a lot of time tinkering with their chainsaws, making adjustments and cleaning filters or swapping out spark plugs. Any halfway decent professional saw will make the important stuff easy to access. While the cheaper consumer saws lock the spark plug, air filter, etc. behind half a dozen screws, professional saws have engine covers you can detach without any tools.
I am glad to state that the 545 Mark II is extremely accessibly to both novice and experienced users. You can easily take it apart and swap out a filter or change a spark plug, no tools needed. The top cover comes off by pulling back on 3 plastic latches that hold it in place. A slender body means you won’t fumble around on the workbench as you handle the saw. Retained starter screws keep the starter coil in place so you don’t lose it as you take apart the saw. Bar nuts are also retained so you don’t lose them when you take off the side cover.
All things considered; the 545 Mark II is pretty foolproof. Even if you don’t have much experience with gas saw maintenance, you’ll have no trouble maintaining the 545 Mark II. Husqvarna pays attention to little details, like self-retaining screws and nuts. The air filter itself is easy to pop off, it isn’t screwed in. When you refuel the 545 Mark II, you won’t have to remove your gloves. The tank cap is flip-up, and it doesn’t fall off because it’s secured to the tank with a wire. Monitoring fuel levels is easy thanks to a transparent window on the tank. And you don’t have to worry about adjusting the bar oiler, it’s done automatically.
Husqvarna 545 Mark II vs 460 Rancher & 455 Rancher
Is The Rancher Good Enough?
- Engine Displacement : 60.3 cc
- Bar Length : 24”
- X-Torq engine : lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels
- Smart Start engine and starter / Quick Starting
- Centrifugal air cleaning system removes larger dust and debris particles before reaching the air filter.
- Combined choke/stop control
- Air Purge removes air from carburetor and fuel system for easy starting
- Inertia activated chain brake reduces the likelihood of injury due to kickback
- Adjustable oil pump allows you to control oil flow
To learn more, read our indepth review of the Husqvarna 460 and 455 Rancher.
Comparison Overview :
I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people are searching for “545 Mark II vs 455 Rancher” or “545 Mark II vs 460 Rancher” on Google. And it’s understandable, since Rancher chainsaws are one of Husqvarna’s top-selling models so naturally people would want to compare these saws with the next step up. There cannot be a fair comparison here, and there’s two reasons for that :
1. The 455 and 460 Rancher are both mid-range general purpose saws, while the 545 Mark II is a pro saw designed for forestry and logging applications.
2. There is a difference in engine displacement between the 545 Mark II and Rancher chainsaws. Both the 455 Rancher (55cc) and 460 Rancher (60cc) use larger engines than the 545 Mark II.
Now there is a price difference too, the 545 Mark II is more expensive since it’s a “real” professional grade chainsaw. But isn’t it the underdog if we’re talking power and cutting performance? After all, both the Rancher models have larger engines. Well, that’s where the “pro” segmentation comes in. Despite having a 50cc engine, the 545 Mark II handily beats both the 455 and 460 Rancher in real world cutting performance. Whether you’re cutting lumber or felling trees, the 545 Mark II will cut significantly faster than either of the Rancher saws. But why is that? The engines are tuned differently, which is why a 50cc pro motor outperforms a 60cc consumer motor every time.
The engines are also built differently. While the 545 Mark II uses a vertically split magnesium crankcase, the 455 is equipped with a regular clamshell crankcase. The 545 Mark II also has AutoTune, which uses microchips and sensors to prevent the saw from stalling or bogging down if the filter is clogged. However, the 455 and 460 Rancher lack this feature which is why they require more constant filter replacement/ cleaning. That’s more time spent on maintenance for the end user. Plus, the carburetors on the Rancher saws will have to be returned manually if you change altitude (like going from sea level to a mountain). On the 545 Mark II, such adjustment is done by the saw itself so you just have to worry about cutting wood.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at the 455 Rancher / 55.5cc / 20-inch
Most importantly, the 545 Mark II is lighter and more ergonomic than either of the two Rancher saws. It also runs longer on a tank of gas, and is built with easy maintenance in mind. You won’t have to use a screwdriver to remove the cylinder cover, because the 545 Mark II has a snap-lock system. However, with the 455 Rancher and 460 Rancher you need tools to do something basic like swapping out the air filter. Pro saws are all about power-to-weight ratio and ease of maintenance, that’s why they cost more. They are built tougher and last longer. Now I am not saying the 455 and 460 Rancher are bad saws. They are plenty for the average user, which is most of you reading this article. If you want a good general-purpose saw, get a 455 Rancher or 460 Rancher. The 460 Rancher is just a souped-up 455 with a larger engine. These are all 20” gas saws from Husqvarna. But if you want a real “pro-grade” chainsaw, there is no substitute for the 545 Mark II.
Older Technology : A Classic Chainsaw : 450E Rancher / 20″
- Smart Start starter helps the chainsaw start quickly with minimum effort
- Inertia-activated chain brake reduces the likelihood of injury due to kickback
- Rugged chainsaw is durable and maneuverable with excellent ergonomic comfort features
- Automatic oiler delivers a steady supply of chain lubrication for safe and effective use
- Husqvarna 20-inch Rancher chainsaw is ideal for tasks such as tree pruning, yard cleanups and firewood cutting
- Simple, side-mounted tensioning system allows for quick adjustments while working
- LowVib anti-vibration system reduces vibration levels for the operator
- 3.2-HP X-Torq engine reduces both fuel consumption and gasoline emissions
- Quick-release air filter for easy cleaning and replacement
NOTE : All grass handheld products come with a standard 2-year warranty. Consumers who purchase 2-stoke gas powered Husqvarna branded handheld products can extend the standard warranty by purchasing Husqvarna brand 2-stroke oil or Husqvarna brand pre-mixed fuel at the same time as the purchase of the handheld product. Extend warranty by 1-year by purchasing at least 6 bottles of Husqvarna 2-stroke oil or extend by 2-years by purchasing at least 3-quarts of Husqvarna Pre-Mixed Fuel. All purchases must be shown on the same receipt to qualify for extended warranty.
►Learn more by reading our review on the Husqvarna 450 Rancher. Another classic gas chainsaw from husqvarna.