Hitachi 50cc Chainsaw Review

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Hitachi CS51EAP 50.1CC 20-Inch Rear Handle Chainsaw with PureFire Engine

Hitachi CS51EAP 50cc Chainsaw

Manufacturer: Hitachi
Model number: CS51EAP
Power source: Gas PureFire Engine
Motor size: 50cc
During the colder months, I almost entirely heat my house with wood fire. This past winter, my everyday chainsaw was stolen out of my garage. While I initially went on a tirade about how much I hate thieves (that hasn’t changed), I still had the issue of replacing my saw. Hitachi was gracious enough to send their 50cc chainsaw to try out and for the past several months, I have been putting it to the test.


  • Engine Displacement – 50.1 cc
  • Max Power – 3.5 HP
  • Bar Mounting Studs – 2
  • Bar & Chain Length – 20” (.325” pitch)
  • Power Head Weight – 11.5 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity – 17.9 oz
  • Oil Tank Capacity – 9.1 oz
  • Power Source – 50:1 Mixed Gas
  • Warranty- 7-Yr Consumer, 2-Yr Commercial, 1-Yr Rental


Anti Vibration System

The Hitachi CS51EAP comes with a steel spring type anti vibration system. This system works really well absorbing the majority of vibration during use resulting in less fatigue and a more pleasurable experience in general.

Side Access Chain Tensioner

A side access chain tensioner allows easy chain tightening without removing the chain cover. Extremely useful when wearing gloves, this makes quick and cleaner work adjusting the chain.

Adjustable Oiler

An automatic bar/chain oiler is included that allows the user to adjust the flow of oil to keep the bar and chain cool.

Toolless Caps

Both the bar/chain oil and fuel caps are toolless. While they do offer a slot for a screwdriver or “scrench”, it is nice to not need one. The air filter cap is also toolless offering quick change ability in the field.

Primer Bulb and Auto-Return Choke

While several other companies are getting rid of their primer bulbs for ease of use, I am still a fan. I often run my saws completely out of gas to avoid interrupting my workflow. Without the primer bulbs, hot restarts are just not as easy as they should be. The auto-return choke helps with usability with automatically releasing the choke when the trigger is pulled. This helps with flooding issues and just makes it easier for the user.

Decompression Valve

A surprising feature on this saw is the decompression valve. While this feature is common on more powerful saws, it is not widely seen on a saw this size and definitely not at this price point. Basically, larger chainsaws can build up a lot of compression while running. When restarting, they maintain that compression and can be an a bear to turn over. This has broken countless ropes on older models. While it isn’t overly necessary on a saw of this size, I found myself using the feature more often than not and can only imagine it will decrease repairs.


The saw feels pretty good in hand and is well balanced. It was slightly heavier than I originally imagined, but I never felt that it was uncomfortable for me to use.

The anti-vibration system on this saw lends itself to a little bit of a “cheap” feel due to the movement between the handle and bar. This being said, the anti-vibe does work well and I haven’t had any issues with the connection between the two.

I also found the handle to be a little on the small side for me. This is just personal preference, but I do not have the largest hands in the world. I like a more substantial grip on my saws.


After using this saw for months now, I can honestly say that I am very impressed with how it runs. It has good power for its’ size and features an Oregon bar and chain. With this saw, and other OPE I currently own, the PureFire engine is remarkable and starting up. Within 2-3 pulls, the engine is fired up and running smoothly. Every time. Hot starts have alway been one pull. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into the woods to do some work only to have to work on the saw to get it to run. This engine is as easy as it gets.


While this saw has many great points, there are a couple of small issues I think Hitachi could address. As I mentioned earlier, I think the handle is too thin. I also wish there could be a compromise with their anti-vibration system and the play between the bar and the handle. I couldn’t shake this feeling that it was just a bit cheaply made. Again, the system worked well, I just didn’t like the feel.

One of my main complaints was the chain lock on cover. Several times I found myself accidentally engaging the lock while it was off which was difficult to disengage and impossible to reinstall without doing so.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think Hitachi has made a really nice saw for avid homeowner and farm use. With a price tag right around $300, the features on this saw are those seen on a saw costing much more. All of this is backed with one of the best warranties in the industry. The power is adequate and the engine is fantastic. While you may give up a little on power and build quality to professional saws, you will be hard to match the performance to value of this one.

If you are a homeowner looking for something a little bigger, or a professional looking for a feature-rich backup that won’t bankrupt you, I suggest you give this saw a shot.

Hitachi CS51EAP 50cc Chainsaw

About the author

Will Endicott

William Endicott is a licensed contractor in the State of Missouri and is the principal of a custom home building and renovation company. After attending the University of Kansas, he began working full time in the trades and soon after, started his own company. As a second generation carpenter, William grew up around job sites and discovered his love of tools. He now enjoys finding tools that help give his clients the best possible quality, while also helping to keep his company productive and profitable. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking projects, fishing and spending time with his wife and three children.

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  1. Dan

    Very helpful review. I have several Hitachi power tools and they’ve served me well over the years. I would add the chainsaw to my collection, but I don’t have the need for one. Too bad, because it look like a great value.

  2. Tad

    “Larger Chainsaws can build up a lot of compression when running.” Huh? Every time the piston opens the exhaust port the compression is released. Larger engines CAN have enough compression to make starting more difficult, but the older larger chainsaw engines were typically fairly low compression.

  3. John Pring

    Just bought the Hitachi Koki CS51EAP and I find it to be a very competent chainsaw. I love using middleweight saws for their versatility … and light weight. This saw is identical to the Tanaka CS51 … as it should be since Hitachi owns Tanaka. Tanaka has a super reputation in the two stroke industry and they back it up with the “best” warranty in the business. The stuff previously written about “building up compression when running” is non-sense. This saw has a compression release valve due to its high engine compression ratio. It’s a very nice feature. I have also replaced the 20″ bar with an 18″ Oregon .325″ pitch narrow kerf design. Smaller kerf of the chain equates to more useable power … it is a sweet setup.

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