Just the Facts: The ECHO String Trimmer Technical Study

Equipment reliablility is important to working professionals.
Equipment reliability is important to professionals.

As my friends and family will attest, I have a wide range of interests, but small-engine repair has never been a hobby of mine. Nevertheless, because I own a little property, I’ve had to own all the basic equipment necessary to maintain it, from chainsaws to lawnmowers and snowblowers to string trimmers. And because I’m frugal and adventurous, I’ve figured out how to fix all kinds of mechanical problems over the years. Even though I dislike it when things breakdown, I simultaneously enjoy the process of trying to figure out how to fix them.

(As an aside, in all my years owning equipment, I’ve never once had a single engine-related problem to fix because I have always run AMSOIL synthetic lubricants. But I have run into every other conceivable type of mechanical issue, it seems, from flat tires to snapped belts. I also know what happens when a cutting blade hits an immovable object.)

In this article, I’ll be discussing matters pertaining to ECHO®-branded string trimmers. ECHO trimmers use a two-stroke engine. If you’ve ever wondered why string trimmers, edgers and other portable equipment use a two-stroke engine, it’s this: it has to do with the power-to-weight ratio. These engines, compared to your four-stroke automobile engine, have far fewer moving parts. This means they can be more compact and weigh a lot less. They also produce power every rotation of the crankshaft as opposed to every other rotation, as in a four-stroke engine. Can you imagine strapping a Ford motor over your shoulder and walking around wielding that all day?

One of the problems with gasoline-powered two-stroke engines is that they produce more exhaust emissions than four-stroke engines. For this reason our government mandates that two-stroke equipment produce less exhaust emissions. To comply, some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) design their equipment to run on leaner fuel/oil mixtures. Burning more air and less fuel/oil, however, also increases heat. To withstand this intense environment and ensure equipment lasts as designed, modern two-stroke oils must demonstrate improved wear protection and detergency.

Against this backdrop, the AMSOIL tech team tested AMSOIL SABER® Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil and ECHO Power Blend® XTended Life® Universal 2-Stroke Oil in ECHO string trimmers in our mechanical test lab. After 300 hours of operation, the trimmers were disassembled and inspected.

When all was said and done, we published a technical study that includes photos of all the various components, including piston rings/piston skirts, piston crowns/undercrowns, wrist pins and bearings, exhaust ports and spark arrestor screens. We also showed data of RPM and spark-plug temps.

Here are a couple pairs of photos that show the difference your oil selection can make.


AMSOIL SABER Professional (300 hours)

ECHO string trimmers AMSOIL SABER
The piston appears clean and deposit-free. SABER Professional did an excellent job protecting against the effects of extreme heat.


The exhaust port suffered only 1 percent airflow loss. This equates to consistent trimmer power, helping operators get the most value out of their equipment.


ECHO Power Blend (300 hours)

The piston crown and skirt contain deposits. Excessive deposits reduce efficiency and can lead to engine failure.
The piston crown and skirt contain deposits. Excessive deposits reduce efficiency and can lead to engine failure.


The exhaust port suffered 60 percent airflow loss, which reduces power and eventually leads to engine failure.
Deposit build-up caused the exhaust port to suffer 60 percent airflow loss, which reduces power and eventually leads to engine failure.


The results are pretty dramatic in this lab test designed to simulate a full season of real-world use. AMSOIL SABER Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil provides excellent protection for ECHO brand string trimmers.

The report concluded that “SABER Professional outperformed ECHO Power Blend XTended Life Universal 2-Stroke Oil by providing improved resistance to piston deposits, crankcase deposits and exhaust port blocking. Due to its ability to limit exhaust-port and spark-arrestor-screen deposits, SABER Professional protected against rpm loss 21 percent better*, resulting in reliable operation. The latest generation of SABER Professional meets or exceeds the increased performance requirements of ECHO SRM 225 trimmers.”

In short, this oil is pretty darn good and the company fully supports the use of SABER Professional as a replacement for ECHO Power Blend XTended Life Universal 2-Stroke Oil, and warrants its use according to the AMSOIL Limited Liability Warranty.

*Based on 300-hour lab tests of eight ECHO string trimmers using AMSOIL SABER Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil and ECHO Power Blend XTended Life Universal 2-Stroke Oil, both mixed at 50:1.


  1. I’m very sorry but I still don’t understand the oil ratio. We run a lot of echo all calling for 50:1. We use and oil that has 100:1 on the bottle. What size or item number of mix size do I need to buy to dump into our 2-1/2 gallon cans?

    If it calls for 50:1 as most lawn hand held equipment does, why not have an amsoil 50:1 product we could use so people like me can just order, poor, and go? I by two cases a month and it would be very helpful.

    1. Gary:
      Thanks for the inquiry. We would not recommend using the marine 2 cycle 100:1 oil in an Echo String Trimmer.
      Our number one recommendation would be Saber Professional. It has been tested and formulated to meet the needs of hot running 2 cycle hand held equipment.

  2. Gentalmen,
    Many people are lead to believe that when using after market oils that they must follow OEM recommended mix ratio’s, this is a misconception. Manufacturers sell lubricants that carry OEM labeling and are assuming that you will be a loyal customer to use their oil at their recommended mix ratio. OEM don’t test all 2 cycle oils available and they only buy and sell oils to meet their minimum requirements.
    Amsoil is an after market lubricant that has their own recommended mix ratio from 50:1 to 100:1 This is your choice.
    This also applies to all other oils, applications and recommended drain intervals for your car, truck, what ever piece of equipment you choose to use Amsoil products in. Follow Amsoil recommendations.
    You are not using the OEM oil!

  3. Lance:
    AMSOIL recommends SABER Professional for any mix ratio up to 100:1. Whether you use it at 50:1, 80:1 or any other ratio up to 100:1 is up to you based on the benefits you’re seeking.

    As for why we tested it at 50:1 in the ECHO String Trimmer Study, testing in our mechanical lab reveals some modern handheld two-stroke equipment has dramatically changed. To meet strict government emissions-reduction mandates, original equipment manufacturers, including ECHO, are designing their equipment to run on lean air/fuel ratios. Burning more air and less fuel/oil reduces emissions, but it also increases heat. This can result in excessive deposit formation, which causes piston-ring sticking, exhaust-port blockage and spark-arrestor screen plugging, which in turn lead to reduced power, shorter equipment life and increased maintenance.

    SABER Professional is tested and validated at 100:1 in this equipment. But the equipment benefits more from the increased detergency provided by a 50:1 mix ratio. Just look at the images I’ve posted to see the dramatic differences in performance between SABER Professional at 50:1 and the competitor’s oil. You can see how using more oil helps you achieve your goals of maximizing equipment power, operability and life.

    At the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose the mix ratio when using SABER Professional. If you want the dramatic results seen here, use 50:1. If you want the benefits of buying and using less oil, use 100:1. You’re free to choose.

    1. Hi Frank,

      SABER Professional is recommended for any mix ratio up to 100:1, regardless what the manufacturer recommends. If you want to use it at 50:1, you can do that. If you prefer 80:1, use that. Or you can mix SABER at 100:1. It’s up to you to choose based on the benefits you’re seeking.

      Thanks for reading.

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