For more than three decades, Husqvarna has added the letters “XP” to the end of the model names of some of their more professional chainsaws: 3120 XP, 572 XP, 266 XP, and so on.
If you have studied the Husqvarna saw lineup, you may have wondered what this XP really means. A quick search reveals that the letters stand for eXtra Performance. But how much extra? And compared to what?
In this article, we’re going to explore how much better Husqvarna XP chainsaw models are compared to base versions. The short conclusions of the study are that Husqvarna XP chainsaws have on average 18% more power, 11% higher peak torque and 44% better power-to-weight ratio than non-XP models in the 2021 lineup. A part of these differences appear to be due to the larger average size of the XP saws, so that the actual XP advantage slightly smaller.
Next, we are going to review Husqvarna’s claims on the XP models and see how they compare to the actual saw specs. If you are looking for a new Husky saw and want to know how much more you’re getting for your dollar in XP, read on!
What does Husqvarna XP mean?
Husqvarna explains the XP in the model designations to stand for Extra Performance. The company further elaborates this to mean “more horsepower, better power-to-weight ratio, faster acceleration, higher maximum RPM and a special power band optimized for skilled users”.
The XP advantages are claimed to be due to a number of improvements in the saw engine design, including larger ports, stuffer plates and an altered ignition coil.
What Husqvarna does not tell is how much better the XP models actually are – to me, this is the all-interesting question.
I set to find out by tabulating and plotting all of the Husqvarna saw specs and comparing the XP models to the non-XP ones.
I present the findings below divided into power, torque and power-to-weight ratio. These are the most important performance metrics and the ones that can be analyzed from the published specifications.
XP advantage: Power
XP promises extra performance. For most purposes, this promise should mean more power.
And the XP delivers it: according to my analysis, the XP models in the 2021 Husqvarna chainsaw lineup have +18% more power on average than the non-XP models with the same size engine.
The graph below shows the difference: the XP models (orange dots) are mostly higher on the horsepower-vs-cubic chart than the non-XP models (blue crosses).
The difference is not uniform across the line, though. Many mid-range non-XP models such as 545 Mark II and 555 have only a little less power than the respective XP-models 550 XP Mark II and 562 XP. The new 585 (due Spring 2022) in fact has more power than (older) XP models 390 XP and 395 XP, even despite their higher cubic.
XP advantage: Torque
Torque is important as the other foot of power, but it is also useful in its own right when working on big logs. So do XP saws give more peak torque or are they just about RPM?
The answer to this seems to be yes: the XP models in the 2021 Husqvarna chainsaw lineup have +11% higher peak torque than non-XP models of the same engine displacement (cc). The difference can be seen in the graph below.
Note that the XP advantage in torque is smaller than the one in power, though. This means that the power advantage is, at least in part, thanks to increased high-RPM torque rather than torque at peak.
The torque data is also not available for all models: Husqvarna does not give the peak torque spec for 120, 240, 435 or 445, and the spec is missing for the new Spring 2022 models 585 and 592 XP too.
XP advantage: Power–weight ratio
But how is the difference between Husqvarna XP and non-XP chainsaws in weight? We saw that XP does give more power, but is this at the expense of added weight?
Fortunately, the answer is no: in my analysis, Husqvarna XP chainsaw models have on average a +44% higher power-to-weight ratio than non-XP models in the 2021 lineup. This means that the XP advantage in horsepowers per pound is even bigger than the one in power alone.
The difference is shown graphically in the image below, which plots the power-to-weight ratio of the current Husqvarna lineup. We see that although the average difference is indeed large, there is a lot of scatter. Further, some of the difference seems down to the smaller average size of the non-XP saws (small saws have less hp per lb).
In this short article, we saw that Husqvarna’s claims for the advantages of the XP models are indeed true. Further, we put the advantage into real numbers: +18% in power, +11% in torque, and +44% in power-to-weight ratio – on average.
We also noted that the XP advantage is not at all uniform: some non-XP models, particularly new ones, may get close to or surpass some of the XP models. Further, the average advantages in our analysis are probably partly due to larger average size of the XP saws.
In any case, we can conclude that the Husqvarna XP is not just a marketing term and that extra performance is really delivered – at least in numbers.