Hi there, I live in Ottawa, Canada. I have a 2 acre lot that needs
allot of brush trimming. I want to buy a brush trimmer with a blade
at the bottom. I hear that Husqvarna and Stihl are the only way to
go. However they are around $600 with the attachment. I also hear
that Echo is decent.
Does anyone have any experience with this specific tools and which one
is my best bet for good quality brush trimming tool.
Bear in mind that you will have to carry the weight
of the tool. You may find a lightweight chainsaw (e.g.
the smallest Stihl) is half the price of a brush cutter,
half the weight and a quarter the fatigue.
Add Shindaiwa to the list of top of the line units. You will only find
them at a "real" power equipment dealer, not a home center. Made in
Japan, some of the best, most reliable engines I've seen. I have a T270
and with a blade it will do just plain scary things like go through a 2"
dia sapling in a fraction of a second. I also have a Shindaiwa 488 chain
saw which is equally good.
I bought a Sears(Poulan) brush cutter 12 years ago to help clear 20
acres. It's still going strong. Biggest problem with brush cutters is
the blades. They come with steel blades that dull REAL fast,
especially when you hit dirt. I use the cheap 7 1/2" carbide tipped
construction blades and throw them away when they get unusable. You'll
hear a lot of "don't do that", but if you keep the rpm's down below
the blade specs, you won't have any problems. The only time I lose a
tip or two is when they get pinched in the tree I'm cutting. And I
cut trees up to 4" diameter by making a pass on both sides. They also
make a blade with a chainsaw chain welded around the circumference,
but I haven't found them to be any better than the standard steel
With a Sandvik steel brush blade that was dulled by snagging some hidden
rusty fence wire on my Shindaiwa T270 I was still able to swipe
completely through a 2" dia tree in a fraction of a second. No stopping
and waiting for a traditional cut, just swing the blade at the tree and
it pops out the other side - really that fast - positively scary. This
was repeated on a number of similarly thick gnarly mtn. laurel bushes
all before I resharpened the blade the next day.
If you just want to clear large areas, have you though about renting a
brush hog? They're like a heavy duty lawn mower that can take out
heavy brush and saplings. They pretty much chop the brush up as well,
so there's less cleanup too.
Look at what brands the pros are using. Determine what sort of local
support network the manufacturers provide. A brand that is used by a
majority of professionals and which is sold and serviced by a reputable
local dealer will probably make you happiest in the long run. I wound up
with a Stihl based on these criteria but I've yet to test the quality of
service from my local dealer since in four years it has not required
anything beyond sharpening the metal blade or installing more cutter line.
Go to Nepean-Kanata Aircooled engines out near Stittsville and buy a
[No I'm not affiliated with them, just purchased a Stihl FS85 from them
that's now at least 10 years old and has never needed servicing when used on my
acre chunk of West Carleton ;-). Pricy? Yes. Worth it? Very much so compared
to the previous crap.]
Upper end Echos and Poulans are decent and see some contractor use.
Most pro landscapers or tree service people use Stihl or Husky. HD
carries Echo, but have few if any of the high end ones.
You need to make sure you're getting a professional model. Straight shaft,
heavy duty motor. I believe one of the distinguishing features with
a better motor is roller bearings in the engine rather than sleeve.
They last a _lot_ longer.
A unit that can accept a 7 1/4" circular saw blade means that you have lots
of options. I have a 4 tooth Stihl blade, but don't use it very often.
It also has "saw" option which is nothing more than a 7 1/4" circular
saw blade. Haven't really needed it yet, I'd use a cheapie circular
saw blade rather than Stihl's if I needed it.
[I'd probably use a carbide wrecking blade. A trifle less aggressive in
cutting due to slight reverse tip angle, but better control and it'll better
withstand contact with things I'd rather it didn't like rocks.]
A chain saw may be more appropriate for some of the larger stuff. Only
you can answer that. If you already have one, never mind.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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