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Thread: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

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    Flashaholic nobody's Avatar
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    Default string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I need it for lawn edging, some clearing of non-grassed areas and cutting down hundreds of small saplings (metal saw blade attachment?) in order to thin out the undergrowth in the woods immediately surrounding the yard. I've been looking at straight shaft commercial grade models by Stihl that use a real heavy gauge string but I know Shindaiwa and Echo make serious gear as well. Anyone have good - or bad - experiences with any of these, or others? I can only lay down no more than $500 according to The Budget Director. I just don't want to get "X" now and wish I had gotten "Y" later.

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    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Researched and shopped and settled on a Husqvarna 4 cycle. No regrets after 3 years and lots of use (but good care). Trying to replace all my 2 cycles but don't think there's a real option for chainsaws (except electric).

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Thanks for reminding me BIGIRON, Husky is definitely another brand I wanted to check out. Didn't know that these things even came in 4 cycle. Is there an advantage to 4 cycle over 2 cycle (other than not having to always mix the fuel)?

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    Flashaholic* Thujone's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    My old whacker is on its last season so I have done some research and it looks like there is a lot of value in the ~$150 range of the Ryobi line. I found the one I am planning on grabbing at Home Depot, hoping for a fall closeout on them.
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    Flashaholic nobody's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    My last whacker was a $50 Homelite from Lowe's. I got a ton of use out of it, 10+ years of lawn edging and in the last 2 years, trying to tame the woods as well. So now I have worn it out. So Thujone you're right about value in a fairly inexpensive unit provided that it packs the power to do what you need done.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    On the subject of weedwhackers: I've been looking for a 4-stroke 25cc engine for an experiment. The one I'd like is the Honda GX25, but Italian dealers charge about twice what American ones do, for reasons unknown.

    I've been told there are cheap chinese clones, but I don't know what to look for. All weedwhackers I've seen in DIY stores so far are two-strokes.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

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    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    4cycle vs 2cycle. That's probably worth a thread all it's own.

    The biggie to me is, of course, not having to mix fuel. Secondly, I believe the 4 is quieter, cleaner, torqueier (?!) and more durable. It is heavier and, generally, more expensive.

    I have a Ryobi 4cycle (pre-MTD) that's provided great, trouble free service but is almost worn out, so I keep it for use as a spare.

    Advice -- you get what you pay for. The average guy has no need for a $500 machine that will provide commercial level service and longevity. The $150 Ryobi might even be overkill......

    Most gas trimmers are of "half-crank" construction -- the crank is supported only on one side of the connecting rod. The more expensive ones are full-crank, meaning there's a supporting bearing on each side on the con rod. You can tell easily -- if the pull start is on the very end of the engine, it's a full crank. If it's between the engine and the shaft, it's probably a half-crank.

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    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    May I introduce the subject of leaf blowers into this conversation? I need to buy one, and haven't decided on battery or corded yet.
    Last edited by greenlight; 08-06-2008 at 10:13 PM.

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    Flashaholic nobody's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Thanks again BIGIRON for the very welcome info!

    greenlight: Key is max CFM (not MPH). Backpack = the only way to fly IMO, makes a crappy job FUN!
    Last edited by nobody; 08-04-2008 at 11:49 AM. Reason: oh. you wanted elec...

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by greenlight View Post
    Can I introduce the subject of leaf blowers into this conversation? I need to buy one, and haven't decided on battery or corded yet.
    For high-power applications of this sort I'd say either gas or cord. You could probably use a LiFe pack with an electric motor and have decent power, but at the cost of miserable battery life.
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

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    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I've had good luck with a Ryobi. Still kicking after almost 10 years. This one did not have metal blade capabilities, but it does accept blower, edger, and cultivator attachments. The blower works okay on walks and decks, but won't move leaves in the yard very well. Never got the other attachments. As a trimmer it's been a champ.

    Geoff

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    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I have the blade setup for my old Ryobi. Used it a couple of times, but it is really more of a novelty than a useable tool. A lawnmower, machete or pick-mattock hoe is way more effective if you're willing to sweat.

    I'm not talking about serious brush-cutters in general, with which I have no experience.

    edit - to indicate "blade setup" where I had "trimmer" in post
    Last edited by BIGIRON; 08-04-2008 at 08:21 PM.

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Hello,

    I have to agree with bigiron on the 4-cycle. I got a heck of a deal on a troy-bilt 4cycle, and man there is no going back for me. It is definitely quieter, smoother, and makes a lot more torque... plus you don't have to mix gas.

    On the subject of using a blade, I find that just a blade doesn't do very good on actual weeds. Lowes sells a deal with 3 metal blades:
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...650&lpage=none

    Weeds, paradise, locust saplings... this thing eats them all. If your saplings are too big, however, a solid blade will be better. If it is a mix then this thing is hard to beat IMO.

    HTH
    -Jon

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    Flashaholic nobody's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Cool, 4 cycle is sounding good. How's the weight on those vs 2 cycle... or how long at a time are you guys using it? Don't want it to be too big of a ball buster.

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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    One of the most important things was said by Bigiron, (with good care). Not to overstate the obvious but no matter what U get care is most important in my book. Why run it wide open when half will do, cleaning, oil changes if needed and so on.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I'm picky about regular maintenance --- of the good stuff. I never did anything to make my crappy old homelite come back every year, cause I always considered it to be disposable. But the darn thing keeps coming back anyway. I will see what's out there that DOESN'T use a half-shaft per big iron's suggestion.

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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I just use a cheapy Craftsman, no tree trimming or anything like that but after 12 seasons or so the sucker just runs great. Can't see getting rid of it.
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I own an Echo string trimmer and an Echo backpack blower. The Echo's have been fabulous.
    I purchased both of them from a local small engine dealer (Glen Rock Power). His prices were the same as Home Depot and the owner was chock full of good advice.
    Whatever you get, I would go with a smaller dealer rather than a big box store.
    YMMV

  19. #19
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Yep, I got the Echo 755 blower from a local small engine dealer and that thing rocks. The big box store didn't know jack. Thanks for the reminder MicroE.

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I just went through this myself. I wound up with a Stihl FS90. It's something they call a 4 Mix engine. From what I understand, it's essentially a 4 cycle engine without the oiling system, so you still have to premix fuel. It's lighter than any of the true 4 strokes I tried, and has much more torque than my old 2 stroke. It's also got a two year warranty. Thus far, I've been very happy with it.

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    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Interesting. How does this mix system work?
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    As no one has mentioned it:

    http://www.arboristsite.com

    This site is to outdoor power equipment what CPF is to flashlights. There was a lot of BS and drama flying around last time I lurked there, but if you can sort through that stuff there's good info from professionals who (ab)use these tools day in and day out. They'll know what breaks, why it breaks, and what models keep up.

    I use a cheapy Homelite that I bought brand new for nearly nothing. I don't use it for a pry bar or a chopping block but I don't baby it either; it helps maintain quite a few acres. I never run it at anything but WOT. I drain the fuel tank and run the engine and carb dry every winter; blow out the air cleaner and cooling fins at the same time. That's the only work it gets.

    If you get a two stroke, don't run cheap oil. There are several good options, the discussion of which would merit at least a thread of it's own.

    Got Biodiesel?

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    Flashaholic* Wattnot's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Stihl is one of, if not THE best, for string trimmers and chainsaws.

    Sorry guys, the rest of you wasted your time.

    Displacing night on a daily basis.

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    Flashaholic* Trashman's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    TMC and Maruyama are a couple of the brands most used by the pros. I once found a Maruyama that a lady had put on the street. She said her dad died and she had a month to clear out the house and didn't want to be bother with selling stuff. I brought it to the local japanese lawn mower shop to get a head for it and mentioned to the owner that I found it and wanted to sell it. He wanted it. After buying it, one of his regular customers (a professional gardener) came in and he was soooo thrilled to tell of his new purchase. He said, "It's a Maruyama! I'm taking this home! I could never afford a brand new one of these, now I've got one!" This was coming from the Japanese store owner/repairman who's been there as long as I can remember. Judging by his excitement, I'd say it was a top of the line trimmer. The gardener mentioned he had the same thing. These are both commercial brands, though, and may be more than you're looking for or need. (performance and PRICE wise (they're not cheap!)) Also, you're probably not going to find these two brands at your local home and hardware store. Makita might be ok, too. After my Grandpa died, I sold his Makita string trimmer to a professional gardener. The gardener told me he actually used a TMC, but needed a new one and didn't have the money for it (he said his cost $600), so he just wanted something cheap for the time being. I sold it to him for $100. He didn't even start it, just lightly pulled the starter cord to listen to the "put" sound it makes when slowly pulled and just said, "ok, I'll give you $100 for it." (my asking price in the Recycler)

    The gardeners that do my parents house also use TMC string trimmers. They do many houses on our block, going from house to house, and when they're done with our neighborhood, they move onto the next. They're running their trimmers everyday, all day. If they're chosing TMC, I'd say it's a good bet that they're good tools.
    Last edited by Trashman; 08-04-2008 at 11:01 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trashman View Post
    ...just lightly pulled the starter cord to listen to the "put" sound it makes when slowly pulled...
    Probably feeling for compression, though he might have been listening for obvious mechanical problems too.

    Last edited by Diesel_Bomber; 08-04-2008 at 11:21 PM.
    Got Biodiesel?

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I`ll throw a very positive recommendation in for Shindaiwa. I`ve had the T-230 model for 3 years and it has easily been the best I`ve ever had. Power, balance, low vibration makes for less muscle stress and a happier owner.

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    Flashaholic* Trashman's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    Here's a link comparing some of the top brands. http://www.the-lawn-advisor.com/Stri...r-Reviews.html

    Aside from the TMC & Maruyamas, I also see a lot of the local gardners using Kawasakis, although, since the Maruyama I sold the lawnmower repairman had a Kawasaki engine on it, I think these brands may mix different engines with their shafts. I actually thought I was selling the guy a Kawasaki, but he knew what it was just by looking at it. I don't know how, though, since Maruyama wasn't written anywhere on the trimmer.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic aussiebob's Avatar
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    We have a Honda 4 stroke line trimmer, its about 10 years old now and still starts first time and runs like new. The oil has only been changed once and it mostly sits outside exposed to rain etc.

    My 2 cents, Get A Honda!

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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I'll say that I do like Honda engines, my push mower has a Honda OHC engine on it. It is really nice, starts easy, smooth power.

    As far as the weigh of a 4cycle vs 2cycle trimmer goes... I guess it depends on what you think you can handle. I'm a pretty big guy and I can run mine an hour at a time with no problems. Could probably run it longer, but an hour is about the max for what it takes me to do my weed-eating. If you are looking at a larger engine/trimmer most of those have a shoulder strap which, if adjusted to suit you, helps out tremendously on the weight. Let your shoulders carry it, not your arms...

    One thing not mentioned was straight shaft vs curved. I see most of the professionals around here use straight shafts. I'm sure there is a reason. I prefer a curved shaft around the house, but my homelite with the blade has a straight shaft.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: string trimmer/weed whacker recommendations?

    I'll second the arboristsite.com recommendation. Lurking over there has taught me quite a bit about power equipment.

    Fallingwater, I don't fully understand the 4 Mix system, because I haven't really bothered to study up on it. What I do gather is that you still mix your fuel with 2 stroke oil, and the engine does not have an oil system. However, the engine does have valves similar to a four stroke: I think. What I do know, is that my trimmer starts easily, runs great, and has more torque than any other trimmer I've had, but the speed and weight is on equal footing with all the two strokes I've had.

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