While a gardener’s best friend is probably the lawnmower, there are certain tasks that even this trusty companion can’t tackle. Dense patches of tangled weeds and undergrowth can be too much for the machine to stomach, especially on plots of undeveloped land, while finicky edges and areas around ornaments or other fixtures are too delicate for the great brute to handle.
That’s why brushcutters and grass trimmers are indispensable additions to any horticulturist’s armoury. The former are specifically designed to hack down troublesome areas that lawnmowers can’t, while the latter have the manoeuvrability, reach and precision to neaten up edges and make a garden look spick and span.
Why go petrol?
The invention of the lithium-ion battery had threatened to topple the petrol engine from its perch at the top of the brushcutting and grass trimming world. This newly-developed technology allows users to work for longer and at a higher intensity than was previously possible for battery-powered models, all the while avoiding the fumes, noise and vibration that petrol engines can entail.
Despite all that, professional brushcutters still largely prefer petrol models when it comes to larger and more challenging jobs. While a battery-powered machine might be adequate for everyday applications around the home, if a larger project is on the cards then the durability and sheer power of petrol engines can’t be matched. Their ability to work continually for hours at a time without pause sets them apart from their electric rivals, making them a no-brainer choice for serious jobs.
The best petrol brushcutters
With engines varying from two-stroke to four-stroke and from 25cc all the way up to 50cc, there’s a wide range of different machines out there which are suitable for a variety of situations. If it’s entry-level land-clearing you’re looking for, the Lawnmaster BC260B is a great choice for hacking away nettles, brambles and other stubborn plant debris. With an option of two different engine sizes (28cc and 33cc) and a 6.1kg weight, it can handle most basic jobs with ease.
For trickier tasks, Efco have a whole range of models from the Stark 2500 S with a 25.4cc two-stroke engine and a 0.75l fuel tank to the 8535 ERGO, with a 52.5cc engine, a 1.5l tank and an ergonomically-designed backpack for ease of use and full range of movability. Of course, the latter is almost double the weight and over triple the price of the former, so the specific circumstances of the task at hand should be taken into account when making a purchase decision.
At the upper end of the scale, the Husqvarna 555RXT has a 53.5cc engine which produces 2.8kW of power at 9,000rpm. At 9.2kg, it’s quite a beast of a machine and should easily handle pretty much anything you throw it – even the Amazon rainforest wouldn’t bear much of a challenge for this high-powered piece of kit. Not for the faint of heart.
The best petrol grass trimmers
Grass trimmers generally require less horsepower than brushcutters, since their primary function is to neaten rather than to annihilate grass. With that in mind, the Husqvarna 122C weighs in at just 4.4kg and has a quiet 21.7cc engine, meaning it’s an unobtrusive and easily movable model for hard-to-access or fiddly spots around the garden in need of tidying up.
Meanwhile, the sister product to the Efco brushcutter mentioned above, the Stark 2500 TR, is similarly lightweight and comes equipped with a 0.75l tank, sturdy plastic debris guard and a slightly more robust engine (25.4cc). As such, it’s a slightly higher intensity alternative to the Husqvarna.
Another option is the UMS425 LN from Honda, which offers a 25cc four-stroke engine capable of delivering 810W at 7,000rpm. As the lightest model that Honda produce, the UMS425 LN represents the perfect trade-off between power and performance, allowing users to move freely and reach inaccessible areas with its 360° rotation capabilities.