As spring marches on at a pace, the tell tale signs of the season’s growth become evident with lush undergrowth thickening along roadside verges and hedgerows whilst ponds and ditches suddenly become lost from view. More often than not, in a domestic situation, this vegetation will need to be cleared for aesthetic reasons to keep a garden looking neat and tidy.
However, commercial operators and landscapers — including farmers and council workers — are those with the greatest need to clear undergrowth on a regular basis throughout the year.
This job can often be achieved with a powerful 4 wheel rotary lawn mower, as long as the vegetation is not too thick, although even the best machines of this type can become overwhelmed by thick, new growth vegetation.
Heavy-duty clearance machinery such as flail mowers and scythe mowers are excellent but are often too large or cumbersome to access the mixed and varied areas that undergrowth penetrates.
It is in these situations that a brush cutter or line trimmer comes into its own. Small, lightweight and infinitely manoeuvrable, these tools are indispensable for any landscape gardener, farmer, council workforce and anyone that owns a property with areas that are inaccessible with a standard lawn mower.
It will be easiest to briefly explain the difference between a brushcutter and a line trimmer, often referred to as a grass trimmer or strimmer.
Conventionally, a brushcutter is a straight-shafted tool with a cutting or mowing head at one end and a power unit such as a petrol engine or electric motor at the other. A line trimmer is a tool with a bent shaft, attached to which is a nylon cutting line and power unit similar to that of the straight shafted brushcutter.
The benefit of the straight shafted brush cutter is that more power can be transferred from the engine through to the cutting tool, which, very often is a metal blade as well as the more conventional nylon line fed from a spool. The metal blade is best suited to clearing particularly mature or established vegetation such as bramble, nettles and similarly fibrous growth.
The bent shaft of the grass or line trimmer is not capable of transferring the same amount of power as the straight-shafted machine; however, it is more accurate when clearing grass from around obstacles such as plant containers, flowerbeds and ornaments thanks to the curved nature of the shaft. In brief, a line trimmer will only accept a nylon cutting line whereas a brushcutter will generally accept both a nylon cutting head and a metal blade.
With this information in mind, it will be useful to look at a selection of brush cutters and line-trimmers on offer at LawnMowers Direct and match them up with suitable applications, both for the domestic user and professional alike.
For occasional users with small gardens, the best and cleanest solution may be to use a cordless line trimmer. Powered by a battery and electric motor rather than an engine requiring a petrol based fuel mix, cordless trimmers are exceptionally light weight and easy to use.
With practical rotating cutting heads and unique nylon blades are the Bosch ART 23 Li Cordless Grass Trimmer and Bosch ART 26 Li Cordless Grass Trimmer. Both machines have the advantage of lithium-ion technology within the rechargeable batteries, giving the user fast recharging times and zero drop-off in performance when battery energy levels are low.
If you feel that you need the greater power offered from a petrol tool yet find yourself working to a budget, the new range of garden machinery from Chinese manufacturer Sanli will be of interest. Sanli offer both a grass trimmer, the Sanli GT26 2 Stroke Line Trimmer and a brushcutter, the Sanli GTS33 2 Stroke Brushcutter. Either machine will be ideal for use around the home, with ample power offered from Sanli 2-stroke petrol engines; the Sanli GT26 line trimmer is perfect for clearing up around borders and ornaments whilst the Sanli GTS33 brush cutter is well suited to clearing larger areas of undergrowth.
Staying with the lighter weight style of grass trimmer for a little longer, an excellent example is offered by Japanese manufacturer Echo in the form of the Echo GT-220ES Petrol Trimmer. An easy starting 21.2cc petrol engine and bump-feed nylon head aid user operation and as always from Echo, the quality is excellent.
More high-class machinery is available from Swedish company Husqvarna with their robust, straight-shafted grass trimmer, the Husqvarna 327LDx Petrol Trimmer, capable of dealing with particularly heavy domestic workloads due to its 24.5cc petrol engine.
Husqvarna also offer the multi-tasking Husqvarna 128LDx Petrol Trimmer. This combi-trimmer not only does an excellent job of clearing garden undergrowth but also accepts a range of attachments, from pole saws to mini-cultivators, offering the user many different tools from one core product.
Another excellent example of a bent-shaft line trimmer is the Honda UMS 425 LE Petrol Line Trimmer. Offering the quality that all of us expect from Honda, this line trimmer is equipped with one of Honda’s renowned 4-stroke petrol engines, giving the user extremely easy starts and peace of mind that no fuel mixing errors can occur.
Most domestic users will find that a brush cutter with an engine size of around 25cc will be sufficient for the vast majority of domestic applications.
The superbly made Efco Stark 2500 S Petrol Brushcutter from Italian manufacturer Emak is a fine example of a modern, clean running machine featuring a 25.4cc ‘Burn Right’ petrol engine that complies with Euro 2 emissions standards. This brushcutter is available with either a loop style handlebar or the wider grip of the bicycle style handlebars, as fitted to the Efco Stark 2500 T Petrol Brushcutter. The benefit of using the loop style handlebar on a brushcutter or grass trimmer is the extra control gained from the smaller gripping surface of the loop handle and also the ability to work in tighter, more confined areas such as the corners of vegetable gardens or arboretums. The wider stance of the twin-griped bicycle style bars — often seen being used by contractors and council workers alongside railway lines and roadside verges — is the extra swinging or scything motion that can be achieved, especially useful when clearing or mowing large areas of grass and undergrowth.
Further excellent examples of high-grade domestic brushcutters are the UMK series of machines from Honda. The Honda UMK 425 LE Petrol Brushcutter with loop handle or Honda UMK 425 UE Petrol Brushcutter with twin grips are both very well suited to the home user, featuring extremely light weight Honda GX25 4-stroke petrol engines with a unique lubrication system, allowing the tool to operate through a full 360°.
Echo also make the durable Echo SRM-235ESL Petrol Brushcutter, eminently suitable for the enthusiastic gardener who demands a high quality tool that will offer many seasons of service thanks to the small but powerful 21.2cc 2-stroke petrol engine and excellent Echo engineering.
Moving on to machines that are better suited to the more demanding user, often needing extra power due to the nature of the vegetation to be cleared, size of property or regularity of use, these tools will normally fit into the bracket occupied by 35cc brush cutters.
Once again, Echo manufactures an excellent tool for the job in the form of the Echo SRM-265TESL Petrol Brushcutter or Echo SRM-265TESU, loop handle or twin-grip machines respectively. Boasting a small engine in this class of machinery at 25.4cc, the performance is that of a larger tool, with easy starting and low vibrations coming as standard features.
The Rx range of commercial brushcutters from Husqvarna provide the ideal tool whatever the application may be; the Husqvarna 327Rx Petrol Brushcutter at 24.5cc is ideal if a balance of weight and power are necessary. Light weight 4-stroke power and performance are to the fore with Honda’s excellent Honda UMK 435 LE Petrol Brushcutter and Honda UMK 435 UE, both of which are well suited to both the commercial and domestic environment due to their easy starting engines and comfortable harnesses, providing excellent user comfort and control during extended periods of use.
Rounding off LawnMowersDirect’s current range of intensive use brushcutters is the superb Efco DS 3800 T Petrol Brushcutter; excellent vibration damping properties in combination with an engine decompressor and incredibly low emissions from ‘Burn Right’ technology provide a definitively modern outdoor power tool.
If your need is for a truly powerful clearance tool, capable of intensive use day after day, a high-end brush cutter is a must. Normally having an engine capacity of 45cc and more, these professional models are designed for the toughest tasks.
Models to watch out for are the hi-tech and extremely durable Echo SRM-410ESU Petrol Brushcutter; with an anti-vibration system, Easy Start petrol engine and 1-litre fuel tank, this machine is often the first choice for many professional gardeners.
From Italian manufacturer Emak we have a state-of-the-art brushcutter in the Efco DS 4200 T Petrol Brushcutter that boasts a professional grade anti-vibration system, ergonomic twin-grip handlebars and magnesium engine housing to keep weight to a minimum. For tasks that require the ultimate in operator balance and flexibility, a backpack brushcutter is the answer. Several manufacturers offer this type of machine but the Echo RM-410ES Petrol Brushcutter is a fine example. A 42.7cc 2-stroke petrol engine, flexible drive shaft and rubberised loop handle ensure comfort, durability and ease of use in all conditions.
Here at LawnMowers Direct we feel that we have a line trimmer or brush cutter to suit your needs, however slight or demanding those needs may be. If you feel that a little advice in choosing the right machine will help you come to the right choice for your application, please feel free to call us on tel. 01603 255825 where a member of our trained sales team will be happy to assist.