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View Full Version : KAWASAKI KBL26A (or 27A) vs. KBL34A Trimmers?


adaboy
09-08-2006, 05:53 AM
Hello all, I've been researching string trimmers for the past few weeks looking for the lightest, most powerful for weight, dependable, quiet, string trimmer on the market (price is secondary). Kawasakis are balanced, well made, fairly quiet for a trimmer (90-93dB depending on model), and seem to be slightly lighter than most other trimmers size for size. Other than the KBL34A, most Kawis are between 9.3-10.8 lbs & have 1.3-1.6hp. Plus, I never had a single problem with my 15 year old TMC/Kawi 33cc (used in weed abatement business/home use), so I think I've narrowed it down again to Kawi, only this time I want a full "Kawasaki".

I've tested Stihl, Honda, Shindiawa, and TMC (which are all very good) and I had originally thought I wanted a Stihl or Honda. Stihl seemed louder/maybe harder to start, and Honda is a little heavy. But if you know of another unit that clearly outperforms Kawasaki in power/weight/reliability/noise/parts availability, I'd love to hear about it.

I'm familiar with the power of the TMC/Kawi 33cc which is quite adequate but not overwhelming for tall/thick weed abatement/light brush. I'm not sure how much power the Kawi KBL26A has, but I've read that it's pretty strong.

MAIN QUESTION: If I'm using this trimmer 70% for edging a small yard and 30% for heavier chores like weed abatement and edging ivy (I'll rarely need a blade), will the KBL26A handle it when used for the 30% heavier stuff? Or should I get the 5 lb heavier, 3dB louder (insignificant?) KBL34A which is still pretty light. The extra power is really nice when you need it, but it would be nice if I could get by with the KBL26A which weighs only 9.9 lbs.

QUESTION: I get the impression the smaller loop handle is liked better than the large loop handle on the Kawis? Any advantages for the large loop?

QUESTION: Is the new Kawi TJ27 (26.3cc/1.6hp) motor with it's "heavy duty crankshaft with roller bearings and chrome cylinder" significantly better than the proven TH26 (25.4cc/1.5hp) motor (other than a little more power)? Maybe that' a question I should ask Kawasaki. Should I consider the KBL27A instead of the 26A? Heck, I'd pick one up at a dealer outside California and bring it back if I it was that much better. Probably not worth the trouble though.

Thanks in advance for any input!!

JTF40
09-08-2006, 07:02 AM
I could be wrong, but I think the KBL26A has been discontinued (or it is made just for California sales). With that being said, I really enjoy my KGT27A. It is lightweight, very powerful, comfortable, and reasonably priced. I bought mine of Ebay for $239.00 plus shipping. :usflag:

LawnBrother
09-08-2006, 09:49 AM
I liked what I heard about Kawasaki trimmers too, then I bought a new kbl27a earlier this year and it had a problem where it would stall off idle. It would idle well and trim WOT great, but if you tried to hold it at low rmp, like around delicate things like tree trunks, etc., it would stall and shut off. I took it in to be repaired and was told there was nothing wrong with it, and after raising hell I ended up getting a refund because they said it was not fixable, that was just "how it is". Unacceptable performance if you ask me. From what I understand this is a common characteristic of some of the Kawi trimmers. I went with a Stihl KM110 instead and what a difference. Slightly heavier, but starts easy and has plenty of power for the heavy growth and it's quick and easy to switch attatchments. It's made me a lot of money this year, I should have bought that to begin with. Better dealer support from stihl here too.

ed2150
09-08-2006, 11:02 AM
Kawasaki has streamlined their trimmer models, the KBL26A and KBL34A are both discontinued now. They're both excellent trimmers, if you can find leftover stock somewhere at a good price you can't go wrong.

I have 2 KGT27A trimmers and I'm very happy with them....LawnBrother had a bad dealer experience, his problem was not "how they are". With today's non-adjustable carbs, it probably would have taken a new carb or even replacement trimmer to solve his problem and it sound like his dealer was pretty indifferent to helping him.

Mine 27's start good and run strong, as do my KBL26A and KBL23A. You'd need the KGT27A for blade use in the current models.

128Steve
09-08-2006, 11:21 AM
I have models you are interested in purchasing. Either model would work and are outstanding units. The only knock on the 34A is the power. Good but not great. Yet, I have found it can go full throttle all day in heavy growth and never complain. I agree with your assessment on the 26A being far lighter with not much less power.


Good luck.

adaboy
09-08-2006, 04:08 PM
The new TJ27 engine on the 27A models has 1.6hp vs 1.7hp on the KBL34, so other than possibly a little more torque on the 34, sounds like the KBL/KGT27A models might be the way to go?
You guys that use the Kawi 26 and 27 series engines - do you think you'd be happy using them for an occasional all day job of clearing heavy growth?

ed2150
09-08-2006, 08:05 PM
I use my KGT27As not only for trimming grass, I have the articulated hedge trimmer head, the twin turbo head (the thing that looks like a round hedge clipper), and 2 brush blades and I'm very pleased with the power of the units.

For occasional brush clearing I think you'd be quite happy with the 27A. The KBL27A comes with a barrier bar handle and the blade mounting kit, which is what you'd need. Mine are KGT's but I put the big loop handles on them because I like them better; they function as a barrier bar for safety and I already had the blade mounting hardware with my KBL26A (which I traded in on one of the KGT27's.

Other than the barrier bar and the blade hardware, the KGT27 and KBL27 are identical.

REALSLOW
09-08-2006, 09:23 PM
I have models you are interested in purchasing. Either model would work and are outstanding units. The only knock on the 34A is the power. Good but not great. Yet, I have found it can go full throttle all day in heavy growth and never complain. I agree with your assessment on the 26A being far lighter with not much less power.


Good luck. I bought a new KBL 34 and it was the smoothest trimmer I have used but the power for a 34cc trimmer was not good. The T 350 SHIN I use just stomp'em in power but are heavy.

rider
09-08-2006, 09:42 PM
Get the kgt 27a. it has a sold shaft versus flex on the ktr, lifetime warranty on the sold shaft. plus you can add options like a trimmer or solid blade. non adjustable carbs are great if you have employees that think they know how to "wrench" for more power, which always screws up my two-cycle equip.

adaboy
09-08-2006, 10:08 PM
Sounds like the Kawasaki KGT/KBL27A have about the most power for minimal weight. So, if the Kawi KBL34A isn't that powerful for the weight for a larger machine, and the Shindiawa is heavy, what is the sweet setup for a medium- large machine? The Stihl 250 is one of the best power/weight ratios @ 13lbs/2.15hp or the 350 @15.4lbs/2.15hp. I hear the Stihls have more vibration than the Kawis though. The guy at Kawisaki Tech Support told me today that he didn't know if they were coming out with a newer version of the KBL34 anytime soon, but I'll bet the new version will have a great power/weight ratio!

I'll probably be ordering the KGT27A or KBL27A. But if I found a Trimmer in the 30-40cc range that weighed 2-4lbs more, (with 2hp+) that had a similar power/weight ratio as the KGT27A, and was as smooth, I'd be tempted to get it for the extra power. Probably don't really need it though.

HenryB
09-08-2006, 10:19 PM
I'd be weary I had a lot of problems with my (2) KGT 27A's only five months old and retired in the back of my shed: ideling, carb and main seal issues. I never had that many problems with a trimmer and I've had them all. And no I won't sell them I don't pass my headache's to someone else:nono: .

ed2hess
09-08-2006, 10:23 PM
You didn't mention anything about reliability but I would throw in the Echo SRM 261T to compete in the range you are looking at. It is a tried and proven pure 2 stroke engine with adjustable carb and has a high torque gear box which will give you the extra torque needed. We have used many of these and they give us very good service and they a easy to repair.

adaboy
09-09-2006, 09:47 PM
HenryB: Sorry to hear you're having trouble with your Kawasakis. Makes me a little nervous about Kaw. What about the 1 year commercial warranty?
ed2hess: Reliability is a must. Thanks for the tip on the Echo. Checked out their website and looks like a light, powerful machine (25.4cc/11.7lbs w/attachment) - doesn't show the hp though. Is the Echo SRM261T still pretty smooth and can you use a blade on it since it has a "4 layer cable" for the drive shaft? I'll have to check one out at the dealer.

ed2hess
09-09-2006, 11:00 PM
HenryB: Sorry to hear you're having trouble with your Kawasakis. Makes me a little nervous about Kaw. What about the 1 year commercial warranty?
ed2hess: Reliability is a must. Thanks for the tip on the Echo. Checked out their website and looks like a light, powerful machine (25.4cc/11.7lbs w/attachment) - doesn't show the hp though. Is the Echo SRM261T still pretty smooth and can you use a blade on it since it has a "4 layer cable" for the drive shaft? I'll have to check one out at the dealer.
We use the saw on smaller units than this so it will be okay. About the smooth part....I have no reference always used Echo don't have tingling in my hands if that counts.

Sandgropher
09-09-2006, 11:28 PM
I brought a second hand KBL26A a few months ago as a back up for my Shindy and now the Shindy is back up, quiet simply to kawa is light, balanced with plenty of power i will be sticking to Kawas from now on, easy to start to .:)

Dstosh
09-09-2006, 11:42 PM
I brought a second hand KBL26A a few months ago as a back up for my Shindy and now the Shindy is back up, quiet simply to kawa is light, balanced with plenty of power i will be sticking to Kawas from now on, easy to start to .:)
Ditto, I bought a KTR27A to use when my shindy T2500 when it went into be repaired. I now use the Kawi all the time. The only problem I had with it was the fuel line had a hole in it and it wouldnt stay running, Luckly it was an easy fix. Also it really sucks the fuel. Other than that as far as power and weight, it is unbeatable. I will probably buy another.

adaboy
09-12-2006, 06:17 PM
Thanks Sandgropher, Dstosh, and everyone else who replied to my Post! You guys helped a lot. I ordered a Kawasaki KGT27A today for $249 + s/h of $25 from brweldingsupplies.com After I've used it for awhile I'll post another message about how it performs. I realize the following link is written by the manufacturer and is biased, but from what I've seen and heard, I think it describes Kawasaki string trimmers pretty accurately - we'll see how I like it:
http://www.kawpowr.com/press/news8.html

JTF40
09-12-2006, 07:41 PM
Thanks Sandgropher, Dstosh, and everyone else who replied to my Post! You guys helped a lot. I ordered a Kawasaki KGT27A today for $249 + s/h of $25 from brweldingsupplies.com After I've used it for awhile I'll post another message about how it performs. I realize the following link is written by the manufacturer and is biased, but from what I've seen and heard, I think it describes Kawasaki string trimmers pretty accurately - we'll see how I like it:
http://www.kawpowr.com/press/news8.html

That is the exact same deal I got from the same company. You will like that trimmer - ALOT !!!!!! :usflag:

($239.00 on my 1st post was incorrect.)

parttimer
09-12-2006, 08:21 PM
I bought my 1st kgt27a this year and both me and my wife love it . Sorry to her some are having problems , I have the best dealer you could ever ask for thats why we desided to try them . We got ours at Lesco the guy here in chattanooga are the best. We also have hedge trimmers and they really rock also. I have ran stihl and echo and have no problems with them other than the dealers arent that great.

befnme
09-12-2006, 10:13 PM
I Have A Kbl26a And It Will Run Rings Around My Echo Srm-260s

REALSLOW
09-12-2006, 11:56 PM
I'd be weary I had a lot of problems with my (2) KGT 27A's only five months old and retired in the back of my shed: ideling, carb and main seal issues. I never had that many problems with a trimmer and I've had them all. And no I won't sell them I don't pass my headache's to someone else:nono: .
Typical kawasaki, they wear quick!

rider
09-13-2006, 12:05 AM
there's a year warranty, get them fixed do not just trash them, as for wear and tear, 3 yrs and running strong

Mickhippy
09-13-2006, 02:01 AM
I just bought a new 27A today! Dealer put it under home owner so has a 2 year warranty!
Cant beleive the power, easy start etc compared to my old one. Gotta love it!

JTF40
09-13-2006, 07:12 AM
Typical kawasaki, they wear quick!

Think what you want. If mine breaks, I'll get another Kawasaki !!!! :weightlifter: