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View Full Version : Multi-Function Weed Eaters


JB Lawn Services
01-07-2000, 11:01 AM
As mentioned earlier I am starting out a lawn business and I noticed there are such tools as &quot;Multi-Function&quot; weed eaters. You simply snap off the weed eating head and replace it with such utinsels as a blower, edger, shrub cutter, bush trimmer, etc. Are these machines reliable and do they do a good job?<p>I have seen a Homelite expandable weed eater, and a Ryobi - which one is better?<p>Thanks,<br>JB Lawn Services

GrassMaster
01-07-2000, 11:39 AM
Hello:<br> I never used them but I now own a repair shop for past 8 years & I have a strong mechanical background. Probably no one cares either but I will tell you what I know.<p>If you are going to make a living at this buy something at a Outdoor Power Equipment Dealership. I would recomend Echo, Stihl, Shinindawa or something commercial.<p>On a Homelite or Ryobi comparing them say to a Echo it don't matter. You can take up to about 7 or 8 human hairs lay them over down into the cylinder & drop the piston straight through it. Put 1 to 2 human hairs & do that to a Echo & the piston won't go through. <p>Thats why a 21cc-23cc Echo, Stihl or Shinindawa will run circles around one of the others that has 30cc to 35cc engines on them. I think you will find out they also don't turn up the RPM's either, the big boys turn up 9000 plus RPM's the others 6000 plus RPM's. <p>If they could turn up 9000 plus get on the other side of the wall or let one of your inlaws try it. Make sure you got one of them $1,000,000 accidential death policys that you can buy over the phone for $9.95 a month on them in your name & you could retire early.<p>If something goes wrong with the engine, how many other pieces have you got now that don't work and your out there trying to make the big bucks. Let the homeowners buy the put together & take apart pieces. <p>Hey that's all I know. Hey wait a minute heres one more thing I call it fruit for thought.<br>&quot;It's easier to opollogize for price now, than quality down the road.&quot; <p>Oh I know theres probably somebody thats got a homelite thats cut a colledge campus for the past 30 years with one they bought on sale at gibsons discount center but don't listen to them. Gas powered trimmers didn't come out until early 70's I know because I was there. He was a hippy that had a can with pieces of wire through it & it was attached to a shaft on a washing machine motor. I wish you the best in business!<p> <p>----------<br>GrassMaster - Have a nice day!!!!!<br>http://www.lawnservicing.com<br>

JB Lawn Services
01-07-2000, 11:45 AM
I appreciate the advice so far...but what I would like to know is if these devices work well and are worth the money. Does the expansion edger work; how about the other add-ons? <p>Thanks again,<br>JB Lawn Services

GrassMaster
01-07-2000, 11:59 AM
Reply:<br> I'm sorry I was just trying to help I must have miss understood you & I got carried away!<p>&gt;I appreciate the advice so far...&lt;<br>Your welcome.<p>&gt;but what I would like to know is if these devices work well&lt; <br>They work OK if your a homeowner but if your trying to make a living with them, they make great tinker toys when you have nothing else to do!<p>&gt;and are worth the money.&lt; <br>Yes if you can buy it & all of the attachments for less than $99 + no more than 7% sales tax.<p>&gt;Does the expansion edger work;how about the other add-ons? <br>They work ok. We work on them all the time.<p><p><br><p>----------<br>GrassMaster - Have a nice day!!!!!<br>http://www.lawnservicing.com

Charles
01-07-2000, 12:06 PM
I agree 100% with Grass Master. Stay away from homelite and Ryiobi. For commercial work. The the other good equipment he mentioned and their attachments will do the job as advertised. Except for the blower. I don't even know how that would work as an attachment.<br>Charles<br>

Eric ELM
01-07-2000, 12:13 PM
JB, what Grass Master is telling you is, NO they are not good for our work. If they were, we would all have them. Get the best string trimmer you can afford and buy a used edger. You won't be using it that much. The blower setup on what your talking about, probably wouldn't blow out a candle. Get a good one. You need dependable equipment, not home owner junk.<p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html

mattingly
01-07-2000, 12:25 PM
to clarify a little further as to what the original post is trying to say, &quot;do the two in one trimmers work well&quot; he now knows not to use the homeowner equip. but what about the commercial interchangeable equipment. Stihl and Echo make trimmers that can add-on edgers, sweepers, hedgers, etc... I am also looking into this so I to would like to know. At the company I currently work for, we have the stihl model. It has worked very well but, we don't use it a whole lot. Echo has an attachment system that interchanges much quicker than the stihl. Stihl takes 2-3 min. Echo about 20 secs. I have heard some people swear by the Echos. Oh well, this should start to help answer the guys question if any of you use this type of equip.<br>

GrassMaster
01-07-2000, 01:26 PM
Hello I'm back!<br>&gt;I have seen a Homelite expandable weed eater, and a Ryobi - which one is better?&lt;<br>I would use Ryobi.<p>&gt;to clarify a little further as to what the original post is trying to say, &quot;do the two in one trimmers work well&quot; he now knows not to use the homeowner equip. but what about the commercial interchangeable equipment.&lt;<br>They work OK if your a homeowner but if your trying to make a living with them, they make great tinker toys when you have nothing else to do!If something goes wrong with the engine, how many other pieces have you got now that don't work and your out there trying to make the big bucks. Let the homeowners buy the put together & take apart pieces. <p>&gt;I have heard some people swear by the Echos. Oh well, this should start to help answer the guys question if any of you use this type of equip.&lt;<br>Everthing above this is quotes from my previous post.<p>Your first sentence says it all in the above about people swearing by them! <p>I'm certified by the factory on all of the above trimmers as factory autorized repair & warranty center& I don't need to be showing favorites on one brand or another. This could cause me problems. I thought I was honest & sincere in my first post. I wasn't trying to cause problems. Even if I disliked or hated someone I would never lie or mislead someone no matter what, I take busines, work & life serious but I like to have fun also. <p>There are plenty of people here that know me & can vouch for my advice & reputation. I didn't come here yesterday or last year I've been here since early stages of Lawnicure. My site has been up since late 1996. I have answered 1000's of e-mails & will continue. <p>I do not post that much anymore because of the last 3 post I have made. I have been mis quoted. I have seen mention of other post about poor work. I never said poor work. Yes I cut corners when people owe me money. I would like to say of all the properties that I had year round agreements I never walked off of one that had more 2 1/2&quot; of growth on the bushes max, how many others can say that.<p>I have contributed a lot to the lawn service industry helping others. Way over 2000+ hours & over $1500 in expenses & as of now this greedy webmaster has grossed $625.00.<p>Chuck Keogh, Erick Erickson & Jim Lewis have all gave time to help everybody also. I forgot to mentian you others becuse I do not remember all your names.<p>Chuck I hope I spelled your name right. Chuck has done a lot for 1000's in the Green Industry & he deserves more than what he gets! <p>Again &quot;Thats all I know&quot; I'll keep on trying-------- Oh No It's the SPAMCOP I got to go, I'm sure glad I do not go by my real name or the equipment Manufactures will get this info and I will not be able to do warrnty work & I'll loose my shop & I'll have to cut grass again & I'll have a life & I''ll make money again!<p>Later<p><p><p>----------<br>GrassMaster - Have a nice day!!!!!<br>http://www.lawnservicing.com

MowerUp
01-07-2000, 03:32 PM
I do some commerical work and have two Ryobi's. I'm not sure they will go the long hall, but I got a real deal on them on a close out of a store. <p>If you want the commerical line, Echo is probably the best. As far as add on attachments, I think they are great. I have an edger, blower, bush trimmer, tree pruner, and hedge trimmer that all work very well. The edger works well on edges that have been maintained on a regular basis. Many companies will try to sell you a different product for each of these. It would be to your best interest to find the machine you want with the add on attachment capability. It only makes good sense. As far as the blower goes, I use that attachment more than any other. It is much lighter that the backpacks and much cheaper. Grant it, it doesn't blow as fact, but it works well for me. <br>

HOMER
01-07-2000, 04:06 PM
HI, HOMER HERE, I STARTED OFF USING A RYOBI WITH AN EDGER ATTACHEMENT, IT WORKED FINE THEN, BUT I HAD NOT USED A STIHL YET!! THERE IS A VERY LARGE DIFFERENCE. THE RYOBI WILL THROW ROCKS AND DEBRIS ALL OVER YOU WHEN YOU EDGE. THE SPOOL IS SO HARD TO GET OFF YOU NEED TO KEEP A PAIR OF VISE GRIPS WITH YOU. IF YOU ARE GOING IN BUSINESS, GO IN BUSINESS, YOU CAN'T HALF A-- IT. I AM RECOMMENDING STIHL BECAUSE THATS WHAT I HAVE, NOT THAT THE OTHER COMMERCIAL BRANDS ARE NO GOOD. I DO HAVE AN ECHO BACKPACK BLOWER AND A STIHL 400 BACKPACK. THE STIHL SEEMS LIKE IT WEIGHS 20 lbs. LESS THAN THE ECHO AND BLOWS STRONGER. MY RYOBI IS NOW IN THE BASEMENT COLLECTING DUST. THE BOTTOM LINE IS----------YOU HAVE GOT TO SPEND SOME MONEY!! IT AIN'T LIKE YOU WON'T GET IT BACK. THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU SAVE USING PROFESSIONAL GRADE EQUIPMENT WILL ASTOUND YOU. IT DID ME WHEN I STEPPED UP. QUALITY IS PARAMOUNT, BUT SPEED IS ESSENTIAL TO MAKE IT IN THIS BUSINESS, START OFF WITH THE BEST AND YOU WON'T FEEL INFERIOR WHEN THE BIG BOYS RIDE BY.

gene gls
01-07-2000, 04:16 PM
I have a Maryamma power unit with the hedge trimmer and the rototiller atachments.The unit has a low RPM and turns the atachments too slow.The hedge trimmer will reach 3to4' higher than a regular trimmer so you can eliminate some climbing on the step lader.The tiller works good in open bed areas for working up the soil.If I was to buy another it would have high RPM'S and the trimmer head would angle.I consider this a specialty tool, only used for certian jobs.I like to have tools for every situation.

JimLewis
01-07-2000, 04:31 PM
I used Ryobis &quot;split-boom&quot; type machines (that's what those mutiple use trimmers are called) for a little over a year when I was new. I bought them because they were cheap and Home Depot would warranty anything for a year. <p>I had most all of the attachments at one point. Trimmer, edger, blower, hedge trimmer, etc. <p>Back then we didn't have nearly the amount of homes we do now, but even then it was too unreliable to be worth it. I owned at least 4 of the main machines. The biggest problem with them was the split boom design. I think it's inherently flawed, no matter who makes it. You have a shaft that is made of flexible metal that plugs into a receptor made of metal. Eventually the receptor gets warn down. Stripped, if you will. And the upper shaft starts to spin but the lower one won't as much. Maybe someone else has found a way around this but I really think the design itself is bad. I would rather have dedicated edgers, trimmers, etc. <p>Other problems with these are that the shafts are openly exposed to the elements on both ends. That is, when you are not using the trimmer attachment, it is sitting in your truck or trailer and lots of debris is getting inside the open shaft. Sure, they have covers on them but they always get lost. And don't think for a minute your employees will use them all the time. Doesn't happen. So they are exposed to a lot of crap that dedicated use trimmers aren't. <p>As for the brand itself [Ryobi}. I agree with Grassmaster. They just aren't commercial quality. Engines will go out sooner, need work more often, etc. <p>Still, I wouldn't touch even a commercial split-boom style machine. I know it's more expensive to get dedicated machines, but once you take that step, you'll never regret it. It was a big step for me and a big investment but I never regretted it. <p>'Nuff said. <p>----------<br>Jim Lewis - Lewis Landscape Services<br>http://www.lewislandscape.com

Eric ELM
01-07-2000, 04:37 PM
When I started this business, I didn't plan on doing it full time and I didn't have the money to buy the best. I started out with a 38-inch JD lawn tractor, a Homelite weed beater (it didn't cut them, it beat them) and a Sears hand held blower. If I had a chance to do it all over, I would have borrowed the money and got what I have now. What I would have started out with is a 60&quot; Dixie Chopper, Shindaiwa string trimmer and backpack blower. I would have avoided the mistakes I made if there would have been a forum like this around back then. We still don't have an edger. We use the trimmer for that. You can get by with using a multi-function setup for a while if you don't have many accounts and work by yourself. If you have someone helping you and one of you are trimming or edging, how are you going to blow off things. You will be waiting for the one motor to put on another piece of equipment. I have never seen anyone using this setup and I personally think they were designed for the homeowner. You can get by using homeowner trimmers, but they sure aren't made for the long haul. Check out the last several posts on the Trimmer Thread. 7 different guys in a row use Shindaiwa Trimmers. Another thought, the motor quits on your multi-setup. Now you have no trimmer, no edger, no blower, no prunner, ect. Bummer<p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html

weve
01-07-2000, 05:47 PM
I have used the Echo Split Boom Trimmer for several years. I have the edger and Power Pruner attachments. At about 275 hours on the power unit, the coupling on the trimmer attachment is getting a bit sloppy, but the edger and Power Pruner are still a tight fit. I have used it as a trimmer most often.<br> I also have a Shindaiwa Power Broom. I have just ordered a conversion kit to make it into a string trimmer. I will use it as my main trimmer this year and use the Echo as an edger or pruner. <br> <br>Larry<br>Weaver Lawn Care

Lance720
01-07-2000, 09:42 PM
Stay away from Ryobi. I purchased a new one first thing this season and after 2 weeks put it back into the garage where it still stays. There heavy for the horspower you get and mine was hard starting out of the box(I'm never seem to return stuff)<br>

Lazer
01-08-2000, 04:05 AM
We've used the ECHO split boom for 2 years now and love 'em! They offer so much flexibility to our crews. <p>We've got the hedge trimmer, edger, line trimmer, and power broom and thatcher attachemnts.<p>This year ECHO has the new 26cc unit available.<p>I like the idea of dispatching our mowing crews with a couple extra attachments. Some sites require tons of edging and we can have 2 edgers per crew - instantly. Sometimes a line trimmer goes down and we can switch out the edger and still have 2 line trimmers - instantly.<p>I would advise to Multi-function, but I'd get commecial brand units: Echo, Shindiawa, Stihl, etc.

jeffclc
01-08-2000, 06:44 AM
Wow, lots of negative responses here. I agree that if you are using these tools to make a living, you definatly want to stay away from the Ryboi and other homeowner type tools. <p>That being said, I'd like to cast my vote in favor of the Echo split boom system. I bought the trimmer at the start of last season, and have been very happy with it. It performs identicle to the non split boom trimmer that I have. (both are the same, one is split boom and the other is conventional). I have added three attachemnts; the edger, hedge clipper, and power pruner.<p>The edger is identicle to the stick edger that Echo sells. It works as it was intended, the same as a conventional stick edger. It was worth the $80 or so that it costs, comapred to a stand alone stick edger at $300.<p>The hedge clipper is absolutely wonderful. It makes trimming tall/wide bushes a breeze. That attachment has paid for itself many times over the last two years. It has the same blade as normal Echo hedge clippers. I think that it looses a little bit of power in the transmission, but it cuts anything in its path. The $175 or so that it cost was well worth it, and enabled me to have a very versitale tool that I would have not otherwise purchased. Long reach stand alone hedge clippers are in the heighborhood of $400 or so.<p>The other thing that I have for the system is the power pruner. IT woeks as intended, and is fine for my limited use, but if you are into tree work, I would get a dedicated unit. This one does not have the reach that others do, and also has to be oiled from a squirt can. For the light tree work that I do, it suffices.<p>So, for a cost total cost of $$680 +- I have the equivelabt of $1300 worth of tools. The attachemnts are very easy to interchange, and require no tools. Like anything, if you are going to use something all day, every day, get a dedicated machine, but for the occaisional use this system is great. Another thing to look at is; are you going to need to run more than one of these tools at a time? if so, then the attachment system may not be for you. <p>Ehco also makes a small tiller, and de-thatcher fot the system. I have a Mantis tillre an do not need the attachment, and I am a little leary of the de-thatcher.<p>I am going to look into the broom attachment that Echo has recently put out. It is similar to the Shindiwa, but uses bristles instead of rubber flippers.

Lazer
01-08-2000, 06:55 AM
Jeff,<p>I have the broom attachment and it really works slick. One thing to bear in mind is to store it properly. If you just set it down, it flattens out the bristles and is &quot;jumpy&quot; next time you use it. I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your assessments. Are you going to look at the new 26cc unit for this season?<p>I would also recommend to other users out there to not expect to edge with the same unit you trim with. If you have only 1 powerhead, sitching these 2 out EVERY lawn on a residential route can get old in a hurry. <p>But they make so much sense to swith out to other units, I see them being a staple in the industry in the next few years.<br>

thelawnguy
01-08-2000, 09:10 AM
I would strongly suggest obtaining a dedicated machine for whatever you need it for, i.e., a hedge trimmer, string trimmer, edger, etc. This way if there is a problem with the power head you arent out all the tools at once. Also, let me know if the saying &quot;Jack of all trades, master of none&quot; means anything to you in this situation. The multi-function machines are a compromise at best for each of their tasks.<p>Bill

Lazer
01-08-2000, 09:26 AM
I feel they are a jack of all trades and master of all trades. You make NO comprimises over a dedicated machine. <p>Depanding on how much work you do with each attachment, i.e. how much hedge trimming, power brooming, etc., it is a good idea to power heads for most of your units.

jeffclc
01-08-2000, 09:58 AM
Set a few of the Echo attachments side by side with their dedicated counterparts. MOst you will see no differences, other than the split boom connector.<p>A few of the attachments namely the power pruner and de thatcher are not as good as their dedicated cousins, but do have their place and use. <p>For occaisional use, would you rather spend $400 for a tool, or $200 for an attachment that does THE EXACT SAME THING?

JB Lawn Services
01-08-2000, 11:46 AM
So, which unit to buy - Stihl or Echo?

Lazer
01-08-2000, 12:03 PM
You could discuss that one until the moon turns blue. I think Stihl is a better unit. I buy Echo because of the supporting dealer.

Metroman
01-08-2000, 03:11 PM
The subject is multi-function or not! i have learned not to put down any company or brand so i will just give you my personal opinion. <p>You know to avoid the homeowner type!<br> <br>Have you tried any of these attachments?<p>Which attachments would you use?<br>The reason i ask is that i have the latest Echo catalog in front of me as i type this. i was curious about the muti attachments so i looked in the catalog. all the attachments that i seen (except the power pruner) would be better to use as a seperate piece of equipment. but if you have any questions go to your nearest dealer and ask him to demo these attachments for you. they should be happy to demo for you.<p> Kevin

jeffclc
01-09-2000, 04:02 AM
So far, all the negative responses have been from people that do not use/own the system. Almost all the owners of these systems have chimed in with positive responses. That should tell you something.<p>As I said before, place a stick edger or long reach hedge clipper, or power broom dedicated machine right next to its split boom counterpart. Compare apples to apples. You will see that there are NO DIFFERENCES!<p>This system also takes up less space than dedicated machines. I can carry all my attachments with me, and am able to have them at hand for those quick add on jobs. <p>As far as what to buy, Sthil or Echo, that is like the old Ford/Chevy debate. Both make top commercial machines, therefore you need to look at both, and see what one has the attachments that you will need. Also look at dealer service, price, personal ergonomics, ect. <p>I do agree with the above post that a better system for capping off the exposed ends of the tools is needed. I use a red shop rag tied aroung the end to keep them clean inside. But still, this is a only a minor inconvience.

JJ Lawn
01-09-2000, 05:19 AM
I have been in business for 5 yrs now, and when I started I bought the Maruyama Multi-Cutter system. It was convenient for me because I like to edge with an edger, To me there is nothing prettier than a clean sharp narrow edge on a lawn, and &quot;I&quot; can't do that with a string trimmer. And since it to cumbersome to carry my big edger I choose the stick edger. <p>The other main reasons that I went to the split boom system was because if a unit should break down during the day, I still have a spare. That cuts my down time. All I have to do is trade attachments and am off again. I bought 2 power units, one w/string trimmer attachment, and one w/edger attachment, 1 hedge trimmer attachment. I still have all and they are working just like new. A little beat but still going strong. This spring I am planning on purchasing the chain saw attachment.<p>Since I don't use a long shaft hedge trimmer every time I trim I did not see the need to purchase one (which by the way I have never seen one) to take up space on my truck/trailor. The trimmer attachment works out great. Takes up little space, and is there if I need it. And you can't beat it on long runs of tall hedges. Saves a lot of ladder toting.<p>The Maruyama brand is not cheap by any means. It is commercial grade equipment. Cost's a little more than some of your other Commercial brands, but in my opinion it is well worth it. I have not had a major breakdown of any Maruyama equipment I own. <p>----------<br>Jim.....from Fouke, Arkansas (Home of the Boggy Creek Monster)<br>

Mark Erpelding
07-24-2002, 08:48 PM
I have quite a bit of Shindiawa power equipment. I have their multi-purpose tool and could not be happier with it. As with the rest of my Shindiawa equipment. If you pay for hamburger your going to get hamburger, If you want steak, Pay up SUCKER

Martino
07-25-2002, 12:09 AM
Mark Erpelding:

No offense dude, but you just replied to a thread that has been dead for 2½ years! Was it necessary for it to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes?:nono:

Just kidding, man.