View Full Version : What is most important in a trimmer?

Acute Cut
06-23-2004, 02:30 AM
Ok, question is what is most important when buying a trimmer. Weight, Power, fuel economy, Earth friendly (For all you electric fans out there:D )

My dealer and i were having this discussion and he said he knew people that did not think like i do. HOW DARE THEY! lol. I'll post my thoughts in a bit as seeing how i would really like to see what yall say first. Thanks.

(P.S. This thread is a little bit of research as well for the article i am writing for TURF on the Stihl 110. Thanks guys)

06-23-2004, 02:38 AM
power first in a light package second

hole in one lco
06-23-2004, 03:24 AM
The carb is the most important, If i cant flip it over it useless to me

06-23-2004, 04:20 AM
For me its weight as long as the power is decent or avarage. I would say weight first, then power, then fuel efficiency.

The thing is, for most lawns that are kept up with weekly or bi-weekly, a huge 1.4+hp engine isn't needed. Really as long as its about 1hp it can handle all the edging and trimming for regularly maintained lawns. But this is just me, and I only do lawns. I never brush cut and I rarely have to deal with overgrown lawns.

Richard Martin
06-23-2004, 05:36 AM
At one time I had thought that I looked at weight as a major issue and it still is but since I bought a Stihl FS80 2 weeks ago I have changed my mind. I had read a lot about the Stihl trimmers here at Lawnsite and everything I read was good so I decided to try one. So I get the FS80 home and take it for a test spin.

I had been using Shindaiwa T-230s prior to this purchase so some of my observations will be of the comparison nature.

As soon as I started the Stihl up I noticed it was loud, very loud. In fact it seemed like it was twice as loud as my Shindaiwas with the spark arrestors removed. The spark arrestor was still in the Stihl by the way.

I started trimming and I then noticed that the trimmer head assembly seems to weigh a good bit more than the Shindaiwa. I don't really care for this since it is more weight that I have to move around constantly.

On the plus side the power head on the Stihl is lighter than the Shindaiwa. With the Shindaiwa sometimes my back would start to ache after a while. I have not noticed this with the Stihl.

Well after about 5 minutes of trimming I noticed that the trimmer was starting to dig into my arm right below my elbow. I stopped the trimmer and looked at my elbow. It was getting red from the abrasion of the trimmer. So I looked at the trimmer and saw that there were a lot of sharp angles on the case of the power head. I took the trimmer into my shop and rounded off the sharp edges. Back to work I went.

Well the trimmer still abraded my arm. The only thing left was the plastic housing surrounding the spark plug. So it's back to the shop to cut the housing down.

Okay now the trimmer is not rubbing on my arm anywhere but now I am getting very hot air blowing out of the spark plug opening in the housing onto my arm.

I'm thinking to myself that there must be something wrong. There is no way Stihl would release a trimmer that would cause this many problems to an operator. So I thought about it for a second and decide to try something.

Ever since I started trimming I have trimmed "left handed". That is with the throttle trigger in my left hand. So I switched to holding the trimmer right handed. Bam! All of the trouble disappeared. There was no hot air on my arm and my arm didn't even come close to the spark plug opening.

The Stihl is also a pig on gas. It uses about 50% more than my Shindaiwas did. This is not a good thing with gas prices the way they are.

The Stihl does very well when it is being used to edge beds and sidewalks. The extra weight of the trimmer head assembly gives it more stability than the Shindaiwa. The lighter weight of the power head also means that my left hand, which is holding the power head 4 feet off the ground, doesn't fatigue as quickly as with the Shindaiwas.

The Stihl has major power compared to the Shindys. They are like toys compared to the Stihl. With 105 line the Stihl was burning everything clean to the ground. This irritated me and it was not my style to scalp trim. So I swapped out the 105 for my usual Echo Crossfire 080 and I can now get that "skim" trim that I like so much. I have tried 105 in my Shindaiwas and they didn't have the power to trim with it.

All in all I would now have to say that the first thing I will look at in the future will be which hand the trimmer is built to trim with. I hate to have to do this much work to a trimmer when it is brand new and it still blows hot air on my arm.

06-23-2004, 09:21 AM
I've been in this business for about a year now and,even though I have 2 nice JD trimmers,I still use Weedeater brand trimmers 90% of the time.For most basic trimming jobs(cutting around trees,along ditchbanks,etc.)I don't really need alot of power;I just want something that's lightweight and easy to handle.These Weedeater trimmers are soooooooo light and seem to hold up fine.The price,around $80,is hard to beat.The only time I use the JD trimmers is when I'm cutting heavy brush and for walkways I use stick edgers.

Rick Jones
06-23-2004, 10:38 AM
Weight is important, as well as balance. You can have two trimmers, weighing exactly the same, but one is easier to handle because the weight is distributed more evenly.

06-23-2004, 10:51 AM
For me its all of the above, but most important. LOW Vibration, I've got carpal tunnel and I HATE a trimmer that makes your hand go numb.

Acute Cut
06-24-2004, 01:56 AM
Hmmmm, interesting. Well, there are more "light trimmer" guys than i thought there would be. My trimmer is 19.8lbs (I think) and i wouldnt give it up for one instant. As a matter of fact, i have 5 trimmers in my invatory right now. All fully functional. Myself and my two employees will chose the big heavy ones every time. Why? POWER! The light ones get used if ours break or we have a newbie. I figure i'll get used to the weight. Ya, i know, i dont have a job ________hours long. Ya, i do. :D I still say power over anything else. Some other trimmers are more comfortable, but still.............. I hate getting into something with too small of equipment. If my trimmer cant handle it then i put on the blade. There is NOTHING so far it cant tackle. I even can take out 2" diameter trees with one swing with the blade on.

Very interesting post. I am surprised also that there was not ONE person who was most concerned about fuel efficiency. Maybe someone with some pull somewhere will catch this thread and get a clue!

06-24-2004, 04:32 AM
Acute Cut,

I think the reason no one mentioned fuel economy is that the trimmers are pretty much the least of our gas worries as a whole. Mowers use the majority of gas. The blowers use more than the trimmers, but still not much. What you have to worry about more than anything is the vehicle. Not to say that you shouldn't look for fuel efficiency in smaller power equipment, I'm just making a guess as to why no one picked that as the MOST important thing.

06-24-2004, 05:09 AM
well, im all about fuel effic. i figure if im going to be carrying around about 15lbs whats a couple of extra pounds. Just like anything else I will get used to it. I dont know about u guys, but my blower sucks gas like no other. One thing I have noticed is that when I first got my trimmer I would have to fuel up after about 3 yards. ( that will eat up the $$$$$) Then, Id say after a few weeks the trimmer's fuel effic went up dramatically. I can trim about 15 yards on one tank of gas. I think its finally broken in. Too bad the blower wouldnt do the same.

Rather Be Fishing
06-24-2004, 05:15 AM
Richard Martin's post was one of the better string trimmer analysis/comparison posts I've seen on this site!:cool:

I had an FS85RX that was stolen within weeks of owning it. Right handed use was dead on with Richards comments--but I loved it! I've got a ditch on my own property near a stream where people tend to litter, I cut a Budweiser bottle that was hiding in the weeds clean in half with that bad boy! (not just broken, cut. With plain ol' .095) For major brush that horsepower just can't be beat. Now don't right me off as a newbie either. I've run smaller Stihls, straight and curved shaft Echos's, McCulloch's and Deere's (when they were the same as Echo's), as well as Shindaiwa's and RedMax's. None compared with the exception of an old Deere top of the line brushcutter model. Power is fantastic but when you have more than you need stuff gets damaged.

I'm running an Echo SRM210 lo-power unit now for basic mow and trim work. I know I'll get two seasons out of it, possibly more as it's mine not a crew of monkeys who would treat it with less respect. I try really hard to take care of my equipment. For the landscape end of things, more power would be great, thus insuring yet another Stihl or hi-power unit will be in the forecast.

I'd vote power but comfort is another factor, I've never personally owned the best of both worlds, closest I came were some old McCulloch extended (looong) curved shaft units 14 years ago. On a mowing crew I can see having a pair of identical trimmers but for a solo guy who does lawn and landscape I think two trimmers suited for different situations is the best way to go. JMHO.

~comfort would have been a better voting option that earth friendly~lol

Acute Cut
06-24-2004, 11:11 AM
I was talking to one of my guys last night about this thread and he said that power is very important, but equal to that is balance. Not weight, balance. Hmmmmm. He said the stihls are a little more comfortable and better balanced than the others.

06-24-2004, 11:21 AM
i would have to say balance it could be really light but be totaly off balance and then it seems like it weights a ton why didnt you add balance to your poll

Acute Cut
06-24-2004, 11:27 AM
I didnt think of that. You cant modify them either after you do them up. I know, i tried. Sorry guys, poll sucks, but interesting none the less.. I am hoping total to get about 50-100 votes to really get a good persepective.

Rather Be Fishing
06-25-2004, 04:25 AM
Bumped because I feel this is a worthy thread. And I do agree with Acute Cut's empoyees' reference to balance. (I myself tend to equate comfort and balance as one in the same more so than overall weight):cool:

Acute Cut
06-26-2004, 06:55 PM
am going to bump this back up because it ties into some other polls i am going to post. Last bump from me guys. Thanks for everyones help so far.

06-26-2004, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by TROTTMAN
Acute Cut,

I think the reason no one mentioned fuel economy is that the trimmers are pretty much the least of our gas worries as a whole. Mowers use the majority of gas. The blowers use more than the trimmers, but still not much. What you have to worry about more than anything is the vehicle. Not to say that you shouldn't look for fuel efficiency in smaller power equipment, I'm just making a guess as to why no one picked that as the MOST important thing.

my consern with fuel is not cost
but how long will a tank last before i have to refill it... the tank on the Stihl FS 110 isn't big enuf

Acute Cut
06-27-2004, 12:31 AM
here here potchkins. How long did your tank last you? I am guessing perhaps 30-40 minutes MAX! We tried to do it by number of lawns but i am faster then my guys so the number were way off. 2 days for me, 3 lawns for my guys. Hard to say then.

Acute Cut
07-14-2004, 02:53 AM
just gonna bump it up as i am writing the article tomorrow and wanna let everyone get a chance at getting in on this. I guess it is technically called a "bump"

07-14-2004, 09:35 AM
For the last 15 yrs or so, I been using Shindaiwa t-27's almost exclusively...these things are hogs, and I have never had any serious mechanical problems with any of them. Why should I ever try something else when these things did everything I needed them to...year, after year, after year. I never lost one to mechanical problems. Tho, I have had several stolen :(

Well, one of my guys said I should try a lighter model, that these things were pretty heavy. Since he was doing most of the weed-eating, I tried to accomodate him...I got the t26.

Wow, it seemed so much lighter and maneuverable to me. I never realized how heavy the t-27 was before. The lighter model had more than enough power to do residential properties, and was so much easier to deal with. I can't beleive I hadn't tried them sooner. I'm now thinking...if I liked the weight and power of the t-26...I wonder how I'd like the t-23.

Haven't gotten a t-23 yet, not sure if I will...but, It's got me to thinkin'.

I guess it's really dependent on your application. If your doing "heavier" type of weedeating...a bigger more powerful unit may be necessary. If you doing, like me, mostly well-maintained residential properties, I don't need all that power...tho, having one for those rare occasions I might, is prolly a good idea.

So, my opinion these days on the most important aspect of line trimmers?

The best power to weight ratio needed for a particular application.

Now, all's I need is a mathematical formula to figure it out :)