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  #1  
Old 09-22-2010, 11:02 AM
Leander311 Leander311 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW, Texas
Posts: 7
Tanaka, RedMax, or Echo?? Feedback by EOB 9/22 pls!

Greetings All!

First time poster here, but with my career possibly involving work with a large college grounds department, I'm glad to have found a great place for professional advice.

I also used to run a modest lawn business in my teens and among my arsenal was a small Craftsman trimmer, purchased in '95 and worked flawlessly 3-5x a week until it finally died after its 12th birthday (amazing luck the more I read). Hated the Ryobi that replaced it - heavy, very loud, cumbersome, and unreliable.

To the point. I just bought a new house in DFW area, and desparate to save cash while during closing, reluctantly picked up a Bolens on special for $50 at Lowe's. It lasted ten whole uses, so it's time to invest in something worthwhile.

My criteria are:

- Lightweight, I will probably edge with this more than trim.
- Quieter than the Ryobi (deafening when I would attempt to edge).
- Reliable w/local warranty service available.
- Well under $250
- No "string sticks" string systems.

As a satisfied past customer of Wise Sales, I've narrowed it down to the following models from their website:

Echo SRM-225, $219 shipped - I realize I can get locally from HD but figuring tax, price is a little better at Wise and I can get warranty service just about anywhere. This unit appears to be on the heavier side (esp for its power), but I appreciate the vast commercial following of Echo and really like how simple the U-turn string re-loading appears to be, but also the only one to have an "inferior" spring/flex shaft.

RedMax BC280, $209 shipped - By far the largest engine of the group, lightweight for its power, solid steel shaft, and very loyal following among the professionals. Negatives are "only" a 2-yr consumer warranty, possibly indicating a lower-grade non-commercial engine, and not sure about the ease of string loading.

Tanaka TCG22EASSLP, $209 shipped - Just stumbled upon this unit this morning. By far the lightest of the group, decent power, solid steel shaft, and outstanding price of $169 after $40 rebate. On the other side, haven't read anything about this brand on the "pro" forums... Is it new to the states? Warranty service?

I'm leaning towards the Tanaka (price) and possibly Redmax. Would help if I could find more pro feedback on Tanaka.

Thanks in advanced!!!
Nick
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2010, 08:15 PM
dboyd351 dboyd351 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Cape Charles, VA
Posts: 827
Tanaka trimmer

I just bought a Tanaka TCG22EASSLP. I was impressed by the 7 year homeowners warrenty, the excellent reviews it got on Amazon and on Lawnsite, the light weight. Thr price of $189 on amaxon, plus the $40 rebate didn't hurt any either.
It is very light, well balenced and has enough power for most tasks, although I wouldn't say it is extremely powerful.
Another huge advantage is the ease of starting. A previous trimmer I owned had 3 different choke settings, you had to prime the bulb 10 times, hold on the trigger, change the choke. etc. And it still wouldn't start well. On the Tanaka, you prime it a couple of times, pull it once or twice until it fires, then take off the choke and pull it once more and it is running smoothly.

Now for the disadvantages: There are no dealers most places - so is the touted 7 year warrenty really any good? The manual and assembly instructions are terrible. Fortuneately, the assembly is minimal and pretty easy to figure out.

So, in essence, I decided to buy it based on reviews and reputation and hope it really continues to run well without needing a dealer. I figure if it breaks and I need a dealer, I'm screwed. But since it costs little more than the Big Box specials and it has such a great rep/reviews, I'll take that chance.

If I had to pick between the others, I'd go with RedMax, based on what I've heard of their reliability.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2010, 09:43 PM
Leander311 Leander311 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW, Texas
Posts: 7
Hey DBoyd, thanks for the input...

Truth is, after several hours passed and I didn't hear anything, I did a bit more digging myself and found quite a bit to read about on the Tanaka forums. And funny you mention, I then found the incredible Amazon pricing as you did and couldn't pass it up. Any of the other choices would have cost $60-80 more, and that's discounting the real expensive options like Stihl and Shin (why I never considered them in the first place). $149 after rebate really impressed me for light commercial quality. Tanaka's site shows I have several reputable shops in my area for service, so the warranty should be legit for me at least. And as you said, with the minimal assembly, the awful instructions shouldn't be a concern.

If all goes well, hopefully I'll have a short review to give by the end of the weekend. Thanks again!
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2010, 09:58 PM
dboyd351 dboyd351 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Cape Charles, VA
Posts: 827
Sounds great! I had never heard of Tanaka until researching this, but they sure get great reviews. you do know they are part of Hitachi and the Tanaka trimmer you are talking about is identical to one ot the Hitachis, right? You can read reviews for both on Amazon.com.
Anyway, I think if you have good dealers there, that should take care of my only real concern.
Hope it works out well for you.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2010, 09:31 AM
Leander311 Leander311 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW, Texas
Posts: 7
Yes I noticed Tanaka was recently bought by Hitachi with that unit being an extra $10 although it appears to be identical. Just picked up a Hitachi 12" miter saw and free 18ga brad nailer combo on special at H-D this week, could have had a Hitachi trio had I bought the green trimmer!

Also the Tanaka dropped $5 in price immediately after I bought it, not sure why...
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2010, 12:19 PM
eatonpcat eatonpcat is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: columba station, ohio
Posts: 1,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leander311 View Post
Yes I noticed Tanaka was recently bought by Hitachi with that unit being an extra $10 although it appears to be identical. Just picked up a Hitachi 12" miter saw and free 18ga brad nailer combo on special at H-D this week, could have had a Hitachi trio had I bought the green trimmer!

Also the Tanaka dropped $5 in price immediately after I bought it, not sure why...

Off topic...But that sounds like a wierd combo, Free brad nailer with purchase of a miter saw!!
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2010, 02:14 PM
Leander311 Leander311 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: DFW, Texas
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatonpcat View Post
Off topic...But that sounds like a wierd combo, Free brad nailer with purchase of a miter saw!!
...Weird unless you had just happened to buy 700sf of wood flooring the day before to install in your house! Already had a compressor from my old roommate after he upgraded to a huge 100gal/10hp for his garage workshop, so this combo was EXACTLY what I needed. But I mis-spoke, it's from Lowes.
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