Best Kombi/PAS System for One Man Band with budget for 1 Motorhead?

Mannys_Lawn

LawnSite Member
TL;DR
better to go light and nimble, or high power with extra heavy motorhead?

I'm looking to get a Stihl Kombi, Echo PAS, or similar attachment system. I need help deciding which brand and model to get. Echo and Stihl are both easy to get in my area, but I'm willing to consider others.

I'm planning to use it with the articulating hedge trimmer a lot of the time, but could also imagine using it with all the other attachments. I like the ergonomics of an extended reach hedger over the traditional hand-held type. Great for cutting out blackberries, trimming shorter hedges without bending over, and trimming small trees without a ladder. Kombi type system seems great, since it accommodates this shape with a hedger, and easily swaps to other tools. As a one man operation, Kombi/PAS makes sense for the cost savings and reduced engine maintenance.

I'm leaning towards the Stihl KM 131 R, but have been second guessing it because of the weight. The KM 94 R is much lighter, but upgrade to the 131 R is only $60 more. I'm looking to use it to cut back super thick and overgrown hedges (swapping out to the pole saw when needed), and to do medium/light maintenance on boxwoods and shrubs. I know this really calls for 2 different hedge trimmers, but I'd like to make my dollar stretch as far as it can within reason. Lawn and landscape is more of a part time gig/hobby for me, but I do enough of it that an upgrade over the electric hedger is worth while, especially with the expandability of Kombi/PAS.

I like the idea of the 131 R because it's got the power to use the power sweep even for dethatching, super overgrown edging, etc. all for just a small price bump from the 94 R or the Echo PAS-2620. However, the 94 R makes much more sense when using it for medium/light hedge trimming, bi-weekly edge maintenance, etc. due to the weight (I hefted both units at the dealer and was astonished with what 1lb feels like on the end of a pole). I feel like the work I do is split pretty evenly between heavy shrub reduction and lightweight shrub trimming.

I hear 2 stroke engines like to be run at full throttle. I don't think it would be a huge issue since my uses are split between heavy and light, but it's worth considering that getting a 131 R and only using it at half throttle wouldn't be the best.

One last consideration:
I hear newer model Stihl equipment is a pain to work on because of the complex chokes that automatically turn back to the run position when you pull the throttle. I like to do my own maintenance, so ease of maintenance matters some. How do these 4 mix engines do? Do folks like them? Hopefully using fresh gas with Sta-Bil will minimize maintenance. Are there any older Kombi heads that are half way between the 94 R and 131 R in terms of both power and weight?

Hopefully going through this thought process will help some folks in a similar situation to me. Any further thoughts or things to consider from people who have hands on experience with, ideally both, these products would be appreciated. Thanks much!
 

Bfish

LawnSite Member
Location
cleveland tn
My old Echo 210sb made me lots of money with the articulating trimmer. After 5 or so years I moved up to the 225 head, it has plenty of power for what I do with the articulating trimmer and polesaw attachments. I have used the 2620 and it is another improvement, but it will be 2 or 3 years before I wear out my current head.
 

stihlfan05

LawnSite Bronze Member
For all in one, the KM131R is the best if you wanna go Stihl. If you want Husqvarna, the 535LK is the ticket
 

Fatwood

LawnSite Senior Member
Maruyama, in my opinion, makes the best Combi system right now. If you have a dealer available in your area check it out. Their 30cc powerhead has plenty of power for just about everything. The attachments also lock into place and release very smoothly. The only downside is it is not cheap.
https://maruyama-us.com/product/m30qc/
 

Integrity-LC

LawnSite Member
Location
West Michigan
For heavy trimming the 131 all day, that 94 is a turd in comparison. The 94 isn't the greatest with the pole saw either but will run the hedge trimmer ok. For the sweeper, bed redefiner or other power hungry attachments I wouldn't get any lesser powerhead than the 131. Ive been actually kicking around the idea of selling my KM94 for a dedicated lightweight trimmer, I havent been all that impressed with the 94.
 

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