Field-to-Forum Product Reviews

Discussion in 'Tanaka' started by Tanaka, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    Wow! That's great!

    Who is your dealer?

  2. johnap104

    johnap104 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    Dan and Jeffs Repair. 405 South 1st. St, Caledoinia, MN 55921
  3. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    Hello, my name is Ron Lavigne. I'm the owner of Ron's Lawncare in Southern Maine. Recently, I had the opportunity to field test a Tanaka THB-2510 hand held blower. I used this blower for about 3 weeks. The test time included the tail-end of my mowing season and continued into fall cleanups. I was pleasantly surprised with the performances of this unit. It worked extremely well for blowing driveways and cleaning out mulch beds.

    1. Weight: 10
    The unit has a great power to weight ratio. It is lighter than other less powerful hand-held I own.

    2. Balance: 9
    I found the balance to be good, and it was really comfortable to use.

    3. Power: 8
    Great power for a hand held unit.

    4. Fuel efficiency: 7
    Very fuel efficient, also it has a large fuel tank. The only problem I found is the size and angle of the filler neck. With the new gas cans, it's hard to fill without spilling fuel.

    5. Ease of starting: 10
    This is possibly the best starting 2 stroke engine I've ever had. During some of the cleanups it was cold in the morning. It started on the first or second pull every time. Once started it was ready to use. I didn't have to fiddle with the choke to keep it running.

    6. Ease of use: 5
    I did have some issues with accessibility to the primer bulb. It's a little tight to get your finger in there. This unit really needs a throttle lock so you don't have to hold the trigger all the time.

    7. Noise level: 9
    Nice and quiet.

    8. Overall reliability: 6
    Although I didn't have a major issue, I think the plastic is on the brittle side. I did knock it off the fender of my trailer (about 3' high) and the air filter housing cracked. Also the blower tubes fit together kind of sloppy and they are made of a thinner plastic than I'm used to.

    Overall, the THB 2510 is a good blower. There are some unique features on this unit. I personally like the length of the blower tubes, the overall quiet operation, and the ability of the machine to start in run on the coldest of days.

    The Tanaka unit feels so natural. The fan tip seems to blow the leaves out of the beds without displacing the mulch.

    The THV-200 vacuum attachment was also included in the field test. It works as effectively as any other portable vacuum. It was durable and reduced leaf volume fairly The only drawback with the kit, was the complexity of converting from blower to vacuum requiring the use of tools. Also, the fact that it lacked a trigger lock made it cumbersome to operate.

    In conclusion, the blower did such a good job separating leaves form the mulch that the vacuum kit didn't get much use. I wish there was a dealer network in the northeast, because if there was I would be a proud owner of the Tanaka THB 2510 blower.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to test your product, and help make my job easier.
    Ron E. Lavigne
  4. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    NEW! TBC-280 Grass Trimmer / Brush Cutter (Available Feb. 2007)
    27 cc, 1.4 h.p. Tanaka 2-stroke
    12.2 lbs.
    5" Tap head
    1 yr commercial warranty

    Hello my name is PJ Binder and I run PJ BINDER Landscaping Contractor LLC. in southeast Pennsylvania. I have been in the lawn care business for over 15 years and I do full service landscape maintenance.

    I ran the trimmer in residential lawns doing normal trimming with a maintenance crew for over a month in hot 90 degree plus weather and in cold 32 degree weather at my own home with flawless performance. I also did some heavier weed clearing with great results.

    Rate the following on a scale of 1-10 (10 =outstanding 1=poorest)

    1. Weight - 10
    Was nice and light - easy to run all day.

    2. Balance - 10
    Well-balanced. I like the hoop handle - it made edging a snap.

    3. Power - 10
    Nice power band throughout, however it seemed to vibrate at mid throttle some?

    4. Fuel efficiency – 10
    It would run for a long time with the big tank.

    5. Ease of starting - 10
    Fired right up out of the box and keep starting on the first or second pull even when cold.

    6. Ease of use - 8
    It was easy to show someone how to start it. The starter cord is a little short and the trimmer head is hard to open.

    7. Noise level - 9
    It was nice and quiet for a 2 stroke machine. I liked the easy access to the spark arrester screen - easy to service, good job on that.

    8. Accuracy of cut - 10
    I liked the quality of cut I could get at half throttle and full also. And in the tall wet grass it would leave a nice finished cut on the first pass.

    9. Safety features - 10
    I liked the trimmer guard a lot. I could leave it on and still trim around rocks and poles with ease. The muffler guard is nice, however it was slightly broken in shipping so I wonder how long it would last with a maintenance crew not caring how they smash it up. I also like the lack of the extra operator presence control that Echo has added to their trimmers on the handle.

    10. Overall reliability - 10
    It never let us down, however I would like to see how it holds up after a year of hard use.

    11. Manual instructions - 10
    They get to the point and I see it is in many languages for all to use.

    The field test is nice, but it is only used for a short amount of time. How are the machines doing after a year of hard use with a maintenance crew? At first I hated the head, (reminded me of the green machine heads I used when I started) being that I was used to the Echo head I had been using for 15 years. I hated the spring and dropped it a bunch of times, but I have gotten the hang of it and it’s ok. It is hard to open to refill.

    I like the warm up button on the throttle - it’s nice on the cold mornings. It gets bumped on against my leg. Don’t like that. Button on the other side of trigger would fix that.

    The trimmer guard is a real winner. I take them all off the Echo’s, but with the Tanaka guard, I can still trim around rocks and tight spots and have the knife to keep the string cut to length. (Which is nice when a new guy is learning how to trim). I never got any complaints about it.

    The starter rope is a little short - I pull it to the end on most starts and I have short arms. The power seems to be plenty and it’s nice and light. I also like that the spark arrester screen is easy to get to and clean when needed. I hate the air filter or should I say lack of one. (Moderator Note: Echo uses a paper style air filter. Tanaka and others use a foam type filter).

    I also don’t like the fact you can’t adjust the carburetor. On the Echo’s the Welch plugs can be removed and you can tune the machine to weather conditions and wear so I don’t have to pay the dealer for a service call at 65 bucks an hour to turn a screw. That is the biggest reason that I have not switched to another brand is the fact you can’t adjust the carburetor. Your machine may be different in the long run but I see no adjustment and that worries me. (Moderator Note: Due to E.P.A. emissions regulations, carburetors have not been adjustable since 1997).

    I showed your machine to some of my friends in the lawn care industry all of which run Echo and they all liked your machine however some of them have never heard of Tanaka and even asked me if it was some kind of new company. I have heard of your company in the past due to your Edger but have never really given your trimmers a second thought due to lack of marketing or dealers in my area.

    I did do a dealer search in my area and found RJ Power and I see suburban in Delaware also sells your machines. I never took notice to your trimmers when I was in their store as they push Echo as do most other dealers I have gone into. I spoke with other contractors in my area and we all buy the same manufacturer of machines - Echo. From saws for the tree crew and trimmers and blowers they all use Echo. I also always buy Echo for over 15 years it’s always been Echo. I really like your trimmer and I see you have many attachments for your split shaft trimmers which compare to the Echo system I have. Your saw lineup is lacking but I see you have a nice looking climbing saw the TCS-3401 and your back pack blowers doesn’t even come close to what the echo’s put out at least form the info printed in there and your brochures real world might be different (Moderator Note: Compare at pipe – not housing).

    I have been using hand held power equipment since before it came with any kind of safety equipment like the best thing ever invented the chain brake. And I have seen all the equipment get better and better over the years from ease of use to better noise and air cleanliness ratings however with the cost of some of the new machines out there it is hard to make a choice solely on the look and color of a new machine.

    When it comes to buying a new string trimmer for a crew to use it comes down to the cost period, how much will it cost to for a trimmer in the 25cc range because the trimmer only has a life expectancy of a year. The crews smash the heck out of them with the constant in and out of the trimmer racks and being dropped on the ground I know the Echo’s we have been using just don’t hold up so I don’t like spending to much money on a trimmer with such a short life span. That is why I jumped on this field test to see how your machine would do. The main thing I am seeing it is often cheaper sometimes to scrap a machine at least with the Echo’s rather then fix it due to the high cost of parts and labor at the local dealers.

    It was a pleasure to run your TBC-280 and a pleasure to deal with Mark Woodling and I would recommend this trimmer to anyone in my industry. I hope to get the chance to see your other equipment in action in the future.

    Thank you,
    PJ Binder

  5. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    My name is Ryan Randall. I own Accu-cut Lawn Care in Chattanooga, TN. My company operates within two states and seven counties. We service customers ranging from fast food chains, municipal parks, baseball and multi-use complexes, to residential properties. I have been in business for eight years.

    Being 6' 3" tall, I was very happy to demo Tanaka's TBC-260PFL extended reach trimmer. Having miles of fence line and ditches to maintain weekly, I found myself having a sore back pretty much all of last year...Not to mention the seven miles of guardrail that my company trims monthly during the cutting season!

    The problem was that the short shafts on my Shindaiwa 270 trimmers did not allow me to get into a comfortable position while I was working for extended periods of time. That's where the TBC-260PFL comes into its own.

    The 71" shaft allows taller people to be in the perfect trimming position: Back straight, left arm pointing down at 45 degrees, right arm comfortable. I was able to trim the fence lines of eight baseball fields inside-and-out without any difficulty or the usual lower back stiffness. The trimmer's extra length was also very good for keeping the operator clean.

    One super-nice feature of this machine was its ditch and hillside trimming ability. I maintain one park that has a three-to-six foot ditch that is one mile long. I did half of it with the 260PFL...piece of cake. The other half was done with a Shindaiwa 270. Wow, I wanted to put that Shindy back on the rack after about 1 minute!

    I think that Tanaka's entry will benefit short and tall people alike for this kind of duty! The 25 cc PureFire engine performed flawlessly during my 30 hours of demonstration.

    Operators can expect about two hours of use on a tank of gas. The engine stayed nice and cool which was good because the design of the machine puts the operator's right forearm on top of the engine cover in some situations.

    Starting the machine was easy and predictable. Cold, two pulls and you are off to the races. The only downside to this machine I could find was the balance point. The extended length of the shaft brings the center of gravity to the loop handle. I think it would be a little better to operate if the cg was closer to the throttle.

    But that is just user preference. All-in-all, I think the Tanaka TBC-260PFL is a great machine that would benefit ANY operator. I plan on buying a couple of them!

    Tanaka 005.jpg
  6. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    1. Briefly introduce yourself and your company.

    My Name is David Precht & I’m the owner of Frontier Lawn & Landscape, we’re located in Venice, FL. Our company services Florida residential & commercial properties from Nokomis to Rotonda. My company was formed in late 2003, and it has been busier each year since. We now provide a wide range of services to our customers including lawn care, hedge trimming, fertilizing, pressure washing, and we sub-out pest control.

    2. Describe the test environments and the number of hours you used the product in each environment.

    We tested the Tanaka HTD-2530PF hedge trimmer which features 30” double-sided, dual reciprocating blades. We used the HTD-2530PF on various residential & commercial properties in different beds and hedges. In two weeks, we have used it a total of 15 hours (Residential properties 6 hours & commercial properties 9 hours).

    3. Rate the following on a scale of 1-10, (10 = Outstanding, 1 = poorest):

    Weight - 9
    Balance - 9
    Power - 10
    Fuel efficiency - 9
    Ease of starting - 9
    Ease of use - 10
    Noise level - 10
    Accuracy of cut - 10
    Safety features - 10
    Overall reliability - 10
    Manual / instructions - 4

    4. Compare the unit against other brands you have used.

    We currently use the Echo HC-160. The Tanaka is easier to start cold, and to restart hot. It is a very smooth pull, with less effort required than on the Echo.

    The Tanaka beat the Echo hands down, but the Tanaka (11.2 oz) has slightly less fuel capacity than the Echo (16.9 oz). The Tanaka is a nice design overall, but it could use a larger fuel tank so that you can work more with less fuel fill-ups. It otherwise performed flawlessly.

    The balance was about as good as could be expected for 30” blades. The fuel efficiency was good, for the fuel tank capacity of 11.2 oz. I would also like to see a clearer fuel tank, it is very difficult to see the level of fuel in the tank (Note: All Tanaka fuel tanks are now see-through).

    5. Provide summary and recommendation information.

    This is definitely a great hedge trimmer. Its longer length is for everyone who needs to get the job done faster with fewer hours on the job. The longer length was no problem while transporting, and fit securely on existing racks. The longer length gets the job down a little faster then with a 24” blade.

    There is plenty of power for normal everyday growth, and even enough grunt for overgrowth and mini-trees. The manual is overburdened with different languages all printed side by side. It really needs to be separated into different sections, one for each language. A lot of time is lost searching for ‘your’ language. (Note: This problem has been corrected).

    Overall this is a great trimmer, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who needs a larger hedge trimmer.

    6. Other comments

    I would buy 3-4 of these if I had the need for more then 1 hedge trimmer. When I tried looking for a new hedge trimmer for a future purchase to freshen up my equipment I came across Tanaka’s post for field testing the HTD-2530PF. No other local dealer would let any type of handheld equipment out for field testing. The speed at which Tanaka developed a workable solution to my problem was amazing. My helper and I are truly thankful for the team over at Tanaka that made this happen as fast as it did.

    Treating potential customers like this goes towards great customer satisfaction, and surely will earn them repeat business.

    Thanks of the Field Test,
    Frontier Lawn & Landscape
    David Precht- Owner

  7. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    By Kate Butler
    Labour of Love Landscaping
    Glover, Vermont

    Wowie-zowie, this is one ZIPPY piece of equipment!! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. First the intro …..
    I’m a small (5 person) design/build/maintain firm specializing in perennial plantings. We do it all, including stone work and other sorts of terraforming, but perennials are my first love. Being Zone 3A in Northeastern Vermont (we call it the Northeast Kingdom) means that it’s possible have snow and/or frozen ground anytime from late September to late April. Generally, we begin client work in mid-May and wrap up for the season by mid-November. It makes for an intense plus or minus 6 months and, after 20 plus years if it, one learns to REALLY appreciate those tools and techniques that allow work to be accomplished more quickly and efficiently.

    To that end I was very much looking forward to giving the Tanaka TED-262DH dual handle bulb planter a ‘test drive’. Now it’s time: wowie-zowie, this is one ZIPPY piece of equipment. I’ve got to tell you – I could not believe how quick this machine is. I’ve used drill-type planters with a HD ½” drill. Worked just fine, but dragging that 100’ cord around (to say nothing of the voltage drop) just wasn’t all that fast. The same planting using the Tanaka 262-DH took (literally) ½ the time. The comparison was 1 bushel of daffodils planted with an electric drill and another bushel of daffs planted with the Tanaka-262. The remaining bushels were planted with the Tanaka. It was a no-brainer.

    Then I tried digging in some really difficult soils – stony, clay, compacted road gravel. We have lots of underground stone in this part of the country; ranging from pebbles to boulders. There are also areas of pure clay that are incredibly dense. Shovel digging is (putting it in clean language) challenging. This unit powered through everything I tried it on. Occasionally there were problems backing it out (sometimes the auger would hang up on a large root). I never could locate the locking switch that (when engaged) was supposed to make it possible to “unwind” the unit out of any hole. Wherever that switch is, it needs to be better marked on the machine. The instruction manual clearly shows it, but I couldn’t find it. I would be willing to pay extra for ‘reverse’ rather than spending time manually backing out of a hole. (Moderator’s Note: The DH drill does not have a reversing lever. Only the TED-262R does.)

    While considering soil types, we did a lot of dividing and lining out of daylilies hemerocallis) in the most dreadful of clay. This ‘soil’ is the sort that a person could throw pots from. The digging is hard work and breaking up of the clods to backfill any planting is equally hard work. Spell that s – l – o - w. We used the bulb planter to first dig the hole straight down, then, with a bit of side-to-side action, enlarged the hole enough to accommodate what would normally go into a 7” diameter pot (nursery 400). Backfilling was a breezed because the auger brought up small clumps of clay instead of the clipboard-sized clumps dug with a shovel.

    Every 10 holes took less than a minute to dig and approximately 4 minutes to divide and plant. We were doing this with 4 people: one to dig the ‘parent’ clump, one to divide that clump, one to dig the holes, and one to plant ‘em. 10 plants in the ground in less than 5 minutes from a single HUGE clump is plenty fast work. We lined out over 1000 daylilies in this fashion. My daylily field has never looked so good.

    The machine is very well-balanced and, because of this, really easy to start. A quick couple of pushes on the primer bulb, choke open, and it started EVERY time on the first or second pull. Because of its clutch it can be started standing up and in place – wherever you want to use it. The auger won’t begin to turn until the trigger is engaged - no bending, no drop starting. Yes-ssss!!!

    I found the choke lever to be inconvenient – it’s in an easy-to-see spot, but (more than once – I know, my bad) I managed to snag my thumb on it when pulling the starter cord. Repositioning it ¼ turn to the right on the housing would make this a non-issue.

    While on he subject of ergonomics, I would like to say that, for me (personally) the handles were well-proportioned. I think that someone with larger hands might not agree – particularly while wearing gloves. And gloves are a necessity – forget all the PC about PPE – one NEEDS gloves to keep knuckles unscorched.

    The biggest problem that I had was not being able to keep the auger tight enough in the chuck. I would’ve preferred a chuck key with more leveraging ability. My hands are plenty strong, but I had problems tightening the chuck key enough to keep the auger from pulling out (in a hole) or falling out (between holes).

    For me, the most useful auger size was the 3” x 24”. I can see where the available shorter augers could be especially useful for plantings in terraced areas where you would stand on a lower level to dig and plant the level above. The shorter ones could also be useful to be able to dig to specific depths. Taller folks might prefer an even longer shaft to keep from doing so much bending.

    I can see this rig being amazingly useful to plant young trees (grown in those tubular bags). I was also able to plant much larger stock by digging 3 or 4 contiguous holes a bit deeper than necessary. Even with digging multiple holes, it was still faster than shovel planting – particularly in the clay. OK, it weighs more than a shovel, but it’s actually easier to use in many instances. Especially in soils where the shovel-dug earth comes out in huge clumps, the smaller pieces dug by the 262-DH cut backfilling time by more than half.

    I really liked this unit: it’s useful for so much more than just bulbs. I planted a few thousand bulbs with it, a thousand 4”- 6” hemerocallis, and an assortment of other, larger stock. It was up to every task I set it to. Bravo, Tanaka, you have a keeper.

    Thanks Kate - Nice Job!

  8. OP

    Tanaka Inactive
    Messages: 1,084

    Wow! We just hit 20,000 views for the Field-to-Forum Reviews. Thanks to all the reviewers who took the time to write such thorough and honest reviews.

    Let me know how we can improve these field tests and/or what products you would like to see reviewed next.

  9. TwoAlaskans

    TwoAlaskans LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thank you for providing this review info. It was helpful. We have a larger Stihl trimmer and are now in the market for a lighter weight trimmer that is easy to start. What's your best recommendation considering these features? I had first become interested in your products after reading the reviews on for your TBC-225 which were overwhelming positive (unusual for this type of equipment as it seems everyone has something to complain about).

    Also, we live in Montague, CA which is just below the Oregon border. Where would our nearest dealer be?

  10. MarthaT

    MarthaT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I have learned so much because of the reviews, thanks!

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