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KAWASAKI KBL26A (or 27A) vs. KBL34A Trimmers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by adaboy, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. adaboy

    adaboy LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 5

    Hello all, I've been researching string trimmers for the past few weeks looking for the lightest, most powerful for weight, dependable, quiet, string trimmer on the market (price is secondary). Kawasakis are balanced, well made, fairly quiet for a trimmer (90-93dB depending on model), and seem to be slightly lighter than most other trimmers size for size. Other than the KBL34A, most Kawis are between 9.3-10.8 lbs & have 1.3-1.6hp. Plus, I never had a single problem with my 15 year old TMC/Kawi 33cc (used in weed abatement business/home use), so I think I've narrowed it down again to Kawi, only this time I want a full "Kawasaki".

    I've tested Stihl, Honda, Shindiawa, and TMC (which are all very good) and I had originally thought I wanted a Stihl or Honda. Stihl seemed louder/maybe harder to start, and Honda is a little heavy. But if you know of another unit that clearly outperforms Kawasaki in power/weight/reliability/noise/parts availability, I'd love to hear about it.

    I'm familiar with the power of the TMC/Kawi 33cc which is quite adequate but not overwhelming for tall/thick weed abatement/light brush. I'm not sure how much power the Kawi KBL26A has, but I've read that it's pretty strong.

    MAIN QUESTION: If I'm using this trimmer 70% for edging a small yard and 30% for heavier chores like weed abatement and edging ivy (I'll rarely need a blade), will the KBL26A handle it when used for the 30% heavier stuff? Or should I get the 5 lb heavier, 3dB louder (insignificant?) KBL34A which is still pretty light. The extra power is really nice when you need it, but it would be nice if I could get by with the KBL26A which weighs only 9.9 lbs.

    QUESTION: I get the impression the smaller loop handle is liked better than the large loop handle on the Kawis? Any advantages for the large loop?

    QUESTION: Is the new Kawi TJ27 (26.3cc/1.6hp) motor with it's "heavy duty crankshaft with roller bearings and chrome cylinder" significantly better than the proven TH26 (25.4cc/1.5hp) motor (other than a little more power)? Maybe that' a question I should ask Kawasaki. Should I consider the KBL27A instead of the 26A? Heck, I'd pick one up at a dealer outside California and bring it back if I it was that much better. Probably not worth the trouble though.

    Thanks in advance for any input!!
  2. JTF40

    JTF40 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    I could be wrong, but I think the KBL26A has been discontinued (or it is made just for California sales). With that being said, I really enjoy my KGT27A. It is lightweight, very powerful, comfortable, and reasonably priced. I bought mine of Ebay for $239.00 plus shipping. :usflag:
  3. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    I liked what I heard about Kawasaki trimmers too, then I bought a new kbl27a earlier this year and it had a problem where it would stall off idle. It would idle well and trim WOT great, but if you tried to hold it at low rmp, like around delicate things like tree trunks, etc., it would stall and shut off. I took it in to be repaired and was told there was nothing wrong with it, and after raising hell I ended up getting a refund because they said it was not fixable, that was just "how it is". Unacceptable performance if you ask me. From what I understand this is a common characteristic of some of the Kawi trimmers. I went with a Stihl KM110 instead and what a difference. Slightly heavier, but starts easy and has plenty of power for the heavy growth and it's quick and easy to switch attatchments. It's made me a lot of money this year, I should have bought that to begin with. Better dealer support from stihl here too.
  4. ed2150

    ed2150 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    Kawasaki has streamlined their trimmer models, the KBL26A and KBL34A are both discontinued now. They're both excellent trimmers, if you can find leftover stock somewhere at a good price you can't go wrong.

    I have 2 KGT27A trimmers and I'm very happy with them....LawnBrother had a bad dealer experience, his problem was not "how they are". With today's non-adjustable carbs, it probably would have taken a new carb or even replacement trimmer to solve his problem and it sound like his dealer was pretty indifferent to helping him.

    Mine 27's start good and run strong, as do my KBL26A and KBL23A. You'd need the KGT27A for blade use in the current models.
  5. 128Steve

    128Steve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I have models you are interested in purchasing. Either model would work and are outstanding units. The only knock on the 34A is the power. Good but not great. Yet, I have found it can go full throttle all day in heavy growth and never complain. I agree with your assessment on the 26A being far lighter with not much less power.

    Good luck.
  6. adaboy

    adaboy LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 5

    The new TJ27 engine on the 27A models has 1.6hp vs 1.7hp on the KBL34, so other than possibly a little more torque on the 34, sounds like the KBL/KGT27A models might be the way to go?
    You guys that use the Kawi 26 and 27 series engines - do you think you'd be happy using them for an occasional all day job of clearing heavy growth?
  7. ed2150

    ed2150 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    I use my KGT27As not only for trimming grass, I have the articulated hedge trimmer head, the twin turbo head (the thing that looks like a round hedge clipper), and 2 brush blades and I'm very pleased with the power of the units.

    For occasional brush clearing I think you'd be quite happy with the 27A. The KBL27A comes with a barrier bar handle and the blade mounting kit, which is what you'd need. Mine are KGT's but I put the big loop handles on them because I like them better; they function as a barrier bar for safety and I already had the blade mounting hardware with my KBL26A (which I traded in on one of the KGT27's.

    Other than the barrier bar and the blade hardware, the KGT27 and KBL27 are identical.

    REALSLOW LawnSite Senior Member
    from FLORIDA
    Messages: 668

    I bought a new KBL 34 and it was the smoothest trimmer I have used but the power for a 34cc trimmer was not good. The T 350 SHIN I use just stomp'em in power but are heavy.
  9. rider

    rider LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 152

    Get the kgt 27a. it has a sold shaft versus flex on the ktr, lifetime warranty on the sold shaft. plus you can add options like a trimmer or solid blade. non adjustable carbs are great if you have employees that think they know how to "wrench" for more power, which always screws up my two-cycle equip.
  10. adaboy

    adaboy LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 5

    Sounds like the Kawasaki KGT/KBL27A have about the most power for minimal weight. So, if the Kawi KBL34A isn't that powerful for the weight for a larger machine, and the Shindiawa is heavy, what is the sweet setup for a medium- large machine? The Stihl 250 is one of the best power/weight ratios @ 13lbs/2.15hp or the 350 @15.4lbs/2.15hp. I hear the Stihls have more vibration than the Kawis though. The guy at Kawisaki Tech Support told me today that he didn't know if they were coming out with a newer version of the KBL34 anytime soon, but I'll bet the new version will have a great power/weight ratio!

    I'll probably be ordering the KGT27A or KBL27A. But if I found a Trimmer in the 30-40cc range that weighed 2-4lbs more, (with 2hp+) that had a similar power/weight ratio as the KGT27A, and was as smooth, I'd be tempted to get it for the extra power. Probably don't really need it though.

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