Stihl Commercial products overkill for homeowner?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by ensign, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. ensign

    ensign LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I've got just under 3 acres and am looking to get a new trimmer for residential use. I've been looking at either the dedicated trimmers or kombi units from Stihl. I was thinking about either the 90, 110, or 130 units, but am wondering if those might be overkill and a waste of extra money. I definitely plan on getting a hedge trimmer attachment for whichever one I get, and might be interested in some other attachments at some point in the future. I want something that's going to last and can do the job well, but I don't want to go overboard either.

    Thanks for your advice.
  2. doug1980

    doug1980 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    No such thing as overkill....just a more efficient way of doing things. :) But seriously you can't go wrong with commercial grade stuff. I only have residential stuff now but will be upgrading soon.
  3. mowerdude777

    mowerdude777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,735

    I personaly would recomend Red Max compared to sthil, but both are great brands
  4. jkingrph

    jkingrph LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    Your property is almost twice as large as mine. Over the last 15-18 years I have converted to all commercial equipment and would recommend that you do so. It simply holds up better, gives fewer problems and frustrations. I have all Stihl in handheld including a hand held blower that's over 20 years old plus a chain saw and a mid sized handlebar type trimmer. I also have a Kombi unit that's 7-8 years old. I generally leave it set up with a stick edger attachment, but have a pole prunner chain saw attachment, a angle adjustable hedge trimmer. The adjustable angle is very handy you can even use it as a scythe if necessary, and finally a string trimmer attachment, The dealer had me buy it as a split shaft trimmer to save a bit . I have a new 600 series backblower, 4 mix and when moving leaves or just cleaning up it is awesome, with power and time saved
  5. WH401

    WH401 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 572

    Really it doesn't matter whether you have 1 acre or 50, commercial equipment is the only way to go IMO. Like it has been said, it's going to last longer, give you fewer problems and headaches, and will usually get the work done faster or easier. I have slowly been converting all my equipment over to commercial grade stuff over the past few years. Last fall I bought a Stihl BR600 to replace an older model Green Machine backpack blower. I use the 600 for leaf removal on my entire 11 acres. That thing is insane with the amount of air it moves. It'll make short work of any and all leaves without a problem. This spring was the first year since I have lived here that there we no leaves covering the grass, and I'm surrounded by trees. It was definitely worth the $520.

    Just yesterday I replaced an older junk Montgomery Wards push mower, the handle snapped in two at the base while I was using it yesterday morning, with a new Honda HRS216. It's the side discharge model, as I didn't want a bagger at all because it's main use is trimming around obstacles before I take the finisher mower out for the big stuff. It's also the self propelled version, and while I hadn't planned on purchasing that version, I ended up with it. It's very hard to find a regular old push mower these days unless you go to a box store and buy a cheap one, but I refuse to do that. I don't use the self propel feature anyway so it's not really a big deal, and it's still lighter than what it replaced. Some may say that that particular Honda model isn't a commercial mower, but the quality of it is commercial compared to similar brands of that design. It was definitely worth the $400 I spent on it.

    I have an older Poulan Pro handheld leaf blower that I plan to replace with a Stihl BG85 or 86 in the near future. I also have a Stihl FS55r that is just a temp unit until I get around to getting an FS110 or 130.

    I have to say I have learned a lot from just reading up on this site. Little things like how to perfect stripes, to larger things like converting over to running Amsoil Saber at 80:1 in all my 2-stroke equipment and noticing a huge difference in performance because of it.
  6. ksJoe

    ksJoe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 676

    In the interest of breaking up the unanimous consensus....

    I have a ryobi split shaft weedeater that I bought refurbished 7 or 8 years ago (don't recall exactly) for $60. It has been very consistent starting. I choke it and pull about 3 times until it tries to start, then go to half choke and it starts the next pull. Last year the carb got dirty and it was hard to keep running. I checked ebay and found the exact same carb (new) for around $7 delivered. So I didn't mess with getting parts, I just replaced it. It runs like new again.

    I've also got an edger attachment for that I think I paid $30 for from harbor freight.

    I know some of the cheap ones a a nightmare, but this has extremely cost effective. My total cost is under $100 for 7 or 8 years of great service, with it still running perfectly.
  7. heybruck34

    heybruck34 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    I started with homeowner stuff and quickly upgraded to commercial. HUGE difference. The Ryobi products mentioned in the previous post may work great for several years but the difference is described in another post- the upgrade to a BR600 from a Green Machine blower. The Green Machine probably ran fine for years but there is just a huge productivity increase. The sooner I can get done with yard work the sooner I can do other things I enjoy.

    When I was buying my edger I bought an Echo PE 230 and hated it- bent shaft and underpowered IMHO. Returned it and took the restocking fee hit and came home with a Stihl FC85 that I love. Worth every penny of the increase and restocking fee.

    While I was buying this I talked to an older landscaper and he had a great quote I have applied to many situations- "You're going to cry- do you want to cry once when you buy or cry every time you use it. Me- I like to cry once." This has rung true for me many times.

    I also have a KM110 and think it is the perfect homeowner machine. 1 engine to maintain but you can add attachments as jobs require or money permits. Expensive to but the engine but once you're in the club, each additional tool is $200 or cheaper and it's top grade commercial quality.

    Buy the Kombi- you will only cry once and be drinking beer watching sports sooner than a Troy-Bilt or Green Machine unit will allow.

    Good luck in your purchase.
  8. ensign

    ensign LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks to all of you for the helpful responses. I think I'm convinced that going with the heavier duty stuff will be a good idea for the long term.
  9. Den69RS96

    Den69RS96 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    ensign I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I currently have a remanufacturered ryobi 775R trimmer with edger and cultivator attachment. I payed around 150 for all 3 pieces shipped to my door from harbor freight. Been using this trimmer for 8 years and runs just as good as the day I bought it. I think I lucked out with this unit. Most people trash them in a year or two. I'm waiting for it to die and then I'm going to replace it with a stihl. I decided that I'm going to either get the FS90 or FS110 or the Kombi 90 or 110. I think the cheapo stuff in the box stores is worse now than it was 10 years ago.
  10. ensign

    ensign LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Yeah, believe it or not, I'm still on my first trimmer, a Homelite curved shaft model (bought when I had much less property). I really can't complain, and it still actually works pretty well, but I need to run heavier line with the fence I have to trim along, and the Homelite isn't rated for anything thicker than .080". Plus, I really need a hedge trimmer and like what's available with the FS or Kombi units.

    I'm leaning towards the 130 because of some comments I read about it being much better for edging. Plus, the price and weight aren't THAT much different than the 110.

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