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Tanaka TCG22EASSLP trimmer First Impression Review

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Richard Martin, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It finally showed up Thursday. I'm going to get right to it so here goes...

    The plastics on it do appear to be cheap but I think that has to do with the finish on the plastic. All of the other trimmers I've ever used or seen had a glossy, very shiney finish. The plastic on this trimmer has a satin finish. The plastic otherwise seems to be sturdy enough to handle everyday abuse. I put the trimmer head on it, real simple. It took 15 seconds. I put the handle on it, again simple, took 1 minute. I've read reviews on this trimmer where the author complained about poor assembly instuctions. If you need instructions to put a head and handle on then maybe you should be buying from a dealer.

    I found the On/Off switch. It similar to the switches on Stihl's hedge trimmers. Not a slide switch like most trimmers I've seen but a rocker switch. It shouldn't be a problem.


    One of the nice things about this trimmer is a lack of a throttle safety. You just squeeze the throttle and trim. There is no safety to push down. Although they are not that hard to operate on other trimmers, they can be a pain in the butt sometimes especially when you invert the trimmer to use it for edging.

    The choke lever seems kinda cheesy and small. It's well protected but it could be difficult to use with gloves on. It should have been designed so the choke is open when the lever is down, not up. In most cases, if the lever is going to be bumped it will be bumped down, not up. The way it is now if it is bumped it will turn the choke on, not off. The primer bulb is remote mounted from the carb and on the air filter side of the engine. Easy to use even with gloves on.



    I pulled the air filter cover off and was somewhat disappointed. The air filter is the worst I've ever seen on ANY machine. Ever! It is a flimsy little foam piece of crap that goes all of the way around the air filter cover. It is severely lacking in support at a bunch of spots. If you live in a dusty area where the air filters tend to load up with dust quickly then daily maintenance of this filter is a must. If the filter starts to build a restriction due to dust buildup it could easily collapse due to lack of support. Once it collapses then it's just like not having an air filter at all.



    In the picture above you'll see an engine sticker. Notice the 300 hour Emissions Compliance Period. That is the highest that the EPA has for small handheld equipment and the same as any other commerical piece of equipment.

    I didn't pull the covers off of the engine but I did look at them. The engine is well covered all of the way around. I do see a problem with the main engine cover though. Tanaka chooses to mount the spark plug at the top of the cylinder. I've always thought this was a poor place and in most cases, not required. The problem is that there is a huge fairing sticking up to protect the spark plug and wire. The way I use a trimmer requires me to rest my arm there especially when I'm one handed trimming. This fairing is right in the way and it sticks me in the arm. My Stihl FS 80 trimmer has the same type of fairing, although not as high as the Tananka is, and I ended up cutting it down to make the trimmer more comfortable to use. I can easily see me cutting this Tanaka fairing down and soon.


    A couple of notes on the muffler. This muffler has the tinyest exhaust I've ever seen on a piece of hand held equipment. It is round and just a little over 1/4". You must either use a lean mix fuel/oil ratio or run this trimmer wide open all of the time. I can see this tiny port becoming clogged up quickly. Also, the spark arrestor screen is not removable. It is inside the muffler and there is no way to get it out. This is another spot that could quickly coke up. The screen also appears to only be spot welded (and not very well) so you can expect it to come loose and rattle around at some point.


    The gas cap is in a bad place. It could be next to impossible to get off if you're wearing heavy gloves. I couldn't get my fingers all of the way around it and if overtightened I can see a person having trouble getting it off. It's not that bad but it could be better.


    The recoil handle is large and easily accessable. Tananka gets bonus points for not screwing this up.


    I filled it up, primed it and it started right up. Right out of the box it needed adjustment. It was idling so fast that the trimmer head was spinning. I turned it down a bit. It has a lot of vibration no matter which idle it has. I revvedit up a bit and it just didn't feel nice and smooth like my Shindaiwa T-230s always have. Remembering that it comes with .095 from the factory I decided to switch to some round .080.

    Removing the trimmer line spool was easy enough. It has 2 tabs that you push in and is very similar to Stihl's AutoCut head, just not as large. The spool came out easy as did the .095 trimmer line. So I would have a good idea of how much .080 line to put on I measured the .095 with my tried and true method. Arm lengths. 1.. 2.. And a half? I get about 8 on my Veri heads. Since my .080 is smaller than the .095 (duh!) I pulled out 4 arm lengths to put on.

    Just so you know an arm length is about 5-1/2 feet. This means I'll be reloading twice as often with the Tanaka trimmer head. I'll have to get a Veri head for it since this is unacceptable.

    The spool has 2 seperate sides for the length of trimmer line. You find the center of the length of line, fold the line in half and one half goes on one side, the other goes on the other side. Easy enough to do. After you've wound your line on you normally slip the line into slots in the little tabs on the spool so it holds the line in place while you put the spool back into the trimmer head. The problem is the slots are too big for .080 and the line wouldn't stay. You have to hold the line while reassembling the trimmer head or else the line comes back off of the spool. A pain in the a.. for sure.

    So I got it put back together and picked the trimmer up for the second time. I want to say something about the weight of this trimmer. A lot of guys like a lightweight trimmer. This has got to easily be the lightest trimmer I've used since 1980 when I had a electric trimmer that I had to drag a electric cord around with. Since the electric trimmer was basically just a handle, shaft, tiny electric motor and trimmer head it weighed next to nothing.

    So I scaled my Shindaiwa T-230, the Tananka and my Stihl. Bear in mind that this is being done on a household scale. I stand on the scale, see what my weight is and then pick up each of the trimmers and see what the increase is.

    The Shindy is around 10-1/2 pounds without fuel. The Tanaka is about 10 pounds with fuel. My Stihl FS80 is around 11 pounds without fuel. Then I put each of the trimmers on the scale by themselves just for grins and giggles. This time I just put the powerheads on the scale and left the trimmer head sitting on the floor. I came up with about the same results as far as weight differences go. The Tanaka is clearly the lightest of the 3 trimmers even though it was full of fuel. Sweet.

    This concludes the end of my First Impressions Review of this trimmer. It has some things that MUST be addressed before it can be a true commercial trimmer. Namely the sad, sad air filter and the trimmer head. I won't be able to test it's true power and abilities until next year since most of my southern grasses have slowed down growing to the point where it's not a challenge to cut them now.
  2. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    Thanks for the review. One thing I already see that I do not like is the kill switch. It always seems that the rocker style seem to fail me long before the slide type. As for the air filter, it looks identical the what Redmax uses. Just by looking I bet it is going to be way down on the power compared to your FS 80 but if it is light and gets the job done for you then I guess it will not be a problem. It really seems over the last several years that the power to weight on trimmers have went in very a bad direction, especially Echo trimmers, that is why I was very happy when my dealer started carrying Husqvarna again. I just love the light weight and power of the 323 Husky, so I bought another one.
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It's actually a replacement for my Shindy T-230. I just started using my last brand new FS 80. I bought my first FS 80 back in 2004 and it still runs great. It needs some things done though like fuel lines, the recoil's going bad and it could probably use a new carb. I bought a new FS 80 in 2006 when they first started talking about discontinuing them and put it into storage.
  4. Alan0354

    Alan0354 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,450

    Very good and detail review.

    Only one thing I beg the difference, I like the foam filter!!! I am borned cheap, I wash the filter, air dry, oil it up and put it back on.

    My Troybilt use the foam filter, I used it to trimmer weeds to the soil and alway whipped up dust all over. For 4 years, I have not clean it once and the trimmer is still running!!! I opened it once and it was so dirty. But still kept the inside clean and the engine runs.

    I have foam filter in both Honda engines and Shindaiwa M242 also.

    Do you know how much I have to pay for my Maruyama bp? Something like $20!!!!:cry::cry:
  5. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Richard, the stupid air filter assembly looks incredibly similar to my maruyama and rebadged husky 22.5cc engines.

    I had no idea these companies were linked somehow.
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,701

    The Redmax handhelds use a foam air filter like that, but, they are a fairly dense, sturdy foam. They have several sizes. You may be able to replace that cheaply made filter with a better one from Redmax. You can wash the Redmax filters many times before they start to fall apart.
    I like your detailed evaluation. The whole line of Tanaka equipment makes me nervous. Since Tanaka dealers, that actually stock the products and parts for them, are non existant in most parts of the country, I worry about downtime if a Tanaka machine fails. And, all handhelds will have some part failure sooner or later. I just wonder how long it will take to get a small part shipped from their warehouse after you order?
    Will be interested in hearing how it performs.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  7. Alan0354

    Alan0354 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,450

    For the price, you can affort to have a spare!!!:laugh:
  8. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,024

    Not really. You see on the air filter cover where it says Walbro....guess where most people buy air filter assemblies, carbs and primer systems.

    You probably would have liked the old TBC-230 more. Not sure if these new cheap ones have any anti vibe between the engine and the shaft like the 230 did or not. The 230 also came with a 5" head instead of the 4" one that this comes with. This probably isnt the trimmer to compare to the shindaiwa 230 or the stihl. Yes it is made for commercial use, but honestly its made to be cheap cheap cheap. Its made to be sold by the container load in Hitachi colors to big box stores.
  9. Alan0354

    Alan0354 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,450

    Hitachi is known to make very good cordless tools for cheap. I don't think you can exactly put them down. There is nothing wrong to be cheap as long as they are reliable. Actually I have more faith since Tanaka bought out by Hitachi.

    I'll take Hitachi battery tools anytime over DeWalt!!! I got burnt by DeWalt sooooo bad. I have a basketful of 18V and 12V DeWalt with no battery.....All burnt very fast. I have been using complete set of Ryobi tools to do earthquake retrofit and they survived....Trust me, earthquake retrofit is the ultimate test for tools.
  10. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I was really just giving it a try you know. It was cheap, cheap, cheap. I'll give it a couple of years and then get something a little stronger. The sad economy is hitting all of us right now.

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