Which trimmer (< $200) is the best value?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by MikeA57, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. MikeA57

    MikeA57 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Here's the scenario:
    I've got 3.2 acres; back yard has wood privacy fence down 2 sides and a chain link fence splits the back yard from the back lot. I have very few trees but I do have a pool that I have to trim around.

    I had a brand new pro model Echo a couple or three years ago, but it was stolen not long after I got it (grrrrrrrr). I began using my old backup but it died last year.

    I've decided I don't want to spend $300+ on a trimmer. And when I go into the local stores, I'm just overwhelmed with all the choices in string trimmers. It's mind boggling!!

    I found a Poulan Pro (PP133) that's right around a buck and quarter that looks enticing, but I don't like the proprietary string system on it. I DO like the fact that I can use other attachments on it. I know it won't be the baddest thing on the block and I know that Poulan has a reputation of not building really high quality items, but the one that died last year was a refurbished Poulan that lasted me almost 10 years. And I abused it the last 2 1/2 years. I asked for comments on the PP133 in another thread and another poster suggested a Tanaka but it is 21cc and the Poulan Pro I've been looking at is 33cc. The Tanaka also doesn't accept other attachments.

    So, what else is out there at the sub $200 price mark? It doesn't have to be able to handle a pruner or an edger attachment but it'd sure be nice if it did.
  2. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    Hi Mike,
    If you want an attachment capable trimmer and you want to keep costs down, you're right the Tanaka won't do it.
    One of the big box stores with an L in the name is selling a couple of 28cc attachment ready Husqvarna trimmers in the $170 (curved shaft) to $200 (straight shaft) price range. From what you read on here, the Huskys sold at the big box stores may not be in the same league as the pro models, but they are probably a notch above most of the other big box brand names. I think the Poulan Pro is a bit above some of the others, but maybe a little below the Husky.
    Both these units take a wide variety of attachments from lines like Expand-it, Troybilt, Ryobi. These attachments usually go for $100 or a little less.

    If you go to the higher grade Husky's they won't take the $100 attachments. The attachments for the more expensive Huskies, Stihl, Echo, Tanaka, etc. can run as high as $250 for each attachment.

    There is also more than one way to put attachments on a "trimmer". The ones mentioned above are usually called something like attachment ready or capable and you usually just push in a button, insert the attachment and screw down a knob to tighten it up. On some of the higher end brands, like Stihl you can put attachments on by changing the gearbox at the end of the shaft. Doesn't look like it can use attachments, but it can.

    Stihl also makes an attachment system called the Kombi system that uses a split shaft like the others.

    Good luck in your search.
  3. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    I will make this easy.ECHO, SRM 225i or the SRM 230. I have a SRM 210 and love it! Going on it's 3rd or 4th season, I think 4th, I cannot remember, but it is still running strong! Best trimmer I have ever had and it was $200 bucks! I think these are all under $300
  4. zanodave

    zanodave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    kawasaki, they are light ,and have good power. and start every time. for right at 200
  5. MikeA57

    MikeA57 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Thanks DBoyd. Stihl's Kombi system is what I was originally looking at. So you're saying that there are independent manufacturers of attachments for name brand trimmers huh?? That's interesting, I wasn't aware of that.

    And CapeMay, I was in HD today and they have the Echo SRM225 on sale for $219. I was wondering if it was a good deal. It even has the SpeedHead on it. Their Combination system was $179 at HD but that's without any attachment. The trimmer for it is $65 so that puts it right at $250.
  6. Steven B

    Steven B LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 99

    A good place for echo is HD when they bring in their repaired units. Picked up like new Echo 500 blower for $200, sold my ruffed up redmax for $200.:dancing:
  7. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    I'm not sure if there are independent manufacturers or it's just one or two big companies who sell under several brand names (Like Troy-bilt, Yard man, Yard machines, MTD all being made by the same company). Either way, the attachments are interchangeable among most of the lower priced brands. Those 2 Huskies I told you about will accept all these attachments according to one of the reviewers - he says it will take his Expand-it attachments. The higher priced Huskies won't take them.

    The Echos aren't going to be in your specified price range, especially if you use their name brand attachments. Plus, the Echos even close to your price range are 21 or 22 cc, which you said you didn't want. There was one guy on here who had been using the cheap attachments on his Stihl Kombi system.

    You might even want to look at the Big Jack tools 4 in 1 Hedge Trimmer chain saw Brush Cutter Line Trimmer for $224.39. Definitely Chinese made and shipping costs about $50, but there is a whole thread with over 200 posts on here about them:
    Could work for occasional use.

    You might want to do some searching on here using terms like split shaft, attachment capable, etc. I know there are some discussions on this in the Commercial and Residential mowing section.

    You are probably going to have a hard time getting a powerful motor split shaft tool that's going to be light and easy to use as a trimmer. Different attachments have somewhat different power requirements, too, I find my 21cc Tanaka fine for just trimming, but for hedge trimmers you are probably better off with 25cc or so, and for edgers you need even more.

    I've done a lot of looking into this in the past year or so and it's hard to get everything, especially at a low price.

    The ideal thing might be to get a nice, light, quality trimmer, then get a powerhead with attachments for everything else.
  8. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    Here's one more to look at Mike:
    27cc 2 stroke split shaft Craftsman. $60 reconditioned, about $100 new.
    The new one has a 2 year warrenty. It is also a full crank engine which means it has bearings on both ends of the crankshaft and that you can replace the pull start assembly without major disassembly of the trimmer.
    This is what I bought to replace my old Troy-bilt TB90 (31cc 2 stroke). It uses the Troybilt attachments (hedgetrimmer and straight shaft trimmer) with no problems.
    I didn't recommend this at first, because Craftsman doesn't have a great rep on here. I also haven't haven't had it long at all.
    But I like the price, the fact that it is a full crank engine and it has a unique starting procedure that is very easy. You just push the primer bulb it a few times, set a little lever that chokes it and gives it a little throttle and pull it until it starts. So far, VERY easy to start. It even has an attachment you can chuck into your drill to start it if it gets hard to start - haven't tried that yet, it starts so easy.
    I've go this as a backup to my Tanaka and to run split shaft attachments.
  9. SouthernHustler

    SouthernHustler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I've tried all the cheap big box brands. Buy a Stihl and thank your self later.
  10. MikeA57

    MikeA57 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    DBoyd, thank you so much for all of your comments and suggestions. I appreciate it. How do you like the curved shaft? I had one many years ago and it seemed to make me have to bend over too far and my back couldn't take it. The Poulan I had was a straight shaft and it was better. So was the Echo that got stolen.

    The only reason I was looking at a larger engine is because the back lot that I have is pretty thick with field grasses and I'm just afraid that a smaller engine wouldn't be able to 'cut it' so to speak!

    SouthernHustler, I know you're right but I go so lucky with that little Poulan I'd just like to repeat that experience. My Dad always used to tell me that I've got Champagne tastes with a beer pocketbook. (Heavy sigh...)

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