Multitool Brushcutter Trimmer Polesaw Help!

spoonleggerApril 6, 2010

I've been researching on what I need to buy to satisfy my situation with my backyard. My house is positioned on the front left of a .75 acre lot. A deep creek bed enters the front right of the property and exits the back right of the property. I bought this house last summer, but I was rarely there. The creek bed quickly turned into a borderline Vietnam type environment. The guy that lived before me in the house had a lot of good equipment, so he kept the bed pretty clear.

I'm thinking that a decent multi-tool will get the job done for me. I need a trimmer, brush cutter, and polesaw to be able to do what I need to do.

I tend to be an over researcher when it comes to making a bigger purchase (>$100). I've read amazon reviews, lowe's reviews, home depot reviews, and tons of forums. I've done so much research that my head is somewhat spinning on what type of purchase I need to make. My equipment is not going to be used constantly like in a commercial setting, but my situation with the creek demands more than just a Wal-Mart special or course.

I'm currently tracking an ebay auction on a Stihl KM85R Kombi multitool with trimmer, brush cutter, and polesaw.

I almost bought a Cub Cadet trimmer/brushcutter from tractor supply the other day, but they were sold out (which is probably a blessing in disguise). 4 Stroke Version

2 Stroke Version

I almost bought a TroyBilt 4 stroke trimmer/brushcutter combo also from amazon. Troy-Bilt at Amazon

Today, I had myself convinced that I was about to go buy this Husqvarna 2 stroke trimmer today, and then just buy attachments for it later. Husqvarna at Lowe's

I'm open for any suggestions, but I am on a budget. I would really like to keep total price under $400 for sure and the more inexpensive the better. I know you get what you pay for... but some people just don't have the luxury to pay what they would like to.

Here are some pictures to show what type of brush I'm dealing with. None of the trees and brush are over 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Most are 1 or less. The initial job of getting it all wacked down will be a chore, but after that maintaining it won't be so bad.

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I would rent a DR field and brush mower or something like that to clear the bed otherwise your going to be there for a long time with a hand held piece of equipment. Once its cleared, the stihl kombi should be able to keep it up. I just got a stihl kombi 110R and this trimmer has a ton of torque compared to the old ryobi 775r I was using. The attachments that fit the cub and troybilt are the same ones that fit my old ryobi 775r. They work fine but they are not heavy duty. The stihl unit I have is a pro model and the built well, not to mention it is balanced much better.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 7:45AM
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I don't think using a DR field and brush mower is an option. Most of the creek bank that I'll be maintaining will be at about a 30 to 40 degree incline. Some parts of it are a little flatter though, so I may look into that also.

It may just have to be a long running chore to get the initial brush knocked down and cleared out.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 10:11AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I'm thinking you are on the right path. I don't think there is a best solution given the budget though.

It looks/sounds like your heaviest use tool would be a trimmer/brushcutter. You can find some pretty good commercial quality ones available on Craigslist. Although, it would be better if you were comfortable with small engines or knew someone who was to check the machine out before buying used.

For how much brushcutting it looks like you have and may have in the future, I'd say at a minimum you would want a 25cc engine (but 30cc would be better) and a solid shaft. A flexible shaft could do some brushcutting but won't stand up to the abuse as well as a solid shaft.

How much do you really need to use the polesaw? Options there could be to rent or hire that part out. Another option would be to get a manual polesaw. In some ways the manual polesaw can be better as you can get farther reach and they are easier to maneuver. They do require some effort to cut though. Be careful about things falling on you when working overhead with polesaws.

If you were just doing the trimmer/brushcutter, $400 is about what I think you would need to spend, unfortunately. Less than that and you'd be playing the margins, i.e. it might work for you or it might just be money thrown away.

Used could get you the tool you need and in budget but the risk is the reliability.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 11:19AM
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Other than Stihl Kombi system, none of the other has a big enough engine for your job. From looking at the picture, you need a big trimmer. You might want to consider two trimmer, one big 30+cc with blade capable and one small one. Honda make the HHT35S for about $360 and get the cheap Echo SRM210 for about $210 or a Husqvarna 125L for $199. Don't get the cheap brand. For that big a size lot, you might want to consider a bike handle for the big brush cutter.

I have the Honda HHT31SUNBA bike handle trimmer with blade capable and I have the Shindaiwa M242 for small jobs. Work the best.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:48AM
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I've decided I'm going to go with the Stihl FS 90 R or FS 110 R, but more than likely the 110 for more power (watched too much Home Improvement growing up). I'm just going to buy a blade while I'm there so I can change out the line trimmer head with a brush cutting blade.

I shied away from the Kombi system just because it would be a little more expensive and I'm scared of the split shaft. I know it would probably never break, but that just seems like something else to possibly break.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 6:12PM
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Do yourself a favor and spray the area down with a Roundup type brush killer. Your job will be easy after a couple weeks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 9:39AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

That size of trimmer is a good choice.

I'd recommend bicycle bars over the loop handle for better control of the brushcutter. I'd also recommend a good doublee shoulder harness, not the shoulder strap that they sometimes supply. Forestry helmets are nice with this type of work. They have hearing protection and face shield. My face shield has stopped plenty of debris.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Yes a bike handle is very comfortable. I would still recommend the Honda HHT35SUNBA. It should come with the saw blade standard like my HHT31SUNBA. Double check though.

It is 36cc, 1.6hp. Very easy to start and very quiet. Stihl used to have drop valve issue though they might have fixed it. But you still HAVE to use synthetic oil to prevent any problem. Honda being separate oil have none of those issue. Check the price of the Stihl with the saw blade and check to make sure Honda comes with it free. Then compare price. When come to longivity, I put my bet on Honda.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:06PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I would disagree with you slightly on longevity issue yungman. Only because I think Stihl has a much higher vested interest in the small engine outdoor power equipment market than Honda. Honda has their fingers in alot of pies and the loss of trimmers would not be a big deal to them in my estimation. For Stihl it would be a pretty big hit to them if their trimmer and by extension other small engine products took a hit or were dropped. I think Honda makes good stuff, but I think Stihl has a better chance of providing long term and easier to find support. Of course, experiences can differ by area.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 4:52PM
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I don't know Stihl, just read from other posts that they used ( I stress used to) having drop valve issue due to the materal they use for the valves. Mostly problem with BR600. But according to Stihl, they fixed the issue on the trimmer and lately with the BR600 Magnum. So you might be right. I just put the facts out only.

Also I stress, I put my bet only, not a fact. I am more familiar with Honda and read a lot of articles on those small GX35, 25, 31. It has very good rating and I don't know Stihl. So this is just one person's bet!!! Not exactly an opinion.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 1:04AM
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When I look at the picture, he might want to consider the FS130 36cc bike handle. I used to wack a lot of 3' tall weeds, I can say my 31cc Honda is not exactly over power. FS110 is not going to be more powerful than mine, I'd consider the 36cc model. I don't know whether FS250 can take a circular saw blade, it would be perfect if it can. He is going to have to pay a little more for that "forest"!!!! Anything under 30cc is not going to do it.

Just the other day I used my 24cc Shindaiwa to wack something only about a feet and half weeds, it really bogged it down. Has to be 30+cc

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 1:16AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

I look at it like other tools. An underpowered one, will be slow but it can get the job done in most cases. I then ask myself if spending twice as much for a tool that I only need the extra power 5% of the time is worth it. Most often, it is not. A 25-30cc trimmer will be able to do it. Not super fast but it can get the job done with patience. I know I wouldn't want to do regular yard trimming duty with a 30cc+ trimmer. Those things get heavy when most people are looking for lighter weight.

I think that FS90 or 110 will be a good size. Not the lightest for yard trimming but enough engine to comfortably do some light-medium brush cutting. If they really need something bigger, renting a bigger brush cutter would be the way to go, and then maintain it with 90/110.

I was doing a job at a friends this weekend. While I was cutting trees, he was clearing the lot with my FS80. The brush wasn't fully established. We first tried it with .095 line but the 1/2" saplings tore through that pretty quick. We threw on the 4 blade cutter and went back at it. It took about an hour to do the backside of his .25-.3 acre lot. A dedicated brush cutter could have done it about half the time I'd guess. The lighter weight was nice given the terrain and we weren't in any hurry. The 80 has a 25.4cc engine and rated at .95kW (same as the 90). The 90 is the cleaner running version of the 80. I'd like to try the three blade brush blade. It looks lighter and might spin up faster than the four blade heavy grass blade I have.

In terms of manuf. I think any of the name brand ones will work. Honda, Echo, Stihl, Husqvarna, Shindaiwa, Tanaka, etc. My personal choice would rank Honda, Tanaka and Shindaiwa lower but only because I don't know where I can get reliable support for them. I have not needed support yet for my trimmer in the 4 years I have had it. But if I do, I know where I can get it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:57AM
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