trimmer recommendation?

tinyfrogs(z8 NC)June 4, 2011

I just figured out that I need to buy a string trimmer before next weekend. Echo and Stihl are available nearby. Haven't yet handled any in person, but thinking about the Stihl FS 55 R, Echo SRM 225, and any others around $200 to $250. This will be an occasional-use trimmer, but when it gets used it will see some heavy $#!+.

Ordinarily I would troll craigslist for something used, but since the need is great and since my wife will also use this and she knows noting about using power tools...

Any thoughts on these?


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I bought a Stihl FS 55 R about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Its the first straight shaft trimmer I have owned. It seemed to me the gear head was getting too hot, but it works great so far. I bought a mantis tiller ( Echo engine) about two weeks ago. The gear box on it gets hot on it also. I guess this is common. Both tools start and run great and both have a good warranty. Both may be shot in a year but for now I am happy. If I were doing this again I would look at the Echo a little harder.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 7:56PM
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arceeguy(z6 NJ)

Both are from quality brands. I'd check the emissions durability label on the Stihl and see if it matches the 300 hour rating of the Echo. If so, toss a coin and choose your trimmer.

I just purchased a Echo SRM-225 at my local dealer and I love the "U-Turn" easy loading head. To load the string, you just insert some line in both ends of the head and then twist the spool to wind the line. I haven't had to refill the spool yet, but the guy showed me how easy it was in the shop and said that the new head is available to upgrade other Echo trimmers with the tap feed heads. See video below.

Here is a link that might be useful: U-turn trimmer head loading

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 9:53AM
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tinyfrogs(z8 NC)

Ended up picking up a Stihl FS 56 R-CE. My wife liked the feel of the Stihl FS 55 & 56 better than the SRM 225. These were lighter than the Echo, had a slightly smaller-diameter throttle grip, and a much larger guard around the cutting head. Went with the Stihl 56 R-CE because it was a little more powerful and has the easy-start system for her.

The Echo has a longer warrantee and appeared to have a longer emissions durability (300 v. 50, but the Stihl manual says 300 hours for homeowners). The plastic bits on the Stihl seem to fit together more cleanly.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 1:58PM
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arceeguy(z6 NJ)

Congrats on the purchase. I'm sure it'll last you many years! I don't have a Stihl dealer nearby, but they do make some kick butt equipment. My local small engine parts supplier sells Echo and Tanaka.

I like to keep my equipment around for a while, and from what I can see (dumpster diving), the quality of "big box" power equipment has really gone downhill.

It's a combination of cheap manufacturing and stringent EPA rules that are making entry level OPE short lived and unreliable. It used to be that even a $120 trimmer or $99 blower had an engine with a hard chrome plated cylinder and two piston rings. Now I see plain aluminum bore cylinders and one ring on the piston. No doubt that at 50 hours of use, these units will be at the end of their useful life whereas an engine with a chrome plated cylinder bore and two ring piston will still be running like new at 50 hours.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:00PM
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