Advice on purchasing a string trimmer

susanb_TXJune 30, 2010

I am tired of battery-operated string trimmers. The batteries last about 15 minutes if we're lucky. We were thinking of an electric trimmer but I've read that if we have a large yard, the cord wouldn't be the best idea. So I've been looking at gas trimmers but I'm afraid they'll be too heavy for a 4'10" woman to handle.

Any ideas? We want one that will last, will work for 1 acre, tall grasses and weeds, curved shaft and is easy to start. If you know of one that's not too heavy, what brands and models would you suggest. Can't spend a lot. Prefer to spend not over $125 if possible. Most of the posts I've read are old and I'd like feedback on some of the newer models.

Of the lesser expensive ones, CR recs Stihl FS 45, Craftsman 79117, Troy-Bilt TB20CS, Homelite UT21006, and Bolens BL100. Any feedback?

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Shindaiwa makes very good trimmers. A good harness makes handling a trimmer a lot easier.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:41AM
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Please stay away from Craftsman etc. For the money, look at the Echo GT-200 in Home Depot or OSH. They are about $169. It is a curve shaft for shorter people.

Stihl FS45 is good too. If I have to bet, I still bet on Echo.

You want it to last long, make sure you use 89 or 91 octane gas, add Stabil ( prefer blue color) to keep the gas fresh. Still do not use gas with Stabil that is over 5 months old. Echo Power Blend oil is plenty good and don't add more oil than 40:1. You are good to go. This apply to all trimmers.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:54AM
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I thought about it again, since you mentioned about tall grass and weeds, maybe the FS45 with 27cc engine is better because you need the big engine for the power.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 1:33PM
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Troy-Bilt and Bolens are both made by MTD. I'm not familiar with these exact models but I can assure you they share the same motors. In the price range specified one of these may be a good choice as I have found them to have decent power for tall weeds but durability and weight may be a shortfall. Most folks would consider them disposable but in your case this may not be bad. Step up from a battery unit to one of these gas powered models with a try it and see attitude and after a few seasons re-evaluate where you want to go. I would highly recommend you get a unit with a clutch even if it costs a few more bucks, no clutch trimmers in my opinion are just dangerous.

I'm trying not to jump in and recommend for an acre of tall weeds, light weight and durability you need the model XYZ for $300, but that is where you might end up.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:44PM
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Actually biggest limitation is not the price, I can suggest good trimmer for less than $300. Problem is the original poster want a curve shaft that really limit the choice of good trimmer down.

I think Stihl FS45 or FS45 CE( easier to start) is the best and only choice.

If the OP willing to go with straight shaft, I would recommend Husqvarna 125L in Lowes for $199 28cc. This is semi pro model, much better than Troybilt/Craftsman MTD stuffs.

A little higher price Kawasaki KTR27 or KGT27C buying on ebay new below $250. Those are true commercial 25.4cc?? Like buy a lot of LCOs. They are very light.

Another one is Husqvarna 223L for $249. This is a true commercial, 24.5cc, plenty of power, under 10 lbs.

Regarding to being 4'10", you can adjust the loop handle towards the trimming head and effectively make the trimmer shorter.

I have Troybilt ( MTD as Craftsman). The engine is good, I just hate the trimmer head and they are heavy.

And yes, for an acre, you really cannot get something under $125. You'll be wasting money and end up have to buy another one shortly. But you definitely do not have to spend over $300 with the big name.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 5:36PM
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"We want one that will last, will work for 1 acre, tall grasses and weeds, curved shaft and is easy to start. If you know of one that's not too heavy, what brands and models would you suggest."

And all for less than $125.00. That's like saying we want to haul large amounts of freight across country but we can't afford a semi, can you recommend a small pickup that would work.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 5:44PM
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Susan, It's my personal opinion that your best bet is the Stihl FS45. You won't find it at a big box store, you'll need to find a local dealer. My dealer sells the FS45 for $149. You'll likely get personal attention from your dealer, and he/she will see that everything is set up right, and will even spend time familiarizing you with your new trimmer. Plus the dealer will be there if you need warranty work done. I realize that this is $25 more than your target price, but this small amount will be worth quite a lot.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Susan I would follow Twelve Gauge and Yungmans advise they both have experience within Trimmers Pro's & Con's and Proactive Judgement within your needs . The Curved Shaft Desigh for both your Height and Gender Restrictions limits the Models best suited for your needs . I would spend the additional money and find a Reliable Dealer to Support your Selection Criteria . It will be money well spent !

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 2:34PM
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I have two fairly new 26ss Homelite Mighty Weed Trimmers. Both have less then two (2) hours of running time on them. On one the pull string wont return, it wonÂt start the engine. I tried rewinding the spring and the string at least 8 times and I still canÂt get this thing to work right. I am an automotive machinist of over 40 years I work with the smallest to the largest engines all day. I had several other Top Machinists in the shop take a look at it as well. The string wont return back to its original position after a load is applied to the engine. After the second pull it jam again. The only other option I can think of is to replace the starter pulley. But the trimmer is new right????? I paid $120.00 for the thing new, and spent about $400.00 in time trying to fix it. The other trimmer the muffler fell off after the third (3) usage

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 8:16AM
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And, i have a Toro straight shaft that i salvaged out of some-ones trash. Almost new--lady said they couldn't keep the trimmer head on it! HMMM!
So, i bought the new trimmer head, installed it, and tried it out! WHOOPEE! First trimmer i really like! It is a keeper!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 8:26PM
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Hey, papasweet, it's hard to build time on an engine that you can't start, ain't it ... been there, done that. That's why there are a few brands that I stay away from. (Not just lawn stuff. I haven't bought a single Hudson - rustyj will remember those - in over 50 years!)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:06PM
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Lots of people having problem starting the engine. Try this way, works for a lot of brands.

1) Prime the bulb hard for 7 to 8 times.
2) close the choke all the way and make sure the switch is on.
3) not touching the throttle, pull until either start or attemp to start.
4a) If started, open the choke right away and let it idle for 20 second.
4b) If try but fail to start, open the choke and give it one more pull. It should start.

If work for a lot of the major commercial brands and Troybilt, hope this work for you. Give it a try. You don't have to touch the throttle in this whole process.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:19PM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Yungman's sequence works well.

I'd add that you have to be careful at step 3, at least for my equipment. I pull 2-3 times only in full choke then go to half choke. It is better to have not enough fuel in the engine for a half choke start than to have flooded the engine.

If I don't get any bites on the half choke after 5 pulls or so, I kick back to full choke and give 1-2 pulls then back to half choke.

Flooding can take awhile to clear up. It is always easier to deal with an engine that you don't yet have enough fuel in than one that has too much fuel (flooded).

I can tell on my equip and others that it has been flooded by when it starts and there is 15 seconds or so of bluish smokey exhaust.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 4:36PM
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Go with Stihl, and spend some time with your dealer to learn how to operate and maintain the trimmer. I have three Stihl string trimmers: a curved shaft FS45 that I bought in 93 or 94 when I had a small .25 acre yard, then when I moved to over 2.5 acres I bought a used 15year old Stihl with the big bicycle handle bars for trimming and a Stihl straight shaft with the hedge trimmer attachment for the blackberries and scotch broom that infest western washington. I haven't had any problems with either of them or my two Stihl chainsaws. I only use high octane fuel (no ehtanol) with Stihl two-stroke oil and I use fuel stabilizer in the winter. If you can afford it I would recommend a straight shaft trimmer (much more power) and buy a strap or harness so you aren't carrying the weight in your hands. Sorry for the long post, my experience is that buying quality and treating it right will save money and aggravation in the long run. (I have rescued lots of tools from the scrap heap and refurbed them with a little effort and then sold them or kept them for my own use. Ask me about my $2.00 chainsaw sometime)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 12:58PM
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If it's middle of the Road you looking at Echo has the Best Product Going ! If you are Serious Commercial Grade is Stihl . Just like Chain saw's . Check out all the Best Buy Advertising and See whats available within Your Needs and Budget !

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:33PM
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I had nothing but trouble with the 2 cycle engine string trimmers. I purchased a Cub Cadet 4 cycle, and have had no trouble. I don't use gas stabilizers, and let it sit with gas in it when in storage. Following the starting procedure stated above by yungman .

The Cub Cadet is a great machine, it started after sitting over the winter on the second try. This machine has received some negative reviews because of starting problems, which I have not found to be true.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 6:39PM
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I have a 18V Sears trimmer that was given to me. Even with a 1/4 acre lot, battery doesn't last long. Not that good on honeysuckle.

Are the 20 and 24V lithium-battery powered ones any better?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:44PM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

I had an Echo SRM200. I lasted about 15 years. Just bought a new Echo SRM 225. Great machine.$200 + tax. It's the best seller Echo has.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 12:18AM
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Just an adder of my last post 2 yrs ago , recently purchased a straight shaft Toro and like Rusty said it has to be one of the Best Kept Secrets for under $200.00 . I paid 179.00 this spring and this unit is incredible for the price. I stay be my previous statements on the Echo and Stihl trimmers nothing shabby about them either for their nitch .

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Here in the states an Echo SRM-225 is only $220. plus tax. How much do they cost up north?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Evd: The 225 is on Sale this week at Home Depot for $ 189.00 the 215 runs around $159 not on Sale at this time along with the 280 @ $485.00 again not a Sale priced Model at this time. Have worked on numerous echo Trimmers and Saws and have never had any concerns within their units.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 10:24PM
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I know the post is pretty old but I was looking for something similar (gas powered, lots of juice, and light) and didn't really find the answer I needed here.

Doing some Google searching I found the Husqvarna 224L... it's kind of expensive at $300+ so wondering if anyone has any experience with it? This is the review I found of it

I like that it only weighs 11 lbs and has a 25cc motor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Husqvarna 224L

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I'm 6'8". Any advice on the best trimmer? I have used some that were too short and hurt my back. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:05PM
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