Echo vs Stihl power heads: Are my perceptions right?
I'm in the market for a trimmer, blower, and edger. I'd prefer to get a multi attachment system, so I'd only have one engine to maintain. My engine choice is 2 cycle. I'm not new to trimmers. I had a McCulloh gas trimmer which lasted about 15 yrs. Would have lasted longer if I could have gotten parts for it. I've also tried battery powered, and electric. I need to trim around a house, edge along a sidewalk and driveway, maintain a ditch at the back of the property, and blow grass off hard surfaces after mowing. For my application, I feel a low powered gas trimmer (with attachments) is the best option. Battery trimmers don't have enough power, and I'm tired of dragging around a cord. I'm pretty easy on equipment, and pretty good with small engines, so I could probably get away with a cheapy from Wally World... but I don't want to buy from Wally World. Or Home Depot or Lowes either. I prefer buying where they actually know how their product works. In this area, that leaves Echo and Stihl.
So I've been researching. I don't think I need anything high powered. My old McCulloh trimmer had a 21.2cc engine, which had more than enough power for my current needs. The lowest output power head from Echo is the PAS 225, and from Stihl, it's the KM 55R, both of which I think have more than enough power. From my research, here's my perceptions of the two brands:
Advantage: Stihl, by a decent margin.
Advantage: Echo. But if you move up to the Echo with equivalent power, the price advantage goes to Stihl.
Durability & Reliability
Ease of starting
Ease of servicing
Advantage: Echo. I've read that on a Stihl, more screws have to be removed to do things like cleaning out dirt & debris, and cleaning out the exhaust screen.
Advantage: Toss-up, so long as we're talking about 2 cycle engines, which I prefer.
Advantage: Toss up. Stihl's attachments look a little more beefy, and their blower is definitely better, but I also think the Echo blower is adequate for my needs (blowing grass off hard surfaces after mowing). But I've read that Echo's trimmer head works better for feeding line.
Advantage: Stihl, by 2lbs with the trimmer head.
Ease of use
Advantage: Echo (probably), due to it's lower power, lower noise, and easier starting. However the Stihl is 2lbs lighter.
Advantage: Stihl. I know... this is a local thing, but for me, this is the reality.
It looks like if you're trying to get maximum power for your dollar, Stihl is the best. If power is not an issue, Echo wins. Is my research right?
One thing I haven't been able to determine. Which one is easier to start in the Spring after sitting untouched in the garage all Winter? Which one is more tolerant of old gas?
On paper, the Echo looks to be my best bet, but even if it is, I still can't overlook the fact that I feel the Stihl dealer is better.