Weed Eaters - Is there a Good One?

vgkg(Z-7)August 21, 2013

Hi there,
I've gone thru 3 weed eaters in 3 years, all 3 broke down. 2 Ryobi and 1 Bolens brand. Problems ranged from the end spool melting from friction heat to broken clutches? (starts up ok but spool slows down once applied to weeds, won't spin fast enough to cut). Is there a reliable brand that will work under harsh conditions as I weed eat for at least an hour non-stop. Money is no object, at least not now , ha. Thanks for your advice.

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Anything Ryobi is pretty much junk. I've had an Echo SRM-225 and I have been very satisfied with it. It has the U-turn spool which has worked well for me. They are about $220. plus tax at Home Depot. If money is really no object you can get some pretty impressive commercial trimmers for $350. and up from Echo or Stihl.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:37PM
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I have a Cub Cadet 4 cycle BC509. This is the end of its second season. Works great. It has the power and with the brush cutting head is lethal to the brush.

After using all last year, it sat in the shed all winter. This spring I went out checked the oil and top off the gas. I primed until there were no bubbles in the gas lines. Three pulls on full choke and one pull on half, and it was running 2 minutes later I removed the choke and was happily trimming the yard.

Yesterday same procedure same results.

My only problem in the bump head. I have a rock lined ditch, and the plastic is not holding up very well. I do NOT blame that on the trimmer quality.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:08AM
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Knuttle, I think a rock lined ditch needs an occasional shot of roundup.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:59PM
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txtom50(8a texas)

Sometimes a walk behind wheeled string trimmer is a better choice for really heavy stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: wheeled string trimmers

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 5:18AM
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I think Echo and Stihl straight shaft are the best for a homeowner at a reasonable price. I use an Echo SRM2100 for most of my heavier work. Also have an old $5 Homelite SX135 I cannot seem to kill for light trimming.

The current model SRM225 is about $220 from big box stores, but I'd recommend purchasing from an independent. They may not match Home Depot, but should be willing to get close to the price, especially now towards the end of the season. That way you know the machine is set up right, and they will be the guys to warranty and service it.

While a dealer cannot refuse to warranty a machine purchased elsewhere, you can count on going to the end of the line if it needs warranty work.

The Stihl FS45 is a comparable semi-pro machine and should be $220 to $250 at a dealer.

North of $300 gets you into professional territory, and your choices are Shindaiwa, Kawasaki, Tas, TMC, Tanaka, and several others.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:46AM
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FWIW, I have a Stihl straight shaft which is about 12 years old. To date have replaced plugs and air filters and it runs great. My brother buys a $69.99 "on sale" at a big box store every couple of years.

IMHO, "bump" heads were designed for lazy people AND a good idea by the manufacturers to shorten machine life, "Let's just have them beat the ground with it!!" I take a moment, manually push in the button and pull out the line.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:12AM
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While the bump head adds its own problems, it has its place. I would not use the weed eater around rocks, thin fence post and such. I would rather have the pieces of plastic string flying around instead of chunks of hard plastic or chunks of metal.

To put it another way the bump head is for areas where there is not the golf course like lawns.

To respond to a previous post. The area of rocks in my front yard is about 80 feet long and 4 feet wide, most are 5 to 8" in diameter, but of all kind of odd shapes. In that 80 feet, the drop is about 10'. In most rains the water is about 14" in the middle of the rocks, but I have seen the water about 6' wide. We are in the Hurricane paths.

These rocks are at the bottom of a slope that rises about 10' and is just moweable with my lawn tractor.

The use of round up would be a solution, but the grasses help keep the rocks in place and the erosion down. Roundup would kill the grasses outside of the rocks creating an erosion situation in heavy rains.

We have been in the house for 2 years, at some point I plan to do something about the rocks, but for the time being they are serving their purpose.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:30PM
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"I take a moment, manually push in the button and pull out the line"...I've always used this same method. I'm glad to see someone else believes that this the best way to advance line.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Thanks for all the good advice! I also checked Consumer Reports top picks for weed eaters and the top 5 on their list were all Stihl. I bought a new Stihl FS-56 straight shaft model for $230 and have used it over the past 2 days without any problems. After trimming for an hour I noticed that my shoes and legs weren't nearly as plastered with clipping as they'd usually be with the other brands. The Stihl head bumps and feeds string easily and is cool to the touch after an hour so no melting problems there. Also after trimming, my hands aren't numb from constant vibrations as they were with the other brands. Got a 2 year warranty by buying their brand of mixing oil too. Easy start-up, easy to use, seems well built, and a US made product. Happy camper now.
Thanks again for all of your insights.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Anyone know what type would be best to use on the grass around a chain link fence as well as tall ornamental grasses? Consumers reports seems to rate both Husqvarna and Stiihl as the best tested, but they do not comment on uses (at least that I can see!!!).

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 12:57PM
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