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HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A STRING TRIMMER?

- Jun 21, 2018 -

I mentioned that a brush cutter is basically an intense string trimmer, but what exactly is the difference? This is important to take note of because at first glance it’s easy to interchange them, but there is most definitely a large difference between the jobs they are being marketed for.

The absolute biggest difference between the two is that a string trimmer uses a nylon cord to cut through vegetation; and although the heads can occasionally be interchangeable with more durable choices (such as a blade) for the occasional tough to cut area, the power behind that head may not be up to the task of consistent heavy usage.

A string trimmer is an excellent choice for trimming down grasses and small to medium sized weeds in hard to reach places, such as around obstacles and fences, or under decking and overhangs where a lawn mower cannot reach.

A brush cutter uses a metal blade or saw to cut down thick weeds, small saplings, and other neglected areas that can be hard to get to. It also has a lot of power to get the job done, although it will be heavier than a string trimmer, and often includes a harness to allow your body to carry some of the weight.

ELECTRIC VS GAS CHOICES

As with most yard maintenance products, you have choices to consider when heading out to make a purchase, and it’s important to know the differences before you make a final choice. Brush cutters come as either an electric or gas powered version, although I won’t make any secret of it that I prefer the gas version.

Electric Brush Cutter

Electric, or cordless, versions are run by a plug-in through an extension cord (that you must furnish) or a battery pack ( I suggest having two batteries on standby in order to get the jobs done). I find both these versions limiting in that you may not get the power you need, where you need it, or for as long as you need it. In fact, it’s hard to even find these to purchase due to the popularity of gas powered cutters.

Gas Power Cutter

A gas power cutter has more options to choose from, can be taken anywhere you need it without worry of having an electrical source. Plus it can power through just about anything it is rated for. Such as heavy, thick weeds, small saplings, or high, tangled grasses.

FEATURES

Shaft

The shaft is the connection from the engine to the spinning head, and you can either purchase a straight, or bent shaft brushcutter model. A bent shaft can get you closer to your job, but since linking mechanisms are needed to provide the bend, bent shaft models are also more prone to mechanical problems.

Straight shaft models also have more power due to having a direct line to the power source. Many straight shaft models work better with multiple different attachments due to this.

Quick Change Heads

To make a brush cutter more versatile and appealing to a consumer, must have interchangeable heads and multiple attachment options. These models definitely make them more affordable in the long run since they can complete multiple tasks, both small and large. The most popular heads include a string trimmer and blade attachment so you can use your brushcutter as a weed wacker and edger as well.

The quick change features allow you to change out the heads with a simple tool or lever rather than having to unscrew the entire head unit.

Handles

Because brush cutters are pretty heavy duty, you need a good grip to get the job done. A looped handle or two handle-bar type design are the most popular for a sturdy hold over a long period of use. Both require two hands to hold and control the power of a brush cutter, and since you are using blades and saws at the end, this grip is definitely an important one to consider as you don’t want to become fatigued during use.

Vibration

Many small engines now come with an anti-vibration feature for when your tool is in idle and not being run. Quality cutters will also have very little vibration when in use, although more will be present with the amount of power output. This very much is a personal preference and can be difficult to gauge from one user to the next, although reading through brush cutter reviews can be helpful in determining how much vibration is felt.


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