Choose between straight or bent shafts; two-stroke, four-stroke or hybrid engines; displacements from 18cc to 52cc; backpack models and blades or nylon-line trimming heads.
Here we focus on loop-handled machines. Having smallto medium-sized engines, they tend to be light and can out-manoeuvre their bike-handled counterparts on banks. Having a shoulder strap rather than a full harness, loop-handled units also make ideal grab-and-trim machines to follow mowing operations.
Bike-handled brushcutters for use in clearance operations will be covered in a future Buyers' Guide and Kit Tests.
Tested This Week
Efco DS2800S and DS2600 4S
Stihl FSA85 Cordless Grass Trimmer
Bosch ART 26 LI
The Review Panel
Andre Gardner, grounds manager, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus
Jane Alcock, head gardener, Walled Garden, Cannington Campus
Ian Phipps, grounds mechanic, Bridgwater College, Cannington Campus
Loop-handled grass trimmers and brushcutters are indispensable when it comes to trimming up after mowing operations. Whizzing round obstacles and along fence lines, they quickly get the job done. Being lightweight and easily manoeuvred, they are suitable for operations on uneven and sloping ground.
We asked the grounds team at the Cannington Campus of Bridgwater College, to put some new machines through their paces. The kit included three battery-powered units as well as an assortment of two-stroke, four-stroke and hybrid-engined units. The trimmers were used to tidy fence lines, cut grass between trees on the golf course and trim around chipping nets. Conditions on the day were dry, sunny and warm.
Bosch ART 26 LI
It only takes a couple of minutes to lock together the pieces of the lightweight ART 26 Li. It has a telescopic shaft that extends from 80cm to 114cm, though it is too short for Gardner, who is quite tall. The cutter head will also adjust, rotating through 90 degs so you can use the unit to trim vertical edges. It has a plant protector, so you maintain a safe distance from shrubs, and two bags of "slot-on" plastic blades.
The blade system is sufficiently robust to cut through dense grass. The first thing we notice about the ART26 LI is the lack of weight. You hardly know you are using it. Combine this with the lack of cables and the Bosch should prove perfect for, say, retired gardeners. And, because it lacks noise - it makes a gentle whirring sound - it may also solve a problem for anyone maintaining domestic gardens. "Great for the city garden," says Phipps.
The Bosch will cut 1,000sq m before the battery needs recharging. Recharging time is three hours.
Cutting head: Plastic blades
List price: £87.49 + VAT
Contact: Bosch - 01449 742000
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