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.
Do not be fooled by the size of this one. It is a 25.4cc machine, but it behaves as though it has 34cc. This trimmer is powerful and quick. Its impressive torque is thanks to a new gearbox. Echo calls it the "high torque head". It gives a 1:2:07 gear reduction ratio to generate up to 50 per cent more torque than previous models. The result is a cutting head that whizzes through vegetation at speed. By using a relatively small engine, weight is kept low yet cutting power is outstanding.
Alcock says: "It cuts really quickly, there's plenty of power and it seems very efficient. I didn't have to bump out more cord - it just keeps going."
By installing thicker line, it can tackle a range of tasks. This trimmer did not complain, irrespective of cutting grass or thistles. Vibration levels are minimal. The 265 is backed by Echo's two-year professional warranty (five years for domestic use).
Engine: 25.4cc two-stroke
Power output: 0.9kW
Fuel tank: 0.5litres
Fuel consumption: 0.6litres/hr
Vibration: Left 2.4m/s2 & right 3.1m/s2
Cutting head: Two-string head
List price: £429 + VAT
Contact: Countax - 01844 263886
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