Brushcutters and line trimmers are essential tools for grounds care workers. Their usefulness is bolstered by a diversity of models offering different configurations, power ratings and attachments.
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.
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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.
Squeeze the trigger on this machine and you have to wonder if it has the oomph to do the job. But do not be fooled by the lack of noise. This trimmer mows through grass easily and is not shy of brambles. What is more, there is no fuel to mix or carry.
"This is a great machine for schools and colleges, especially when you need to work close to the classrooms," suggests Phipps.
The Pellenc is battery-powered, running off a 3.6kg worn knapsack-style on your back. The battery gives five hours trigger time and can be quick-charged within an hour and a half, charged over night or charged during a day using a solar panel.
"I love it," says Alcock. "It's so simple and quick to adjust and the battery is really comfy on your back." She appreciates the twist-pull telescopic shaft and quick-angle head. The battery costs around £1,000 + VAT, but running a hedge trimmer, chainsaw and pruners off it would spread the investment. And with the option of a solar power charger it has got to be the way forward.
Cutting head: Two-line head
List price: POA
Contact: Etesia - 01295 680120