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.
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.
After using the Echo SRM-265TESL, the Shindaiwa T310XS seems like an ordinary, conventional, everyday two-stroke trimmer, though it does have lots of power. "It's fine, easy to fuel up, starts well, good to use. It's just what you'd expect from a two-stroke loop-handle," says Gardner.
But look closely and you find some nice features. We like the soft, "over-moulded" front handle with 8 degs offset - it provides natural wrist positioning to give a comfortable yet firm grip. The primer bulb is tucked out of way, where it should not come to any harm. This trimmer also has a four-bolt, closed-ported and chrome-plated cylinder for durability, lower emissions and better fuel economy.
It has a standard two-stroke engine rather than one of Shindaiwa's famous C4 hybrid engines and it makes the usual two-stroke engine noise. But it seems clean and gives sufficient power to cut through thick grass. Vibration is not noticeable.
The Shindaiwa is well built and has a two-year professional warranty, which makes it worth considering.
Engine: 28.9cc two-stroke
Power output: 1kW
Fuel tank: 0.75litres
Fuel consumption: 0.5.7litres/hr
Vibration: Left 2.3m/s2 & right 4.5m/s2
Cutting head: Two-string head
List price: POA
Contact: Countax - 01844 263886