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.
Available with a bike or loop-handle, the FS240 is another new-generation 2-MIX machine from Stihl. We look at the loop-handled version that uses the "no-flood" starting system from the smaller FS70 unit.
"The ErgoStart is good," says Alcock. "No stress and no fuss. I really like it." Then she admits: "I did tried to flood it, but I couldn't."
Phipps sees the advantages of the ErgoStart. "There's no need to pull hard on the cord, so you are not going to snap the rope or break the starter spring or recoil unit," he says.
With the open guard he is able to trim around the chipping cage at Cannington Golf Club. "It's easy to see around the fiddly bits," he says. "Equally, it has loads of power to plough through the dense material. This would be a good all-rounder for landscapers."
The FS240 can be fitted with the brush knife and circular saw blade when using the approved guard and stop kit.
Engine: 37.7cc Stihl 2-MIX
Power output: 1.7kW
Fuel tank: 0.75litres
Cutting head: AutoCut C25-2 doubleline easy-refill head and metal blade
List price: £555 + VAT
Contact: Stihl - 0800 137574 (quoting HWFS)
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