Stihl FS400

With the blade on the FS400, the tester is able to cut through ash saplings as though they were butter. The harness is excellent, the machine is lightweight, well-balanced and comfortable to use and the vibrations, according to Parker, are undetectable to the operator.

But what makes this clearing saw so different from the rest is that there is a version to suit everyone. Stihl recognises that the scything motion employed to clear vegetation is not the most pleasant when it has to be sustained all day. The company’s solution is to provide three different shaft lengths. This means that a machine can be selected specifically to suit the operator’s height, thus increasing comfort and reducing fatigue.
Electronic ignition promotes easy starting of the FS400, and the 40.2cc two-stroke engine is a smooth runner. The Stihl compensator consistently monitors and adjusts the fuel-air mix to the carburettor, ensuring constant engine power and a performance that doesn’t disappoint — even as the air filter clogs up over time (as they will).
“This machine feels really good,” enthuses our tester. He has just sliced through thick ash saplings. “It’s a pleasure to use — it’s well balanced, comfortable and has well-designed controls. The on/off switch is easy to use. And the harness is good. It’s comfortable round the ribs and I can’t feel any vibration coming through it. I like the fact that there are no wires hanging from the machine.
“The only complaints I have are that the vegetation keeps collecting between the filler spout and air filter, and the fact the air filter cover is not a snap-on type.”
With the rubbish removed, our tester topples a120mm-thick sapling easily, and gives the “thumbs up” sign. He’s happy.

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