My front yard is a nightmare. It’s a xeriscape gone wrong with the use of incorrect underlayment years ago, and now it’s a hot mess of overgrown grasses mixed with a tangle of ground cover. It also is a landmine of large rocks, ruling out the use of a string mower to get it all cut down.
My options? The brush cutter: a versatile handheld souped-up version of a weed wacker that can get through some of the toughest of vegetation. This is especially important in my situation due to the many obstacles that are hidden amongst the weeds, as well as the tree trunks that are surrounded by overgrown brush.
Below I’ll provide a comparison of some of the best brush cutter brands with the current best ratings on the market.
BEST BRUSH CUTTER COMPARISONS CHART
|Troy-Bilt TB42||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Remington RM2700||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Husqvarna 223R||CHECK THE PRICE|
|TIMBERPRO 52cc||CHECK THE PRICE|
|Husqvarna 128LD||CHECK THE PRICE|
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A STRING TRIMMER?
I mentioned that a brush cutter is basically an intense string trimmer, but what exactly is the difference? This is important to take note of because at first glance it’s easy to interchange them, but there is most definitely a large difference between the jobs they are being marketed for.
The absolute biggest difference between the two is that a string trimmer uses a nylon cord to cut through vegetation; and although the heads can occasionally be interchangeable with more durable choices (such as a blade) for the occasional tough to cut area, the power behind that head may not be up to the task of consistent heavy usage.
A string trimmer is an excellent choice for trimming down grasses and small to medium-sized weeds in hard to reach places, such as around obstacles and fences, or under decking and overhangs where a lawn mower cannot reach.
A brush cutter uses a metal blade or saw to cut down thick weeds, small saplings, and other neglected areas that can be hard to get to. It also has a lot of power to get the job done, although it will be heavier than a string trimmer, and often includes a harness to allow your body to carry some of the weight.
ELECTRIC VS GAS CHOICES
As with most yard maintenance products, you have choices to consider when heading out to make a purchase, and it’s important to know the differences before you make a final choice. Brush cutters come as either an electric or gas powered version, although I won’t make any secret of it that I prefer the gas version.
Electric Brush Cutter
Electric, or cordless, versions are run by a plug-in through an extension cord (that you must furnish) or a battery pack ( I suggest having two batteries on standby in order to get the jobs done). I find both these versions limiting in that you may not get the power you need, where you need it, or for as long as you need it. In fact, it’s hard to even find these to purchase due to the popularity of gas-powered cutters.
Gas Power Cutter
A gas power cutter has more options to choose from, can be taken anywhere you need it without worry of having an electrical source. Plus it can power through just about anything it is rated for. Such as heavy, thick weeds, small saplings, or high, tangled grasses.
Here’s a video that covers the differences between gas string trimmers and electric string trimmers – these differences carry over to brush cutters too, with the obvious exception that cutters have metal blades, whereas trimmers have nylon strings.
2 STROKE VS 4 STROKE
A gas powered brush cutter comes with either a 2 stroke or 4 stroke engine. The main difference between the two lay in how the engines run; namely, a 4 stroke weighs more and runs cooler with more output, although the design is more complicated and runs unbalanced. It also is more expensive.
A 2 stroke engine stays balanced due to a more even Powerstroke, is more affordable and easy to maintain, and requires less space: resulting in a smaller engine- which is ideal for handheld maintenance tools.
Watch how a 4 stroke engine compares to a 2 stroke:
Although the features of any particular product will vary due to brand and style, there are a few terms you should be familiar with in order to determine your preferences before purchasing this handy landscaping tool.
The shaft is the connection from the engine to the spinning head, and you can either purchase a straight, or bent shaft brushcutter model. A bent shaft (as seen in the image) can get you closer to your job, but since linking mechanisms are needed to provide the bend, bent shaft models are also more prone to mechanical problems.
Straight shaft models also have more power due to having a direct line to the power source. Many straight shaft models work better with multiple different attachments due to this.
Quick Change Heads
To make a brush cutter more versatile and appealing to a consumer, must have interchangeable heads and multiple attachment options. These models definitely make them more affordable in the long run since they can complete multiple tasks, both small and large. The most popular heads include a string trimmer and blade attachment so you can use your brushcutter as a weed wacker and edger as well.
The quick-change features allow you to change out the heads with a simple tool or lever rather than having to unscrew the entire head unit.
Because brush cutters are pretty heavy duty, you need a good grip to get the job done. A looped handle or two handle-bar type design (as illustrated in the image) are the most popular for a sturdy hold over a long period of use. Both require two hands to hold and control the power of a brushcutter, and since you are using blades and saws at the end, this grip is definitely an important one to consider as you don’t want to become fatigued during use.
Many small engines now come with an anti-vibration feature for when your tool is in idle and not being run. Quality cutters will also have very little vibration when in use, although more will be present with the amount of power output. This very much is a personal preference and can be difficult to gauge from one user to the next, although reading through brush cutter reviews can be helpful in determining how much vibration is felt.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BRUSH CUTTER FOR YOUR JOB
WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?
Brush cutters cost more than a general string trimmer, and also have more overall care over time. If you are unsure if this is a product you need for your job, weigh your options and needs before putting down a few hundred dollars on something you may only use once a year.
WHAT ARE YOU WANTING TO CUT DOWN?
Before you invest in a brush cutter, first decide if you truly need one. Overgrown areas of heavy grasses, weeds, and small trees definitely warrant one- especially if it grows quickly and will require regular maintenance. But if you are looking for a one time fix, renting (or borrowing) the machinery may be the way to go.
ARE YOU PHYSICALLY ABLE TO USE A BRUSH CUTTER?
Not to be confused with a string trimmer, these suckers are heavy! They may not seem so on first heft, but after 20 to 30 minutes of continuous use, you’ll begin to feel it, hence why they come with a harness to wear. Add in the vibration and you have a whole body workout in progress.
HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO CUT?
Large areas of care require a more durable product since you’ll most likely be cutting down vegetation more than once a year. Small areas might be easier to clean up using other tools, which will also result in less of a financial investment.
5 TOP RATED BRUSH CUTTERS TO CONSIDER
HUSQVARNA 223R STRAIGHT SHAFT BRUSHCUTTER
- Dimension: 72 x 24 x 21 inches
- Weight: 9.9 lbs
- Engine Size: 25cc, 2-stroke
- Warranty: 2 years
The two handled brush cutter includes a quick start system, anti-vibration technology, and a 17 inch cutting swath- which can make a pretty path of destruction concerning anything in it’ way. Weighing in at only 9.9 pounds, it is one of the lighter versions on the market currently, and boasts a powerful 25cc engine.
It also have an interchangeable string and blade head, making it multi-purposeful if you need a reason to justify the purchase. Backed by Husqvarna’s 2 year warranty, this cutter ranks high in ratings as a favorite for those working for long hours and with large areas of brush to be cut down. The harness is fully adjustable and allows you to carry the weight on your frame, rather than through your arms.
It has been suggested that non-ethanol gas mixes are used to avoid gumming up the engine over time, or adding an additional ethonyl additive. If not you might be dealing with the added charge to have it serviced every so often to keep it running correctly.
This is a monster of a machine, but is one that should last you for years.
- Solid Steel Shaft
- Well balanced
- ~2.5 hours of runtime on full gas tank
- Interchangeable blade and string head
- Consistent power
- Takes time to adjust the harness
- Bad assembly instructions
- Defective parts can be difficult to get replaced
This brush cutter is definitely for anyone looking for a quality product and has some serious brush cutting needs that will require consistent maintenance.
TROY-BILT TB42 BC GAS BRUSHCUTTER
- Dimension: 36.75 x 12.25 x 11.25 inches (adjustable shaft)
- Weight: 14 lbs
- Engine Size: 27 cc, 2-stroke
- Warranty: 2 years
This unique J-handle design allows for right or left-handed use and has a 16-inch cutting diameter. It is also interchangeable with 10 different heads to mow down anything that stands in your way due to a powerful 27cc engine that can be started through a jump start system (sold separately)- meaning you no longer have to pull a cord multiple times to get your machine running if you so wish!
Although it is powerful and has a steel shaft, it can bend against heavier cuts than what it is rated for, so be sure to keep your tree trimming to saplings or smaller. For basic heavy weed control, it cuts through cleanly without getting tangled. Plus, the attachment blades sharpen easily if they ever dull.
Main concerns surround faulty issues that fall under warranty and were easily, and quickly replaced by a top-notch service department. However, brand new items that only last a few months or show issues after only a few uses can be annoying.
- Good customer service and replacement
- Vegetation does not wind around the shaft
- Interchangeable Heads
- Consistent power
- Steel shaft tubing could be stronger (has bent slightly cutting saplings)
- Long start procedure
- Harness not very supportive
This is a great product for anyone looking to have a multi-purpose machine that can be used for a variety of landscaping uses and can hold up to heavy work.
REMINGTON RM2700 RANCHERO BRUSHCUTTER
- Dimension: 37 x 12 x 11.25 inches
- Weight: 14.5 lbs
- Engine Size: 27 cc, 2-stroke
- Warranty: 2 year
This versatile cutter can transform into an arsenal of landscaping tool through the easy attachment ready shaft. Blower, cultivator, and pole saw are only a few extras you can purchase to use with this particular model due to a powerful 27cc engine equipped with a quick start engine so your efforts can be better put to use than getting it started.
It also comes with an interchangeable bump feed string trimmer head which seems to hold it’s own against large weeds and even young saplings. For a more powerful cut, use the durable steel blade to cut through just about anything that gets in your way.
As it only has a curved handle design, it comes with a supportive shoulder strap to help with the 14 pound overall weight of the product, but it is suggested to purchase a better harness to beter evenly distribute the weight as it can become heavy over time.
- Multiple attachments for multiple jobs
- Powerful engine
- Comes with supportive shoulder strap
- Quickstart pull.
- Low power until warmed up
- Plastic choke could break
- Difficult to change out attachments
This is a good product for the landscaping and yard maintenance enthusiast looking to complete a variety of projects that may be hard to reach.
TIMBERPRO 52CC HEAVY DUTY SPLIT STRIMMER AND BRUSH CUTTER
- Dimension: 73” long
- Weight: 13 lbs
- Engine Size: 52cc, 2-stroke
- Warranty: 2 year
This is a serious bulldog of a machine that boasts a 52cc engine that is said to create havoc with a wooded lot. Three interchangeable cutting heads can tear through just about anything you put in front of it, but just be sure you are ready to handle the power it kicks out.
Sold complete with a heavy duty harness, the two handled design makes sure you have a good grip and full control before getting down and dirty while clearing out your yard of unwanted brush. It also comes with a bump string trimmer to take care of the smaller stuff as well.
As an English product it does ship from overseas but is said to come quickly and at a fair price, and rates amongst the top brush cutters available anywhere. It is a heavy machine and although is said to run smoothly, it also packs a punch and needs to be handled with care.
- Starts on first pull
- Incredibly powerful
- Multiple attachments
- Good for commercial use
- Bulky, but comes with harness
- The overseas company causes delay with replacement/parts
This is a fabulous choice for commercial businesses that need a powerful product that lasts and is versatile enough to take care of multiple jobs in a single afternoon of work.
HUSQVARNA 128LD STRAIGHT-SHAFT TRIMMER
- Dimension: 40 x 10.25 x 12.2 inches
- Weight: 9 lbs
- Engine Size: 28cc, 2-stroke
- Warranty: 2 years
Another convenient tool, this model also boasts interchangeable heads and a strong 28cc engine to power through the many obstacles you may place in its way. Lightweight and easily maneuverable with a straight shaft, this cutter really was made with the backyard enthusiast in mind to get a day’s job done. It also brags a much lower sound while running to help save your ears during long periods of use (although you should always use ear protection).
The curved handle and comfortable shaft grips ensure you have a good hold and can reach into the areas you need without sacrificing strength and exhausting yourself before you can get the job done. Reviews have even suggested it runs as well as a commercial grade product although it is not marketed as one.
- Low vibration
- Well balanced
- Solid construction
- Starts easily
- Leaks bar oil if not stored with tank upright
- Attachment joint has a plastic part that can break with heavy work
- Poor customer service
This is a choice for anyone looking for a simple machine to get some heavy duty work done, but want a true bang for their buck and a reliable cutter that is built to last.
Every brushcutter I researched had strong reviews and ratings, and very few overall issues with their designs. Consumers have spoken and more and more products have become versatile and purposeful to make them both useful and durable in recent years. Although cutters come in electric and battery powered versions, reviews don’t hold them in high regard in relation to their lifespan and overall power, and those that come out on top are the gas powered, 2-cycle engines.
After weighing all the pros and cons my needs surround something a bit more lightweight that I can maneuver with ease on my small frame, but that also can power through some major materials. Therefore my top pick is the Husqvarna 128LD Straight-Shaft Trimmer as it fits my yard needs, is lighter, and has multiple attachments I can use for the various work detail I need it for.
So, if you have been looking for a brushcutter, hopefully, your search is at an end! The above choices are some of the top picks in the current market and include some of the best brush cutter brands available worldwide. Have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you below! And please share!