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Line trimmer/Whipper snipper review

Our line trimmer review is now update for 2019 (member content). We review based on trimming performance short and long grass, especially vertical trimming along lawn edges, noise, plus comfort and ease of use. For other tips such as shaft type, engine type and things to look out for, see our free line trimmer buying guide.

Do you have an experience with this garden maintenance tool? Share it below and help inform other Community members.

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I bought a ‘professional standard’ Stihl with straight shaft about 15 years ago, now. I’m told the newer cable shafts are very reliable, but I’d still recommend the straight shaft. It gets intermittent and sometimes very, very heavy use - cutting grass a metre tall and edging measured in kilometres. The harness is a must for this kind of usage level. The line-feed system works reasonably well - newer ones will be better. I’ve had zero trouble except for operator error; the ‘cup-head’ fittings over the line-feeder are a bit expensive.
(My Stihl chainsaw is 40 years old and still starts on the third pull after sitting idle for months. Which gives me some brand loyalty!) It’s one solution - buy a (relatively) expensive professional-standard machine and never need to replace.

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I could add to that recommendation, although the Choice review comparison may be between tools intended to operate 30-60 minutes for a typical yard weekly, but not heavier duty or continuously for an eight hour day.

Some of the products reviewed appear to be more than suitable for larger 2,000-4,000sqm blocks. Perhaps a separate recommendation within the selected products is possible for those better suited to heavier duty.

It’s most likely the average home owner does not need to spend $1,000 on a brush cutter that can take out four metre tall grass or scrub. Stihl is just one of the brands that produce reliable products for professional use.

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I’ll also second that. I’ve had one of the Honda UMS425 units in the review for more than 10 years. We have a relatively large block in the foothills and the trimmer is used for several hours at a time both days of the weekend this time of the year and into early summer, every few weekends It has been extremely reliable and I personally really like the fact that it is a 4-stroke. I have replaced the head with a newer head that makes replacing line easier and quicker. This is purely a convenience thing though. I also have a Stihl chainsaw and blower which have been very reliable, so if they are anything to go on I’d expect their trimmers to be great too.

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The buying guide mentions that 4 stroke motors are less polluting than 2 stroke. This is quite so, much of the oil in 2 stroke mix goes into the air as fine particulates due to incomplete combustion. Don’t dismiss this just because it is a minor matter within the scale of global pollution - which it probably is.

Do consider if you or other users want to breath in this pollution. If your lungs are compromised in any way or you are asthmatic a 2 stroke will probably give you much more trouble than a 4 stroke. Of course if you can get it done with an electric that is even better. The same could be said of other petrol power tools, dirt bikes etc but I digress.

As others have said consider how much use the trimmer will get. A cheap trimmer on a big block will not be a saving in the long run.

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I have a Stihl Wood Boss chainsaw that is over 30 years old and still starts with a couple of attempts despite not being used for many months at a time.

It was originaly bought for business for clearing forest but is now used for the odd domestic job.

Minimal repairs over the decades, mainly fiddley items such as fuel caps, fuel priming bulb, filters, etc.

Fantastic product.

I also had an Echo straight shaft brush cutter which I used to clear lantana and guinea grass when we built our previous residence.

A great machine with minimal maintenance but the mechanic said that the shaft was wearing out and it was not economical to repair.

I donated it to Lifeline still in working order after almost 20 years of use.

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