The best brush cutter
Tackling the toughest, densest parts of your yard requires the hardiest of tools: the brush cutter. When simple string trimmers won't do, brush cutters rid your lawn of thicker, woodsy stems, branches, and encroaching brush.
In addition to clearing out space, these powerful machines also work to trim weeds, hedges, or dig up soil. Our buying guide can help you determine whether or not you need a brush cutter, and if you do, which one is right for you. Our top pick from Husqvarna offers plenty of power and is comfortable and easy to use.
Considerations when choosing brush cutters
With most lawn and garden tools, you have different power source options. Some are electric, charged by batteries, or plugged into an outlet. Simple tools can be manually operated. As brush cutters require a lot of power to effectively work, they're gas-powered -- you'll be hard-pressed to find a quality electric brush cutter. Generally, gas-powered machines are noisy alternatives to electric options, and they're less environmentally friendly; however, they're more durable and effective on tough jobs.
Two- or four-stroke
Two-stroke engines require a mix of gas and oil in precise proportions in order to work. While these are harder to tend to, two-stroke brush cutters are less expensive and lighter than four-stroke options.
Four-stroke brush cutters have a separate tank for oil and gas. While they're heavy and expensive, they're more energy-efficient than two-stroke varieties. They're also more useful at larger, harder-to-clear areas than two-stroke brush cutters.
There are a few different details to keep in mind when examining the head of the brush cutter.
Size: Larger heads are able to tackle more areas effectively, but they can struggle in tight spots.
Material: Steel blades are durable and powerful. String trimmers can attempt to do the work of some brush cutters, but the nylon they use isn't strong enough to use on branches or wood.
Guard: The larger the guard, the more protection you have from any flying debris.
Some brush cutters accommodate different attachments to offer versatility. A brush cutter head can be swapped out to be a string weed cutter or hedge trimmer. Some options allow you to swap out different blades as well, depending on the task. This is useful if you don't have any lawn care tools but could be redundant if you already have a collection.
The shaft of the brush cutter can be curved or straight. The decision on which one to get comes down to personal preference. Some users enjoy a straight shaft, as it offers a bit more protection and length at getting to the brush. Curved options, on the other hand, can offer better control and maneuverability.
Brush cutters feature a closed-loop grip or a handlebar to wield the device. While the former allows for different positions, handlebar options provide greater leverage. Some grips or handles are adjustable. You can find brush cutters that offer harnesses -- these provide maximum support and comfort when undertaking bigger jobs.
A quality two-stroke brush cutter costs anywhere from $150 to $250, with powerful four-stroke options likely costing over $300. However, if you have a weed eater that can switch out attachments, you may be able to find a brush cutter head for under $100.
Q. What kind of maintenance do brush cutters require?
A. After use, be sure to clean out the cutter and the guard as best you can to remove grass, weeds, and dirt, which can harden over time. You may want to rinse off the blades when done using. Some brush cutters require an oil change, spark plug change, or a new filter once or twice a year. Sharpen the blades a few times or a year, or change their direction if they're reversible.
Q. What protection should I use when operating a brush cutter?
A. Brush cutters are powerful machines, and you should exercise caution when using them. It's advised to wear proper footwear, gloves, and goggles to protect your face. There is always the chance a piece of wood or brush could fly back at you. Make sure any children or pets are well away from the area. Stay hydrated when working intensely on hotter days.
Brush cutters we recommend
Best of the best: Husqvarna's Bike Handle Pro Brush Cutter
Our take: Comfortable, easy-to-wield brush cutter that packs a punch.
What we like: Ergonomic design and simple construction make this powerful brush cutter easy to start and use. Features grass and blade saws.
What we dislike: A pricier option considering the size and power.
Best bang for your buck: Remington's RM2700 Ranchero Brush Cutter
Our take: Heavy-duty, versatile brush cutter to get many jobs done.
What we like: Attachments allow brush cutters to be a trimmer, blower, edger, or cultivator. Curved handle and shoulder strap make jobs less taxing.
What we dislike: Smaller head requires more effort to cover larger areas.
Choice 3: Jonsered's BC2228 Gas Brush Cutter
Our take: Comfortable, powerful brush cutter with blade and trimmer attachments.
What we like: Easy to start, stop, and maintain. Designed for safety and support. Powerful motor cuts through brush quickly.
What we dislike: Loud engine; may require earplugs to use.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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