View Full Version : Weed Whacker Recommendations

Vaughn McMillan
03-29-2006, 8:30 PM
Last spring my McCulloch gas weed whacker (string trimmer, to the trademark police) bit the dust, and I'm looking for recommendations for a replacement. It'll soon be time to whack back the growth on the hillside in our back yard. I need to trim back the winter's worth of grasses and weeds before the fire season arrives. The area in question is probably about 10,000 sf, most of which is on a 30 to 45 slope. I've read that straight shaft trimmers are easier to use on a hillside -- my old one had the curved shaft.

I only use the trimmer once a year (maybe twice, but unlikely), so I don't want to spend big bucks, but I still want to get a reliable trimmer. (My old Mac was about $80, and it lasted me 10 years or more.) Any suggestions?

- Vaughn

Tom Hamilton
03-29-2006, 8:39 PM
Vaughn I bought an Echo 2100 or 2300 in 2000, have used it weekly for edging sidewalks and beds without any maintenance costs.

I put a new fuel and air filter on each season and reset the plug and it's good to go.

It spins .95 string, not the largest available but pretty stout. I changed the head to accept pre-cut 8" pieces of string and don't have to fuss with winding the dispenser head anymore.

As an alternative, maybe you could rent one of those wheeled "industrial strength" string trimmers for occasional use on the hillside.

Best regards, Tom

Steve Clardy
03-29-2006, 8:44 PM
Elmanual:eek: :rolleyes: ;)

Curt Fuller
03-29-2006, 8:49 PM
Elmanual:eek: :rolleyes: ;)

That's also a good way to work on your golf swing;)

Don Baer
03-29-2006, 9:02 PM
I bought one of these a few years ago and it will definitly do the job.
I won't need it in AZ so I'll make you a good deal on it if your interested.

PM me if your interested.

It's electric but hey it start the first time every time. Stop by Home depot and check it out. Its heavy duty.

Bill Lewis
03-29-2006, 9:03 PM
Steve, that's not a weed wacker, that's a weed beater! Especially when doing around fence posts.:eek:

I've had a couple of Echo's which have been good to me. Straight shaft? I prefer'm. Run you about $300 though.

Steve Clardy
03-29-2006, 9:26 PM
Steve, that's not a weed wacker, that's a weed beater! Especially when doing around fence posts.:eek:

I've had a couple of Echo's which have been good to me. Straight shaft? I prefer'm. Run you about $300 though.

Weed beater:eek:
Yes. I growed up with one of those babies, or several actually.:(

I still keep one around when the gas job won't start.:mad:

Jim DeLaney
03-29-2006, 9:39 PM
I sure like my straight shaft Stihl!

Ken Fitzgerald
03-29-2006, 10:10 PM
Vaughn..........I had my old one give up the ghost 3 years ago. I bought a STihl.........gas...........no power cord to mess with! Gave a little more but it is a dream to start and it is truly much more impressive than my last gas one!

Joe Mioux
03-29-2006, 10:19 PM
Here is one time --- and the only time---- when I will recommend against a Stihl. There is nothing wrong with Stihl weed whips.

However, Shindawa, is hands down the most comfortable, best performing weed whip I ever used. I have a Shindawa professional and love it.

There are Shindawa's home versions as well. The gas mixture is 40:1 which makes it compatible with Stihl's 50:1 mixture.


It just sounds good:cool:


P.S. No matter which one you buy, go with a straight shaft...

Eddie Watkins
03-29-2006, 10:42 PM
Vaughn, I have to vote Stihl. I bought one last year to replace a Ryobi that constatnly broke the line. The Stihl can use .090 or.105 string and it is amazing how much better it works. Of course it should, it costs about 3 times as much. I think mine is a model 80R. Also, it is really easy to load the line.


Matt Meiser
03-29-2006, 10:48 PM
I have a Homelite with the straight shaft that was relatively inexpensive and has worked well. It will be on its 5th summer this year. I did junk the bump feed head and switched to one where you put in pre cut pieces of line. I only use mine a few times a summer, but when I do, its for an hour or so since I have so much to trim around.

Andy Hoyt
03-29-2006, 11:29 PM
Vaughn - I picked up an Echo GT200R at the borg one time when we were down to the big city. Reasonable cheap and very reliable. I use it for about an hour a week to do edging and then each fall I whack 3000 SF of flower beds which takes about three days. Ugh.

If I were to buy again, I get the long straight armed model. The short curved on can be tough on the back.

Big lesson I learned was the string. The borg only sells light gauge garbage. Go to a real store and get the heavy duty stuff. Lasts forever.

Vaughn McMillan
03-30-2006, 12:11 AM
Elmanual:eek: :rolleyes: ;)

Yeppers, already got me one of them, funny guy. :p

Don, I appreciate the offer on a good deal for the electric, but there's no way I'm gonna drag 200'+ of extension cord up and down a hill and around trees.

The Stihl and Troy-Bilt got good ratings with Consumer Reports, but so did Echo. Anybody have any opionions on the Troy-Bilt 4-cycle models? I know I can get the Troy-Bilt models at Lowes. I'll check around for local Stihl and Shindawa dealers and see what's available locally.

Thanks -

- Vaughn

Don Baer
03-30-2006, 12:27 AM

Don, I appreciate the offer on a good deal for the electric, but there's no way I'm gonna drag 200'+ of extension cord up and down a hill and around trees.

- Vaughn

It cordless. the battery is rated for up to 1 acher. I have ne vet had the battery go dead...

No spark plug,
No gas to mix,
No cord to pull (Starter)
No cord to string.

more power. ho ho ho ho

Keith Outten
03-30-2006, 8:40 AM
Shindawa gets my vote. Mine is several years old and still starts on the first pull every time and gets lots of abuse trimming over 5 acres of trees and buildings.

The homeowner models only last one season for me, they are not a bargain.

Jim Young
03-30-2006, 8:52 AM
I had a homelite for a few years and every time I used it I found new hate for it. Finally gave it away and bought myself a Stihl. When I was looking at the Stihls they had two lines, a homeowner line and a professional line. Since I wanted a durable machine I went with the professional line and now after three years think it was the best $$ spent on a weed eater. I bought the straight shaft version on which you can change the head to different tools, like an edge trimmer.

My decision to go with Stihl is that I was looking at what the landscapers were using, you always see Stihl and Shindawa on their trucks. My Dad has a Stihl chainsaw and he loves it too. With those two items I decided Stihl.

James Suzda
03-30-2006, 11:35 AM
One thing you might want to consider is getting a 4 cycle rather than a two cycle. It sure is nice to be able to just grab a gas can and fill the tank without worrying about the mixture.
Also, get a straight shaft because it is easier to use. I made a bad mistake by getting a curved shaft this time when my old trimmer went south.

Russ Filtz
03-30-2006, 12:17 PM
Straight is better as they can accept the beefier brush blades, etc. Curved shafts can't handle extra torque required, (the drive link inside, not the actual shaft)

Jim Becker
03-30-2006, 4:26 PM
I have a Red Max which is part compatible with Echo and sold by my local Stihl and Echo dealer. Works flawlessly and starts easy. I recently replaced the head with one that takes the quick-install plastic "sticks" rather than winding stuff on a spindle.

Gil Mitchell
03-30-2006, 10:23 PM
Stihl. straight shaft I've had one for 16 years and it's still going strong:D

Michael Stafford
03-31-2006, 6:36 AM
No expert on this subject but around here a lot of the commercial folks use the Robin brand with a straight shaft. Two cycle with a lot of power.

I have one and will never wear it out, I hope. I have a lot of fence and fence posts to weed eat around the back of my property and this thing breezes through anything that comes up. My yard is centipede grass which has a tendency to slither into all the flower beds and natural areas but with the Robin I can trim the beds and edge with one tool.

Brett Baldwin
03-31-2006, 8:37 AM
The sales guy I talked to highly recommended this one..35323

He did say it was top of the line and a little pricey but gave him centuries of good service (I'm sure that was just salesman's hype). He also said that with a little practice, you could split a gnat in half on the fly and demonstrated it right in front of me. It was very impressive.

P.S. He was awfully skinny and looked like he needed a sale badly, I just didn't need one at the time. He said "That's all right, I'll be back around just before you do."