Monthly Archives: April 2016

Troy-Bilt Brush Cutter TB 42 Review

What is there to say about the Troy-Bilt TB42?

At 27cc’s of displacement and weighing in at 14 lbs, it has the basic specs to be a decent brush cutter and a tremendous weed eater.

Overall we like the Troy-Bilt, but it’s not the best in the class for the money. ($150-200 range).

Check out our main guide on brush cutters to see what you should be looking for.

Let’s talk about the specs

Specs

The 14 lb engine is a two-stroke and 27 cc’s of displacement.

Just on paper a two stroke engine means

  • Having to mix the fuel oil and non-ethanol gasoline, and then having that gas can around for the season. As we said in our overall look at the Brush Cutter and Weed Eater Market this year…we’re not ready to give up the 2 stroke for a 4 stroke or an Electric, but I for one am tired of the arm and a leg that these manufacturers charge for their Company Brand Gasoline.
  • Not to mention the awful fumes of the 2 stroke
  • 2 strokes are still noisy. So you’re still going to need proper noise protection. Be on the look out for our guide to earmuffs and other yard work accessories.

If this isn’t your first rodeo, then Troy Bilt’s engine is giving you more of the same.

Between the motor and the cutting head is a straight shaft made of two pieces. We prefer a solid steel straight shaft for brush cutters, but Troy Bilt is giving you the option to buy and swap out different heads.

The cutting heads are a string trimmer/weed whacker and a “brush cutter”.

I see a lot of companies selling “brush cutters”, but when you examine the product closely, you’re really getting a grass blade.   The reviews mention being able to knock out a 1” sapling with this grass blade, but when I want to clear out some brambles, I want something that looks like a saw.

Attachments – it does accept other attachments

Control – Controlling the beast is done by a J-Handle. That right there should tell you that despite the HP numbers, this is more of a light duty machine. For serious work you need a harness and a bicycle handle.

Rounding out the basic specs, Troy Bilt offers a 2 year limited warranty.

Operation and Usage Notes

Gasoline – This is a 2 stroke, so you will have to mix your fuel and your oil. And if you’ve used two strokes in lawn equipment before, it’s a good idea to use premium fuel with absolutely no ethanol. Ethanol causes two common problems. First it fouls up the carburetor, and then will rot the fuel line. And here’s a pro-tip, add some fuel stabilizer to your fuel mix.   Now ideally, you would drain the tool every time you use it. But most people live in the real world. After a day of ranch work, babysitting the fuel drain isn’t high on the agenda.   Save yourself some trouble and use a stabilizer to prevent problems down the road.

Starting – Modern brush cutters and string trimmers generally start much easier than model that came out just 5 years ago. A good axe chop was what you needed to get one started. Troy Bilt has gotten their system down so that it’s no longer onerous.

They’ve gone one better and offer an electric starter, called Jump Start. You use a drill to get the motor cranked. (sold separately of course)

What will they think of next?

Handling – This comes with a harness for a reason. You may want to replace it with another harness, but even if you think of yourself as a big strapping lad, (or lady), saving your back, knees, and elbow is a good idea. With that said, depending on your level of strength, you might consider this heavy. No one considers this too light.

Cutting – Like I said in the intro, this is more of a trimmer with a blade option and not so much a brush cutter. So if you’re clearing out an orchard or getting rid, I’d opt for something more suited to that.

Long Term

There just isn’t enough data out there for me to make the call right now. We are leaning towards it.  But check back with us.

 

Troy Bilt TB 575 Review

Troy Bilt TB 575 ReviewIntroduction

With Honda not available through Amazon, there are only a couple of 4 bangers out there.  The TB-575 is one of em.  We think it’s the best of the bunch to be honest.

As a reminder the benefits of a 4 stroke brush cutter/stringer

  • No More Fuel Mixing
  • Quieter/Less Vibration
  • Less Noxious Fumes
  • Carb Compliant

But the downsides

  • More complicated than a 2 stroke
  • Harder to use the trimmer as an “edger” as oil runs out of the pan.
  • Heavier

Specs

With that out of the way, the TB 575 does have pretty good specs.  Weighing in at 13 lbs, with an engine that boasts 29 cubic centimeters of displacement, and making a good bit power. (Oddly HP #’s are hard to find). With a D Loop handle and a straight shaft, this should be ready for some serious Weed Eating.

Attachments – You should be able to attach your other Troy Bilt attachments.

Usage and operation

Start Up  – The reviews are mixed on how easy it is to start and how well it keeps going.   The general trend is that people that are very good about running the unit on 100% pure gasoline, with no ethanol, they have no problems.  Whenever I see someone has carburetor issues, it’s often a fuel problem.  But the carb is what mixes the air and the fuel.  If there are problems there, the machine will not start right or ever run right.

A lot of users found that it was hard to start. Some even went as far as to jump start and that did not work well.

There is an easy start option for those who are not fans of the pull start. The easy/jump start uses a power tool to get the motor going.

Idle and Restart – For those that were able to get started and keep it running they found that it would not start once the engine got hot or the outside temperature was very warm.

All that being said many found it was easy to adjust the idle after it was started.  This is sometimes a problem on brush cutters and weed eaters.

Ergonomics –  When it comes the ergonomics of the TB 575, it is a big dumb oaf. Most reviewers say that the unit is very heavy for a string trimmer.  On top of being very heavy,  It does not come with a harness. So a prudent buyer would get a harness when they buy this unit.

When you are actually using the unit, the lack of harness make it very awkward. When something is hard to use you use it less or you hate it whenever you use it. Never a good sign

Vibration and Noise –  Using the machine is like riding a roller coaster. It vibrates a lot which is what you expects with the cutting tool but there is no vibration protection in the handles. And what that means is, when you’re actually cutting you are vibrating the hell out of your elbows.  Many describe the unit as loud.

Bump Head Design, Line Feed, and Reload – The spool  is not well designed. Now when you have to reload the line it is he’s easy to do but since the the poor design makes the string snaps. This means that you have to rethread constantly. When it comes to adding more line the bump head does not work well.  This is a common complaint on these models, and it’s hard to chalk it up to user error.  Indeed, if everyone is making the same mistake – perhaps a redesign is in order.

Sometimes  the head comes apart. Other times is hard to change the line.  And under heavy usage the head will get hot and some of the internals melt.

Long Term

Build Quality – In terms of build quality, there were many recorded complaints

  • Gas cap leaks
  • Screws are poor
  • Air filter housing fell off.

Long Term Engine Issues – In terms of the engine it has oil problems. Either the engine runs to hot) all of the oil, or the engine itself leaks oil. When these things happen the engine overheats. One user even opened the inside of his engine and found that pieces that fell off into the case itself and scratch the size of the cylinder. Once the sides of the cylinder are scratched, the engine will lose compression. Once you lose compression, you lose power. If you lose power you cannot do the job.

Endemic to all two-stroke engines there are fuel problems. Either the user uses ethanol instead of pure gasoline. ethanol corrodes and rots the fuel line between the tank and the engine itself. Or ethanol itself gums up the carburetor.

No Clutch – In terms of transmitting the power from the engine to the cutting head the TB575 does not use a clutch. Motor turns the shaft which turns the head. When using it as a brush cutter, this design flaw means that you have a one-to-one relationship with the power of the engine and the cutting strength of the blade.

Conclusion

In terms of using the tool is actually better to use it as a brush cutter rather than a weed eater.  But by limiting the function, we can put this on the short list.

Poulan Pro – PP25CFA Review

Specs

Engine – This model is a two-stroke engine.  Two stroke engines always require a fuel mix of oil and gas. And as usual you have to make sure that the gasoline is pure gasoline does not contain any ethanol.  And in storing the fuel, add some fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.  You can always buy premix if you prefer, but it’s generally more expensive.  And given these modern times, adjusting the carburetor may be necessary for it to start, and not run lean or rich.

Shaft – The shaft on this model is not the straight solid steels shaft that we prefer but rather a curved shaft. What a curved shaft does allow more precision work.  The curve  allows the user  to see the cutting head.  All curved shaft trimmers use multi-linkage transmission in order to get the power from the engine to the cutting head.  Adding pieces between the motor and the head increases complexity, increases points of failure, and decreases power. (In most cases)  For brush cutting, we have found that a straight solid steel shaft is the standard when dealing with brush, brambles, saplings, and very woody grasses.

Handle – The handle is a “D” Loop handle.  Again, this is appropriate for weed eating but not for brush cutting.

Attachments –  The Poulan Pro takes its all attachments from other models as well as Ryobi attachments.

Assembly – Our research did not uncover many people complaining of difficult assembly.

Operation

Starting  and Restarting – With most gas powered two cycle engine power tools,  there’s always a question of how easy is it start. The Poulan Pro is not very easy to start when compared with other modern models.  Even after getting it going, some users found that the restart (which is typically easy) to not be so easy.

Sometimes the hard start issues are about adding enough gas to the choke in order to get the fuel to the engine. Sometimes that can be resolved by reading the manual carefully.  There is usually a factory prime/choke procedure.
What also might be happening is that the carburetor might need adjusting. If carburetor is not adjusted correctly engine will not enough fuel or error in order to work properly. Not many users are familiar with small engines. Adjusting the carburetor by not be easy, some of these new brush cutters and weed whacker’s require a special tool specifically to adjust the carburetor.

Ergonomics, Weight and Vibration – When you get the Poulan Pro going, intensive vibrates a lot. This on top of it being particularly heavy. Although I’ve read some reviews were women had no problems using it mulls reviews say that the Poulan Pro is a bit unwieldy to use.

Break in – Now if this is your first usage of the of the Poulan Pro, it’s important to break in the engine.  In an automobile, the engines are typically broken in at the factory.  And even in that case, most manuals and careful drivers do not put the car under heavy load for the first 500 to 1,000 miles.  With 2 stroke engines, break in usually starts in the first 30 minutes to an hour.  Some even say that the machine is not totally broken in until 10 hours.

Power – Many users felt that the Poulan Pro’s were under powered. In addition to not being up to snuff, some said the unit would get hot and then stop. Once an engine overheats, you have to wait certain amount of time in order for it to cool down and then restart.  Weedwhacking is rarely a  pasttime, so prolonging a chore is never good.

Hours, Fuel and Consumption – Again when it comes to fuel the two stroke so requires mix in the fuel and motor oil. And it’s always a good idea to use pure gasoline or something like Tru gas.  Users found that the machine had good fuel economy and could go hours before it needed more gasoline.

Line Feed and Use – Most said that the string was fine for cutting, though sometimes hard to find.  The real source of contention was how hard it was to reload.

Conclusion

Our overall impression of the Poulan Pro is that there are too many real world reports that say it does not keep running.  With overheating issues a concern, this would not be on the short list.

Dewalt DCST990H1 String Trimmer Review

We do not review too many electric string trimmers on Brushcutter Central, but battery-powered car garden tools have vastly improved over the years. That brings us to the Dewalt DCST990H1 40 volt Max.

Advantage of Electric over Gas

Now the advantages of having a electric powered garden tool are many. First you do not have to buy gasoline or any other fuel, you just need to plug-in the battery so that you can recharge. By not buying fuel you no longer have to buy ethanol free gasoline nor do you have to buy motor oil. Both of which are required for two-stroke and four stroke engines. On top of that you do not need to worry about changing oil, changing air filters, changing spark plugs, or noise and fumes associated with the gasoline engine. Another advantage is that you do not need to pull the motor to start, just pull the trigger and go.

Specs and overall Power

The unit itself also comes with a low setting  so that you can attack different types of foliage easily. In terms of power some have even found that the trimmer could get through 1 inch thick saplings.  Saplings?  Could we use this as a brush cutter?

Operations

Heavy Battery – What you do have to worry about an electric powered garden tool is that the size of the battery is as heavy or heavier than the motor that it replaced. And whenever you have a heavy garden tool, it requires the use of a harness. This particular unit does not come with a harness the box so you will have to use one that you already have or purchase new one.

Ergonomics – In the case of this Dewalt string trimmer, it has straight shaft. We like straight shaft. But the heavy battery does not allow for good balance. If you have a shoulder strap you should definitely use it. Overall when using the string trimmer the vibration is low and because it is not an engine strapped to your back.

No Fumes – With a power string trimmer there aren’t any fumes from the gasoline, and more importantly the headaches associated with those fumes.

General Ease of use –  Many female users were not bothered by the weight, and one older woman said that she used it very easily.  Tall users thought that this machine was great. Long straight shafts make it easier for tall people to use garden tools because they do not need to bend over as much.

Power – Power is the usual the concern of people who switch from gas to electric. In the past electric power tools did not have the will nor power to do the job. If they did not run out of charge, there was not enough charge in order to cut the necessary weeds.

In the case of this Dewalt string trimmer you can use it for 60 to 90 minutes before you need to recharge. Many were surprised by the nice torque.  A lot of users realize that would’ve been a better idea to get larger battery volts rather than two small batteries at 20 V.

Line Feed – Now it comes to cutting the actual lawn many found that the feet of line from the head needed to be changed. The design requires the user to follow the head line, which is not optimal. And when it comes to adding more line to the spool it was very difficult.

Debris – Now when the line is actually trying many found that the debris would come back at them. Especially if they were right handed. And one user in particular found that it was hard to cut wet grass with this Dewalt string trimmer.

DeWalt vs Black & Decker

One user made a comparison to Black & Decker the walls found that the B&D was better for small lawns, and the Dewalt better for larger lawns. I don’t personally agree with that.

The Black and Decker Unit is lighter, so that makes it easier for small lawns – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a small lawn doesn’t have big lawn problems. The DeWalt is a heavier machine because of the big battery. Larger battery means both more power and more endurance. If the B&D can get the job done by all means, choose that one over the DeWalt, but if you’re not sure – go with a DeWalt or higher powered option.

Conclusion

All in all this has been the best electric string trimmer that we have reviewed. We wholeheartedly recommend the string trimmer for people to small lawns big lawns and the occasional farm.

GreenWorks – 21362 Review

Have we entered the future?  When we started this website a few years back, the idea that you could drive around town in a battery powered vehicle that was not some hopped up golf cart was ludicrous.   But technology has improved and the costs have been brought down to the point that a lot of us could be picking up groceries in something like this.

Can you pack enough battery power into a brush cutter to make it useful?

This review is for the GreenWorks 21362. This is only the second electric weed whacker that we covered. In an earlier review we look at the Dewalt electric string trimmer, and we really like that one and recommend it.

 

Why electric gas trimmer over a gas trimmer?

Engines are heavy, and is required gasoline, two-stroke engines require gasoline and oil, there are air filters, there are fuel lines that get corroded or broken, there are fumes, there is a lot of noise, and there’s a lot of vibration.  This does not even get into any environmental concerns.  Most of us have had to buy special carburetor tools to tune our Carb Compliant 2 Strokes, or settle for inferior 4 stroke power tools.

For decades the primary advantage of a gasoline powered device has been twofold,

  • first it has the power necessary to do the job and
  • second energy density of gasoline or another fossil fuel allows one to do a job for a long time.

With electric string trimmers you no longer have all of those issues.

So now, the main concerns are is there enough power?  And what about obsolescence?

Will this Greenworks weed eater review as well as a standard? string trimmer?

Battery versus Corded

Now why a battery over a corded electric model? That is a good question. The main problem with the corded electric string trimmers are that the courts are not long enough for a typical size lawn. And even when it cord is long enough for you use an extension, cord gets tangled up. So for backyard duty, a corded trimmer is an option, but it’s not the best option.

The GreatWorks string trimmer eliminates all of those things. It has no cord. It is not a gas engine, so there is excessive noise, nor are there any fumes.  There vibration comes from the cutting action, not the working of the motor.

The user no longer needs to mix the motor oil and fuel. (Although you could get a 4 stroke to eliminate that, we’ve talked about 4 strokes before) With an electric,  you just press the trigger go.

You also don’t have to worry about the idle nor do you have to worry about carburetor issues. You do not have a story about fuel line issues either.

Downsides to this Electric String Trimmer

What we found was that  string trimmer was surprisingly  heavy.  It makes that sense that in order to get the power necessary to do the job you need a big battery.  But that batterycan be as heavy as a two stroke or four stroke engine.

Operation

Attachments – Some users have reported that they can still use some of their attachments from other devices on this particular unit. Anytime that you can use different wellhead or a grass blade or a brush cutter so that saves money. Saving money is a good thing.

Ergonomics – With a heavy battery,  this model ships with a harness. Even with a harness many users found this unit to be awkward and hard to use.

It does have a nice long straight shaft which is useful for brush cutting, but the typical user for this is only tending to a small lawn and may prefer to having curved shaft so that they can do the necessary detail work for that lawn.

Run Time –  Many users said the battery could last quite long. Some said they were good up to one hour of usage.  That’s more than a typical brush cutter.  But if you have more to do, you need additional batteries.  Many advised to get four ampere battery and 72 and. This was necessary so that they have more time to use the device.

Also when recharging the battery, it makes sense to do so  in a climate controlled environment, as opposed to a garage which might be warmer than the interior.  There was discussion over whether there might be a temperature sensor within the charging unit that does not allow the charge when it is too hot.  At press time, we do not have an unit in the office for an official tear down.

Usage – When it comes time to actually doing the work, many found that the multi speed is very useful. They also found that it had very good torque. So much torque that some users were able to use the string trimmer as a tiller.  Will it brush?  We’re not sure yet.  Stay tune for a more indepth review.

Overheating – On the downside this matter unit can over heat just like a gas engine. On top of that some of found it was hard to use the string trimmer as an edger.

Feedback from the Unit – The way that trimmer works requires you to hear a signal weighing it is losing power.  Apparently its easy to miss

If there were any complaints or a need to get repairs made some found that customer service is good in others found customer service.

Long Term

Customer Service – The customer service reports are hit and miss, but reports that is to be expected

Conclusion

Have we gotten to the promised land of electric brush cutters?  Sadly, not yet.  This is however very high on our list of string trimmers.

Tanaka TCG31EBSP Brush Cutter Review

You had me at commercial grade.  The folks over at Tanaka put together a great machine that has good specs and top features.  But will it brush?  Here’s what we look for.

Specs

A 30.8 cubic centimeter 2-stroke engine makes a nice 1.4 horsepower.  The engine turns the cutting head through a solid steel shaft.  All of this is controlled by a bicycle bar’s style handle.

This is everything we look for in the basic specs and design of a brush cutter. A powerful motor driving a solid steel shaft and controlled by bicycle bars.  Tanaka thoughtfully includes a necessary harness so that it will be easy to control the beast in an extended brush cutting session.

Assembly – Nowadays, most of brush cutters and string trimmers come mostly assembled.  In this case, out of the box the only things that needed to be put together are the guard for the cutting head, the handle to control the unit, and the blade.

Operations

Starting – As we’ve noted with other Tanakas, typically the starting is easy.  But there is always concern with keeping it running.  The carb may need adjusting before it will run properly.  The reviewers were decidely mixed on whether the TCG31 was easy to start.   As with all 2-strokes, proper fuel must be added (100% gasoline, no ethanol) and fuel stabilizer added to the storage tank for the season.

Brush Cutting – That’s what this unit is for, and most of the reports suggest that this is up there with a herd of goats when it comes to gnawing away vegetation.

String trimming – This is not the ideal lay out for a string trimmer, and that’s compounded by the bad trimmer head that plagues Tanakas.

Long Term

Build Quality – Problems with the trimmer head are noted above.   There have been reports of air filters that fall off.  Bolts and screws that unscrew themselves during operation. An in-thread adhesive like Loctite might be in order.  Ideally would not have to get a second party accessory to make the unit run properly. Also one person mentioned a broken gas line.

Customer Service –  Even though the units have shipped with poorly designed heads, customer service is largely seen as good, given the frustration of a device that does not always work properly fresh out of the box.   As usual, check to see if there are nearby service centers.

Conclusion

This unit definitely requires more research on our part.  Hopefully we can get one into office to give a once over.  Given the number of trimmer head issues that we’ve run into and some issues with assembly and design.

Poulan Pro PP325 Review

Poulan Pro 325 ReviewThis is more of a string trimmer than brush cutter.  But it does come with both a 17″ line and a 8″ weed blade.  The unit will also fit a edge, blower, cultivator, and pole pruner.  On top of that, you can probably use your other attachments from other manufacturers.

Let’s do the numbers first.

Specs and what’s in the Box

The unit weighs in at 12 lbs. The two stroke motor clocks in at a nice 25 cubic centimeters. A straight two piece shaft connects the motor to the cutting head.  All of that is controlled by simple handles.

The engine requires 100% pure gas.  10% ethanol fuel mixtures will undoubtedly befoul the carburetor and rot the fuel lines.  And for the serious, adding fuel stabilizer to the gas tank for refueling will also extend the life of the any 2 stroke unit.

As usual, when ordering things online, please make sure that all of the necessary pieces are in the box, including the manual.  And do this BEFORE you put gas in the tank.  The Post Office and a lot of retailers will not take back a unit that has had gasoline in it. (You might get away with it, but do not be surprised if a unit with gasoline is refused)

Operation

Starting – After assembly, most users found that this unit was easy to start.  No mentions of broken pulleys or cords that would not retract.

Ergonomics – As string trimmers go, this is not a light unit. So keep that in mind when if you’re considering it.  We believe that a heavy string trimmer should come with a harness and use a bicycle bar style handles to make the work of keeping your property maintained easy.  This unit comes with a shoulder strap.

Weed Whacking and Brush Cutting – This is not a unit that does quick changes.  It requires an Allen wrench to swap out the blade from the string head. Keep that in mind.  The blade that it comes with may need sharpening at first.

Long Term Impressions, Service and Warranty

Build Quality – Some of the reviewers were mixed on this.  There were instances of the shafts not fitting together, and air filters falling off

Conclusion

This does not make our short list, not at this price point and availability.

Husqvarna 223R Review

SHow we evaluate brush cutters can be found here.

The 223R is another entrant from Swedish powerhouse Husqvarna.

This model is in the premium section. It boasts a  standard two-stroke engine with a straight shaft.  The engine is CARB-Compliant, which out of the box might need little adjustment with a carburetor spline tool.

The motor displaces 25 cm³ and puts out 1.1 hp.  Noise wise, this is 98 decibles at the ear.

The shaft is straight. Managing this beast is done by a two handle bike bar set up.  This is our preferred set up for a brush cutter, as it allows better control over in big jobs.  In the box is a two strap harness, standard.

No one complained that the box was damaged. It came all of its parts. When it comes to assembling these guys, I’m betting that the Husky technical writers were classmates with the folks over at Ikea.  It’s somewhat intuitive, but not necessarily easy.

Operations

Starting – There is a big difference in the earlier reviews of the products where many users complained that it was hard to start.  The later reviews remark on how easy it was to start.  The hallmark of modern weed whackers is easy start.  We just assumed that that each iteration of the model is slightly better than the last.  When these things fail to start, or the line does not retract – there is usually an issue with the pulley.  We have not torn one down to see if the pulley is made of plastic, but too much strength on a plastic pulley has felled many a string trimmer.

Cutting brush – When it comes to brush cutting,  most found that this unit did not bog down until it hit the burliest of saplings and brambles.  The real issue is that the blade gets dull.  Switching to a different blade is probably the best fix for that. A beaver blade, a set of Renegades or a Tri-blade are good options.

The in the box blade  is more of a grass blade and a brush cutter.  When it comes to trimming the grass, the bump head works but this is primarily a brush cutter.  If you do multi-task, you should buy line when you order this unit.

Coverage –  People were able to work easily their backyards, and go all the way up to 4 acres. This is made possible by the harness.  The harness makes it easy for people of various shapes and sizes get to work.  And a usage tip, 1) put on harness, 2) start machine, 3) attach machine to harness.

Fuel – With respect to fuel economy many were able to get 30 minutes for the tank. Of course this will vary based on the sort of thing that you’re cutting.  Longer for weaker grass and less for harder saplings. This is not the best fuel economy in the class in fact it is one of the worst.

Overheating – Running any string trimmer in the heat of summer opens up the possibility of overheating.  A well designed unit will avoid that.  Doing the research, we could not find evidence of rampant overheating with the 223R.

Long Term, Warranty, and Service – The standard 2 year warranty applies.  We looked for typical repairs needed, but did not find any that warrant special comment.

Conclusion

As brush cutters go, the 223R is one of the better ones out there.  The straight shaft, double harness, and bicycle bars puts the unit in our upper echelon.  Not being able to track down obvious issues, also raises the profile of this unit.

Husky 128 DJX Review


Introduction

The 128DJX is one of the most popular string trimmer/brush cutters on the market today. It’s very similar to its brother the 128DJ.   Husqvarna, a Swedish power tools company, certainly did their homework on this model.

128DJX vs 128DJ – The Mutant Gas Trimmer

Just to set the record straight, the DJX takes Husqvarna parts only, and the 128DJ takes parts from other manufacturers.  So if you do not like the bump head unit that comes with you can replace it with a Tanaka bump head.  The benefit to the DJX is that the Husky parts are often better quality than other manufacturers.  To our knowledge this is the only “X” variant in the Husky line.  Let us know in the comments if you know another one.

Specs and Assembly

This engine is a two-stroke and 28 cm³ that puts out a solid 1 horsepower.  That power is transmitted by a  straight shaft. Like we said in our guide, we generally prefer straight shafts.  Curving the shaft means losing power and increasing the chances that something will break.  Not saying to use a brush cutter or string trimmer is to abuse it – but sometimes those weeds do not want to be whacked.

Guiding the unit is done via a loop handle.  And the handle has vibration dampening features.

 

The downside to this straight shaft is that it’s a two piece. The bottom half is detachable which allows for adding on your attachments.   It comes with a  “D” loop handle.  This is a brush cutter site, so we prefer bike bars for their  maneuverability during long jobs.  But if you are not going to be taming the Amazon, a J handle or “D” Loop will do the job.

Some were unlucky in the unit ships with a bad packaging. Sometimes they’re missing pieces or even missing handles. With that in mind one user found that they drop the unit is still work after they dropped.

In the box, you get a bump head for string trimming and a grass blade.  A grass blade is not the same as a brush cutter blade, but this unit is designed for lighter duty than a full-on brush cutter.

Once everything was checked, many found that the unit was easy to assemble.  The manual…well let’s just say that people were mixed on how good the manual is. Mechanically inclined folks should be able to put this together and use best practices to get it running and keep it running.

Operations

In general, the 128DJx is easy to start and cuts well.

The unit has a vibration dampening handle, but the reviewers were pretty happy with it.

Many found the 128DJx to be heavy.  Heavy is always relative, but 10.8 pounds of metal, fuel, and fumes is something that’s always at the back of our minds.  Tall users did not have to hunch over to use this.

Engine wise, all 2 strokes require a break in period. This does not happen with your car, because they break in the engine at the factory typically. If you’re familiar with them, you don’t run the trimmer/cutter too hard for your first ten hours.  Sometimes even with that, the overall performance might not be to your liking.  Most users found that the break in was fine in this unit, though you can find reviews where it did not seem to work.

This unit is carb compliant in a requires spline tool to adjust the carburetor.  The carburetor needed adjustment in some reviews. You will need a special tool if you find the engine running lean or rich. The same fuel rules apply to this 128DJx.  Always use 100% pure gasoline. Absolutely no ethanol.  Add a fuel stabilizer to your mix that you keep in the garage. Ethanol will clog the carburetor

When it comes to whacking weeds distributor works very well.  It did not bog down and did not hesitate.

In terms of power,  the unit was able to cut through wild parsnip and could handle the brush in an orchard. Some users liked it enough for regular farm work.  If you really want to get the most out of this unit is a heavy duty line.

Long Term, Repairs, Maintenance, Service, and Warranty

For the people dealing with overheating problems they found it would not start. Manual is online and so are the service center locations.

When it comes to the warranty, the main problem most people have with string trimmers are related to fuel line/carburetor issues. This is a 2 year limited warranty, and they limit what they cover.

Conclusion

This is a great string trimmer for your typical needs.  If you do not own one, put the 128DJx on your short list. If you do have a string trimmer and other accessories, consider the 128DJ so that you can get further value from the equipment you already have.

Husky 223L Review

223L Review

One of our top 3 Two Stroke Brush Cutters

Introduction

Another day, another Husky to review at Brush Cutter Central.  Husqvarna is a Swedish company best known for their chainsaws.  Their equipment is mentioned in the same breath as Echo, Stihl, Toro, and Ryobi.  The 223L fits right into their product mix, but is it up to snuff as a brush cutter and weed eater?

That’s what we aim to find out with this review of the 223L.  Here’s our overall criteria on how to judge a brush cutter. It’s a lot like the 223R, except for the loop handle.

 

 

 

Specs and Assembly

The engine displaces a healthy 24.5 cm³ making a health 1.01 HP. The two-stroke engine, requiring all of the usual maintenance that accompanies the fuel efficient two-stroke engine, including

  • 100% pure gasoline, absolutely no ethanol. Ethanol gums up the carburetor and corrodes the fuel lines
  • The pure gasoline has to be mixed with the proper motor oil, or purchasing the manufacturer’s pre-mixed fuel
  • Adding a fuel stabilizer like Sta-Bil will also help the overall longevity of the engine

The carburetor does need adjustment if it isn’t running properly, especially at high altitude.

A straight shaft leads to the cutting head, and everything is handled by a “D” loop handle.

Start, Idle, and Usage

It starts very easy and it runs very easy.  Modern string trimmers are usually easy to start, ideally less than 5 pulls. That being said, I know a lot of us are used to older models that required a Hank Aaron swing to get going.  This unit has a nylon pulley system that can definitely break if you put too much oomph into your pull.

Some found the engine ran hot, in particular the exhaust stream was very hot.  It’s important to wear protective clothing when using any power tool, and gas trimmers are no exception.  Eye, Ear, and skin protection are needed at the very least.

Some found it was very loud, another start vibration was very hard for the unit.  The waste debris was also an issue for some users.  The shield did not catch as much as many would have liked.

In terms of ergonomics users were split on whether or not it was a good fit for everybody and tall people didn’t like it at all.  One of the issues is that it does not have an obvious place to hook in an aftermarket harness. (The unit does not come with a strap or harness)

When it comes to starting the unit the assembly sometimes breaks. It is important to remind ourselves with these modern units there’s no need to keep pulling and pulling pulling heavily in order to get the unit to work

Reloading the bump head? Most found that the line was easy to replace.

Concerns and Longevity

As mentioned above the nylon starter pulley is prone to break.

Also the warranty is limited to only two years and for the carburetor it is only 30 days.

After researching hundreds of reviews, many users have gotten more than 3 years out of this model.  Assuming that they did what was necessary to maintain these models, it’s likely that a new unit will have the same life.

Conclusion

With an easy hand, and being mindful of the heat generated by this model, we recommend it.