Tanaka Brush Cutter TCG31EBSP Review

Now this is a brush cutter!

At the motor, it puts out a nice 1.4 horse power.  Weighs in at 20 pounds.  That power works the cutting head through a single straight shaft. And you control the monster with bike bar handles.  This is generally the sort of numbers we look for when it comes to a consumer/pro-sumer grade brush cutter.

And turns out that we liked it as much as the other users out there. Recommend.

With stats like that, what did the regular users think?

Assembly and Start Up

This unit is considered easy to assemble.  The shaft and the gear set come assembled. All you need to do is put on the handles and bump head/brushcutter. Though it is always a good idea to give it a once over before you start operating.  You never know if a piece got bumped on the delivery. Once put together, it’s time to start it.

Many users found it was easy to start.  Easy start is a general industry advancement.  When we were kids, you had to be John Bunyan to get some of these machines to start.

Once it got going, most found that this motor did not idle well.  As is the case with many modern 2-stroke engines, for emission reasons, the carburetors are not always tuned to local conditions.  Maybe you’re not at sea level.  Maybe you operate in an environment that is hotter than most or colder than most.

You need to be able to adjust the carburetor.  For that, you’ll need a carburetor tool, many of which you can find on ebay.  carburetor tool s-l1600

Most found that this motor did not idle well, so that means to me that you need to adjust it. That’s rather annoying if I may editorialize.  I wonder if there is that much emissions savings in comparison to what can happen if you do not manage the brush and foilage?





Ergonomics and Use

With a unit this heavy and this powerful, after you manage to get the thing running, can you operate it?

So to deal with the weight, you have to use a harness. Luckily the unit does come with a harness.  Many users found that the harness was not an obvious thing to put on. One user found that if you were hooked into the harness, it actually made it difficult to start the unit.  Damned if you do…

Brush Cutting

When everything has been assembled, fueled, harness put on correctly, started promptly, idles perfect – how does it cut?

Most found that it worked quite well.  Goes through 2-3″ saplings, high grass, and bushes.  Though it still weighs 20lbs, it makes the work easy.

Weed Eating

This is primarily a brush cutter site, but many of you will just want to change out the heads and turn this monster loose on your backyard.   Many of the Tanaka weed eaters that we cover have the same issues.  The string feeder tends not feed well, hard to refill, and hard to disassemble and reassemble.  We would suggest getting an aftermarket string feeder to go with this wonderful engine.

Longevity, Warranty and Repairs

Like most brushcutters and 2 stroke gas trimmers, making sure that you use 100% gasoline and absolutely no ethanol is crucial.  Ethanol does quite a number on the internals of a typical two stroke.  It will gum up the carburetor as well as corrode the fuel lines.

So when it comes to fuel, just some reminders

  • Always use 100% gasoline
  • Add a gasoline stabilizer in the container that you store your fuel in
  • When the season is over drain the tank.
  • Remove the spark plug
  • Clean the air filter
  • keep out of reach of children.

When it comes to warranties and after-purchase service, there are countless tales of the staff at Tanaka coming through.  A good stop gap is also to check to see if there’s a Tanaka service center near you. In terms of after purchase service many were okay with.


Overall, we do recommend the TCG31EBSLP.  For brushcutting, the main downside is the weight.  But that’s the story with every brush cutter.  As a weed eater, we think there are better choices.

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