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.
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.
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.
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.
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.