Among the various garden tools, one of the most used is undoubtedly the walk-behind brush cutter. This tool can also tackle brambles and small shrubs, particularly if you have a powerful “dece.” In this article, we will give you a complete guide about walk behind brush cutters.
It is not easy to choose the best performing one for our needs: there are many types of brush cutters. Which differ in power supply (battery, wire, or petrol engine), power, and various other characteristics that we will analyze. On Orto Da Coltivare, you will find many articles that talk about brush cutters, analyzing the use and maintenance of this machine in every aspect. And providing some helpful advice to guide the purchase of the best model for each one’s needs.
Walk-behind brush cutter: Choose the right brushcutter
When asked which is the best brush cutter, there is no single answer. It depends on the use you plan to make. There are professional models, with high performance but also with a considerable cost. And there are economic brush cutters suitable only for those who have small areas to cut.
First of all, you have to choose the power supply, that is to understand. Suppose you prefer an electric dece or an internal combustion engine. The most important selection criteria are the engine power, noise, and consumption, solidity, ergonomics, and comfort of the handle, reliability of the brand.
Electric brush cutter with cable
The cord-powered electric brushcutter is hardly ever a good choice. It is worth evaluating the purchase only if you have a meager budget and plan to use it to cut a few square meters of garden. They are very uncomfortable models due to the electric wire that they carry around and which turns out to be a significant obstacle to the handling that this tool would require. Furthermore, it is necessarily a not very powerful machine, therefore not dealing with tall grass or shrubs.
Comfortable, light, and not noisy: the cordless brushcutter is the future of this tool. Today there are ten of the latest generation, also suitable for professional use and able to carry out demanding jobs. STIHL has done a lot of research among the various manufacturers and is at the forefront of offering models with excellent battery life and outstanding performance.
Brushcutters with petrol engine
The classic professional brushcutter is the one with an internal combustion engine, which can be 4-stroke petrol or, more frequently, two-stroke, fueled with a mixture that contains oil.
Although compared to the electric, the internal combustion engine involves greater weight and noises and vibrations during use. However, these disadvantages are offset by a greater power and the fact that there are no flat battery problems. Even today, many professional gardeners prefer this type of machine.
Walk-behind brush cutter: manufacturers brands
When buying a brushcutter, checking the reliability of the manufacturer is a significant factor. Choosing a well-known brand means having a guarantee of the quality of materials and mechanics and knowing that spare parts and authorized workshops will be available now and in the future. It is better to rely not only on the quality of the engine: many brush cutters combine a high-level engine, such as a Kawasaki, with poor mechanics, often Chinese.
The most famous and renowned manufacturer of brush cutters is STIHL. It is no coincidence that most professional gardeners use their orange-white brush cutters. To be on the safe side, it is undoubtedly the best choice. There are various reliable Japanese companies, such as Echo, Shindaiwa, and Honda, but we can also choose made in Italy, for example, Alpina, Efco, and Active. Husquarna and Oleo-Mac have good products too.
Types of brushcutters
In addition to the brand and the power supply, it is essential to choose the power of the machine. While for small gardens, a light, not very powerful brushcutter is delicate.
The grip and ergonomics are also essential and can affect the comfort of use. We can decide to have a single handle, double grip, or backpack brushcutter. There is even a wheeled brushcutter for particular uses. It can be helpful to know the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.
Single handle brush cutter
The brushcutter with a single handle is the most manageable. This is because the weight of the engine weighs heavily on the arms. And the single shoulder strap is certainly less enveloping and comfortable.
Double handle brush cutter (horns)
The double handle model is curiously called the “horned brushcutter” due to its shape. It is a very comfortable and ergonomic tool, especially for cutting flat or on gentle slopes. Even if you choose a powerful and heavy motor. Thanks to a comfortable and well-padded harness, you can work for a long time without straining your arms too much, distributing the weight in a balanced way.
Backpack brush cutter
Having the engine carried on your shoulders and holding only the rod with your arms means completely changing your working style. On the other hand, the backpack or backpack brush cutter is very comfortable on banks and slopes. Where the excellent mobility and the greater working radius are a plus. In other contexts, however, it becomes much more uncomfortable than a classic model.
Brushcutter on wheels
Wheeled brushcutters are rarely used and are only used in very particular contexts. They are particularly suitable for brushing between cultivated rows and for mowing in tight spaces. For this reason, they are not used so much in gardening as in agriculture, for cutting grass in orchards, vineyards, and greenhouses.
If you choose a combined brushcutter, you get the possibility of detaching the shaft with the brush head and attaching other accessories to the engine. Among the various accessories applicable to the multifunction, we remember the hedge trimmer bar, the chainsaw limb remover, and the blower.
Walk-behind brush cutter: How to use
A brush cutter is a tool mainly helpful in cutting the grass. Suppose the lawnmower has the advantage of a more regular cut and the possibility of collecting what has been cut. The dece has the most excellent versatility. With a walk-behind brush cutter, we can cut borders. Approach plants and fences with precision, cut on slopes or in other contexts. Those are difficult to reach with machines equipped with wheels.
Walk-behind brush cutter: Safe use
As with many motorized agricultural tools. It is also essential to make safe use of the machine in the case of the brushcutter. Working the wrong way can lead to severe accidents. The blade that walks behind the brush cutter is particularly dangerous. But even by mounting a flush head, you can accidentally set off stones or other materials. That becomes small bullets capable of offending people and things. Because they are extremely dangerous. See the ministerial decree of the subject.
The primary care of the operator is to wear PPE (individual safety devices). Such as a visor, headphones, work gloves, suitable shoes. It seems trivial to remember, but they are a fundamental form of prevention. Proper protective cover in the cutting deck also reduces risks.
It is then necessary to proceed carefully while working, paying attention to any obstacles hidden in the grass. Avoiding situations of precarious balance and never clearing close to other people. The proper maintenance of the machine and check the integrity of the blade are other basic precautions.
Line brush cutter: cutting grass and borders
The most classic cutting device to be applied to the brushcutter is the line head. Which is also the safest and most versatile method to use the tool. The wire brush cutter is used when mowing grass in the garden, pastures, and steep banks.
During cutting, it is also essential to keep the length of the line regulated, which determines the area cut by a passage of the tool. If you use a too-short line, you slow down the work, while with an excessive length, you tire the motor, and you lose in performance. In dense grass, in particular, please do not overdo it with the line coming out.
Walk-behind brush cutter: Uses of the brushcutter
- Cutting the edges of a garden adjacent to the house. In this case, the area to be mowed will be a small extension with low grass.
- Lawn grass cutting. To cut medium extensions or for professional use in gardening, you need a medium brushcutter, petrol-powered or a good battery tool, lighter. Still, with limited autonomy, the brushcutter, in this case, is equipped with a line head.
- Cutting of thick field grass. If the field grass is tall and rustic and is cut one to four times a year, you need a powerful brushcutter, preferably petrol or battery-powered, as can be the STIHL PRO range. You can choose ahead with a sturdy and square edge or mount the blade.
- Cutting of small shrubs, undergrowth, and brambles. A good high-powered brushcutter defends itself well, even among brambles. In this case, it is necessary to have the “dece” with a blade disc, and a good displacement is also needed. In this case, you can opt for the high-performance battery tool.
What factors to consider when choosing
Power type. Today there are also battery models with good power and autonomy. They can be taken into account. The main advantage is the meager weight. Choose the power of the petrol brush cutter. To mow medium-small extensions, you can choose a tool with a capacity of 20/25 cc, brush cutters above 30 cc are already suitable for professional use, such as the maintenance of condominium gardens.
For large extensions, dense grass, bramble cutting, and small shrubs, we recommend choosing a vehicle above 45 ccs that can guarantee sufficient power to cut in the scrub for a long time.
The power of the engine does not solely determine the life of the tool and its performance. It is essential to choose a tool with good mechanics. The reliability of the manufacturer brand is often an important guarantee.
The ideal brushcutter must be very comfortable to use, with an ergonomic handle. The light models can have a single handle. The heavier ones better have a double handle (or the famous “horns”) to work at their best. Also, consider the working angle and the possibility of adjusting the harness, checking that it is suitable for your height and the way you work.
If you choose a backpack brushcutter instead, you will have the internal combustion engine conveniently fixed behind your back and a less heavy solution for the arms. This is an advisable solution on powerful models, useless for low displacement tools, suitable for cutting steep banks.
The battery-powered brushcutter
The new generation of battery tools allows you to have light and silent brush cutters, but still powerful.
A good engine should also be relatively quiet. If you work for a few consecutive hours, you will particularly appreciate a noisy little tool. In this, even the best petrol brushcutter will not be able to match the battery-powered models.
It is necessary to take into account how much the machine weighs. Especially if you plan to cut for a long time or to make professional use of the tool. The most potent brush cutters will have greater weight, so comparisons must be made on tools of equivalent class.
Like any motorized machine, it is essential to choose a lawnmower. That optimizes fuel consumption and performance, avoiding unnecessarily fuel-hungry. And therefore expensive and polluting tools in the long run. If you prefer a battery-powered tool, you will instead evaluate the duration of this. As well as themes and consumption of the recharge.
The combined models allow you to have the head for cutting the grass and other accessories. Such as chainsaw for the limbing, blower, and hedge trimmer, applicable to the engine of the dece.
Line or blade head
The flush head is suitable for cutting lawn grass, while in thick grass, for brambles and undergrowth shrubs, it is better to mount the blade. When choosing the brushcutter, it is necessary to consider that to mount the blade. In addition, the machine must have good power. By purchasing the head, on the other hand, I recommend choosing the “beat and go” model, which, thanks to a spring mechanism, allows you to lengthen the line without having to open the head or turn off the motor, simply by tapping it on the ground.
Proper maintenance of the brushcutter
It is not enough to buy a quality tool: if we want our brushcutter to be always up and running. It is essential to give it the proper care in cleaning and maintenance. Suppose we do not remember to keep the tool in order with regular checks and by replacing it. The parts subject to wear at the right time. We will end up with a non-functioning machine.
To keep the brushcutter well, the first precaution is to clean it after each use, aimed at removing grass residues stuck in the cutting unit or other points of the tool. It is also necessary to periodically check that the screws are not loose, clean the air filter, the spark plug, grease the bevel gear.
Battery-powered models are much easier to maintain. Generally, the instruction booklet provided by the manufacturer should give some indications. It is good to read it thoroughly. On Orto DaColtivare, you will also find a detailed page that explains the various periodic maintenance checks to be performed on this tool.