Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Brushcutters mow lawns and meadows with particular precision and also reach places that are difficult or impossible for lawnmowers to access. Whether hobby gardening or professional forest and landscape maintenance, the brush cutter defies neither undergrowth nor hilly lawns. The brush cutter is a multi-functional tool and offers increased comfort during gardening.

Our brush cutter test 2021 should help you find the best brush cutter for you. For this purpose, we have compared brush cutters, brushcutters and lawn trimmers with each other and present their advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we would like to make your purchase decision easier so that you are satisfied with your choice in the long term.




Summary

  • Brushcutters enable you to trim lawns that are difficult or impossible to reach with a lawnmower. This makes lawn care easier for you.
  • Lawn trimmers and brushcutters are two different types of brushcutters. Essentially, the devices differ in their performance and area of application. The drive can also vary between the individual models.
  • Petrol and electric power scythes are powerful and suitable for a variety of applications on your lawn. From precise lawn cutting and weed removal to the removal of brambles - you can do it all effortlessly with the right brush cutter.

The Best Brush Cutter: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for brush cutters

For your orientation, we present a few points of view below that can help you in your decision-making process when considering the wide range of brush cutters.

The criteria that you can use to compare brushcutters with each other include:

In the following sections we will show you what to look for in the individual criteria.

Area of use

The area of use is a decisive criterion when choosing a brush cutter. Therefore, when looking for the right brush cutter, it makes sense to orient the performance of the respective device to the nature of the field of application.

Petrol-powered brushcutters are more powerful than cordless or electric brushcutters and are therefore also suitable for use against tough undergrowth and for mowing extensive lawns.

Electric and cordless lawn trimmers are less powerful and, with their precise cutting action, prove their worth for normal lawns as well as for shortening lawn edges. You can also treat walls and fences with the lawn trimmer without any problems. If you are looking for a model for classic gardening work, an electric brushcutter is sufficient.

However, if you want to remove unruly greenery such as tall grass, undergrowth or weeds, you should consider a petrol brushcutter.

Drive

Brushcutters differ significantly in their drive. They can be either petrol, electric or battery-powered. You should be aware that the drive of your brush cutter also influences its weight and defines its area of application.

Petrol brushcutters have a particularly high power due to their drive and can also work on unruly wild growth.

Since the brush cutter is fuelled, you carry a higher weight and put additional strain on your body.

In contrast to petrol models, electric brushcutters are much quieter and more environmentally friendly. Due to the electric drive, you are always dependent on a power socket, but these brush cutters weigh a maximum of 4 kilograms and are therefore lighter.

A battery-powered brush cutter offers you the advantage that you are not dependent on a power source during use and can work cordlessly. Only after or before use does the brush cutter need to be connected to a power socket to charge the battery. However, a battery-powered brush cutter has a lower power output compared to petrol and electric brush cutters. If you attach great importance to flexible operation of your garden tool, then we advise you to buy a battery-powered brush cutter.

Power

The power of a brush cutter varies depending on the drive. As already mentioned, brush cutters equipped with petrol engines are the most powerful of their kind. Petrol-powered brush cutters generate between 750 and 2000 watts of power. In order for the brush cutter to fulfil its purpose, the speed should not be less than 8000 revolutions per minute.

Brushcutters with electric motors vary in terms of their performance. A very powerful electric brush cutter has about 1000 watts. Your area of use is again decisive for the required power.

Battery-operated models can have a battery voltage of up to 36 volts. If you are using the brush cutter in a small garden area, a lower battery capacity and a voltage of 18 volts is sufficient. You can use a battery-powered brush cutter for about 50 minutes.

Mowing system

The shaft of a brush cutter drives the cutting tool via a small gear or motor. The main differences between brush cutters lie in their mowing systems.

Less powerful power scythes often have a string head as the cutting tool. The threads arranged in the thread head or on a spool are tensioned by centrifugal force during brush cutter use and thus shorten the lawn. As the threads adapt to the terrain, the risk of the threads being damaged during operation is low. However, if the threads of the brush cutter need to be replaced, this can be done without great difficulty.

Brushcutters with blade discs vary in terms of their blade shapes. For lawn mowing, brushcutters with a cutting blade attachment are suitable. Depending on the degree of use, you should choose the blade of the brush cutter in order to use the right mowing system for your area of use.

Handling

As brush cutters can differ greatly in their operation, it is essential to read the operating instructions carefully before starting up the machine. The operability of a brush cutter is largely determined by the correct technique. With the help of the appropriate application, physical overexertion and the risk of injury are minimised to a large extent. The use of appropriate protective equipment should be mandatory for you when working with the brush cutter.

Power scythes and lawn trimmers can also be operated safely by amateur gardeners without much previous experience.

A carrying strap attached to the device makes it easier to operate and guide the brush cutter by hand. Make sure that the carrying strap is always correctly adjusted to reduce physical strain. Efficient operation of the brushcutter is ensured by movements that swing back and forth from right to left.

Comfort

Taking into account the weight and type of drive, comfort can be increased when gardening with a brushcutter. In general, it is advisable to use a carrying strap when working with the brush cutter to protect the upper body. Compared to a brush cutter with a petrol engine, a battery-powered brush cutter generates additional relief for the body with its noticeably lower dead weight.

A petrol-powered brush cutter allows you to work in the garden without a cord and regardless of location.

Similarly, a battery-powered brush cutter offers you a high degree of flexibility, but with these models you are dependent on a power source due to the limited battery capacity. Therefore, flexible working with a battery-powered brush cutter is only possible to a limited extent.

The petrol brush cutter requires less effort because it has a high power output and therefore also offers you increased working comfort. Ultimately, you should always make sure that you use the right brush cutter accessories for the respective area of use in order to work as comfortably as possible. For longer work sessions, quiet brush cutters with low vibration and models that can be adapted to your body shape and size are advantageous.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about brushcutters answered in detail

Before you buy a brush cutter, you probably have some questions that you would like to have answered. We will answer important and frequently asked customer questions below so that you can find the right brush cutter for you.

What is a brush cutter?

A brush cutter is a more powerful version of a brush cutter that is used to trim green areas. With the help of a brush cutter, you can perform mowing work and also remove weeds from green areas.

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With a brushcutter, lawn edges can be mown easily and very precisely. Hard-to-reach areas that cannot be reached with a lawnmower can be effortlessly maintained with a brushcutter.
(Image source: unsplash credentials Boris Debusscher / unsplash)

Due to its design, places that are difficult or impossible to reach with a lawn mower can be easily trimmed with a brush cutter. This means that lawn edges, for example, can be properly maintained.

What is the difference between brush cutters, power scythes and lawn trimmers?

Brush cutters, power scythes and lawn trimmers have the same functional principle, but differ in terms of performance, drive and area of application. Which cutting system is used, thread head, circular saw blade or grass blade, depends on the performance of the equipment as well as the field of application. Therefore, the performance of brush cutters, power scythes and lawn trimmers determines their field of application.

The lawn trimmer is the least powerful of the three devices and is a common choice for hobby gardeners.

Lawn trimmers are usually electric and rely on a power source or battery. Despite their lower power, lawn trimmers are characterised by extremely precise operation and are therefore suitable for cutting lawns and lawn edges. Most lawn trimmers are equipped with a string head.

Brushcutters are more powerful devices that can clear stubborn brushwood as well as vigorous overgrowth. A small tip: if the purpose of your device varies, there are also models that allow you to change the cutting system.

What do I have to consider when buying a brush cutter?

When buying a brush cutter, you should generally consider the above-mentioned evaluation criteria. Be clear about what you want to use the brush cutter for, i.e. in which area of application the device is to be used. Consequently, you should determine the performance of the brush cutter based on the area of application.

It is also helpful to consider the duration of use. Accordingly, you can weigh up which type of drive is suitable for your brush cutter or which brush cutter has a lower dead weight due to its drive and therefore offers more comfort during work.

To give you a better overview of the different brush cutters, we show you a small overview of the different types of brush cutters and their respective areas of application.

  • Lawntrimmer application: trimming lawns and lawn edges
  • Range of use: brushwood, tall grass and weed removal
  • Brushcutter: thick, unruly branches or wild growth

Some of the above-mentioned devices are available with different types of drive. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages of the individual drive types in the next section.

What types of drive are available for brush cutters?

As mentioned above, there are different types of brush cutters that are suitable for different applications. Just as important as the question of the area of application is the choice of the right drive for your brush cutter. There are 3 types of brush cutter drive types:

  • Petrol drive
  • Electric drive
  • Battery drive.

To give you a comprehensive overview, we present the advantages and disadvantages of the drive types in the following table.

Drive type advantages disadvantages
Petrol drive powerful, cordless more cost-intensive, high dead weight, increased environmental impact
Electric drive inexpensive, lower weight less flexibility due to the cable
Battery drive low weight, cordless, flexible, inexpensive weak performance, limited working time

As you can see, each of these drive types has its advantages and its weaknesses. Which drive is suitable for you and your project depends on your area of application, the desired working comfort and also on your calculated budget.

How do I find the right cutting tool and the required attachment?

With the right cutting tool, you can remove weeds, disturbing brambles, high grass and mow your lawn. Which cutting tool can be used with your machine determines its performance.

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Not every cutting tool is compatible with every brush cutter. With the right attachment, there are hardly any limits to what your brush cutter can do, provided you use the right cutting tool.
(Image source: unsplash credentials Dylan Nolte / unsplash)

The following overview shows you which blade and thread are suitable for which purpose.

Cutting tool description intended use
Thicket knife 2-, 3- or 4-bladed knife design thicket or undergrowth, weeds and thorny hedges
Chopper knife 2- or 3-bladed knife with downward-curved tips, strongest cutting tool thick wood of thorny scrub and unruly wild growth
Grass cutting blade different designs of the number of blades wide, even lawns with normal to strong grass thickness
Circular saw blade different material designs undergrowth, small trees, branches and woody shrubs
Thread head different designs: Double thread head, hard-wearing nylon thread in various thicknesses universal use: weeds and undergrowth, fine work such as lawn trimming in hard-to-reach places

What does a brush cutter cost?

The price range for brush cutters is very different and can vary greatly depending on performance and manufacturer. Cheaper products can be purchased for less than 100 euros, whereas professional machines can cost over 500 euros.

Type of device price range
Lawn trimmer from 50 euros
Motor scythe from 90 euros
Brush cutter from 150 euros

With brush cutters in the lower price segment, you have to be prepared for limited manageability, reduced performance and lower-quality equipment. Ultimately, the purpose of the brush cutter is decisive, because the area of use provides you with informative information about the necessary performance of your brush cutter.

If you only want to do simple mowing work or trim the edges of the lawn, then a brushcutter or a lawn trimmer in the less expensive class is sufficient. However, if you want to do heavier work and work on large areas of overgrowth, a powerful and therefore expensive brush cutter is the right choice. Powerful devices in the mid-price segment are available for as little as 90 euros.

When making your decision, bear in mind that more expensive models often have a larger selection of cutting tools, making the brush cutter an all-round multi-tool.

How do I operate a brush cutter?

You should wear a brush cutter carrying strap so that you can work in a way that is easy on your strength. Hold the brush cutter so that you can guide the cutting head parallel to the lawn.

Basically, move the brushcutter in a semi-circular motion from right to left and work slowly forward so that the clippings fall on the left side. If the grass is tall, it is advisable to work in 2 mowing directions.

What safety precautions should I take before using the brush cutter?

Before using the brush cutter, clear the lawn of any foreign objects and look out for local obstacles. To ensure safe use of the brush cutter, you should first familiarise yourself with your device and read the operating instructions thoroughly.

If possible, check the condition of your brush cutter before each use to ensure that it is in perfect working order. This will protect you and the people around you.

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When working in the garden with a brush cutter, stones can be thrown through the air and quickly become a hazard. The risk of injury can be minimised by wearing appropriate protective equipment and following the safety instructions in the operating manual for the brush cutter.
(Image source: unsplash credentials Petar Tonchev/ unsplash)

The following is a small selection of tips to help you work safely with the brush cutter.

  • Check the brush cutter for operational safety.
  • Secure your working area and keep a safe distance from people and obstacles in your working environment.
  • Adjust the carrying strap to your height.
  • Have a mobile phone or a contact person nearby to call for help if necessary.

Good protective equipment is also important for safe handling of the brush cutter. Therefore, you should always wear closed clothing and safety shoes. In addition, use hand protection as well as eye, ear and face protection to protect yourself from flying debris and scan the lawn in advance for hazards such as stones.

What is the Equipment and Machinery Protection Ordinance?

The Equipment and Machinery Protection Ordinance lays down precise guidelines for environmentally harmful noise emissions when using various equipment and machinery for outdoor use. In addition to the regulation of noise limits, the ordinance also determines the time of operation of the equipment with regard to the place of use.

For noise protection reasons, lawn mowing in residential areas is prohibited all day on Sundays and public holidays. On weekdays, mowing must be carried out between 7 am and 8 pm.

Depending on the country and municipality, further regulations may apply, for example to protect the peace at midday. Competent authorities may also approve exceptions in individual cases.

How do I clean and maintain a brush cutter?

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the brush cutter is necessary to ensure long-term use. In the following, we have listed a few helpful care tips to keep your brush cutter in good working order for as long as possible.

  • Clean the outside of the brush cutter: Depending on how heavy and fresh the dirt is, the brush cutter can be cleaned with a soft brush or a mild soap solution.
  • Clean the air filter: Depending on the material, you can clean the air filter with detergent or compressed air.
  • Checking the nuts and bolts: The nuts and bolts of the device must be tight in order to work safely with the brush cutter.
  • Checking the cutting tool: If you notice clear signs of wear, you should resharpen the cutting tool. If you notice cracks, replace the cutting tool immediately.
  • Checking thestarting mechanism: Check that the cable and the return spring of the starting mechanism of your brush cutter are in good working order.

Basically, we advise you to give your brush cutter a thorough cleaning after every use, as this way you can also detect minor damage to the device and repair it in time. How often you should service your brush cutter depends, of course, on how often you use it.

What does a brush cutter use for fuel and what oil is needed?

The combustion engine of a brush cutter is very sensitive and requires the right fuel mixture to guarantee long-term operation and avoid engine damage. Petrol brushcutters are fuelled with a mixture of petrol and engine oil. Since the mixing ratio differs depending on the device, it is always necessary to consult the operating manual of the brush cutter.

Which engine is installed in your brush cutter is decisive for determining the correct fuel mixture. If it is a 2-stroke engine, the mixing ratio is often 1:50, i.e. 1 part oil and 50 parts petrol. Classic super petrol, which is also used for refuelling cars, is suitable for this purpose. The engine oil should be TC-classified.

To make the fuel mixture, you need an empty canister that is approved for fuel. First fill the canister with the engine oil and then with the appropriate amount of petrol. Finally, mix the petrol-engine oil solution thoroughly.

How do I adjust the carburettor of my brush cutter?

If your brush cutter does not reach its maximum speed or the engine does not accelerate properly, this may be due to an incorrect carburettor setting. To correct these symptoms, first make sure the fuel and air filters are intact and clean, check all seals and check the spark plugs.

Below we explain step by step how to adjust the carburettor of your brush cutter correctly. However, you should always refer to the instruction manual of your brush cutter.

  1. Basic settings: Turn the H and L screws in as far as they will go and then turn them out one turn.
  2. Preparations: Warm up the brush cutter.
  3. Setting the idle speed: You can set the speed using the LA/T screw. Increase the speed so that the engine does not stop when idling, but the rotor does not run any more. Let the engine drop to idle several times to check the transition between idle and full throttle.
  4. Adjusting the maximum speed: If your brush cutter still accelerates poorly, you need to adjust the L-screw. Important: When doing this, always check the previously made basic settings as well as the idle speed, as LA and L screws have an influence on each other. Use the H-screw to set the maximum speed correctly. You should use a rev counter for this.

At this point, we would like to point out once again that you should only make changes to the settings of your machine in accordance with the operating instructions of the brush cutter.

Image source: Novikov/ 123rf.com

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