The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

What's the best type of weed eater?

wacking weeds with a Stihl FS-90

When I notice a landscaping crew working a job site most of the time the weed eater guy is using a Stihl.

It was this observation along with my neighbor's recent round of research that led me to choose the Stihl FS-90R weed eater.

Stay tuned for a full report after I've had a chance to see how well it cuts the mustard.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Yes.....I forgot to mention that the deal is still available where you can double the warranty from 2 years to 4 just by purchasing a 6 pack of the new synthetic mixing oil, which I must say helped to sway me over to the Stihl side of the fence.
Comment by mark Tue Jun 14 20:01:18 2011
I think I would prefer a goat or two! Less noisy and requires no gas. Plus you get goat's mile for making great cheese.
Comment by Sheila Tue Jun 14 22:39:31 2011

I use a Tanaka brush cutter/weed eater. I'm no expert, but I feel it is average or better. I am actually not sure what a superior brush cutter should feel like though.

I do think that the blade makes the cutter, assuming the machine is at least adequate.

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Jun 14 23:33:25 2011
We love our Stihl but just received a recall notice in the mail last week. I just figured my hands were not as strong as my husbands, the gas cap refused to close completely so it leaked as i ran it. But it wasnt me it was the the gas cap, so at least its going to be fixed. The warranty is a good idea. Love your Blog.
Comment by Jennifer Hockenberry Tue Jun 14 23:55:03 2011
I'll agree with you hands down! I worked a couple seasons for a lawn care company; we used Stihl weed eaters, blowers, and an edger. I abused those suckers 40 hours a week and never once experienced a hiccup! Now That I'm an amateur again, I wish I had the cash to buy one.
Comment by Phil Wed Jun 15 00:41:46 2011

Sheila --- Once someone trains a goat so that it will eat weeds right up against the edge of my garden plants but not touch the corn, I'll buy one in a heartbeat. :-)

Eric --- I think you're right on track about the blade. Mark's trying out a few different brush blades and I'm sure you'll hear reviews of them before long!

Jennifer --- Sounds like Mark was smart to spring for that extended warranty. Glad the gas problem wasn't your fault.

Phil --- After reading your comment, I'm glad we waited four years until we could afford a good one. We had considered getting a cheaper one before, but didn't want to have to replace it every year.

Comment by anna Wed Jun 15 09:46:34 2011
I just read where Stihl has come out with a Lion battery weedeater... can't wait to hear reviews on that one. I'm no good with things that require pull cords, so I have a Black and Decker NiMH battery weedeater that lasts only about 15 minutes a charge...
Comment by De Wed Jun 15 14:25:18 2011
I'm always tempted by the battery operated tools, but whenever I look into them, they don't have enough power for serious work. The last one I researched was chainsaws, though, so maybe weedeaters don't need quite that much gumption?
Comment by anna Wed Jun 15 20:02:33 2011
With the Black and Decker weedeater, you're not going to take out a privet hedge but it does fine on most stuff. I've taken out new, green multiflora rose shoots for instance. The batteries just don't last long, but neither do my arms ;-) When the Nicad batteries wear out, I'll be looking for a L-ion replacement and the Stihl would be at the top of my list.
Comment by De Thu Jun 16 11:06:17 2011
Mark chose the model we did because it's the cheapest one that is appropriate for brush attachments. Weaker models will bend, but this one has a solid shaft that runs all the way up, I believe, which means it won't break when it hits a tree. I suspect that none of the battery weedeaters would be nearly as hefty.
Comment by anna Thu Jun 16 17:11:44 2011
I have the same model you do and love it. I have never had a weed eater that didn't die and require cool down time before restarting. Now that we have three acres it is nice to use it for brush clearing without the problems others have had. I was glad to get the safety recall in the mail. I though I wasn't smart enough to get the gas cap on correctly.
Comment by Aaron Fri Jun 17 06:38:04 2011
The first chainsaw I used regularly and loved was a Stihl and I'm now addicted to their chainsaws. The starting system is just so basic and reliable that it's made me despise chokes and more than I used to. I do regret that I didn't take good care of my first chainsaw and thus had to buy a new one. But I now religiously clean my chainsaw after use and haven't had problems since.
Comment by diggitydog Fri Jun 17 18:25:16 2011

Aaron --- I love how easily this one starts up. Granted, I haven't tried to start it, but Mark seems to get it going on the first pull every time!

Diggitydog --- It sounds like you must have an EZstart saw? We considered getting one of those, but they were all a bit small even for Mark's smaller saw. (He does a lot of hard work with those tools.)

Comment by anna Fri Jun 17 18:41:58 2011
I think Stihl trimmers are a good choice. They are reliable and have plenty of power to get the job done. I am currently using the FS55. That being said, my top choice is still the Shindaiwa T231.
Comment by Alan Thu Jun 30 15:04:22 2011
I haven't heard anyone talk about that brand before, but the review on your site does make it look wonderful. Lower vibration would definitely be a plus --- that's the one downside of Mark's current weedeater.
Comment by anna Thu Jun 30 18:04:24 2011

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