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Old 04-30-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


I have been totally frustrated with string trimmers over the years. The two areas of annoyance are the 2-cycle engines, and the string feeders.

First let's start with the 2-cycle engines. They never stay in tune! For about the first year or two, they run good, but then they start getting cranky. I run them out of fuel and clean them, but to no avail. In order to get one to start, the carb must be adjusted to run rich. Only problem is after it's started, it won't have any power and they smoke because they are too rich. I end up keeping a tweaker screwdriver in my pocket to constantly adjust the high and low speed jets, and if the darned thing cuts off, well, you gotta start the whole process all over again. I gave up on 2-cycle engines and bought a cordless 36 volt electric one a few years ago. It works great, has lots of power, no noise vibration, or smoke, but it only gives about 30 minutes of use before the battery is depleted, and Black & Decker in their infinite wisdom only makes a slow (18 hour) charger, so if you didn't finish your job, you are out of commission till the next day.

Now there's the string feeder issue. On the aforementioned Black & Decker trimmer, the string feeder works better than any other string trimmer I have owned, but it's still cantankerous. I can't imagine and have never seen professionals halfway through their job taking the bottom off their trimmers and untangling jammed line. Yet, almost with every 2-3 jobs, I need to do this. Previous string trimmers I have had were worse...just about every time I pulled the thing out, the string feeders would jam up!

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


If you're not happy with gas engines (understandable) and not happy with half an hour from a battery pack (not understandable or realistic to me, IMO), then I'm not sure there's anything out there now that you'd be happy with.

For what it's worth, I absolutely love my 18V lithium Ryobi trimmer The auto-feed works flawlessly, and while it does bog a bit if I try to trim too much at once, it has plenty of power for my needs. The only thing I don't care for is that there's not wheel on the guard for edging, but I can still edge with it fine. I know Ryobi has a 24V line (not sure about 36), so unless you already know that anything less than 36V won't be up to the task for your use, you might want to take a look at them - especially if the auto-feed works as well as mine, and I don't see why it wouldn't. Batteries charge fast, as well.

Personally, I think 30 minutes from a 36V battery is very good for a high-powered, continuously running trimmer. I don't know if there's anything else available that's going to yield a much better power/run time ratio, but of course that depends on the amp-hour rating of the battery.

Go lithium. Get an extra battery or two. I will never go back to a gas trimmer.

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Old 04-30-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


My big thing though is that I just cannot imagine professional lawn care people fiddling with their string trimmers. Every time I see a professional service pull up, they attack the property and have it done in only a few hours. I never see any of the guys sitting there untangling their line feeders, or endlessly yanking the starter cords on their tools....they just work for them!

....Another question, what is that magical stuff the highway department sprays on the medians and shoulders! It's a green gel-like substance that's sprayed out of a big tanker looking truck. They don't water it or anything, and in about 2 weeks time, they have lush green grass!
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:31 PM   #4
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


You can get a fixed blade for your sting trimmer. No more messing with tangled string. They are a universal fit.
Either way trimming is a huge PITA
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


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Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
....Another question, what is that magical stuff the highway department sprays on the medians and shoulders! It's a green gel-like substance that's sprayed out of a big tanker looking truck. They don't water it or anything, and in about 2 weeks time, they have lush green grass!
Hydro seeding
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:08 PM   #6
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


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Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
My big thing though is that I just cannot imagine professional lawn care people fiddling with their string trimmers. Every time I see a professional service pull up, they attack the property and have it done in only a few hours. I never see any of the guys sitting there untangling their line feeders, or endlessly yanking the starter cords on their tools....they just work for them!

....Another question, what is that magical stuff the highway department sprays on the medians and shoulders! It's a green gel-like substance that's sprayed out of a big tanker looking truck. They don't water it or anything, and in about 2 weeks time, they have lush green grass!
I did professional lawn-mowing when my sons were younger. Went through a lot of equipment.

I found that about 95% of all the trouble with line trimmers was fuel related, and that about 50% of that had to do with mixing too much oil in the gas. What WILL happen 3-4 years into running a line trimmer, is the little plastic primer bulb will decay, crack, and eventually break. When that happens, you're dead. Replace it, or replace the trimmer.

One other thing the "pros" have going for them is that they're always using fresh gas.

Some of the bump heads were MUCH better than others, and it didn't always have to do with how expensive the trimmer was. My favorite trimmer was an old curved-shaft Homelite that I bought used for about $25.


The "magical green stuff" you're referring to is called hydro-seeding. And yes, it's pretty stinking amazing.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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string trimmers: what do the pro's use?


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You can get a fixed blade for your sting trimmer. No more messing with tangled string. They are a universal fit.
Either way trimming is a huge PITA
I'd suggest being VERY careful with that. When a chunk breaks off that fixed blade - and it will - somebody is apt to be headed to the ER.

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