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What is the best between 4 stroke and 2 stroke brushcutters? What are the pros and cons? I am looking at the 25cc to 35 cc range (a brushcutter is a heavy duty version of a weed wacker, string trimmer that you can mount a steel blade to if necessary.)

Posted by Darryl Traves on

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  • Darryl Traves Feb 27, 2011

    Hi, thanks for replying. Here in Australia we may be a bit behind, I haven't heard about removal of 2 strokes but I don't have my finger on the pulse of what is going on, either! I am only aware of 2 manufacturers of 4 stroke machines of this sort, ( Honda and Robin/Subaru ). How do the 4 strokes compare for power? I have heard people say that they are only about 60 - 70% as strong; what is the truth and facts about the comparisons.? Thank you for your time once again.

  • Darryl Traves Feb 28, 2011

    Hi,Thank you for replying. There certainly are some things to consider and I do appreciate your advice. Darryl

  • Darryl Traves Mar 01, 2011

    Hi again, Thanks for replying. We currently have a 25cc straight shaft Husqvarna which is about 14 years old. It is going not too bad now thanks to Fixya. I am just looking at having a backup/replacement. We have (in pieces) a 30cc 1/2 crank shaft Homelite "HBC 30" straight shaft brushcutter; it has a broken clutch (otherwise it was ok). We have been told that you can no longer get parts for the old Homelites, as they have been bought out by somebody who does not look after older machines, only new, no parts? We live on a 1/2 acre block with a gully/creek in the middle ( not quite mountain goat country but close) . I sometimes (regularly) let the grass get knee high to waist up the back section. I should be using a steel blade more often but I love the way the string throws it clear of where you are and chops it up a little better. So I guess speed and torque are important. (cake and eat it too). From what I gather from the two feed backs, yours and the other gentleman, that 4 stroke may have more torque but 2 stroke more speed! Have I got that correct? Also, last night I googled ( searched ) other makers of 4 stroke machines, with little succes so far! What I did discover to confuse the issue, is Stihl have something that they call 4-mix, which you use a 50:1 fuel/oil mix in a 4 stroke machine with no sump for oil. They had very little technical information, only the usual sales pitch about all the pros. Are you aware of these machines and are they worth considering? Thanks for your time once again. I keep checking to see if anyone has added anything new but we are probably on different time zones! I am about to press send and it is 8:04 pm in Australia on the Eastern coast ( facing New Zealand)

  • Darryl Traves Mar 01, 2011

    Hi, Thanks for all your time and effort and advice. When I get home this afternoon, I will have a look into some of the things you suggested. Thanks again. Darryl.

  • Darryl Traves Mar 03, 2011

    Thank you for your input and research and vast experience. Thank you also for providing links to sites. It is now up to me to do a little more digging, now that I know a bit more about what to look for! Thanks again, Darryl.

  • Darryl Traves Mar 03, 2011

    Hi again, Thank you for your time and input, once again, I appreciate every little bit of advice and opinion. Thank you for bringing my attention to the fact of the environmental law changes, it has helped me to do a little more digging and thinking about the options. I even discovered that stihl have a "4-mix" , which is a 4 stroke with no sump or oil as such, just a 50:1 fuel mix, obviously the oil is good quality. I have more digging to do on that brand, plus others. I may as well have a look at what everyone is offering. Thanks again, Darryl.

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2 Answers

Kelly

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Hi and welcome to FixYa, I am Kelly

I have been working on these for 40 + years now and will pass on what the pros and cons are of 2 stroke vs 4 stroke. I own a 2 cycle Kawasaki Brush Cutter with the TD40 / 40cc engine and love it!

Pros:

  • Both will do the job just fine.
  • 4 stroke will use less fuel. (50% less)
  • 2 stroke when using nylon line will cut faster.
  • 2 stroke will maintain a higher blade speed for shrub cutting
  • 4 stroke engine will last longer.
Cons: The 2 stroke runs faster and will use 50% more gas

Here are other things to consider.
-Handle rotates without tipping the motor.
-Manual but fixed location throttle control (non-trigger type)
-Spark plug on top of the engine vs on the bottom. Bottom plug engines end up someday leaking fuel onto the spark plug wire and causing a fire that come with a hefty parts and labor repair bill.
-Straight shaft drive with angle drive power head. (no exceptions) Also make sure you can grease the angle drive.
-Fuel tank location really does not matter but... a top tank is exposed to heat all the time and will have a shorter life span.

Lastly.... I will tell you that when you make the purchase to also buy an extra fuel cap. (complete with rubber) You will be so glad you did when someone over tightens the fuel cap and cracks the top of the cap causing a fuel leak while in use. (tank cap is vented you can not use a regular feul cap)

For me the 2 stroke is my brush cutter of choice when using blades or nylon cutting head. You need to think about what your needs are and what your fuel costs will be. The 4 stroke will be cheaper to operate in the long run.

Thanks for choosing FixYa,
Kelly

Posted on Feb 27, 2011

  • 1 more comment 
  • Kelly
    Kelly Feb 28, 2011

    Hi again. Rated Hp is rated Hp. You never stated what your usage needs are. Grass (thin or thick bladed? Shrubs? Brush (up 1.5 inches) If your in a landscape maintenance business you should probably own one of each. Home owner in town / city 4 stroke Rural... no doubt 2 stroke. It is going to boil down to preference and fuel usage. If.... you are dealing with a specialty Lawn Mower store front... most of them will bring both units out for a trial / test by you. Chain stores.... not a chance of that.



    ONE more very important thing is.... after sales parts availablity and cost the "spares." Honda your going to pay up before during and after the sale for everything. Not trying to push you away from Honda just... one more thing to think about. I will just say this.. no matter who makes a "Brush Cutter" these are heavy duty machines and for the occasional user... you will wear out long before it does. There will just be some minor things like hoses, gas cap, blades, nylon string and other consumables to keep it going.



    Lastly... If you buy a 2 stroke by 2 extra spark plus at the time of purchase. If you buy a 4 stroke buy 1 extra spark plug. Some day you will know why but will be glad you did.



    Kelly

  • Kelly
    Kelly Mar 01, 2011

    Hi again. I see your in a rural environment and have a tendancy to really put the equipment to good heavey duty use. You asked about the Sthil 50/1 (4 stroke) that is true. Just know your are paying big time for the name. Even more so than Honda. Robin is a very good product but.... given your needs and if you want something that will last.... I am recomending the Kawasaki KBH34A if you can still get your hands on one. IF you go to the Kawasaki webside for AU all the new models end in B or C. http://www.kawasaki.com.au/index.php?cat...

    Note the model numbers ending in B vs A. The KBH35B is also a good choice.

    http://www.kawasaki.com.au/index.php?cat...

    The other one you should consider is the Robin be it made by Robin for Makita or not. The Makita RBC brushcutters are made by Robin and check out the price difference from big name brands.

    http://www.sydneytools.com.au/shopdispla...

    I am reading there will be a 2 stroke ban in AU come 2012 so this is probably one of your last 2 stoke brush cutter purchases. I would bet there is a FIRE SALE on 2 strokes late this year no matter the brand.



    Here is a place you should e-mail / contact for your Homelite clutch [email protected]

    http://www.mowermagic.com.au/index.htm I know wrong location... but give it a go.



    Think I have just about burned out on too much info for the moment. Wish ya the best in your shopping efforts.

    Kelly

  • Kelly
    Kelly Mar 03, 2011

    I was glad to be able to share my knowledge and decades of experience with you. I have a lot of respect for "Smart Shoppers!" I wanted to comment about the Makita brand of brush cutters. All models that start with RBC are made by Robin. RBC = Robin Brush Cutter. I just think they are a real bargain in the market place. Even the actual models that are branded with the name Robin and are a carbon copy of the Makita brand RBC models are much more expensive. After doing your homework and probably making a purchase, I would like to know what you decided to purchase. You can come back here and comment anytime even though the post has been resolved. Good luck and take care.

    Kelly

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frank thomas wilson

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For heavy duty work such as in colverts, ditches, & so on the 4 Stroke is your only choice to make
2 strokes are to be discontinued very soon accordingly to the EPA for very poor emissions ...( OIL & GAS MIX ) THAT VAPORIZES IN OUR ATMOSPHERE

Posted on Feb 27, 2011

  • frank thomas wilson
    frank thomas wilson Feb 27, 2011

    4 stroke has more power than a 2 stroke

    \Briggs and Stratton has engines on weedwackers for years now

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