£400 brushcutter advice.... Honda vs Stihl vs Husky

Looking for a decent brushcutter in the £400ish price bracket. Have been using an old Stihl FS280K which was a heavy beast but blew up today after much abuse on thick deep grass on 4mm line so need something pretty urgently, ie tomorrow afternoon or Saturday. I  would like something a bit lighter if possible as I strim for about 3/4 hours at a time but only once or maybe twice a week. I understand I'm not going to get the same power as I did with the FS2280 so will need to moderate my robust technique!

Local dealers stock, Honda, Stihl &Husky so would like to stick to those brands. The Honda 535 appeals on its lack of premix and positive reviews from local farmers but it's a heavy thing, the Husky 525 is recommended by one local dealer and the Stihl FS94 by another and these two models appeal for their lightness. Any advice on these 3 brands' models in my price bracket would be much appreciated. 

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  • I am husky fan try using the metal blade it will deal with long tough grass better and will not wrap around the head

  • PRO

    I have the Stihl fs90r with the loop handle. I have had mine for 18 months now and find it great. I used to use one when working in my previous job and thought then that its pretty near perfect. At times I've used it for hours at a time with no problems. I change the head to hedge trimmer attachment and have used that for 1 to 3 hours at a stretch. Apparently the fs90r is slightly more powerful than fs94r - 0.95Kw against 0.9Kw. Ive never used the other makes so I cant comment on them, but I really like Stihl stuff.

  • PRO

    Out of the three brands you mention have only ever used Stihl  which proved to be reliable , It came with the strimmer attachment and i bought the blade separately . 

    Strimming for 2 / 3 hours if non stop is a long time so consider lightness and vibration .

  • PRO
    Have a think about Kawasaki (or the various brands it's hiding in!)<br />
    I've got a stiga 553kd. It's a 53cc beast that will chomp through anything. Never had to use full throttle really.<br />
    If you are wanting to use 4mm line you need 45cc plus really.
    It was £415 or thereabouts by the way
  • PRO

    I would go slightly cheaper. FS70 or 94. Both 2-mix and reliable machines. Get cowhorn handles like this-

    FS90 not worth the extra money- the 0.05hp increase is negligiable, and it's a 4-mix so you will be forever having the valves adjusted. When comparing power, go by HP not cc rating. Plenty of Chinese 50cc machines out there that can't hold a candle to a 25cc Stihl machine.

    An extra £100 won't get you into pro brushcutter territory, so I'd stick with something like the above.

    4mm line on grass is a common mistake. It's for thicker things like brambles. No wonder the machine struggled on thick grass. Try standard 2.4mm line- less drag and a cleaner cut. I run 2.4mm on FS460s out to about 10" radius on grass.

    A blade will have even less drag and only need the throttle tickling to keep momentum. The flipside is that you have a very limited cutting radius, and can't trim against obstacles.

    Hope this helps.

  • ....mmmm...not a great start...

    Went to a local dealer today and bought the Husky 525RXT. Never used the dealer before but they gave me a good price (£360). Took it home and noticed it did not come with the metal skid plate and more importantly would not start, thought I might have flooded it, left it an hour and half, tried again to no avail. Returned to the dealer who without looking at it said I had flooded it. They said if it does not start on the second pull they flood and then won't start for hours....I found this pretty unbelievable but kept quiet. They then insisted the 525RXT don't come with a metal bash plate. I went on the Husqvarna website to show him. He then said I was looking at the U.S site. I had to point out a .com/uk site was the UK version with prices in £' etc etc etc. Kept my cool despite more patronising twaddle and finally got a refund. I am sure Husqvarna are fine machines but either the dealer or this model or both are not for me. 

    so now Honda 435 or Stihl 94C, .2 stroke or 4????

    • PRO

      Half the battle is finding a helpful dealer , Never used a Honda brush cutter but i Love Honda lawnmowers , Interesting that local farmers give the Honda machine good reviews , farmers usually know good machinery I suspect the Honda is a work horse but like you say it's heavy . 

      I reckon if you had chosen the Stihl you would probably be posting a good review about its performance .  

      I like Stihl and i like echo but if i was faced with a choice i would go for the stihl , better the devil you know .

  • PRO

    I'm another Stihl fs90 fan. I've used one for hours on end. Light enough, powerful enough, simple to maintain.

    • PRO
      Fs 90 is ok but once you've used the really big machines they seem really underpowered!
      I've got an fs85 that still comes out now and then but it's rubbish compared to the fs410 or the big stiga
  • Thanks for the comments and advice. the FS280K was fantastic (until it blew up) and I was all set for getting another Stihl but the 4Mix engine reliability thing put me off the fs90 and weight and budget preclude another of their 2 stroke clearing saws. I need something that can do the delicate stuff as well as cut loads of 6'' wet grass and my concern is that the FS94 won't be up to the task. I've got a Honda 536 lawnmower which is decent enough so I am tempted by the Honda brushcutter at £400. I'll go to my regular dealer tomorrow who stocks both and play an expensive game of eenie meenie miny mow :-)

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