£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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    • PRO

      If you're thinking FS94/FS90 won't be up to the job, then I can't recommend the FS460 enough. I've got four, and the oldest is six years old. Used hard, only repairs have been a new shaft where an idiot bent it, a new clutch bearing plus a few air filters and a spark plug. FS410 slightly cheaper but you might as well pay £40 more and have the extra half HP. I know it's more than you want to spend, but if it's done me 6 years it'll probably do you twenty!

      You could try harrythecat on ebay for a second hand one- he's known for selling good gear fairly priced.

      FS460s are a joy to use and will do everything. I run all mine with either the small Autocut head as used on the FS-90 size (more agile, cuts into small holllows etc better and allows more line for a bigger swipe) or a big 4-way Autocut head for heavy stuff. Double the number of lines, half the load on each line so 2.7mm is all you need on that. 2.4mm for trimming all the way.

  • I've had an FS94 loophandle for a couple of years.................. can't praise it enough. It's the most powerful of the 2 mix engines and one of the lightest Stihl strimmers. Fractionally less power than the FS90 (thouigh much lighter, cheaper) but wouldn't be enough to notice really. It can handle a hedgecutter attachment with no problem. I've an FS130 as well but much prefer the 94 due to it being so much lighter. I do find the fs130 better in really long grass etc but the fs94 can still manage it though quite slow.

    • PRO
      Fs 560 is 2 stroke as are quite s few of the big ones.
      • PRO

        Pretty much all Stihl is 2-mix now except for the larger backpack blowers and the FS and KM 90/100/130. All the new chainsaws I've bought recently have been 2-mix.

        If anyone is wondering the FS490 is a step down from the 460- extra power cancelled out by weight and plenty extra vibes. It's halfway to being a 510/560, so you might as well go straight for them if you need that much power. Disappointed with my FS490. Hardly done any work (the guys always leave it in the locker!) yet broken down twice.

      • You're absolutely right there............ I remember when I bought it, it was the largest 2 mix with a loophandle. Old age is getting me confused lol!!

        • PRO
          It's stihls fault as much as yours! This 4 mix experiment has not worked very well as people don't want to buy them!
  • PRO
    Honda for me, never failed to start, great workhorse and no messing with mixing fuel.
    • PRO

      Hi Andrew which model do you use ? does it come as a kombi unit and how does price compare to other brands ? ,  I must admit have always found anything Honda to be ultra reliable and the fact there is no fuel to mix has to be a plus . 

      • PRO
        It came with blade and nylon attachment and has a hedge trimmer attachment at an extra cost.

        For what I need it for it was compatible in price but you can always find cheaper I guess

        The no fuel mix was such a bonus and swung the deal for me
    • Hi Andrew, out of interest have you got the 425 or 435 engine, how does it deal with long wet grass and how do you find the servicing costs/time working out. cheers

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