£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
        I don't know about those models I do know my dad has one with I think a 31cc 4 stroke that is 20 plus years old and still starts first or second pull. Not used now due to weight as he is 74 so he's got one or the D R strimmers instead
      • PRO
        I have the 425 UE, long grass hasn't troubled it and I got it through Radmore & Tucker in Exeter who have been brilliant with servicing, it was a definite get what you pay for buy for me
  • Ok so in response to the many people here commending the bigger Stihl's I have got my hands on an FS450 with a great engine but broken gearbox head. My dealer says he can get a new gearbox head for £120 and will give me a quote for any other knackered bits on Monday, fingers crossed it should come at around £250 all in. The only problem is that it a very heavy beast  but it balances nicely on my harness.

    • I'd be very wary of a machine with a "broken gearbox"  and where he will give me a quote "on any other knackered bits"  I'd suspect it's had a hard life and you could be buying yourself a load of trouble. For £288, you could have picked up a brandnew FS94 with a years warranty.

      • sorry, the 'knackered bits" was my quote not the dealers and I do know it's history and the person who used to own it (it's a very small world around here!), it's certainly well used but I trust this dealer completely. You are right about the FS94 and if the fs450 does not work out I will be kicking myself!

    • PRO

      You'll be delighted with the 450. I wouldn't worry about spending £120 on replacing the head but make sure you lube the new one regularly.

      It will be a comfortable (low vibes) machine that should be a pleasure to use over long periods of time.

    • PRO

      Woah. You can get a pattern gearbox for much less on eBay and fit it yourself. £58 and two minutes work. You're asking to get your pants pulled down taking something like that to a dealer.

      Also, FS 450 is a much older machine. Whilst they were good, the FS460 is miles ahead and more reliable in my experience. Less vibes too. Noticeably more economical, we ran two of each in the changeover year.

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