Brush Cutters Vs. String Trimmers

If you are looking for a tool to reach those areas that your lawn mower can’t reach, then the confusion you are facing between a brush cutter and a string trimmer is very normal. The two tools appear to be very similar structurally but are very different beneath what meets the eye. In this article, we take an in-depth look at each of the tools and attempt to settle the dispute of brush cutters vs. string trimmers for good.


Brush cutters

Brush cutters are landscape clearing tools that are heavier than string trimmers and sometimes require a harness for usage. While there are simple handheld models available, some units employ harness / straps / backpacks for ease of use and safety.

Typically, brush cutters are gas powered and feature metal blades for cutting instead of strings or lines. There are electric powered models available also. Both types are more powerful than string trimmers and are designed to clear off thick, dense vegetation. The extra weight of brush cutters makes them somewhat trickier to maneuver comparatively. And since these tools are more potent with increased functionality, they cost significantly higher than string trimmers.

The Pros:

  • Offers an array of sizes and options
  • Various types of blades and attachments are available
  • Very powerful; can cut up to 4-inch thick materials
  • Can cover intense cleaning over large areas
  • Versatile and durable

The Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy; might strain the back and hands
  • Costs more than string trimmers
  • Needs caution and protective gear

string trimmers

String trimmers too are landscape clearing tools and can either be gas powered or electric. Unlike brush cutters, string trimmers or weed whackers use nylon string or lines for cutting.

As these are simpler tools comparatively, they do not require as much robust engines as brush cutters generally have. This cuts down their cost and makes them lighter in weight, thus easier to carry, control, and transport. String trimmers are mainly targeted towards hard to reach grass and weeds, and this is where the main difference lies. While both brush cutters and string trimmers are intended to clear off those extra bits that lawn mower could not, string trimmers are limited to tackling leafy overgrowths only. Heavy brush cannot be dealt with these tools.

The Pros:

  • Lightweight and simpler
  • Lower priced
  • Some models offer full rotation features, turning them into lawn edgers

The Cons:

  • Nylon strings are prone to wear and tear easily
  • Designated for small areas with grass and weeds only
  • Cannot tackle thick stems or twigs

Final Takeaway

which one should i buy - brush cutter or string trimmer?

Having said all the above aspects, the crucial point to focus on is the purpose of the tools. While both the tools fall under the same category, their main tasks differ greatly. It’s almost like comparing a pen and a pencil – both are writing apparatus, but the role and capability of each is completely different.

Simply put, brush cutters are meant for heavy-duty tasks of clearing out dense vegetation with thick growths, like sapling, brambles, etc. String trimmers on the other hand are for grass and weeds only. The price difference between the two is totally justified and reasonable, since one clearly achieves more than the other.

Which one you are to buy solely depends on your need. If your yard has dense, overgrown brush - get a brush cutter, despite string trimmers being easy on the wallet. But if your yard has only overgrown weeds and grass - you do not need to buy a brush cutter; in that case a string trimmer is enough.

Hope this article helped in settling the issue for you. Happy trimming!

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[…] what string trimmers can do, or maybe because they come with a trimmer attachment. But in reality, brush cutters and string trimmers are very different and are not always […]


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