Brush cutters are powerful machines that make tough gardening jobs like clearing away dense grass and shrubs quick and easy.
If you have a very steeply sloped property, run a landscaping business or need to deal with tall prairie grass, thick weeds and brambles, reeds, shrubs and brush on a fairly regular basis, a brush cutter will take a lot of the strain out of demanding yard maintenance.
Here’s our buyer’s guide to the best brush cutters of 2021, along with helpful information on how to use this equipment, safety tips and must-have features.
Should I Use a Brush Cutter or String Trimmer?
Essentially, a brush cutter is a more powerful, more heavy-duty version of a string trimmer or weed eater. If you have an established, small yard where you need to trim the lawn edging and occasionally deal with weeds, then a string trimmer is the ideal option.
If you’re dealing with more difficult jobs like cutting heavy grass growth and removing dense brush, then a brush cutter is the better option.
You can find out more about the differences between string trimmers and brush cutters here.
What is Better - Nylon Line or Metal Blades?
This will determine what you can cut through and how quickly. Nylon line brush cutters are less powerful than metal blade brush cutters, with nylon lines being better suited to long grass and light vegetation while metal blade brush cutters work best for more woody, dense vegetation.
Some brush cutters come with both types of cutting option, allowing you to swap out as the job demands.
How Thick Can a Brush Cutter Cut?
A brush cutter is designed to cut tall grass (over 6-8 inches) as well as woody material (between 1-2 inches in diameter). For thicker material, a chainsaw will be a good option.
Are Brush Cutters Dangerous?
Most gardening equipment can be dangerous, and brush cutters are no exception. They can throw stones and debris up at high speed, and the cutting cord or blade can cause injury.
While the best brush cutters have very good safety features, it’s important to follow safety guidelines when using a brush cutter, which you can find below.
What to Look for in the Best Brush Cutter
When you are on the search for a new brush cutter, there are some features you should look for.
Weight of the Brush Cutter
You are going to carry your new brush cutter all over your property. If you have steep parts of your yard, holding a massive piece of machinery will be challenging.
You need to be sure you can hold the weight for long periods of time. In general, most brush cutters differ slightly in weight, and if you are stuck choosing between two options, go for the less heavier one.
Your arms will appreciate it even if it is just a few fewer pounds lighter.
Types of Brush Cutter Engines
If you have used a weed eater or a brush cutter before, you will know there are two types of engines: electric, two stroke engines or four stroke engines.
Two Stroke Engines
Two stroke engines are the most popular option because they generally weigh less and are more compact. Two stroke engines are usually more powerful and, since they have less moving parts, they are also very reliable and simple to maintain.
However, they require you to mix oil and gas together yourself.
Four Stroke Engines
A four stroke engine runs on gasoline, so there’s no need to mix the fuel yourself. They are more environmentally friendly, producing nearly 70% fewer emissions.
They also vibrate less, which means less fatigue. However, they are much heavier and larger than your typical brush cutter, so carrying them for extended periods of time is usually pretty challenging.
Four stroke engines are also more expensive to service and maintain.
Handle types vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s important to find one that is both comfortable, ergonomically designed and safe for you to use.
The type of handle generally determines how maneuverable the brush cutter is as well.
D-loop handles give you the most control and maneuverability, which is very important when trimming grass, accessing hard to reach areas, and working on uneven surfaces.
This shape handle is great for when you are scything away undergrowth, allowing you to maintain a healthy posture with minimal strain on your muscles. As a result, it’s better for more intensive work.
When you are searching for a new brush cutter, you will notice two different types of shafts: straight and curved. There isn't a huge amount of difference between the two, but it’s important to find your preference.
Curved shafts tend to be more comfortable and easier to carry for extended periods of time and tend to be more lightweight.
Straight shafts are the most common choice for brush cutters. They may not be quite as comfortable over long sessions, but they will give the user more flexibility and precision while working.
If you are cutting brush near buildings or curved areas, a straight shaft brush cutter may be the best option.
Quick Change Heads
A great trend in the brush cutter market is quick change heads, which allow you to switch between nylon lines and metal blades easily to take on different tasks.
This is a great feature if you have to deal with long grass as well as woody material.
Brush Cutter Safely Tips
- Wear safety goggles, a long, thick jacket, hat, work boots or sturdy closed shoes, and ear protection.
- Always be aware of your surroundings while working, and keep children and pets far away from your work area, as the blade or string can throw debris up at high speed.
- Use a wide stance while cutting and make sure your feet are securely placed on the ground.
- Don’t forget sun protection.
- Always use the harness and handlebar while you work.
How to Use a Brush Cutter
Brush cutters are simple machines that are easy to use. Here are some tips for beginners:
- When the brush cutter is cool, fill the tank with fuel as directed by the manufacturer. Remember, 2-stroke models will need a specific mix of gas and oil in order to operate.
- Start the brush cutter according to manufacturer instructions (some have a switch as well as a string to pull). Make sure pets, animals and children are well clear of your work area, and stay away from the cutting end.
- Start cutting from a fixed position, standing straight up and not bending your back. Always use the harness and keep both hands on the machine, with one hand on the handle and one hand on the shaft.
- To mow your lawn, hold the cutter upright and gauge the length of the grass, making shallow cuts until you get the hang of it. Don’t make your cuts too deep, as this will expose the grass roots and damage the grass.
It can also cause the cutting line or blades to throw dirt and stones into the air, which can be dangerous.
- To clear brush, use scything methods where you slowly swing the brush cutter in a right-to-left motion. This will cause the cuttings to fall inward to the freshly cut area and reduces fatigue.
Always plant your feet firmly on the ground to ensure you’re stable and not at risk of tripping and falling.
- To trim around trees and edging, hold the brush cutter at a 30-degree angle and slowly cut inwards, being careful not to hit hard landscaping or your tree.
You can use a shield or deflector to protect your plants.
- To cut on a sloped area, use the strip method. Start at the bottom of the slope and walk in a line along the base, slowly scything the brush away. Then, turn around and walk a parallel line above where you’ve just cut.
Best Brush Cutter Reviews for 2021
Now that you know what to look for in a brush cutter, let’s go through our reviews for the best brush cutters of 2021.
Enjoy Superior Power and Performance with the Best Brush Cutter for 2021!
We hope you enjoyed our reviews on the best brush cutters of 2021, as well as our tips on how to use a brush cutter safely and the features to look for when you’re buying a new brush cutter.
Remember to always follow safety guidelines when trimming your yard, and use metal blades rather than nylon lines when tackling thicker, woody brush.
With the best brush cutter, you can reduce fatigue and strain on your body while ensuring that your yard looks neat and clean throughout the year.