I have an Echo. Starts every time, but the rest of it is JUNK. Sort of like buying a Big Box Store Honda mower. Engine starts easily, but you begin replacing the rest of the machine in the first season of use.
Maybe old models were better, but the last 3-4 years....I'll never own another one!
I've got two, a Husqvarna w/handlebars that will handle brush & saw blades when needed, that I mainly use at the farm anymore. Nothing wrong with Stihl, my dealer isn't what it used to be & that should be a big consideration!
And a Core, battery model, much nicer around the house yard, I keep two batteries & they will do all the trimming I want to do at one time! One battery will do what I trim most of the time, the second one if I'm trimming the back fence.
Stihl. Had a FS85 Stihl that lasted me 14½ years. It finally lost compression. Bought a Stihl 130 to replace it. Works great and mostly starts on first pull with no choke. First thing I did was put a 3 point blade on it and it went through vines up to ¾" and made it so I didn't have to chip it. Anything bigger I didn't even try except to cut it, which it did too. I was going to get the FS90 and the better back strap and with all that and another 20 dollars I could get the 130 that came with the back strap I wanted. I can't wait to see how it does with the string on it.
Bought a Stihl FS110 w/ handle bar controls 7yrs ago ,and no regrets. My personal opinion buy a straight shaft can reach under things a lot easier and for me easier to use. Up till this summer 5-6 hrs of use every other week. Hoping this summer only 4 hrs every other week.
I have always used Stihl equipment. At work we use FS110 trimmers for the mowing crews. They have dozens and dozens of hours on them and run extremely well. There is not other trimmer on the market that can compare to the power and torque of the Stihl 4-Mix engines. Another option would be the KM series machines that have the split boom. You can attach your trimmer head, leaf blower, small tiller, hedge trimmer, pole saw and any other attachment you may need.
We did have one that blew up, but they just don't like have straight fuel run through them, gotta love summer help that knows everything...
All my 2strokes are Husqvarna.. No complaints so far. Seems like the constant debate is Stihl vs Husqvarna... either way it should be orange :good2:
For my use, maintaining about 1 acre, I went with the least expensive 2-piece straight shaft from Lowes. This gives me the option of hooking up other implements. I got a tiller so far and it works splendidly. I hear the "Lowes" grade isn't as good as the independant dealer. I guess time will tell. Dad gave me his ~1999 55 Rancher chainsaw and it still works hard with no issues.
Whenever my old chainsaws or weed eaters give out, I'll be going with Stihl.
Have all Homelite's from when Homelite was Homelite or owned by Textron.
Rock solid, 30 year old 15 inch weed eater, bigger Homelite Versatool (weed eater, brush cutter and pole saw combo),
Super 2 chainsaw 35 years old and Super XL chainsaw 25 years old, a tree cutting beast.
They were top of the line equipment, than Deere bought Homelite from Textron, kept them for a while, economic crunch hit,
Deere sold them to some Chinese outfit and there went the brand into the dirt, pretty much junk now.
Really a shame because Homelite was great stuff, back in the day.
I keep waiting for one of them to give out, but they haven't yet.
I've had good luck using the stihls and echos. I picked up a echo pas-266 this winter. Same deal as the stihl Kombi. It's nice having one power head and the ability to swap attachments as needed. So far highly recommend it.
Buy whichever is the most comfortable for you to hold while using and controls are where they make sense for you. Buy from an independent dealer whom you like and will be there to serve you in the future. It may cost you a couple of bucks more but that is a small price to pay to have a good dealer in your corner.
I have all Echo products as a good friend is the Echo dealer and I have been very satisfied. He takes great care of me.
Regardless of what you buy NEVER leave fuel in the tank during the off season. ALWAYS run it out of fuel when you are done using it at seasons end. AVOID ethanol fuel in ALL 2 cycles as the Ethanol is very corrosive and many of the new 2 strokes now have throw away carbs on them and they can't be rebuilt as parts aren't available. Never carry 2 stroke blended fuel over from one season to the next if you don't burn it. You can run the last seasons left over 2 stroke gas in your gas engine but it's best to use new fuel in the new 2 strokes to avoid carb problems.
If you have had an older two stroke you will find the new ones sold in the last year are so detuned that they are much more cold blooded than they used to be. It's the EPA tuning down the fuel volumes to reduce emissions but they run cold until they have run a couple of minutes.
I have the Stihl KM 130R multi head unit with the straight string trimmer. I like it a lot. It's nor perfectly balanced, but overall is very good. Tonnes of power, and I have added an edger, blower, hedge trimmer, and tiller. Starts great, runs great.