Choosing an affordable string trimmer that can handle regular trimming jobs and heavier brush and brush is no easy feat. Why? Because there are so many great products, from 4-cycle Stihl’s to 2-stroke Echo’s. I have a 24cc 2-stroke Echo that has lasted four years with only minor issues, but I needed a heavier duty trimmer to remove weeds.
After browsing the internet, I came across the Honda HHT35SUKA, a straight shaft string trimmer and brush cutter combination. The price came down to less than $ 400.00. After a little study, I decided to give it a try.
Powered by a heavy 35cc 4-stroke Honda engine, the HHT35SUKA is quite heavy. However, bike handles and a double harness make it easy to handle the extra weight. Weighing in at just over 15 pounds, I found that I could use it most of the day with little effort. That’s saying a lot, since at the age of 65 I weigh around 140 pounds, with my shoes on.
The product has the ability to easily transition between “regular weeding and pruning tasks, heavy weeds and even small trees.” However, the moment you disassemble the head, install the saw blade, and switch to a special blade guard, the cows in the field gather around you and give you advice. The 10-inch saw blade is included, but not the best quality.
The 4-stroke engine starts reliably and, of course, does not require an oil and gas mixture; the manufacturer insists on the premium. The 4-stroke engine produces less smoke and less odor and is quite fuel efficient. The first time I used it, I spent too much time in one place and ran through a tank of gas too quickly. However, once I got into the rhythm, it was sailing smoothly and with fewer recharges.
My biggest complaint is that I have to carry a pair of pliers to extract the cut and worn rope. Also, you need to measure and insert two pieces of new rope with the correct length, manually. However, over time I became quite efficient at changing the rope. Occasionally the rope broke too close to the casing, making it difficult to remove and replace, but by pushing another piece of rope with pliers, from the opposite side, I was able to remove the shortened rope easily.
So, turn off the machine, unbuckle the harness, remove the used thread from the head with pliers, take out of my pocket two pre-cut threads, insert the thread, sometimes easily and sometimes with pliers, put the harness back on and restart the machine . .
It sounds horrible, but I finally got the hang of it and was able to change the string pretty quickly, but not as fast or as easy as, say, a swipe feed head.
The HHT35SUKA is so quiet that at first I found myself constantly looking down to make sure the weeds were actually being cut. Yes, they were, and at a good steady pace.
People who are used to 2-cycle trimmers complain that 4 cycles don’t have enough power. This is because a 2-stroke engine fires only once for each piston turn. Every time the piston rotates, the air-fuel mixture goes in and the exhaust comes out. Therefore, each piston stroke is a power stroke.
A power stroke (spark plug that ignites compressed air and fuel) for a 4-cycle trimmer forces the piston down, but the momentum of the piston only ejects the exhaust on its return. The continuous impulse sinks the piston back down without the help of its spark plug, creating a vacuum above that absorbs fuel and air. Upon returning up a second time, the highly compressed fuel and air are re-ignited by the spark plug. In other words, in a 4-stroke engine every two cycles is a power stroke.
While Cycle 2 creates instant torque, the additional piston in Cycle 4 ultimately provides more power for sturdier weeds and brush, albeit with a slight delay compared to Cycle 2. Due to their frenetic activity and less lubrication, the 2-cycle trimmers tend to wear out sooner.
The HHT35SUKA comes with a double harness and safety glasses, although you will probably want to get better glasses. I bought a face shield that resembles a welder’s mask, as the debris jumping into my face increased in volume and speed when I used the Honda trimmer.
Be careful of rocks when using the blade, as the resulting sparks can start a fire!
I bought this “brush cutter” over 8 years ago and have used it moderately every season. In general, I would say that I am VERY satisfied; it was worth the initial expense. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
The HHT35SUKA has a 2-year residential warranty and a 1-year commercial warranty through Honda. For more details on this trimmer, visit http://www.mowersatjacks.com/Product-Details/HONDA/647610#sthash.a5OZt3e7.dpuf