Want to create a picture-perfect, barefoot-worthy lawn? If so, the best brush cutter is a must-have in your garden tool arsenal.
If you’re on the hunt for one, you’re in good company. I prepared a detailed brush cutter product review and buying guide after a comprehensive research process and hands-on testing of top-rated brush cutters.
I’ll walk you through all you need to know, from what a brush cutter is, how it differs from a strimmer, brush cutter varieties to the best options in the market, based on essential performance specs.
- What is a Brush Cutter?
- Choosing the Best Brush Cutter
- Manual, Gas, or Electric Brush Cutters
- Types of Brush Cutter Blades
- Best Brush Cutters
- 1. Husqvarna 336FR Bike Handle Pro Brush Cutter 34.6cc
- 2. Makita MM4 4-Stroke Gas Powered Brush Cutter 25.4cc
- 3. Makita 36-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Brush Cutter (5.0 Ah)
- 4. Troy Bilt Straight Shaft 2 Cycle 27cc Brushcutter / String Trimmer
- 5. Remington RM2700 Ranchero 27cc Gas Powered Brushcutter
- How to Use a Brush Cutter Safely
- Best Brush Cutter: Verdict
- FAQ’s Best Brush Cutters
What is a Brush Cutter?
A brush cutter is a versatile, powered garden tool used to cut and trim rough grass, weeds, and other foliage. Brush cutters feature a robust, rotating blade and tackle thick shrubbery and tree trunks up to 4-inch thick. They also get into hard-to-reach places quite efficiently. Most brush cutters come with a harness for comfortable use, and the blade’s rotation dictates which direction you should move.
What’s the Difference Between a Brush Cutter and Strimmer?
Although Brush cutters and strimmers (also known as string trimmers or weed eaters) look almost identical, they have several distinct differences, as discussed below:
- Cutting attachment: Brush cutters use a thick, powerful blade for dense and tough vegetation, while a string trimmer uses a .06-.095 nylon trimmer line.
- Functionality: Because they come with a sharper, powerful blade and run on an engine with more horsepower, brush cutters are for demanding landscaping such as cutting through thick reeds and sapling trees. Strimmers are ideal for light duties such as trimming grass and weeds for an immaculate, lush-green yard appearance.
- Maintenance: Brush cutters require regular, systemic maintenance to run at peak performance, while glass strimmers are simpler and require minimal maintenance efforts.
Clearing Saw Vs. Brush Cutter
Like the strimmer, a clearing saw also looks similar to the brush cutter, but the two are entirely different. A clearing saw is a powerful landscaping tool available in various sizes and feature sets. It has a circular brush knife and is suitable for clearing large patches of uneven terrain and forest clearance projects. A clearing saw differs from a brush cutter in terms of:
- Functionality: Clearing saws are more powerful and often used for extensive landscaping tasks with thick and demanding vegetation. Brush cutters, while also powerful, are suitable for slightly demanding, general landscaping tasks.
- Cost and maintenance: A clearing brush is more expensive than a brush cutter
Choosing the Best Brush Cutter
Some brush cutters come with an extensive feature set, guaranteed to enhance your landscaping routine, while others have a high price tag with a basic feature set. Knowing what to look for is the key to identifying and buying a brush cutter I described first. Before you swipe your credit card, check out the factors I prioritized while choosing the best brush cutters for this guide:
Besides changeable blades, some brush cutters boast compatibility with blowers and other commonly used gardening tools, allowing you to use your brush cutter for a range of functions.
Quick Change Heads
Although brush cutters are already versatile, models with a quick-change head improve the tool’s efficiency tenfold. It allows you to switch between different head attachments with a simple technique instead of unscrewing the entire model.
A brush cutter handle helps you better control the tool and minimize fatigue, so you need to ensure it’s ergonomic. Look for brush cutters with soft, spongy, and multiple grips. Remember, brush cutters can be either one or two-handed.
While one-handled brush cutters allow some ease of use, two-handled models are the best option because they offer better control, allowing you to complete the job quicker and greatly minimize fatigue, especially when used for prolonged periods.
Vibration & Noise
Brush cutters generate a lot of vibration, causing fatigue. Repeated exposure to vibration from your brush cutter puts you at risk of neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain and conditions like hand-arm vibration syndrome. Advanced brush cutters feature an anti-vibration feature to dampen vibrations and improve user comfort.
Service & Warranty
A warranty is a manufacturer’s assurance your brush cutter is engineered using high-quality materials and doesn’t have any defects. Go for a model with at least a 2-years warranty. Check the level and quality of a manufacturer’s customer service, too, because reliable, professional support could make all the difference when you run into problems.
Manual, Gas, or Electric Brush Cutters
Some brush cutter models run on gas or electricity, while others are cordless and battery-powered. Each type has its advantages, but also comes with definite disadvantages, which I discussed below so you can make an informed choice:
Electric Brush Cutter
Electric brush cutters run on electricity. They’re generally lightweight and, depending on the model you purchase, make little to no noise. Since they feature fewer parts, electric brush cutters are also easier to maintain. On the downside, they’re expensive, limited to a power outlet, and may drive your energy bill to the roof.
Cordless Battery Powered Brush Cutter
Cordless brush cutters run on Li-Ion batteries. Cordless battery-powered cutters are compact and super-portable. The downside is that the batteries may run out of charge before you finish. Here’s what you need to consider when shopping for a cordless battery-powered brush cutter:
High battery voltage means more power, and conversely, more time to run and use your brush cutter.
Battery Life (Ah)
Amp-hours or Ah refers to the amount of charge in a battery. As with the voltage, the higher the Ah, the higher the energy stored. Note, your voltage determines how much power your brush cutter’s battery can hold, while the amp hours affect the run time and performance. So, the higher the Ah ratings, the better your cordless brushcutter will perform.
Gas Powered Brush Cutter
These brush cutters run on gas and are considered the most powerful of all three options. They’re primarily used to tackle thick weeds, long grasses, and other demanding tasks. Gas-powered brush cutters can feature either 2-cycle or 4-cycle engine configurations. Before you throw your hands in the air in exasperation and scream “too complicated,” here’s how the two types of engines compare:
2 Cycle Engine vs. 4 Cycle
A two-cycle gas-powered engine completes a power cycle in two piston strokes (upward and backward). 2-cycle gas-powered brush cutters are often reliable, lightweight, have low maintenance requirements, and are generally affordable.
But, they’re also noisy, and because they use up more fuel, not very environmentally friendly. They also run hot when used for prolonged periods and can be hectic to use because you have to mix gas and oil every time.
In a 4-cycle engine, on the other hand, the piston makes two rotations to complete a single power cycle. 4-cycle brush cutter engines are often more fuel-efficient, less noisy, and you don’t have to mix gas and oil because they store the two separately.
The catch? A 4-cycle brush cutter will have you exhausted in a few hours because they’re relatively heavier. You’ll also have to spend more on a brush cutter model with a 4-cycle engine.
Types of Brush Cutter Blades
The blade is the workhorse of your brush cutter, which is why you need to prioritize it on your search for the best brush cutter.
Plus, with more models coming in with a changeable blade design, learning your options now makes shopping blades for different functions in the future easier.
With this in mind, let me guide you through the various types of brush cutter blades you’ll find in the market:
Knife blades feature a sharpened leading edge and can have two to forty edges. They’re manufactured either through lasering or stamping thin sheets and come in nearly any shape imaginable.
They work through slicing, and because they use the sharpened front edge to perform their function, a knife’s blade efficiency relies on the number of knife edges. Two and three-bladed knife blades (rectangular and star-shaped) are usually the most efficient in cutting and mulching and are also easy to maintain.
Knife blades are usually affordable, durable, and if you get the best one, quite efficient. At the same time, knife blades go blunt in time and are ideal for light to medium landscaping duties like cutting grass. Also, the blade is fixed, making knife blades susceptible to bending, or chipping on impact with rocks during use.
Chisel blades have their sharpened edge around the blade’s perimeter and are circular with a varying tooth design. Contrary to common belief, the lesser the number of teeth on a chisel blade, the better its performance.
Chisel blades are typically very sharp and highly efficient and seamlessly cut through branches up to 60mm thick. Due to their high cutting power, chisel blades are best for demanding landscaping tasks.
On the downside, they may have severe kickback if you try to cut through something thicker than 4inches. They also get blunt quickly, and unfortunately, due to their design, they can be a pain to clean and sharpen. Generally, a chisel blade is a great brush cutter accessory for those occasional woody weeds and taxing lawn maintenance duties.
Best Brush Cutters
Okay, so we have taken a thorough look at what a brush cutter is, and what attributes, features, and variations you need to look out for in your search for the perfect brush clearing tool. I managed to get my hands on some of the more popular models on the market for domestic and light commercial use and put them through their paces. Brush cutters from the big brands such as Husqvarna, Makita, and Troy-Bilt.
My criteria for picking the best 5 include the overall best performance, comfort, and handling, as well as value for money.
Overall Best Brush Cutter
- Power: 2 Cycle Gas 34.6 cc
- Power Output:1.9hp
- Noise: 98 dB(A)
- Vibration: 3.7 m/s2
- Weight: 15.4lbs
- Extras: Grass Blade, Saw Blade
The Husqvarna 336FR won my heart over immediately. It was my best buy because it offers value for money from the word go. It’s a three-in-one brush cutter meaning you can use it for a diverse array of functions, and it has an X-Torq engine, so it’s not just pocket friendly but also eco-friendly. Add in its lightweight, ergonomic design and an easy-to-start system, and it becomes one of the best investments you’ll make.
The first thing I noticed about its design is the incredibly ergonomic Balance 35 harness designed to distribute the unit’s weight evenly, prevent spinal pains, and promote ease of use. The Husqvarna 336FR is also lightweight and has ergonomic adjustable plastic handles for maximum user comfort.
Starting it is surprisingly easy thanks to features like the auto-return stop switch, which activates when the cutter isn’t in use, and an air purge to expel air from the carburetor for an easy start process. Feeding the line is also a breeze due to its tap n go heavy-duty twin line system.
Although it packs a pretty punch, the marquee feature of this model is multi-functional performance. It comes with a traditional brush cutter blade, a saw blade, and a trimmer head, making it the most versatile and the best brush cutter.
Its excellent functionality is further enhanced by a 1.9hp engine which gives it enough juice to cut through a 4-inch tree trunk. What’s more impressive is that the engine has X-Torq technology. That makes it 20% more fuel-efficient and cuts harmful emissions by a massive 60%.
But every good thing comes at a price, and the Husqvarna 336FR has quite a high one. However, this should be no deal-breaker because it’ll sure give you the most bang for your bucks in the long run.
- 3-in-1 multifunctional brush cutter, trimmer head, grass blade, and saw blade
- X-Torq engine reduces emissions and enhances fuel efficiency
- Ergonomic bike handles and harness design
- An easy to start system
- Premium price, but overall the best tool I tested
- Power: 4 Cycle Gas 25.4 cc
- Power Output:1.0hp
- Noise: 97 dB(A)
- Vibration: 5.8 m/s2
- Weight: 12.5lbs
- Extras: None
Makita is one of the top brands in the outdoor power equipment realm, so it should be no surprise they’re on my list twice. That said, you’ll love the Makita-4-stroke brush cutter EBH252U. It packs many nifty features that make it exceptionally easy to use and good at its job. It’s a 4-stroke brush cutter meaning you won’t be mixing oil and gas anytime soon. Its fuel system is easily accessible, and there’s even a clear oil level window that lets you keep track of oil levels in just a single glance.
It also boasts Makita’s MM4-4 stroke technology, which means oil is circulated through pressure and vacuum to all the critical areas, making the machine more efficient and cutting costs on oil expenses. In addition, the commercial duty air filter further enhances fuel efficiency and the product’s eco-friendliness by reducing emissions.
Starting and restarting this 4-stroke brush cutter is even easier thanks to Makita’s mechanical engine decompression system allowing you to start the machine in two simple pulls. It runs on a 25.4 cc commercial duty engine and has a 1.0 horsepower, and produces 10,000 rpm, to take on heavy-duty tasks like cutting dense grass with much ease.
The design is equally impressive. It has a multi-point lubrication system enabling you to incline it in any position while working and a dual handle system for better brush-cutter control.
The straight steel shaft design helps minimize vibrations, and despite being a 4-stroke engine, this Makita brush cutter is surprisingly light, and it weighs only 12.5 pounds.
Check the latest price for the Makita 4-Stroke on Amazon.com
- Easy start design from a premium tool brand
- Surprisingly lightweight 4-cycle brush cutter
- Innovative Makita MM4-technology
- Powerful engine
- The blade may go blunt easily
Best Electric Cordless Brush Cutter
- Power: 36 V (2x 18V battery)
- Power Output:4600-7000 rpm
- Noise: –
- Vibration: –
- Weight: 30lbs
- Extras: None
The Makita LXT cordless battery-powered brush cutter is a professional commercial quality tool that is powered by 2 5.0Ah batteries each with 18V behind them. Giving this brush cutter enough grunt to deliver between 4600-7000 rpm. I can’t verify this… but the manufacturer states this is the equivalent to a 30cc gas-powered engine,…I could well believe it too as it packs a punch.
This unit features twin bike handle control and a trigger and shut-off on the right-hand side, making it easy to control and comfortable to maneuver. There is a reverse switch that helps clear any debris from the tool head, which is a nice feature when coupled with the instant power of an electric motor. That’s one of the great positives to these high-powered electric power tools over gas, they have immense torque and instant power.
This model is fitted with a 9″ brush cutter blade, but it is also compatible with a string trimmer line head. On the downside is the weight, considering you have two powerful 2.0 Ah batteries attached, this gives the tool a total weight of 30lbs.
If you’re looking for a super-charged tool and price is not an issue then this is an excellent option and one of the best brush cutters I have used in a while. But for me, it just gets beat by the Husqvarna 336FR and the Makita MM4.
Check the latest price of the Makita LXT at Home Depot online
- Ergonomic bike handle design, good trigger controls, harness included
- Powerful fas actiing electric motor
- Excellent run time with 5.0 Ah batteries
- A touch heavy
Best Value for Money Brush Cutter
- Power: 2 Cycle Gas 27 cc
- Power Output: -hp
- Noise: – dB(A)
- Vibration: – m/s2
- Weight: 13.5lbs
- Extras: Interchangable Tool Head
The Troy Bilt TB27BC Brush Cutter features a switchable tool head to double up as a string trimmer making for an affordable and convenient combi-tool. As with most combi tools, this product is not going to compete with the premium brush cutters on my list, but it will be a great option for anyone short of space or money.
It features an 8″ blade cutting head and a string trimmer bump head that provides an 18″ cutting swath. So to be clear, both of these are included with this product for under $200 which is a fantastic purchase by anyone’s standards.
The J-Handle design is comfortable to use but lacks the robust feel of a dual bicycle handle and harness set up, but that’s no surprise at this price range. Look it is what it is, if you only have $200 to spend then make sure you check this tool out. I have noticed the Troy Bilt TB27BC available on the Troy Bilt website and the Craftsman WS235 2-Cycle available on Amazon.com are pretty much the same tool. I have never used or tested the Craftsman but looking at them and their specification…they are the same tool. So it’s a case of taking your pick which place you wish to purchase this brush cutter
Check the Troy BiltTB27BC price online here
- Great budget brush cutter / string trimmer combo tool
- Starts easy and runs well on its 2-cycle engine
- Lacks the comfort and build of premium tools
- Power: Gas 27.0 cc
- Power Output: -hp
- Noise: – dB(A)
- Vibration: – m/s2
- Weight: 14.5lbs
- Extras: Interchangable Tool Head
If you need a brush cutter on a budget, then the Remington Ranchero RM2700 is worth a look. It doubles as a string trimmer and brush cutter capable of spinning an 8″ cutting blade.
It comes in at 14 pounds which for a 2-cycle gas-powered brush cutter is an acceptable weight. It has an ergonomic J-handle shoulder strap and handlebar for easy machine control and minimized fatigue. The straight shaft design further enhances its ease of use by making it easy for you to get hard-to-reach spots such as under the bushes. If you hate pulling the crank on a gardening tool multiple times before it starts, that won’t be a problem with the Remington RM2700 Ranchero because it features quick-start technology.
Although it doesn’t come with attachments, the Remington RM2700 features a quick-change head design. It is compatible with an array of attachments, allowing you to make the most of your brush cutter by switching between different accessories for specific functions. On the one hand, I found this an advantage but also a disadvantage. The thumbscrew was a little challenging to use and it would over time prove a weak point in the design of the RM2700.
This would prove a great option if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone for under $200. If that’s you then check out the Remington RM2700 on Amazon.com
- Affordable, low cost option
- Straight-shaft design to easily reach hard spots
- Powerful engine and 8-inch blade perfect for heavy-duty landscaping
- Combi-tool split shaft may prove a weak spot over time
- The shoulder strap occasionally disconnects
Brush Cutter Attachments
Because most brush cutters nowadays feature changeable blades, using attachments makes a brush cutter one of the most versatile tools in your toolshed. Here are a few brush cutter attachments that’ll transform your brush cutter into a suitable tool for every job:
- 4-line mowing head: This attachment is ideal for mowing around obstacles because the line advances as you work
- 3 Prong blade: This is a perfect brush cutter accessory for trimming hard-to-reach places or mowing through long grass and tough undergrowth.
- Tungsten carbide-tipped chisel blade: Tungsten carbide is a tough alloy. Having a tungsten carbide-tipped chisel blade as one of your brush cutter attachments is guaranteed to enhance your landscaping experience significantly.
- Nylon trimmer: This is one of the most popular brush cutter blades around. Some of the best brush cutter manufacturers even add it to the package as an accessory. A nylon trimmer transforms your brush cutter into a strimmer, allowing you to trim and thin your lawn for a cleaner look.
Bonus tip: as long as they are compatible, there’s no limit to the attachments you can buy for your brush cutters. Consider your home’s landscape and invest only in the best.
How to Use a Brush Cutter Safely
Although a brush cutter is a highly versatile and an excellent powered garden tool, it’s also powerful and can be a safety risk if you’re not careful. To prepare you for a smooth-sailing start with your brush cutter, here is a list of tips on how to use a brush cutter safely that I compiled:
- Ensure your brush is clean and that all components are in place and working as they should
- Keep people and animals away from where you’ll be working on
- Try to clear stones, sticks, metal, and other debris the machine may throw in the air to prevent injuries
- Adjust the harness and handle grip for a comfortable working position
- Start your brush cutter on firm or solid ground
- Use your brush cutter at ground level
- Turn off the brush cutter engine to clean out the clogged cutter
- Try to maintain secure footing at all times
- Never leave the brush cutter unattended
Always Follow Manufacturer Guidelines
Ensure you’ve read, understood, and are following the manufacturer’s guidelines in the operating manual. It’s the easiest way to use a brush cutter safely. Make sure you use it only for landscaping tasks it was designed for, and when buying attachments, opt for high quality, and most importantly, manufacturer-recommended options.
Use Your Brush Cutter the Right Way
Always hold your brush cutter’s handlebar at an angle relative to the shaft to evenly spread the load. If a brush cutter is dual-handled, hold on both handles, and if your model has a harness, ensure you use it.
Wear Safety Gear
Brush cutters can fling loose stones, grass, branches, and other debris in the air at high speed, injuring you or anyone nearby. The blade is even more dangerous if it comes in contact with your legs or other body parts. So, wear safety gear such as safety boots, glasses, gloves, and a visor before using a brush cutter.
Ensure Proper Maintenance
A well-maintained brush cutter is safe to use. Ensure all parts are in good working condition, and after use, clean and sharpen the blades. If necessary, also repair, replace or tighten all damaged parts. Do the same for your brush cutter attachment blades too.
Best Brush Cutter: Verdict
In my experience of trialing these brush cutters, the Husqvarna 336FR was the stand-out power tool. Light enough to be comfortable for domestic and light commercial use, delivering an excelling cutting performance.
If this Husqvarna is a little bit more expensive than you were hoping to shell out, then I would recommend you look at the Troy Bilt Straight Shaft 2 Cycle 27cc Brushcutter retailing at around $180 this represents great value with its interchangeable tool head doubling up as a string trimmer.