Clearing Saw Vs Brush Cutter | What’s The Difference

Power tools for clearing vegetation and brush often get confused as they look similar and are pretty much operated in the same way. Grass Trimmers, Brush Cutter, and Clearing Saws get mixed up!

So, I am going to break down the difference between Clearing Saw Vs Brush Cutters, what the differences are in features, performance, and function.

Clearing Saw Vs Brush Cutter

Here’s a comparison table to give you a quick reference overview of the differences between a Brush Cutter and a Clearing Saw.

Clearing Saw

  • Heavy-Duty power tool (15lbs+)
  • Gas-powered, 2 or 4 stroke engines
  • Wide Range of Cutting Blades
  • Cuts Scrub, underbrush, thicket, small trees
  • Features a harness and dual handles
  • Requires regular servicing

Brush Cutter

  • Light to Medium power tool (10-20lbs)
  • Gas or Battery powered
  • Trimmer Line and Some Cutting Blades
  • Cuts, grass, thick weed, brush, brambles, etc
  • In-Line handle
  • Versatile, ideal for domestic use

Let me provide more details as to what each of these power tools is their general differences and what they are used for domestically and professionally.

What is a brush cutter?

A brushcutter is essentially a heavy-duty grass trimmer with an interchangeable tool head, that allows the fitment of trimmer line, cutting blades, and cutting saws.

Available as gas or battery-powered, this power tool is heavier than a typical domestic grass trimmer and generally has a longer shaft, and turns out significantly more power and rpm. Brush Cutters are also known by the general terms Weed Eater or Weed Wacker.

Usually featuring an in-line handle, meaning the tool is held with a similar grip to a strimmer, one hand on the power end where the trigger is, and one hand on the shaft. Brush cutters range from 10-20lbs in weight, depending on battery or engine size, and the gauge of the materials they are constructed from.

What is a brush cutter used for?

When loaded with a trimmer line a brush cutter is good for domestic use in trimmer overgrown areas of lawn and weeds. The trimmer line head has the advantage of being lightweight, low vibration, and producing no kickback if the line strikes a hard object like a tree stump or pathway.

Brush Cutter Line and Polymer Blades

You can also ramp up performance by switching heads over to a tool head fitted with a plastic polymer blade to cut thicker growth such as tall weeds, nettles, and thick grass. These blades have a level of flexibility, again to soften the effect of kick-back if they strike a hard object.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B0045PS4RW&Format= SL4000 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=theyardandgar 20&language=en US
Polymer Blades
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07DMZ6JJR&Format= SL400 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=theyardandgar 20&language=en US
Knife Blade

Knife Blades

Professional or premium quality brush cutters can also be fitted with a metal blade, intended for cutting thin woody growth, as well as general brush such as brambles and other thick vegetation. You can buy retrofit or replacement knife blades here on

What is a clearing saw?

A Clearing Saw is very similar to a Brush Cutter in terms of design and features. They generally have two parallel handles at waist height and are back mounted by way of a harness to reduce arm fatigue. A long straight shaft supports a cutting head that takes interchangeable cutting discs, brush saws, and other types of powerful cutting tools.

Lightweight models are very similar to Brush Cutter and can be battery-powered, however, more often than not, they are gas-powered with a 2 or 4-stroke engine.

What is a clearing saw used for?

Perfect for clearing uneven ground and overgrown wasteland, clearing saws are formidable when paired with a chisel tooth circular saw or brush knife cutter. Capable of cutting through all grasses, weeds, thick dense vegetation and even slicing through juvenile trees, bushes, and underbrush.

So, this is the ideal power tool for paddock management, orchard maintenance, and landscape clearance. It can be fitted with many heavy-duty blades. There are basically four blade types:

Clearing Saw Vs Brush Cutter
Clearing Saw Blades
  • Knife Blades: feature a sharpened blade edge and perfect for cutting through dense vegetation. By far the most common blade type.
  • Chisel Blades: feature lots of serrated chisel teeth around the perimeter of the disc. Perfect for cutting woody scrub.
  • Mulcher Blades: featuring a blade like a lawnmower mulching blade, a straight steel blade with a sharpened edge for chopping and mulching vegetation.
  • Chainsaw Tooth Blade: as the name suggests features a chainsaw parameter perfect for cutting wood branches and stems.
  • Smasher Blades: feature chains or flailing metal blades that smash. Suitable for wet vegetation or grassy growth. No longer available in many countries due to the hazardous nature of the product. I would recommend avoiding this type of blade.

Are Clearing Saws Dangerous?

When using any high-speed blade, the potential for an accident is never far away. However, when following good safety procedures and applying a little common sense, these machines can be operated safely and efficiently.

  1. Wear Steel toe cap boots, eye protection, and ear defenders at all times.
  2. Do not lift the blade head more than a few inches above ground level when in use.
  3. Check the landscape for hard objects such as rocks, concrete, or metal. Hitting hard objects will cause hazardous kick-back and potentially cause mechanical damage to the machine or blade, potentially resulting in injury.
  4. Be sure to maintain your clearing saw. Perform regular services and replace any parts that display wear or damage.

Clearing Saw Vs Brush Cutter Conclusion

So in our comparison of a clearing saw vs brush cutter, we can define a clearing saw as the heavy-duty power tool for tackling large-scale thicket and scrubland. Whereas a Brush Cutter can handle similar terrain, it is a hybrid between a Clearing Saw and a Grass Trimmer, making it perfect for domestic home use around the garden and backyard.