Choosing an affordable string trimmer that can handle regular trimming jobs and heavier brush and weeds is no easy feat. Why? Because there are so many excellent products out there 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 problems, but needed a heavier duty trimmer for weed abatement.
After perusing the internet I found the Honda HHT35SUKA, a straight shaft combination brush cutter and string trimmer. The price came to less than $400.00, which was all I could afford. After a little study I decided to give it a try.
Powered by a heavy Honda 35cc mini 4 stroke engine, the HHT35SUKA is quite heavy. However, bike handles and a double harness make it easier to handle the extra weight. Weighing slightly over 15 lbs, I found I could use it most of a day with little strain. That is saying a lot, since at the age of 59 I weigh in at about 148 lbs, with shoes on.
The product boasts the ability to easily transit between “regular trimming tasks and cutting brush, heavy weeds, and even small trees.” However, by the time you dismantle the head, install the saw blade and change to a special blade guard, the cows in the field are gathered around you giving advice. The 10 inch saw blade is included, but is not the best quality.
The 4-stroke engine starts reliably and of course does not require a mixture of oil and gas; the manufacturer insists upon premium. The 4 stroke engine produces less smoke and less smell and is fairly fuel efficient. The first time I used it I spent too much time in one spot and went through a tank of gas way too quickly. However, once I got into a rhythm it was smooth sailing and fewer refills.
My biggest complaint is that I have to carry pliers with me to extract the used up, shortened string. Plus, you have to measure out and insert two pieces of new string to the correct length, manually.
So, turn off the machine, undo the harness (which does not disengage as easily as advertised), yank out the used string from the head with pliers, pull the string out that I carry wound up in my pocket, cut to measure with hand pruners, insert–sometimes easily and sometimes with pliers–reattach to the harness and restart the machine.
It sounds awful but I eventually got the hang of it and was able to change string fairly quickly, but not nearly as fast or as easy as, say, a bump 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 about 4 cycles not having enough power. This is because a 2 stroke engine fires only once for each turn of the piston. Every time the piston cycles, the air and fuel mixture is forced in and the exhaust forced out. Therefore, every stroke of the piston is a power stroke.
A power stroke (spark plug igniting compressed air and fuel) for a 4 cycle trimmer forces the piston down, but the momentum of the piston then only drives the exhaust out on its return. The continuing momentum again plunges the piston downward without help from its spark plug, creating a vacuum above that sucks in fuel and air. When returning upward a second time, the highly compressed fuel and air are again ignited by the plug. In other words, in a 4 stroke engine every other cycle is a power stroke.
While the 2 cycle creates instant torque, the extra piston in a 4 cycle ultimately provides more power for tougher weeds and brush, though with a slight delay in comparison to the 2 cycle. Because of their frenetic activity and less lubrication, 2 cycle trimmers tend to wear out sooner.
The HHT35SUKA comes with a double harness and safety goggles, though you will probably want to get better goggles. I purchased face protection that resembles a welder’s mask, as the debris jumping up into my face increased in volume and in speed when using the Honda trimmer.
Watch out for rocks when using the blade as the ensuing sparks can start a fire!
The HHT35SUKA has a 2 year residential warranty and a 1 year commercial warranty through Honda. For more details about this trimmer go to http://www.mowersatjacks.com/Product-Details/HONDA/647610#sthash.a5OZt3e7.dpuf