Acreage with dense, heavy vegetation can be challenging to maintain, especially if you’re using the wrong tool for the task. You can’t chop away at thick grass and sturdy branches with a string trimmer and expect it to last; string trimmers aren’t designed to slash through heavy vegetation. 

Instead, you need brush cutters, powerful gardening tools equipped with sturdy, metallic blades that easily cut through vegetation as thick as four inches. 

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about them, from their types and features to the best brush cutters on the market. Let’s chop it up! 

The Best Brush Cutter Right Now

Finding the right brush cutter is by no means an easy task; there are too many options!

To spare you the waste of time and energy, we compiled a list of the best-performing brush cutters on the market today. No matter your needs or budget, one of the following units will suffice!

1. Best Overall: Husqvarna 128LD Detachable Gas String Trimmer

The Husqvarna 128LD is an absolute powerhouse with a robust 28cc engine and a convenient 17-inch trimmer head. This one runs on a mixture of two-cycle oil and unleaded gas for maximum efficiency. 

The fuel tank is translucent so that it’s easier for you to monitor the fuel level. Plus, the package includes a six-ounce bottle that you can use to mix fuel.

Thanks to the Tap ‘N Go line release feature, you’ll find it super easy to release the trimmer line as you’re working on your lawn. What’s more, the T25 trimmer head allows for seamlessly easy line reloading.

Pros

Powerful two-cycle engine

Convenient cutting width

Tap ‘N Go for easy line release

Easy-to-monitor fuel tank

Compatible with lots of attachments

Cons

The carburetor needs minor adjustments

2. Runner-Up: Remington Gas BrushCutter and Trimmer

When it comes to ease of use, it’s hard to beat the Remington RM255’s straight-shaft design. This is the go-to brush cutter for trimming under bushes and hedges, as well as other hard-to-reach places in your garden.

This low-profile unit is equipped with a powerful, 25cc, two-cycle engine that runs on gasoline. It boasts a cutting width of 16 inches, which is more than enough to eliminate weeds and trim grass in a short amount of time.

Featuring QuickStart Technology, the Remington RM255 is pull-started smoothly and with minimal effort. It also features a multi-position handle for comfortable, fatigue-free gardening. 

Pros

Slim, lightweight construction

Smooth, hitch-free starting

Equipped with an adjustable handle

Easily trims hard-to-reach spots

Reasonably priced

Cons

Not the most durable trimmer string

3. Best Electric: Greenworks 80V Cordless String Trimmer Powerhead

In search of a capable yet eco-friendly trimmer? The battery-powered Greenworks GST80320 is what you need! Housing a 2Ah battery, this unit cuts through grass and weeds for up to 45 minutes, enough to take care of small to medium-sized lawns.

Unlike gas-powered units, this one is quiet in its operation without compromising on torque or lifespan. Furthermore, since it runs on electricity, you don’t have to worry about harmful emissions.

Plus, it’s compatible with a host of Greenworks attachments and accepts gas attachments. Also, the unit is backed by a sweet 4-year warranty and a 2-year warranty for the battery.

Pros

Quiet, eco-friendly operation

Variable speed trigger

Highly durable construction

Excellent torque

Generous warranty

Cons

Premium price tag

4. Best Budget: PowerSmart Gas Strimmer and Brush

The PowerSmart PS4532 is an underrated pick that’s just as powerful as the rest of the units with a 25.4cc engine. Yet, it comes at a more affordable price tag!

This cutter is comfortable, shock-absorbing, and easy to control. Additionally, it runs super clean, producing fewer emissions than other units. It’s also fairly quiet for a gas-powered unit.

With a 12-inch brush cutter blade and three razor-sharp teeth, this powerful trimmer will help you take care of your lawn in no time. We like how the fuel tank is completely translucent and that the package includes a shoulder strap. 

Pros

Comfortable and easy to control

Shock-absorbing construction

Fairly low emission production

Easy fuel monitoring

Excellent value for the price

Cons

Switching from blade to trimmer takes time

5. Best Attachment: Trimmerplus BC720 Brushcutter With J-handle

The TrimmerPlus BC720 is a top contender when it comes to ease of use, which comes as no surprise, considering it flaunts a straight-shaft design. You can easily use this unit to trim low branches and get under hard-to-reach shrubs.

Additionally, the trimmer comes with a shoulder strap and a J-bar to grant you more control and ensure comfortable fatigue-free gardening.

The trimmer is equipped with a four-tip, reversible steel blade that cuts through heavy vegetation like a knife through butter. We like that it’s compatible with a range of attachments from other brands like Craftsman, Remington, Greenworks, and Troy-Bilt.

Pros

Compatible with many attachments

One of the easiest trimmers to use

Lightweight and comfortable

Reversible blade with a cutoff guard

Two-year limited warranty

Cons

Takes a while to attach and set up

6. Best Trimmer Line: Oregon 20-108 Platinum Gatorline Trimmer

If you already have a brush trimmer and you’re looking to replace its line, it doesn’t get any better than Oregon’s Platinum Gatorline. This impact-resistant trimmer line cuts through thin and thick, and its flexible core does an excellent job of absorbing shocks, ensuring outstanding durability for years to come.

Despite its thin outer shell, it can handle extreme environments, so you can rely on this trimmer line to get the job done flawlessly. Plus, the line’s twisted layout ensures less drag and fewer decibels. 

The Platinum Gatorline fits a wide range of brush trimmers, too, from Remington to Husqvarna. 

Pros

Outstanding impact resistance

Doesn’t produce a lot of noise

Minimal drag force

Suitable for harsh environments

Compatible with most trimmers

Cons

Can be a bit difficult to thread

How to Choose a Brush Cutter 

How to choose the best brush cutter.

Types of Brush Cutters

Handheld

Handheld brush cutters are designed to take down heavy vegetation and thick brushes with great efficiency, which is why they’re often used to care for large lawns.

Handheld brush cutters look a lot like string trimmers. The main difference between the two is that the former utilizes a more specialized cutting head. It’s also worth noting that, although difficult, you can retrofit a brush cutter’s head with a string trimmer.

The heads found on a handheld brush cutter typically incorporate a saw-type blade, trimmer string, or rigid flails. Handheld cutters are generally quite efficient, quick, and easy to operate. 

Tow-Behind

Tow-behind cutters, also known as brush hogs, are another go-to when it comes to caring for large acreage, especially when regular maintenance is needed.  

These units are quite large and robust compared to their handheld and walk-behind counterparts. As the name implies, tow-behind cutters are towed behind ATVs and tractors to be pulled by them.

It’s very important to keep in mind that some tow-behind cutters house their own engine for self-sufficient operation, whereas others require a supply of power from the vehicle to which they’re towed. The latter brush hog type derives power from the tow vehicle’s power take-off system via a drive shaft. 

Walk-Behind

As you’ve probably guessed, walk-behind brush cutters, also known as rough-cut mowers, are intended for small-acreage use and occasional maintenance.  

Walk-behind cutters are remarkably sturdy and can take care of some of the thickest, most coarse vegetation. Some are so sturdy that they can cut up to two whole inches off a sapling!

Walk-behind brush cutters aren’t as versatile as handheld and tow-behind cutters in the sense that they’re only designed to do one thing and one thing only. You may, however, find them in the form of attachments for walk-behind tractors.

Most walk-behind cutters are large and heavy, which is a result of their heavy-gauge metal construction. Further, walk-behinds feature rear-mounted engines for self-propulsion and pneumatic tires for easy maneuvering.  

Types of Brush Cutter Headers

String Trimmer to Brush Cutter

Before we cover the different types of brush cutter headers, we’d like to point out that it’s possible to convert a string trimmer into a cutter. The easiest way to do so is by combining a powerhead with a brush cutter attachment.

Another way to convert a string trimmer into a cutter is by using an adapter. The process requires a few hand tools and five minutes of your time to be completed. It basically involves replacing your trimmer’s line spool with a brush cutter head.

If you opt for the second approach, you must keep in mind that all adapters are unique. So, make sure you buy one off the brand from which you’ve got your string trimmer.

Knife Blades

Sturdy and inexpensive, knife blades are probably the most common type of brush cutter heads. Like a knife, these blades have a sharpened front edge that does a great job of cutting through weeds and shrubbery. However, they’re intended mainly for general lawn maintenance purposes. Knife blades are featured in disc-knife and tri-knife models.

Smasher Blades

Smasher blades, known by some as flails, are perfect for cutting tall, weedy grass, as they use a combination of high velocity and ultra-thin edges to smash their way through the vegetation. However, seeing as the edges of a smasher blade are pretty thin, we wouldn’t recommend using them on wood or other sturdy materials.

Chisel Knives

Chisel knives may be smaller than knife blades, but they’re absolutely relentless when it comes to chopping up vegetation. They’re available in two types: chainsaw and circular saw.

These blades are perfect for use on small saplings and heavy brushes. Note, however, that they must be backed by a robust engine of 30cc or more for these blades to perform efficiently.

Mulching Blades

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse mulching blades with knife blades. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll notice that the tips of mulching blades are actually bent a whole 90 degrees.

As a result, mulching blades are suitable for grinding leaves, weeds, and branches. They’re not very common, though, so you may have difficulty finding ones for your brush cutter.

Important Features

Gas vs. Electric

Electric brush cutters are divided into two categories: corded and cordless. A corded brush cutter runs via a plug-in extension cord, whereas a cordless brush cutter relies on batteries for its operation. 

Both electric brush cutter variants are eco-friendly and quiet in their operation, but they’re not as powerful as a gas-powered brush cutter.

On the other hand, gas-powered brush cutters are remarkably powerful, enabling them to cut through thick grass and weeds like it’s nothing. Some are even capable of cutting through small saplings.

The thing about gas-powered cutters is that they’re super noisy and expensive to run since they rely on gasoline for their operation, not to mention that they produce harmful emissions. 

2 Stroke vs. 4 Stroke

Two-stroke engines are powerful, reliable, and easy to maintain, but they’re annoyingly noisy and produce off-putting smells. Four-stroke engines are heavier, more expensive, and have a more complicated design. They do, however, run cooler and can put in more work than two-stroke engines.

Cutting Width

The cutting width of a brush cutter represents the amount of vegetation it can trim in one go. That said, the cutting width of a brush cutter influences how quickly you can get a job done. The larger it is, the faster things will go. Note that the cutting width is calculated based on the cutting head’s diameter. 

Motor Power

For electric brush cutters, opt for a 20V unit for small to medium-sized jobs. For larger, more dense acreage, opt for a unit between 40V and 80V.

For gas-powered brush cutters, 25cc to 28cc should be enough to take care of most small to medium-sized lawns. Opt for more power if you’re dealing with thicker vegetation. 

Versatility

Does the brush cutter you’re interested in buying offer operational versatility for overhead and trimming work? If not, don’t waste your money. And since we’re on the topic of overhead work, make sure to choose a brush cutter that features an air purge valve so that air doesn’t enter the carburetor as you’re working. This feature is typically found in a gas brush cutter. 

Durability

The last thing you want is to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a brush cutter that won’t last that long. To assess a cutter’s durability, check the material from which the blade is built and check the shaft’s formation. Brush cutters that are constructed predominantly from metallic materials are the most durable.

Universal Attachments

For great versatility, make sure to opt for a brush cutter that accepts universal attachments and accessories. Some useful gardening accessories that a lot of brush cutters are compatible with include leaf blowers, hedge saws, line trimmers, and more. 

Shaft

Shafts come in two types: straight and bent. Cutters with a straight shaft tend to boast a lot more power than models with bent shafts. Not only that, but they’re also compatible with more accessories and attachments. Bent shafts, on the other hand, are more suitable for trimming hard-to-reach spots.

Quick-Change Heads

Brush trimmers that come with a quick-change feature enable you to switch between heads in a flash using a lever or a simple hand tool. Popular changeable heads include blade attachments and string trimmers. 

Vibration

Vibrations are another factor you should take into consideration as they have a significant influence on comfort and ease of use. Ideally, it would be best if you opted for a cutter with an anti-vibration factor. However, keep in mind that most brush cutters with high power outputs tend to vibrate vigorously regardless of the anti-vibration factor.

Handles

Capitalizing on what we just said about vibrations, it’s very important that you choose a cutter with comfortable handles that offer you a good grip so that you’re able to control the unit properly. 

What Can a Brush Cutter Cut?

Brush cutters and string trimmers serve the same purpose, and that’s to cut vegetation. The two vary in terms of the thickness they can cut, though. Brush cutters utilize metal blades that allow them to cut through dense, heavy vegetation. On the other hand, string trimmers utilize nylon lines that can only handle grass, weeds, and so forth.

How Thick Can a Brush Cutter Cut?

Brush cutters are pretty impressive in terms of what they can cut down compared to other lawn and garden maintenance tools. You can even use a brush cutter to cut down tree trunks that are as thick as four inches! String trimmers would collapse from an impact with such thickness. 

What Is the Difference Between a String Trimmer and a Brush Cutter?

String trimmers and brush cutters vary in terms of the object they use to cut vegetation. As the name suggests, String trimmers utilize nylon strings or lines to cut through vegetation, mainly tall grass and weeds. On the other hand, brush cutters use metallic blades. That being said, brush cutters can handle more thickness than string trimmers, up to four inches, to be specific.

Do I Need a Brush Cutter?

It depends on the thickness of the vegetation you’re trying to cut. If the grass and weeds in your lawn aren’t that heavy, you can cut them with a string trimmer. If they’re thick and heavy, you’re definitely going to need a brush cutter unless you can afford to hire a professional to mow the area on a regular basis.

Are Brush Cutters Dangerous?

They can be if you’re not careful. The thing about brush cutters is that they’re so powerful they can send objects like stones and sticks flying, which can injure you, the operator, or a bystander. What’s more, you can stumble upon the brush cutter’s cord and fall, assuming you have an electric unit.  

Can You Edge With a Brush Cutter?

Brush cutters can be used for a wide range of purposes, including light mowing, weeding, scything, and edging. What’s great about brush cutters is that they’re so powerful and precise that they’re able to create clean lines at any given angle. As a result, they’re actually significantly more convenient than specialized lawn edgers.

How Do You Maintain a Brush Cutter?

There’s not much to maintaining a brush cutter. All you have to do is wipe them down with a  sponge or a clean, damp piece of cloth. You also want to grab a brush and start removing the debris and dirt within the unit’s ventilation holes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles for the best results. Further, make sure to clean the air filter, as well as the fuel filter, on a regular basis.

Recap

  • The Husqvarna 128LD is the most reliable brush cutter. It’s powerful, easy to use, and boasts an excellent cutting width. 
  • To go eco-friendly, choose the Greenworks 80V Cordless Powerhead – powerful and runs on batteries.