How to choose your brushcutter | Petrol, electric and battery powered

The brushcutter is a motor-driven machine for gardening work related to cutting grass, bushes, brushwood and young plants with thin trunks. There are different types of brushcutter: electric, petrol and battery operated. The cutting tool can be a nylon wire, a disc or chain blade. Also, how to choose universal trimmer head, here.

The cut is made by sliding the cutting part on the grass with a movement similar to mowing, but with a lower speed.

Structure of the brushcutter

This machine consists of a motor connected to a light alloy rod (or transmission shaft) from which the handle develops; the end of the rod is made up of a bevel gear and the rotating head; either the spool with nylon thread or the mowing blade can be mounted to the latter. In the rear part of the rotating head there is a protective fairing, to prevent stones or other materials from hitting the user during cutting operations.

The cutting width varies from 25 to 40 cm; moreover, this machine allows us to work on sloping ground without the constraints of other machines such as lawn tractors and lawnmowers.

The engine

It can be burst, electric or battery operated, it activates the movement of the rotating head at the top of the rod. The engine can be connected directly to the pole, or in the shoulder brushcutter model, it is placed on a structure similar to a kind of backpack (for this reason it is also called backpack brushcutter or shouldered brushcutter). From this harness the engine is connected to the pole by cables.

The pole

The rod is made of a light alloy and has a diameter ranging from 24 to 34 mm. The width depends on the type of machine; the models for hobbyists have a thinner rod while professional brushcutters have wider rods. Inside this one there is an additional rod made of special steel that transfers the rotary motion from the engine to the rotating head.

The handle that develops from the rod can have two different shapes: ox horn or semi-circular. This allows you to steer the brushcutter through the throttle control on the grips.

Wire, disc, chain

As mentioned above, at the top of the rod there is the rotating head, to which the cutting elements, which may be different, are connected.

One is the nylon wire (more or less thick) which, rotating at high speed, is able to cut grass or anything else. Clearly the diameter of the wire determines its cutting capacity and its resistance.

A second cutting element is the disc, a toothed blade ideal for cutting thin bushes and shrubs.

Finally we have the chain, similar in some ways to chainsaws, ideal for the most demanding cutting jobs.


The petrol-powered brushcutter is equipped with a petrol-powered engine that starts by pulling the cord. Compared to electric models it has a much higher power that allows you to remove not only grass, but also bushes and small shrubs. It is therefore used for the care and maintenance of lawns and roadsides. One of the various advantages of this machine is its long-lasting autonomy thanks to its fairly large tank.

There are various models with different displacements; as this increases the power, the cutting capacity and of course the fuel consumption. The engine can be 2 or 4-stroke. The 4-stroke brushcutter, besides having a separate oil mixer, is usually quieter and less polluting.

The power of these combustion engines varies between 30 and 40 cm3 depending on the displacement.

Although it is an excellent performing machine, it has its disadvantages. First of all, an internal combustion engine is very heavy, which makes manoeuvring difficult and weighs down the user’s shoulders and arms. As already mentioned, to overcome this problem, there are machines equipped with a special harness, a backpack that contains the engine and allows you to unload the weight on the whole body instead of the arms.

The combustion engine backpack is to all intents and purposes a professional brushcutter and thanks to its power is suitable for cutting the most leathery grass, bushes and small trunks with a thin diameter.


The petrol brushcutter needs constant maintenance. The rotating head and the cutting disc must be cleaned often to prevent rust formation. Maintenance of the spark plug is also essential and should be cleaned periodically.

The pivot mechanism in the bevel gear that transmits the rotary motion from the central shaft to the sprocket holder must be lubricated periodically.

Finally it is important to keep the air filter clean; in this regard it is good practice to clean it with compressed air every 20-25 hours of work.

Electric: with cable or battery

There are two different types of electric brushcutter; we can distinguish those powered by cable and those powered by battery. Between the two the first one, although its use is bound to the presence of an electric socket, is equipped with a higher power and unlimited autonomy unlike the second whose operation is linked to the battery life. The power is between 1,000 and 2,000 W.

This garden machinery, despite the reduced power compared to the petrol model, has several advantages: the light weight (from 3 to 7 kg) makes it more practical and easy to handle; it is also very quiet and allows you to cut the grass without causing excessive disturbance to the neighborhood.

As already mentioned, the power is lower than that of the petrol brushcutter and for this reason it cannot be used for too demanding cuts.

Unlike the internal combustion engine, the electric motor starts without problems and no special maintenance is required.

The battery-operated brushcutter has the advantage of good manoeuvrability; moreover, although the autonomy is linked to the life of the battery itself, thanks to the new lithium batteries it can still be used for prolonged cuts.

Often some of these models are simply called trimmers.


The multifunction brushcutter is a machine that, in addition to carrying out the classic cutting operations typical of ordinary brushcutters, can carry out a whole other range of activities. In fact, it is possible to add accessories with different functionalities to the machine, transforming it into a hedge trimmer or telescopic pruner.

On wheels

A wheeled brushcutter is an excellent alternative to normal brushcutters because, in addition to the classic features, it has the convenience of wheeled transport. It is in fact a sort of easily transportable, agile and handy trolley, whose cutting activity is carried out automatically by the machine while the user only has to worry about pushing it. Suitable for small or elderly people.

Brushcutter prices

This machine has variable prices depending on the models. It starts from a minimum of 60-70 euros for battery models and trimmers, up to several hundred euros for professional models. The increase in displacement is usually followed by a price increase that can exceed 1000 euros.

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