Brush Cutter vs Line Trimmer: Which is the Best for You. Trimmer brush cutter

Brush Cutter vs Line Trimmer: Which is the Best for You?

Are you wondering about the difference between a brush cutter vs line trimmer? People who are new to these equipment might get confused and might think that these two are the same. But the truth is that they have their differences.

Get to know their differences by reading the information below.

Brush Cutter vs Line Trimmer: What’s their Difference?

In terms of their mechanics, there is very little difference between brush cutters vs grass trimmers, but mechanics aren’t everything. Brush cutters are heavy-duty tools, typically sold with sturdier lines, and more powerful engines, with better torque.

Grass trimmers are designed for edging lawns, and tidying up slightly overgrown grass. They generally have plastic lines that wear down quickly when cutting through vines and branches, so you shouldn’t attempt to cut brush with a grass trimmer.

What is a Grass Trimmer?

Grass trimmers do exactly what they say on the tin. They are lightweight tools for easy regular lawn maintenance. Some high-end grass trimmers can handle wet grass or overgrown wild patches of lawn, but they are still not advised for use on brush, tall weeds, or any vines or branches that have overgrown.

  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Usually wireless electric tools, or wired electric
  • Fairly low-maintenance tools with simple motors
  • Easy-to-refill spools
  • Ideal for neatly maintaining lawns and edging

Here is our buying guide and product reviews of the best line trimmers for 2023.

What is a Brush Cutter?

Brush cutters are beautifully useful tools for home gardeners and commercial landscapers alike. They are far more durable, usually with well-balanced handles and guards for comfort, and the best models tend to come with incredibly effective anti-vibration features for added comfort.

Brush cutters are ideal for cutting overgrown lawns, and can even handle heavy-handed lawn care if your garden has become completely overgrown. They will damage grass, and will not provide a neat finish in these conditions, but they will make light work of the task.

  • Incredibly powerful cutting tools for young branches and vines
  • Effective on wet and dry grass (some models and brands vary on this)
  • Built-in safety features and low-vibration adaptations are quite standard
  • Comfortable handles, and shoulder straps usually included
  • Durable spools and cutting lines don’t wear down as quickly as grass trimmers

If you think its a brush cutter you need, check out our review of the best brush cutters available for 2023.

How to Use a Line Trimmer and Brush Cutter Correctly

Once you start cutting your grass that are more than 8 inches in length, you need to use strokes that are short for you to be able to cut the top parts of the plants and make sure to work your way down to the grass’ base. Avoid cutting the plant in just one pass.

Using the Right Blade for Trimming

If you are going to do heavy trimming, you need to make sure that you are using the right blade. Cutting grass that is thick requires at least half an inch blade in diameter. You also need to ensure that the blade is sharp and that you are using the full throttle for you to be able to get the results that you are aiming.

Also when cutting, you need to ensure that your feet are comfortably apart for you to avoid losing your balance when you start cutting and when the blade gets to strike at a certain object.

Brush Cutter vs String Trimmer Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a brush cutter for grass?

Brush cutters work well on grass, but without practice they can tear your lawn to shreds, so it’s generally best to use a more light-weight tool like an electric grass trimmer. However, with proper care and attention, brush cutters are handy multi-functional tools that are definitely capable of cutting grass.

Can you change a grass trimmer head to a brush cutter head?

There are several brands and models of brush cutters and grass trimmers that are sold with interchangeable heads, and varying cutting speeds. If you want to spend less overall, but are happy to spend a bit more on a really good tool, look for multi-headed trimmers that can handle all aspects of lawn and garden care.

Wrapping Up Our Brush Cutter vs Line Trimmer Guide

They may both help you when it comes to your lawn, but they each have their differences. Hopefully, the information provided has helped you understand which machine to use for the type of lawn you have.

10 inch Renegade cutting blade for weed eater.

Now, all that is left for you to do is to decide which one is suitable and all the features that you need when it comes to managing your lawn. Always remember that maintaining your grass is the key to a beautiful garden. Now you know the difference between a brush cutter vs line trimmer.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I’m Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I’ve always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people’s gardens thrive.

Brush Cutter Vs String Trimmer – Which One Should You Buy?

Having a backyard means dealing with the unavoidable problem of overgrowing weed on your turf. Most of us deal with this problem by using tools like a lawnmower, a brush cutter, or a string trimmer (also known as a weed wacker).

While the difference between a lawnmower and a handheld tool like a brush cutter or a string trimmer is easily identifiable, that is not so much the case when it comes to spotting a difference between a string trimmer and a brush cutter.

Mainly because of their remarkably similar design language. This leads to confusion as to what you should buy for use in your backyard.

If you, too, are confused about this, then you are in the right place. In this article, we have talked about everything you need to know to get rid of this confusion.

We have also included their pros and cons and talked about the factors you should consider to decide which one will be best suited for your backyard. So let us begin with a brief introduction of each one of them.

What Are String Trimmers?

A string trimmer is a tool used to cut unwanted weeds and grass on a field. String trimmers usually have a long pipe-like design, with the cutting mechanism on one end and the engine and handle on the other.

As the name suggests, a string trimmer uses a Nylon string to cut the grass or weed. However, some trimmers allow you to replace the string with a weed wacker blade.

  • LST140 40 volt max string trimmer/edger with power drive high torque transmission for clean, fast.
  • Automatic Feed Spool AFS automatically feeds trimmer line as needed
  • LSW40 40 volt max sweeper a wind speed of up to 130 MPH easily clear debris from hard surfaces
  • Low noise design for quiet operation. Up to 130MPH
  • Both units offer a ‘state of charge’ indicator which shows your battery charge level. Products are.

The unique design of a string trimmer allows it to reach in tight spaces and corners where a lawnmower would never reach. However, a compact and slim design means that it will not be as powerful as a lawnmower and is not suitable for heavy-duty work or working on large fields.

String trimmers are best used for lightweight weed and grass cutting in a small area like a lawn or a backyard. However, string trimmers come in different kinds based on the design and type of power source.

Some high-powered string trimmers can be used for the mid-sized backyard as well. Let us look at the different types of string trimmers you can buy.


  • Available in different types based on the power source, giving users the option to buy the cheaper ones if they do not need the extra power.
  • Less powerful models are lighter and hence easier to maneuver.
  • Electric powered models are eco-friendly.


  • The nylon-string used in the cutting head is weaker compared to a blade and may break down if used for heavy-duty work (we recommend replacing it with a weedwhacker blade if you want to do a more solemn task than usual)
  • Even the most potent models will not be ideal for working on dense vegetation and thicker scrubs.
  • It can be dangerous as it can deflect a small rock in your way while being used.

Types of String Trimmers

Usually, all the string trimmers are the same in their operations, as they all use a nylon-string (replaceable by a weed wacker blade). However, there are some ways in which a string trimmer can differ from the other. Which are:

Shaft Shape: The long pipe-like part of the string trimmer between the handle and the cutting blade is called its shaft. A string trimmer usually comes in two different shaft shape, namely, straight and curved.

Straight shaft string trimmers are usually ideal for tall users, as it is longer compared to curved shaft trimmers, meaning they will not have to bend or lean forward to use it.

On the other hand, curved shaft ones are ideal for short users, since it is easier to maneuver and move around. Another advantage with a curved shaft trimmer is that it can access tight spaces and corners with much more ease than extended straight shaft trimmers.

Power Source: Based on the power source, string trimmers can be classified into three types, namely, Corded Electric, Battery-Powered, and Gas String Trimmers.

brush, cutter, line, trimmer, which

Corded electric string trimmers are powered using an electrical outlet on a wall. This put corded electric trimmers at a significant disadvantage since it limits these trimmers’ maneuverability and range.

Another type of string trimmer is also made to overcome this limitation of range, which are called battery-powered string trimmers. These string trimmers are powered using an in-built rechargeable battery. While the use of a battery removes the range limitation, it does limit the duration of use since once the battery runs out, you will have to recharge it before being able to use it again.

The third type of string trimmers, the gas string trimmers, are designed to overcome both limitations. These string trimmers are powered using combustible fuel engines, meaning neither they need to be connected to a power source, nor are they required to be recharged.

You can refuel them once it runs out of fuel, and you will be good to go. They are also the most powerful ones out of the three.

However, being powered by combustible fuel, gas string trimmers also give out harmful emissions, causing pollution, and their engines also make a lot of noise.

Now that we have talked about string trimmers, let us look at brush cutters.

What Are Brush Cutters?

A Brush Cutter is another tool used for cutting weed and grass on a field. But that is what String Trimmers are also for. So what makes it different from a String Trimmer? The main difference between a Brush Cutter and a String Trimmer is using a blade for the cutting purpose instead of a nylon string. However, as mentioned earlier, in some cases, you can replace the string of a string trimmer with a weed wacker blade.

In terms of design, a brush cutter is more or less the same as a string trimmer. The primary purpose of a brush cutter is to cut grass that is too dense to be cut by a string. Hence, apart from having a blade instead of a string, they also have more powerful 2-cycle engines to deliver the required horsepower for heavy-duty work.

Since brush cutters are better in terms of performance, they only make sense that they are also more expensive than a string trimmer. Other than that, they are almost the same as a string trimmer. Now, let us look at the different pros and cons of brush cutters and string trimmers.


  • It uses blades instead of strings for cutting purposes, making it ideal for cutting dense vegetation.
  • The blades are replaceable and come in different shapes and sizes to do different tasks.
  • Build quality is better since it is meant to do heavy-duty tasks.


  • If a rock hits the blade at a specific area, it can come flying at you.
  • It is heavier than string trimmers and is harder to maneuver and use for more extended periods.

So, Which One Should You Buy?

So far, we have told you everything you need to know about a gas string trimmer and a brush cutter and the differences between them. But now that you are clear of the differences, you must be wondering which one should you buy. And to help you make that decision, we have included this section in the article.

A few factors will play a significant role in your decision, which will be based on your needs and requirements. Those factors are:

Power Needs: What you need a weed cutter for will decide your power needs. If you want to clear some light weed or grass on your backyard or clear your fence lines or walkways, then an electric string trimmer will work just fine for you. Not to mention, you will also have the option of replacing the string with a weed wacker blade to do a more solemn task.

If, however, you need to cut weed professionally or work on dense grass and scrub, then you should go for a brush cutter.

Budget: Budget is another factor that will affect your decision. As mentioned above, brush cutters are more expensive as compared to string trimmers. So, if you are tight on budget, you should consider going for a string trimmer.

Physical Capabilities: Since brush cutters are more powerful, they also tend to be heavier and produce more vibrations and kickback when used. If you think you would not handle that, string trimmers, with lighter weight and fewer vibrations would be a better choice for you.

String Trimmer vs. Brush Cutter – Different Tools for Different Jobs

Looking out at your perfectly maintained lawn on a beautiful sunny day is probably one of the most enjoyable things you can do. For those who don’t yet have that lawn, however, the idea of handling what seems to be the jungle that’s your property may seem to be a nightmare. What tools do you need to get up and going, and what’s the difference between these tools?

The difference between string trimmers and brush cutters is that string trimmers use strips of nylon to cut through light vegetation and grass while brush cutters use a metal blade for cutting back thicker overgrowths like thick brush and small saplings.

You can buy these tools separately or opt for a multi-attachment yard tool that is capable of serving multiple roles. I own a STIHL Kombisystem that has attachments for both string trimmer and brush cutter. Read on to learn the major differences between string trimmers and brush cutters, along with the pros and cons of each tool.

Check out the DynaTrap Mosquito Flying Insect Trap – Kills Mosquitoes, Flies, Wasps, Gnats, Other Flying Insects – Protects up to 1/2 Acre (link to Amazon).

String Trimmers: What They Are and What They Do

String trimmers, also referred to as weed whackers, are a specific type of handheld tool used for cutting back overgrowth in your backyard.

As the name suggests, string trimmers work by using a small nylon string to cut back growth in your backyard. This string, moving very quickly, cuts through relatively thin vegetation such as grass or weeds that may be growing in your backyard. They’re light, easy to use, and help cover a large distance in a short time.

Important to note, however, is that string trimmers are only to be used for this trimming of small vegetation. The nylon string, though easy to replace, isn’t very durable.

What that means is that if you go over rocks or are trying to cut through another form of vegetation that’s too thick, you’ll likely not actually cut the vegetation and will just damage the nylon string. Though all you need to do to replace the string is pull more out from the storage compartment, it’s important to know.

Brush Cutters: What They Are and What They Do

Brush cutters, similar to string trimmers, are another handheld tool used to cut back overgrowth in your backyard, but the type of overgrowth it’s meant to cut is different. While it can be used on grass and weeds, brush cutters are to be used on thicker vegetation.

Unlike string trimmers, brush cutters have a metal blade that’s used to cut thicker items (source). If you have sumac bushes in your backyard, you’d want to use the brush cutter.

Brush cutters are also different from string trimmers in the fact that brush cutters are more durable than string trimmers. Because they have blades rather than just a nylon string, brush cutters can cut through thicker vegetation and will take more time to get dull or break when cutting smaller vegetation like weeds or grass.

However, when using brush cutters, if the blade were to be damaged, then, unlike a string trimmer, you’d need to replace the blade.

String Trimmers vs. Brush Cutters: Pros And Cons

Though both string trimmers and brush cutters share quite a few similarities, there are key differences between the two. Below is a complete list of the pros and cons of getting both a string trimmer and a brush cutter.

Pros of a String Trimmer

  • String trimmers are light and very easy to use. Because string trimmers rely on a nylon string rather than a blade to cut the vegetation, string trimmers are generally very light and can be easily used even if the string becomes dull or breaks.
  • String trimmers can be used as a lawn edger. If your house is situated on a curb or road, you’ll likely want to draw a sharp edge to your lawn so that grass and weeds don’t overgrow onto the road or curb. String trimmers can be used to cut these grass and weeds, making them easy to use as a lawn edger. See
  • String trimmers are available in gas, electric corroded, and battery-operated capacities. Because string trimmers are so light, they don’t need nearly as much power to operate. This means that they can use ways to power the motor other than just a gas engine.

Cons of a String Trimmer

  • String trimmers are weaker and can cut through less. Since string trimmers only use a small nylon string, they aren’t nearly as strong as a brush cutter. This makes it so they can cut through less, thus limiting their use.
  • String trimmers turn small rocks into projectiles. Likely the worst part of a string trimmer is that they turn small rocks into projectiles that shoot at your legs. Though when these rocks hit you it’s not a serious safety concern, it can hurt fairly bad momentarily.

Pros of a Brush Cutter

  • Brush cutters use a blade so that they can cut through more dense vegetation. If you have an area full of thick growth or simply are trying to cut through thicker vegetation, brush cutters are able to quickly cut through these objects with one chop.
  • Brush cutters blades are more versatile. Just like a lawnmower, brush cutters have a number of different blades they can use to get the job done. This makes it so that they can cut a wider variety of things, and do a wider variety of jobs.

Cons of a Brush Cutter

  • Brush cutters are heavier and slightly harder to use. Since brush cutters use a blade and have more parts, they’re generally heavier and harder to use. This also makes it hard to use brush cutters over a large area.
  • Brush cutters throw materials back at the operator. While most string trimmers have a “grass guard” so that the cut materials don’t come back at an operator, brush cutters don’t. This makes them slightly more dangerous to use.

Final Thoughts

Though used for different things, string trimmers and brush cutters are very similar, both easy to use, and have a lot of similar uses. When considering which tool to purchase, think about what your lawn requires you to do. If unsure of the specific challenges your lawn will provide, getting a brush cutter might be the safer route to go.

Paul has a two-acre yard on red clay soil in Southeast Texas. He knows exactly what the challenges are to nurturing a thriving yard in difficult soil.Paul takes a practical approach to yard improvement and enjoys putting best practices and “golden rules of lawn care” to the test.

Mow the ditches and clean up the back with a tough, dependable machine.

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Brush cutters easily grind through tall, overgrown fields, up steep hillsides, and into deep ditches where regular lawn equipment doesn’t work. When a lawnmower and weedwacker won’t cut it, a brush cutter might be the answer.

Plenty of powerful tools and attachments can help you cut through heavy and overgrown weeds, vines, briars, and brambles. Keep reading to learn about the key features to consider when shopping, and then explore the picks for the best brush cutter products on today’s market. An in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting went into assembling the list of top picks.

  • BEST OVERALL:Forester Chainsaw Tooth 9″ Brush Blade
  • RUNNER-UP:ATIE 8″ 80T Carbide Tip Brush Blade
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Pool Supply Town 12″ x 3 Teeth Brush Blade
  • UPGRADE PICK:WW Brush Cutter
  • BEST ATTACHMENT:TrimmerPlus BC720 Brushcutter with J-Handle
  • BEST TRIMMER LINE:Oregon 20-108 Platinum Gatorline.155 Trimmer
  • GAS PICK:Husqvarna 17″ 2 Cycle Gas Powered String Trimmer
  • ELECTRIC PICK:Greenworks 80V Cordless String Trimmer Powerhead

Before You Buy a Brush Cutter

A complete brush cutter can be an expensive, heavy-duty machine. Handheld brush cutters are heavier, more powerful, and cost two to three times more than an average weedwacker or cordless string trimmer. Depending on how heavy the brush needing cutting is, plenty of attachments and adapters can help you do the job with other tools in your shed.

High-quality string trimmers can knock down patches of dense weeds on occasion, and they see regular use grooming the yard every week or so. A good solution could be to purchase a brush-cutter head for an existing string trimmer. But if the weeds are extra heavy, the area is large, and the chore occurs frequently, it makes sense to invest in a dedicated brush cutter.

Types of Brush Cutters

Buying a new machine is a long-term investment no one should take lightly. Of course, it’s wise to buy quality tools for many years of dependable use. However, it is equally important to choose the right type of brush cutter for a property. An undersized machine wastes time, while an oversized machine wastes money and space. Read on to learn more about the different kinds of brush cutters and how they work.

String Trimmer Conversion

Instead of buying a new machine, you can simply convert a string trimmer into a brush cutter. Most string trimmers have motors between 20 and 30cc, which is not suitable for daily use as a brush cutter, but adequate for occasional heavy use. For example, use them to cut brush for a few hours, once a month.

There are two ways to convert from a string trimmer head to a rigid brush cutting head. The simplest is to use a powerhead with changeable attachments. These machines have a short drive shaft and a quick-connection system for easily switching from tool to tool in a matter of seconds. String trimmer and brush cutter attachments are just two of many attachments that powerheads can operate.

Converting a fixed string trimmer into a brush cutter requires an adapter. The adapter is unique for each brand of trimmer, but nearly all brands offer one. It takes 5 minutes or less with simple hand tools to remove the trimmer line spool and replace it with a brush-cutting head.

There are four basic types of brush cutter heads:

  • Knife blades are the most common. They use a sharpened front edge to slice through weeds. Choose knife blades, either a disc knife or tri-knife, for general purpose brush cutting. They are inexpensive and long-lasting.
  • Chisel knives are smaller and more aggressive than knife blades. These include the circular saw and chainsaw types. They work very well on heavier brush and small saplings but require larger engines, around 30cc and bigger, to work efficiently.
  • Smasher blades, also called flails, use thin edges and high velocity to smash through vegetation. These are not suitable for heavy, woody material, but work quite well on tall weedy grass.
  • Mulching blades look like knife blades, however, the blade tips bend at a nearly 90-degree angle. These are not common and are best for grinding up weeds, leaves, and branches.


If you care for a large suburban or rural property, a handheld brush cutter might be right for you. Handheld brush cutters efficiently take down heavy weeds and thick brush areas that are not accessible by a mower. A handheld brush cutter looks like a string trimmer, only it uses a specialized brush cutting head. In fact, it is possible to retrofit a string trimmer with a brush-cutting head.

Brush-cutting heads use heavy-duty trimmer string, rigid flails, or a circular saw-type blade to cut through woody material cleanly, quickly, and efficiently. Handheld electric brush cutters and gas brush cutters with engines smaller than 40cc work well for smaller jobs, like cleaning up a vegetable garden at the end of the season. For larger areas and more aggressive cutting capability, choose a gas-powered brush cutter with an engine larger than 40cc. These heavy-duty models can cut through saplings up to 2 inches thick.


Hobby farmers and other small acreage owners choose walk-behind brush cutters for occasional maintenance of fields and pastures up to an acre. Walk-behind brush cutters have heavy-duty rotary mowers, sometimes called rough-cut mowers. These machines can cut down tall, coarse, thick grass, weeds, and weedy shrubs. Some can cut down saplings up to 2 inches in diameter or larger.

Walk-behind brush cutters are single-purpose machines, but brush cutter attachments are available for walk-behind tractors. Some lightweight models are string trimmers on wheels, but most walk-behinds are much more robust, with heavy gauge metal parts that help them grind through thick, weedy areas. They are self-propelled, with rear-mounted engines and large rear pneumatic tires. This design allows the forward mower deck to easily glide up over tall vegetation.


Farmers and managers of large-acreage properties choose tow-behind brush cutters for regular maintenance of trails, large fields, wildlife food plots, roadside areas, and utility rights-of-way. Tow-behind brush cutters, also known as brush hogs, are large rotary mowers that owners pull behind tractors or ATVs.

Some tow-behind brush cutters have their own engine that engages the blade while the user drives over the area to cut. Other tow-behinds need the tow vehicle to supply the power. They connect to the towing vehicle’s power take off (PTO) by a drive shaft that turns the mower blade.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Brush Cutter

There are several factors to consider while shopping for a brush cutter. If shopping for handheld models, you can go with a powerful cordless electric or a long-lasting gas-powered model. Repeat use for cutting thick vines and woody brush requires more power than mowing tall grass. Ahead, learn about the factors that should drive buying decisions.

Gas vs. Electric

Handheld brush cutters come with gas or electric power; there are no electric models in the other types of brush cutters. Gas-powered cutters provide plenty of power and extended cutting time. Electric brush cutters operate quietly, keep the air clean, and eliminate cost, handling, and storage of liquid fuels.

Electric brush cutters work great for mowing down an overgrown vegetable garden at season’s end or maintaining small natural areas that are not regularly mowed. Electric is an especially good choice if the tool is only used a few times a year because it eliminates the worry over stored fuel going bad. Power and battery life both limit the use of electric brush cutters on larger properties.

Although a few 4-cycle models are available, most handheld models feature 2-cycle engines that require mixed fuel (2-cycle oil mixed into the gasoline). That adds a layer of preparation time and expense. The 4-cycle alternatives are heavier, which increases user fatigue, but adds power and pollutes less than 2-cycle models.

Motor Power

Power translates directly to working ability. A more powerful brush cutter cuts faster and more smoothly than its less-powerful competitor. Increased power helps where the conditions become more adverse, such as thicker weeds and brush or uneven terrain. When all else is equal, the more powerful machine is more capable.

Cordless electric brush cutters measure power in volts (V) and are rated between 18 and 84V. Gas-powered engines measure in cubic centimeters of displacement (cc). Handheld brush cutters range from 24 to 50cc. Handheld brush cutters with power over 56V or 35cc are considered heavy duty.

Walk-behind brush cutters and tow-behind cutters with their own engines normally list the engine size in horsepower (HP), although some manufacturers may show it in cc. There are approximately 14cc per 1 HP. You can easily convert cc to HP for an equal comparison (cc/14 = HP.) Most walk-behinds produce between 11 and 20 HP.

Tow-behind brush cutters that run via power take-off (PTO) need enough horsepower to run efficiently. Consult the tractor or ATV manufacturer’s information to learn how much horsepower a PTO supplies. The rule of thumb is that for every foot of cutter width, the PTO must supply 5 HP. A 5-foot brush cutter needs about 25 HP from the PTO.

Cutting Width

The cutting width is the width of a single pass with the brush cutter. It determines both how quickly a cutter can complete the work, and how much space the machine requires for access to the site. Handhelds range from 9 to 18 inches, walk-behinds are 24 to 26 inches, and tow-behind cutters range from 4 to 15 feet.

Wider cutters use more power, and can more easily bog down in dense vegetation. Narrow models are slower. Tow-behind brush cutters should cut wider than the width of the tractor; otherwise, the tractor will drive over some vegetation twice before the mower passes over it. Also consider the width of narrow access points the machine must pass, such as gates or closely growing trees.


Walk-behind and tow-behind brush cutters come with heavy gauge steel housing, rugged pneumatic tires, and powerful engines that hold up in rough working conditions. Handheld brush cutters are more of a gradient from light-duty string trimmers to powerful brush cutting machines. For optimal durability, use these machines to do the tasks for which they are best suited.

When converted with brush cutting heads, string trimmers with engines between 24 and 35cc are adequate for limited use on thick grass and tall weeds. Heavy-duty string trimmers with larger engines can be converted for cutting thick weeds, woody vines, and small saplings. True handheld brush cutters, with powerful 40 to 50cc engines, can extend to the cutting of thick, dense, woody vegetation.


Tools that perform multiple tasks offer great value. Both handheld and walk-behind brush cutters are made as dedicated pieces of equipment, but most owners only use them a few times each year. Consider buying brush cutter attachments for devices that perform other lawn-care tasks.

The benefit of converting a string trimmer to a brush cutter by changing the head is that the extra head takes up virtually no storage space and extends the usefulness of existing equipment. It only takes a few minutes and simple hand tools to remove the string trimmer head from the end of the shaft and replace it with a brush-cutter head.

Handheld powerheads run lots of different tools, including string trimmers, lawn edgers, pole saws, hedge trimmers, brush cutters, and more. Powerheads feature quick-change shafts that only take a few seconds to switch between devices. Powerheads are more powerful than basic string trimmers and save the owner hundreds of dollars or more by using one engine for all needs.

Similarly, walk-behind tractors are powerheads that can do far more work than dedicated brush cutters. A walk-behind tractor lets the owner switch from brush cutter to a rototiller, snow blower, firewood splitter, pressure washer, and many other useful implements.

Universal Attachments

Anyone going the multiuse route should look closely at how the powerhead attaches to the cutter. Some large brands use proprietary attachment systems, which might work well, but tie the owner to that specific manufacturer. All future purchases also must feature the same attachment system. You can find good value in non-proprietary, or universal, attachment systems that interface with virtually all similar devices.

Our Top Picks

With all this in mind, some of the best handheld and adaptable brush-cutting products can help you clean up those overgrown corners. For a new handheld brush cutter that also can edge the driveway, check this list. If you have an excellent string trimmer and want to give it a brush-cutting upgrade, one of these products can help.

Forester Chainsaw Tooth 9″ Brush Blade

The Forester 9” Brush Blade works like a rotary chainsaw. Replace the head on a string trimmer with this circular saw blade to clear out woody brush and coarse weeds. It can quickly cut through dense, woody brush and saplings up to 2-inches thick. The package includes a file to help keep the 20 steel cutting teeth sharp.

This brush cutter blade is durable, affordable, and easy to install. Be extra careful when working around rocks and other hard surfaces that can damage the cutting teeth. And be sure to consult the trimmer owner’s manual before buying to ensure that the blade will fit the model.

  • Can cut through stems up to 2 inches thick
  • Easily installs, replacing string on trimmer
  • Affordable way to use existing tool
  • Comes with file to sharpen teeth

Get the Forester brush blades on Amazon.

ATIE 8″ 80T Carbide Tip Brush Blade

The ATIE 8” Carbide Tip Brush Blade is especially well suited for cutting down stands of saplings and thick, woody shrubs. With a high number of cutting teeth, it works like a circular saw on thick saplings, but it is equally as effective on coarse weeds. Carbide-hardened teeth extend the blade’s wear time—up to 10 times longer than steel. The 1-inch (20mm) arbor fits most string trimmers.

This brush-cutting blade is durable, inexpensive, and easy to install with a universal design. It has more teeth, but they might break more easily than on a blade with fewer, larger teeth. Be cautious operating this blade near rocks. As with any universal design, it makes sense to check the trimmer owner’s manual to make sure the 1-inch arbor will fit an existing machine before buying this blade.

  • High number of carbide cutting teeth
  • Attaches to a existing string trimmer
  • Affordable and durable solution to cutting brush
  • 1-inch arbor fits most string trimmers

Get the ATIE brush blade on Amazon.

ATIE 12″ x 3 Teeth Heavy Duty Steel Brush Blade

The ATIE 12” x 3 Teeth Heavy Duty Steel Brush Blade is a durable steel tri-blade that is both economical and effective for cutting a wide variety of weedy and brushy material. Although not the ideal choice for large-diameter saplings, this affordable brush cutter handles brush measuring 1-inch in diameter and smaller. With a 1-inch (20mm) arbor, it fits most string trimmers.

This blade is larger than some fixed brush cutter blades at 12-inches across and 3 mm thick. Users should sharpen the knife edges periodically for the best results. Be aware this blade is heavier than others, so consider the weight on the tool and using a shoulder strap for added support while cutting brush.

  • Heavy-duty steel blade
  • Affordable choice for occasional need to cut brush
  • Attaches to existing string trimmers with 1-inch arbor

Get the Pool Supply 12-inch brush blade on Amazon.

WW Brush Cutter

The WW Brush Cutter uses three moving blades to slice through heavy grass, thick weeds, and overgrown shrubs. This is a good all-purpose head for regular lawn maintenance and occasional clearing of light brush and thick, tall weeds. The replaceable metal-edged blades give a clean cut-in for a manicured lawn and clear out seedling trees and vines that occasionally grow up in hidden corners of the yard.

This brush cutter is high on value and ease of use. The molded plastic head can wear out faster than heavier duty ones, and is compatible with straight shaft trimmers only.

Get the WW brush cutter on Amazon, Ace Hardware, and Overstock.

TrimmerPlus BC720 Brushcutter with J-Handle

The TrimmerPlus BC720 Brushcutter is a universal attachment for most gas and cordless electric powerheads. The 4-tip steel blade makes quick work of tall, thick, grassy weeds and dense brush. The package includes a shoulder strap for added support and a J-bar for increased control and comfort while operating the brush cutter. The 1.65-inch inner coupler tube and 0.20-inch square drive shaft connector interface with most changeable powerheads.

This attachment is highly durable, easy to install, and a good value. Always check the powerhead owner’s manual before purchasing new attachments.

Get the TrimmerPlus brushcutter at Lowe’s or at Tractor Supply Co.

Oregon 20-108 Platinum Gatorline.155-Inch Trimmer

Oregon 20-108 Platinum Gatorline Trimmer Line.155-Inch features a twisted line profile for maximum cutting-edge exposure, minimum wind resistance, and excellent durability. Its hard exterior holds up well to high temperatures and impacts with hard objects. A braided line also makes less noise than other line profiles. This thick, heavy-duty trimmer line is best paired with a powerful brush cutter, greater than 35cc, for the best results.

Be careful not to add twists to the line while loading it onto the spool as that stresses the filament and can lead to early breakage. To prevent bogging down the trimmer, use this line only with strong trimmers 35cc and larger.

Get the Oregon trimmer line on Amazon.

Husqvarna 17″ 2 Cycle Gas Powered String Trimmer

The Husqvarna gas-powered brush cutter draws its considerable power from a two-stroke gas engine. It’s not the lightest power tool at 16 pounds, but it makes up for the weight with an ergonomic grip and an impressive motor that helps to cut through dense overgrowth. The broad 17-inch trimming radius allows users to trim the yard in a hurry, and it has a simple bump-feed system to extend the trimming line when necessary.

The curved shaft design of this gas-powered brush cutter helps the Husqvarna to be more maneuverable and balanced so users have an easier time handling the power tool while they work. This gas brush cutter also has an automatic emergency stop feature that halts the movement of the trimmer string when the trigger is released, making this model even more user-friendly.

Get the Husqvarna string trimmer on Tractor Supply Co. and Lowe’s.

Greenworks 80V Cordless String Trimmer Powerhead

The Greenworks 80V Cordless String Trimmer Powerhead comes with a string trimmer attachment, and adapts for lots of other functions with attachments, including a brush cutter. The 2 Ah battery provides up to 45 minutes of battery life. This brushless electric brush cutter is efficient and quiet, providing plenty of torque to cut through the same heavy weeds as its gas-powered counterparts without the noise and smell.

Users should take some care with this powerhead’s lithium-ion batteries. The batteries should be stored at about 50 percent of charge. This brush cutter is best for smaller properties due to limited run time and the need for recharging or with purchase of a second battery for extended use.

  • Brushless electric motor
  • String trimmer attachment
  • Variable speed trigger
  • Lightweight construction
  • Battery and charger included; Rapid charging


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Get the Greenworks 80V electric brush cutter on Amazon.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for an effective brush cutter, look no further than the Forester Chainsaw Brush Blade. This cutting blade has a durable carbide construction and a 9-inch cutting path that can take on durable brush with its 20 teeth. Alternatively, the WW Brush Cutter blade is made with metal and plastic and has a 10-inch cutting path. Plus, this pick is compatible with multiple trimmer brands.

How We Chose the Best Brush Cutters

Given how easy it can be to convert an existing trimmer into a brush-cutting machine, we recommended a majority of blade options that work with a buyer’s existing tools to create an affordable brush cutter that can cut anywhere from thick grass to twisty vines depending on the base machine. Versatility is an important consideration for those who have the budget—or space—for only one trimming and brush-cutting tool

Of the blades, we gravitated toward those with a universal fit, looking to provide a range of options that will accommodate gas and electric trimmers. Whether looking at the blade or the full machine, foremost was durability. Blades, trimmers, or string have to hold up to some thick brush and stems to work as they should, so the majority of our top picks include a number of heavy-duty steel and even carbide blades that will hold up with average use.


Q: How do you use a brush cutter?

Always operate the blade parallel to the ground. Because the blade spins counterclockwise, cut with the left side to avoid kickback. Use a brush cutter with a blade with fewer than eight teeth and a long sweeping motion to cut grass. For tall, woody shrubs, use a tri-blade. Begin with the blade at waist height and lower the blade onto the material. Using a circular saw blade, only cut saplings 2-inches in diameter and smaller. Use a chainsaw for larger trees.

Always be aware of others in the area who might be harmed by flying debris. Wear hearing protection, safety glasses, work gloves, long pants, and work boots to protect yourself.

Q: How do you sharpen a brush cutter blade?

Sharpen the steel brush cutter blades with either an angle grinder or a bench grinder. If using a bench grinder, hold the blade edge at a 45-degree angle to the grinder. Press the blade steadily against the grinder as you slowly work the blade across the grinder from its center to the edge. Flip the blade and sharpen the other edge. If using an angle grinder, the process is similar, except the blade is clamped in a vice and the grinder moves across the blade.

Q: What type of engines do brush cutters use?

Handheld brush cutters use electric motors, 2-cycle gas engines, or 4-cycle gas engines. Walk-behind and tow-behind brush cutters use gas engines.

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