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View Full Version : 4 Cycle vs 2 Cycle String Trimmers - Thoughts?


Hedgemaster
07-19-2011, 07:20 PM
I've been wanting to pick up a cheap string trimmer to have as a backup. I'd like to get a split shaft so I can pick up a few seldom-used, but sometimes needed attachments.
At this point, in order to keep costs down, I'm not looking at commercial grade - just a cheap unit from Home Depot or W-Mart, or dare I say - Crapsman. lol

I saw a 26cc Yard Man Select (http://www.walmart.com/browse/Lawn-Garden-Care/_/N-96qyZ1yzlx4m?ic=48_0&ref=428650+4292441590&refineresult=true&catNavId=533521) straight shaft (split) trimmer on clearance at W-mart that is $140.(reg $190) It's a 4 cycle though, and I don't know if there are any "pros" or "cons" when it comes to 4 cycle trimmers.

It uses the same diameter line as I use currently (.095) so that's a plus.
I don't want a two cycle that uses 40:1 mix because I'm not messing around with lugging around another gas can for it, so I was thinking the 4 cycle may be the way to go since most of the homeowner grade stuff seems to be 40:1.


ANY THOUGHTS? I want to make this purchase PRONTO, as I have some limb work I may be doing this coming week and the pole pruner attachment would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!!!

monoshock
07-19-2011, 07:41 PM
I like the 4 cycle trimmers better, no matter the brand. Two pulls when cold and your off and running, one pull after it warmed up. Also the power is down low in the RPM range so you can keep from throwing stuff every where and doing damage. (like around cars in lots) I bought a MTD from Northren Tool for $179 plus tax and realy like it alot. I changed the head, I can't stand bump heads,never used one that work right. Only thing I don't like about it is it doesn't have a hook for a strap, but I made a homemade one that works fine.

Here's the link.
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200440474_200440474

Steve
07-19-2011, 08:37 PM
Does the 2 cycle vs 4 cycle effect the price much?

monoshock
07-19-2011, 08:41 PM
Only if it's a Honda from what I've seen. I picked one of those up to get a feel for it, that thing feel really heavy. But being a Honda would probly last a long time.

Hedgemaster
07-19-2011, 08:47 PM
Does the 2 cycle vs 4 cycle effect the price much?

Yes. On the homeowner brands I've noted about $80-$100 more in price for an otherwise identical model.

I don't know if you are paying more for a better unit (mechanically), or if it's a "convenience" thing that people are willing to pay more for. (no mixing)

That was one of the reasons I was looking at this one at W-mart... most run $200 and this one is on clearance for $140.

The Toro powerhead (2 cycle) alone at Home Depot is $120.

I'm not a fan of Ryobi, or I'd pick one of those up for even less.

monoshock
07-19-2011, 08:57 PM
That looks just like my MTD with dif decals.Only I bought the curved shaft, think it's the same engine tho. I think you'll like it.

Hedgemaster
07-19-2011, 08:59 PM
Heh. I was all excited because I saw a reconditioned Echo PAS 225 at home depot for $125. (reg $180)
I was doing the math and although the attachments are much more expensive than these homeowner add ons for the other trimmer, I figured I may be better off with the Echo and the $55 savings would offset the cost of the Echo pole pruner attachment.

Then I asked about the warranty on reconditioned equipment. LOL! 30 days.
Screw that. Saving $55 isn't worth it when it has essentially no warranty.

I almost went to my dealer to get a new one, but I still need a backpack blower for fall (fast approaching) and that's gonna set me back $500, so that is why I am looking at the homeowner grade trimmer/attachments.
Like I said - I want a backup in case my Stihl should go down, and I'd like the ability to use the attachments... the ones that cost 1/4 of the price of the ones for my Stihl. (plus I can't get an extension pole pruner for my Stihl)

rcksmith
07-19-2011, 09:17 PM
I own a Honda 4 cycle and I wouldn't trade it in for anything. It did cost some money but I am true believer that you get what you pay for.
My honda is eight or nine years old now and if I put a picture up of it you would think it was brand new.
As far as maintenance, I change the oil, spark plug and air filter roughly two to three times a year. It runs a good four hours a day most days.

Hedgemaster
07-19-2011, 09:27 PM
Do I need to be concerned about running a 4 cycle in odd positions like upside down/facing upwards?

Since I plan on buying a pole pruner to cut limbs, I was wondering if it makes a difference when running them... I'm good with my hands, but not the most mechanically inclined, so that's why I ask. Maybe it's a stupid question, but you don't learn unless you open you mouth and ask.

monoshock
07-20-2011, 12:10 AM
I run mine on the side all the time when edging, haven't had any problems. Upside down, not sure, but I don't think it would be a good idea. I think they have a oil pump.

wandfsmall
07-20-2011, 08:01 AM
Do I need to be concerned about running a 4 cycle in odd positions like upside down/facing upwards?

Since I plan on buying a pole pruner to cut limbs, I was wondering if it makes a difference when running them... I'm good with my hands, but not the most mechanically inclined, so that's why I ask. Maybe it's a stupid question, but you don't learn unless you open you mouth and ask.

Stick with the 2cycle it will last longer, the 4cycle will not do well when turning on its side. It will also need more repairs as they get older. I sell both but have much better luck with my 2cycle equipment as they are lighter, cheaper, and last longer. Also go with dealer lines they will be cheaper in the long run it can take up to 45 min to change a rope in a poulan pro trimmer from home depot(this is by design so you throw it away)

wandfsmall
07-20-2011, 08:03 AM
I own a Honda 4 cycle and I wouldn't trade it in for anything. It did cost some money but I am true believer that you get what you pay for.
My honda is eight or nine years old now and if I put a picture up of it you would think it was brand new.
As far as maintenance, I change the oil, spark plug and air filter roughly two to three times a year. It runs a good four hours a day most days.

That is the only 4cycle worth having they do well, just a little costly.

Hedgemaster
07-20-2011, 08:16 AM
Stick with the 2cycle it will last longer, the 4cycle will not do well when turning on its side. It will also need more repairs as they get older. I sell both but have much better luck with my 2cycle equipment as they are lighter, cheaper, and last longer. Also go with dealer lines they will be cheaper in the long run it can take up to 45 min to change a rope in a poulan pro trimmer from home depot(this is by design so you throw it away)

OK, I appreciate you taking the time to reply, but if you ignore the obvious (2 cycle lasts longer and commercial grade is better), is the 4 cycle trimmer a bad idea for use as an occasional pole pruner?


As stated, this is only meant to be a backup trimmer in case my Stihl goes in for repair, or for the occasional edging job (I've done ONE this season), or buzzing off a few low hanging branches every now and then.

You state that they do not do well when turned on the side - can you elaborate? Like I said, I don't understand the internal workings, so knowing "why" is helpful to me.


Thanks to all who have posted thus far - it's a big help!

bruces
07-20-2011, 10:16 AM
a two stroke engine is lubricated by mixing the oil and gas together ,or it has an oil pump that squirts oil on the wear parts .A two stroke engine can be run in any position since it is getting lubricated by the fuel mixture ,the only fly in the ointment is weather or not it can get fuel in all positions .
A 4 stroke trimmer engine has an oil sump and a little metal spoon to agitate the oil towards the places that require lubrication .Since the oil is not burnt in the fuel mix ,but is captive in the sump with an airspace at the top of the sump,and the oil will always naturally flow to the bottom of its container ,when you have the trimmer upside down or on a severe angle ,the spoon might possibly be completely out of the oil,effectively rendering the spoon useless ,therefore its like your engine is getting no lubricating oil whatsoever which will cause your engines inner workings to wear out quicker .

wandfsmall
07-20-2011, 01:03 PM
OK, I appreciate you taking the time to reply, but if you ignore the obvious (2 cycle lasts longer and commercial grade is better), is the 4 cycle trimmer a bad idea for use as an occasional pole pruner?


As stated, this is only meant to be a backup trimmer in case my Stihl goes in for repair, or for the occasional edging job (I've done ONE this season), or buzzing off a few low hanging branches every now and then.

You state that they do not do well when turned on the side - can you elaborate? Like I said, I don't understand the internal workings, so knowing "why" is helpful to me.


Thanks to all who have posted thus far - it's a big help!

Bruces answered the question as well as I could have.

Hedgemaster
07-20-2011, 08:50 PM
Thanks guys. I truly appreciate the explanation.

I sort of figured that was the case, but like I said - I'm not a "mechanical" person, so I wasn't sure. (Kind of why I'm looking at new units instead of something used that I may need to repair myself to get it running)

I actually went out at midnight last night and picked up the Yard Man Select at W-mart. After a 20 minute ordeal on the phone, I learned that they had two left, so I went and grabbed one. I figured if I found something else better, I can return it, but once they are gone, they are gone, and I'd lose out on the clearance price.

I think I'll look to see if I can find owner's manuals for some of the others I had looked at to see if any of them run a 50:1 mix. If I can find one that does AND uses .095 string, I'll consider it. Otherwise, I think I'll just keep this 4 cycle since it solves three objectives:
1. Uses same diameter string as my Stihl - no sense screwing around with two kinds
2. No need to worry about fuel - uses gas, which I always have on hand. Better than buying a cheap 2 cycle trimmer that uses 40:1 mix and needing to have another gas can.
3. It gives me a backup trimmer, plus that ability to add attachments that are affordable for occasional use. (I can buy all sorts of attachments for my Stihl, but the prices are insane for something that is rarely used)

Hedgemaster
07-24-2011, 10:42 PM
I guess I'll keep the Yard Man 4 cycle.

I put it together and used it today on my lawn. My only gripe is that it spins the opposite direction of my Stihl. Ack! Just when I got used to my Stihl going "the wrong way", now I'll have to adjust to this one if I ever need to use it as a backup.

Overall, it's "OK". I mean, it's a W-mart trimmer for cripes sake, so no surprise that it's not as good as a commercial trimmer. It starts nicely though and it's well balanced.

I also picked up a Poulan Pro pole pruner attachment and hooked it up. I ran it, but didn't have any trees handy to try it out on. I do have two jobs this week where it will come in handy though.