If you have a lot of dense foliage in your garden, then a strimmer may not be up to the task. A brush cutter will enable you to tackle thick weeds and branches safely and effectively.
Brush cutters are different to strimmers in that they capable of cutting much thicker vegetation in your garden. Making use of metal blades, you can use them to cut through thick weeds as well as for cutting down overgrown grass.
Strimmers are good for clearing light foliage and creating clean borders but for tackling heavy growth and thick branches, a brush cutter is certainly the better choice.
We’ve rated some of the best brush cutters available in the UK. As well as covering their key features, we’ve also looked at the pros and cons of each model.
Last update on 2021-04-17 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s start with our best pick, the Dewalt DCM571…
A powerful and easy-to-use brush cutter
The Dewalt DCM571 is our best pick and is a powerful yet easy-to-use cutter.
It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery (included) and at 54V, it has plenty of power. It has a generous cutting width of 38cm, making it ideal for cutting overgrown grass as well as weeds and branches. It weighs just 3.5kg, so it’s light enough to use for extended periods for most people without causing discomfort.
It comes with a cutting swathe, so you can use it as you would a strimmer for doing light clearing and cutting grass. You also get a brush knife and adapter kit, making it easy to add the blade for tackling thicker growth.
Overall, it’s an excellent machine and packs an impressive amount of power into such a compact and lightweight unit. The lack of a cord makes it very convenient to use, even in hard-to-reach spots and if you can afford the price tag, then it’d make an excellent choice of brush cutter.
- Powered by a lithium-ion battery, so you don’t have to worry about managing a cord or finding a nearby power source
- At 3.5kg, it’s very lightweight and comfortable to use
- Comes with a cutting swathe as well as a brush knife and adapter kit
- Quite expensive for a brush cutter, so it won’t be within everyone’s budget
A versatile brush cutter at a very affordable price
Our value pick is the eSkde 2 in 1 Brush Cutter & Strimmer.
It uses a 900W electric motor, providing plenty of power even when tackling very thick growth. In addition to the nylon cutting swathe, you also get a blade, so you’re able to take on jobs of all kinds.
It comes with a 10m power cable, giving you plenty of room to work with. The shaft of this cutter splits in half, which not only makes it convenient for storing, but also means you’re able to use a number of other attachments with it, such as a hedge trimmer and pruner.
There is also a nylon bump feed head, which means you can get extra line as you need it very easily. Admittedly, it can be a bit tricky to get the right amount of line but it’s still preferable to having to turn it off, flip it over etc.
Although there can be some issues with the cutting line breaking under heavy use, the blade works very well and if you’re mostly going to be using this mostly as a brush cutter, then you can’t really go wrong for the price.
- Very affordable
- Comes with a cutting swathe as well as a brush cutter, enabling you to take on all kinds of jobs
- The split shaft design makes it very easy to store
- The nylon bump feed head makes it very convenient to get extra line as you need it
- The cutting line can be quite fragile
- Instructions for assembly could be better
A powerful and feature-rich petrol cutter
Next up is the 25.4cc Petrol Brush Cutter from Ryobi. The 25.4cc petrol engine means you not only have plenty of power to tackle thick growth, but also don’t need to worry about finding a nearby power source.
Just like the eSkde brush cutter, this model is split-shaft, meaning you’re able to use other attachments from Ryobi. It has a 43cm cutting width and the loop handle and included shoulder strap make it very comfortable to use.
It comes with both a strimmer head and a 26cm TriArc+ blade included, and it’s very easy to get new line when using the strimmer head thanks to the bump feed line. Assembly is very simple, as is removing the strimmer heard to fit the blade, with all necessary tools provided.
The Ryobi 25.4cc Petrol Brush Cutter is a very capable machine that’s not only powerful but also lightweight and easy-to-use.
- Comes with both a strimmer head and a cutting blade included, making it suitable for all types of jobs
- EasyStart technology makes it very easy to start this cutter up, with no need to pull a cord
- Easy assembly
- Split-shaft design makes it easy to store and use with other attachments
- Quite costly compared to traditional strimmers, so may not be worth it unless you specifically need the cutting blade
Provides a comfortable cutting experience and gets the job done
The Einhell GC-BC is another petrol brush cutter and features a two-stroke, 52cc engine, giving you plenty of power to tackle thick growth in the garden.
It’s very easy to start, with an electronic ignition and auto choke. It’s split-shaft too, meaning it’s very easy to transport and store. It has a 0.9-litre fuel tank, so you will get plenty of use out of it with each top-up.
The bike-handle design makes it very comfortable to use and the shoulder strap means it’s easy to support the weight of the unit while you’re using it.
You can use this as both a strimmer and brush cutter, with a strimmer head and blade both being included for the price. The two-stroke engine helps to reduce vibration and make it much smoother and more comfortable to operate.
Overall, it’s an excellent machine and will certainly have enough power to take on even the thickest growth.
- The two-stroke, 52cc engine provides plenty of power and helps to reduce vibration
- The split-shaft design makes it convenient to transport and store
- The easy starting system means you don’t have to worry about cold start issues
- It can have issues with overheating if you use it for extended periods of time (30 mins or more)
- At 8.9kg, it’s on the heavier side
A versatile and reliable brush cutter with plenty of power
Lastly, we’re going to look at the Mcculloch B43 BT Petrol Brush Cutter with Bullhorn Handle.
It has a 43cc engine and a cutting width of 42cm, so you have plenty of power for tackling thick weeds and branches, while still being able to use it for cutting down overgrown grass.
It comes with three different cutting heads, making it very versatile – In addition to a strimmer head, you also get a 100-tooth clearing saw and a grass blade. The bullhorn handles and double-padded harness also help to make using it a comfortable experience.
In addition to the harness, blades and main unit, you also get a fuel/oil mixing bottle included in the package – a very welcome additional item.
There are several versions of this cutter available, with a range of different styles and attachments available to suit your needs. Some are bullhorn handles and others have a loop handle. Which you should get really comes down to personal preference.
- Comes with a strimmer head as well as a clearing saw and grass blade, meaning it’s extremely versatile
- The bullhorn handles make it very comfortable and easy to operate
- The 43cc engine provides plenty of power and will not struggle to cope with thicker weeds and brambles
- Some reviewers did note problems with getting it to start
What Are the Advantages of a Brush Cutter?
Brush cutters have some unique benefits that make them much more suitable than strimmers for tackling heavy growth and thick weeds. Below are a couple of the main benefits of a brush cutter –
Unlike a strimmer, that makes use of a nylon line to cut, brush cutters can have different types of blades attached to them depending on the type of job you’re using them for. You can get circular saw-type blades that are perfect for tackling branches and weeds, while grass blades are ideal for cutting overgrown lawns.
Another big advantage of using a brush cutter is the increased power it gives you. If you’re cutting very thick and overgrown weeds and brambles, then it’s very easy for the nylon line of a strimmer to break. When using a brush cutter, you don’t have this worry since the metal blades and powerful engine are able to take on tougher jobs.
The nylon line of strimmers might be ok for cutting grass and smaller weeds, but if you need to cut down thicker growth, then a brush cutter would be the much better option.
How To Use A Brush Cutter
Brush cutters aren’t quite as simple to use as strimmers. Due to how the blades rotate, you cannot simply start cutting from any direction. You need to use the right cutting technique to get the best results. Also, because brush cutters make use of metal blades, taking the proper safety measures is extremely important.
The two most important aspects of using a brush cutter effectively are cutting technique and holding the machine correctly.
Most brush cutters will come with a shoulder strap and have a handle roughly halfway down the unit to make it more comfortable to operate. You should adjust the shoulder strap, so the handle sits just below your hip.
Make sure you have both hands on the brush cutter when you’re operating it to reduce fatigue.
To cut correctly using a brush cutter, you need to move it from right to left. This is because the blades rotate anti-clockwise. If you’re cutting very long grass, then it’s a good idea to mow in both directions, once to remove the top of the grass and the second to cut closer to the ground.
Wearing the right safety equipment is vital when using a brush cutter. You should wear clothes that are comfortable but not baggy. You should also avoid wearing any jewellery such as necklaces, that might get caught in the blades.
I addition to wearing appropriate clothes, you should also use goggles, ear muffs and heavy-duty gloves. It’s also a good idea to wear sturdy boots, preferably steel toe-cap.
How To Change The Blades
Changing the blades on a brush cutter can vary slightly depending on the model, but the main steps are generally the same. Most brush cutter blades will consist of a washer, locking nut, a bump guard and the blade itself.
First, you’ll need to remove the existing blade or strimmer head. This is usually a case of simply unscrewing the bolt that’s keeping it in place, or if you’re removing a strimmer head, then the whole unit will usually unscrew together.
After you’ve removed the existing blade, you should then put the new one in place and then put the washer on top of it. Then add the bump guard and screw the bolt-on to keep everything in place.
It’s extremely important that you ensure the new blade is tightly screwed to the unit before using it, so make sure you have the right equipment to do this. The tools you need will usually be included when you buy a new blade.
Chris loves the outdoors and exploring nature. He is a freelance writer and has written extensively on subjects including travel, DIY and gardening.