New trimmer – Weedeater Featherlite SST

The Specs
I just picked up a new string trimmer – a Weed Eater Featherlite SST. It has a 25cc 2-stroke and cuts a 17″ path with .080 or .065 string. It has a straight shaft and weighs around ten pounds. I’ve put two or three hours on it now, and I like it.

For Comparison
I bought it to replace a Toro 31cc 17″ straight-shaft trimmer that I bought in 1997 or 1998. I also used a top-of-the-line Stihl many years ago in a summer job.

It is easy to start, but difficult to keep running. It fires up quickly, but nearly always requires messing with the choke. It is easy to pull the string, so that’s okay. It won’t idle at all, even with no string, until it is completely warmed up. I tightened the idle adjustment as far as it would go, and that gives it enough air to idle, but only after I’ve been using it for 20-30 minutes. The first time I used it I misthreaded the gas cap and leaked about 80% of the tank while trying to get it started.

In Use
It is not as powerful as the Toro but it does cut well and long grass that wraps around the head is thrown off well. The head is very small, enough smaller than the string carrier that I can push it under my irrigation hose and trim under it easily. The down side to such a light cutting end is that it would pull itself off track pretty easily. I took out some good chunks of the landscaping I just planted.

The Weed Eater vibrates just about as much as the Toro. I can use it for about an hour before my hands start getting numb. I’m in the market for some high-quality gel-palmed gloves now, maybe that will help.

I have to follow the manual exactly to keep from throwing debris all over my legs. This means cutting left to right and holding the engine/throttle in my left hand and the forward handle in my right hand. When I do this it works great, when I do something else I get showered in grass.

I go through a spool of .080 line faster than a tank of gas. The semi-auto feed works well, and it is easy to tell when it needs to advance by hearing the engine speed as well as the visible “ring” of line. The two lines are threaded onto separate sections of the spool, so that’s a little tricky. I bought 2000 feet of .080 for a little over ten bucks.

The shaft comes out of the bottom of the engine so it’s natural state of balance is upside down. The gas tank and debris shield will support it if it is on a flat surface, but you can’t set it on the shaft only (as on the hooks I have for it in my storage shed) without it flopping over.

It works great for grass, pretty good for thick weeds and seedlings, and it’s dirt cheap.