Blade or wire brushcutter: how to choose

Blade or wire brushcutter: how to choose

The brush cutter is a versatile power tool: useful in the well-kept garden but also for cleaning grass and brambles on escarpments or undergrowth. For the different uses of this machine, there are different cutting devices that can be fixed to the rod. The most used is certainly the head with nylon line, but when the going gets tough it is better to switch to the brush cutter equipped with blade.

To obtain high-level performance and work quickly and safely, it is important to know how to choose the right cutting equipment. Knowing the characteristics of the blade and edge, you can correctly decide in which situations one solution is best and in which the other.

The blade or wire are accessories of the brushcutter, on the same machine you can decide which one to mount and with the help of a wrench you can change the cutting tool in a few minutes.

Wire brush cutter

When using the thread. The brushcutter equipped with a flush head is mainly used for cutting grass: it is very convenient because it is quick to cut and not very dangerous, even if using this motorized tool it is essential to pay attention in any case and use the correct protections.

Head mechanism. The cutting mechanism is very simple: you have a head that contains a skein of nylon thread, making two ends come out. When the motor starts the rotation, the head turns quickly, making the two pieces of wire open outwards as if they were propeller blades. The rotating wire is able to cut the stems of grass, while struggling to make its way through brambles and small shrubs. When the line hits hard obstacles it often breaks, which is why it is a less suitable cutting device than the blade when dealing with resistant brushwood.

Types of thread. Depending on the type of grass to be tackled, you can decide for a smaller or larger diameter wire, and opt for different shapes. The diameter of the nylon thread is generally around 2 or 3 millimeters, the most common shapes are the classic round section, the square, starry or serrated thread. The round wire is more comfortable because it jams less inside the head and with the same material and diameter it breaks less than the other types, while the wires with edges have the advantage of being sharper.

Head types. The heads exist in various models, both with fixed lengths of wire and with mechanisms that allow you to easily lengthen the wire. The most popular models are the "Tap and go" or in Italian "beat and go", which allow you to extend the nylon without stopping the tool, but simply by beating the accelerated brushcutter to the ground. As detailed in the article on how to change the line, this feature is an indispensable convenience for those who use the brushcutter a lot.

Blade or disc brushcutter

Using the blade. The cutting disc is used when the wire is difficult, that is when the grass is particularly resistant because it is very dense, or to cut brambles, undergrowth and small shrubs. To mount a cutting unit with blade effectively, the brushcutter must have good power.

Which blade to choose. In general, the double or triple blades are used in lawns or for brambles, while the serrated discs are indicated for cutting woody shrubs. To better crush the brambles, there is also a special disk called "macinone" or "trincione", with staggered blades.

Precautions for use. The blade requires particular attention in use, as it is evidently more dangerous than the wire, both because a sharp tool is being used, and because any stones or other small objects hit can splash at greater speed.

Other heads

Climbing head. There are heads with floating plastic or metal blades, they are intermediate solutions between wire and blade.

Chain brush cutter. The chain brush cutter replaces the line with two or four chain segments applied to the head. The chains can be classic, with oval rings, but also with sharp teeth, like those of the chainsaw. This second variant cuts very well but is extremely dangerous and therefore not recommended, due to the possibility that the teeth break and start like bullets. Due to the dangerousness this type of cutting apparatus was forbidden by the Decree of 26 April 2012 of the Ministry of Development. The traditional chain effectively cuts the brambles and unlike the wire lasts longer, being flexible it impacts less than the blade and this is a considerable advantage in stony slopes, however it is always to be considered that turning small pieces of metal at high speed is not safe.

In summary: how to choose

To conclude schematically, we can distinguish some typical cases of use of the brush cutter and identify the best cutting device.

  • When the brush cutter is small in size. If the tool is not very powerful, it is best to use it with the wire. Small brushcutters are unsuitable for brambles or shrubs, but they also struggle in thick grass.
  • Cutting of lawn borders. To cut the edges of lawns kept tidy in the garden, the wire is fine, which guarantees good precision and a quick cut.
  • Medium or medium-high grass cut. If the lawn is not kept and is cut only occasionally, it can still be cut with a wire brush cutter, as long as this is at least of medium power and perhaps choosing a wire with a consistent diameter. Alternatively, you can choose a head with floating blades. If the grass is thick, you can decide to use the blade.
  • Cutting of resistant brambles and brushwood. When it is necessary to cut more demanding vegetation than grass, it is a good idea to mount a blade, usually with three teeth, on the brushcutter. The grinder disc is excellent for intricate brambles that tend to twist around the shaft of the machinery. In brambles, the chain head can also be used, especially if the soil is very stony.
  • Cutting of small woody shrubs and suckers. For shrubs it is best to use a cutting disc with many teeth, which makes precise cuts. This type of cutting apparatus puts a lot of strain on the bevel gear, you must not overdo it, in particular you must avoid insisting on cutting logs with a diameter that is too large.

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