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Handheld string trimmers have their limitations, depending on whether they’re corded, how they’re fueled, and how powerfully they slice through weeds (and how much wear they put on your back during long tasks). But what about powerful, rolling string trimmers?

The Ardisam Earthquake Model# 600050B runs on a 4-cycle, 190cc Briggs & Stratton OHV engine. It’s heavier and has a bigger engine than most trimmers, which may not really be an issue since you don’t have to carry it. The line diameter is 0.155 in., with a 22″ cutting width and large 14″ wheels for maneuverability — plus it has a drive lever for setting cutting height. Street pricing for the Earthquake starts around $349.

But is it worth dropping $350 for a trimmer that’s basically a combination of a standard push mower and a handheld weed eater? My concern is that it A.) neither cuts entire lawns as efficiently as a mower, nor B.) is as cheap and portable as a handheld trimmer. I can see the appeal of a heavy-duty trimmer, but is it worth actually owning one like this? Let us know in comments.

Ardisam Earthquake Rolling String Trimmer [Northern Tool]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

19 Responses to Hot Or Not: Rolling String Trimmers

  1. Mac46 says:

    Simply put, the wheeled trimmer is the product of choice for people that are dealing with more than your average fence line. When you consider that the minimum cutting height is well above your typical lawn mower, you end up with a machine that will not properly edge like a handheld unit.
    You have a machine that is great for heavy duty cutting around a very large residential property where cosmetic trimming isn’t an issue or perhaps (in the case of most of my customers) pastures. You can only get so close to the fence line with the rotary field cutters and who wants to take the regular lawn mower into the pasture for the edges…..

  2. DoItRite says:

    I’ve never bought a lawn mower, although I’ve owned several. I dig them out of the trash or get them from people that don’t want to fix them back up. After a couple hours and occasionally a little welding, (I’ve never spent more than $5 on parts) they work well for several more years. One time a pull cord mechanism flew apart, so I used my cordless drill with a socket attachment on the remaining bolt at the center of the starter and invented the first deWalt electric start mower.

    This unit may have it’s advantages, especially around rocks, which I seem to encounter hiding in the edges of my long gravel driveway. But $350 will buy a lot of trimmer string or mower blades.

  3. MattC says:

    I had a similar Craftsman unit when I had a larger plot of land. In that capacity, the machine has a purpose. However, I would up just springing for a better weed eater.

  4. Mike says:

    Hot if you are clearing an area that is over grown by grass, weeds, and small plants. They aren’t for weekly maintenance on a well kept yard.

    A gas string trimmer starts to get real heavy when you start clearing large areas.

  5. fred says:

    I’m a big fan of Billy Goat vacuums. They also make a weed cutter that is typically used for trail maintenace:

    http://www.billygoat.com/site/categoryLobby.aspx?lid=9

    The other alternative is a walk-behind sickle-bar mower – which can cut brush and work close into walls and fencing

  6. Paul says:

    I bought an MTD model about eight or nine years ago. It was great when it ran, I was able to cut areas of rocky yard at the edge of the woods without fear of shearing a woodruff key. Unfortunately the carburetor design on the Tecumseh engine sucked, or the ethanol polluted gasoline did, or both. Also there was absolutely no way to change the oil other than turn the whole machine over and dump the oil out of the dipstick/filler tube. No crankcase plug on the bottom or side of the engine at all!

  7. fred says:

    Here’s a sickle bar mower to consider:

    http://www.bcsshop.com/sickle_bar_mower.htm

  8. Brau says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to put an autofeed string trimmer on the front corner of a lawnmower so the edges can be done at the same time. It’s not like impossible y’know! ;)

  9. Joel says:

    I have a similar craftsman model – i use it to clear my pasture fence line and it works really well for that… even if the grass is fairly thick and 3ft tall. I use a normal handheld model around the house…. these big models do one function – horizontal trimming… they don’t do edging (vertical) or angled jobs that I need done around the house.

  10. David Chiles says:

    Hot – My uncle has one of these. Everytime I go to his house I end up mowing his land. (mainly because it gives me an excuse to use a tractor and it’s implements) There’s a couple of areas though that I don’t want the brush hog flinging debris or areas where it’s too steep to get a tractor in safely. The answer to that problem is the String mower. Area’s like the drainage ditch and just some tight area’s around cedars and the fence line. I love using that thing. Only word of caution I’d offer is you HAVE to wear safety glasses. I go as far as wearing safety glasses and a mesh face shield like if you were using a chain saw.

  11. Mark Mel says:

    [quote]’m still waiting for someone to put an autofeed string trimmer on the front corner of a lawnmower so the edges can be done at the same time. It’s not like impossible y’know![/quote]

    Already invented

    http://www.lawnvac.com/accessories

  12. Michael says:

    Never used any types of these machines, but always wanted one to clear an overgrown ditch/woodsy area. I have a hard time justifying the cost for that one job around the house though as a little muscle/time/pain accomplishes the same thing.

    Also, this little guy over at http://www.drpower.com/TwoStepModelDetail.aspx?Name=TRMSprint5HP&p1Name=trimmermower2step&Page=trmmodels can frame tilt to the side to allow cutting down to the ground, so that would make it slightly more useful I’d think. I’ve never used Dr power stuff though, so I don’t know how well it’d hold up.

  13. Vince says:

    I worked in a NY State Park that required that i use this sort of machine for 8 hours a day. Although everyone hated using machine because of the dirt, rocks, and bits of cord that would fly up and sting you. It might have been the most critical piece of machinery for keeping the park looking good. We had a ton of grass against trees and buildings and this was the only machine for doing it. If you have a lot of detail lawn work you need to get this machine along with some good safety glasses.

  14. Tim Metcalf says:

    Hot – I mow around a 1-acre pond. The ground is so soft that the lawn tractor can’t get too close. Therefore, I need some way to cut the last 18″ or so up to the edge of the pond. I used to do that with my self-propelled walk behind mower, always thinking that it would end up in the pond. Now I use a lightweight Ryobi wheeled trimmer. It’s much simpler!

  15. Kurt says:

    When I rented a place with a 1 acre lot I got one of these – it was way better to keep the weeds down in that rural setting than a hand carried string trimmer. It does fling things about, so some care is required if you are using around windows.

  16. Brau says:

    Thanks Mark!

  17. Ed Himes says:

    With all the people in the world who have bad back trouble, but still enjoy working outside on their lawns, I find it VERY ODD that someone has not invented a weed whip device that can be pushed like a lawn mower and take the pressure off a person’s back. I have come up with several prototypes on paper that would trim right up against a wall, tree or bush and right down on the ground at any desired height, yet NO ONE has come up with this device, except for this bulky item mentioned above that people say does not work good. I realize that the world, at large, cares little about those of us who are disabled, but why would someone not want to ease the pressure on their NORMAL back with such an invention ????? Can someone please tell me why more research is not done on this subject ???

    • Rizdek says:

      I have designed two such devices. But in both cases they must be pulled along…not pushed. The first made use of small wheels mounted on brackets fitted to the plastic cover in such a way that I could drag it along a relative steep bank where a push mower couldn’t go so well. It worked fairly well because the area was small. The second one has a wood cross piece U-bolted to the tube above the plastic cover and two stiff wires sticking down on each side to keep it the right distance off the lawn. The wires are bent to allow pulling the trimmer along. It jumps a bit so the cut area isn’t as smooth as when mowed with a rotary mower, but it’s better than trying to hold it steady with just my arms and it works ok for small areas where using a mower is not feasible.

  18. stephanie says:

    i simply LOVE my “WEED WACKER”…. makes clearing brush along fence lines easy… the line is stronger and it is easier on the arms than carrying a hand held….. but, as stated above … WEAR EYE PROTECTION A FACE MASK( MESH OR PLASTIC ) IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!! ear plugs aren’t a bad idea, if you plan on using it for a big project. Take Caution when cutting vines…. esp established vines ( the kind that are wrapped tightly together)

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