Pros:Powerful, well built and designed to run for hours at a time.
Cons:Slightly heavy and pretty expensive.
The Bottom Line: You want a trimmer you can buy and keep for a decade or two for home use this is your machine.
My Sears Craftsman electric trimmer and even my Homelite gas trimmer were not up to the task. I have over 450' of ficus hedges on my property and they grow year round here in Florida. I knew I needed a pro level trimmer and wasn't sure which one was it. I went over to Green Thumb Mowers in Tamarac Florida, this is where the real lawn people (pro landscapers) bought their equipment. I had seen the models the landscapers used while doing homes and such by me, Shindawas, Stihl, Echo and more. I picked up a Stihl and could tell right away it was well built and durable. I asked the counterman and he responded with some high praise about my selection. Now the price was steep $375, and I wanted to add on that $12 aluminum scooper thing that mounted on the cutter for flicking trimmings to the ground for bagging.
Recommend this product?
Update: 8/1/06 Well the crank bearing is lost it clearance and is allowing the shaft to rub on the coil that provides spark. I have had 11 years of heavy duty service. I could probably repair but I going to buy another Stihl Trimmer to replace this one. I post a review soon of the HS86T I'm buying to replase my HS76
Now as I write this review I have had my HS 85 Trimmer since 1995 so I have many hours of use to talk upon. I have had it to the shop once in 1999 for a complete $75 tune-up. I've removed the bottom gearbox plate for access to the gears and blade mechanism several times for greasing. Stihl includes tool which allows complete disassembly of all major components and the spark plug removal as well. "One Tool", what a well engineered piece of machinery. I took it upon myself to sharpen the blade this year after 6 years of cutting. It was a little complicated during reassembly but after honing the blade halves using a light oil she cuts like new again. After I finish cutting I stick the blade end in my laundry tub and scrub her down with a scrub brush. I then dry her and apply some light WD40 oil sray to the blades. The internal of the engine features many durability enhancing items like chromed components. The engine uses a combination primer bulb and choke for quick starting. After a couple of years she seems to need a slight adjustment on the carb mixture screws for smooth even running. If I had this unit serviced more often I probably wouldn't need to touch this area.
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