Pros: Excellent gas powered line trimmer at a fair price.
After being so pleased with my purchase of a Stihl handheld blower, when I needed a new gas powered line trimmer, I included Stihl products in my search. After doing some homework and looking around, I decided to plunk down $139 and buy the Stihl FS 45. After two lawn maintenance seasons, I can tell you that I've been very pleased with the performance and features of the Stihl FS 45.
The Stihl FS 45 is the budget model of the Stihl gas powered line trimmers. It features a two cycle engine, curved shaft and a "Autocut C Easy Spool Tap Action" spool. What this means is that you tap the spool on the ground to realease more line, and that you refill the spool by inserting both ends of a piece of line into special slots on the head and then just manually turn the spool to replenish the cutting line....more about this later. As with most gas powered trimmers, you will find a priming bulb, choke lever, on/off switch, trigger, and a locking device for the trigger.
One of the first things that impressed me with this trimmer is the overall design of the product. The engine and protective casing/shroud is very streamline and compact. The layout of the controls keeps everything very easy to use and access. If you follow the directions for starting the unit, it starts easily and runs smoothly. The translucent fuel tank makes it easy to see the fuel level. And. when it's time to change the spark plug, all you have to do is grab a spark plug socket and wrench do it....after removing the wire boot.
The FS 45 is a light duty trimmer, which means that it isn't bulky or very heavy (9 lbs.). While being light and easy to use by the homeowner, it has more than enough trimming power to trim walkways, driveways, garden beds, etc. The adjustable handle on the shaft allows the user to "balance" the unit. The cuved shaft works well for most trimming jobs, but a larger, longer straight shaft model would be better if you have to trimming jobs that require a long reach. This is a trimmer that works best if you let it run at full throttle, and I was advised by the salesman that it's better to run the unit at full throttle. The .095 cutting line is heavy enough handle a homeowner's trimming tasks and durable enough under use. The spool handles about 15 foot of line, so I do find that I'm replacing the line every 2nd or 3rd time I use it. However, it's and easy task, and just having to buy the line is more economical than buying replacement spools of line. Trying to rewind spools on other line trimmers I've owned was a frustrating and much more time consuming process. And, I must mention that in looking at specs on the Stihl website, the current FS 45 may be equipped with a different spool and line feed system, so keep this in mind if you check out the FS 45.
If you're new to gas powered trimmers because you've always used electric trimmers, I think you will find advantages and disadvantages to a gas powered trimmer. First of all, most gas trimmers are going to be heavier than the light weight electric trimmers. Gas trimmers are louder, and hearing protection is strongly suggested. And, you will have to maintain a separate gas can for the gas which must be mixed with 2 cycle engine oil. Mixing the gas with the oil is an easy task, but be sure to keep the oil to gas ratio as per the directions. The joy of a gas trimmer is the freedom from extension cords. The larger your lawn and trimming area, the more you will appreciate the freedom from dragging cords, plugging in and then having to unplug and plug in to a different outlet, etc.
More information about the Stihl FS 45 can be found at:
Finally, there is another reason why I chose to buy a Stihl trimmer and that is that Stihl products are sold by selected dealers, and those dealerships are equipped to service Stihl products as well as provide parts where needed. When you purchase one of their products, it has been assembled and ready for you to try out or use. When I bought my blower and trimmer, the sales person was able to provide all the information and instruction needed. As I've stated in other reviews, I'm at that point in life where I want to buy a quality product from dealers where I know I can get service and parts. And yes, there may be some added cost to this if you are looking only at the initial purchase price. But over the long haul, being able to get service and parts readily can save money and a lot of grief and frustration.
So....I give the Stihl FS 45 an excellent rating for its quality, performance and manfacturer/dealer support.