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If I needed to clear a big, overgrown garden, and had the choice of any of our tested line trimmers, I’d go for the Honda UMK425L. Powered by Honda’s smallest four-stroke (the 25cc OHC GX25), it bridges the gap between commercial and domestic trimmers, and develops some serious torque at the cutting head so it won’t stall in long, thick grass and weeds.
The four-stroke engine means no more mixing petrol and oil, and it’s quieter than many two-stroke trimmers we’ve tested, while being more fuel- and oil-efficient and emitting far less fumes. It’s also one of the easiest-starting petrol trimmer we’ve tried, and it’s easy to re-spool the line on to the cutting head. As a taller user, its length (186cm) is another big plus – I find I can’t use shorter curved shaft trimmers without considerable back strain – and it also means I can cut more with each sweep. The inclusion of a shoulder harness seals the deal.
Overall score comprises performance (50%) and ease of use (50%).
Performance is based on horizontal and vertical trimming and long-grass cutting.
Ease of use is assessed on handle comfort, shaft length, weight, balance, cutting visibility, controls, vibration, starting, line-feed effectiveness and ease of re-spooling.
Price is from a September 2017 survey.
We recommend petrol trimmers scoring above 85% overall. While the performance and ease-of-use of the best petrol trimmers in our tests has hovered at or above this level for a few years, battery-electric models continue to improve year on year.
We raised the bar for the performance of battery-powered trimmers to 80% after a batch of 7 cordless models returned impressive performance in our 2017 test.