Stihl has come a very long way since founder Andreas Stihl had his revolutionary vision of making cutting down trees easier. The success of the company’s early chainsaws sparked an ambitious rise to its current position as a world leader in outdoor power tools. In regards to the Stihl trimmer, how long does one last?
Stihl trimmers last for residential customers around 4 to 5 years with good maintenance and proper use. For commercial customers, some report getting between 15 and 20 years out of the same Still machine. This of course comes with timely repairs and maintenance as well.
Today we pay particular attention to the brand’s line of weed-taming lawn trimmers. Do these machines adhere to the notion of classic German efficiency and longevity? How can one make their Stihl trimmer last longer? What are the best models you can buy today?
All these questions, and more, will be answered below.
How Do You Break In A Stihl Weedeater?
First things first… When you initially touch your Stihl string trimmer is when you begin to affect how long it will last. From the fist time you start it up you are preserving or taking away lifespan. How you treat it is a big component in how long it will take care of you. So in the beginning, how should you break in a Stihl weedeater?
Truthfully, there is very little that needs to be done in order to break in a Stihl weedeater. The proper oil and gas mixture needs to be in the tank of any 2 stroke engine and giving it 1-2 minutes to warm up before use is best practice for any age of Stihl or other string trimmers.
With that being said, some professionals advise the use of a bit more oil in the gas of 2 stroke engines. This is supposed to allow time for the engine parts to settle into their ‘groove’, so to speak. Yet, others declare this is completely unnecessary.
It is definitely a good idea to check over all visible parts for any defects, loose connections, or improper fittings. Other than that, start up your new trimmer, let it warm up for a minute or two, and then let her sing.
How Long Does A Stihl Trimmer Last?
Given the Stihl track record for producing quality products, we know that you can expect a trimmer to last for at least 2 years for gas powered models and 3 years for battery operated machines. How do we know this? Because they guarantee them for at least this long, backed by their warranty agreements.
Of course, a lot of machinery can easily last beyond the warranty point in the right circumstances. That said, what can an average homeowner or landscaping crew boss expect to get out of their Stihl trimmer?
A residential Stihl trimmer can last for more than 4 years without any major problems. Commercial machines can fare much better and it’s not unheard of for a Stihl machine to last over a decade (10 years). A commercial trimmer can easily have a 15 to 20-year lifespan in the right conditions.
Speaking of the “right conditions”, only you can facilitate your trimmer’s longevity. With proper use, timely repairs, and maintenance, you can drastically increase your trimmer’s lifespan.
Like any quality made product that users claim can run for decades, the linchpin in the whole story tends to be the owner and his dedication to regular and thorough maintenance. Jerry McMillan, my father in law and landscaper for well over forty years, regularly kept mowers going for upwards of 10 to 15 years past their life expectancy.
How did he do it? Weekly maintenance.
How To Prolong A Stihl Trimmer’s Lifespan
There are a few ways to squeeze a few more years out of a Stihl trimmer. We briefly touched on one of them, and we will go a bit more into it here. Yet, there are other ways to ensure a long life for your Stihl trimmer. So, how do you prolong a Stihl trimmer’s lifespan?
There are definite ways to prolong the lifespan of a Stihl trimmer. Using the machine only for the intended purpose, controlling who is using the machine at all times, conducting routine maintenance, and ensuring the proper fuel mixtures are used in gas powered models.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when trying to give your Stihl the best environment possible.
- The simplest way is to use the machine for its intended purpose and per the instruction manual. This means no activities besides trimming, mowing, or brush clearing. If you are going to be carrying out multiple tasks, you must ensure that you use the appropriate attachments.
- We also recommend that you avoid letting your kids use this tool until they are old enough to do so responsibly. You should also avoid lending your trimmer to that irresponsible friend or neighbor we all have.
- Just like your car, your weed whacker also requires servicing and routine maintenance to remain in tip-top shape. We recommend that you conduct thorough maintenance if monthly, at a bare minimum, once a year (or every 50-100 hours of operation).
This annual maintenance usually involves air and fuel filter changes, sparkplug replacement, and cleaning of the trimmer head itself. Accessing the fuel filter on a Stihl trimmer requires the removal of the carburetor, which should also be cleaned.
Let’s get more into this life prolonging maintenance so you can get an idea of how to get the most out of your new machine.
How Do You Maintain A Stihl Trimmer?
Here we will get down to the nuts and bolts (yeah, I’ve got grandpa jokes) of how to keep your Stihl machine running for many years. There are some things that you can do that will have a real impact on the life and operation of your ‘new toy’. So, how do you maintain a Stihl trimmer?
There are three timeframes that need to be considered in routine maintenance for a Stihl trimmer. To maintain a Stihl or any trimmer that lasts for many years past its expected usable time, these routine inspections should be followed.
- Pre-use checkups
- Monthly overviews
- Yearly tune-ups
Faithfully keeping to these schedules can greatly increase the longevity of any Stihl machine and thus your return on investment (ROI). Normally this is a term used in the financial world, but this applies here as well.
I will go over each one so you can get an idea of how we did it running crews of guys for years. At times there would be checklists and other times it would just be the responsibility of one guy. Whatever the case and no matter the brand name of the machine, this type of maintenance literally added years to the life of our equipment.
Jerry says that with his crews these were the main points that were covered with each of these checkups.
Here we are looking mainly at what the user can do to make the trimmer run as smoothly as possible. Stihl machines are extremely well built products. If given the opportunity, they will perform above expectations in most scenarios.
To provide the opportunity for them to shine, there are two main things that need to be checked.
- Using the proper mixed fuel for most all Stihl trimmer engines is vital. Even their newer 4 stroke engine models require gas mixed with oil. These mixtures should be checked with your owner’s manual, but the Stihl official site lists the proper ratio at 50:1.
- Next is the amount of string wound onto the spool at the end of the trimmer. It may be obvious to some and not so obvious to others that overloading this with too much string can put undue strain on the motor and other parts of the trimmer. Over time this can add up to significant wear and tear.
I recommend this very cost effective and durable trimmer line made by Black and Decker. You can get it on Amazon and it will do everything you expect from a trimmer string.
Whether it is ensuring that the proper fuel is in the machine or the right amount of trimmer line is in the spool, routine maintenance before each use is vital. Though the wear and tear of not doing these checks in the short term can be only minor, in the long term this could add up to lost moths or even years in total lifespan.
Stihl Monthly or Bi-Monthly Overviews
Each month or every couple of months there are several checkups that any trimmer owner ought to go through. Though many times these will be found in good working order, when there is an issue found, servicing it could save a lot of time and money later.
Monthly maintenance or servicing at least done every few months should entail…
- Checking the sparkplug with a voltage meter
- Checking the air filter for debris or wear and tear
- Greasing the cord (bent shaft trimmers) or rod (straight shaft trimmers)
Checking the sparkplug for damage and for proper firing is a good idea every few months. When there is inconsistent firing on the part of the sparkplug, undue wear and tear can occur.
Air filters keep debris from entering the fuel system and carburetor and reeking havoc with the combustion of the engine. With all of the flying grass, weeds, and other plant particles in the air around a working trimmer, it is no wonder that these filters will need routine checking.
Greasing the shaft of a weedeater or string trimmer is not something many will know even needs to be done. When a well built trimmer like a Stihl meets the rigors of a professional lawn crew’s day, these parts will need to be greased at least every few months.
These periodic checks can stave off problems and prolong the life of a Stihl trimmer exponentially in some cases.
Annual Stihl Trimmer Tune-Ups
Now we come to the yearly overview of how your Stihl has performed. Normally, owners are very happy with the performance and look forward to making sure that lasts well into the future.
Here we should look at changing a couple of parts out that are considered routine, even if we have been keeping an eye on them throughout the year.
There are four main types of parts that will need replacing most likely each year. Though some of these can go upwards of two years, the possible extra wear and tear on the trimmer as a whole is a reason to change them out yearly.
These four parts are:
- The air filter
- The pollution screen or filter in the muffler
- The sparkplug
- Any other parts with undue wear
Let’s start with the air filter. Sure, like with your car you can let this go for longer than it is recommended by your mechanic to change. What you are essentially doing is playing a game of high stakes gambling with a low payout even if you win.
The cost of these filters is nominal compared to the damage that prolonged, clogged operation can cause. Not to mention, this can lead to debris entering the fuel system and causing even more problems.
The pollution screen can be found in the muffler and even if you are not an avid environmentalist, this screen will need to be changed out to help the engine run smoothly with proper exhaust flow. This can also take the form of a filter type material. Either way, it should be changed for it to let enough air to pass.
The sparkplug in a Stihl can definitely last more than one year, but its function diminishes without warning and after a year it can become unpredictable. Here again we have a minimal cost that will ensure smooth running for the engine. This equates to less stress on all the parts over time.
Lastly, a thorough once over is in order each year. There are parts that may have taken a beating depending on the use it is put through. Any parts that have excessive wear on them should be repaired or replaced. This may not be something you find the time to do during the mowing season, but it should definitely be done at the end of one.
To read more about other lawn care tools, check out my articles here…
- Weed Eater Vs Trimmer: Is There A Difference? (Revealed)
- The Longest Hedge Trimmers Available? Pole Trimmers Are It.
- Why Is My Echo Trimmer Bogging Down?
Are Stihl Trimmers Any Good?
Stihl trimmers (aka “weed whackers” or “weed eaters”) are certainly among the most popular in both commercial and residential markets. Of course, as we all know, popularity doesn’t always reflect quality.
However, in the case of Stihl’s machines, their chunk of market share is well earned.
Stihl brand trimmers have always been ranked among the very best in terms of design, efficiency, safety, build quality, manufacturer support, and affordability. They also offer a vast array of options and models ranging from those powered by gasoline or electricity (corded and cordless).
This wide range is meant to cater to different tasks, property sizes, and environmental regulations. Operator height is another important consideration when it comes to these machines, and Stihl has you covered in this regard.
Stihl Trimmers Are Good For Most Any Job
If you have to do intricate work in a confined space, Stihl has an excellent range of highly manageable trimmers with curved shafts. For wide-open spaces with tough grasses, there are straight shaft units.
Designed With Safety In Mind
Safety is also a top priority for the company. All Stihl trimmers are equipped with safety features such as barrier bar or bike handle configurations, harnesses, and deflector kits.
Multiple Options With Stihl
Stihl is also well known for the versatility of its products, and some of its trimmers are no different. On some models, you can even remove the standard cutting head and install attachments like sawblades, brush knives, and grass cutting blades. This allows you to use your trimmer for clearing bushes, pruning saplings, and mowing down tough grasses.
Environmental consciousness is at an all-time high nowadays, and big companies are being forced to adapt or fade away. Stihl has opted for the former.
While its gas-powered trimmers are at the forefront of the green movement, some individuals, cities, and states are increasingly frowning upon gas-powered yard tools because of air and noise pollution concerns.
Stihl has responded to this by producing a reliable line of corded and battery-powered trimmers that cater to various private and commercial needs. Now you can circumvent noise hour rules with trimmers that work in total silence with zero emissions.
Stihl Ease Of Use
Another reason people opt for Stihl products is their relative ease of use, convenience, and ergonomics. Several trimmers make use of features such as STIHL Easy2Start, which makes recoil starters easier to use. This way, even individuals with physical impairments can operate the trimmers.
Stihl = Durability
Durability is an important factor for customers, as power tools are not something you want to be buying every so often. Stihl caters to this by offering reasonable warranties for all power tools. The average warranty for a Stihl trimmer is around two years.
Lastly, there is the matter of price. While Stihl products are not cheap, they still present excellent value when compared to offerings from most rival brands. You can expect to pay the better part of US$400 for a commercial Stihl trimmer. Residential trimmers are much more affordable in the $200-$300 range.
Another way to look at it is this. If you find a string trimmer of another brand for half the price, you are saving money now only to have to spend it later or replacing parts or the entire machine. Stihl is known as a tool that will last. This saves money in the long term.
Which Stihl Trimmer Is The Best?
As we’ve seen, Stihl trimmers come in different sizes and configurations. Depending on your budget, property size, and a host of other factors, some trimmers may be better for your particular needs than others.
Let’s start by looking at a machine that is arguably the finest trimmer in Stihl’s impressive lineup.
The Stihl FSA 56 Trimmer
The sleek and minimalistic FSA 56 is what modern lawn care is all about. This super-portable electric trimmer ticks all the boxes of what you can expect from a residential power tool.
Powered by a 36-volt battery, the FSA 56 is powerful enough to handle all types of grass and weeds, while being as silent as a church mouse. The compact design allows a degree of control that is most commonly associated with curve shaft trimmers. One other thing that we love about electric trimmers like this is the almost instantaneous throttle response.
Did we also mention that it only weighs 8 pounds? With the battery? Because it does!
The only negatives with the FSA 56 are the rather small cutting area (11 inches) and somewhat disappointing battery life. Expect a fully charged FSA 56 to last a little over 40 minutes. However, these downsides are unlikely to be dealbreakers for smaller yards.
The Stihl FSA 45 Trimmer
Next up, we have a lightweight trimmer that serves as the perfect introduction to the world of Stihl power tools.
The FSA 45 is a proverbial little sister to the awesome FSA 56 described above. Another electric trimmer born and bred to help you maintain a perfectly manicured lawn. No emissions, no noise, no cord…and no stress.
Unless you count the 20-minute battery life and 9-inch cutting circle, that is.
However, many people will gladly accept the compromise given the lightweight and stylish design on offer. You also get an adjustable shaft with a grippy loop handle.
The Stihl FS 240 Trimmer
Lastly, we should take a look at a machine crafted for any professional landscaping business worth its salt.
The powerful FS 240 is a gas-powered weed whacker sporting a bicycle handle design and a straight shaft. You also get a harness to help you remain in full control of this 15lb trimmer.
The FS 240 boasts an impressive 173cc motor that runs on 25 ounces of fuel. Thanks to Stihl’s Easy2Start recoil system, you’ll be up and running in no time. You also get a 22-inch cutting deck, which is a real help on the large areas this lovely machine was designed to tend. Stihl has also slapped an elusive 5-year warranty on this bad boy.
The drawbacks are the somewhat hefty design and the (occasionally) noticeable exhaust. The loud engine noises may also see you get disinvited from a few barbecues.
The Final Touches On How Long A Stihl Trimmer Lasts…
To sum it up, a residential Stihl will last you around 4 to 5 years with regular maintenance. These can even last longer for those will to go the extra mile with repairs and service.
A commercial model can easily last 15 to 20 years or more. Though the usability of the machine in these later stages will be different in every situation, it is feasibly to have a good working Stihl for that long.
To reach these types of timeframes, regular maintenance is necessary and proper use is mandatory. Not following these guidelines will ensure that your machine won’t reach its potential.
Here are some more great articles you will like…
- Are Stihl Trimmers 4-Cycle? (Answered)
- Round Trimmer Line Vs Square: Which One Is Better?
- How Long Does An Echo Trimmer Last? (Answered)