After living in the rocky Texas Hill Country for over six years, we finally bought a weed eater suited to cut our yard. We looked into several different heavy-duty brands but bought the Echo SRM-230 Trimmer on recommendation from a local lawn service. We decided if this model is good enough for commercial service, it should be more than adequate for home use.
22.8 cc Power Boost Tornado engine
Commercial-grade felt air filtration
Vibration reduction system
Curved/cushioned front handle for comfort and control
59" straight shaft housing a 4-layer flex cable drive
Pro trimmer head (ECHOmatic Pro)
5 year consumer warranty (2 year commercial)
This Echo trimmer uses a 50:1 gas to oil mix. For example, 1 gallon of gasoline needs 2.56 ounces of 2 cycle engine oil. Once fueled, starting the trimmer is easy. For a cold start, you must prime the bulb, turn on the choke, and pull the cord. Once you get a pop, which is usually on the first pull, you turn off the choke and pull again. The motor fires right up and is eager to go.
At a little over 12 pounds, with a 19.6 oz tank full of gas, this trimmer is heavier than I am used to. The dealer threw in a shoulder strap, which helps keep the weight off your arms and more evenly distributed. The strap is wide, about 3 inches, so it does not dig in to your shoulder. The strap hook is positioned at a point of perfect balance. I can completely remove my hands from the trimmer and it does not lean to one side. This balance is probably part of why the Echo SRM-230 works so well.
The trimmer swath is 17 inches. It takes .095 trim line. I found I could cut for long periods without having to bump the line. The bump feed works perfectly and only feeds what seems to be a half to full inch at a time. I have not had any issues with the line bogging down or over feeding.
When you re-fill the spool, the process is quite simple. The spool comes off the head with a turn and a tug. There is no clumsy screw to mess with. You insert the line in a hole that holds it while you twist the line around the spool. When you put the spool back onto the unit, it slides right on and back in place, the opposite of how it was removed. I love this feature.
Having the right tool for the job is very important. We learned our lesson with the old Yardman trimmer and should have upgraded long ago. The Echo SRM-230 could be considered overkill for city dwellers. However, after using this machine the last mowing season, and cutting the yard work chore down to hours rather than days, I highly recommend it. The truth be known, I am looking forward to cutting the yard this spring just so I can use the trimmer again.
Update On Apr 18, 2010: My husband was able to try out our Echo SRM-230 for the first time this year. I had been using it since he was in an accident last year and unable to do yard work. He loves the balance and shaft length. For him, having the strap to help distribute the weight of the unit is especially important because the accident involved a broken clavicle. He can put the strap over his good shoulder and work the trimmer without putting stress on his weaker shoulder. He found the easy start mechanism to work extremely well for him also.
Purchasing this trimmer was the best investment in yard equipment we have ever made. We are now able to complete yard duty in less than half the time it used to take.