Stihl vs Husqvarna Trimmers – Which Brand is Better? (Head-to-Head Battle)


The power tool market is awash with top brands all vying for your hard-earned cash.

And when they’re all making the same stuff – it can often be difficult to see the differences and choose the right product for your needs.

In this article, we take a look at Stihl vs Husqvarna trimmers, pit them head-to-head, and see if we can find out which company comes out on top.

Will it be the Germans or the Swedes?

Let battle commence!

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Husqvarna vs Stihl – In a Few Words

As I understand that everyone leads very busy lives, some folks might not have the time to read the whole article, so here it is in a nutshell.

Both companies are pretty much the world leaders when it comes to outdoor power tools, and if the truth be told – they pretty much cancel each other out.

It’s not just their distinctive orange liveries that they share.

Unless you were to field test every model up against the other (which nobody has the time or money to do) then it’s very difficult to say which brand is the clear winner.

And in the end, it just comes down to personal preference and brand loyalty.

Either way, you can be sure you’re getting a quality product – no matter which company you go with.

Read on to discover more, and perhaps you’ll find the one that’s right for you.

Brand History

Let’s briefly take a look at the background of each brand, so you understand something of the company you might be purchasing a product from.

Note that both companies are regarded as multinational, with subsidiaries and manufacturing plants all over the world.

trimmering grass in sunlight

Additionally, they both source parts and components from a number of different countries, including the USA, China, Brazil, Japan, the UK, Germany, and Sweden.

In this day and age, when many people are concerned with where their products come from, it’s important to have this transparency.

And sure, it might be built in the USA (for example) but it’s likely a global machine.

Stihl

Like Husqvarna, Stihl is perhaps best known as the manufacturer of world-class chainsaws, although today they have an extensive catalog of other top-quality outdoor power tools and equipment.

Regularly used by the pros, they were founded in 1926 by Anderas Stihl, a Swiss-born German engineer who is often referred to as the “father of the chainsaw.”

Headquartered near Stuttgart in Germany, they didn’t enter the trimmer market until the 1970s, when they touched base with Japanese designers in the process of perfecting their own product.

Stihl a family-owned and run company, (see what I did there?) they are operated by the descendants of Anderas, and as such have developed a world-wide community thanks to their solid legacy and tried and trusted ethos.

Husqvarna

If Husqvarna haven’t made it – it probably doesn’t exist. The Swedish company is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1689 when they first made firearms.

Since then, they’ve been involved in everything from sewing machines to motorcycles, kitchen equipment to demolition robots.

But for most homeowners and forest industry professionals, they will be synonymous with their outstanding chainsaw range, as well as trimmers, riding lawnmowers, snowblowers, and other premium power tools.

Today, they also have several other famous brands operating under their umbrella, including Poulan Pro, McCulloch, Red Max, and Gardena, while they remain headquartered in Stockholm and Huskvarna.

gardener holding a trimmer

Trimmer Reviews

Below, you’ll find a selection of sample reviews from Stihl and Husqvarna’s best trimmers.

Where possible, I’ve tried to keep the selections balanced, so you can easily compare the products with an even playing field, and I’ve paired them off for at-a-glance comparison.

See if you can decide which is the best – or, at least – which is the best for you.

Husqvarna 129C Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer

Up first is this two-cycle gas-powered string trimmer from Husqvarna. Designed to be perfect for residential use, the 129C is super lightweight, with a curved shaft, and a tap-and-go trimmer head that automatically feeds new line when you need it.

Offering a generous 17-inch cutting path, it has a powerful 27.6 cc engine, with Smart Start technology, so you can get going in no time with a 40% reduction in cord pull resistance.

A high visibility cutting shield allows you to see what you’re doing, and there’s an auto-return stop switch that automatically resets to the on position for easier starting.

Pros

  • Air purge system.
  • Easy to access controls.
  • Translucent fuel tank.
  • Lightweight design.
  • Reduced fuel emissions.

Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty use.

Conclusion

An excellent string trimmer that will suit most homeowners down to the very ground they’re working on. And check out this article for information on the differences between curved and straight-shaft trimmers if you’re not sure what sets them apart.

Stihl FS 50 C-E Curved Shaft String Trimmer

stihl FS 50 C-E trimmer

The Stihl I’ve chosen for comparison is the FS 50 C-E curved shaft trimmer which also boasts lower fuel emissions and is 20% more efficient than their previous model in this range. Like the Husky, it has easy-start technology for smooth starts, and a tap-action trimmer head, so you can feed the line without the need to stop working.

The cutting swath is half-an-inch less than the Husqvarna, but it weighs pretty much the same. When it comes to power, they’re also on an even keel, with the Husqvarna edging it slightly with a 27.6 cc engine.

Vibration dampeners help with smooth operation, while the corrosion-resistant housing can be easily removed for maintenance access.

Pros

  • Adjustable front handle.
  • Protected choke lever.
  • Translucent oil tank.
  • Multi-function control point.
  • Noise and spark-reduction mufflers.

Cons

  • The bump head might not be the best.

Conclusion

It’s pretty much like-for-like with these two curved-shaft string trimmers, and there’s not much to tell them apart. It looks like the Husqvarna edges it though – although it’s usually slightly more expensive.

Husqvarna 520iLX Cordless String Trimmer

Husqvarna 520iLX trimmer

Let’s compare a couple of cordless options now with a Husqvarna and Stihl battery-powered string trimmer.

The 520iLX is the Husky version, with an innovative brushless motor that offers gas-powered productivity without the noise, emissions or maintenance. The 16-inch cutting swath is backed by a 40 Volt battery, and it features a heavy-duty, twin-line, tap-and-go cutting system for versatility and quick line feed.

IPX4 rated for rain resistance, it can be used all-year-round, with the motor able to provide a constant torque, even when chopping wet grass. And check out this article if you absolutely have to mow the lawn in wet conditions.

Pros

  • Lightweight design – 12 lbs with battery.
  • Power save mode for runtime/efficiency.
  • Near silent operation.
  • Smart battery pack position for longevity.
  • Long-lasting battery.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • On the more expensive side with the battery included.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of making the switch from gas to cordless, then this could well be the trimmer for you. The 520iLX garners some impressive reviews, and the efficient battery runtime system is a real winner here.

Stihl FSA 90 R Professional straight-shaft trimmer

stihl fsa90r battery trimmer

As far as I can tell, the Stihl equivalent to the Husky is the FS 90 battery-powered string trimmer. It offers a 15-inch cutting width, with a lightweight and maneuverable design that will get the job done with ease.

The motor starts instantly with a simple trigger squeeze, and it features an innovative control handle with a soft-stop trigger setting that can increase the amount of coverage on a single charge. Run time varies depending on battery type, and it is slightly louder than the Husqvarna when it comes to noise levels.

However, the Stihl unit is as much as two pounds lighter, (with an AP300 battery) and so that works in its favor for anyone looking for an easy-to-handle machine.

Pros

  • Slim profile.
  • Adjustable ergonomic handle and intuitive controls.
  • Reduced vibration.
  • Built-in storage loop.
  • Safety latch to prevent accidental starts.
  • Comfortable to use.

Cons

  • Louder than the Husqvarna.

Conclusion

It’s another dead-heat with the battery-powered models, as they both have their advantages and disadvantages over the other. The quieter Husqvarna is heavier, so it might just come down to what is a priority to you.

Regardless, they’re both great alternatives to gas-guzzling machines, and I, for one, believe it’s time to start making the switch.

Husqvarna Straight Shaft Gas String Trimmer

Speaking of gas-powered trimmers, let’s move on to these straight-shaft options that are around the mid-range when it comes to pricing.

This is Husqvarna’s 322L string trimmer, which features their successful tap n’ go bump head feed, in a commercial-grade setup that is affordable for the homeowner. The X-torque engine has been designed to reduce emissions by up to 75%, while increasing fuel efficiency to 20%, and the air purge system makes starting a breeze – even from cold.

The trimmer head is easy-to-use and refill, while the chromium-plated cylinder bore offers long-life and excellent durability. And with a generous 18-inch cutting swath, you’ll be done in time for your favorite show.

Pros

  • Semi-professional design for the home.
  • Lightweight at just 9.26 lbs.
  • Translucent fuel tank.
  • Smart Start technology.
  • Powerful, 22 cc engine.

Cons

  • Handle doesn’t adjust.

Conclusion

An ideal string trimmer for anyone with a moderate to large yard, this is an accessible, easy-to-use, and durable option that gives commercial-level performance at a residential price. Let’s see how the Stihl version compares.

Stihl FS 70 R Professional String Trimmer

stihl fs70rce trimmer

For the Stihl equivalent, I’ve gone for the FS 70R model – which is roughly in the same price bracket, and also marketed as a residential machine that can achieve professional results.

With a 27.2 cc engine, this is more powerful than the previous Husqvarna, although it is slightly heavier again, coming in at 10.6 lbs. It also has a smaller cutting swath at 15.5 inches, and carries less fuel overall.

Still, that doesn’t stop it from being a great machine in its own right, and the increased power alone might well be enough to persuade you that this is the better option. And you can adjust the handle, too.

Pros

  • Translucent fuel tank.
  • Low vibration.
  • Shoulder strap/carrying system.
  • Heavy-duty clutch.
  • Throttle trigger interlock for safety.
  • Easy-start technology.

Cons

  • It’s on the heavier side.

Conclusion

Another excellent string trimmer from Stihl that comes highly recommended, the FS 70 R is well worth a look if you’re after a powerful machine that can tackle medium to large properties. It’s also regarded as one of the best string trimmers ever made.

Husqvarna 4-Cycle Straight Shaft String Trimmer

Now we’re going to take a look at a couple of trimmers that feature a four-stroke engine. Not quite as powerful as your regular two-stroke, they will last longer, and they don’t require an oil/fuel mix to run.

The 324L is one such example from Husqvarna, a straight shaft trimmer with a 25 cc engine. Their Smart Start technology is included, with the cord resistance reduced by up to 40% for easy pulls and starts.

The bump trimmer head feeds line when pushed into the ground, and it features reduced emissions and vibration control, being much quieter than your average two-stroke machine. Check out this article on two-cycle vs four-cycle string trimmers for more information on what sets these engine types apart.

Pros

  • Powerful engine and torque.
  • No need to mix oil and fuel.
  • Large 18-inch cutting swath.
  • Translucent fuel tank.
  • Air purge system for easy starts.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • A shoulder strap would have been nice.

Conclusion

Sure, a four-stroke engine might offer a little less power, but it more than makes up for that with longer life, lower emissions, and no need to mix fuel and oil. And this offering from Husqvarna is one of the very best. Check it out.

Stihl FS 91 R String Trimmer

stihl fs91r trimmer

Now, here’s a bit of a head scratcher, as the best-selling FS 91 R trimmer from Sthil is a four-stroke model that still requires a mix of fuel and oil.

Perhaps they’re trying to achieve the best of both worlds, and this machine can certainly pack a punch with a 28.4 cc engine, with lower emissions and noise as you would find with a regular four-stroke trimmer. Fully adjustable for comfort, the unit is relatively lightweight, with a rubberized loop handle that offers the best possible control.

The fully lined drive shaft provides smooth operation while reducing vibrations, and the lightweight housing allows easy access for maintenance when required. Truly a conundrum, but there are no complaints here.

Pros

  • Large fuel capacity.
  • Translucent fuel tank.
  • Heavy-duty clutch.
  • Low emission engine.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • Still requires a mix of fuel and oil.

Conclusion

A four-stroke that isn’t a four-stroke, this is a top machine from Stihl nonetheless, and has been getting rave reviews since it was first released.

Highly recommended, indeed, given that I don’t believe Stihl has a genuine four-stroke trimmer in their locker. I’ll stand corrected if you write me in the comments.

Head-to-Head

As previously mentioned, it’s difficult to get accurate results when you’re not actually testing each individual trimmer against the other.

That said, I’ve done a quick, overall comparison with my thoughts on a number of features and specifications, so you can have a better understanding of what’s what.

Bear in mind that this is simply a general overview of the eight products chosen and included in the review above, and does in no way cover the extensive back-catalog of quality products from both brands.

Engine and Power

Of the products reviewed, there was a balance when it comes to engine and power, but I think that Stihl might just edge it if push came to shove.

However, as you might expect, more power usually results in a louder (and heavier) machine, and I believe that Husqvarna’s are quieter overall when comparing decibel levels.

Either way, there really isn’t much in it, and it will come down to personal preference, and perhaps other factors in the face off between Husqvarna vs Stihl weed eaters.

And if you’re looking for more of the most powerful lawn-care equipment available, you should check out this review on the best commercial zero-turn lawnmowers – which features the kind of beasts the pros use.

Start Up

Both Husqvarna and Sthil machines come with their own versions of quick-start technology, equally boasting that their products will get going faster than anything else on the market.

Again, unless actually physically testing this, it’s a challenge to figure out which brand is true to the claim.

Of course, you can always watch YouTube videos of particular products to get a better idea, so check out this one below which includes a product comparison of Husqvarna and Stihl trimmers I’ve not covered in this article.

Weight

Weight is an important consideration when it comes to string trimmers, as even with a shoulder strap fatigue can set in quickly.

Thankfully, it’s one specification that is always prominent in a product description, and you can compare each machine with ease.

If I’m not mistaken, Husqvarna trimmers tend to be lighter than the Stihl models – at least, when it comes to the products I’ve chosen here. But even then it’s only by a small margin, and I think overall they are much of a muchness in this category.

Quick tip: It’s worth noting that I believe most – if not all – Stihl trimmers come with a shoulder strap as part of the package.

I can’t say for certain if this is the case with Husqvarna, and it might well depend on where you purchase the machine from.

Let me know your experience if you’ve purchased from either company.

Cutting Width

The size of the cutting swath can make a big difference when it comes to how long it takes you to do the job, and they will usually range from 15-18 inches on most models – certainly the products included here.

And for me, there’s a clear winner in this department, as I believe all the Husqvarna models all feature a larger head size.

Of course, this might not always be beneficial when it comes to maneuverability – but for the most part, a larger cutting swath means a faster finish.

Handling and Performance

This factor is difficult to ascertain without physically trying each machine, but for the most part, and judging by the significant amount of reviews I read, it doesn’t matter which brand you buy.

Both Husqvarna and Stihl are heavyweights when it comes to the quality of their machines, and the handling and performance of each will just come down to personal preference.

Having said that, it appears that Stihl trimmers offer more scope when it comes to adjustable handles, which can make a big difference if you’re looking for that extra versatility.

But both brands are careful to offer easy-to-use, intuitive controls, and I’m pleased to note they always include adequate safety features as standard.

man trimmering lawn close up

Fuel Capacity

Having enough juice to finish the job is very important when it comes to gas-powered machines. You’ll want the confidence to be able to do it in one sitting – without stopping to refuel.

Likewise, when it comes to battery-powered machines – having a charge that lasts until the final cut has been made.

Thankfully, being professional-grade brands, both Stihl and Husqvarna recognize this, with large gas tanks and powerful batteries.

Of course, both these plus points can lead to heavier machines overall – so it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

Just make sure to pick the product that suits your needs. Everything else is superfluous.

Price

Now, while I will usually cite budget as a deciding feature when it comes to choosing the right power tools and equipment for your needs, here I’ve done my best to keep things as fair as possible.

You might notice on some product review websites that the author has compared apples to oranges, and I’ve noticed reviews from consumers that will complain about a $150 machine versus a $400 beast.

This simply isn’t fair, and you should always be a critical thinker when it comes to comparing products based on price alone.

The Overall Winner

I’ll let you into a little secret – when it comes to the overall winner, I don’t have a clue.

Your guess is as good as mine – but if I HAD to make that guess, I would say that Husqvarna edges it – but only just.

That said, Stihl machines excel in nearly all departments, and I’m likely to change my mind as quickly as I’ve made it.

Either way, let’s just all take a moment to appreciate both brands when it comes to meeting our home and commercial landscaping needs.

And if neither feels right for you, you can always choose an Echo.

FAQs

Which is better – Stihl or Husqvarna trimmers?

It really is too close to call, and for one homeowner it might be Stihl, and for another it might be Husqvarna.

I know I might be hedging my bets, but on examining the evidence in detail, I don’t believe one is that much better than the other, and they’re both at the top of their respective games.

Feel free to prove me wrong.

Which is the best string trimmer on the market?

Again, it just depends on what you need it for. There are so many options, the best string trimmer for you might not be the best for your neighbor.

And it’s not just about these two brands either – although they are the market leaders. You can check out this article on Husqvarna versus Echo trimmers – as just one example of a quality alternative.

But with WORX, Black & Decker, Ryobi, DeWalt, Honda, EGO, Greenworks, and more to choose from – I’d say the best string trimmer award is very much up for much debate.

Check out this review for more of the best commercial weed eaters to see exactly what I mean – and see if you can pick your favorite.

Are Husqvarna trimmers any good?

Yes – very good. There’s a reason you’ll see them being used by landscaping pros the world over, and the exact same thing can be said for Stihl.

Next question.

What string trimmer do professionals use?

As mentioned, the landscape gurus of the world will regularly be seen using both Husqvarna and Stihl trimmers – which is probably why they’re referred to as the market leaders in the technology.

Of course, the downside is they tend to be much more expensive than your average, residential-grade weed whacker, so make sure you’re actually going to get use out of it before splashing the cash.

Summary

The world of string trimmers is a crazy place, but in it, two brands regularly stand above the rest – especially when it comes to professional and commercial use.

But in the Stihl vs Husqvarna trimmer battle, the final result appears to be a draw.

Let me know in the comments if I’m talking nonsense, if I neglected to mention a key feature or component, or if you just want to sound off about your favorite string trimmer.

In the meantime – happy trimming!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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