August 17, 2009

Craftsman 25cc Propane Trimmer Powered by Lehr - Review

craftsman_trimmer2.jpgLooking at things mathematically, our lawn might be one of the hardest in the world to mow. There are curved flower beds everywhere, terraced lawns, railroad tie retaining walls, granite retaining walls, and moss beds a plenty. There are also some horseshoe pits and some homemade benches that we made with a chainsaw a while back. Pretty much every possible obstacle to the easy-to-mow grid is out there somewhere. Since nothing is on a straight line and there's stuff everywhere, once we put the mower away, we're only half way done. It's now string trimmer time, or as we like to call it, "fight with the 2-stroke engine" time.

Craftsman is looking to put an end to some of this agony with their 25CC Propane Trimmer (powered by Lehr). It's exactly what it sounds like, a string trimmer that runs on propane as opposed to gas.

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So what does all of this "Powered by Lehr" stuff mean? We spoke with someone from Lehr and it turns out that they've come up with a technology that allows a four-stroke engine to be powered by propane. And as if executing the inventive concept wasn't enough, Lehr, in a brilliant business move, slapped a patent on the technology faster than you can say "Fein Oscillating Tool." So far, Lehr has released a string trimmer called the Eco Trimmer, and now they have licensed the technology to Craftsman, so the Sears-centric company can have their own model.

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So the benefits of the propane thing are obvious. First, it's just easier. There's no more having to deal with the oil/gas ratio (or in our case, no more marked up dixie cups in the garage). No more choke to contend with, and no more winterizing procedures. Also, propane doesn't pump out exhaust like gas engines. According to Craftsman the propane trimmer has "zero evaporative emissions, 97% fewer particulates, and 96% fewer carcinogens.

And how does it work? Well, in a word, it works great. Getting it started usually takes a few pulls in order to cycle the propane into the engine, but once it's going, it's a real workhorse. In a way, it combines the benefits of an electric trimmer (fairly quiet, clean) with the mobility of a gas trimmer. Because it's a four stroke engine, it's quieter than our old trimmer and more powerful as well. We found that it could handle some pretty overgrown areas (think: hay field) with little difficulty. On the downside, it's also larger and heavier, but Craftsman provides a nice shoulder strap that is adjustable up and down the shaft, so we easily found the 'sweet spot,' where the trimmer balances nicely in the hands and feels virtually weightless.

Craftsman also has a number of attachments available that expand the uses of the trimmer. So you can convert the tool into a pruner or an edger, and get that much more work out of it.

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We quickly became fans of this tool. So far we're about two months in on using it and we're still on the first bottle of propane (according to the literature, the trimmer can go for about two hours on a bottle). That bottle cost us about $2.99 at the local Home Depot and at this rate, we'll likely only need one more by the end of summer. So, once the initial purchase is out of the way, and depending on your lawn, you'll likely be in the $6-$10 annual cost range. It's not bad and probably less than what you'd pay in gas for a traditional trimmer. And like we said earlier, you're not getting the hassle of a two-stroke gas engine. And to us, that's worth a lot.

We tested out the straight shaft, but there is a curved shaft model available. Both models cost about $200 which puts them in a higher range than the gas powered ones which can be had for usually about $100 to $150. But when thinking about the cost, don't forget the option of the attachments, which make this much more than a string trimmer.

At Sears

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 17, 2009 5:10 AM

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Recent Comments

I've had the ecotrimmer for 1 year. I've only used 1 Canister of propane for approx. 15 cuts so far, fabulous.

Now I'm wondering if you have other accessories to attach to it?

Thanks


Posted by: Phil Granito at July 8, 2011 8:51 AM

They have now come out with a refillable (legally!) 1 # cylinder!! no more buying and throwing away those little green things. There are a lot of unsafe things about filling the disposable green ones and it makes me cringe everytime I hear of someone doing it, but these new tanks are DOT certified and fabulous!! A little cost up front but so worth it!!


Posted by: Katie at July 6, 2011 1:11 PM

got mine on july 1 2011. started up right out of box- after reading several reviews on line about sprk plug wire not being on the plug- the first thing i did was to make sure the plug wie was atthaced. then attached the propane cyl. and whamo-- 3 pulls and it was purring like a kitten. not too heavy when using the strap that was with the unit. must say it's not as loud as expected but i still used my ear plus. it sliced thru some pretty thick weeds with no troubles. not even a "bogg down". only prblem i has was after about 40 minutes of use the plastic trigger BROKE. down time till i get ahold of customer serv. on tuesday july 5 2011. but must asy am very pleased with the job it did. i did not get the sears version mine is the green lher


Posted by: terry lane duluth ga at July 3, 2011 12:10 PM

@ Scotty with throttle control issue:
Mine does THE EXACT SAME THING. The throttle cable that controls the engine speed keeps detaching from the trigger. Then, the user must dis-assemble the whole sandwich throttle control.....just to have it fall off again in the next trimming session. The last time I took it apart something happened with the kill switch; I could not stop motor operation once in use i.e. I could not shut the unit off without unscrewing the tank and physically disconnecting / cutting fuel supply. Other than the cheap plastic throttle control I like the unit. Am talking with the retailer/manufacturer to see if there is a fix for the cheap throttle which makes this unit totally useless. Hopefully there is a fix or it's going to the dumpster and $218 down the drain. This is Model 104.792110


Posted by: Tom from Ohio at August 20, 2010 9:25 AM

Would recommend it 100%
Had mine since mid 2009.
Starts 2nd pull always.
I run it mid to low throttle most times as there is normally no need to run full throttle unless you are in some really nasty weeds.
Only 1 CON I've found. That is if the unit is laid on it's side, oil has drained out of the crankcase so whatch out for that.
Not a big deal at all if you are aware of it.
It does weigh more than a typical trimmer but if straps and handles are adjusted to your needs, it's bearable.


Posted by: bluestreak at June 2, 2010 11:01 AM

This propane trimmer is junk, the throttle cable, where it attaches to the hand trigger throttle control is cheap plastic, mine has broke 5 times in 5 uses and you have to disassemble to entire throttle assembly to reattach cable for it just to come undone again in one use. Awesome design and performance, but returning mine due to throttle cable issues, too bad they couldnt just use parts in the throttle assembly cable reten...


Posted by: scotty at May 27, 2010 9:53 AM

i hope this is as good as it sounds.beleave it or not i just picked up one of the curve shaft trimmers for 65.00...brand new.and he says he has more of them..at a 200.00 dollar price range.give or take.how could i not resist getting as many as i can get my hands on.to share this product by craftsman.the man i bought it from started,just for 30sec.hope i dont have problems with it for not looking at it more closely.i will find out in the morning crossing my fingers..then i will decide if i will bye as many as i can get my hands on for that price.well just wanted 2 share.


Posted by: tile man at May 18, 2010 2:07 AM

We don't use it all the time, but it started up the other day with no problems. It seemed to take the dormancy of winter without a thought.


Posted by: Tool Snob at May 5, 2010 4:57 AM

would like to know if now, 9 months later, you are still very happy with your propane trimmer, and if you have any new information. many thanks


Posted by: Kris at May 4, 2010 10:05 PM

No relationship to the company, but one thing I recommend looking into - is a propane refiller so you can refill those camping size containers from your Blue Rhino refillable tank from HD/lowes


Posted by: Chris Lehr at August 17, 2009 10:14 AM
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