How to Use a Brush Cutter


Heavy-duty brush cutters are often mounted on the front of carts or diggers. However, most garden brush cutters are hand-held, much like bulkier weed whackers. The cutting end is mounted with either a rotating metal blade or strong cord. You'll need to be comfortable holding fairly heavy garden equipment before attempting to use a brush cutter. You should also wear close-fitting pants without anything that could tangle in the brush cutter's mechanisms. Ensure that you're familiar with a specific model's instructions before use.

Step 1

Remove any clogged grass, twigs or dirt from the bush cutter's cutting area. Check the cutting blade for tears or dents, or ensure that the cord is not frayed and is set at the right length (usually 1 or 2 inches from the protective shield).

Step 2

Check the fuel levels. The engine will either have a fuel gauge, or you'll need to remove the fuel cap and look inside. Fill up the gas tank, if necessary, using the appropriate fuel.

Step 3

Put on safety goggles or a mask. Brush cutters can fling pieces of debris back up at you, so protect your eyes.

Step 4

Position the brush cutter on solid ground, clear of any obstructions near the blade end. Prime the engine by pushing the prime button, if the model has one. Hold the machine with one hand and pull the starter cord with the other. Some models may have a button starter or other mechanism.

Step 5

Lift the brush cutter by its handles, usually located just before the engine and further down the cutter pole. Secure any shoulder straps or harnesses attached to the cutter. Get into a strong and comfortable position so that you have firm control of the brush cutter. Squeeze the throttle lever a few times to warm up the engine.

Step 6

Move the cutter in slow, sweeping arcs toward the vegetation you want to cut back. position the cutting head a few inches above ground level. Don't move too fast or the cutter may tangle or leave areas uncut. Stop the cutter if the blade or cord gets caught up or if you're unable to cut through a tough piece of vegetation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Inspect the area you're about to clear for any broken glass or stones the cutter blade could throw up.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Fuel


  • WorkCover Tasmania: Safe Use of Brushcutters
  • Gardening Tools Direct: User Tips for Trimmers and Brush Cutters
Keywords: using brush cutter, brush cutter guide, holding brush cutter

About this Author

Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.