Brushcutters are the ultimate versatile gardening tool. Not only because they can cope with different kinds of vegetation (from English lawns to saplings in undergrowth), but also because various cutting devices can be mounted on the rotating end. The basic attachments are cutting line, or alternatively blades and discs. The choice of cutting attachment and related specifications (dimensions, shapes and materials) depend on the type of vegetation you need to work on.
In addition, brushcutters can be fitted with pruning accessories such as a pruner (i.e. a guide bar with chain, similar to a standard pruner or chainsaw) and even hedgetrimmer blades. We won’t say any more about blades/discs or particular accessories in this article, instead we will focus on brushcutter heads with cutting line, which is probably the most popular type of cutting device.
Brushcutter heads: types and characteristics
Brushcutter heads are not all the same: on the market you can find heads with a variety of characteristics and operating methods.
Depending on the type, a brushcutter head is basically a cutting line holder or container. It is typically an enclosure that can be opened to change the line, which is wound around a coil. The most common type—which has long been the market standard—is the "tap-and-go" line head (like Oleo-Mac’s Tap&Go head). To feed out new line as it wears down, instead of having to stop work and turn off the brushcutter to remove it by hand, simply tap the head on the ground while the machine is running and without interrupting your work. The Load&Go and Speed&Go easy loading heads are also tap-and-go type heads.
A crucial step when using brushcutter heads is loading line once it gets used up. It is not a complex task, especially if you've done it before and have dextrous fingers, but it definitely wastes precious minutes. If you want to load cutting line without using tools, save time and work faster, use a quick-loading head.
With the Load&Go head it takes just 20 seconds to reload cutting line by winding it from the outside, so you don't even need to open the head. By contrast, with the Speed&Go head, simply open the head without using tools, fit a pre-wound, ready-to-use line disc—which fits comfortably in your pocket without getting tangled—and finally close the head: all in 10 seconds. Ideal for uninterrupted, continuous working, easy loading heads (and specifically Load&Go) are professional brushcutter heads that are also perfect for anyone who wants maximum practicality.
Pay attention to the quality of the head material: you’ll pay a little more for an enclosure made of reinforced plastic (like that on Load&Go) or fibreglass (as used on Speed&Go). We advise you to avoid cheap materials, which are significantly less durable.
In addition to the conventional enclosure-type heads for brushcutters there are multi-line heads—like the Oleo-Mac universal Multiline heads with 4 or 8 lines and an aluminium body—which wear down more slowly and therefore extend the line’s useful life. Unlike other heads that use one continuous length of wound line, a multi-line head has a fixing system for attaching multiple pieces of line that you can buy off-the-shelf, or cut to the appropriate length yourself from a brushcutter line coil.
Heads for professional brushcutters and for gardening enthusiasts
Brushcutter heads can take cutting line with different diameters and cross-sections. Brushcutter lines are made of various materials, from traditional copolymers to the most innovative materials. The thickness, shape and material are instrumental to the performance of the line (resistance to wear and breakage, durability, cleanliness of the cut, noise emission, etc.) and, essentially, determine the kind of work you can do. In order of difficulty you can use brushcutter line heads to:
Trim grass only.
Eliminate weeds and scrub.
Also cut brambles, reeds and shrubs: a cutting line capable of dealing with this type of vegetation generally resists impact against stones and walls (this applies to all high-performance lines).
Cut down saplings in undergrowth.
The rule of thumb is: the tougher the vegetation, the more powerful the brushcutter needs to be. But that alone is not enough, because the cutting line itself is crucial: you need to choose the right one based on the machine and the job in hand. The line should be both proportionate to the power rating (and therefore the power supply) of the brushcutter, and suitable for the type of vegetation you need to cut (not only in terms of thickness, but also in terms of cross-section and material).
Once you have identified the right line based on these criteria, select the most suitable brushcutter head accordingly: check out our catalogue or contact your nearest Oleo-Mac dealer to enquire about the best combination of brushcutter, line and head.
Our Tap&Go heads are compatible with virtually all models of brushcutter, both electric and petrol-driven (with light, medium and professional power ratings). Similarly, Load&Go heads are suitable for electric and battery-powered brushcutters and various types of petrol engine brushcutters. Speed&Go heads, on the other hand, are suitable for light- and medium-power petrol engine brushcutters. Multiline heads are recommended for medium-power or professional brushcutters.
Looking for a brushcutter head for brambles or other thick-stemmed vegetation? The best ones are the larger diameter Tap&Go, Load&Go and Multiline heads, which are designed to take the thickest and/or top-performing lines. As an alternative to cutting line you can use blades or discs: here you will find a comparison between line and discs.
So, brushcutter heads really can make the difference. In summary:
Compatibility: find the right head based on what you need the brushcutter to do, so based on its technical features and the type of line needed for such a job.
Line feeding: manual (if you are still using old heads) or automatic (tap-and-go heads have been the standard for some time).
Quick loading: as in the Oleo-Mac Load&Go (which lets you load line from the outside) and Speed&Go (which takes pre-wound line cartridges).
Universally compatible: you can fit our heads onto Oleo-Mac brushcutters and, using an adapter, onto all models of other brands.
Practicality: if you don’t want to use tools to change the cutting line, opt for Load&Go or Speed&Go heads; the same is true if you don’t want to risk losing pieces of line in the grass (a classic example is the internal spring on tap-and-go heads).
You may have heard about chain trimmer heads for brushcutters. Instead of line or a one-piece metal cutting attachment (such as a blade and disc), they are equipped with chain links, chainsaw-like segments or other flail-type blades consisting of interconnected metal parts. The European Union and (here in Italy) the Ministry of Economic Development banned them from sale back in 2012 because they present a dangerous risk of injury from metal components ejected while the brushcutter is in use.
We have described brushcutters as versatile because they help you to perform both precision tasks—such as finishing lawn edges—and dirty work such as pruning, taking the place of a chainsaw or pruner.
Besides having the right tools, to cut effectively you also need good technique: find out all the tricks for using your brushcutter like a professional. In this regard, ergonomics is a key factor for using a brushcutter properly, safely and comfortably. So, which type is better: single or double handgrip?