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How to Use a Brush Cutter – A Pro-Backed Guide You Can’t Miss

How to Use a Brush Cutter
Last Update: May 2, 2023

Everybody loves having a well-maintained garden, so you definitely would want the right equipment for the job. Although you’ll find lawn mowers and line trimmers handy, you need the most suitable brush cutter to easily and effectively handle the more stubborn, thicker types of brush. The question is, ‘How do you use brush cutters safely and efficiently?’

Preparation and Pre-Use

Before using your brush cutter, there are a few pre-use checks to complete to safely use this machine.

Prepare the area you need to cut:

  • Make sure the ground you want to work on is dry so you don’t slip
  • Clear any movable obstacles as they can cause you to trip.
  • Be sure that there is no body in your way or in the surrounding area. No accidents allowed here.
  • Make sure that every component of your machine is attached correctly; refer to the user manual for this.
  • Check all the protective devices to be sure that nothing is defective.
  • Be sure that the handles are dry and clean to ensure that you do not lose your grip.
  • It is important to ensure that the control switch can easily be moved to 0.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment is a must when cutting brush with this machine.

The equipment that you will need before using your brush cutter includes:

  • Facial protection: Use of goggles or a face shield is required to protect your face and eyes from any flying debris.
  • Hand protection: Gloves should be heavy-duty, leather gardening gloves.
  • Hearing protection: Ear defenders are the best equipment for this.
  • Leg protection: Clothing with a tight fit is recommended when using brush cutters.
  • Foot protection: Non-slip safety boots are the common recommendation for foot safety.

Protective equipment does not ensure that there will be no accidents. For this reason, be sure to use safety precautions.

Cutting attachments

Selecting the right cutting attachment and installing it is essential when cutting different types of bushes. Different attachments are required for different situations. These include:

  • Light vegetation – An attachment with 3 pivoting blades will suffice. This attachment is used for thinning large areas.
  • Heavy vegetation – Cutting blades with 2 to 8 edges are recommended for tougher grass.
  • Reeds and bushes – An 8-edge cutting blade would suffice for reeds.
  • Thin trees – Chisel or scratcher-tooth blades are the best for thin trees and woody bushes.
  • Grass that is on uneven ground or ground containing obstacles

Before attaching the blade, be aware of what kind of environment you are working in. Always refer to your user manual before choosing an attachment.

How to Use a Brush Cutter

How to Use a Brush Cutter

Switches and pull strings:

Control buttons are present in all cutters but in the case of petrol cutters, a pull string is present. The pull string is generally quite close to the start and stop buttons to provide ease of access. This string will be used to activate the motor which can be done by pulling on it a few times. The machine should be turned on before doing this as it will not start otherwise.

Switches for speed control and safety are also present on most machines for user safety. Always refer to your user manual before starting your cutter.

In the case that you are using a petrol cutter, be sure to add fuel first as your machine will not start without it.

Starting point:

Position yourself correctly before starting to cut. Be sure to stand up straight, no slouching! Adjust the length of your brush cutter so that you do not have to hurt yourself by bending for extended periods of time. Get a good grip on your brush cutter and stand with your feet firmly on the ground. Move at least 3 meters away from your refueling area (if you are using a petrol operated cutter).

Remember to prepare your brush cutter before starting and to use your personal protective equipment! Your safety is paramount when using this device for cutting and trimming bushes.

Techniques – mowing, trimming, weeding, and scything:

Techniques for use of this machine will assist in easier use. The technique for setting up your brush cutter is as follows:

  1. Handles should be adjusted and the carrying ring should be slid down to balance your brush cutter.
  2. The blade attachment should hover slightly above ground level.
  3. The angle at which you will cut will be optimal once you have balanced the device.

Brush Cutting Techniques

The technique for holding your device is to slightly bend your arms but have your wrists straight. Again, always refer to your user manual for a guide on how to do this properly.

When mowing with your machine, a general left-to-right motion is suggested for optimum results. This has the added advantages of cut brush falling onto the already cut area.


  • Inspect and walk around the area that you want to use the brush cutter in and put a marker at every spot where you find an obstacle.
  • Continuously inspect all the components of your brush cutter. This ensures the prevention of accidents caused by negligence.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings while using the device. Look down at the tool constantly.
  • Put your machine on a flat surface when you want to attach cutter blades. Attach the plastic shield and shoulder strap properly so that there are no loose components.
  • Be aware of the weather. Try to trim the area when the weather is dry.
  • Be sure to stop and rest regularly. Have some water and relax for a few minutes so you do not get too tired.


  • Never use a brush cutter in any space that has bad ventilation or is enclosed. This is because some machines produce fumes which can be toxic. These fumes are not detectable and are extremely dangerous.
  • Flying debris is a serious risk and this device should only be used at a safe distance from people. 15 meters is sufficient but ideally there would be nobody in the general area.
  • If using a petrol brush cutter, begin working 3 meters or more from the location where you refuel.
  • Do not work alone. Have someone else around, at a safe distance, in case of emergencies.


Brush cutters can be highly effective tools when they are used safely. If you know how to use your machine, you minimize the risk of injury. Do not stop here though, be sure to read your instruction manual always.


Q. 1: What can you cut with a brush cutter?

They are used to cut tougher plants such as small trees or woody brush. They can also be used to trim tall grass or weeds.

Q. 2: What’s the difference between a line trimmer and a brush cutter?

On the one hand, brush cutters are heavier, larger machines. Brush cutters are much more powerful machines that accommodate blades. Line trimmers, on the other hand, are used for thinner plants and can only have a line trimming attachment fitted.

Q. 3: What’s the best tool for clearing brush?

Besides a brush cutter, tools that can be used to clear brush include hatchets, pruning shears, machetes, axes, chainsaws and stump grinders.

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

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