Stihl FS55Loop or Echo SRM 210 string trimmer?

14 years ago

These are both the same price locally. I am looking for something that will not be used a lot of the time (a couple of times a month), but should last for years. Should be easy to use and start easily.

If possible I'd consider adding a bush cuting head, but this is not a requirement.

Which would you recommend buy?

Comments (53)

  • chief_crazyhorse

    I'll give the echo one more vote. I've run em, I just cant kill em, and I can beat the %$#$ out of a machine.

  • birdman5

    I have a SRM210 and my 13yr old uses it all the time. Light, powerful enough for a homeowner and it starts very easily.

    Dealer I picked mine up from said it was his best seller, by a huge margin

  • madtripper

    Thanks guys - I guess I'll get the Stihl......Just kidding.

  • masiman

    I talked with a local dealer about the Echo's during my search. I think the 210 can take attachments? If I were considering a 210 would it be up to the mini-tiller and edger attachments? What would be a reason to spend the extra for the 260? The dealer thought that the price difference between the 230 and 260 was too small to not go for the 260. Thoughts?


  • birdman5

    Do you mean the Pas230 and Pas260, they take attacahments ?

    I think the attachements are gimicky, and for the additional cost are not worth whay they really offer.

    Cost gets you a slightly bigger engine on each model
    210= 21.2cc
    230= 22.8cc
    260= 25.4cc

  • masiman

    I guess I did Birdman. Thanks for the info. The echo site does not show very well what the difference between the models are.

    If the attachments are gimmicky and not worth the money, what would be a rough rule for deciding between the 210, 230 and 260? Based on all discussions I am leaning toward the 210 for my 1/3 acre suburban lot. I just don't want to buy something that will only be as reliable as my ryobi (cracked fuel line, pull string does not return all the way, rough starts).


  • birdman5

    Here are some additional facts of the 3 Echo's.

    Specs of SRM210, SRM230, SRM260
    Msrp = $199.99, $269.99, $299.99
    weight dry lbs 10.6, 10.1, 11.1
    Fuel tank size 15.2oz, 19.6oz, 19.6oz

    SRM210 and SRM230 use a 4-layer cable as a drive shaft, the SRM260 uses a Rigid Steel shaft.

  • masiman

    Thanks Birdman. In case any others weigh in, I am considering primarily the echo's due to dealer support. I tried long and hard to find a tanaka, shindaiwa and/or makita dealer. They exist in the DC area but are very limited. The tanaka "dealer" even commented that their distrbutor in this area was poor. They don't carry them, only some parts but will get them if requested. Echo's and Stihl are a dime a dozen. I would much rather have some choices for any issues I might run into rather than a single source that may not be around. I think I am asking the same question as madtripper above although I think I have narrowed my selection choices and it appears that echo seems to have more positive responses than the Stihl.

    I will not be working the tool all day so the weight is not as much an issue for me. I knew that the 260 at least offered a steel cable. I don't recall if certain 260 models had different shafts. I have seen some mention model numbers that are 4 digit (2101, 2302, or something like that). I can't figure those out and if they are something I should pursue. Effectiveness, reliability, durability are my goals for this tool. Willing to go as high as $350 but that $350 better be that much better in the goals I listed above to justify the extra cash.

    Thanks for any input.


  • canguy

    The 4 digit Echo's are non current models. You are right, the 260 is available with the steel shaft (260S). The dealership I work for has sold Echo for many years and has never seen a cable shaft failure. Echo Canada has seen one.
    The Echo attachments are only available with the half shaft for the PAS but Stihl supplies most, but not all, either way.

  • prairiewinters

    I have had an Echo trimmer for the last 19 years. I use it on an acre manicured lawn with lots of edging. The darn thing has never failed me. My only complaint with all these trimmers is that I wish that they had some sort of auto loading mechanism say you put the string in a hole push a button and it loads itself.

  • vancwa

    I've had an SRM2100 for over 10 years with zero issues with it. It is bullet-proof. I would just suggest using Echo oil at 50:1 and make sure the oil is fully distributed (shake the crude out of it).

  • madtripper

    Tried my new SRM 210 for the first time today. I have only used one otehr string trimmer - a cheap electric many years ago.

    I can't believe the power of this thing!

    Thanks for all the help.

  • equsnarnd

    I bought a used Echo SRM-210. After about 3 hours of use it stopped the other day and I couldn't pull the pull rope to start it. I pulled the plug and took the starting mechanism off and put a ratchet on the nut on the shaft and attempted to turn the engine after spraying some wd40 into the cylinder. It moved and I put some 2 stroke oil in the cylinder and rotated it 30 or 40 times. I then tipped it upside down to let any excess drain. After putting it back together I pulled the starter cord three times trying to start it before it 'locked' up again. Any suggestions on what I can do to determine if I should toss the whole unit or see if it just needs a new set of rings and maybe a new piston? Or something else entirely?

  • canguy

    Remove the muffler and take a look at the piston and cylinder walls. If they are damaged the repair is probably too close to the cost of a new one to make it worthwhile. I suspect from your description a bearing may have come apart.

  • shelland

    Sorry to resurect an old thread, but it was exactly what I was looking for.

    I too was looking into the Stihl FS55 or the Echo SRM-210. The dealer that is closest to home, and that I would prefer to buy from carries the Stihl. Based on what I've read, the think the Echo is the way to go.

    My two options are Home Depot (15 miles from home) and a lawn dealer that's about 25 miles from home, but 2 miles from work. I would prefer to go with the dealer since they are also a repair shop.

    Here's my question -

    Home Depot carries a model that is listed as the '210SP', while the lawn shop is listed as just a '210' (or the '210i' is also available). I see an 'SB' model on the Echo webpage, but not an 'SP'. Are there any differences between these machines that should sway me, or should I just go with my store of preference?

    Of course, if anyone would recommend the Stihl at the dealer I'd prefer to go to (closer to home, and I bought my Toro mower there), I'd welcome that input as well.

    Thanks for any input! I'm looking forward to upgrading from the ol' extension cord model... :)

  • tahclep

    I have had an Echo (old model) sold it last year with the house in the country, I still have a Stihl also, both have been equally good and problem free, the Stihl has to be 8 years old now never even been tuned, just fresh gas and oil and an air filter cleaning every month or so and lots and lots of 0.95 nylon string. I have a few Stihl dealers near by which always give good service, to me that is also important as I do not want to drive a 1/2 hour to an hour just for a trimmer sercice or parts or advice.

  • masiman

    The 210i has the iStart technology that the SP does not. The 210i also has the rapid loader head, I am not sure if the SP does. Other than that I think they are the same but others may have more information.

    I asked some of the questions above. I was pretty much undecided and knew that I could not go wrong with whatever choice I made between Echo and Stihl. My choice was dealer driven. The dealer said they had better service from Stihl. They had about the same callbacks on the trimmers. However, they were having a sale on the FS100. So that is the one I bought. I bought the brush cutter with it and could not be happier. Starts right up, easy change to the brushcutter, all the power I could need. I am even using it to shred leaves in my compost bins. If I had an echo, I bet I would be just as happy. I know I have good dealer support and a quality product. I hope you get one that meets your needs.

  • shelland

    I made a few stops tonight, and I think I've narrowed my choise down to 2 models. I realize that the two models aren't really direct "competitors" of each other. The decision is going to come down to the importance price and location:

    1. Stihl FS-45 or FS-46
    Strong points:
    - dealer 5 miles from home
    - price $139.99 or $179.99
    - light
    - good feedback (not as many rave reviews as Echo)

    Neutral points:
    - curved shaft - Based on reading, I've seen this can be considered either negative or positive, depending on the person. I don't have anything that I need to reach under to elevate the straight shaft, so could be convinced either way.

    Negative points:
    - it's not the Echo 210 (not sure how "negative" that is)

    2. Echo SRM-210

    Strong points:
    - rave reviews

    Neutral points:
    - straight shaft - see comments above on shaft option
    - dealer is only 2 miles from work, but 20+ miles from home (this could be considered negative for being distant from home, but positive for being close to work, so I'm calling it neutral)

    Negative points:
    - more than the Stihl models at $199, but I'm willing to spend it

    Now, if I could buy Echo at my "local" dealer, I think I would buy the 210. The "local" option is the Stihl, which I have no problem buying, and have read good things about. It would obviously be nice to save some money, assuming that doesn't mean sacrificing a huge amount of quality. This would be at the same dealer that I bought my Toro mower. As a side note, I think I'd rather go with the Echo 210 over the Stihl SF-55, which the local dealer caries for $219.99.

    The Echo gets the nod from the masses, but is that overkill for basic home use? I concede it's a "better" model than the Stihl, but how much does that matter in my situation? I realize a Mercedes is better than my Nissan, but my Maxima is perfectly acceptable for my use.

    I have to admit I'm leaning towards saving some money with the local purchase of the Stihl, but can be convinced to go with the Echo (still close to work, just not close to home).

    I don't think I mentioned before - I'm replacing a hand-me-down electric model, so either would be a night and day difference from anything I've ever used...

    Cash and convenience, or outright quality??? I hate making decisions... :)

    Thanks again for input!

  • fisher40037

    I have sold and worked on both, and have to vote for the
    echo again, the lower end Stihl trimmers just are not
    made as well.

  • shelland

    Thanks for the feedback - much appreciated Fish!


  • shelland

    I knew I was going to keep wavering back and forth. I was driving by the Echo dealer over lunch, and at the last minute turned in. The decision has been made - I'm a new owner of a 210.

    Thanks to all for the input!


  • steve_homeowner

    I also am deciding between the Stihl 55 and the Echo SRM-210. How is the string replacement on each head? I heard that you must open the Echo's head and loop the string manually while the Stihl requires no opening up but only putting a string in each of the two holes on the head and a simple winding to load??? Just curious as my old Homelite has had numerous problems with the string getting jammed or the bump release getting stuck...MAJOR PAIN! Had to spend a good deal of time opening it up and rewinding the string, etc.

    Any thoughts?

  • bohica316

    have a dead srm2200 for which I have a complete set of brush blades, hard guard, well these fit the newer 210 or 230?

  • valtec

    Looks like I'm the only one here that's not crazy about the echo 210. I just got rid of mine after 2 years of use, I felt it was underpowered, it didn't start very well but ran well once it was started and the front engine housing would get uncomfortably hot after 30 minutes or so of work. I now own a Husqvarna 326rjx and after only a couple of uses I feel it's twice the machine the echo was. but of course it cost $100 more.

  • DrynDusty

    Sure would like additional comments on the Husky 326rjx the Stihl 55 and the Echo 210 or 230. Today the local dealer, offering both the Husky and the Stihl, and a servicer of all three, recommended the Husky over the Stihl. Who's to know? I want to do a bit of bushwacking and trimming on an acre and a half of desert.

  • booster

    I think Echo trimmers are the best, hands down. Easy start, very powerful, very durable.

    I prefer a curved shaft, as the rotation is opposite and doesn't throw as much clippings back on me, but the Echo curved shafts are very short and hard to use. I currently have a Stihl FS75 curved shaft, which is a very nice trimmer. Like someone else mentioned, I was at first disappointed in the power, compared to my Echo, but the more it gets used, the better it gets, and it is now very similar to the Echo (10 tanks of fuel).

    If you don't mind the rotation thing, the straight shaft Echo can't be beat. If you want a good reach in a curved shaft, the Stihl is a good bet.

  • ernied

    As you can see Stihl and Echo get pretty good ratings on this site. Just remember every brand turns out a lemon every now and then. Some users beat their machines up and don't take care of them. Some guys love having the most exotic and expensive tool hanging off their truck whether they need it or not. Some people who use them to put food on the table need machines that are bulletproof hence they buy "professional" models. So what you are getting here is not very scientific data mostly opinions.

    I have two Stihls: FS45 trimmer and FC45 edger. Both are "homeowner" models used once a week for 5,000 square feet of fences, sidewalks and flower beds. They work just fine for "my requirements." Dealer and his wife are nice and a joy to deal with.

    I also had a Ryobi I bought at the PX years ago (10?) with all the attachments. No boos please. Ran like a top. Kept fresh gas in it. Changed the plugs and cleaned the filter every year. I gave it to my church because my wife wanted something easier to start so I got the Stihl with their easy start feature. Needless to say my wife hasn't used them yet but the guy at the church is still using the Ryobi.

    My advice is select the appropriate Stihl, Echo or Husky from a dealer you can trust who will service and order parts for you and is close by.Don't lose sleep over the decision.

    I'm ready for incoming.

  • dirtguy

    I have used a Stihl FS 85 for a LOT of brush clearing in a previous job and it worked great. Now I need to but a trimmer to do some clearing of prickly ash and multiflora rosebush and I cant afford the Stihl trimmer. After reading all the good things about the Echo 210 I was wondering if the 210 would have enough power to handle brush clearing.

  • masiman

    I have the FS80 (I assume close to the 85 but I have not seen the specs on an 85). I like it much the same as you liked the 85 you worked with.

    The echo website says it can handle a brush blade. If you don't have alot of brush to do it may be fine for your needs.

  • dont_email_me

    Ok boys and girls, I would like some more input on this thread.

    I own a Stihl FS55. I was negligent and stored it improperly and ran old gas in it, and it wound up in the shop. While it was there, my brother decided to buy himself his own trimmer. After reading this thread and some others on the net, I suggested he get the Echo 210.

    He thought it was ok but a little underpowered. So, upon getting my Stihl 55 back from the shop, I borrowed the 210 and ran them back to back in my yard.

    So I'm a bit confused. This thread almost unequivocally recomends the Echo 210 over the Stihl 55. But the 210 is a toy compared to the 55. Granted, the Echo does pull easier to start, and it is lighter, but it is night and day going from it to the Stihl for power. All the easy starts and light weight doesn't trim down my weeds.

    So am I missing something? Is there something wrong with our 210? Or do you guys just all trim a few blades of 3" tall grass and that's it? :)

    Thanks for the input.

  • fordtech

    I would recommend the 260 for brush clearing and heavy use. It has the rigid shaft and torquier engine. They also have a 260T for even higher torque. I have a pair of older SRM 2600 trimmers. Never have a break down yet.

  • fisher40037

    Did they make you pay for the new fuel line?


  • james_monty_suddenlink_net

    well i'll tell ya this much,i was lookin for another weedeater and was going to go with what i've always used which is a t230 or t231 shin,but after reading these forums i decided on a echo 210.biggest mistake i ever made,have had it a week and used once on a small hillside with maybe a hours work and had problems with the head and carb in it surging so i took it back to be looked at and so far been 4 days in the shop and three days it was at need another head and carb which they ordered but still its of no use to me and is costing me money from not having its time i'll lision to myself and get what i know works and thats a two one is 3 years old and one 4 years old that have never seen the shop and never even needed a spark plug yet and run as new still and i use them at least 4 hours a day 5 days a week and the echo didnt make it one the extra 100 bucks and get somethign that dont take up shop space..

  • mudratz

    I have worked with various automotive dealerships over the years, and know first hand that EVERY manufacturer makes mistakes. That is why products have warranties. I know that when your first experience with a new brand goes bad, it can leave a very bitter taste in your mouth. Just try to realize that your luck on this purchase was just not good, and that just maybe the product is a good one most of the time.

    I hear people talk about the straight and bent shaft and, a few have commented that the direction of the string throws stuff on their feet. Am I missing something? No matter whether the string goes CW or CCW at one point the string is rotating back towards your feet.

    Having read all the reviews that I could read, I just purchased a new Echo 210. Put gas in it, flipped on the choke, primed it a few times, and have not looked back. I has been an excellent machine so far.
    I talked to a dealer who carried both the Husky and the Echo. He suggested going with the Echo, better machine.
    I consider Stihl, but on the similar model as the 210, the Stihl had handlbars, which I did not care for. The bars had a bunch of controls on them so there was not convenient way to convert to the loop handle.
    Just my preference.

  • greencube

    For future Reference here's Stihl's page on the FS 55:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Echo SRM-210 - INFO

  • gerard_2009

    I own a 210 and am very happy with it trimming around my home in Florida. I am considering it for my property in Panama which is close to 7 acres and needs cutting often. The terrain is very broken & uneven and needs to be done by a string trimmer. I have been using a Mitsubishi and Stihl FS85 for 4 years and these are working fine so far. Can anyone suggest what I should buy for a property this big besides a John Deer tractor?

  • canguy

    You will be lean and mean after cutting 7 acres in central America with a string trimmer. Yikes. Could you use a pto drive brush hog behind a mid size tractor?

  • yungman

    I was almost going to joke about control burn!!!!.....Don't even think about it, just a joke.

    7 acres with a string trimmer!! That is trimmer abuse!!!

  • pjcapczkcsnc_yahoo_com

    I can't say anything about the echo because I have never owned one, but I do own a stihl FS55 until next week when the trash man runs. It is definately the biggest piece of junk ever made. Do not buy the stihl.

  • ladylake

    If you run a Echo or any brand that is down on power adjust the carb or get it adjusted and check the exhaust screen. Most come set to lean thanks to the EPA, they will run hot and not make good power when lean. Steve

  • Dittmerite1_aol_com

    I realize this is a very old thread, but for the benefit of those reading reviews I thought I would share my experience.

    I've owned several Echo 210's. In terms of reliability the little echo is amazing. Not once in 12 years has an echo trimmer failed me in the field. I've had issues. Even broke a plastic piece on the carb that holds the throttle cable, even so I was able to put a zip tie on it and finish the day. And if I'm honest it broke due to my piling other tools in the back of the truck. Not Echos fault.

    The 210 is not exactly a powerhouse... Hey it's an entry level semi-pro tool. Echo should advertise them as "It just works". Year after year, use it knowing it will get the job done.

    In 2008 I bought a bigger Redmax trimmer. A bcz2401. Power on the Redmax was astounding, for a while. In all the years I've owned Echo, none have broken or failed under warranty. Redmax has failed in the field 5 times. Issues ranging from clogged screen to coil failure. Not once have I clogged a screen on an Echo exhaust. While it isn't hard to fix, it just shouldnt happen. Recently the Redmax failed again. It's out of warranty, but still very low hour (I've gone back to using the Echo). After this most recent failure I almost recycled the Redmax, it simply fails too often. I decided to try having it serviced by another dealer. The "new" service center recommended a carb kit, in installing it they found a defective diaphragm. Hopefully it will run as it should, but I will never have the confidence with it that I have with an Echo.

    Year after year, Echo just works. If it doesnt, I've yet to be disappointed by the installation of an "Echo re-power kit". It comes with everything to restore the original power (spark plug, air filter, fuel filter.)

    Also in 2009 I bought a Stihl fx 110. Maybe it wasnt setup properly from the dealer, others have said it should have lots more power. By the end of the first day the Stihl was in the back of the truck, my helper was using the old (6+ seasons) Echo.

    I probably sound like a company schill, but for my money and peace of mind, Echo is the clear winner.

    Btw if you regularly cut very tall or super thick grass the 230 is much torquier than the 210. It's surprising that such a small difference in cc delivers so much power. The 260 is simply a Hoss.

  • ladylake

    I wouldn't even think of buying a Stihl anything anymore except a PRO chainsaw as I'd no idea of what level of quality or lack of it I'd be getting, with Echo I know the quality will be there. Steve

  • dontknow

    I've now owned a Stihl FS56 for 3 years and consider it a piece of garbage.

    Next one will be an Echo.

  • ewalk

    dontknow: In your previous posting within another thread you asked for info as to the overheating of your trimmer head , this is not in any way normal . The issue is not the Manufacturer but rather poor pre-delivery dealer set up or lack of owner servicing . I did not realize you unit was over 3 yrs old . All shafts require proper lubrication . If your trimmer head gets warm to the touch after extended use this perhaps may be considered normal . My previous advice was intended for a newly aquired unit . That said Fisher's crude response was still unfounded and truly offensive to your initial posting . I do tend to agree that overall Echo has better homeowner trimmers at a much more attractive price. If you spend the xtra $$$ on Stihl you do get very high quality units however .

  • dontknow

    Hi ewalk.

    Sorry but the post you are referring to was within a post someone else had with that issue. I was simply responding to the OP in that message who was the one with the issue.

    I stand by my statement on my experience with my Stihl.

  • ewalk

    dontknow: Thanks Bro for the correction . It was slowpoke sorry for the confusion. I still do think that Stihl produce good quality Pro Series Trimmers unfortuantely they are out of the price range of many homeowners . I think you will be impressed with the Echo Trimmer Products . :)

  • Banyon

    This seems like a good thread to resurrect.

    I need something to edge my one-acre Bermuda lawn with. Long driveway, sidewalk, and big cement pad. Will be doing very little trimming with it.

    What should I look for in features? Straight/curved shaft? Attachments? Other ideas?

  • psternklar

    I have the FS55. It cuts well but it is a PITA to start. If it died I would not buy it again.

  • hanajack

    Don't have manual for the 310. Would like to know what the 2 carb settings are. Any help appreciated.

  • KubotaMaster

    Wow wat an old thread


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