Stihl FS 55 Brush Cutter Review: The FS 55 C, FS 55 R, And FS 55 RC Trimmer

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We usually stick to Stihl chainsaw reviews at Fire and Saw, but I’ve been using the Stihl FS 55 C Brushcutter and couldn’t resist putting a short post together.

I’ve been using it to clear invasive scotch broom, thick reeds, thistles, and other tall grasses, and I love it.

It efficiently rips through the brush, scrub, and grass, and it’s comfortable and easy to use – not to mention fun.

I also bought the Stihl FS 45 Line Trimmer for some light work recently, and I have regrets, but I’ll save that for another post!

Stihl FS 55 Weed Eater

Stihl FS 55 Scrubcutter

  • Entry level straight shaft brushcutter
  • Loop OR bike handle
  • 27.2 cc, 1 hp, 15.9 lbs
View On Acme ToolsView On Ace Hardware

Husqvarna Pro Brushcutter

  • Forestry clearing saw
  • Adjustable bike style handle
  • 34.6 cc, 1.9 hp, 15.4 lbs
View On AmazonView On Tractor Supply

ECHO Gas Brushcutter

  • Affordable for clearing thick grass/scrub
  • Shoulder harness and bike handle
  • 21.2 cc, 1.29 hp, 13.2 lbs
View On Home DepotView On Northern Tool

The Stihl FS 55 is one of Stihl’s more powerful brush cutters and it has a lot of cuts for a so-called ‘entry-level brushcutter.’

Technically, the FS 55 (along with the FS 55 R, RC-E, C-E) is a brush cutter for trimming grass rather than some of the other series.

Other series of Stihl brushcutters include:

  • Brush cutter for mowing around the home – the FS 56 to the FS 150
  • Brush cutters for landscape maintenance – the FS 91 to the FS 450
  • Clearing brush cutters for forestry and heavy-duty work – the FS 311 to the 560
  • Battery brush cutters – the FSA 45 to the FSA 135
  • Corded electric brush cutters – the FSE 31 to the FSE 81

There are also backpack brush cutters and a wide range of different cutting heads for all of the different models.

All that to say, while the FS 55 is a entry level model for lighter work, it’s really great and I can only imagine how awesome the most powerful Stihl brush cutters must be.

stihl fs 55 r brush cutter review
Tim clearing the thick reeds with the FS 55

Tim was clearing these large patches of what I call reeds, but I don’t actually know what they are.

They’re pretty thick grasses that come up in the bottom of our gully.

He was making it easier to drive through them to start cutting firewood with his MS440 Magnum.

The head or blade on the brushcutter is the Stihl GrassCut grass cutting blade (4 blades).

fs 55 r cutting head
The grass cutting blade

And again, while this head is only stated as being for use on weeds and grasses, it’s highly effective on a range of tougher brush.

For example, here is one of our hillsides covered in broom that grew up very quickly when the sheep were out.

stihl fs 55 r heads and blades
Scotch broom and gorse

The growth doesn’t look so bad in this photo, but it was actually more than 5 or 6 feet high in parts.

The stems of the largest broom were at least half an inch, and the FS 55 with the grass cutting blade took care of it very well.

It all came down quickly and easily.

stihl brush cutter review 2022
Harness also included but not pictured

I had a number of areas covered in broom and thistles, not just the slope pictured above.

I ended up using the brush cutter for a couple of days for 4 or 5 hours a day, and it was really easy to use.

It comes with a harness and has bike-style handlebars which makes extended use like this much nicer.

I wouldn’t be able to use my FS 45 line trimmer with the loop handle for longer than a couple of hours at a time because it does become heavy.

Buying a brush cutter with a harness is a must in my opinion.

Stihl FS 55 Specs

best stihl brush cutter for broom
The C stands for Comfort

Here’s how Stihl describes the FS 55.

The handy lightweight STIHL brushcutters add the finishing touches in garden care or landscape maintenance.

They are the ideal complement to motor mowers and are used wherever the work of the mower needs finishing. Small areas of grass can also be mowed quickly with these machines.

There are a couple of different designations on this brushcutter.

The C on Stihl brush cutters is the same as the C on Stihl chainsaws – it stands for Comfort and offers additional features for better ease of use.

You can buy the 55 as the basic base model, comfort model (C), or with ErgoStart (E) for jerk-free starting.

Here’s a comparison of the different FS 55 model specs.

fs 55 r specs
Click to zoom and expand

That table doesn’t show the FS 55 C, but specs are the same as the  base 55.

The R designation refers to a loop handle over the bike-style handles.

All the FS 55 versions are:

  • 27.2 cc
  • o.75 kW power output
  • 1 hp

They vary a bit in weight depending on the type of handle.

Stihl FS 55 Brush Cutter Review

I already shared my review in the intro – I love it.

The FS 55 is a great lightweight but powerful brush cutter for cutting long thick grass and even thicker brush than its stated use.

It’s reliable, easy to get the hang of, and comfortable to use.

stihl fs55r manual

I’ll definitely be getting one of these myself, or perhaps one of the slightly higher-powered models, in the very near future.

The broom hasn’t grown back up, but in other areas on the property, I have a lot of wild blackcurrant bushes, blackberry bushes, and plenty more of those thick reedy grasses.

I bought the FS 45 for light work around the gardens, but I should have just bit the bullet and spent the money on the better model. 

Oh well!

Pros: 

  • Comfortable to use
  • Easy to start and use
  • Effective for cutting grasses and light brush
  • Goes well for hours

Cons:

  • Can’t think of anything other than that the accessories are pretty pricey

Stihl FS 55 R

stihl fs 55 r price
Kynan is in the background working with his Husky 357 XP

While the Stihl FS 55 R appears to be a better seller than the non-R model, I personally much prefer the bike style bars.

Just to remind you, the R refers to the loop style handle.

Those are alright for short sharp bursts with a brush cutter or line trimmer, but when you’re using them for hours I think the style pictured here is best.

Stihl FS 55 Price

You can check the current price of the Stihl FS 55 or FS 55 R on Acme Tools here.

Also, compare prices with the range of Stihl trimmers, weed eaters, and brush cutters on Ace Hardware here.

At the time of writing, the FS 55 is going for around US$220, and the models with higher designations for a bit more than that.

In my opinion, the price is well worth it for a quality brush cutter that performs well.

Lastly, as an alternative to Stihl, the batteries used on the EGO chainsaw range can also be used on their line trimmer and cutters.

Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments below.

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