Professionals swear by them. Lawn fanatics sing their praises. Nearing a century of manufacturing, Stihl has become a staple among those who consider landscaping as much art as methodology.
But reliability doesn’t come cheap. With a continuously increasing market of competitors rolling out lower-priced trimmers, a homeowner has to ask themselves whether or not the benefit justifies the cost. And so, let’s get this out of the way right from the start…
Are Stihl trimmers worth the money? A Stihl trimmer is a worthwhile investment for the homeowner or professional who requires dependable yard tools and is not willing to sacrifice quality over price. With dealers qualified to repair products in practically every corner of the globe you can be assured of years of reliable service and repair.
Understand that I am not a dealer for Stihl, I’m not a stockholder or in line to inherit the company. I’m just a customer; someone who has owned Stihl products for years and really put them through the paces. So, if you want the no-salesman facts, here they come.
But first, you need to understand that despite owning Stihl products, I do not recommend them for everyone. The idea of a one-size-fits-all solution for yard trimmers or anything else for that matter is a failure to take all considerations into account.
For most homeowners, an ECHO trimmer is a better dollar-for-dollar investment. Read my complete side by side comparison:
And so, before we delve into the features and benefits of owning a Stihl trimmer, let’s clarify who needs one.
Who Are Stihl Trimmers Best Suited For?
If your paycheck depends on you showing up to the worksite with a gas-powered tool that you know is going to start or if you are a homeowner with a large yard and lots of heavy-duty trimming to perform, a Stihl trimmer is a logical choice for you. Stihl has built a trusted brand name through decades of refinement and reliability.
On the other hand, if you have a fairly small yard that requires minimal trimming, you may be better off with a price-sensitive battery-powered electric trimmer.
Stihl does make electric trimmers but I’ve yet to speak to anyone who sees a clear advantage of theirs over other electric models when it comes to price, reliability, and battery life.
That may change in the future but for now, if you have a small yard with minimal trimming needs, you are probably fine picking up an off-the-shelf trimmer at Home Depot or ordering one from Amazon.
The Problem Isn’t Stihl, It’s Us
The reason for this is less a matter of quality and more about consumer expectations. When we invest several hundred dollars into a product, we expect it to last. But with battery-powered electric yard tools being available for around $100 or less, our expectations are lowered.
We just don’t demand the same level of durability from these purchases as we do from larger investments. Whether that way of thinking is right or wrong is up for debate but the truth is, we don’t get as upset when a $100 electric yard tool breaks as we do after putting down $400 or more.
And durability is what sets Stihl apart. So, it’s not that their product line is inferior to other battery-powered yard tools. Its that our expectation of battery-powered solutions just doesn’t demand the same level of quality and endurance. As a result, consumers just aren’t as willing to invest more for a premium product at this price point.
The reliability and trust that Stihl has forged with its loyal customers over the years have been with the gas-powered models. It’s great that they are claiming their stake in the electric trimmer market but with inexpensive battery-powered models that can cheaply be discarded and replaced, it’s hard to recommend putting your money in that product line at this time.
Stihl Is Changing To Meet The Needs Of Today’s Electric Market
At the same time, it’s exciting to see Stihl diving head-first into electric technology. Their new iMOW robot mower is designed to compete in the relatively new robotic mowers industry and, if they can bring the same durability and longevity of their gas-powered products to this line, it will be an exciting time for lawn care.
I also like their three-tiered approach to meeting customer needs in their battery-powered product line.
They have the AI series which focuses on the typical small-yard consumer.
The AK series is designed for larger yards with higher power needs.
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Finally, the AP series is a pro-level product line that supports their special backpack battery system for extended run times. You can read about the three-tiered approach on their website at this link.
Time will tell as to what share of the non-gas yard tool market Stihl can claim but one thing is certain. With over 90 years of focus on innovating and improving its products, this company is not going anywhere anytime soon. As consumers move more toward electric yard power tools, the company is clearly prepared to pivot with them.
Stihl Products Demand High Resale Value
What Stihl does, what they are known for, they do very well. And that’s manufacturing reliable gas-powered yard tools and backing them up with in-store service and repair solutions for peace of mind.
When you purchase a new trimmer, the last thought on your mind is ever selling it. But if the day comes, it’s nice to know that Stihl product demand a high resell price. The reason for this is twofold.
Stihl Is Known For Reliability
First, the reliability of the brand itself. Stihl is known for manufacturing reliable, longlasting products and people know it. Professionals and consumers alike have confidence in buying a brand they trust, even secondhand.
Stihl Is Known For Service And Repair
The second reason is repair and service. Even if you bought a used product and found that it had problems, there is almost certainly a trained service dealer within driving distance. This makes it a little easier to hand over money for a used trimmer or other gas-powered yard tools.
The resell value of Stihl products can be surprising depending on your area and season. For example, I scoured Craig’s List for a Stihl Kombi 131 R targeting 12 cities across the US. On average, the asking price on these was 86% of the cost of a new model.
There were variances in age and condition, and certainly asking price is not going to be the final sales price, but it does paint a picture. Buying confidence is high Stihl products among consumers.
Try selling an off the shelf two-year-old weedeater for 86% of the original sales price and see how much interest you get.
There is a good reason why you constantly see Stihl products used by professional landscapers. They are reliable and made to last. If problems arise, you can drop them off at a dealer and have confidence that when you pick it up, it will be ready to go back to work.
If you are a homeowner with a large yard that puts a demand on powered yard tools, the Stihl product line is diverse and has something to fit your needs.
If your yard is small and the work you do is light-duty, you certainly can’t go wrong with the Stihl battery-powered products but there are less expensive options that you can consider.
You certainly aren’t going to go wrong with a Stihl battery-powered tool. It’s just that you may not get the price-for-performance payoff that their gas-powered product line offers.
If you are considering going electric with your yard tool arsenal, be sure to read Are Electric Lawn Mowers Worth It? Know These 4 Use Cases.