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Clearing Saw vs. Brush Cutter | 3 Incredible Differences?

Clearing saws and brush cutters are powerful tools to cut through thick vegetation. Clearing saws are typically used for commercial landscaping and forestry applications, while brush cutters are more commonly used for home and garden use. It is better to know your tool to get the most out of it.

But what if you’re a novice and need to learn the difference between both devices?

Fear not as I am here to help you find the perfect tool according to your needs with this simplified tools guide. Here, you will learn about both devices, attributes, cost, efficiency, and uses.

Clearing Saw Vs. Brush Cutter| A Sneak Peak

FeatureClearing SawBrush Cutter
Cutting capacityThick brush and small treesCuts grass, weeds, and saplings
ManeuverabilityLess maneuverableMore maneuverable
SafetyMore dangerousLess dangerous
WeightHeavyComparatively light
PowerGas-powered(2 or 4 Stroke)Gas or Battery powered
Handle Type  Harness and dual handlesIn-Line handle
CostMore expensiveLess expensive

Clearing Saw vs. Brush Cutter | What’s The Difference

Overview of the Brush Cutter

Clearing saw vs. Brush cutter

When considering an overview of a clearing saw vs. a brush cutter, a clearing saw is a handheld tool for cutting thick vegetation, brush, and small trees. It is a heavy-duty tool powered by a two or 4-stroke engine. The brush cutter’s weight varies from 10-20 pounds, generally depending on engine size and the material they are made from. With a wide range of cutting blades, these heavy brush cutters can perform magics to handle your gardening and forestry projects.

How Brush Cutter Works?

Power Source:
Brush cutters are typically powered in two primary ways:

Gasoline Engine: These are powerful and can handle larger tasks, but they produce emissions and can be noisier.
Electric Motor: Quieter and more environmentally friendly, electric brush cutters can either be corded (plugged into a power outlet) or cordless (using rechargeable batteries). While convenient, they might not be as powerful as their gasoline counterparts.

b. Cutting Mechanism:
Depending on the job at hand, brush cutters can be equipped with different cutting attachments.

Nylon String: Suitable for lighter tasks like cutting grass and soft weeds. The string rotates at high speed and slices through vegetation.
Metal Blades: These can vary in shape and size. They are designed for tougher tasks, cutting through thick weeds, brush, and saplings. The types can range from simple flat blades to more complex toothed or chisel-edged blades for very dense growth.

How to use Brush Cutter?

  • Starting the Tool: Gasoline-powered models usually involve a pull-start mechanism. Once the engine is primed and the choke is set, a cord is pulled to ignite the engine. Electric models generally start with a button or switch.
  • Safety: Before operating, ensure you’re wearing protective gear, such as safety goggles, gloves, and sturdy footwear. Keep the area clear of bystanders.
  • Handling: Grip the brush cutter’s handles firmly, using both hands. The cutting should be done using a steady sweeping motion, ensuring the blade or string doesn’t dig into the ground.
  • Cutting Technique: Most brush cutters are effective when used in a swiping or swinging motion, moving from side to side. This allows for even cutting and directs cut vegetation away from the user.

Regular maintenance, like checking the blade or string for wear, cleaning after use, and for gasoline models, and engine checkups, will ensure that the brush cutter operates effectively for a long time.


Brush cutter blades are common of 4 types, including: 

  • Knife: Comparing Clearing saw vs. brush cutter blades, these blades are common in clearing saws and brush cutters for thinning and clearing. These blades are made from thin steel sheets and come in various shapes. The most common shape is a star, but variation ranges from rectangular to circular. They are cheap and usually good at cutting grass and watery weeds. The bad thing about these blades is that they lose efficiency quickly.
  • Chisel: These blades come in circular shapes and efficiently cut bamboo shrubs and weeds. Generally, this is an expensive type of blade that is smart enough to cut any branches larger than 50 to 60mm in diameter.
  • Smasher: These blades have no sharp edges, and their working mechanism is simple. They rely on the thickness and weight of the pivoting blade rather than sharpness to smash through the vegetation. Using these blades requires no hassle of sharpening or maintaining an edge. These are expensive due to their complex design and can be used to mulch soft grass and watery weeds.
  • Mulching: As the name suggests, these blades are good at mulching weed leaves, small branches, and twigs to convert them into plant nutrients.
Clearing saw vs. Brush cutter

When to use a Brush Cutter?

Overgrown Landscapes
When a garden, yard, or field has been neglected for a while and has dense growth of grass, weeds, and shrubs, a brush cutter is the tool to reach for. Its power and design make it apt for these scenarios.

Land Preparation
Before initiating projects like construction, farming, or gardening on a new plot, it’s crucial to clear out any undesired vegetation. Brush cutters can effectively remove these obstructions, preparing the land for its next purpose.

Navigational Paths
To carve out walking, hiking, or vehicular paths in areas with dense vegetation, brush cutters can efficiently clear the way, ensuring safe and smooth access.

Tough Terrains
In places with rocky or uneven grounds where larger machinery like lawnmowers can’t operate, brush cutters are the ideal choice. Their design allows them to work efficiently, even in challenging terrains.

Periodic Maintenance
Areas with rapid vegetation growth benefit from the periodic application of a brush cutter. Regularly trimming and maintaining these regions prevents them from becoming impenetrable thickets and keeps the landscape clean and neat.


  • Powerful Cutting: Brush cutters are designed to tackle thick and robust vegetation that standard trimmers can’t handle, ensuring effective clearing of tough landscapes.
  • Versatility: The ability to switch between different blades and nylon strings allows users to tackle a range of tasks with a single tool, from light trimming to clearing dense brush.
  • Durable Design: Built to handle tough conditions, brush cutters typically come with a robust construction that ensures longevity and withstands the rigors of demanding jobs.
  • Reaches Difficult Areas: With their design and handling ease, brush cutters can access areas that might be challenging for larger machinery, such as under bushes or tight spaces.
  • Effective Land Management: Beyond just clearing, brush cutters can help in managing land, preventing overgrowth, and reducing pest habitats.


  • Weight: Due to their robust construction, brush cutters can be heavy, which might lead to user fatigue during extended operations.
  • Operational Risks: If not used correctly, brush cutters can pose injury risks. Proper safety gear and handling techniques are essential.
  • Maintenance Needs: Regular upkeep is required, including blade sharpening, engine maintenance (for gasoline models), and general cleaning.
  • Environmental Concerns: Gasoline-powered brush cutters emit pollutants and can be noisy. Electric models alleviate this but might not be as powerful.
  • Cost: High-quality brush cutters come at a premium price, especially when considering the cost of additional blades or maintenance tools.

Overview of the Clearing Saw

Clearing saw vs. Brush cutter | 3 incredible differences?

What is a Clearing Saw?

A clearing saw, also known as a brush cutter, is a powerful gardening tool designed to cut through dense vegetation, including tall grass, thick weeds, shrubs, and even small trees. It is heavier and more robust than regular string trimmers or grass cutters. The primary purpose of a clearing saw is to assist users in managing overgrown landscapes, clearing pathways, or preparing land for other purposes.

How Does It Work?

Power Source
Clearing saws can be powered by gasoline engines or electric motors. Gasoline-powered models tend to be more powerful and are better suited for heavy-duty tasks, while electric models are quieter and more environmentally friendly but might be less potent.

Cutting Mechanism
The clearing saw uses a blade or a nylon string (often called a “trimmer line”) to cut through vegetation. Different types of blades can be attached based on the job. For instance:

Nylon String: Best for cutting grass and soft weeds.
Triangular or Circular Blades: Suitable for thicker weeds and shrubs.
Chisel or Toothed Blades: Designed to handle dense vegetation and saplings.

How to use a Clearing Saw?

Start the Engine/Motor: For gasoline-powered models, this typically involves priming the engine, setting the choke, and pulling a start cord. Electric models usually start with a simple push of a button.
Safety First: Always wear safety gear, including goggles, gloves, and protective clothing. Ensure the surrounding area is clear of people and pets.
Grip Correctly: Hold the clearing saw’s handle with both hands. One hand should grip near the engine/motor, and the other should grip the front handle.
Cutting Technique: When cutting, swing the tool from side to side in a “U” shape. This technique ensures that the debris is thrown away from the operator. It’s essential always to cut from the left to the right (for right-handed operators).
Depth Control: For best results, ensure the blade or string is just skimming the ground, not digging into the soil.

When to use a Clearing Saw?

Overgrown Areas
Clearing saws shine in situations where your land has been overrun by nature. Whether it’s a backyard that has turned into a mini-jungle or an old field taken over by wild grasses and weeds, the clearing saw makes quick work of these challenges. Over time, neglecting these areas can lead to an environment where pests thrive. By clearing such areas, you not only regain your land but also reduce potential homes for unwanted critters.

Land Preparation
Before laying the foundation for a building or sowing seeds in a new garden, it’s vital to have clean and clear land. Unwanted shrubs, weeds, and grass can hamper construction activities and affect the growth of newly planted crops or plants. A clearing saw ensures that roots and tough vegetation are removed, providing a clean slate. This process helps in better construction and planting, ensuring longevity and better yield, respectively.

Trail Creation
Nature enthusiasts, trekking clubs, or park authorities often require paths in forested or bushy regions. A clearing saw assists in carving out trails that are safe and easy to navigate. By removing thickets, overgrown shrubs, and potential obstacles, these trails not only become accessible but also safer, reducing the chances of accidents caused by tripping over hidden obstructions.

Thick Vegetation
Certain places have vegetation that’s just too tough for regular gardening tools. Think of regions where woody shrubs, thick-stemmed plants, or even young trees dominate. A lawn mower would barely scratch the surface, and a trimmer might get damaged. In these situations, a clearing saw, with its powerful mechanism and sturdy blades, can cut through the thick growth, making the task more manageable and less time-consuming.

Regular Maintenance
Some areas, especially those with fertile soil and adequate water supply, witness rapid vegetation growth. Waiting too long can turn a manageable situation into a daunting task. Regular maintenance with a clearing saw prevents this. By periodically cutting down excessive growth, you maintain a neat appearance, ensure that the vegetation remains healthy, and prevent potential problems that come with dense overgrowth, like pest infestations or diseases.


  • Efficiency: Clearing saws can quickly handle overgrown areas, reducing the time and effort compared to manual methods.
  • Versatility: With various blades and attachments, clearing saws can tackle everything from grass to small trees.
  • Power: Especially gasoline-powered models, clearing saws offer significant cutting power, making them essential for dense vegetation.
  • Durability: Constructed for rugged use, these tools are built to last and can withstand challenging terrains and conditions.
  • Ergonomics: Many models are designed with user comfort in mind, including features like anti-vibration systems and adjustable handles.


  • Weight: Clearing saws are typically heavier than regular trimmers, which might lead to fatigue during prolonged use.
  • Maintenance: Especially for gasoline models, periodic maintenance is necessary, such as oil changes, blade sharpening, and engine tuning.
  • Cost: High-quality clearing saws can be expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • Safety Risks: If not used properly, clearing saws can be hazardous, leading to potential injuries.
  • Environmental Impact: Gasoline-powered clearing saws can be noisier and emit pollutants compared to their electric counterparts.

The Cost Factor: Clearing saw vs. Brushcutter

Several factors can impact the price when purchasing a clearing saw vs. a brush cutter. The brand, model, features, and power of the equipment can all play a role in determining the final cost. As a savvy shopper, it’s important to consider these factors and weigh them against your needs and budget before purchasing. However, in general, brush cutters are less expensive than clearing saws.

ToolAverage Cost
Brush Cutter$100 – $500
Clearing saw$250 – $1,000

As you can see for clearing saws vs. brush cutters, brush cutters are typically less than half the price of clearing saws. This is because brush cutters are less powerful and have fewer features than clearing saws.

Safety Margin

Brushcutters and clearing saws can cause serious injuries if used improperly. However, clearing saws are generally more hazardous than brush cutters because they are more powerful and have longer blades.

Also Read: 8 BEST Heavy Duty Brush Cutter of 2023 | Tested Reviews


If you’re looking for a tool for yard cleanup, small shrubbery, small trees, or saplings, brush cutters are your go-to tool. These are powerful enough to tackle these kinds of jobs without any fatigue. We recommend getting a clearing saw for people handling large landscapes, forestry tasks, or dealing with thick branches.

Another difference between clearing saws vs. brush cutters is that clearing saws typically have a steel blade, while brush cutters can have a plastic edge, brush knives, and flails.

The size of the area, type of vegetation, budget, and expertise level are important factors to consider when choosing between a clearing saw and a brush cutter.


Is a Clearing Saw Better Than a Chainsaw?

A clearing saw is the best choice when it comes to heavy-duty landscaping tasks involving dense vegetation and shrubs. It provides greater control and precision compared to other tools. On the other hand, a chainsaw is intended primarily for cutting down trees and branches, making it ideal for forestry and larger woodcutting tasks. The decision should be based on the particular job that needs to be accomplished.

What Is The Difference Between Brush Cutter Blades?

The difference between the brush cutter teeth depends on the number of teeth, the teeth’ shape, and the blade’s material. Typically, it has eight or fewer teeth for cutting grass and weeds, 9 to 40 teeth for thick weeds, brush, and shrubs, and more than 40 teeth for brush, small trees, and saplings.

Brush cutter blades are typically made of steel, aluminum, or tungsten carbide. These blades may vary from rectangular to round edges, with sometimes a star shape.

What Are The Different Types of Brush Cutters?

There are three basic categories of brush cutters:
1. Handheld brush cutters are meant for small jobs.
2. Walk-behind brush cutters are ideal for larger jobs like clearing brush from a property or cutting overgrown weeds.
3. Tow-behind brush cutters are the largest and most powerful type. These are typically used for commercial applications, such as clearing brush from large areas or cutting down small trees.

Ian richardson

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