HHT35STLA Honda 4 Stroke Trimmer Review
Honda's 4 stroke string trimmer has solid power and performance, but it struggles with weight and fuel efficiency. Plus, at $379, you're definitely paying top-dollar.
The Honda 4 stroke trimmer wound up finishing in 6th place in our recent Gas-Powered String Trimmer Shootout. Honda sent the HHT35TLA, one of three models that the brand has aimed at the professional landscaper. While we’ve had a deep appreciation for what Honda has done in the marketplace with engines over the years, we felt a little less familiar how their work translated to the field of outdoor power equipment. We looked forward to putting it up against some of the other top models in the field.
Let’s start with sound levels. The noise a tool generates might not jump out as an obvious point of ergonomic design, strictly speaking. But, since a quieter tool makes for a more comfortable experience, we think it merits consideration. And, as it happens, the Honda 4 stroke trimmer excelled in this category, as it was the quietest model we tested. We reckon it has a lot to do with the engine, which won’t have quite the same sort of shrill rattle as a 2 stroke engine would. At the ear, the HHT35STLA registered 96 dB(A), and from 50 feet away, we measured 74 dB(A).
Next, we looked at each trimmer’s weight. Sadly, the HHT35STLA weighed more than any of the others, and by a considerable margin. This beefy trimmer, with fuel, weighed in at 16 lbs 1 oz. It does come with a shoulder strap, which will offset some of that weight to your shoulder.
Because everyone is shaped differently, it’s hard to come up with an objective test for measuring how a tool feels in our hands. Even still, we can figure out rankings based on a general consensus, and we felt the HHT35STLA felt pretty decent. Despite the weight, this trimmer feels well-balanced and pretty comfortable to hold onto. The handles have some overmolding, and this model includes Honda’s flex shaft, which all offer some shock absorption.
When considering pro-model trimmers, we have a list of things we like to look for. After all, if we plan on using the tool day-in, day-out, we need it to work as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the features we look for that we did find on the Honda 4 stroke trimmer:
- Serviceable head
- 2-stage air filter
- Auto choke
- Straight shaft
- Primer bulb
- Shoulder harness
But, having said all that, we noticed that this model missed a few tricks that we really would’ve liked to see:
- A better line refill system. The Honda 4 stroke trimmer has a bump feed head, which is fine, but when it comes time to refill the line, you pretty much have to disassemble the whole head.
- An auto-on feature.
- A Pro guard. We look for a guard that protects our shins from getting ravaged by lawn debris, while still providing visibility that allows us to turn it on the side and do some edging. The guard here felt somewhat intrusive on the second point.
So, the HTT35STLA includes a 22 fl oz fuel tank. For a point of comparison, of the trimmers we tested, only the Stihl had a larger tank. Considering both these cases, it seems like a trend emerges: when your trimmer isn’t incredibly fuel efficient, throw a bigger fuel tank on it. This actually makes a lot of sense, since most manufacturers realize that no one wants to stop what they’re doing to refuel multiple times in the day.
Anyway, the point I’m making here is that the Honda 4 stroke trimmer has some pretty terrible fuel efficiency. With the standard 8 ounces of fuel we tested every model with, the HTT35STLA ran for 17 minutes and 28 seconds. This is the worst runtime we saw. However, since the tank has some serious capacity, a full tank will run for 48 minutes and 2 seconds, which is, at least, mediocre. Unfortunately, hauling around all that extra fuel adds more weight to an already heavy piece of equipment. Here’s how everything broke down between our models:
We expected the Honda’s performance to make up for some of its apparent shortcomings. To a large extent, it did. Like most Honda motors, the HTT35STLA started up quickly and easily, and probably more so than any other model. It has the largest engine of any of the models we tested. With its 1.235 gearing, it has the power and capability of converting to a brushcutter.
But how does that all translate to your standard, run-of-the-mill string trimming application? We ran our trimmers through 5′ x 5′ patches of typical grass, as well as patches of thick, overgrown Bahia. We wanted to see how it reacted to both standard applications, as well as jobs that require a bit more torque.
The Honda 4 stroke trimmer handled itself pretty well, but ultimately, it averaged a 5th place finish. In the thinner, more typical grass, it averaged a clearing time of 8.8 seconds. In the Bahia, it averaged a clear time of 12.8 seconds. Neither of these times is slow at all, but we did find faster, more powerful models.
Value and Pricing
Things get a little sticky here. For one thing, the HTT35STLA retails for $379, which makes it the most expensive model we tested. And, honestly, the warranty situation leaves a little something to be desired. It comes with a 1-year commercial warranty or a 2-year residential warranty.
That said, the build quality is excellent, it has a decent feature set, and with its brushcutting capability, it’s versatile. Still, these things don’t necessarily offset the price and warranty enough to justify giving the Honda 4 stroke trimmer a great value rating. With this model, we feel like you’re going to be paying a lot for what it ultimately provides.
The Bottom Line
Honda’s HHT35STLA finished our comparative shootout in a 6th place position. While its power and performance were good, they weren’t good enough to offset the weaker points of this trimmer. If you generally like the kind of products that Honda puts out, with their solid build quality and quiet, smooth-running motors, this trimmer probably won’t disappoint. But, if you want the most bang for your buck, we found a few better options.
Honda 4 Stroke Trimmer Specs
- Model Number: HHT35STLA
- Engine: GX35
- Displacement: 35.8cc
- Fuel: Unleaded Gas (86 Octane or Higher)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 22 fl. oz.
- Carburetor: Diaphragm Type w/ Fuel Pump
- Idle Speed: 3100 +/-200 rpm
- Max RPM (No Load): 10,000 rpm (Without Cutting Head)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 73.8″ x 12.8″ x 10.2″
- Dry Weight: 15.5 lbs
- Throttle Control: Two-Motion Trigger
- Drive Shaft: Flexible Steel Cable
- Gear Ratio: 1.235
- Cutting Width: 17″
- Residential Warranty: 2-Year
- Commercial Warranty: 1-Year
- MSRP: $379
For more information about the Honda 4 Stroke trimmer, visit the product page by clicking here.