Tanaka String Trimmer Review – TCG27EBSP
If the TCG27EBSP ran about $130 less than it does, a lot of its shortcomings could be forgiven. But, priced as it is, we expect a lot more from what Tanaka is marketing as a professional grade trimmer.
Tanaka might not be one of the biggest brands in the OPE world at the moment, but as a brand within the Hitachi Power Tool Group, they’ve got a decent pedigree working for them. Relatively new to the States, the brand aims to make innovative tools for landscapers, property managers, and utility Pros. Right now, they specialize in 2-stroke, commercial-grade outdoor power equipment. Knowing that, we got the TCG27EBSP Tanaka string trimmer in for our Best Gas-Powered String Trimmer Shootout at the end of this past June. We wanted to see how it stacked up against some of the more established names in the OPE world, and this is how things shook out.
How comfortable is the TCG27EBSP? Let’s start with the first thing you’ll generally notice, the weight of the tool. We weighed each trimmer we tested with 8 oz of fuel in the tank to get a true representation of what it felt like to carry around. The Tanaka string trimmer weighed in at 12 lbs, 14 oz. This fell right in the middle of the spectrum. It wasn’t unbearably heavy, but it probably wouldn’t qualify as lightweight by any stretch of the imagination.
Noise also factors into our string trimmer’s ergonomics score. After all, the Pro will likely run their trimmer for a few hours a day, and the less penetrating a machine’s noise level is, the better. Well, good news on this front, because the Tanaka string trimmer finished in 2nd place for noise output. At the ear, we measured the TCG27EBSP at 97 dB(A), and at 74 dB(A) from 50 ft away. You’ll still want some hearing protection though.
So, how did the Tanaka string trimmer feel in our hands? It felt…ok. It has the standard rubber overmolding over the throttle controls and D-ring. It has an antivibration system which helps keep it from rattling around too badly. It didn’t feel particularly well-balanced, although cutting with it didn’t feel too awful either. At the end of the day, we found a few trimmers we liked using less than this one, and quite a few models that felt better in our hands.
We like comprehensive feature sets. For residential models, you can get away with a sub-par feature set as the tool isn’t usually used more than once a week. But, for models aimed at commercial use, the features that make the job easier become indispensable. We like to see serviceable head units, easy line-fill systems, 3-stage air filters, auto chokes, auto-on features, etc.
- Serviceable Head: You can service the cutting head, but, because of the design, doing so will present a challenge.
- Air Filter: The TCG27EBSP does include an air filter, but only in a loose sense of the term. Where most of the models we tested had 3-stage air filters, Tanaka included one tiny piece of foam.
- Straight Shaft: We don’t have any real gripes about the shaft. It’s a single piece, which we like for its increased durability.
What’s Missing Altogether?
- Easy Line Fill System: You’ll basically have to disassemble the head to load any more string into it. In a world where manufacturers have found ways to make this process quick, simple, and effective, we can’t understand why Tanaka can’t at least include a ratcheting feed system here.
- Auto-On Feature: To be fair, most of the models we tested missed out on this feature.
- Pro Guard: We like guards that not only keep us from getting sprayed with buckets of lawn gore, but which also provide some degree of visibility of what we’re cutting.
All of this is to say that we found ourselves unimpressed with Tanaka’s feature set here. Although the brand has aimed this model at the Pro, the lack of pro-level features indicates they haven’t hit the standard feature set that most professional landscapers will look for.
- 26.9 cc Commercial Grade PureFire two-stroke engine
- S-Start reliable starting system
- Tank guard
- Splined solid steel drive shaft
- Anti-vibration system
- Standard two-line semi-automatic trimmer head, .095″ trimmer line
- Covered by Tanaka’s two-year commercial use warranty, seven-year consumer use warranty and one-year rental use warranty
Things pick up for the Tanaka string trimmer in the efficiency category. On 8 oz of fuel, the Tanaka string trimmer runs for just under 22 minutes. In straight efficiency, it finished 4th out of all the models we looked at.
It also comes with a 16.23 oz fuel tank, which is a little on the small side. However, because the efficiency is so solid with the TCG27EBSP, it still manages to run for 44:08 on a full tank. This runtime is right around the lower end of what we look for from a Pro-model trimmer’s runtime.
Ultimately, performance is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. If the trimmer can do its job well, we can forgive mediocre feature sets and ergonomics. Conversely, a trimmer could wow you with its amenities, but if it can’t deliver enough power, we’ll find that trimmer mostly useless.
So, how does all this shake out for the Tanaka? 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.
In the patch of more typical grass, the Tanaka string trimmer averaged a 9.7 second cut time. We only found two models that could accomplish this task more slowly. The same thing goes for the thicker stuff, except, in this case, the Tanaka was the second slowest with an average cut time of 14.8 seconds.
Tanka has priced the TCG27EBSP at $345. Of all the models we tested, this one came in as the 3rd most expensive. Most of the prices we see are in the same ballpark, but most offer more in terms of features and performance, so this price winds up feeling really high. It does, however, have the best warranty we’ve found. The Tanaka string trimmer comes with a 2-year commercial warranty or a 7-year consumer warranty.
The Bottom Line
After the dust of our shootout settled, the Tanaka string trimmer finished in an overall 9th place, right in front of the Troy-Bilt model, and right behind the two Ryobi models. This sounds unflattering, and for what is marketed and priced as a professional-grade model, it really is unflattering. But, well, here we are. It’s not that the TCG27EBSP won’t get the job done, but it will take a little longer to get there, and from a feature set and ergonomic standpoint, it won’t be as convenient as just about every other model. Finally, for the money you’d spend here, you could get a much better performer for less money. The warranty, however, is pretty fantastic, so it’s got that going for it.
Tanaka String Trimmer Specs
- Model Number: TCG27EBSP
- Engine Displacement: 26.9 cc
- Engine Type: S-Start
- Max Power: 1.2 HP
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.6 fl. oz.
- Carburetor: Walbro
- Piston Ring: 2 pc
- Handle: Loop
- Gear Case BB: 4 pc
- Nylon Head: Tap & Go (5″)
- Weight: 11.2 lbs
- Consumer Warranty: 7-Year
- Commercial Warranty: 2-Year
- Rental Warranty: 1-Year
- MSRP: $345