I’ve been a fan of propane-powered internal combustion engines ever since I saw how clean the inside of an old propane International Harvester tractor’s engine was when a friend had one apart in his shop. So imagine my delight when I learned that one of my least favorite (due to noise and exhaust) tools to use, the 2-cycle string trimmer, was finally available with a quiet propane-fueled 4-stroke engine on it. Imagine also my surprise when I learned that this new machine was built by a company I had never heard of before – LEHR Incorporated.
LEHR is the brainchild of Captain Bernardo J. Herzer who spent many a long night converting gasoline engines to run on propane, while cruising the North Sea aboard the vessel Sea Surveyor. Captain Herzer is committed to the application of environmentally friendly technology and finding green energy solutions for retail and commercial products. LEHR products are affordable but definitely not throw away junk.
Over the past couple of months I have been able to spend some quality time with both the curved- and straight-shaft versions of the LEHR Eco Trimmer – thanks to LEHR the string trimmer is no longer my least favorite tool to operate. The LEHR Eco Trimmer is quieter than the 2-cycle versions of the string trimmer that I have experience with and it vibrates less, so my hands don’t buzz for an hour after trimming the road ditch. But the most noticeable and delightful aspect to the LEHR Eco Trimmer is that it emits no smoke and since propane readily combusts to carbon dioxide and water, there isn’t any hydrocarbon smell spewing at you either. And come to think of it, fueling the LEHR is as easy as strapping in a propane canister and attaching the fuel line. Only a very small amount of propane escaped during the process that I never even smelled it – try that while mixing and pouring 2-cycle engine fuel.
Make no mistake the LEHR Eco Trimmer is a heavy duty unit that’s capable of motoring its way through heavy grass and the 40 or 50 species of coarse-stemmed weeds that grow along the corral fence at my farm. The trimming will be easier for me next time because with the LEHR Eco Trimmer I am much more likely to actually stay on top of the job rather than avoiding it, which I did with the 2-cycle trimmer that’s hanging in my barn. I prefer the LEHR Eco Trimmer because of the lower impact it makes on my immediate environment while operating it. The machine is quiet and not smelly. But as it turns out, the LEHR Eco Trimmer is easier on the broader environment too. And I don’t care what you think about climate change, where’s the harm in helping keep hydrocarbon vapors and other nasty stuff out of the air and soil?
If you are tired of smelling like an oily smoke bomb and tired of having your hands vibrate and tired of mixing gas, then you most definitely want to check out the LEHR Eco Trimmer. You can find them online and at some lawn and garden centers. You can also get a Craftsman-Branded LEHR Eco Trimmer at your local Sears outlet. Go for it and we’ll all get to breathe a little easier.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.