FS 56 RC-E

FS 56 RC-E
A straight-shaft grass trimmer with a fuel-efficient engine and STIHL Easy2Start™.

Product Description

More power, less emissions. The FS 56 RC-E trimmer features a high-performance, fuel-efficient engine that runs cleaner and smoother and provides about 5% more power than the FS 55 R. When it’s not squeezing every last ounce of performance from its upright fuel tank, this straight-shaft grass trimmer keeps the weeds at bay, thanks to its AutoCut® cutting head. This STIHL trimmer also features our Easy2Start™ technology, making starting nearly effortless. And with its simple, reliable and convenient starting procedure with a momentary stop switch which automatically returns to the start position, this trimmer is always at the ready to get to work. For comfort, performance and maneuverability, this trimmer hits the sweet spot.

Model Features

  • Reduced-Emission Engine Technology - Caring for Nature
    The STIHL Inc. “Caring for Nature” seal identifies its powered products that are more environmentally conscious, producing zero or low exhaust emissions. STIHL Inc. defines “low exhaust emissions” as being cleaner than EPA and/or CARB exhaust emission standards.

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  • Built in the USA
    Indicates products that are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.

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  • Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart
    Need help selecting a cutting head or blade for your STIHL trimmer or brushcutter?

    Click here to view the Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart (PDF Format).
  • STIHL Easy2Start™
    The STIHL Easy2Start™ system makes starting STIHL outdoor power tools almost effortless, eliminating the need for a strong pull of the starting cord. This advanced starting system is designed to make starting STIHL products easier. The specific system may vary by model, but in each case, a quick pull overcomes the engine’s compression to minimize the strength and effort required to start. Available on selected products.

    See it in action!
  • Shoulder Strap / Carrying System
    Using a shoulder strap or carrying system helps distribute the weight of the equipment for increased operator comfort and improved maneuverability.
  • Adjustable front handle
    The front handle is easily adjustable (360-degree rotation) for comfort.
  • Multi-Function Control Handle
    Having easy access to all of the controls on one comfortable handle makes it easy to complete tasks so the operator’s hand never has to leave the handle.
  • Purge Pump Primer
    By pressing the bulb, this small fuel pump delivers fuel to the carburetor, reducing the number of starting pulls needed after an extended break between uses.
  • Upright Translucent Fuel Tank
    Allows operator to easily check fuel level before starting work. Upright position makes it easier to refill.
  • Protected Spark Arrestor Muffler
    Has large baffles which reduce noise level and contains a screen designed to reduce the emission of sparks.
  • Protected Spark Plug
    Protected yet easy to change.
  • Heavy-Duty Steel-On-Steel Clutch
    Centrifugal clutch is designed to reduce slippage.
  • Simplified Starting Procedure
    To get started, simply pump the fuel primer, set the choke and pull the starter cord. The built-in stop switch allows the user to turn off the engine with a simple press of the button. When the engine is off, the throttle lock automatically returns to the “start” setting. Your power tool will be ready to be started when you’re ready to get back to work.

    See it in action!
  • Protected or Enclosed Control Cables
    Eliminate dangling and loose wires.
  • Air Filter Cover
    Easily removed for fast and easy filter cleaning or replacement.
  • Throttle Trigger Interlock
    Must be depressed before the trigger can be activated.
  • Protected Choke Lever/Knob
    Helps prevent damage.
  • High Tech Polymer Housing
    Housings are lightweight, withstand greater impact and are corrosion-resistant.
  • Fully Lined Drive Shaft
    Provides smooth operation and less vibration.


27.2 cc (1.66 cu. in.)
0.8 kW (1.07 bhp)
4.8 kg (10.6 lbs.)
340 cc (11.5 oz.)
* Weight without cutting attachment or deflector.

Important Information

WARNING! Improper use of any trimmer/brushcutter can cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow all safety instructions in your instruction manual. To reduce the risk of injury from blade contact, circular saw blades may be used on FS brushcutters that have a limitstop, a bicycle handle and double shoulder harness and not on FS brushcutters with a "J" handle or loop handle. Other rigid blades may be used on FS brushcutters having a bicycle handle, a "J" handle or a loop handle equipped with a barrier bar. To reduce the risk of eye injury always wear proper eye protection. Always use the appropriate deflector for the type of cutting attachment, as explained in your instruction manual.

Note: STIHL engine products with the Caring for Nature logo are cleaner than EPA Standards for exhaust emissions.

Note: STIHL recommends use of fuel with no more than 10% Ethanol content. Using fuel with greater than 10% Ethanol content may cause damage to your equipment and may void your STIHL warranty. Learn More…

WARNING! Improper use of any power tool may cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow carefully the operating and safety instructions in your instruction manual before using such products.

STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL Dealers are for distribution in the United States only.


FS 56 RC-E is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 931.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard pressed to find a more reliable trimmer! We live on a sand hill at a gulf coast beach so the sand constantly beats it up. I regularly mow about half a city block with this trimmer. It’s too dry here to grow a good stand of grass but even a yard full of weeds looks okay when it’s mowed! After every tank of fuel used, I dump the sand & debris out of the head. I use engineered gas/oil. We’ve only had the trimmer in for a minor tune up twice. Other than that, I ‘ride it hard & put it up wet’, & it has yet to disappoint me in the six years we’ve had it! It’s a rarity if it doesn’t start by the third pull.
Date published: 2019-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best I’ve owned. I’ve probably owned six or seven trimmers in the last 30 years. They’ve all frustrated and annoyed me until I threw them in the trash. I’ve had this Stihl going on three years. The BEST feature of this trimmer is that it has never failed to start!
Date published: 2019-08-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Garbage It only starts after 500 attempts. The string does not come out like it should. Its junk
Date published: 2019-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is an excellent machine! This is the 2nd. FS-56 that I have bought. I have been using it for tall & heavy grass during my property clean up. Great machine & very happy with the results. Outstanding customer service from the Stihl mechanic & staff at Evans Ace Hardware - Hamilton, Montana! I keep coming back!
Date published: 2019-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Replacing a much more expensive CubCadet unit that only lasted 1 season Ok, let me start by saying that Sthil brand products have always been my first love when it comes to clearing trees and saplings on my property. (Using my farm boss and 029 as my go to saws) This unit is just adding to my list of favorite tools to grab for property maintenance. Like all straight shaft trimmers I have ever owned, it does turn counter-clockwise, which does take some getting use to, however, the power and ease of start compared to my 1 season old cubcadet trimmer of comparable size is unbelievable. This thing is a hoss, I cant wait to get my brush cutter head from the local dealer when it comes in, with all the power this unit has, I am sure underbrush is going to be a breeze.
Date published: 2019-08-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unfortunately, I agree with other 1-Star Raters Like many other homeowners, when my last big-box weed-eater bit the dust a year ago, I decided to pay a bit more and "step up" to a Stihl. Got the FS 56 RC last year and have had nothing but problems with the bump feed. I'm using Stihl line of the appropriate size and have made sure it has been clean and installed properly. It still routinely gets stuck, sucks back into the head, or lets out too much line after bumping and going through most of a spool on my 1-acre lot. Also agree that the straight bar is too long for the average-sized person (I'm 5'7" as well as my wife). She finds this machine so uncomfortable she will not use it again. The engine has worked well, but with the problems I'm having, the cheap big-box trimmer was a better deal.
Date published: 2019-08-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Plenty of power but the string is a problem This trimmer has plenty of power to handle the job and starts very easily. That has never been a problem. The issue that I have is the string advance. I have never been able to get it to work. I saw the other reviews and the answers from STIHL and have tried that several times. It just does not work for me. So disappointing to me because my chain saw, hedge trimmer and blower have zero issues. I wish I could say the same for this trimmer. So I take a screwdriver with me and have to stop and remove the cover to feed the string. A pain since I have a fence that likes to eat string when I cut.
Date published: 2019-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommended purchase I have had high end gas trimmers from other companies in the past, and this one is superior. It has the same Stihl performance as their chainsaws I have used. Starts easy, plenty of power for the tall grass and knee high weeds I cleared. I had no issue with line feed or breakage as some have posted.
Date published: 2019-08-05
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Standard Features

  • Common Features for Trimmers
    View the features common to many STIHL trimmers.

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For Your Safety


Low-Emission Trimmers from STIHL - Video
How to Wind a STIHL Trimmer Head - Video
How to Start Your FS 56 RC-E Trimmer - Video
Cutting Heads & Blades Selection Chart (PDF)
Download Instructions on How to Rewind Your Trimmer Head (PDF)
Product Instruction Manual (PDF)
Product Safety Manual (PDF)
STIHL Limited Warranty
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