To decide what is the best weed eater for you, the first place for you to start is to analyze and understand your needs.
First thing you have to consider is how often and for how long you will use your tool.
Think about the size of your garden and the density and types of grass and weeds that grow on it.
If you will use it for a quick non-frequent touch-ups, the consumer grade tool (electric or gas powered) will be the best choice for you.
Understanding Your Needs
Consumer vs Professional Grade
If you have a large property or you are working in the lawn care business, you can skip the chapter about the electric trimmers. We suggest you to have a look at gas engine powered tools and even consider getting a professional grade tool.
You may spend a bit (or quite a bit) more on initial purchase (best 4 cycle string trimmer can cost close to $1000), but later you will save your money and, what is even more important, your time on trips to the repair shop when your gadget will start showing the signs of over-use.
Distance To Wall Outlet
Next important thing that should be taken into the account – availability and distance to the power outlet.
If you are looking for the best grass trimmer for using around your house, corded tool can be considered.
If you want to cover large distances and mobility is important, battery or gas powered trimmer is your only choice.
Weight of Tool
Also consider the capacity of the person who is going to use the trimmer on the lawn, notwithstanding whether it is you or someone else. This should be in regard to weight of the gadget that will be carried around and mechanical complexities.
Only when you will be completely sure about how and where you will use you trimmer, you will be able to choose the best weed whacker which will satisfy your needs.
Important Trimmer Features
Such features as the length of the trimmer shaft are critical, given the fact that some have adjustable handles and others do not.
This consideration is especially important if the primary user is taller than 6 feet. Insufficient shaft length is one thing people often complain in their string trimmers reviews
These days almost all best string trimmers have these 2 adjustment features, but you can still run into old or cheap model with fixed shaft and handles. Using such tool could be a pain – figuratively and literary.
Precision vs Productivity and Power
Other points to consider include decision whether you need better control (provided by curved shaft) or higher productivity and power output (straight shaft).
That is the reason why each and every best weed wacker used by professionals has a straight shaft.
Engine type and the source of power for your string trimmer is another critical factor. It affects productivity as well as cost, efficiency, convenience and environmental consciousness.
You have to decide whether you want one that is gas, corded electric, or battery powered.
If you have thought about the planned usage frequency discussed above, it will be easier decision to make.
Maybe you already have a gas powered lawn mower or tractor and want a trimmer runs on the same type of fuel? Your choice of 2 cycle vs 4 cycle weed eater gas engine depends on this.
For electric trimmers, you need to be specific on the motor power.
Each of these, as we will see later on, has advantages and disadvantages.
Trimmer vs Multi-Functional Tool
Do you need just a trimming tool or universal tool for multiple tasks like edging and pruning?
There are several types of string trimmers with different functionality available on the market.
There are those that are pure fixed-head trimmers, which mean they do not do anything else except trimming the weeds and grass on your lawn and yard.
These usually are the cheapest tools because of simple construction of fixed trimming head and lower number of moving parts. That is the reason why cheap weed eater reviews sometimes can give you wrong idea – people will often rate the price, not performance or versatility.
In theory you can also use tool with fixed head for quick edging touch-ups, but it will require you bending and twisting your arms in awkward positions.
Just keep in mind that sooner or later you will start looking for other tools like mower and edger for handling other aspects of your lawn care.
There are also tools that can do both the cutting and edging, as well as mowing.
The edging feature usually can be enabled by simply turning the cutting head, but this functionality is not built in every weed eater – only in the best weed trimmers.
More advanced trimmer/edgers (like the one shown in the picture on the right) use a pair of wheels to make the edging easier.
Edging with cheaper tool takes more effort because the tool will be held in your hands all the time.
Some of the best weed wacker machines (those with wheels) can also work as mini-mowers.
Attachment Capable Trimmers
There is one more type of trimmers – machines with detachable shafts that are compatible with different attachments.
Using these attachments you can transform the machine for different tasks. Some of attachments available are hedge trimmers, tillers, pruners and pole saws, sweepers and even bed redefiners.
You should keep in mind that power heads (this is the engine part of the trimmer) and attachments from several manufacturers are cross-compatible. The example are tools from Ryobi, Troy-Bilt, Weed Eater, and Toro.
If you already own a gardening tool and few attachments, a good (and frugal!) idea is to buy a new tool that is compatible with components in your possession.
Best Electric String Trimmers
These trimmers are powered by an electric charge.
They fall into two major categories depending on energy source:
Corded – powered from power line
Cordless – powered by battery
There is also a small group of hybrid electric trimmers. They can work either connected to a socket in corded mode, or in cordless mode.
Corded trimmers require a power source – usually a wall outlet – located near your lawn and a long cord to connect it to the source of power.
The Advantages of Corded Electric Trimmers:
- Cheaper than gas powered and cordless battery powered weed eater
- Lighter (sometimes wights only 3-4 pounds) and, therefore, easy to carry and use – even the best cordless weed eater weights more
- Easy to use– push button start and go
- Less noisy than gas powered ones
- Zero emissions
- Limitation of the area covered by the length of cord and availability of source of power
- Less powerful than gas powered
- It is possible to use extension cords and even portable generators to extend the coverage of corded trimmers, but you have to decide if it is worth the hassle.
- Maybe it is cheaper to get a cordless tool and forget about the cords?
Black & Decker ST1000
This is a low budget electric trimmer that is powered by a 1.8 amp motor.
It is ideal for light jobs in small compounds. Its small size enables it to get into any tight places within your yard.
The Black and Decker weed eater ST1000 weighs less than 4 pounds, and this makes it easy for everyone to manage and use. Moreover, it does not require much technical know-how to operate. Even feeding the line from the spool is simple enough to even the first time user. This makes it the best electric weed trimmer for beginners.
However, you need a source of power near your yard and a cord long enough to reach all the places you want to trim. The shaft and handles are fixed, and using this tool may require constant bending, especially if you are tall person.
The GreenWorks trimmer runs on a powerful 10 Amp motor (almost 5x more powerful than ST1000 reviewed above!).
This is the reason the 21142 covers 18″ cutting path which is comparable with significantly more expensive gas trimmers. That makes it one of the best corded string trimmers.
It also operates on two trim lines which make it faster and more efficient.
Another feature of this trimmer that makes it popular with many buyers is its attachment capability. You can turn it into an edger, tiller, Pole saw, or blower by quickly and easily connecting appropriate tools, which you can buy separate. You do not see this feature often mentioned in electric trimmer reviews.
This machine is light enough for nearly everyone to handle and fast and easy to start as compared to gas trimmers. It does a near perfect job trimming around fences, rocks and walls.
To use this trimmer you need a constant supply of electricity through a cord long enough to help you reach all parts of your yard.
This is a 14-Inch electric corded string trimmer that runs on a powerful 5 amp motor.
With a simple push button, it converts into a walk-behind edger.
This cordless weed eater is fitted with two lines that auto-feed when you pull a trigger to maintain an ideal cutting length.
It also has a robust and durable telescoping aluminum shaft and an adjustable assist handle that provide an extended and stress resistant reach that makes it good choice for taller users.
Best Cordless String Trimmer Reviews
To get around the constant power source hurdle, you can buy a battery powered trimmer, usually referred to as cordless trimmer.
We have learned from the best cordless weed trimmer reviews that they take a few hours of charging, and some of them give more than enough runtime.
Cordless trimmers usually come with a battery charger and one battery (few models are available without these accessories which is cost-effective option if you already own charger and batteries from the same vendor).
Due to the limited battery runtime (20-60 minutes depending on battery technology used, and engine power), these tools are often bought together with second replacement battery which costs from $40 (older NiCd technology) up to $130 (Lithium technology).
Two of most well known manufacturers of best electric trimmers are Worx and Black & Decker.
Pros of Cordless Trimmers:
- Lighter if compared to gas tools (but heavier than corded – it is the battery what makes a difference)
- More mobile than the corded one – you are not tied to the wall outlet anymore
- Ease of use – just the push the button (if you have charged the battery!)
- Even the best battery powered trimmer has limited power output and can only handle light to medium vegetation
- Susceptible to battery issues, including limited lifespan
- Every year manufacturers are launching new weed eater models with more powerful engines, so it is becoming hard to complain about the insufficient power, but that all comes at expense of the battery life.
- General rule – the more powerful the engine is, the shorter the battery life.
- Are you ready to invest in the second replacement battery pack?
This is a single line feed cordless weed trimmer with 12 inch coverage, which is powered by a 32 volt Lithium battery with MAX technology. A three hour charge can give you up to 40 minutes of non-stop high power.
It is a light trimmer (it weights only 6 pounds with battery) that can also convert to an edger or mini-mower in seconds. It is the best battery powered weed eater for people who prefer to avoid buying multiple different gadgets for home use.
Unlike many trimmer models, this Worx will not waste your valuable time as you try to start it.
The one main downside is the 40 minute run-time the battery can offer you. It is not suitable for doing heavy work that require long working hours.
This is a sleek dual line electric grass trimmer that runs on a powerful 48-volt rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.
Its cutting width is 13 inches using two lines that automatically auto-feed and adjust to the perfect length.
Toro, the manufacturer, designed this cordless trimmer with a Storage mode feature. This increases the battery life span life by preventing damage and drain when it is not in active use.
The speed of the string trimmer is variable to allow you set your own perfect pace. The machine is also quieter, lighter and cleaner. Moreover, it vibrates less as well as gives you more mobility and longer run-time than most other models in the market.
Black & Decker NST1118
This is a battery operated weed eater that gives you the ability to tend the most remote parts of your property without worrying about lengths of cords and power outlets or carrying heavy, noisy and dirty gas engines.
The Black & Decker NST1118 is powered by 18 volt NiCd battery and cuts a width of 10-Inch. While the NiCd battery technology may be considered to be a bit outdated, using this type of batteries ensures the low price comparable to corded tools.
It also easily converts from a trimmer to an edger through a Groom N’ Edge Switch. In addition, its shaft and handle are adjustable to allow you work with a suitable length shaft.
The hand-held trimmer has an auto feed spool that ensures you do not waste time often setting the line manually. It is light, quick to start with a trigger and easy to use. Is it the best battery string trimmer? Probably not, but still it is a great tool for great price.
Gas String Trimmer Reviews
Gas weed eater is powered by gasoline fueled engine. Some engines also can use propane, but these are so rare that we will not review them separately.
Gas powered gardening tools become available to the masses long before the electric tools, and they still remain popular with consumers, largely because of their high power output and extended work time.
Why Gas Weed Wackers Are So Popular?
While electric trimmers do a good job, best gas trimmers are more efficient in cutting thicker weeds and working for extended periods of time.
They are more suited for completing a lot of work with shorter interruptions since it takes only a few minutes to refill the tank, compared to long hours of battery charging for the cordless electric trimmers.
Moreover, unlike corded trimmers, they are more mobile, since they are not hindered with need for long cords and availability of power outlets near the lawn.
After reading lots of best electric weed eater reviews we found out the the most popular models of this type are manufactured by Husqvarna, Ryobi, and Echo. Whether you are looking for cheap, top rated or best selling models, you will not miss your match.
However, a few tips and some basic knowledge of best gas string trimmer features are helpful while shopping.
2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Engines
Decide what engine type is suitable for your needs. There is a choice between 2 stroke and 4 stroke engine design types.
Majority of trimmers today are built around the 2 stroke engine.
A two-stroke engine is cheap and light, but it causes more pollution and is less energy efficient. It burns gas and oil mix. The mix can be prepared at home, or it can be bought as ready-to-use fuel. If you choose to mix it yourself, make sure you understand and follow the manufacturer’s specifications, because different proportions and fuel types are commonly used.
On the other hand, a four-stroke engine will cost you more money, but provide a better service in terms of power output and gas consumption. Important benefit of 4-cycle engine is burning the same fuel as the mower or tractor. It is also quieter and emits 70% fewer amounts harmful fumes in comparison to the 2 stroke engines. You just have to keep an eye on the oil level.
Another factor to consider when shopping for a best gas weed wacker is its usability with more accessories in order to do more tasks.
Some models can be transformed into a pole saw, blower, or a dozen of other tools – simply by attaching appropriate accessories. You can learn more about the attachment capable tools from our Husqvarna and Ryobi reviews
- More powerful that the electric tools
- Mobile and can be used anywhere, even far away from power outlets and chargers. Just bring the fuel can!
- Refueling takes a short period of time
- Emits exhaust fumes
- Not as easy to start as electric tools – pulling the rope starter takes some effort. Few best weed wackers have electronic ignition, but these are rare.
This is a straight shaft gas string trimmer powered with a 2 stroke engine.
Its shaft is detachable, and that enables it to be used as a brush cutter, sweeper, and perform many other tasks using different optional attachments.
It consumes less gasoline and easier to start as compared to several other models in the market. It is however not ideal for extended jobs
Poulan Pro PP125
It is a 2 stroke engine powered trimmer with a cutting width of 17 inches.
With attachments it can turn into an edger, blower, cultivator, brush cutter, or pole pruner. However, these attachments are sold separately.
The trimmer is not as easy to start and use as electric tools, but it provides more power output and is one of best yard trimmer models with gas engine home use – for a less price you would pay for best electric weed wacker.
This is a curved shaft gas trimmer that runs on 25cc 2 stroke engine.
It is a pure trimmer (no edger functionality!) that has a cutting width of 15-inches and is described as very easy to start and use.
It is another powerful enough gas trimmer for home use that will do its job but will require you to spend money on an edger and mower. It will not serve a commercial purpose well.
Walk-Behind String Trimmers
You will rarely see these machines in the best string trimmer reviews because they have quite specific use.
When you have to deal with a terrain that is too rugged for a mower or covered with vegetation too thick for a regular string trimmer, then a push weed eater becomes your best friend.
They ride on high wheels made of hardened plastic that can withstand and maneuver around rocks and uneven surfaces. The part that sometimes breaks after hitting obstacles is the cutting line, but this easily and quickly replaceable.
Even though the machine is often powered by a 4 stroke engine, the wheels are often not motorized, and therefore it is your pushing power that puts the machine it motion.
Another significant difference between walk-behind trimmers and hand-held one is the cutting path covered. The former takes a 22” path, almost equal to that of a lawn mower.
- More powerful that the hand held trimmer
- Sturdy and can withstand hitting rocks and other hard objects
- Wide cutting path
- After hitting objects replacing cutting line is cheaper and quicker than replacing mower’s blade
- Exhaust fumes are harmful to both the user and the environment
- Engine needs both gasoline and oil to run
- Difficult to push uphill and on wet soil because wheels are not motorized
- Difficult to push at a low height cutting level
Poulan Pro PR22WT
This is model of push behind trimmer sits on 12-Inch wheels, which allows it to maneuver and work on rugged surfaces.
It powered by a Rato 4 stroke 140cc engine and covers a path of 22 inches.
It cuts tall weeds that grow in a typical yard with no problem.
Even though it is a recoil-start machine, it starts with ease. You rarely need more than two pulls to bring the engine to life.
This is a another 4 cycle trimmer powered by a 190cc Briggs and Stratton Engine.
The handle bar can easily be folded over the engine for easy transportation.
It is fitted with 14 inch wheels and has adjustable cutting height feature. It also has cutting path width of 22 inches and comes with easy to understand assembling instructions and user manual
Nevertheless, it is a machine that a majority of consumers find easy to operate, and that is a reason it often gets 5 star reviews from happy owners and can be considered one of the best weed eaters.
This wheeled string trimmer easily converts from a trimmer to an edger which is rarely seen feature.
Its off-set head rotates up to 90-degrees, which enables it to trim and edge hard to reach places.
The Swisher walk-behind string trimmer is powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and cuts a width of 22 inches.
It also has a design that many people will find attractive as well as giving more precision and accuracy at the lawn. Still there are some downsides, for example, the price quite high which would be too high for a trimmer but feels reasonable for trimmer/edger combo.
Best Commercial String Trimmers
When you hear mentions of best commercial weed eater, you can be sure people are referring to gas powered tools. At the current point of time none of best electric weed eaters can survive the conditions the professional tools are facing.
So gas weed trimmer it is.
You should think about getting the professional grade trimmer if you need to cover a lot of area. Keeping multiple buildings, fences, orchards, long driveways neat – this is a serious task that requires the best lawn trimmer.
Here are few important thing we have learned after checking out best gas trimmer reviews.
Pros of professional weed trimmer:
- high power
- reduced vibration because of solid-steel driveshaft and carefully balanced forged crankshaft
- increased durability
- high cost
We have reviewed several tools of this type, so please check out the Husqvarna 3xx, 4xx, and 5xx series machines as well as Ryobis and Echos.
If you are a lawn care professional ready to shell out more than $500 for a higher-end commercial weed wacker, brands like Stihl, Tanaka, and Shindaiwa are also well worth looking at. We are still working on reviews about these brands, but contact us, and we will help you with an advice.