A Guide to Buying a String Trimmer
String trimmers can cut through pesky weeds and groundcover, helping you to clean the look of a field or yard. Here’s a guide to buying a string trimmer.
String trimmers make cutting grass and tidying up areas overgrown with unruly weeds, shrubs, and other groundcover simple. They rotate lines of string at high speeds to generate their slicing force, which makes them useful for cutting areas around trees and other obstacles where a lawn mower could not reach. Here’s a guide to buying a string trimmer that you can use to pick a suitable one out.
Think About Your Needs
Before getting into the specific features of string trimmers, you should have a clear picture of what you want. Take a moment to consider how much area you’ll need to cover with your trimmer and what kinds of objects you’ll need to cut around with it. Trimmers may vary in size, so you’ll need to figure out whether a smaller or larger model will fit you better. Some trimmers must also use cords to maintain power, and this could hinder your movements when you need to cut a wide section of land or maneuver near difficult obstacles. The last thing you want is for the cord to become tangled or unplug completely. Therefore, finding string trimmers that are cordless is ideal.
The power type determines what energizes your string trimmer. Here at Swisher Acquisition Inc., we provide made-in-USA 4.4 HP Honda engine trimmers that run on gas. These effortlessly fit the bill for convenience and ease of use because they don’t need any cords to function. You can move wherever you want across an expansive space free of any physical restrictions. On a single tank of fuel, your trimmer will last a long time so that you aren’t constantly stopping work to replenish it as well. This is an invaluable advantage for anyone who must care for a spread-out area. In addition to all this, gas motors grant string trimmers superior strength, enabling you to cut through thick brush and weeds. So, you can tackle whatever obstacle you face over the course of a trimming job without fearing that your trimmer won’t be up to the task.
Cutting width describes how much reach your string trimmer has in a single pass over the ground. A greater cutting width is preferable for cutting sizeable fields and yards since it reduces the amount of work you must do. Common widths that you might see fall within the 12- to 14-inch range, but the Easy Glide and Trim Max models that Swisher stocks have impressive cutting swath widths of 22 inches. This means that they can compete with many lawn mowers in terms of how much they can cut at once. Simultaneously, they also give you the precision that characterizes string trimmers exclusively. Furthermore, the four strings that they possess equate to eight cutting lines that ensure clean, thorough trimming throughout any portion of brush or weeds that you push them over. If needed, you can adjust the cutting head height from 1.5 to 3.5 inches on the Easy Glide model and 1.5 to 4 inches on the Trim Max model.
Lots of companies produce string trimmers that the user must hold while using. For those trimmers with smaller cutting widths, this is alright. However, the tool can become unwieldy as your size and power need to increase. The good news is that Swisher has trimmers with self-propelled walk behind designs. They have handles and two posterior wheels that allow you to direct them in front of you in a similar manner to that of lawn mowers. Simply pull the bail loops near the handles to activate their self-propulsion.
Due to this design, you won’t become fatigued while trimming. Self-propelled walk behind string trimmers fill in a need that other equipment cannot. They’re larger than handheld trimmers and make covering a lot of ground much simpler. At the same time, they’re capable of handling thick brush around obstacles that heavy lawn mowers can’t deal with. The wheels of self-propelled walk behind string trimmers also have sufficient clearance for rolling smoothly over bumpy terrain.
Fixed vs. Pivoting Trimmer Head
The structure of a walk behind string trimmer places the trimmer head up front and facing downwards towards the ground. There are both fixed trimmer head string trimmers and varieties with rotating trimmer heads, though. As you might guess, fixed heads always remain in that down-facing position. They’re adequate for most situations where you are pushing directly into edges and open spaces on land that is overgrown with weeds and brush.
Some people may want extra meticulousness with their trimming, though. In that case, pivoting trimmer heads are good to look out for. These can either sit in a downward configuration or turn 90 degrees so that they are fully perpendicular to the ground. When pointed sideways, the trimmer head can neatly touch up the borders of a lawn that are adjacent to driveways, sidewalks, and garden beds. It’ll cut exactly where you want it to without hitting those bare surfaces.
As with any tool, as you use your string trimmer, you’ll need to perform maintenance on it. The strings, which manufacturers also refer to as cutting lines, will eventually wear down. So, every trimmer will have some sort of mechanism for taking old ones out and putting in new ones. Ideally, you’ll want one that doesn’t call for additional tools just to replace the cutting line. It’s also good to know just how you’ll need to go about feeding and loading in string so that you don’t run into problems down the road.
Make sure that you always use the correct diameter of cutting line for your trimmer, as putting in lines that are too thick places more burden on the motor than it can handle without becoming damaged. Beyond this, though, you shouldn’t need to do too much. Our Easy Glide self-propelled string trimmer, for example, has a maintenance-free cutter head that won’t break apart even after extended use.
When you use them correctly, string trimmers shouldn’t cause you to sustain any injuries. Still, you should pay attention to the safety features that they have to minimize any risks associated with running them. A basic characteristic that your trimmer must have is a debris shield. This rigid component goes over the rotating strings and serves to catch any rocks, plant matter, dirt, and other debris from becoming airborne and hitting you. Besides this, it keeps you from making any direct contact with the cutting lines. The trimmers you’ll find at Swisher possess trimmer heads that you can disengage from the handlebar as an added safety measure on top of their adjustable debris shields.
Our guide to buying a string trimmer should enable you to recognize quality products and complete your tasks efficiently when you put them to use. If you’re in the market for an optimally-designed and American-made walk behind string trimmer, visit Swisher Acquisition Inc. online.
Best Walk Behind String Trimmers
Most homeowners need to keep their yard landscaped and looking tidy, so buying a walk behind a trimmer is a simple decision. (Find Top Rated Weed Wackers) We have five of the current best bang-for-buck options here to assist with the purchase decision.
At the end of these string trimmer reviews, you’ll know how to select the right walk behind the string trimmer mower quickly.
Why You Need a Good Walk Behind String Trimmer
Walk-behind wheeled string trimmers are effective lawn care equipment that looks like a walk-behind push lawn mower and features a hand-held trimmer.
Driven by more efficient engines and wider cutting swaths, these machines are recommended for both the skilled landscaper and homeowner with a big garden with lots of dense grass and stubborn weeds.
Although these string trimmers are less flexible than the most common whackers, they usually provide better results on all grass types. In addition, they can be easily used on almost all terrains, regardless of topography.
The wheeled string trimmer features large swaths that can exceed 22 inches. These devices are suitable for extensive gardens or heavy use, minimizing the total trimming time.
In addition to the cutting distance, the type of line used in this system is most often thicker, while the cutting heads may use up to four strings at a time for increased performance.
Some of the wheeled string trimmers also feature adjustable cutting heights. These machines are ideal for use on any terrain, mainly grass and weed types. (Find Top Rated Self Propelled Lawn Mowers)
Top Walk-Behind String Trimmers Reviews
Remington RM1159 159cc 4-Cycle Gas Powered Walk-Behind High-Wheeled String Trimmer – 22-Inch Trimming Mower for Lawn Care
For those who want the best for their yard equipment, the Remington RM1159 Walk-Behind string trimmer is a great option.
The RM1159 has a 159cc four-cycle OHV engine to eat large grass, weeds, and brush. It can also squeeze in narrow spots to clean wall borders and flower beds.
The off-set trimmer head makes it a breeze to fit in tight spots, and the 14-inch ball-bearing wheels help get up and down any uneven terrain.
The Remington high wheel trimmer offers a 22-inch cutting width, and the motor has an easy recoil start function. The folding handle is convenient to use, and if not in use, it is also easy to store.
This model is compliant with both EPA and CARB. It also uses a regular 0.155 diameter cutting line.
With an easy-to-use lever, you can switch between three height positions. One downside is that the trimmer is 78 pounds, a little heavier.
With a guide price of around 340, you have the best push weed eater to keep your garden in trim. The 4 cycle engine powers through weeds and thick grass, and you have a backup with the 2-year warranty.
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWFT15022 150cc Field Trimmer
The Southland SWFT15022 150cc Field Trimmer is the best output from the Overhead Valve (OHV) 150cc engine.
It has a 5. 75 ft-lbs heavy-duty torque and an easy start fuel delivery system to get going for the most demanding work. The trimming head Consists of a quadruple line of 0.155 diameter that slices through large grass, weeds, and brush.
Also, you get a 22-inch cutting swath that makes it even faster to clean your garden areas.
It is easy to use and maneuver the Southland Field Trimmer over rough and uphill. It has 12-inch wheels and anti-vibration foam grip handles to cut out unwanted shudders. The engine is manual recoil and starts on the first try.
The handle also folds to make storing simple. This tool is also compliant with EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB).
This walk-behind trimmer is a great choice overall. You’ve got a 1.4-inch cut height that’s Consistent in all-terrain, and it can get into hard-to-reach places.
It weighs 50 pounds and does not need much assembly. If you need to cut the grass along your fence, level the weeds in the gully, or clear the brush from the rough field, the Southland SWFT15022 is a great pick.
With a guide price of just under 360, you get a great deal of machine. However, the swft15022 field trimmer does suffer by a fixed cutting height, and on occasions, you can end up taking chunks of dirt rather than weeds on rough terrain.
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWSTM4317 Southland 2 Cycle Wheeled String Trimmer
The SWSTM4317 Southland Wheeled String Trimmer is a great choice. This yard tool features a 20-30-degree swivel trimmer head 43cc engine.
This makes navigating around fences, gardens, walls, and other tight spots are much easier. If you need to be extra accurate, you also have a 5-to 10-degree bevel head.
This model has a torque 35 percent higher than your standard 43 cc engine. You have a trimming string of 0.095 or 0.105 diameter and weights a simple 39 pounds.
The Southland SWSTM4317 is also compliant with the EPA and CARB.
This trimmer has a 17-inch cut swath that effectively clears a smaller area than previous entries. However, the little engine can still look after large, overgrown turf, weeds, and unwanted plants.
With the 12-inch wheels mounted on ball bearings, you will also be able to drive it over rough ground comfortably and uphill.
The trimmer has a storage compartment for extra trimmer line strings, and the adjustable loop handle is secure with low vibrations.
Furthermore, you have a spring-loaded thumb throttle that is easy to use and presents less fatigue setting in through use. This is an excellent walk behind string trimmer for the money.
With a guide price of just below 200, this little machine packs in lots of power for the money. It may be limited to a large garden with lots of use, yet medium-sized, and it can be an excellent option for your home weed eater.
EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Trimmer with 150cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine Walk Behind String Mower
A 150cc four-cycle viper engine without stopping, the EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Walk Behind Strings Trimmer can safely remove the observer without turning the motor off. The robust single-piece steel deck also makes it a quieter tool with low vibration.
The EARTHQUAKE uses 14-inch wheels for rugged areas. You won’t have to think about wasting time on a busted wheel with the never-go flat tires.
This trimmer has a 22-inch cutting swath, and it uses regular heavy-duty nylon string. There is also a tool-less handlebar adjustment, plus zero assemblies are necessary.
This yard tool is perfect for getting to the hard places and making precise cuts along fences, walls, etc. It’s both EPA and CARB compliant. The trimmer can be packed comfortably, uses the standard line diameter, and weighs 63.4 lbs. (Find the Best Log Splitter)
However, before buying this walk-behind trimmer, you should take care of two things. First, starting the recoil on this model is more complicated and may require some pulls.
Second, while tires don’t go flat, pushing this alternative can be more challenging. This is particularly true on rocky terrain or uphill.
With a guide price of just above 463, our reviews are one of the more expensive walk behind string trimmers. However, it comes with many good points and drawbacks that could make this walk behind trimmer unsuitable for some yards.
String Trimmer: Best String Trimmer (Buying Guide)
TAZZ One-Piece Steel Deck, 22” Cutting Swath, Never Kill, Fold Down Handlebars 35258 Walk-Behind String Mower/Trimmer, 150cc 4-Cycle Gas Engine, Large 14” Wheels
The TAZZ One-Piece Steel 35258 Walk-Behind String Trimmer has a single steel unit deck which makes it more robust and longer-lasting. In addition, a 150cc, 4 cycle motor with a width of 22-inch is available in this trimmer.
That said, this walk-behind trimmer suffers from lots of vibration, yet to make up for that, this model has a never-kill engine, so when something jams, this helps the motor continue working.
Unfortunately, this option easily breaks the 0.155 nylon string, and the trimmer doesn’t cut much past something thicker than regular grass.
It would help if you also remembered that this is not self-driven and can be challenging to push. Also, it may be linked to the TAZZ weight of about 80 pounds. This trimmer, on a happier note, is EPA and CARB compatible. It has an easy start, plus a fold-down handle for easy storage.
This tool will cut grass under challenging spots where your lawnmower is ineffective. Remember, however, the 14-inches in diameter wheels are not robust and easily break.
With a guide price of just under 300, you get a decent performer marred by vibrations and wheels that may offer some users little benefit.
Best Walk Behind String Trimmer Buying Guide
When looking at wheeled string trimmers, there are a few things to look for that can make or break your decision. First, just like a hand-held string trimmer, you need to look at its functions and how easy the machine is to operate.
You can then determine the walk-behind wheeled string trimmer best suited to your needs by looking at the following.
Engine: You will find multiple engine sizes available. Ensure you have something high-powered to cut through thick grass and weeds.
Recoil Start: Recoil starts can be hard. If you suffer shoulder, arm, or even arthritis, you need a walk-behind, a wheeled trimmer with easy start recoil.
Wheels: Wheels function very differently. You often find 12 inches or 14 inches, yet the Construction of these can make a difference. Also, going uphill or over uneven terrain takes it out on you and your machine.
Cut Swath: Swath, or cut width, is the diameter a trimmer can cut in a single pass. The larger the area, the quicker you can finish your yard clearing. Also, the larger the cut, the easier it is to reach narrow areas.
Vibration: Vibration can cause numbness and fatigue in hands and arms after prolonged use. Many walk behind trimmers reduces vibration through a single-piece deck or foam handles to keep vibrations low.
Trimmer Strings: Standard trimmer strings are 0.155 inches in diameter. You can also get other sizes, so bear in mind if you pick one of the walk-behind trimmers that takes a different size string.
In testing, many weeds fell at the hands of these machines. All performed well, yet it was clear after some use the winner was the Remington RM1159 159cc 4-Cycle Gas Powered Walk-Behind High-Wheeled String Trimmer – 22-Inch Trimming Mower for Lawn Care.
The weed eater breezed over rough areas with its high wheels. It had hardly any vibration, and the results were fantastic with the cutting head adjustment. It is rare to adjust the cutting height, and the trimmer halfway performs like a lawnmower rather than a trimmer.
With a wide 22-inch cutting swath, tasks took next to no time, even if many machines have the same cutting width. The machine was a joy, and you can quickly understand why it is the best walk behind string trimmer here.
The 10 Best Weed Eaters of 2023
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
Mary Marlowe Leverette is one of the industry’s most highly-regarded housekeeping and fabric care experts, sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, laundry, and textile conservation. She is also a Master Gardener with over 40 years of experience and 20 years of writing experience. Mary is also a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.
Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.
Whether you call it a “weed eater,” “weed whacker,” or “string trimmer,” these landscaping tools are ideal for trimming grass and weeds along the edge of a flowerbed, around a tree trunk, underneath a deck, and in other hard-to-reach places.
Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love, says, “A weed whacker can quickly and effectively trim grass, weeds, and other unwanted plant growth in areas difficult to reach with a mower or shears. When choosing one, the most important thing to look for is the power it offers, as well as the size and weight of the tool. Gas weed eaters are the most powerful, but electric models are best for most homeowners.”
He cautions, “To ensure safe use of a weed whacker, always wear the appropriate protective gear, including goggles and gloves, stand with your feet apart for balance, hold the tool’s handle firmly but comfortably with both hands, and never operate the weed whacker without its guard attached.”
Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer
If you want the power of a gas weed eater but the convenience of a battery-powered tool, then this 40-volt offering from Ryobi is the answer. Our top choice of string trimmer is loaded with great features, including a brushless motor for longer life with less required maintenance and an adjustable handle so you can position it comfortably for your height. We also appreciate its two-speed trigger with variable speed control, so you can go faster when you need extra power for tough weeds or brush, and slow the tool down to extend the battery run-time when merely cutting small weeds and grass. Plus, it has an adjustable cutting width, with a minimum of 13 inches and a maximum of 15 inches.
This string trimmer comes with 0.085-inch string, which is good for trimming grass and weeds, but you can also load it with 0.095-inch string if desired for tackling tougher weeds, light brush, or thick grass. Either way, the weed whacker is very easy to reload, thanks to the REEL EASY head, which can be rewound in under 60 seconds. When you want to let out more string, a gentle bump of the tool against the ground advances just the right amount so you can keep working without having to stop and let out line by hand. The tool also comes with a set of serrated plastic blades, which can be fitted into the tool’s head in place of string. Use the blades for cutting tougher brush and weeds. While not nearly as strong as metal blades, these do a good job on softer weeds and grasses, but they aren’t sturdy enough for woody weeds.
This versatile weed eater works with the Ryobi line of Expand-It accessories, sold separately, which can turn your string trimmer into a pole saw, electric hedge trimmer, soil cultivator, snow thrower, blower, and more quickly and easily. The weed whacker comes with one Ryobi lithium-ion 40-volt battery and charger, which are compatible with any other Ryobi tool using a 40-volt battery. Depending on conditions, you can get up to one hour and 10 minutes of run-time from the battery before needing to recharge.
Price at time of publish: 213
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 11.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 40 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches
Greenworks 5.5 Amp 15-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer
Just because a weed whacker comes at a budget price, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo great features, as this corded electric offering from Greenworks proves. Plug the tool into an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 100 feet in length; no smelly gasoline fumes or worrying about a battery running down before you finish. Suited to a small-to-medium yard, this string trimmer’s head easily pivots for use as a trimmer or an edger, doubling its versatility. It has a 15-inch cutting swath and uses 0.065-inch string, which automatically advances as the exposed string wears down. When you need to reload the string, you can use pre-filled spools or rewind bulk string onto the spool that comes with the tool. However, you cannot use heavy-weight string with this weed eater, and if you choose to rewind the spool, rather than replace it, it can be a bit tricky to do correctly.
The handle telescopes from 40 inches to 50 inches, and the grip is also adjustable, so you can set the weed whacker to fit your own height, making it comfortable to use for lengthy gardening sessions. Its 5.5-amp motor runs smoothly and quietly and has enough power to quickly cut through grass and non-woody weeds. At only seven pounds, this is a reasonably lightweight string trimmer, so it won’t wear you down before the job is through.
Price at time of publish: 90
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 7 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 5.5 amp | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches
Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer
If you have a large area of brush, overgrown grass, or woody weeds to clear, then you’ll appreciate the extra power of a gas weed eater like this offering from Echo, which runs on a 25.4 cc, professional-grade two-stroke engine. Like other gas-powered weed eaters, you’ll need to fill the gas tank with a 50:1 ratio of fuel to oil mix. Echo’s i-30 starting system makes it much easier to start up this weed eater than most others, and once powered on, this sturdy beast chews steadily through just about anything you ask it to. The handles are padded and ergonomically shaped for comfort and are also designed to greatly reduce the amount of vibration that reaches your hands and arms.
The 0.095-inch heavy-duty string advances with a bump of the tool against the ground. When the string runs out, the Echo Speed-Feed system requires no tools and takes only seconds to reload; no frustrating fuss or bother. With a 17-inch cutting swath, you can work your way across the lawn quickly. Should you need even more powerful cutting action, Echo sells a separate conversion kit that lets you swap out the string head for a metal-bladed head that easily cuts through thick underbrush and overgrown weeds. Be aware that this weed eater is quite loud and does emit gas fumes, as is typical for gas-powered tools.
Price at time of publish: 329
Type: Gas | Weight: 13.4 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 25.4 cc | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches
Ryobi ONE 18-Volt Cordless Battery String Trimmer
Go cordless with this lightweight string trimmer that’s designed to take care of small-to-medium yards. The curved shaft makes it easy to maneuver around shrubs, rocks, and tree trunks, and the handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip. Plus, weighing a mere four pounds, this is a weed eater that shouldn’t tire you out. It’s powered by an 18-volt battery that recharges in an hour and runs for anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes per charge, depending on how you use it. And with a simple push of a button, you can switch the head’s orientation: use it horizontally for trimming and vertically for edging.
The cutting swath of this tool is 10 inches, which is on the small side but can be a good thing if you are edging a flowerbed or other area with many obstacles to work around. It can only use 0.065-inch string and automatically feeds out more string as required. It’s not too difficult to reload once the string runs out. The weed whacker comes with an 18-volt battery that can be used in other 18V Ryobi tools, as well as a charger. Note that it is not compatible with Ryobi’s Expand-It attachments, however.
Price at time of publish: 69
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 4 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 18-volt | Shaft Type: Curved | Maximum Cutting Width: 10 inches
This Lawn Mower Is Also A String Trimmer | DR Power Pilot XT Trimmer Mower Review
Best Corded Electric
Ryobi 10-Amp Attachment-Capable Corded String Trimmer
As long as you have an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 100 feet, and you don’t need to trim beyond that point, a corded electric weed eater is a great option. You get a lot of power, like you would from a gas-powered tool, but you also get the benefits of a cordless tool, including no smelly fumes, no need to keep gasoline on hand, and an easy start at the push of a button. Plus, there’s no need to worry about your battery running out too soon. This corded weed whacker from Ryobi is loaded with great options beyond the above: It has a 10-amp motor for maximum performance, it cuts an impressive 18-inch path, and it is designed to reduce vibrations through the handle, so it’s easy on your hands, although it is relatively heavy for this type of tool.
The tool comes with 0.080-inch string, but can also use 0.095-inch string if you need something even more heavy-duty. String advances with a bump of the tool to the ground, and when it’s time to replace the reel, it’s very easy to install a new one or simply rewind bulk string around the reel. Best of all, this string trimmer is compatible with Ryobi’s extensive line of Expand-It attachments, meaning you can purchase a wide variety of optional attachments to turn the weed whacker into a brush cutter, hedge trimmer, pole saw, snow thrower, and more. However, its head does not pivot for use as an edger, as do many other weed eaters.
Price at time of publish: 90
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 11 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 10 amp | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 18 inches
Best Under 200
BLACKDECKER 20V 12 Inch Lithium Ion Cordless 2-in-1 Trimmer/Edger
Here’s a reasonably priced tool that effectively whacks weeds with the head in a horizontal position and then serves as an edger when you rotate the head into a vertical orientation. This battery-powered, 20-volt string trimmer from BLACKDECKER is perfect for small-to-medium-sized lawns and has enough power to chew through typical grass and weeds (although this isn’t the tool for tough brush or heavily overgrown lawns). You can adjust the handle up or down to suit your height. The cutting width of this weed eater is set at 12 inches, which is somewhat narrow but sufficient for small yards.
The weed eater comes with 0.065-inch line, which is suited to light use on grass and small weeds. Note that you cannot refill it with heavier line. The line advances automatically as it wears down with use, so you don’t need to carry the task out manually or bump the tool on the ground. The weed whacker comes with the 20-volt battery and charger, which are compatible with other BLACKDECKER cordless tools. Run-time before needing to recharge the battery varies greatly, depending on yard conditions, but you will typically get anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes on a single charge, which is enough to finish trimming or edging a small lawn.
Price at time of publish: 89
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 7.1 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 20 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
WORX WG163 GT 20V Power Share Cordless String Trimmer Edger
The WORX Power Share cordless weed eater just keeps racking up high ratings; this weed whacker has more than 20,000 customer ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. But that’s not really surprising, considering that this 20-volt tool comes with two batteries, so you can have one charging and one in use, doubling your working time. The batteries and charger are compatible with any other 20-volt WORX tool. You can easily pivot the head on the weed eater to turn it from trimmer to edger, and it’s easy to angle it for use on a slope or when reaching into awkward spots between plants or around obstacles. When using it as an edger, its rubber wheels help you stay in a steady line.
This weed whacker uses 0.065-inch string, which is easy to advance at the push of a button, thanks to the Command Feed spool system. But most amazing of all, WORX will send you free refill spools of string for the life of the tool; you just pay for shipping. This will come in handy, since the string can run out quickly. It also has a 12-inch cutting diameter, which isn’t the highest but is quite sufficient for average-sized lawns and yards. And at only 5.3 pounds, this is a lightweight string trimmer that’s easy to use even when your gardening sessions stretch out long.
Price at time of publish: 140
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 5.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 20 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
DeWALT 60-Volt Cordless Attachment-Capable String Trimmer Kit
If you use your string trimmer frequently and want lots of power as well as useful features, then you’ll appreciate the DeWALT weed whacker, which is a cordless model running off a 60-volt battery; that’s a lot of power, although it does add to the overall weight of the product. The high-efficiency brushless motor requires no maintenance to keep on running smoothly and fairly silently. There’s a two-speed, variable control trigger, so you can turn it up high when you need maximum power for chewing through brush or tall grass, or turn it down low to extend the battery run-time. You can even adjust the cutting width between 15 and 17 inches.
The weed whacker comes with 0.080-inch string, but the tool can also use 0.095-inch string if you need something even more heavyweight. To advance more string, just bump the weed eater lightly against the ground. The quick-load spool makes it easy to refill the string once you run out. If you want even more versatility from this weed eater, you’ll like its universal-attachment capability, which means you can purchase a wide variety of attachments from DeWALT or other companies to transform the weed whacker into a brush cutter, hedge trimmer, pole saw, blower, tiller, and more. It comes with a 60-volt DeWALT battery that is compatible with other tools from this company, as well as a charger.
Price at time of publish: 301
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 15 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 60 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches
Best with Attachments
BLACKDECKER Corded String Trimmer With Lawn Mower Attachment
With most models of string trimmers, you have to purchase attachments separately. However, this 6.5-amp corded electric weed whacker from BLACKDECKER comes with a lawnmower attachment, making this a highly versatile tool for small backyards. In fact, it’s three tools in one: edger, string trimmer, and lawnmower. It’s especially good for mowing on slopes or hills where a traditional lawnmower can be hard to maneuver. And it can be used with an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 150 feet in length, so you can work your way around most small yards. Since there is no way to add a clipping bag to the tool, you can leave the grass clippings in place on the lawn to decompose into mulch or rake them up once you are finished mowing.
The string trimmer uses 0.065-inch string. There’s an automatic string feed, so you don’t have to stop and reel string out yourself or worry about bumping it against the ground while mowing. As a weed eater, the cutting swath is 12 inches. It pivots easily into edger mode. For use as a mower, the trimmer simply snaps into the mower base. You can adjust the mower’s cutting height from 1.6 inches to 2.4 inches; the mower does not have blades, but simply uses the spinning string to cut the grass, and it does a great job on most lawn types. You can even adjust the height of this tool’s handle between 33 inches and 43 inches to make it comfortable for your height.
Price at time of publish: 119
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 6.5 amps | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cordless Quik-Lok String Trimmer
This professional-quality cordless string trimmer has the kind of power and run-time you’d expect from a gas weed eater, thanks to its M18 8.0-Ah lithium-ion battery. This sturdy weed whacker consists of two parts: a Milwaukee M18 FUEL power head with Quik-Lok and a Milwaukee M18 FUEL Quik-Lok string trimmer attachment. You can use any of Milwaukee’s other compatible attachments with the fuel head, making this a very versatile tool that can carry out a wide range of landscaping tasks. It has enough power to clear through thick brush, overgrown grass, and heavy weeds, reaching full throttle in less than a second and maintaining power without bogging down. The tool is designed for good balance, making it easy to carry and comfortable to use, even on lengthy yard tasks.
A variable-speed trigger lets you go faster when you need more power, or slow things down when you want to extend battery run-time as much as possible. The cutting width of the weed whacker adjusts from 14 to 16 inches. The string that comes with the tool is 0.080 inches, but you can also use it with heavier 0.095-inch line. Either way, you can reload the string reel in just a few seconds. When the string gets short during use, just bump the trimmer against the ground to advance more string. Not everyone needs a weed eater with this kind of power and at this price point, but for those who do, it’s hard to beat this offering from Milwaukee.
Price at time of publish: 349
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 12.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 18 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 16 inches
If you’re looking for a cordless electric weed eater that not only has plenty of power but is also loaded with great features like an adjustable cutting swath, variable speed control, and compatibility with numerous attachments for other landscaping purposes, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer. But if you need the kind of power that only a gas tool can deliver, then the Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight-Shaft Trimmer is our recommendation. It has a 17-inch cutting swath and can be converted for use with metal blades instead of string.
What to Look for in a Weed Eater
There are three basic types of weed eaters, based on their power source.
Gas-powered weed whackers like the Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer are the most powerful type, making them the best suited for large properties or for chewing through heavy brush. On the downside, they are much louder than electric models and can be heavier and more difficult to start. Plus, they require you to have a supply of gasoline on hand, and in many areas, they are being phased out due to their emissions.
Corded electric string trimmers are not as popular as they once were, but are still a fine choice if you are looking for a low-priced weed eater, you don’t have a very large lawn or garden to maintain, and you have access to an outdoor electrical outlet and an outdoor-rated extension cord of 50 feet or more. The Ryobi 10-Amp Attachment-Capable Corded String Trimmer has an 18-inch cutting swath and great power.
Cordless or battery-powered weed eaters are now the most popular type—the WORX Power Share WG163 is an especially highly rated option—particularly in areas where gas-powered models are restricted. Today’s cordless weed whackers have good power, although not as much as a gas-powered model. Still, they have more than enough oomph to maintain a small to medium-sized lawn. As a rough guideline, you’ll generally get half an hour or so of runtime before you need to recharge the battery. For many people, that’s all that’s needed to get the job done. If you have a big lawn, then it’s convenient to keep two batteries on hand so one can recharge while the other is in use. Other benefits of cordless weed whackers include a lack of smelly emissions, immediate starting at the press of a button, reduced vibrations, and quiet operation.
A string trimmer’s cutting swath or cutting width is the width of the tool’s cutting capacity, indicating how much you’ll be able to trim in one pass. There are weed whackers with cutting swaths as small as 10 inches, and weed eaters with large 20-inch cutting widths, but most are between 12 and 16 inches. If you have a large lawn, a string trimmer with a wide cutting swath will help you trim more quickly. But if you need a tool that can squeeze between shrubs, rocks, or other obstacles, then you’ll find that a weed wacker with a smaller cutting swath can maneuver a bit more easily.
Some higher-end weed eaters have adjustable cutting swaths that let you go up or down a couple of inches. Our top choice, the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer, can be adjusted for cutting widths between 13 and 15 inches.
Noise Level and Vibrations
Generally, cordless string trimmers are fairly quiet; you’ll mostly hear the whirl of the string and the sound of grass or weeds giving way. However, gas-powered weed whackers are loud enough to require ear protection during use, and corded electric models may or may not be loud enough to make you want to cover your ears, depending on the brand and model. However, you should wear eye protection when using any type of weed eater, as there is always a danger of stones or debris being tossed up into your face.
Vibration can be an issue with many weed eaters, especially gas-powered models. This can be tiring if you are using the tool for an extended session of trimming or chewing through brush. Some brands now build anti-vibration technology into their string trimmers, usually in the form of a handle that helps reduce some of the vibration. You can cut down even further on unpleasant hand numbness or fatigue by wearing a good pair of thick work gloves while you use your weed eater.
Since you’ll be holding your weed eater the entire time you are working, its weight can become an issue. You don’t want to be tired out before you finish your edging or trimming. As a general rule, electric weed eaters are quite a bit lighter than gas-powered models. The Ryobi ONE 18V Cordless Electric String Trimmer weighs a mere four pounds.
Most electric weed eaters weigh 12 pounds or less, although battery-powered models are usually heavier than those with a cord. Gas weed whackers generally weigh between 12 and 18 pounds.
Any weed eater should have a protective guard over the string to help keep rocks and other debris from flying toward you. However, you should always wear closed shoes, long pants, and eye protection when using these tools. Most weed whackers have the power switch placed so you can easily shut the tool off immediately should there be an emergency.
Straight or Curved Shaft
There are two basic styles of weed eater shafts: straight and curved. Curved shafts are generally easier to maneuver around rocks and other obstacles and are less tiring to the user’s back during long work sessions. However, straight shafts give you more reach and can be extended underneath shrubs or fences. Weed eaters with straight shafts often have a little more power, and battery run-time tends to be a little longer on these tools as well, but the choice between the two mostly comes down to personal preference.
Weed whackers work by spinning a thin plastic string-like cord very rapidly, which creates enough force to slice through grass, weeds, and brush. Most weed eaters have a roll of string within the base of the tool, so you can reel out more as the cord wears down, which can happen fairly quickly when working on thick brush or grass. There are three basic methods for reeling out more cord:
- Automatic feed senses when the cord is getting short and reels out more without you needing to do anything. The Greenworks 5.5 Amp 15-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer is an auto-feed weed whacker.
- Push-button feed requires you to push a button on the weed eater’s handle to reel out more string.
- Bump-feed weed eaters reel out more cord when the trimmer is bumped against the ground.
Once the reel of string is empty, you’ll need to refill it. This is a fairly simple process for most weed eaters, but be sure to read the instructions before attempting it for the first time.
Note that there are also different thicknesses of string-trimmer lines or strings: as a general rule, 0.065-inch to 0.085-inch string is for light-to-moderate trimming of grass and weeds. For heavier weeds, brush, or tough grass, string that’s between 0.085-inches and 0.110-inches is required. Many string trimmers can use different sizes of line so you can switch them out if necessary.
Most string trimmers have just one set speed. Some higher-end models, including the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cordless String Trimmer, however, let you adjust the speed with either a two-speed setting or variable control. This allows you to speed up the tool for more power while tackling thicker growth or tougher brush, or slow the speed down to extend battery run-time when working on small weeds or grass.
Some string trimmers have heads that can be adjusted from a horizontal position to a vertical orientation, which allows them to be used as an edger as well as a trimmer. Others, including the DeWALT 60-Volt Cordless Attachment-Capable String Trimmer Kit, allow you to attach a variety of separately purchased heads for other landscaping tasks such as cultivating soil, shearing hedges, mowing grass, or blowing leaves.
The vast majority of weed eaters are stringed tools, using a thin plastic cord that spins very rapidly to cut through grass and weeds. There are more powerful, but similar tools often called “brush cutters,” that use metal blades instead of plastic cord to chop through thick brush, tough weeds, and highly overgrown grass. Some weed eaters can be converted for use with blades as well as with plastic cord. Typically, only a gas weed eater has the power to convert to metal blades for cutting thick brush. The electric corded or cordless models that can cut with blades, as well as cord, typically can only handle plastic blades. These can cut light brush but can’t handle thick, woody stems as a metal-bladed brush cutter can. Neither a string nor blade weed eater is necessarily better; the best choice depends on your specific needs and the condition of your property.
Both gas and electric weed eaters have their pros and cons. Gas-powered weed eaters are stronger and aren’t tethered to an electrical outlet. However, gas weed eaters require filling with gas and oil and create smelly fumes. They are generally much louder than electric models and vibrate more during use. They are also heavier and more costly than electric models. However, for maintaining a large property or tackling thick brush or very overgrown weeds, a gas weed eater can be the better choice. For most yard cleanup, however, an electric weed eater, whether corded or cordless, is sufficient to handle grass, weeds, and light brush that isn’t too woody. Electric weed eaters don’t create smelly fumes and don’t require you to keep gasoline on hand. They generally are much quieter than gas-powered models and don’t vibrate as heavily during use, which makes them easier on your hands and arms.
There are pros and cons to both two-stroke and four-stroke (also called “two-cycle” and “four-cycle”) gas-powered weed eaters. Fewer moving parts means that two-stroke weed eaters are lighter in weight and easier to maintain than four-stroke models. They generally also have quite a bit more power. However, you will need to mix the gas with oil for two-stroke trimmers. If you’re looking for a quieter model that produces lower emissions, a four-stroke gas trimmer is the way to go. Another benefit: with four-stroke models, no mixing of gas and oil is required. Keep in mind, these models are pricier and generally weigh more than two-stroke weed eaters.
There are gas weed eaters for home use with 20 cc engines and professional models with as much as 50 cc engines, but the majority of gas-powered weed eaters used by the average homeowner have 22 cc to 28 cc engines, which provide plenty of power for tackling overgrown weeds, grass, and brush. When it comes to electric weed eaters, corded models for very light use might have as little motor power as 3 amps or as much as 10 amps, but for typical home use, a motor in the middle of that range is more than sufficient. Cordless weed eaters can use batteries between 18 volts and 80 volts, but again, the middle of that range is generally powerful enough for regular home use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, who specializesin home and garden products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers. To choose the best weed eaters for this article, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews, considering each product’s power source, performance, ease of use, versatility, and price point. She received additional input from Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love.
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Walk-behind VS Handheld Trimmer. Best option?
Despite their appearance, wheeled string trimmers are not so complex compared to their handheld counterparts. These types of trimmers are hybrids between handle trimmers and traditional push mowers. In other words, they combined the best features of both. Nonetheless, depending on the intended usage, these trimmers have their drawbacks.
It is very important to know the difference between the three types of trimmers: handle trimmers wheeled trimmers, and mowers. They all have pros and cons. We will be covering most of them in this article. To better understand the befits, let’s first take a look at the design of the mower.
It is not a ”DR”!
Walk-behind or wheeled string trimmers are often referred to as DR Trimmer Mower, however, DR is a company and not the type. Although DR “Done right” is well known for making these types of trimmers, they are many other companies that produced them.
Why pick a handle trimmer?
For general usage, traditional handheld trimmers are the popular choice because the design is simple. You have an engine (2stroke or 4stroke) mounted at the end of a shaft and a trimmer head on the next end. This lightweight design makes it easy for most individuals to carry and maneuver the trimmer by hand. These types of trimmers (brush-cutter) can be divided into three categories which are: looped handle, bike handle, and backpack. All have their advantages but generally, work the same way.
Why pick a wheeled trimmer?
A wheeled trimmer applies the same concept with the engine mounted unto a frame on wheels. Sound familiar? Well, that’s because it is basically a mower minus the blade deck. This design allows for a much bigger engine, usually, a 4-stroke Briggs Stratton found on most pushed mowers. Some companies like STHIL and Ryobi make a smaller 2-stroke version of these wheeled trimmers, however, it lacks the same power.
To summarize it all. You should get a handle trimmer if you have a smaller residential area, sloped property, or need to maneuver around a lot of obstacles. A Harness is available if you suffer from back pain or lack the physical strength to carry a weed-eater for extended periods.
On the other hand, a wheeled trimmer is a better option if you have a larger and flat area to cover. A wheeled trimmer also has more power compared to a regular handle, so it can devour thicker vegetations like saplings or blackberries. In terms of the price difference, handle general is cheaper, however, this all depends on the brand.