The 5 Best Cordless String Trimmers of 2023
After researching 60 different cordless string trimmers, we bought the 9 best models on the market today and tested them head-to-head to find out which ones eat up weeds best. We tested their weed slashing performance in a series of comparative tests, cutting through dense patches of grass and burly weeds, and making precision cuts around obstacles. We also measured how noisy each model is, as well as maximum runtime, plus ergonomics and ease of use. To find out which weed eater cut through the competition, which is your best bet on a budget, and which models will work with your existing cordless tool batteries, check out the rest of the review below.
In addition to string trimmers, our team can be seen in the field testing top-tier cordless leaf blowers and the best cordless lawn mowers, among many other electric tools. We’ve tested over 135 electric power tools over the last several years. This gives us unique insight into performance over an entire line of electric tools, so if you’re enticed by the performance of a Makita string trimmer you can check out how a Makita cordless circular saw or chainsaw stacks up before you commit to a brand and its batteries. Don’t forget, of course, about our curated list of the best tools on the market.
Editor’s Note: We updated this revised on November 21, 2022, sharing more info on our scoring metrics.
Best Overall Cordless String Trimmer
Makita XRU15PT 36V
For the cordless string trimmer that does it all exceptionally well, look no further than the Makita XRU15PT 36V. The amount of strength and ability to manipulate even the most resistant weeds and plants is highly impressive. This machine handles detailed work with ease, helping to straighten lawn edges quickly and effectively. Cycling through the three speed settings enables the user to operate the trimmer at its ideal speed for the job at hand. It’s easy to use and comfortable to wield, thanks to its ergonomic grip. In addition, it has a long runtime and isn’t overly loud compared to some other models.
Considering all the attributes, our complaints with this model are minor. However, they are worth noting. For instance, we had to reference the instructions to figure out how to replace the line after it had run out. Once we did, the process was about as easy as it could be. Although there is more weight to handle on this trimmer, the weight is so well-balanced with the ergonomic grip that we didn’t find it to be an issue. If you want a robust cordless trimmer that can handle all of your weed-eating needs, we wholeheartedly recommend the Makita XRU15PT 36V.
Best Bang for Your Buck
If you’re looking to stretch your dollar with a string trimmer purchase, check out the BlackDecker LST136. We were impressed with this small machine’s abilities as its work stood up to considerably more expensive models that we tested. It’s one of the lightest and easiest to handle, all while running much quieter than some of the top trimmers. The six different operating modes help meet a variety of weed trimming scenarios, and it boasts a healthy runtime.
Unfortunately, this trimmer did get a little overwhelmed when working through very thick weed patches or tough-stemmed plants. It also has one of the larger guards, which can get in the way when making detailed cuts — though it is quite effective at stopping plant and weed debris from getting thrown back at you. Ultimately, if you don’t need a serious beast of a weed-eater, this is one of our favorite budget options for a cordless trimmer.
Another Great Bargain Option
Craftsman V20 Weedwacker
The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker is an excellent, effective tool for keeping your small or medium-sized yard looking great, as well as light-duty brush clearing. It’s lightweight and easy to break out for quick jobs or cleaning up what your mower missed and replacing the spring when it runs out is a simple and easy process. The spool head will receive a lot of abuse as it’s dragged and bumped against the ground, and Craftsman even offers a very affordable replacement.
For bigger jobs where thick grasses and brush have really taken over, the light and relatively quiet V20 Weedwhacker does not have enough power. It does a better job of maintaining the yard rather than transforming it. During testing, the battery life averaged only 35 minutes. Although this isn’t very long, it should suffice for edging along smaller lawns. While the guard effectively shielded us from debris, it was a little too large for detailed work. There are certainly more powerful models with even longer battery life, but we feel this cordless string trimmer is the best choice for the average homeowner on a budget.
Best for Large Areas
If you need to clear large areas of vegetation, then the Husqvarna 115iL is a great option to consider. This string trimmer had one of the longest runtimes of all the products we have tested to date, cutting weeds and plants long after other models needed to stop and recharge. The Husqvarna 115iL also offers a slow and fast mode to provide you with an awesome amount of control, whether cutting around delicate objects or clearing wide swathes of grass. It isn’t particularly loud and supplies a decent amount of power when cutting through tougher plants with thicker stems.
On the downside, the Husqvarna can be a bit more cumbersome to use than some of the other products. It has a shorter neck that forced our testers to stand closer to the cutting head than they would have liked. It can also be a pain to hold vertically. The guard is on the smaller side, which is nice when making precise cuts since it doesn’t obstruct your view, but it’s far less effective at stopping flying debris than other products. Despite these flaws, it’s hard to beat the Husqvarna if you have tons of weeds and plants to clear and don’t want to buy extra batteries to get the job done.
Best for Dense Vegetation
Ego Power STA1500 Attachment
If you need a string trimmer that can handle dense plants and grass without a struggle, then it’s worth checking out the Ego Power STA1500 string trimming attachment for the Ego Power Power Head. It is easily one of the most powerful string trimmers of the group and sliced through dense weeds and tall grass without difficulty. It can clear areas that would have stopped other products dead in their tracks. We also think it’s fairly comfortable to use and a compact way to add a cordless string trimmer to your arsenal if you have the aforementioned Power Head.
However, it can be quite a pricey purchase if you don’t already have the Power Head and this trimmer can feel like it has too much power for average yards. The guard didn’t prevent freshly-cut weeds from getting flung back at us, and precision work can be quite difficult. It’s hard to avoid cutting trenches, and the Ego Power STA1500 can be brutal on things like birdbaths, outdoor lights, or the side of your house if you aren’t careful when using it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a great option if you need heavy-duty string trimming capabilities and plan to get other Ego cordless tools.
Why You Should Trust Us
To say we put each string trimmer through its paces would be an understatement. We implemented 72 individual tests between the 9 trimmers in the review, running each through the same 8 tests to comparatively assess aspects ranging from weed-eating power to noise levels. This allows us to rank each in accordance with its performance in each metric and make special recommendations for the specific needs of homeowners or anyone looking to improve their yard. We paid retail price for each model to ensure an unbiased assessment of these string trimmers.
Our expert string trimmer testing and review team is lead by Michelle Powell and David Wise. Michelle has made a career of evaluating products side-by-side, comprehensively testing, and scoring the smallest details, and differentiating factors on everything from coffee grinders to cordless power tools. Additionally, she also brings extensive lawn care experience to the table. David has formal training as a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in lithium batteries and electrical power systems, which he gained from working on electric vehicles and underwater robots.
Analysis and Test Results
In total, we conducted a dozen distinct tests that we divided among four weighted rating metrics. Each of these metrics — Weed Eating, Ease of Use, Battery Life, and Noise — are weighted proportional to their importance to overall string trimmer performance. The score for each metric is determined by the performance of each trimmer in the tests composing each metric.
Which Cordless String Trimmer Offers the Better Value?
If you’re shopping for a bargain weed eater, then two models stand out: the BlackDecker LST136 and the Craftsmen V20 Weedwacker. These typically cost about half as much — or even a little less — than our top-scoring model, the Makita XRU15PT, and both are solid string trimmers, costing about the same.
The BlackDecker model is a bit more powerful than the Craftsman, and it also has longer battery life. Deciding between the two will likely come down to the size of your yard. Both are lightweight and great for quick clean-up tasks. While neither is up to snuff for professional operations, both are worthy of consideration for the average homeowner.
Which String Trimmer Cuts Weeds the Best?
Weed-eating performance composes the greatest share of a product’s overall score. To rank and compare the weed eating skills of each string trimmer, we looked at the effectiveness of each model when it came to clearing weeds from an area and how each handled dense and hard-to-cut vegetation, as well as how much precision you have for trimming edges and cleaning up small areas.
A pair of trimmers tied for the top spot when it came to eating weeds; namely, the Makita XRU15PT 36V and the Ego Power STA1500 Attachment. Both are exceptionally effective at eliminating weeds, cutting through pretty much any grasses, weeds, shrubs, and bushes we pitted them against smoothly and effectively. They both tackled tall grass and dense weeds with ease, even cutting through burly stalks and stems without showing any sign of a struggle.
The Ego Power STA1500 has just a bit more power than the Makita XRU15PT — almost to the point where the Ego Power STA1500 might be overkill for typical lawn care. While this extra power is handy for the toughest of weeds, it can be difficult to edge or trim precisely. You can angle the head to get into small spaces, but it can be hard to cut near anything delicate without damaging it or cutting inadvertent trenches into your lawn. This excessive power is made much worse by the Ego Power STA1500’s sensitive trigger, making it difficult to maintain a consistent speed.
Although the Makita XRU15PT can’t quite match the Ego Power STA1500 when it comes to raw power, it is superior in close quarters. It has a slow setting and feels very nimble to control, allowing you to make carefully angled cuts or clear areas around sprinklers, lawn ornaments, and other items without damaging them.
The Husqvarna 115iL and the BlackDecker LST136 both performed decently for their string trimming performance. The Husqvarna 115iL was easily sliced through most patches of weeds and grasses, but it occasionally stalled when we tried to tackle dense vegetation clusters.
The Husqvarna 115iL has a comparatively small guard and is lightweight, making it one of the more maneuverable models when it comes to removing weeds from tight spaces. However, it doesn’t have a very long reach, so you need to get fairly close to the end to see exactly what you are trimming.
The BlackDecker LST136 doesn’t have quite as much power as some of the top models, but it can cut through most weeds and plants without issue. It can stall when cutting through the thickest stems and plants, but we rarely found this to be an issue with typical yards.
The lower speed setting also works great for making detailed cuts, but we found that it works better when used in a sweeping side-to-side motion rather than cutting in a straight line. We also like that it is one of the easiest models to replace the cutting line on.
Ease of Use
Like the Weed Eating metric, Ease of Use also constitutes 30% of the total score for each cordless string trimmer. Here we compared the weight and guard design of each trimmer, as well as how comfortable and balanced they are to hold. We also compared the ease of replacing and feeding the line and noted if there was a shoulder strap attachment.
The Makita XRU15PT 36V again earned the top score in this metric. It is exceptionally well balanced, with the battery end of the trimmer only slightly heavier than the head, making it easy to carry one-handed and to wield through fields of grass. The molded, ergonomic grip makes it easy to keep a good grip without working too hard. We also liked the guard on this model because it doesn’t detract from your ability to do precise cuts while maintaining an equivalent degree of protection. The Makita XRU15PT includes a shoulder strap attachment as well.
This trimmer employs a bump feed to dispense more string, but it’s a little more difficult to replace the string than some of the other models. There aren’t alignment indicators on the spool, which forced us to consult a manual, but it was straightforward once we became familiar with it. This minor drawback should only be an issue once or twice, after which you’ll get the hang of it.
The Ego Power STA1500 Attachment by Ego, Craftsman V20 Weedwacker, and the BlackDecker LST136 all scored well regarding convenience and ease of use. The Ego Power STA1500 has a very straightforward mechanism for adding more line. The line threads into the part you remove, so you don’t need to be as careful about making sure everything lines up properly when you reassemble the head.
The Ego Power STA1500 has a bump feed to dispense more line, and we found it quite comfortable to carry. It has a cushy handle and is very well-balanced, but the guard didn’t seem to be as effective as other models, with debris flying back at us on a semi-regular basis depending on the type of cut. However, this model does not have a shoulder strap attachment.
The BlackDecker LST136 and Craftsman V20 Weedwacker are both very simple to pick up and use right away, scoring quite equally in their user-friendliness. Both are very lightweight, making them easiest to handle and finesse in tight areas around obstacles. They’re fairly comfortable to use for long periods, even without a shoulder strap, and their grips are easy to hold. Line replacement is also very straightforward.
Our next metric focused on the battery system of each string trimmer, and this accounts for 25% of each product’s final score. We based the bulk of this score on the maximum runtime for each product and awarded extra points to models with different speed settings because it allows you to maximize the battery life by throttling down when extra speed is unnecessary. We measured the runtime for these weed eaters when they weren’t actually eating weeds, so you’ll probably get lower numbers if you’re chewing through dense vegetation or particularly stubborn weeds.
The Greenworks 14-inch 40V, the Makita XRU15PT. and the Husqvarna 115iL all tied for the first place position in this test. These all lasted for around 90 minutes before the batteries gave out, and they each have a series of different speed settings.
Performance dropped a bit with the remaining trimmers. The Snapper XD 82V clocked in at 48 minutes of runtime and has two operating modes, but we didn’t notice a huge difference between the two modes except for the amount of noise produced. The low power mode still seems plenty powerful to chew through pretty much anything with the line we used. However, the difference between the two modes might be more noticeable with a different line.
Our final metric focused on the amount of noise that each cordless string trimmer generated while in use. To determine scores, we used a sound level meter to measure the noise from each cordless string trimmer at a distance of 3 feet and had a panel of judges rate how annoying the sounds were at the same distance and from 50 feet away.
The Makita XRU15PT took home the top spot in this metric. Our meter recorded 85 decibels when this model was in use. We noticed, however, that it has a particularly high-pitched whine on startup that is rather irritating. The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker registered 84 decibels, but also suffered from an annoying, high-pitched whine.
The BlackDecker LST136 trimmer registered sound levels of 85.9 decibels on our meter when it was placed about 3 feet away, though we did find that it has a bit of a high-pitched whine.
The Husqvarna and the Snapper both followed. We recorded sound levels of 88.5 decibels for the Snapper XD. The Husqvarna is very loud on startup, registering 105 decibels, but this quickly drops to around 95 decibels while operating the string trimmer. The Snapper has a whine that can be quite grating, while our judges believe the Husqvarna’s sound is one of the least annoying; it’s just loud.
Whether you need a powerhouse trimmer to tackle the toughest weeds or a lightweight budget model for some minor yard maintenance, we hope this analysis and review has helped you find the perfect cordless string trimmer to match
The 8 Best Weed Whackers for a Tidy, Weed-Free Lawn
Top weed whacker models, like the Ego Power 15-Inch string trimmer, make it easy to keep your lawn looking trim.
Marcus Reeves is an experienced writer, publisher, and fact-checker. He began his writing career reporting for The Source magazine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. His book Somebody Scream: Rap Music’s Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power was nominated for a Zora Neale Hurston Award. He is an adjunct instructor at New York University, where he teaches writing and communications. Marcus received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
In This Article
Whether you know it as a weed whacker, weed eater, weed trimmer, stringer, or string trimmer, this handy yard tool is a must for getting rid of weeds on and around your lawn. A weed whacker can cut weeds and tall grass in hard-to-reach areas along sidewalks, fencing, shrubs, and groundcover—a must-do on the checklist of seasonal landscape maintenance.
We spoke to lawn experts at WWCS Environmental Services to get the lowdown on how to best use a weed whacker for weed removal and lawn health. “A good weed whacker is a great lawn maintenance tool to use in combination with a mower and weed killer to keep a lawn in top condition,” says Ashley Platen-Mills, the director of WWCS Environmental Services.
We researched some of the best weed whackers on the market based on important factors like their power, price, shaft style and grip, and how much they weigh so as not to cause back strain or user fatigue. We also looked at how easy the string is to replace and safety features.
Ego Power 15-Inch String Trimmer with Powerload
- As a cordless string trimmer, you can expect around 25 to 30 minutes of use out of it per charge, which, though considered good for a battery-powered weed whacker, might not be enough for larger properties.
Providing just as much cutting power as a gas model, but without the fumes and high maintenance requirements, the Ego Power 15-Inch String Trimmer is our choice for the best weed whacker. Manually replacing a string line on a weed whacker can be an arduous task, but this model has a feature that winds the trimmer automatically—all you have to do is feed the line into the trimmer’s head and press a button.
The perks of this trimmer don’t end there; it has one of the strongest shafts of any weed whacker currently on the market, and, thanks to its carbon fiber construction, it’s incredibly lightweight so you won’t tire as you carry it around your yard powering through various landscaping chores.
It features a large 15-inch cutting width to cover more area as well as variable speed control so you can customize your weed-whacking experience to your lawn’s needs. In addition, it has a brushless motor, which is known to extend motor life as well as provide a longer running time than other cordless models. The company also provides a lifetime warranty, so you’re guaranteed a strong, durable, and efficient yard work tool that will last forever.
Price at time of publish: 250
Power: Cordless 2.5-amp hour 56-volt battery | Cutting width: 15 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Shaft length: 42 inches | Feed system: Bump
Echo 21.2 cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer
- It has a manual pull start (no electric start), so the weed whacker will need to be kept warm and dry in order to start on the first pull. You’ll also need to add oil to the gas (2.6 ounces to every gallon for a 50:1 ratio).
Gas power tools are typically the preferred option for professional landscapers and gardeners, and this Echo 21.2cc Gas 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer makes it clear why. Providing 21.2cc of power, this machine is user-friendly for homeowners and comfortable to hold thanks to its cushioned ergonomic handles situated at the front and rear for better handling and grip.
Since this tool is gas-powered, it is ideal for use on larger properties. The anti-vibration design, along with its fairly low weight of just 11.5 pounds, allows you to use it for longer without getting tired.
The gas tank is see-through, so you can easily see when it’s running low on fuel. There’s also a shield to protect you from flying lawn debris. It has a long 59-inch shaft that provides extra reach for hard-to-access places, and the exhaust blows towards the back, which means it can be used comfortably by both left- and right-handed users.
Though it has a bump feed system, the “bump” required is more like a tap, which means you don’t have to worry about breaking the tool every time you want to advance the line.
Price at time of publish: 340
Power: Gas 21.2cc, 2-stroke engine | Cutting width: 17 inches | Weight: 11.5 pounds | Shaft length: 59 inches | Feed system: Bump
Best Corded Electric
BlackDecker 14-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer
With no need to recharge batteries or refuel, the BlackDecker 14-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer lets you FOCUS on where to plug it in and which weeds to whack. This handy tool is not only economical, but it also doubles up as an edger with the simple flip of the unit, making it our choice for the best corded weed whacker.
The string trimmer can get to tight spots, like up against fencing and along your flower beds, where your lawnmower can’t (or shouldn’t) go, and the edger side can neatly trim, regardless of your lawn shape, all the its edges along the driveway and sidewalk.
Its cord retention system ensures that the cord won’t accidentally become unplugged or get in the way while you’re working, and the weed whacker’s adjustable shaft height means that you can customize it to a length that suits you and all members of the family. At only 5.3 pounds, this tool provides for easy trimming and is light enough to not cause user fatigue or strain.
If you’re looking for an economical way to keep the lawn neat and tidy and don’t mind having to be near an electrical outlet, this is the tool for you.
Price at time of publish: 69
Power: Corded electric, 6.5-amp motor | Cutting width: 14 inches | Weight: 5.3 pounds | Shaft length: 45.5 inches | Feed system: Automatic
Worx 20V Power Share GT Revolution 12-Inch String Trimmer
A battery-powered string trimmer is one of those must-have outdoor power tools. The Worx 20V Power Share GT Revolution cordless string trimmer is not only lightweight at just 5.5 pounds, it also has two rubber support wheels to make it even easier to push along while weed whacking, trimming, edging, or even doing a little mowing (this tool is also a mini mower). Its 90-degree pivoting head allows you to get into your lawn’s nooks and crannies easier, and it has an adjustable ergonomic handle that can change between seven positions for maximum comfort and easy handling.
This machine is impressively strong (with up to 100 pounds of tensile strength, according to the manufacturer) and has an aerodynamic design that has been made to reduce drag. It can run for 40 to 60 minutes on a fully-charged battery, which works out to about 20,000 feet of lawn edges. Keep in mind, though, that the wheels do not swivel, which may make it harder to edge along a curved path.
We also like that it has a handy extra string spool holder on the trimmer, so you’ll always have string when you need it. Automatic feeds often mean that the line runs out quite quickly, but one of the best things about Worx trimmers is that the company provides free spools for life if you run out—all you have to do is pay for postage and processing.
Price at time of publish: 150
Power: Cordless 4-amp hour 20-volt battery | Cutting width: 12 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Shaft length: 48 inches | Feed system: Automatic
Craftsman 159cc Wheeled String Trimmer
- There is no on/off switch, electric start, or idle mode, and it turns off as soon as you release the bar, meaning you must start it again via the pull start. This does, however, save fuel.
like a lawnmower than a weed whacker, both in appearance and use, this Craftsman 159cc Wheeled String Trimmer provides a different type of lawn trimming experience, one that is preferred by many over the usual types of weed trimmers on the market.
Since it’s a walk-behind machine, you don’t have to lift it in order to use it, which saves you backache and reduces user fatigue. Though it has a manual feed system, it’s very easy to change out the string, so this shouldn’t be a concern.
Its large 14-inch wheels make maneuverability a breeze, and it also has an impressively large cutting width of 22 inches, which allows you to cover more ground in less time. It can cut thick and unruly grass, weeds, and sticks on large properties, and it has six cutting heights to choose from, ranging from 2.4 to 4.4 inches.
While it is a pull-start machine, it has an auto choke system that means you don’t have to prime the engine before starting it up. It also has a foldable handle that makes it easier to store neatly away.
Power: Gas, 159cc 4-cycle overhead valve engine | Cutting width: 22 inches | Weight: 78.7 pounds | Length: 34.6 inches | Feed system: Manual
Best for Large Yards
Husqvarna 18.5 in. 336FR Pro Gas-Powered Brushcutter
- This tool is one of the most powerful weed whackers available and is built to last. It’s ideal for anyone with a very large yard with thick grasses and weeds to get rid of.
Though technically not classed as a weed whacker, this Husqvarna brush cutter can do everything a weed whacker can and more. Thanks to its much thicker trimmer line, grass blade, and saw blade, it is capable of getting through the thickest grasses, reeds, stalks, and even small trees. It’s the optimal tool for working on larger yards and overgrown parts of your property, but you won’t need this much power if you have a small yard.
Though it’s a gas power tool, it has been designed to use less fuel and emit fewer exhaust emissions.
Since this tool is a little heavier than other weed whacker models, it comes with a body harness that is worn by the user and strapped to the tool to distribute its weight evenly, making it much easier to lift and maneuver, without causing back pain or user fatigue. It also has a bike-style soft-grip handlebar for more user comfort and ease of use.
While it does technically have a bump feed system, it needs nothing more than a small tap on the ground to activate the line change, making it less likely to damage the unit.
Price at time of publish: 669
Power: Gas, 1.9 horsepower, 34.6cc engine | Cutting width: 18.5 inches | Weight: 15.4 pounds | Length: 58.4 inches | Feed system: Bump
Ryobi ONE 18-Volt Cordless Battery String Trimmer
At just 4 pounds, this Ryobi string trimmer and edger is so light that it almost feels like a toy to handle, but that’s not to say that it lacks in performance. On the contrary, this weed whacker and edger is tough on weeds, cutting them down in just one pass. It features a rotatable shaft that shifts the tool from weed trimmer to edger, and its grip is ergonomic, making it even easier to handle and maneuver around tighter spaces, such as small backyard gardens.
Though it provides a rather short run time of around 10 minutes, charging the battery fully only takes an hour, and if you have a second battery handy, you can easily get through a small- to medium-sized yard without any issues. It has an easy auto-feed system that advances the line every time you let go of the trigger, and it comes with a three-year warranty, too.
Price at time of publish: 69
Power: Cordless, 1.5-amp hour 18-volt battery | Cutting width: 10 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Shaft length: 42 inches | Feed system: Automatic
Greenworks 5.5 Amp 15-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer
- This economical weed whacker proves that there’s no need to break the bank in order to keep the corners and edges of your lawn looking spick and span.
For residential use on a smaller-sized lawn, you don’t need to shell out hundreds on a high-end weed whacker when a budget option, like this 5.5-amp string trimmer from Greenworks, will clean up your yard easily and effectively in very little time.
Simple to use with an automatic line feed system, this unit has a rotating and pivoting head that can be adjusted to four different positions for getting into every hard-to-reach corner of your yard and provide a nice clean line along landscape edging.
The handy wheels on the edger side make trimming along driveways, pathways, and sidewalks practically effortless, and, to change the device into an edger, all you have to do is press a button. There’s not a guard on the edger side, so it is a little messier when it comes to flying lawn clippings than when using the trimming side, but that’s a small price to pay for its economical cost, light weight, and constant flow of corded electric power.
Price at time of publish: 40
Power: Corded electric, 5.5-amp | Cutting width: 15 inches | Weight: 7.3 pounds | Shaft length: 41 inches | Feed system: Automatic
The Bottom Line
The super-strong and durable Ego Power 15-Inch String Trimmer with Powerload was our overall top pick of the best weed whackers due to its sturdy carbon fiber shaft, 30-minute runtime (considered good for a cordless weed whacker), large 15-inch cutting swath, and easy automatic string feed system. What’s more, it has a lifetime warranty that, in effect, guarantees you a tool that could potentially last forever.
What to Know About Weed Whackers Before Shopping
In terms of power, weed whackers typically come in two main varieties: gas and electric. A gas version offers more power, while an electric model is quieter, more lightweight, and generally easier to use. Electric battery-powered trimmers are a good option for home use because they’re more maneuverable than gas options or corded electric models.
Corded electric weed whackers offer continuous power without needing to charge batteries, but you’ll be limited to the area your extension cord can reach.
As with all gas-powered tools, a gas weed whacker requires you to handle fuel and put up with the fumes it emits. Yearly maintenance by a professional is also a must, but if you’re confident enough, you can do it yourself with a good YouTube tutorial.
These tools come in varying sizes and weights, but thankfully, modern weed whackers are much lighter than their predecessors, making them easier to use by just about anyone. A gas weed whacker is typically a little heavier than its electric counterpart since you have to factor in the fuel weight, too, but on average, you’ll find that the best weed whackers weigh around 5 to 10 pounds.
You can also choose between a curved or straight shaft. The curved shafts can feel better-balanced and easier to use but may have less torque, while the straight ones will have a longer reach and can more easily double up as edging tools. A straight shaft also puts less strain on the interior mechanisms of the weed whacker and is more likely to be able to handle different attachments.
A feed system releases the cutting string—the line the tool uses to cut the weeds down—to the head of a weed whacker. The string, which is typically made of plastic, needs to be advanced every few yards or so since it gets considerably worn down. Old weed whackers required the string to be changed manually by hand, but most trimmers nowadays have much easier feed systems, the main two for residential use being a bump feed and an automatic feed.
- Bump feed: These systems are fully user-controlled and will only release more line when you bump the weed whacker on the ground. This is a straightforward system, but you do have to be careful not to damage the tool while bumping it.
- Automatic feed: An auto-feed system is more intuitive and will release more line when it detects that it is time for new string. Though auto-feed systems give you one less thing to worry about, they are often a little more expensive than bump-feed systems in terms of buying price and repairs. You may also find that it goes through spools of string faster than a model with a bump feed system.
Top 5 Best Battery Powered String Trimmers Reviews in 2023
Your Questions, Answered
When should you use a weed whacker?
One of the best practices to avoid potential lawn issues in the summer is to use your weed whacker in conjunction with a lawn mower every time you mow the lawn, which could be once a week from springtime on. A lawn mower isn’t able to trim the grass and weeds along the edges of sidewalks and driveways or get into corners, nooks, or the bases of sharp inclines, which is why a weed whacker is necessary. “You can use a weed whacker all year round for the best lawn maintenance,” Ashley Platen-Mills says. “However, weekly use, along with your lawn mower, will be required during the growing season, which is typically March through October.”
You’ll also want to use a weed whacker near delicate flower beds instead of taking the mower right up to them. While a weed whacker is the tool of choice for hard-to-reach areas, be careful not to cut grass against trees as this can cause severe damage to the bark and tree in general. “Remember to keep it 2 inches off the grass when trimming and go over the lawn with a weed whacker first before using the mower,” Platen-Mills says. This way, the lawn mower will chop the clippings, too, and either bag them or mulch them, depending on the type of mower you have.
Can you use a weed whacker on wet grass?
While you can use a weed whacker on wet grass, it isn’t advisable. “Using a trimmer on wet grass will more than likely end up ripping the grass rather than cutting it cleanly,” Platen-Mills says. “This can lead to scalping and bald patches.” Scalping is when too much grass is removed at once, resulting in unsightly stubbly brown patches. “It’s better to use the string trimmer when the lawn is dry in the areas where you can’t take a lawn mower, and then use the lawnmower to go over and collect the trimmings.”
How do you clean a weed whacker?
There’s no need to give these tools a detail clean or wash them off with water. “Straight after use, wipe the weed whacker down well with a stiff brush to get rid of any lawn clippings and soil,” Platen-Mills recommends. In addition to keeping the tool generally clean, yearly maintenance of gas models is necessary in order to check the fuel, oil, engine, spark plugs, and the blade on weed whacker-mower combo models.
Who We Are
This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over 10 years of commerce-writing experience. Kat is also the Commerce Editor-at-Large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this best weed whacker article, Kat reviewed and tested multiple weed whackers; spoke to lawn maintenance experts at WWCS Environmental Services, including its director, Ashley Platen-Mills; and researched and considered factors such as each weed whacker’s power, cutting swath, shaft length and style, durability, as well as value for money.
gardening tool manufacturers are opting for battery power over fuel or electric, and today’s string trimmers are a case in point. We tested these eco-friendly yard maintenance devices to help consumers make the right purchase for their property.
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Handy outdoor power tools make quick work of tackling overgrown weeds and grass, giving the yard a tidy look and trimming hedges and shrubs. We put battery-powered trimmers through their paces on several grass or weed types to see how well they ran and cut, ultimately arriving at this list of the best battery trimmers.
For ensuring a polished look to a lawn, the best string trimmer is a great investment. These yard-care tools spin a cutting head loaded with nylon string (instead of a fixed blade) to cleanly trim the grass at the edge of a lawn or mow down weedy areas. Though gas and electric models once dominated, new and improved battery-powered versions don’t require mixing fuel or storing gasoline like gas string trimmers do, nor are they limited by the length of an extension cord, like corded electric string trimmers are.
Some battery trimmers are better suited to different-size yards, users, and budgets. So we could help consumers make the right choice, we tested some of the most popular string trimmers to find out how they perform under real-world conditions. To qualify as a top pick, a string trimmer should be durable, powerful, and easy to operate. The string line should exit the reel easily with no need for the user to constantly remove the reel cover and untangle the line.
The following battery-powered string trimmers are at the top of their class. Anyone looking to invest in a trimmer is likely to find one here to fit their landscaping needs.
- BEST OVERALL:STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
- RUNNER-UP:Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
- UPGRADE PICK:Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT:BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
- BEST FOR SMALL YARDS:Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
- BEST DUAL DIRECTION:Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
- BEST TRIMMER/EDGER COMBO:Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
- MOST VERSATILE:Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
How We Tested the Best Battery Trimmers
To truly test these battery-powered string trimmers, we started by assembling the tools and charging the batteries. Most trimmers arrived with the batteries about 25 percent charged right out of the box, but a full charge allowed us to gauge runtime at full power. Although some of the trimmers offer lower power settings that could extend runtime, we found that the lower settings simply made them less capable when it came to coarse weeds, so we ran them at full power for testing.
We put each trimmer through its paces in a variety of real-world scenarios: “clean” lawn grass, weedy grass, and natural areas featuring coarse, weedy seedlings and vines. To earn a spot in our lineup, the lightweight 20-volt (V) trimmers had to deliver a clean, crisp cut in both clean and weedy grass sections. In addition to trimming the grass zones, we used the 36V, 56V, and 80V models to cut through woody, viny growth in natural areas. Along with cutting power, we tested for battery runtime, maneuverability, and operator comfort and determined the best battery trimmer by category.
Our Top Picks
These reviews describe the key features of each cordless string trimmer and how the models performed in our backyard tests.
STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
It makes sense that the STIHL FSA 60 R would be a top performer in this test group. It comes from a brand with a long history of industry-leading outdoor power equipment. This string trimmer measures just over 66 inches long, weighs less than 10 pounds with the battery installed, and works for about 25 minutes per charge. The 36V 3.9 amp hours (Ah) battery charges in a little more than 2 hours.
The tough polymer material used for the motor housing and debris shield help keep the weight down. A few other standout features include a variable-speed throttle trigger, trigger interlock, battery retainer latch, EasySpool cutting head, bump guard, and hang loop. The trigger interlock and battery retainer latch prevent accidental startup. The variable trigger and EasySpool head improve operating efficiency by saving battery life and minimizing the time it takes to reload, respectively. The bump guard protects sensitive surfaces during close trimming, and the hang loop offers a convenient way to store the tool when not in use.
This is a great all-around pick for quarter- to a half-acre yards. The relatively short runtime of the STIHL FSA 60 R belies a very capable trimmer. In our tests it easily and cleanly sliced through all kinds of grass and weeds, including tough tree saplings up to about ¼ inch thick. The shorter runtime actually mattered less because the trimmer cut so well, and we moved at a faster pace than with some of the other trimmers with longer runtimes.
The other thing we noted here was the amazing level of operating comfort. The trimmer was fairly lightweight to begin with, but the weight was so well balanced—with just enough weight forward of the front handle to keep the head near ground level—that using it required significantly less effort than what was required of some of the other trimmers that weighed about the same. Also, vibration was minimal, so after trimming we had plenty of energy to keep working.
- Weighs less than 10 pounds but easily powers through tough weeds
- 25-minute runtime per charge for about 5,000 linear feet of trimming
- Excellent balance to keep the head at ground level
- EasySpool head, bump guard, variable-speed throttle, and accidental start protection
- Smallish 13.8-inch cutting swath is on the small side for open spaces
- 2-hour recharge time for battery is longer than that of some competitors
Get the STIHL battery trimmer at Ace Hardware or Blain’s Farm Fleet.
Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
Ego Power has made a name for itself in the outdoor power-equipment category by building an affordable battery-powered tool line that competes favorably against old-fashioned 2-cycle gas-powered equipment. The ST1511T 15-inch string trimmer proved to be powerful, clean, and quiet in testing. The 56V 2.5Ah lithium-ion battery delivers up to 45 minutes of runtime, with a recharging time of just 50 minutes. The bump-feed trimmer head comes preloaded with 0.095-inch trimmer line for more cutting force and less noise. Taller users will appreciate the straight shaft design, and the unit weighs in at just over 10 pounds.
In our tests, the Ego trimmer showed ample power to cut through everything in its path, including overgrown, weedy grass; privet seedlings; and honeysuckle vines. Its well-balanced design, with the heavy battery in back offset by the long, straight shaft, made it comfortable to work with and more agile than others we tested. Our only caveat: For seasonal yard cleanup or maintaining larger landscapes, the 45-minute maximum runtime may not be quite enough.
- Auto-loading trimmer head reduces downtime while working
- Adjustable telescoping straight shaft provides a custom fit for different users
- Excellent power and runtime value at a moderate price point
- Heavier than some with less forward weight to keep head down
- Battery is bulkier than others, making the tool tiring to use over an extended period
Get the Ego Power battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.
BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
To give the yard a polished look without breaking the bank, consider the BlackDecker cordless string trimmer. It features a 12-inch cutting swath to cut down the corners and clean up the edges of small- to medium-size yards. An automatic feed spool means no more stopping to bump the tool when new string is needed. Two 20V lithium-ion batteries are included.
In our tests, this trimmer performed very well in weed-free grass and in weedy lawn areas. With a light weight of just 5.7 pounds, this trimmer is easy to handle without causing arm and shoulder fatigue. The short, straight shaft design is most comfortable for users under 5 feet 9 inches tall. We also liked that with a quick adjustment to the head, the trimmer becomes an edger to neaten up the grass along sidewalks and driveways. In all, we found this affordable tool a solid pick for small obstacle-free landscapes.
- Pack includes 2 batteries for more runtime, less downtime
- Automatic feed spool
- Money- and space-saving design that both trims and edges
- Battery recharges in just 45 minutes
Get the BlackDecker battery string trimmer at Amazon (with extra battery) or The Home Depot.
Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
The Makita XRU15PT1 string trimmer is a premium option to keep the lawn and garden under control. It can handle large yards with enough power to tackle dense weed growth. This cordless string trimmer comes with four 18V 5.0Ah batteries so you’ll never run out of power. Shoppers can purchase this model as a kit that includes a dual battery charger and two sets of batteries, or as a “tool only” for those who already have items from the Makita 18V tool platform.
With a long, straight shaft and high-power cutting head, this 10.4-pound trimmer feels like a pro-quality tool. It was well balanced and articulate while trimming around shrubs and between obstacles. It had plenty of power to cut through tough vegetation. In our tests, it made nice clean cuts and crisp edges in the grassy areas and tore through weedy privet seedlings and honeysuckle vines without hesitation. It’s an excellent candidate to replace gas equipment for medium to large landscapes, though the price may be high for budget-minded shoppers.
- Runtime is longer than charge time for ready-to-go fresh batteries
- Includes a second set of batteries for extended work
- Gas-like power and performance for tough trimming jobs
- Expensive trimmer due to the high cost of batteries
- Small debris guard allows some material close to operator
- Stiff bump head required a hard strike to let out line
Get the Makita battery trimmer at Amazon or Mowers Direct.
DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
When an established leader in pro-grade cordless hand tools enters the lawn-care category, shoppers will want to take note. The DeWALT 60V battery trimmer packs a heavy-duty brushless motor powered by a 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium battery that lets it tear through all kinds of tough weeds for at least 40 minutes per charge.
This attachment-capable trimmer comes equipped with a straight shaft and Rapid- loading adjustable spool. It uses.080-inch trimmer line to cut either a 15-inch or 17-inch swath. A safety switch in the grip prevents accidental starts. Users can select high or low power, depending on the project, and control the trimming RPM with a variable-speed trigger. The universal attachment feature lets owners replace the trimmer attachment with a variety of other tool heads, including an edger, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and more.
The DeWALT battery trimmer was one of the heaviest we tested, but also the most powerful. With the standard.080-inch trimmer line that came pre-spooled, this tool had no trouble cutting anything from grass to thin tree seedlings and even tough blackberry canes. In low-power mode it offered more cutting force than the high- power setting of most others we tested. In high range it beat all but the STIHL, which was about an even match in terms of pure power. To be honest, high power was too much for many of our applications, so we also tested thoroughly in low range. It ran about 40 minutes on high, and about 60 on low.
Other than the heavy weight, the only negative point we have to offer is the noise. The trimmer is loud to begin with, and when initially triggering or feathering the trigger it makes an even louder whine/whistle sound. Still, it’s a very impressive tool at a fair price for the power and runtime and a good choice for large properties or cleaning up overgrown areas.
- Battery type: 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium ion
- Runtime: 40 minutes
- Weight: 12.95 pounds
- Outstanding power for clearing overgrown weeds and brush
- Works with.080-inch or.095-inch trimmer line for normal or heavy trimming
- Excellent runtime of up to an hour for average grass trimming
- Power head can run other landscaping tool attachments
- Heavy weight of just under 13 pounds, but no shoulder strap
- Longer battery charge time at 135 minutes
- Noisy operation, especially when initially triggering
Get the DeWALT battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.
BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
Weighing just 8.8 pounds, this string trimmer is easy to carry, maneuver, and control with an adjustable handle and a safety trigger switch to prevent accidental starts. The 12-inch trimming radius is suitable for keeping the lawn properly maintained without damaging fencing, decks, trees, or other common yard obstacles.
This cordless string trimmer operates with a 20V battery that can last for up to 20 minutes, and a spare battery is included. For edging, simply turn the head and use the built-in wheel to balance as the trimmer string handles the task.
When we used the tool to trim weedy lawn grass patches and edge the curb and driveway, it made nice clean cuts and tracked well to make good straight edges. The shaft and handle adjusted to comfortably fit our 6-foot user. The tool is amazingly lightweight for the amount of power it offers, but the weight is mostly balanced to the front of the handle, and having to manually counterbalance it while working fatigued our tester. Though not built for heavily weed-infested yards, it has ample power and runtime to clean up curb lines, driveway edges, and otherwise maintain a smaller landscape.
- Very lightweight and easy to carry
- Handle is customizable to fit the size of user
- Trimmer doubles as an edger with a simple turn of the head
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a spare is included
- Not enough power to tackle coarse, woody weeds
- Weighted toward the front, which may cause user fatigue
Get the BlackDecker MAX battery trimmer/edger at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co.
Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
A wide cutting swath, extended runtime, and powerful trimming ability make the Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE battery trimmer an excellent choice for large yards. The straight-shaft trimmer is powered by a brushless motor and 56V 2.5Ah lithium battery for up to 56 minutes of powerful performance that rivals traditional 2-cycle trimmers. It cuts a 16-inch-wide swath to get the job done efficiently.
This battery trimmer weighs in at a comfortable 9.75 pounds, making it a relatively lightweight choice at this level of capability. It features battery-saving low/high power settings for different cutting conditions, a variable-speed trigger, and a cushioned handle grip for comfort. The Speed-Feed cutting head comes preloaded with.095 trimmer line and reloads quickly without disassembly.
The Echo eForce battery trimmer is an excellent value for large-property maintenance. In our tests, the cutting power seemed to be slightly less than that of the DeWALT and STIHL trimmers, but it was still very capable. In high-power mode we trimmed for about 40 minutes. But the better-than-average power and wider swath meant that in 40 minutes with the Echo, we were able to complete work that other trimmers would need an hour to accomplish. The noise level was good, and reloading was fast and easy.
This trimmer could have scored higher with improved balance. Although it is a lightweight trimmer overall, most of the weight is in the working end. The heavy cutting head forces the operator to compensate by lifting upward on the front handle and pushing downward on the rear handle while working. We tested with the 2.5Ah battery that comes standard. Working with the available 5Ah battery (sold separately) would rebalance the trimmer to some degree while doubling runtime and increasing overall weight.
- Excellent price for this combination of power and runtime
- Wide cutting swath and power performance for large properties
- Rapid charging system charges the battery in less than 40 minutes
Get the Echo battery trimmer at The Home Depot or Acme Tools.
Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
Owners of small yards may find this lightweight string trimmer an excellent option. It weighs just 5.5 pounds and easily converts from a trimmer to an edging tool; a built-in wheel helps balance the tool while edging. A push-button feed system gives the ability to extend the trimmer string without bumping the 12-inch trimmer head or manually pulling additional string from the trimmer. It comes with two 20V batteries and a charger, and the battery lasts for up to 20 minutes on a full charge.
This Worx string trimmer tackled our grassy areas with ease, both the weedy and weed-free zones, but it wasn’t as capable on rough areas. We were particularly impressed by the edger function, which we found comfortable and well balanced thanks to the 90-degree shaft-rotation capability. The adjustable trimmer head and upper handle let us customize the working angle, but the process of doing so proved clunky. We had to reach down and turn a rather stiff knob at the connection point between the shaft and cutting head to unlock and relock the angle for each adjustment.
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a second battery is included
- Head-tilt adjustment is somewhat awkward and clunky
- Relatively long 60-minute charging time for 20 minutes of runtime
Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
One limiting factor of most string trimmers is the cutting head’s direction of rotation; it matters more than one might think. The direction of rotation determines where the clippings will go, and in some situations, how the user should grip the trimmer. The Husqvarna 320iL 40V battery trimmer offers a solution, thanks to its dual-direction cutting head. At the touch of a button, we could change from clockwise to counterclockwise rotation and back, without changing grip on the handles.
This straight-shaft trimmer is powered by an efficient brushless motor and 40V 4Ah battery that drives about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. It features a Rapid-load cutting head that comes prespooled with.080 trimmer line and cuts a 16-inch swath. Low-vibration technology improves operator comfort, and the machine weighs in at just over 10 pounds with the battery.
Anyone not interested in going off the beaten path might still do well to consider this trimmer. Its balance is impeccable, rivaling the STIHL in comfort even though it’s a fraction of a pound heavier. And for quiet operation, this one takes the gold medal. The only real question regarding comfort and control was, why so many buttons? Its four thumb-operated buttons control on/off, high/low power, clockwise rotation, and counterclockwise rotation.
- Dual-direction trimmer head leaves clippings where desired
- Excellent balance for comfortable extended use and less fatigue
- Among the quietest of the trimmers we tested
Get the Husqvarna battery trimmer at Lowe’s.
Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
While plenty of string trimmers also function as edgers, we found this model to have the best dual-function design. At the push of a button, the trimming head on the Worx WG170 Revolution trimmer converts to an edger that rolls easily along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway. The head tilts up to 90 degrees, so it is easy to reach weeds on slopes while standing comfortably.
The trimmer comes with two batteries plus a charger and three extra spools of trimmer line. The string trimmer also boasts a handy spacer guard that keeps it from bumping into plants, and the shaft adjusts to suit taller or shorter users. It cuts a 12-inch swath and operates on a 20V lithium-ion battery. We tested the tool with the 2Ah battery, but it also comes with a 4Ah battery at some retailers.
In our yard, this trimmer cut through and created a crisp edge on both weedless and weedy lawn areas. We really liked the easy adjustable feature on the trimmer head: A twist lock holds it in just the right position, up to 90 degrees, for a customized working angle for users of different heights. Also, the batteries are interchangeable with those of many other Worx 20V cordless tools.
- Adjustable upper handle to accommodate users of different sizes
- Trimmer head converts to an edger for use along sidewalks or driveways
- Comes with 2 batteries to make up for shorter runtime
- Requires a relatively long charging time
- Trimmer feels underpowered for tackling coarse, heavy weeds
- Only 20 minutes of runtime per charge
Get the Worx WG170 GT battery trimmer at Amazon or Target.
Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
The Greenworks Pro 80V trimmer is a quality tool that adapts to a variety of other functions with attachments such as a brush cutter. (However, attachments are sold separately.) The 2Ah battery provides up to 45 minutes of runtime and recharges in just 30 minutes. The brushless electric motor is efficient and quiet, providing plenty of torque to cut through heavy weeds without the noise and smell of a gas-powered unit.
In our test areas, the Greenworks Pro trimmer was powerful enough to cut through the toughest weeds and vines with ease. The heavy battery weighs the machine down toward the rear, but the included adjustable shoulder strap makes operation more comfortable. The battery is compatible with other Greenworks 80V tools. Just don’t get too excited about the variable-speed trigger: Although it’s intended to allow a gradual increase from “off” to “high” speed, we found the range of movement between the two to be minuscule; in effect, the trimmer is either “off” or “on.”
- Battery type: 80V 2Ah lithium ion
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Weight: 10.6 pounds without battery
- Trimmer has a quiet, efficient brushless motor
- The recharging time is only 30 minutes; runtime is 45 minutes
- Gas-like power and performance without the noise and smell
- Slight lag time between triggering and full power
- The trimmer’s adjustable speed feature is difficult to use
- Weight is balanced toward the rear, but shoulder strap helps
Get the Greenworks Pro battery trimmer at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Battery Trimmer
When shopping for string trimmers, also known as weed eaters, keep in mind yard size, how often the tool will be used, and the height and strength of the primary user. The following key considerations will help in selection.
Trim width, also called swath width, indicates how wide a path the trimmer will cut through weeds in a single pass. Many models on the market today feature swath widths of 10 to 18 inches. The wider the width, the more power the trimmer must have, which often means the tool will be heavier because it will require a larger, more powerful battery.
Running a string trimmer requires a hefty dose of power. Though most of today’s trimmers run on rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, a few accept nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Li-ion batteries are more powerful, but NiCad batteries are less expensive (an average of 70 to 125 less). Li-ion batteries also are smaller, hold a charge longer, and provide full power throughout the discharge cycle.
NiCad batteries suffer from “memory effect,” meaning if the battery is used before it has fully charged—or if it’s recharged before its power depletes—it will “remember” the earlier charge level and won’t hold a longer charge in the future. If choosing a trimmer that has a NiCad battery, let it charge fully before use and drain completely before charging. For most users, a string trimmer with a Li-ion battery will be the best choice.
Along with battery type, consider how much operating power the battery has, which is measured in volts. Today’s rechargeable string trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to an average of 60 volts of power. powerful batteries at the high end often are intended for commercial use and can cost 200 or more per battery.
Some string trimmers in this category sell without a battery (or battery charger), which the user must purchase separately. This could be a cost-saving benefit for those who are adding to a same-brand, battery-compatible cordless tool collection, since the same battery will power multiple tools. However, it can be more convenient to purchase a kit with multiple batteries to have one on the charger while the other is in use.
The “feed” of a string trimmer indicates how the trimmer head releases additional trimmer line as it becomes frayed and broken during use. The standby is a bump feed where the user bumps the bottom of the trimmer (the area where the spool attaches) on the ground to release a few inches of fresh line.
Some newer models feature an auto-feed sensor that gauges the length of the strings and releases more when needed. Still others have a push button to release more line. Auto and button feeds eliminate the need to bump the spool, which can reduce the risk of damage if bumped too hard, but many commercial-type trimmers still use bump feed because it’s quick and easy.
Curved vs. Straight Shaft
Some string trimmers feature a straight shaft that runs from the handle to the cutting head, while other models feature a distinct curve in the lower shaft about two-thirds of the way down. Some users find curved-shaft trimmers to be easier to operate since the spool end already rests at a handy angle for weed whacking.
Straight-shaft trimmers often accommodate interchangeable tools, such as a tree trimmer head, which can be swapped out depending on the task at hand. In general, straight-shaft trimmers work better for users at least 6 feet tall, while shorter users will appreciate curved-shaft trimmers.
Battery-powered string trimmers have a distinct advantage over gas-powered trimmers when it comes to noise pollution. Gas-powered trimmers are moderately loud, emitting an average of 90 decibels (about as loud as a motorcycle passing by from 25 feet away). By contrast, a cordless string trimmer emits approximately 77 decibels, which is comparable to casual conversation.
Those who are still unsure about how to use a battery string trimmer may find the following answers to common questions about these tools helpful.
Q. Can a string trimmer cut weeds?
A string trimmer is used to cut and control weed growth around the home and garden. However, light-duty trimmers may have issues with very dense weed growth.
Q. Can you use a string trimmer to cut grass?
A string trimmer can be used to cut grass, though you need to be careful not to cut the grass too short while trying to keep the trimmer balanced. It isn’t the easiest way to cut the grass, but it is possible.
Q. Can you edge with a string trimmer?
Yes, a string trimmer can be used for edging the garden, driveway, walkway, or sidewalk. If you have a large yard, it may be better to invest in a separate edging tool.
Q. How many volts should be in a trimmer?
String trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to 80 volts. Typically, the higher the voltage, the longer the battery life.
Q. How do you edge a lawn with a string trimmer?
Hold the string trimmer perpendicular to the lawn to keep the cut even. Position the head about 4 inches off the soil so the string has space to rotate. The string should rotate and cut through the grass and dirt. As you move along the desired borders, keep the head balanced and even. Clean up the cut grass and dirt to finish the job.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Glenda Taylor.
Top 10 Best String Trimmers for 2023
String trimmers, also known as weedeaters, weed wackers, or weed trimmers, are designed to spin a line fast enough to cut grass. Finding the best model can be subjective, as different people may have different preferences. We asked our team of experts to provide their recommendations for a range of users, from homeowners with small lawns to professional lawn care crews.
Check out our best battery-powered string trimmers guide for our top picks among all battery-powered models. And while you’re at it, have a look at our Best Leaf Blowers reviews!
What We Look for in the Best String Trimmer
Battery vs Gas vs Electric String Trimmers
When selecting a string trimmer, it’s important to consider factors such as performance, convenience, and cost. Gas-powered string trimmers offer the most power. Their excessive noise and fuel requirements and need for annual maintenance make them less desirable for some. Gas string trimmers also produce engine emissions that many users want to avoid or curb where possible.
On the other hand, battery-powered string trimmers operate more quietly. They also produce no emissions and require only minimal maintenance. They do tend to cost more upfront due to the of lithium-ion batteries and runtime is limited by the battery capacity. When you exhaust the battery power, recharging also takes a lot more time than filling up the tank!
Electric string trimmers are generally cheaper and have unlimited runtime, but may not be as powerful and require the use of an extension cord.
String Trimmer Line Size
The thickness of the line used in a string trimmer typically falls within the range of 0.080 to 0.105 inches, although options exist outside of this range. We’ve even seen a cheap string trimmer that uses zip ties. We definitely don’t consider this a recommended practice!
The diameter of the line in a string trimmer affects its performance and suitability for different tasks. Smaller diameter line causes less damage to objects it strikes, such as siding, wood, or pipes. It can also provide longer runtime on battery-powered string trimmers. However, they may not cut through tough grasses as effectively. Larger diameter lines can be more destructive and less energy efficient but may be better suited for heavy-duty use in tough conditions.
For smaller lawns, 0.080-inch line keeps grass under control and minimizes collateral damage, while also providing good runtime on battery-powered string trimmers.
We recommend 0.095-inch line as a good all-around option. It cuts quickly and moderates the risk of damage. Most high-end and all professional-targeted cordless string trimmers support this size line.
For professional crews, farm and ranch use, or large properties, 0.105-inch line may be the best choice for quickly clearing overgrown grass and handling thicker stalks. This size may require a 30cc engine to effectively use, however. On battery-powered models, only the high-end products that target pros can handle this size.
The cutting swath of a string trimmer refers to the diameter of the area that the line can cover. For smaller lawns, a 13-14 inch cutting swath is sufficient, especially when using a walk-behind mower that can get close to landscape edges. A 15-16 inch cutting swath is a good all-around size, while professional crews and those with large properties may benefit from a 17-inch or larger cutting swath.
If you run a gas trimmer and want to ditch the guard and run your string at 24 inches, a battery-powered solution may not provide the speed or run time you expect.
The weight of a string trimmer is an important factor to consider, as heavier models can be more difficult to maneuver and may cause strain on your back. Shoulder straps can help with this, and some cordless models include them.
When selecting a string trimmer, we recommend choosing the lightest model that has the power to handle your toughest jobs. You also want to ensure the build quality and warranty meet your expectations.
Vibration is a factor that has gained attention with high-performance cordless string trimmers. Gas engines generally produce more vibration than battery-powered tools. Still, cordless and electric trimmers vary significantly from model to model.
In some cases, placing the motor in the head of the string trimmer can help reduce the vibration caused by the drive shaft. This also moves some of the weight away from your arms.
Gas and AC electric string trimmers typically don’t have many extra features, but brushless battery-powered models may have a few options that could influence your purchasing decision. These may include:
- Attachment capability (all power types with the motor or engine at the operator end of the tool)
- Multiple speeds (including automatic modes)
- Reverse rotation to untangle tall grass
- Faster throttle-up
- Compatibility with other lawn care equipment and power tools
We prioritize value in our purchases and want to help you get the most for your money. When selecting a string trimmer, it’s not just about finding the cheapest option, but rather finding one that meets your top priorities while staying within your budget. Keep this in mind as you go through our picks.
Best String Trimmer Overall for Professionals
Echo X-Series String Trimmer SRM-2620T
There is much debate about the best overall gas string trimmer, but the Echo X-Series SRM-2620/2620T model keeps showing up in our lists. The only difference between these two models is that the “T” version has 2:1 high-torque gearing, which we recommend for professional use.
The 25.4cc engine in this model strikes a good balance in terms of power, weight (12.5 pounds dry), and ease of starting. Its power-to-weight ratio is among the best available. It also has a solid runtime with a fuel capacity of just under 21 ounces. The Echo SRM-2620T is highly maneuverable and has a narrow guard that provides good visibility on its 17-inch cutting swath. Additionally, the Speed-Feed 400 head makes line changes easy.
Best String Trimmer Overall for Homeowners
EGO PowerLoad String Trimmer with Line IQ ST1623T
Homeowners can confidently switch to a battery-powered string trimmer if it fits within their budget. EGO produces some of the top-performing and lowest-vibration string trimmers on the market. We know as we’ve put our hands on every single one of them.
One standout model is the EGO ST1623T. It features PowerLoad technology that makes it easy to load new line. Simply thread the line to the halfway point in the head, press the PowerLoad button, and it automatically winds. The ST1623T also has Line IQ, an automatic feeding system that keeps the line at a consistent 16 inches without the need to constantly bump the head. It works really well. Finally, with a telescoping carbon fiber shaft, the EGO ST1623T makes for a top choice for homeowners of any height.
Price: 329 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Gas String String Trimmer
STIHL FS 91 R Professional String Trimmer
While the Echo 2620T remains our pick for the best overall professional string trimmer and gas model, a close second is the STIHL FS91. This 16.5-inch trimmer features a 28cc engine that has plenty of power for trimming grass. You can also easily use this tool for farm and ranch work. Despite its impressive power, you can easily manage the FS91 with a dry weight of 12.1 pounds and a fuel tank capacity of 24 ounces.
One major advantage of owning a STIHL product is the company’s extensive dealer and service network. If you need regular maintenance or if your trimmer needs repair, you can get it taken care of quickly.
Best Cordless Battery-Powered String Trimmer
Husqvarna 520iLX Battery-Powered String Trimmer
The Husqvarna 520iLX is a cordless battery-powered string trimmer built for professional and large property use. It performs well on lawn grasses and has a reverse direction button to release tangled grass or direct clippings to the proper side when edging along sidewalks.
One of the standout features of the 520iLX is its lightweight design. The bare trimmer weighs just 6.6 pounds, and adding a battery keeps it under 10 pounds. It is one of the lightest and most well-balanced trimmers available that targets professional users.
In addition to its lightweight design, the 520iLX has extremely low vibration and a noise level that, while not the lowest we have tested, has a more palatable tone than other models.
Best Electric String Trimmer
Ryobi Attachment Capable Electric String Trimmer RY41135
If you prefer electric power, it is possible to find a string trimmer that performs well. In a rather close competition, we feel the Ryobi 10-amp, 18-inch string trimmer outperforms the Kobalt model of the same size.
Both trimmers have the same power and cutting swath. Both also work as attachment-capable tools and are lightweight. However, the Ryobi RY41135 electric string trimmer has an easy-load head that makes changing the line less frustrating. This gives it the edge as our best electric string trimmer pick.
Best String Trimmer for Large Areas
Echo X-Series Brushcutter SRM-2620U
For large areas where mowers can’t reach, the best string trimmer should have excellent runtime, a large cutting swath, and, in our opinion, a bike handle design. The Echo SRM-2620U brushcutter, which is based on our top overall professional pick, meets all of these requirements.
It has the same engine and trimmer head but replaces the D-handle with a bike handle and harness for better support during extended use. This design offers the same performance as the original model but the handle design makes it easier to manage over longer periods of time.
Best String Trimmer for Overgrown Areas
Husqvarna Brush Cutter 545FR
When dealing with areas that have a lot of overgrowth, it’s important to be patient and choose a string trimmer that is capable of using a brushcutter head. We also recommend going with a larger engine for this type of work. The Husqvarna 545FR represents our top pick for the best string trimmer for overgrown areas.
The trimmer houses a powerful 45.7cc engine that can handle a trimmer head, grass blade, or brush-cutting blade. It efficiently clears both tall grass and saplings. This string trimmer also comes with a comfortable harness, vibration-dampening bike handles, and easy starting, making it a reliable choice for tackling overgrown areas.
Best String Trimmer Line
Echo Black Diamond String Trimmer Line
I may start an argument in this section, but I recommend Echo’s Black Diamond line as the best string trimmer line for most applications. Its density, combined with a sharp-pointed square twist, makes it more effective at cutting for its size compared to many basic lines. You can purchase it in 0.095-inch and 0.105-inch sizes, making it a great choice for almost any trimmer, including most battery-powered options.
The one exception? Auto-load/feed trimmer heads like those found on the EGO Line IQ trimmer and similar models. On those tools, something. about the twist on this line makes it bind before fully leaving the spool. It also often binds on loading after a time. The simple solution is to grab a line with a less aggressive outer shape. Round line or something with a less aggressive twist should work fine.
5 Best Cordless String Trimmer 2023 [The Only 5 You Should Consider Today]
Best String Trimmer Brand
This section will likely spark an intense debate. When it comes to string trimmer brands, STIHL, Redmax, Echo, and Husqvarna consistently float to the top of the list. Additionally, all-battery brands like Milwaukee and Greenworks Commercial also have a growing presence in the marketplace.
In our opinion, Husqvarna prepresents the best overall brand for string trimmers. They offer a wide range of trimmers for both homeowners and professionals. They also seem committed to carrying both gas and battery-powered solutions (unlike Makita ). They have solutions for cutting grass as well as forestry brush. While STIHL is known for its vast dealer network, Husqvarna remains easily accessible through its local service partners.
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