A best string trimmer is a power tool that puts the finishing touches on a yard by shaving off grass that a lawn mower can’t reach. Some people mow then trim, others trim then mow (particularly those that bag the clippings). Either way, the results should be a neat landscape. But trimmers do more than neaten up. They can cut down tall grass and weeds to keep borders area under control, either prior to mowing or as an alternative to mowing.
- 1 The best electric string trimmer of 2023
- 2 What to Consider When Choosing the Best String Trimmer
- 3 How We Tested the Best String Trimmers
- 4 BEST BATTERY-POWERED STRING TRIMMER BUYING GUIDE
- 5 What is a string trimmer?
- 6 Gas vs. corded vs. battery-powered
- 7 Who makes a self propelled walk behind string trimmer?
- 8 What is a wheeled string trimmer for?
- 9 What is the advantage of a straight shaft trimmer?
- 10 Are string trimmers worth it?
- 11 Are curved or straight shaft trimmers better?
- 12 Can you edge with a curved shaft trimmer?
- 13 How often should you edge your lawn?
- 14 How long should trimmer line last?
- 15 How do you edge your lawn with a string trimmer?
- 16 What do I use a string trimmer for?
- 17 Are string trimmers dangerous?
- 18 What is the best thickness for string trimmer?
- 19 What is the difference between edge trimmer and string trimmer?
- 20 Which is better straight or curved string trimmer?
- 21 Is square trimmer line better than round?
With a deft hand they can be turned sideways to cut a notch along sidewalks, patios and drives. The notch keeps grass and weeds from growing over the pavement’s edge. You’ll be glad of this come winter because pavement with a neat edge is easier to clear of snow than one that is overgrown.
Mowing the lawn spruces up a yard, but it’s the finishing touches that take a lawn from fine to fantastic—and there are spaces that a mower just can’t reach. That’s where string trimmers (also called weed eaters or weed whackers) make a difference. They fit into those spots around driveways, lawn ornaments, tree bases, and playground equipment without issue, helping to give your lawn that professional look.
We tested several of the most popular string trimmers around to find out how they hold up in real-world scenarios. Read on to learn more about the best string trimmers, the hands-on tests, and some of the most important characteristics for you to consider while shopping. But first, here’s a quick preview of the best trimmers.
The 12 Best String Trimmers of 2023：Our Top Picks
|Best Overall||EGO Power+ 15-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless String Trimmer|
|Best Value||Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SWSTM4317|
|Premium Choice||Remington RM1159|
|BEST BUDGET||BLACK+DECKER ST8600 5.0 AMP|
|UPGRADE PICK||Makita XRU15PT1 Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless|
|BEST LIGHTWEIGHT||ECHO 2 AH Cordless String Trimmer|
|BEST HEAVY-DUTY||EGO Power+ ST1623T|
|BEST CURVED SHAFT||Worx WG170 GT Revolution 20V|
|BEST FOR SMALL YARDS||EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Trimmer|
- Gas-like power and performance
- Long runtime of up to 45 minutes per charge
- Works with a heavy-duty .095 trimmer line
- Takes 50 minutes to recharge
- Battery is heavier than the competition
- Cost is higher than gas models
For medium- and large-size landscapes, clean, quiet battery-powered lawn equipment has arrived. The EGO Power+ line of tools offers gas-like power and performance with extended runtime powered by 56-volt rechargeable batteries. This cordless trimmer looks, feels, and cuts like a conventional 2-cycle weed wacker, but without the noise or fumes. The kit includes a 56-volt 2.5-Ah battery that lasts up to 45 minutes and recharges in 50 minutes. Those familiar with gas equipment may feel right at home operating this trimmer with its variable speed trigger and bump-head line feed.
In our backyard tests, the EGO trimmer performed as well in grass as the gas-powered equipment. It has a well-balanced feel for good maneuverability and is light enough to comfortably work for hours if necessary. We named it “best overall” for its favorable combination of power, performance, price, and user comfort.
- Heavy-duty engine
- Swivel trimmer head and bevel
- Spring-loaded thumb trigger
- Easy to maneuver
- Dual string diameters
- Easy recoil start
- Smaller 17” cut swath
If you need a more affordable option, the Southland SWSTM4317 Southland Wheeled String Trimmer is a great option. This yard tool features a 43cc engine with a 20 to 30-degree swivel trimmer head. This makes it even easier to maneuver around fences, gardens, walls, and other tight spots. You also have a 5 to 10-degree bevel head if you need to be extra precise.
This model has 35% more torque than your average 43cc engine. You have your choice of either a 0.095 or 0.105 diameter trimming string, plus it weighs an easy to use 39 pounds. The Southland SWSTM4317 is also EPA and CARB compliant.
This trimmer has a 17-inch cut swath which ultimately clears a smaller area than our top option. That being said, this little machine is still able to take care of tall grass, weeds, and other undesirable plants that are overgrown. You will also be able to easily push it over uneven ground and uphill with the 12-inch wheels that are mounted on ball bearings.
For convenience, the trimmer has a storage compartment for extra strings. The adjustable loop handle is comfortable to hold with low vibration. What’s more, the spring-loaded thumb throttle is easy to use and causes less strain on your hands. With the easy recoil start, this is the best walk behind string trimmer for the money.
- Heavy-duty engine
- 22” cut swath
- 3 cut positions
- Easy recoil start
- Off-set trim head
- Great cutting power
- More Expensive
- Heavier to maneuver
The Remington RM1159 Walk-Behind String Trimmer is for those who prefer to spend a little more coin on a tough yard tool. This model has a 159cc OHV four-cycle engine that will eat away tall grass, weeds, and brush while also fitting into narrow spots to neaten up wall edges, flower beds, and much more. The off-set trim head makes fitting into tight spots a breeze, and the 14-inch ball-bearing wheels make uphill and uneven ground simple to get around.
This trimmer has an easy recoil start, not to mention, a 22-inch cut width. The fold-down handle is comfortable to use, plus it’s easy to store when not in use. This model uses the standard 0.155 diameter trim line, and it’s EPA and CARB compliant.
As mentioned, you will need to be prepared to spend a little more on the Remington Trimmer. That being said, this tool allows you to change between three height positions with an easy to use lever. The only other drawback to this model is it’s a bit heavier than the first two at 78 pounds.
- Easy to carry
- 13-inch cutting swath
- Converts from string trimmer to edger
- No expensive batteries to replace
- Does not include a pigtail power cord
- Range limited by the length of the extension cord
This Black & Decker corded electric string trimmer weighs in at 5.3 pounds, reducing the strain that comes with yard work. At 5 amps, the trimmer can handle a small to midsize backyard with an extension cord (sold separately). It has the added feature of a cord-retention system to prevent disconnection from the power source while working.
Though lightweight, its cutting swath is a convenient 13 inches, tackling the same area as some heavier models. The power-drive transmission delivers more torque to the cutting head, giving this little trimmer the force to quickly take down high grass and coarse weeds. No bumping is necessary when feeding the 0.065-inch-thick line; this string trimmer uses an automatic feed to keep the string at the right length. The shaft adjusts to fit most user heights and reaches into many areas.
We appreciated the lightweight and well-balanced feel of this Black & Decker electric trimmer. In our tests it became apparent that although the size and weight were comparable to the 20-volt battery-powered trimmers we tested, this one is noticeably more powerful. The adjustable length rotating shaft was easy to operate and comfortable to use for both trimming and edging. When not in use, it won’t take up much space in storage either. And the price is less than half that of any of the others.
- Runtime is longer than recharge time
- Comes with a second set of batteries
- Runtime is longer than the competition
- Gas-like power
- More expensive than competition
- Very small debris guard
- Bump head is a little stiff
This Makita string trimmer is a premium option to keep the lawn and garden under control, and it can handle small to large yards with enough power to tackle dense weed growth. The cordless string trimmer is a step above the rest; its dual 18-volt battery capabilities extend the runtime to as much as 1.5 hours, so there’s no need to worry about running out of power before the job is done.
The trimmer has a 15-inch cutting radius and a dual-string cutting head with a bump-feed system for quick trimmer string feeding that doesn’t interrupt the work. It operates at three speed settings, ranging from low to high, and weighs under 11 pounds. This string trimmer is offered in a kit with four batteries and a double charger.
In our backyard test, the Makita outperformed the rest of the pack. It felt light and agile but easily chopped through the toughest weeds and grass without bogging down. It is quiet, even for a battery-powered tool. And the long, straight shaft and narrow debris guard gave unparalleled access beneath and between large shrubs. We also liked that it charges in less time than it takes to run out of power, so the second set of batteries was always ready to go.
- Weight: 12 lb
- Voltage: 58
- Battery: 2 Ah
The CST-58V is a model of simplicity. Its safety latch and trigger are easy to squeeze, and the rabbit/tortoise icon on the speed switch nearby is clearly visible, as is the switch easy to move. These features are more than an exercise in good industrial design; they made the trimmer less tiring to use, especially given that we always wear work gloves and safety glasses in our tests. This Echo was in line with the DeWalt in terms of weed-slashing power, and was equal to the DeWalt and Makita in that it’s equipped with a robust line head that feeds readily. We do think the alignment arrows on the line head cap (necessary for installing fresh line) could be more visible. Black arrows on black plastic are hard to see. It was the only demerit, and a small one, that we could find on this fine machine.
Top7.EGO Power+ ST1623T
- Weight: 11 lb
- Voltage: 56
- Battery: 4 Ah
Ego pulled out the stops in engineering this string trimmer. Start with the fact that you never have to bump feed the head. It feeds out string automatically. When you run out of string, feed a precut length of string through the head and press the rewind button at the end of the shaft. The string zooms into the head in seconds. Our test found the 56-volt brushless motor delivers power to spare and you have excellent control over that power with a two-speed selector switch that enables you to choose between going full out at vegetation or dialing back the speed if you find yourself cutting near delicate shrubs and you need to avoid collateral damage. That control is also improved with a telescoping shaft length; you adjust it to suit your tastes, and the shaft is carbon fiber. Its reduced weight also reduces your fatigue, further improving your control over the machine.
- Very lightweight and easy to carry
- Includes an extra battery
- Folds flat for storage
- Limited runtime
- Long recharge time
- Not as effective for overgrown grass and coarse weeds
This 5.5-pound cordless string trimmer comes with two batteries and a charger so that the trimmer can be used with one battery while the other is charging. A push-button string feed and spool holder allow the string to be fed on demand simply by pushing a button on the handle of the trimmer. This 20-volt string trimmer can operate for up to 1 hour on a single battery. And it has a long 4.5-foot shaft with an adjustable handle to adapt to users of almost any size.
Trim, edge, or cut the grass with this cordless string trimmer designed for use as a precision string trimmer, a wheeled edging tool, and a mini mower. Just turn the head of the trimmer to suit the function and use the built-in guide wheel to support the edging and mowing function.
We felt the difference in weight right away. Although this WORX trimmer weighs half as much as the bigger models, it offers plenty of power and maneuverability to quickly clean up the lawn edges without the need to lug around an extension cord. Adjustments at the trimmer head, shaft, and handle made it easy to get a comfortable fit, and when the work is over it folds down flat for storage. It’s an effective, convenient solution for smaller properties.
- Heavy-duty engine
- One-piece steel deck
- 22” cut width
- Never go flat wheels
- Toolless handlebar adjustment
- Difficult recoil start
- Harder to push
If you get tired of re-starting the engine each time something gets stuck in your trimmer, this next model is a good option for you. The EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Walk Behind String Trimmer has a no stop 150cc four-cycle viper engine that safely allows you to remove an obstruction without turning the motor off. It is also a quieter tool with low vibration due to the durable one-piece steel deck.
The EARTHQUAKE uses 14-inch wheels to maneuver through rough areas. With the never go flat tires, you will not have to worry about lost time on a busted wheel. Beyond that, this trimmer has a 22-inch cut width, and it uses a heavy-duty nylon string. There is also a tool-less handlebar adjustment, plus zero assembly is required.
You will find this yard tool is great for getting to the hard to reach places and making precise cuts along fences, walls, etc. It’s EPA and CARB compliant, as well. The trimmer is easy to store, uses the standard line diameter, and weighs 63.4 pounds.
There are two things you should make note of before purchasing this walk behind trimmer, however. First, the recoil start on this model is more difficult and will likely require a few pulls. Secondly, although the tires do not go flat, this option can be harder to push. This is especially true on uneven ground or going uphill.
The best electric string trimmer of 2023
- Easy start
- Best-in-class engine power
- Wide cutting swath for efficiency
- Attachments are expensive
A high-performance model from a trusted brand, the Husqvarna 128LD is the gold standard of string trimmers.
Here are the features we liked the most:
- 28 cc, two-cycle engine provides plenty of cutting power without weighing a ton.
- “SmartStart” recoil system, which reduces starting cord resistance by 40%.
- Simple stop/return switch quickly cuts power to the string head.
- A translucent fuel tank lets you know how much juice you have left.
- Several attachments available, including a wheeled edger, pole saw, and tiller.
This gas string trimmer is one of the more expensive options on our list, but this durable Husqvarna trimmer is a great investment and will stand up to years of heavy use.
Note: Because this string trimmer has a 2-stroke engine, it requires special oil to be mixed with gasoline, which is included with purchase.
- Bladed brush cutter included
- Shoulder strap included
- Awkward to change cutting heads
The Craftsman WS235 comes as a 2-in-1 weed wacker and brush cutter, saving you the expense of buying separate attachments. With a string trimmer head for regular use and a heavy-duty blade for cutting through thick brush, this versatile trimmer gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
The 27 cc engine offers great cutting power, and the heavy .095-inch line cuts through weeds with ease. An 18-inch cutting swath helps you trim more in less time.This gas string trimmer comes with an included shoulder strap and ergonomic J-shaped handle to make handling easier.
Bonus Points: This Craftsman gas string trimmer is compatible with a full line of Craftsman TrimmerPlus accessories for even more versatility.
Downside: The nut that changes the cutting head of this string trimmer can be awkward, as it’s bolted on with reverse threads. Many customer reviews note this as a failing, as the reverse thread is not clearly marked.
- Professional power
- All-day operation
- Cuts through all types of foliage
- Tons of included accessories
- Very heavy
- Difficult to start
Proyama makes commercial-grade power equipment for lawn care industry professionals, which explains the raw power of this brush cutter and trimmer and its shoulder-mounted design.
With a massive 42.7 cc engine, this trimmer can cut through thick brush and saplings with ease. It comes with a 9-inch chainsaw-tooth blade, a 30-tooth brush blade, and a triangular mowing blade.
When the string trimmer head is used, it delivers an 18-inch cutting swath. The handlebar-style grip and smooth trigger action are designed for comfortable all-day use, and the included shoulder harness reduces engine vibration. The shaft splits in two for easy transport and storage.
This package includes all the accessories you’ll need. Besides the multiple blade attachments, this Proyama trimmer comes with safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, a fuel canister, and a tool bag.This is a good choice for homeowners who have woods or wild growth encroaching on the border of their lawns.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best String Trimmer
Knowing what attributes to look for in a string trimmer helps in the search. Whether it’s the type, weight, ergonomic considerations, or attachment versatility, some features may provide a greater benefit than others for each situation. These considerations can help reveal which string trimmer is the best string trimmer for each user’s situation.
String trimmers are classified as either corded or cordless:
- Corded trimmers require an extension cord and a power outlet. They provide an unlimited power source and don’t require refueling or battery replacement.
- Cordless trimmers are either gas- or battery-powered, giving the user freedom to use the trimmer anywhere in the yard.
- String trimmers also can be grouped depending on whether they are corded electric, battery powered, or gas powered:
- Corded electric trimmers are lightweight and turn on with a switch. This type is reliable for small yards with an accessible outlet where the cord can reach all areas of the lawn to ensure a complete job. Low maintenance and reliable power are these trimmers’ strongest features.
- Battery-powered trimmers are more maneuverable than corded trimmers. These turn on with a switch and are a handy choice for low-maintenance lawns. Depending on lawn size, a backup battery may be needed to finish a job.
- Gas-powered trimmers are more robust and are best for tougher jobs because they offer more power than electric string trimmers. These trimmers may require a mix of gas and oil to operate and occasional maintenance. Most models have a pull-start.
Cutting width, or cutting swath, is the diameter of the trimmer. Choosing the right width helps users get their grass trimming done quickly and efficiently. For an increased cutting swath, choose a trimmer with a long line rather than manually overextending the line length during use. Overextending the line length for a larger cutting width reduces the efficiency of the trimmer, as the engine has to spin more weight than its design intended. To get the job done faster, string trimmers with dual heads can cut more efficiently than single-string trimmers.
The type of string used in each trimmer contributes to how efficiently the trimmer cuts down the grass, weeds, or overgrown areas. The thinnest line is 0.065 of an inch; it’s used for lighter-duty work, generally with smaller cordless or electric trimmers. A thicker line of 0.08- or 0.095-inch is more durable and increases the cutting power.
Variable Speed Control
Some trimmers have variable speed controls for different cutting conditions. On battery-powered models, there may be two speed controls—one to increase the power for use on thicker/overgrown areas and the other to lower the power to trim perimeters while extending battery life. Gas-powered trimmers may use a throttle response for quick-powered adjustments when tough weeds or thick growth need tending.
Routine home maintenance doesn’t require professional landscaper tools. Many affordable trimmers lack speed control, offering one consistent speed for all conditions. One speed optimizes the length of time a string trimmer can be used without needing to change a battery or refuel.
Feeding and Loading
The string trimmer’s spool supports a single or a double line, depending on the style of the trimmer. A single line loads by winding the string around the spool and feeding it through the feed hole. Double-line heads require users to separately wind two lines of string around the spool so they don’t get tangled.
There are a few methods for feeding the string into the trimmer, depending on the model.
- Manual feed is not common, but it’s a handy backup option. Users need to turn off the trimmer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for pulling out the line by hand.
- Bump feed requires the user to tap the bottom of the trimmer on the ground to release more line.
- Push-button feed sends more line through by using a button on the handle.
- Automatic feed senses when the string is too short and lengthens it without any action from the user.
When loading the trimmer with a new string, use the correct line size. A heavier string puts extra stress on the engine and may affect overall performance.
Ease of Use
How long it takes to trim the edges of a lawn depends on the size of the lawn and can be anywhere from a few minutes to longer than half an hour. Some features of lawn trimmers that make them easier to use include an ergonomic design, a light weight, a tilting head, and an even balance.
- Ergonomic design reduces unnecessary strain on the user. A telescopic shaft prevents hunching over, and adjustable handles personalize the trimmer to the user’s size to prevent holding it in an uncomfortable position.
- Lightweight models are easier to use for longer periods. The weight of more powerful, heavier machines may prompt the user to take breaks to relieve their muscles, making the job take longer than expected.
- Tilting heads can go into areas where the operator doesn’t have to contort or maneuver their body.
- Balance makes using a trimmer comfortable for longer periods. A straight trimmer shaft helps provide better weight balance, making it more comfortable to hold.
Noise and Vibration
Noise is not much of an issue with electric string trimmers; typically the whirring sound of the string and the cutting sound are the loudest components. These types of trimmers don’t usually require hearing protection, as they are very quiet compared to their gas-powered counterparts. Gas trimmers, and some electric models, require hearing protection. These kinds are more robust and require additional juice to tackle tougher outdoor jobs.
As the engine works to make the lines rotate, it causes vibrations that can contribute to user fatigue. Many new string-trimmer models use handles with a flexible material that absorbs some of the vibrations, reducing the intensity transferred to the operator. Wearing heavy-duty gloves when using the trimmer can also help minimize blisters caused by those vibrations.
Many string trimmers convert to an edge trimmer with a couple of quick adjustments. Some models also work with other attachments, using the same engine but swapping out the tool’s head. String trimmers that use attachments go by many names, including “multifunction” or “multi-tool.” To get the benefit of attachments, users need to purchase a trimmer specifically intended for multiple purposes.
- Some of the attachment heads available may include the following:
- A leaf blower spins a blower fan for quick cleanup.
- An edger helps tidy lines around the driveway or a walkway.
- A cultivator stirs the top layers of soil or helps remove and control weeds.
- A brush cutter trims thicker growth or small saplings.
- A pole saw cuts through tree limbs up to 9 inches thick.
- A hedge trimmer readily trims hedges at the same time as trimming the grass.
As a power tool, the string trimmer has the potential to cause injury. This device rotates at high speeds to cut down grass or weeds but can also throw debris, including rocks. Most trimmers have safety features in place to reduce the likelihood of accidents. Some of these safety features include:
- Safety guards on the side of the trimmer closest to the operator. These guards deflect objects away from the user to minimize the risk of injury. Always make sure the guard is in place when the trimmer is in use.
- Safety locks for height and handle adjustments to ensure the string trimmer doesn’t move unexpectedly during operation.
- Safety switches for the quick shutdown of the tool.
In addition to the safeguards in place from the trimmer, users should also wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including protective glasses, closed-toe shoes, long pants, and hearing protection (if warranted).
How We Tested the Best String Trimmers
After unboxing the trimmers, the first task was to power up. We tracked charging times for each of the cordless models as we fueled up the gas trimmers and stretched out extension cords for the rest. We were looking for battery charging times that came in less than the runtimes. In the end, only the Makita offered that benefit. Battery management remains a primary focus for cordless tool owners.
To test functionality and user comfort, we treated these tools as any other user might. For the compact and lightweight models, we mostly stuck to grassy areas that are consistently maintained but also tried them out among tall grass and coarse weeds. The larger cordless, corded electric, and gas-powered tools were given a full workout that included similar groomed and slightly unkempt areas as the smaller units tested in, as well as some time in natural areas where invasive privet seedlings and honeysuckle vines had begun to colonize.We scored each trimmer against a set of objective and subjective criteria relating to their construction, operation, user comfort, and whether or not we would want to use them again. In the end, only those that we would want to use made the cut.
BEST BATTERY-POWERED STRING TRIMMER BUYING GUIDE
Three primary factors go into cutting power: line speed, line thickness/mass, and motor torque.The faster the line whips around, the better the tips cut grass. Most battery-powered string trimmers are fine in this category. As long as you’re getting at least 5000 RPM, you should be in good shape. The top models are capable of hitting 6500 RPM and there is a significant difference in how fast you can complete your trimming duties at higher rotational speeds.
Shifting the focus to the line thickness, the higher the line mass, the more force it’s able to cut through thicker grass with. It’s like the difference between getting hit by a 175-pound safety and a 225-pound linebacker at the same speed. More mass equals more cutting power.
Most cordless string trimmers take 0.080-inch line at a minimum. We recommend 0.095-inch for the best all-around performance. If you have tougher grass or deal with overgrowth frequently, a string trimmer with 0.105-inch line lets you power through even better. Just keep in mind that line diameter has a direct effect on runtime—thicker line takes more power to run.
Finally, a motor with higher torque helps the trimmer resist slowing down as the going gets tougher. Even though trimming grass seems like a low-demand task, grass does push back against the line, causing it to bend back and eventually start to bog the motor. Higher torque holds keeps the head spinning better in tough cutting situations, even when its highest RPMs are lower than low-torque gearing.
Having a large cutting swath helps you clear large areas faster or gives you a more generous border for your mower. You need more power to run wider, though, and runtime is always a consideration. That said, in the past couple of years, we’ve seen the technology come together to give us solid options. Look for a 15-inch cutting diameter for most situations. Recent 16- and 17-inch models are a great choice when you have larger areas to cut.
The average homeowner on a 1/4-acre lot only needs about 15 minutes of consistent trigger time to cover trimming. Most cordless string trimmers are able to hit that at high speed without too much trouble.
Professional lawn care crews need much more, though. So do homeowners with large properties and farm/ranch acreage.
If your runtime needs are greater, look for a string trimmer that balances the efficiency of a brushless motor, uses 0.095-inch line, and possibly comes with a higher-capacity battery. Of course, you can always carry multiple batteries.Also, consider learning how to trim at low speed when the grass isn’t as thick. Even though you have to slow down a bit, you’ll cut a significantly larger area.
We highly value low-vibration string trimmers. We already have enough work to do managing the weight of such a long tool without vibration adding additional fatigue. The harmonics in some of today’s models are so good that hardly any vibration makes it up the handle… and they are a joy to use!
Weight and Balance
If you’re working all day on a lawn crew or even just putting the finishing touches on your own lawn, you want the lightest weight you can get without sacrificing the power you need. Bare weight isn’t everything—the battery can add a lot. If you can get a fully-loaded battery-powered string trimmer that meets your performance needs and comes in under 10 pounds, that’s a big win.
Balance is a consideration and the trimmers that have the best typically mount the motor on the trimmer head to counter the battery weight on the back. Many models also let you adjust the front handle to help dial in your fit.
If you’re after an attachment-capable model, you’re stuck with the motor in the back, and the balance shifts back. For those and trimmers that are simply heavier by nature, consider adding a shoulder strap to help you out.
Low noise is one of the major benefits of moving away from gas power. Cordless string trimmers we’ve tested range from decibels in the low 80s to the upper 90s (measured at our operator’s ear). Even at the top end, it’s an improvement over the majority of gas trimmers.
Your line selection plays a bigger part than it does on gas trimmers. Sometimes, switching the line you use can reduce the overall noise level or change the tone to a less irritating pitch.
When you have to change the line, it can be an easy or frustrating process. Manual loading is largely a thing of the past, though some trimmers still have manual heads. To make the process easier, look for models that have some type of fast-loading system (SpeedFeed, Rapid Load, etc). With these, you thread the line through the head to the middle, turn the head to load it, and go get on with the work.
Regardless of what comes on the trimmer, you can upgrade most to a quick-load head.
The best on the market right now is EGO’s PowerLoad design. It takes the fast-load concept and adds automatic winding and gives us the easiest, quickest line changes we’ve ever had.
Pro lawn crews typically have dedicated machines for string trimming, edging, and hedge trimming, but homeowners can save a lot of money by using interchangeable heads and tools that cover everything from blowing to brush cutting.
As we mentioned earlier, attachment systems require a top-mounted motor that affects the balance. It’s a trade-off you have to make for the convenience you gain.
One thing to keep an eye on is the attachment connection style. Models with a “universal” connection can use attachments from other brands, opening up far more choices. Recent multi-head systems including EGO, Milwaukee, and Stihl aren’t compatible with others, so you need to make sure they have everything you need before investing.
What is a string trimmer?
String trimmers have many common names, including weed wacker, weed eater, weed trimmer, and grass trimmer, but all these terms refer to the same simple tool.
Basically, a string trimmer is what you use to cut grass and weeds in spots where a lawn mower won’t reach. That usually includes the lawn near flower beds and hardscapes and tight spaces between landscape features.
To reach these unusual spots in your yard, a string trimmer features a long shaft with a cutting head on one end. The cutting head spins a single or dual line (string) rapidly enough to cut down vegetation.As you’ve seen in our top picks, string trimmers can run on gas, electricity from a cord, or rechargeable batteries.
Gas vs. corded vs. battery-powered
Each type of leaf blower has advantages and disadvantages. No one can say definitively if one power source is better than the others because every homeowner and every lawn has different needs. So, which type would be better for your yard?
About gas string trimmers
Gas string trimmers are all about power. They can take down the toughest thickets of grass and weeds. Along with that high power level, gas trimmers have less limitations than either type of electric.
With a gas engine, you don’t have to work within a battery’s run time or an extension cord’s reach. You can work for as long as you want (as long as you have enough gas) and go as far as you want with a gas trimmer.
The combination of high power and high mobility comes with several downsides, though. As a rule, gas string trimmers are louder, heavier, and more difficult to start than their electric counterparts.
Those powerful gas engines require a lot of maintenance, too. You’ll either have to mix gas and oil (for a 2-cycle engine) or perform regular oil changes (for a 4-cycle engine).On top of the extra work, gas string trimmers can be detrimental to both the environment and your health because of the emissions they produce.If you need to trim a large area or you have to deal with a lot of thick overgrowth, a powerful and mobile gas string trimmer might be the best option for you. For most average homes, though, the cons of a gas trimmer outweigh the pros.
About corded string trimmers
As is the case with most power tools, a corded electric string trimmer is generally the cheapest option. Corded string trimmers are usually lighter than others, too, since they don’t include the extra weight of a gas tank or battery.Compared to gas trimmers, corded ones are much quieter and easier to operate. Of course, corded trimmers are also better for the environment because they don’t produce harmful fumes.
Corded electric trimmers have one major disadvantage, though: the cord. You won’t be able to move freely around your yard with a corded trimmer, since it has to stay plugged in.You can move only as far away from a power source as your extension cord will allow. Plus, the cord can get in the way of your work or damage landscaping if you don’t pay attention to it.
For these reasons, a corded string trimmer is best for smaller, emptier yards. If you have an extension cord long enough to reach your whole yard and you aren’t concerned about the cord getting in the way, there’s no reason not to save money and energy with a corded model.
About battery-powered string trimmers
Battery-powered string trimmers are great because they combine the quiet, eco-friendly operation of a corded electric model with the mobility and convenience of a gas model.
That’s a pricey combination, though, and battery-powered trimmers can get quite expensive. You can almost always find comparable gas or corded models for cheaper.
The battery, which is a cordless trimmer’s greatest strength, is also its greatest weakness. A trimmer’s batteries usually last only about half an hour or less, which might not be enough time to do all the work you need your trimmer for.And once the battery runs out of juice, it takes more than an hour (several hours in some cases) to recharge.
So, battery-powered models are perfect for people who want to save the environment but need mobility. Because of the limitation of battery run time, a cordless electric trimmer probably wouldn’t be the best choice for a large property (unless you keep a second battery charged and ready to go).
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes a self propelled walk behind string trimmer?
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.
What is a wheeled string trimmer for?
Wheeled string trimmers, also called walk-behind string trimmers, feature rugged string trimmer heads attached to a walk-behind frame and use two large wheels for maneuvering over rough terrain. A walk-behind string trimmer covers a much wider cutting area than a hand-held string trimmer.
What is the advantage of a straight shaft trimmer?
A straight shaft trimmer with a solid steel driveshaft has a more durable construction than any trimmer with a plastic drive cable. It can use heavier-grade replacement string as well as optional cutting blade attachments in place of the string.
Are string trimmers worth it?
String trimmers, which cut greenery with whirling plastic lines, can trim right up to trees, steps, and rocks. They’re great for maintaining a neat edge along walks and beds, and they can tidy a rocky hillside that’s too irregular to mow. Many can also accept a metal blade for leveling tough scrub and small saplings.
Are curved or straight shaft trimmers better?
Curved shaft models are lighter weight and best suited for smaller yards and more intricate work. Straight shaft models work better for larger yards, and for reaching under decks and around obstacles. Get a sense of the sizes and capabilities of both curved and straight shaft string trimmers here.Straight Shaft vs. Curved Shaft: The Definitive Guide
Can you edge with a curved shaft trimmer?
You can edge a lawn with a curved shaft trimmer, particularly on small yards. The hand-held tool also works well for intricate works to help you achieve flawless landscaping. Curved shaft trimmers are lightweight, making them easy to maneuver for a picture-perfect yard.Can You Edge a Lawn with a Curved Shaft Trimmer?
How often should you edge your lawn?
There’s no rule of thumb that dictates how frequently you should edge your lawn. Instead, the answer depends on several factors. Some use their edger after every mowing session, while others only do so after three. If you use the edger after mowing, the edges will be much shorter because the grass grows much faster.How Often Should You Edge Your Lawn?
How long should trimmer line last?
A trimmer line should last about three to six months if you cut the weeds weekly. A high-quality trimmer line spool lasts longer than low-quality strings, but it also depends on how often you trim the weeds. Soak your trimmer line in water to make it last longer.
How do you edge your lawn with a string trimmer?
Best way to edge a lawn with a string trimmer: The most effective way of edging with a trimmer is by turning the trimmer on its side with the string spinning away from you and placing the shaft on your shoulder. This allows precise movement of the string along the edges as well as visual confirmation as you work.Best Way To Edge With A String Trimmer
What do I use a string trimmer for?
For areas that a lawn mower can’t reach or cut properly, such as around a mailbox or a tree base, a string trimmer efficiently targets and cuts down growth. It cuts down problematic vegetation, although some stubborn patches may require weed killer, crabgrass killer, or other weed and feed products.
Are string trimmers dangerous?
Trimmers can be dangerous since they fling debris at high revolutions per minute (rpm), which is why proper safety features are built into the designs and PPE should be worn when operating a string trimmer.
What is the best thickness for string trimmer?
For light work, such as trimming grass, 0.065″-0.085″ should be sufficient. For thicker grass and weeds, a line in the 0.085″-0.110″ range will get the job done, and for thicker underbrush, anything thicker than 0.110″ will work.
What is the difference between edge trimmer and string trimmer?
What is the Difference? Lawn edgers are designed to cut edges and create boundary lines, whereas a string trimmer is designed to maintain those boundary lines. They make a great team! Both can help your lawn to look sharper.
Which is better straight or curved string trimmer?
The trimmer head can be brought closer to ground level, and the curve gives the user greater leverage and a better sense of balance. An improved sense of control also comes from the weight of the curved shaft trimmer. A shorter shaft is a lighter shaft that’s less of a burden to carry.
Is square trimmer line better than round?
Square trimmer lines
The extra edges certainly make them more suitable for heavy-duty tasks such as handling a long-ignored lawn. A square trimmer line can trim longer grass and also cleanly cut larger weed plants without putting in an excessive effort. However, this type is not as durable as the round strings.