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9 Best String Trimmer / Weed Wacker (Electric, Gas) 2017 Reviews and Buying Guide

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9 Best String Trimmer or Weed Wacker for the Money

One the most challenging aspects for homeowners is the constant battle to keep the garden looking great, maintaining the flowers and vegetables, and keeping the verge and pathways grass-free. And on top of that, we have the horticultural nemesis – the dreaded weed - to keep under control. One thing is for certain, weeds are strong and determined and they can wreak havoc with our gardens and turn our beautiful piece of paradise into a jungle. But instead of having to get down on your hands and knees to wrench out those almost supernatural invasive weeds, a grass or string trimmer can do all the hard work for you.

String Trimmer / Weed Wacker Comparison:​

Our pick

THE BEST STRING TRIMMER

Husqvarna 967055801324L Straight Shaft 4-Stroke Gas String Trimmer

It is a monster trimmer that is especially designed for commercial applications with a heavy-duty engine, but it is surprising lightweight and ideal for medium to large residential properties. It can cut through tough weeds and thick grass, and it has vibration control design for operator comfort, and it is also CARB compliant and there is no need to mix oil and fuel.

3 Types of String Trimmer

There are three main types of string trimmers: electric (corded), battery-powered, and gas-powered.

1. Electric (corded)

Electric line trimmers are the perfect choice for small sized gardens. They are usually more lightweight and quieter than other models and are generally a lot cheaper to maintain than gas or battery-powered trimmers. The downside of electric line trimmers is that they have a limited reach, and you have to be close to a power outlet extension cord. If you have simple gardening tasks like general low maintenance weeding or just trimming the verge, then an electric (corded) trimmer is the perfect choice for you.

2. Battery-powered

If portability and environmentally friendly is what you are looking for, then look no further than a battery powered line trimmer. These portable trimmers can easily take charge of grass or weeds in a small to medium garden. They can fit into the back seat of your car, and they do not require any fuel, and you do not have to worry about tripping over a cord.

The down-side of a battery-powered trimmer is that the battery life will depend on the size of your yard, and you will have to recharge the battery. So, if you have a lot of trimming to do, it is a good idea to purchase a second battery.

Battery powered trimmers are easy on the ears as well. In addition to portability and reduced noise, there are no emissions, and your operational costs are quite low in comparison with electric (corded) or gas-powered models.

3. Gas-powered

A gas-powered line trimmer works well in medium to large sized gardens. They can either be fitted with a two-cycle engine or a four-cycle engine. If your garden resembles a jungle, then a four-cycle engine is the best for you. In comparison to two-cycle engines that require a mix of fuel and engine oil, a four-cycle engine does not require mixed fuel. Gas-powered trimmers are generally more powerful, they are easier to start, and run more smoothly. The downside of gas-powered models is that they are more expensive, and they still emit fumes, and the two-cycle engines can be noisy. Also, some gas-powered models can be labelled CARB compliant.

Another tip for purchasing a gas-powered trimmer is to look for a model that has a transparent fuel tank, so that you can see when you are running low on fuel.

Tips for Choosing the Best String Trimmer for Your Garden

Overall, the great thing about line trimmers is that they can get into places where mowers cannot like: tight corners, around trees, along the edge of a flowerbed, and they can give your garden or pathway a nice and tidy look around the edges or border. For more heavy duty gardening purchasing a trimmer that has brush-cutting capabilities is also a good investment, especially if you have a large garden that has a lot of dense foliage and undergrowth to maintain.

One of the first things to look out for when looking to buy a line trimmer is the shaft of the trimmer. The shaft can either be curved or straight, and they are also detachable line trimmers that come with a choice of cutting tools. You can then use the trimmer as a hedge trimmer, brush-cutter, sweeper, tree pruner, edger or cultivator.

Curved shafts

A trimmer with a curved shaft works best in a small yard. They are shorter, lighter, and are easy to maneuver, so they are ideal for trimming around narrow, small lawns and flowerbeds, and they take up less storage space. They are more ergonomically friendly and can save a lot of strain on your back.

Straight shafts

Straight shafts are best used for large yards or commercial properties. They are sometimes referred to as brush-cutters and they are more heavy-duty and powerful and they also have a longer reach, which makes them ideal tools for more demanding jobs like eradicating dense undergrowth and reaching under bushes and fences.

Cutting diameter

Once again, the cutting diameter will depend on the size of your lawn, garden and the kind of foliage and weeds you need to keep under control. If you have a small to medium garden then a cutting diameter of 10– 14 inches is ideal. If you have a large garden and dense foliage, then choose a line trimmer with a cutting diameter of around 15 – 18 inches. Petrol line trimmers usually have a wider cutting diameter.

Safety guard

The safety guard is located over the cutting head or string. It protects you from flying debris, but some models have larger guards. Having a larger-sized guard can obscure your view.

Shoulder harness

If you have a lot of trimming and cutting to do - use a shoulder harness. Most models do not come with a harness, but if you are using one of the heavier types like a gas-powered trimmer, a shoulder harness will make your job so much easier and will save your back.

Trimmer line

The trimmer line is a nylon or polymer string that cuts through the grass or weeds and comes in two types:

  • A standard-grade line is best for low-intensity trimming in smaller yards, and it is economical.
  • A commercial-grade line is ideal for use in larger yards where there are heavier patches of grass and troublesome weeds.

A handy tip is to keep an extra spool of trimmer line on hand.

Line-feed system

The line-feed system can either be manual, and when you run out of string you will have to turn the trimmer off and then pull or unwind the line out, which is located on a spool. Most trimmers have the "bump feed system" or a 'bump head', where you simply tap the cutting head on the ground and the string will feed out. Some models have an automatic system where the cutting string is sent out when the line gets too short.

Spool type

One of the difficult tasks of using a line trimmer is having to fit a new cutting line onto the spool. Trimmers can come with either a single cutting line or with twin lines. A single cutting line is easier to thread than a twin line, but the twin line can give you a better cut.

Handles

Most models have a handle which can make using a trimmer a lot easier, but some also have an adjustable handle that can be rotated. With an adjustable handle you can turn the trimmer over to change from horizontal trimming to vertical edging.

Accessories

Some trimmers come with just the cutting line and spool and others have additional accessories like brush-cutting blades or extra edging heads.

Safety Tips for Using Your String Trimmer

Just like any other mechanical power tool that you use around the home or garden, a line trimmer can cause serious injury if it is not operated properly. So by practising some safety tips and being trimmer savvy, they can save you and your family from being injured and can help you have a more comfortable trimming experience.

1. Read the instructions or the manual before using your line trimmer. Make sure you use the trimmer as instructed by the manufacturer.
2. Wear eye safety gear to protect you from flying debris and ear plugs to protect your hearing.
3. Wear gloves, sturdy shoes, and long pants to protect your legs.
4. Trimmers are not toys. Children should not use a line trimmer.
5. Be mindful of who or what is around while you are using the trimmer. Do not point the trimmer in the direction of other people or pets and make sure that any bystanders are at least 50 feet away.
6. Do not use a line trimmer if you are using medication or have consumed alcohol.
7. Check the trimmer to make sure it is in good working order. If you are using an electric model, make sure that the cord is not damaged.
8. Before you begin trimming, pick up any loose objects in your working area, like sticks, stones or pieces of metal.
9. If you have a gas-powered trimmer, start the trimmer outside and do not use the trimmer in an enclosed space.
10. Always use the grass trimmer with the cutting head from below the waist.
11. If you need to fix the trimmer and it is an electric modell - make sure it is switched off and unplugged from the power source.
12. Do not use the blower while standing on a ladder or roof, or while up a tree.

These safety tips are based on the safety precautions from the Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental Health Grass Trimmer Safety Guidelines

String Trimmer Product Reviews

Electric:

1. Black & Decker GH900 String Trimmer and Edger

Black & Decker are one of the most well-known manufacturers of high-quality home and garden power tools. As well as being dedicated to making durable and reliable gardening equipment, they are also committed to making products that are environmentally friendly.

The Black & Decker GH900 Electric String Trimmer is powered by a 6.5 amp motor and combined with the high torque transmission, and a cutting swath of 14 inches, it will be able to cut through the toughest of weeds and dense undergrowth.

The trimmer can also be used as an edger to trim along borders, pathways, and flowerbeds. It is easy to convert, just rotate the head to convert the trimmer into a wheeled edger.

The trimmer is easy to use, it is lightweight with an ergonomic design, and the shaft can be adjusted to suit your height, and the pivoting handle positions give you more control over your cutting and trimming. The unit also has an Automatic Feed Spool – AFS®, which automatically feeds the trimmer line when needed, and the cord retention system prevents accidental cord disconnection

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for small to medium yards with low-density vegetation
  • Easy to use
  • Can cut weeds up to ½ inch thick

What we don't like:

  • Not suitable for large sized yards
  • Not suitable for dense undergrowth or thick weeds

2. GreenWorks 21212 Corded String Trimmer

The Greenworks 21212 13 Inch Electric (corded) String Trimmer is an ideal choice if you have a small to medium garden. It is lightweight, but powerful due to its 4 amp motor, and with an electrical start up, you will be up and trimming away in no time. It has a dual auto line feed that automatically replaces the string when it gets too short, and it has an adjustable telescopic shaft and auxiliary handle for operator comfort. With a 13 inch cutting path and rotating handle it is ideal for cutting alongside driveways and for trimming away stubborn weeds.

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • One touch start
  • Powerful
  • Fast
  • Ideal for small to medium gardens

What we don't like:

  • The shaft is too short
  • The spool cap comes off

3. Toro 51480 Electric (Corded) Electric Trimmer/Edger

If you have a small to medium sized garden with lots of weeds and thick grass to keep under control, then the Toro 51480 Electric (corded) Trimmer/Edger is the perfect choice for you. With a 5 amp motor, an extra-wide 14-inch dual line cutting head and auto-feed trim line, the Toro trimmer will have you powering through your gardening chores in a flash.

With a simple push of a button, the trimmer converts to an edger in seconds. There is also a handy guide wheel that helps you roll along smoothly and prevents scalping. For those hard to reach places like under bushes. the tough aluminum rust-free shaft can be adjusted for an extended reach, and the adjustable handle gives you that much needed comfort and control.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Powerful
  • Quiet
  • Ideal for small yards

What we don't like:

  • The cutting string is fragile
  • The auto-line reel doesn't work very well
  • Not ideal for tall grass and thick weeds

Battery Powered:

4. Makita XRU02Z Battery-operated LXT String Trimmer

If you have a small yard and you are looking for a trimmer that is lightweight, portable and environmentally friendly, the Makita XRU02Z Battery-operated Trimmer is the best choice for your garden. The Makita built motor delivers 7,800 RPM for faster cutting, and the improved design means the trimmer is well balanced and is ideal for all your trimming and cutting needs.. The unit also has a telescoping shaft that allows the user to adjust the length of the tool for an optimum cutting position, and the easy-loading bump and feed trimmer head gives you increased user convenience.

There is an adjustable 5-position pivoting head, which enables you to adjust the cutting angle when trimming in tight spaces. The 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery guarantees long-lasting battery life, and the battery also comes with a battery capacity warning system, which switches on an indicator light as an indication that you need to recharge the battery.

Extra ergonomic features include an adjustable loop handle, which is designed to suit the user's height, and a built-in lock-off lever ensures operator safety.

What we like:

  • Ideal for a small to medium yard
  • Well balanced
  • Smooth running
  • Lightweight
  • Nice and quiet
  • Good battery life

What we don't like:

  • Not recommended for tall grass and tough weeds
  • Have to purchase the battery separately

5. WORX WG155 Cordless Lithium String Trimmer/Edger

Another well-known and trusted name in gardening power tools, WORX delivers a powerful, fast and lightweight trimmer that can easily cut and trim those tough weeds and tall grass that seek to destroy your garden. As well as a trimmer, the premium WORX Cordless 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Power 2-in-1 gardening machine can be easily converted into an edger with no tools required. The automatic spool means you can continue on working without having to manually feed the line.

For that much needed operator comfort and control, there is an adjustable handle that incorporates 7 locking adjustments, and the shaft can also be adjusted according to your height, which provides maximum comfort and control.

To get you up and trimming there is a easy safety start trigger, which means there is no cord that you have to struggle with. As opposed to other models that can be heavy due to the battery, the maximum powered 20 volt MAX Lithium Powered battery is lighter in weight and more compact.

The rubberized twin-set wheels make the trimmer easy to guide along and manoeuvre while you edge your lawn, and there is also a retractable guard to keep the trim line at just the right distance from delicate landscaping areas in your yard. There is an automatic single line feed and the trimmer line features a long-lasting DNA-2 copolymer nylon resin that makes it more durable especially when you are using it against hard surfaces. The strimmer also comes with three single-line spools of trimmer line (0.065 line diameter).

What we like:

  • Ideal for small to medium sized yards
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Fast
  • Auto-feed line works well

What we don't like:

  • Battery takes a long time to charge
  • Handle is too short
  • Not suitable for large sized yards

6. DEWALT DCST990H1 Lithium Ion XR String Trimmer

If it is power you need, then the DEWALT DCST990H1 15 Inch 40V MAX 6.0 Ah Lithium-Ion XR String Trimmer has got you covered. The trimmer is powered by a 40V MAX premium high capacity battery with a durable brushless motor that will provide you with a longer runtime and greater battery life.

The innovative gear drive design provides more torque and helps to maintain speed while you cut through tough weeds and long grass. The shaft is made from impact-resistant Xenoy housing, which offers maximum durability for everyday heavy-duty usage.

Dewalt has designed the trimmer with a variable speed trigger, which gives you more control over speed and the noise level, and that much needed power and performance when cutting through tough gardening conditions. The ergonomically padded auxiliary handle offers comfort for long-term use.

What we like:

  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Cuts through thick weeds and grass
  • Well balanced
  • Great battery life
  • Quiet

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • The safety guard is too small
  • You have to manually re-feed the line

Gas Powered:

7. Weedeater W25SFK Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

A Weedeater by name and a weedeater by nature. The Weedeater W25SFK 15 inch 25 cc 2-cycle Gas-powered Straight Shaft Trimmer is the ideal choice for small to medium properties, and it has no problems tackling tough weeds and grass or trimming around large objects like rocks

The Weedeater features a powerful 25 cc 2-cycle engine with Simple 2 Start technology, which will have you trimming the verge and eradicating those weeds like an expert. The dual exit-fixed line trimmer head uses a pre-cut trimmer line that creates a 15-inch cutting width, and the extra long shaft provides you with that much needed reach for hard to access areas in your garden. With a self-priming button, the unit springs to life in a flash, and the knock-down coupler on the shaft allows for easy transport and storage.

What we like:

  • Easy to Handle
  • Ergonomic Grip
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful

What we don't like:

  • Have to manually threat the string
  • Vibrates

8. Tanaka TCG22EAP2SLB 2-Cycle Gas-powered Curved Shaft String Trimmer

If you have a medium to large sized yard and need a trimmer that can handle heavy-duty weeding and trimming then the commercial grade Tanaka 17 inch 21 cc 2-Cycle Gas-powered Curved Shaft String Trimmer is your best buy. The trimmer is powered by a heavy-duty 21 cc Purefire two-stroke commercial grade engine, which delivers that trimming and cutting power. while also ensuring durability. The engine also meets environmentally friendly emission levels without sacrificing the much needed power for high-level gardening maintenance.

The Walbro carburetor with a purge bulb means the trimmer has an effortless and reliable starting system, and the 4 inch semi-automatic trimmer head provides you with hassle-free operation. The trimmer comes loaded with 13 feet of heavy duty polymer cutting line.

The strong steel curved shaft is 54 inches long and together with the anti-vibration system the design helps to reduce fatigue and improve user comfort and control. The unit is quite lightweight at 10.1 lbs (dry weight). and it is well-balanced for easy manoeuvrability.

The protective cover shields the fuel tank from wear and tear, and for long term peace of mind the trimmer is covered by a 7-year consumer use warranty, and a 2-year commercial use warranty. The Tanaka TCG22EAP2SLB also comes in a straight-shaft model as well.

What we like:

  • Ideal for medium to large properties
  • Lightweight
  • Dependable
  • Powerful
  • Starts easily
  • Well balanced
  • Great for thick weeds and brush-cutting

What we don't like:

  • Vibrates a lot
  • Safety guard is too small

9. Husqvarna 967055801324L Straight Shaft 4-Stroke Gas String Trimmer

Another high quality gardening product from Husqvarna is the powerful 967055801 Gas-powered 324L String Trimmer. With a 17 inch cutting radius, this trimming beast is designed for large properties and semi-professional applications, so it has a lot of power. It is fast and can cut through thick weeds, long grass and undergrowth. The trimmer is powered by a 4-stroke Smart Start engine, and the engine and starter have been designed so the machine starts quickly with minimum effort, and there is no need to mix oil and fuel. The unit is environmentally friendly as it is CARB compliant.

The straight shaft measures 58.4 inches long & 9 inches in diameter, and has a vibration control design, which gives you an extended reach and provides the operator with comfort and control. The “Tap 'n Go" feature allows the line to feed through automatically when the cutting head is pushed into the ground, which means there is no need to stop and refill the string.

What we like:

  • Sturdy
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet
  • Fast
  • Plenty of power
  • Cuts through heavy weeds and thick grass
  • No need to mix fuel and the unit is CARB compliant

What we don't like:

  • Does not come with extra parts to attach edgers and blowers
  • Heavy

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best line trimmer is the Husqvarna 967055801 Straight Shaft 4-Stroke Gas Powered String Trimmer.

Our pick

THE BEST STRING TRIMMER

Husqvarna 967055801324L Straight Shaft 4-Stroke Gas String Trimmer

It is a monster trimmer that is especially designed for commercial applications with a heavy-duty engine, but it is surprising lightweight and ideal for medium to large residential properties. It can cut through tough weeds and thick grass, and it has vibration control design for operator comfort, and it is also CARB compliant and there is no need to mix oil and fuel.

 The only downside of this power-packed machine is that you cannot attach other cutting or trimming tools and it can be heavy. So if you decide to choose this line trimmer, purchase a shoulder harness or strap as well.

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Comments:

  1. I enjoyed your post on string line trimmers. I wasted money on a Kmart electric trimmer then a Sears gas trimmer then I had 2 Roibi gas trimmers then I wised up and invested in Stihl FS 130 stright shaft trimmer it was 36.3 cc it is 2 stroke so you have to add oil to the gas but 2 stroke has a lot more power than 4 stroke it has lots of power to cut through tall grass and weeds. I take the trimmer head off and put on a steel tooth saw blade and cut down brush and small trees up to 3 inch in diameter. This trimmer weighs 13.0 lbs.but with the padded shoulder harness that clips on the trimmer makes operating the trimmer for hours very manageable. The trimmer is very well balanced it was handel bars that makes controling the trimmer very easy. We have the side walk edger attachment they also make a hedge trimmer and pole saw attachment. This trimmer is pricey but is it hands down one of the best investments I have ever made.

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