String trimmers, also known as weed eaters, have been reliable garden maintenance tools for years. They help homeowners perform quick and easy trimming work in their yards, cleaning up areas that mowers might miss. But if you’re ready to buy one of these landscaping tools, you probably want to find out which is the best string trimmer on the market today. These trimmers come in a variety of styles from well-known brands, all with different capabilities and features.
If you’re looking for a different way to control your weeds, you might be interested in using a weed killer solution instead.
Mowers and trimmers come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you take a look at all variations to get the best tool for the job. For quick and big jobs, zero turn lawn mowers are the most favored. For bigger jobs, we suggest lawn mowers (click here for our review) over string trimmers. For a more modern approach, we’ve reviewed the top electric lawn mowers. You can also always opt for a good and reliable reel mower – click here.
While this means there’s a wide assortment of options out there, it also makes choosing the right model very difficult. But we’ve done all the hard work for you. We took a look at the top models on the market today and compared their design, price, performance, and features. In the end, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 options available. After reading through this article, we’re confident that you’ll be able to choose the tool that’s best for you.
View the Best String Trimmer for the Money, Below.
- WORX WG163 GT
- Honda HHT35SUKAT Straight Shaft Gas String Trimmer
- GreenWorks 21212 Electric Corded Weed Eater
- Husqvarna 129L Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer
- Echo SRM-225 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer
- Makita XRU15PT1 LXT String Trimmer Kit
- DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT Brushless Weed Eater
- RYOBI P2030 Electric Cordless String Trimmer
- Husqvarna 525L Straight Shaft String Trimmer
- Cub Cadet BC490 Gas Trimmer/Brushcutter
1. WORX WG163 GT
Best Trimmer for Efficient Performance
WORX makes our list of the top 10 trimmers with the WG163. This trimmer was designed for fast, efficient performance, delivering impressive power and a longer run time than comparable models on the market. Running on a WORX 20-V MAX Lithium-Ion system, this trimmer can tackle any grass condition in record time. Since it’s cordless, you never have to worry about fighting with a power cord or extension lead. The 12” cutting diameter makes a wide cutting path for efficient performance, but it's still small enough to trim tight areas.
The innovative Command Feed System allows for instant line feeding without having to bump your tool. The telescopic shaft makes height adjustments easy. To switch this tool to an in-line edger, you simply turn the head and lock it in place. The dual-function space guard protects your plants and flowers while also acting as an edger guide. And with an ergonomic design and a compact 5.3 lb body, it’s one of the easiest models on our list to carry or store away when not in use.
If you’re looking for a lightweight string trimmer that still delivers high power and performance, the WG163 is one of the smartest buys out there. The 20-volt MAX system offers impressive power, and the 12” cutting diameter makes quick work of yard maintenance. Converting it to an in-line wheeled edger takes seconds and adds versatility to this well-priced yard tool. Thanks to its lightweight build, it’s one of the easiest models to operate.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Honda HHT35SUKAT Straight Shaft Gas String Trimmer
Best multiuse string Trimmer
This Honda machine provides a dual purpose function with both a brush cutter blade for woody material and a string trimmer head for grass. The straight shaft and thoughtfully-designed handle allow you to hold the trimmer for long periods of time and maneuver it in tight areas. The long shaft cuts brush and grass while keeping your body a safe distance away from the moving parts. Due to its powerful design, the Honda HHT35SUKAT weighs 17 lbs. It's easy to start with just the pull of a cord. This machine may be a bit of an overkill for trimming grass around your house, but it's great for heavy-duty jobs.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. GreenWorks 21212 Electric Corded Weed Eater
Best Corded Trimmer for Small Gardens
The GreenWorks 21212 4-Amp String Trimmer is perfect for anyone looking for a lightweight, affordable corded trimmer. The 4-amp motor produces an impressive amount of power, allowing you to tackle most grassy conditions quickly and efficiently. The 13” cutting diameter is great for speeding up your yard work and, with a dual-line auto-feed system, you never have to worry about bumping your tool to feed line while you work.
Its quick electric start allows you to turn this electric trimmer on with just the touch of a button. The 21212 trimmer features an adjustable telescopic shaft for quick height adjustments and a convenient cord-lock that prevents you from getting tangled up. It's incredibly reliable and easy to use. Thanks to the 5.2 lbs body, it’s also one of the most lightweight models on the market today.
The GreenWorks 21212 is one of the best electric corded trimmers on the market. Due to the limited range offered by a corded trimmer, it’s not practical for large yards. But it’s the perfect tool for efficiently maintaining a smaller property. It features an impressive motor and, backed by a great price, it's one of the top deals on the market today.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Husqvarna 129L Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer
Best 2-Stroke String Trimmer for Professionals
The Husqvarna 129L String Trimmer can easily tackle any herbaceous grass and weeds. The thoughtfully-positioned handle and lightweight design allow you to carry and maneuver the trimmer with little effort, whether you're working for a few minutes or a few hours. The 2-stroke engine takes a mixture of gasoline and oil, but the SmartStart system is designed to allow for easy starts. The included protected string head is great for trimming around objects while keeping yourself safe from flying debris. When it's time to release more string, all you need to do is bump the head on the ground.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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5. Echo SRM-225 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer
Best 2-Stroke String Trimmer for Homeowners
The Echo SRM-225 2-Stroke Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer is a simple and lightweight tool that's great for basic uses. It has a 17-inch cutting diameter that allows you to tackle grass and other herbaceous material quickly. The 59-inch straight shaft makes it easy to reach low-lying areas while keeping your body and face safe from flying material. Additionally, it only weighs 11.5 lbs. The handle makes this string trimmer easy to carry and use. When it's time to use the trimmer, the i-30 starting mechanism makes it 30% easier to start than similar models.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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6. Makita XRU15PT1 LXT String Trimmer Kit
Best Professional Battery-Powered String Trimmer
The Makita XRU15PT1 LXT String Trimmer Kit runs on two rechargeable 18-volt batteries that include overload and overheat protection. Each pair of 5.0Ah batteries provide approximately one hour of power before you need to recharge them. The trimmer comes with three fixed speeds and turns on with the touch of a button. While you can set the speed yourself, the automatic torque drive technology senses when to shift speeds, allowing for increased run time or additional power. Although this machine runs on batteries, it doesn't lack power. It can easily cut through any grass on the lowest setting and small, woody material on the highest setting.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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7. DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT Brushless Weed Eater
Best Residential Battery-Powered String Trimmer
The DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT is a powerful, battery-operated weed eater. With variable controls, you can easily adjust the trimmer's RPM to cut through grass, weeds, and small brush. The 60-volt battery lasts about an hour before you need to swap batteries or recharge. Since the engine doesn't idle when it's not in use, this machine is quieter than gas-powered weed eaters. Plus, the battery-powered design leads to less overall maintenance. Instead of a pull-cord, you can start this trimmer with the easy push of a button. Some users report issues, with string becoming jammed in the included bump head, but you can easily swap the head out for another if this becomes an issue.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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8. RYOBI P2030 Electric Cordless String Trimmer
Best Value Battery-Powered String Trimmer
The RYOBI P2030 is a small electric string trimmer and edger. Due to its lightweight design and short, curved shaft, it's a good choice for homeowners looking to keep the edges of their yard free from weeds and overgrown grass. However, since the 10-inch cutting width is smaller than that of many other string trimmers, it's not the best choice for large lawns or woody brush. The P2030 runs on a rechargeable 18-Volt lithium-ion battery. Due to the electric design, this machine is easy to start and doesn't require the maintenance of gas-powered string trimmers. It's also super lightweight and easy for anyone to operate.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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9. Husqvarna 525L Straight Shaft String Trimmer
Best Gas-Powered String Trimmer
This Husqvarna 525L gas-powered string trimmer provides plenty of power coupled with reduced fuel consumption, thanks to the X-Torq engine. This product is a good choice for professional landscapers and homeowners who are looking for a string trimmer to handle a variety of tasks. The 18-inch cutting swath makes quick work of overgrown grass, and the long shaft allows you to reach tight areas while keeping your body safe. This trimmer includes a SmartStart system for an easy pull-start, and the high-quality bump head makes it easy to add new string, getting you right back to trimming.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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10. Cub Cadet BC490 Gas Trimmer/Brushcutter
Best 4-Stroke String Trimmer
The Cub Cadet BC490 comes with a string trimmer and brushcutter attachment to cut through grass and trim heavier brush. While this product is a bit heavy at 17 lbs, it includes a well-placed handle and a shoulder strap. However, it can still feel heavy after extended use. The 25cc 4-stroke engine is powerful and easy to refuel with straight gasoline. If you're using the string trimmer attachment, you can easily advance string with the bump head. Additionally, the brush cutter can cut through material that the string trimmer cannot.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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Buyers Guide Questions
How to Use a String Trimmer
If you’ve never used a string trimmer before, there are some simple tips that will help you quickly master this easy-to-use yard tool. By following these steps, you’ll be able to get professional results, eliminating the risk of accidentally scraping or damaging your lawn.
The first thing to consider is the style of your weed trimmer. While some trimmers feature a curved-shaft, you’ll notice that the models included in our list are mostly straight-shaft tools. This is because a straight shaft gives you more control over the tool. It allows you to navigate tight turns easily and get under pesky bushes and trees.
Secondly, consider the spin direction of the trimmer. Using your trimmer the wrong way will decrease both the efficiency and results you get. The trimmer’s cutting line spins in a horizontal plane, in a circular direction. As it cuts, the trimmer shoots debris away from its cutting path.
This means that if your weed eater spins in a clockwise direction, it will eject debris from the right side of the tool. Because of this, your trimmer will make the best cuts with its left side. So, in the example above, where your trimmer is working in a clockwise direction, you should keep the trimmer – and whatever it’s trimming – to your left. You can use the left side of your trimmer’s cutting diameter, letting clippings fly out the right side.
If you don’t work like this, the debris will pile up along the cut line, blocking your sightline and possibly causing the tool to jam.
Now you’re ready to begin trimming your landscape. Before you do, just remember that the tool’s power and precision are held in the ends of its string. Use the edge of your cutting line to do the trimming, especially if you want clean, even results.
You can perform several techniques with a weed whacker to transform your home’s yard from average to spectacular.
The first technique is called edging. This evens the line between parallel surfaces in your yard, such as the sidewalk and turf. Some models actually feature easy adjustment. This allows you to rotate the horizontal-spinning head of your trimmer to a vertical movement. This will help you edge more easily.
Even if your model doesn’t feature a rotating head, you can perform this action by simply turning your tool until the string is vertical. With vertical positioning, simply walk the tool in a cut path, ejecting material out as you pass. Debris like rocks, clippings, and dirt will all be removed, leaving a cleaner edge along your patio, walkways, or driveway.
Another technique is tapering. This technique involves trimming the patches along curbs, fences, trees, and other obstacles where your lawn mower won’t reach. The tapering technique gives you a cleaner look than simply working with the entire diameter of your tool’s cutting line. It allows you to blend your cut to the mowing height of your lawn. To taper, simply tilt your tool so that the string faces slightly down to the obstacle you’re trimming around. This will allow you to achieve a tight, tapered look that blends in with the height of your mowed grass.
The final technique you can achieve involves getting rid of those unsightly patches of weeds that grow through cracks in your driveway, paths, or sidewalks. This is called screening. To screen, you simply tilt your tool so that the cutting line is facing the pavement. Then cut flush against the hard surface. This action will help you rip out these thick patches of grass and weeds faster than by hand.
How Does a String Trimmer Work?
A string trimmer, also known as a weed eater or whacker, is a lightweight outdoor power tool that can be powered by electricity, a rechargeable battery, or gasoline. They work by using a string made of a flexible monofilament. This string spins at such a high velocity that it becomes stiff enough to cut through weeds and grass. This motion makes the tool very similar to a compact version of a rotary lawn mower since it uses a horizontal spinning movement to tear through grass and weeds.
Some of the more basic models on the market require you to bump the tool’s underside on the ground to feed new string as the old one wears away. Newer models feature quick-feed systems that feed string automatically or with the touch of a button. This ability to replace worn-out string with a new cutting line allows these tools to work without metal blades that would require regular sharpening.
Different Types of String Trimmers
There are two types of string trimmers on the market: gas or electric trimmers. While they both tackle the job efficiently, there are several differences between the two styles, such as power, noise, and maneuverability. Gas-powered string trimmers are cordless and generally more powerful than electric-powered models. Because of this power, these models are used by homeowners with large yards and heavy growth, as well as professional gardeners.
Some Gas models have 2-stroke engines which need a mixture of gasoline and oil. 4-stroke engines run a bit more smoothly, allow for an easier startup, and need straight gas. These trimmers usually feature pull starters that might take a few attempts to get going. They tend to be heavier and far louder than their electric counterparts. One final drawback is that these models require periodic maintenance, making them somewhat of a burden for homeowners who want a maintenance-free option.
Electric weed whackers come in both corded and cordless styles. Electric models require practically no maintenance and are much quieter than gas-powered models. They also don’t give off any harmful gas fumes, making them a healthier alternative for both yourself and the environment. They’re also lighter than gas models, which means they’re much easy to maneuver and carry. Plus, since these models run on electricity, they start up with the touch of a button.
There are some differences between cordless and corded trimmers. Corded models need to be plugged into an electrical outlet to operate. While they are best for small areas, they’re not really suited for maintaining large areas due to the limited range of an extension cord. The benefit of corded models is that they’re normally the lightest and most inexpensive machines on the market.
Cordless models are powered by rechargeable NiCad or lithium-ion batteries. They start easily and are just as quiet and maintenance-free as their corded counterparts. The difference is that you’re trading a limited battery life, which is still normally more than enough to tackle most small or medium yards, for an unlimited operating range.
Tips for Choosing a String Trimmer
As we mentioned above, you have three options when purchasing a string trimmer: gas, cordless electric, or corded electric. Each model has its own pros and cons. The right model for you depends on your yard’s condition and size, how often you’ll use the tool, and a couple of personal preferences. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each and then explain what factors you should consider when choosing the style that’s best for you.
Gas-powered weed eaters offer total mobility because you aren’t tied down to an electrical cord or a battery’s operating life. This makes them best for large properties. Since they offer more power than electric models, they’re better for heavy-duty cutting applications like overgrown areas and very thick patches of weeds. The downside to gas models is that they’re much louder than electric models, which can be annoying to your family and neighbors.
They also emit harmful gas fumes (click here for the study on trimmer emissions), making them a poor choice for the environment. Due to the pull start of gas models, it sometimes takes a few attempts to get the motor going. Some owners find this inconvenient.
These models are also heavier than electric models. Maintenance is no joke, either; you’ll need to pay for engine servicing and oil, which means they’ll end up costing more.
One final thing to consider is that these are the most expensive models on the market and usually run between $200 to $500.
Cordless Electric Trimmers
These battery-operated models give you total freedom from both gas and extension cords. They offer the best maneuverability. Plus, cordless models start at the touch of a button, giving you less hassle. They’re much quieter and lighter than gas models, as well as low-maintenance and eco-friendly. One final benefit is that these models are not as expensive as gas models, and you can purchase a quality cordless trimmer for somewhere between $80 and $200.
The downside to cordless models is that your usage is limited to the battery’s runtime. This means they’re not the best for very large properties. They’re also slightly heavier than corded models, and spare batteries tend to be rather expensive. With a bit less power than their gas-powered rivals, they’re not suited for consistent heavy-duty work.
Corded Electric Trimmers
Corded models offer some of the best benefits for homeowners with small yards. The only thing is, you’ll need access to plenty of outdoor power outlets.
These models offer an unlimited runtime – you never have to worry about running out of gas or battery power. They’re also the lightest on the market and require practically no maintenance. They’re incredibly quiet, start at the touch of a button, and have a lower operational cost than gas models. They are also the most affordable models available, and you can find a good quality corded trimmer for somewhere between $25 and $80.
The drawback to these models is that you have a limited coverage area since you are tethered to an extension cord. This makes these trimmers only practical for smaller lawns. They also offer less power than gas-powered models, so heavy-duty work might not be as efficient.
Choosing the Right String Trimmer for Your Needs
If you’re still stuck on which model is right for you, there are some basic guidelines you can follow.
First off, if you have a large yard or frequently tackle heavy-duty conditions, we recommend a gas-powered weed eater. They give you the unlimited range and power that you’ll need.
If you have a small or medium yard and don’t tackle thick, demanding conditions on a weekly basis, a cordless model is best for you.
These models run on a rechargeable battery, giving you the maneuverability that you need. The runtime of these batteries is more than sufficient to cover a medium yard. Plus, they deliver more than enough power to tackle heavy-duty workloads, making them best for regular maintenance.
If you have a smaller property where a limited working range won’t be a factor, your best bet is a corded model. These models are incredibly light and offer enough power to tackle most conditions easily. As long as your yard isn’t too large, the limited range of your power cord won’t be an issue.
How to Store Your String Trimmer
While you can simply store electric trimmers away without any special preparations, gas trimmers are a bit different. If you’re going to be storing your gas-powered model for any length of time over 3 months, there are some steps you need to take. By taking these easy precautions, you’ll ensure that old fuel doesn’t gum up your fuel system or prevent the tool from working correctly when you try to use it in the spring.
The first thing you need to do is run your tool until the gas tank is empty and dies on its own. This will ensure that all excess oil is burned off the carburetor. If you aren’t going to use your weed eater until it’s empty, you need to empty the fuel into an approved container and dispose of it according to your local regulations. Then run your tool until it dies out on its own to ensure all residual fuel is gone. This step will ensure that the diaphragms in your carburetor and fuel pump don’t stick together and that the jets and bores are clog-free.
Next, you need to clean the fuel tank with a metal brush and a rag. If there are some stubborn clumps of dirt or grass, you can add a small bit of gasoline and swirl it around in the tank to loosen the deposits. This will ensure that you don’t introduce any debris or sticky gas clumps into your tank when you refuel it next year.
Once your tank is clean, you should replace the fuel filter on the end of the fuel line. This will ensure that only clean gas is introduced to your carburetor next season.
Now you just have to clean the rest of your tool. Use your brush or rag to wipe away any debris or grass clippings from the cutting head, air vents, and air filter cover. Once clean, store your weed whacker in a dry place so that damp air doesn’t damage the tool’s internal engine components.
How Long Does a String Trimmer Last?
The average life expectancy of a string trimmer varies greatly based on how often it’s used, the scope of the demands placed on it, and how it’s cared for. Most residential weed eaters that receive proper maintenance as described in their user manual, and are prepped for winter storage using the steps we mentioned above, can last a minimum of 5 to 8 years. To ensure that your model lasts as long as possible, follow the general maintenance and upkeep guidelines described in your user manual.
Clean your model regularly to prevent it from clogs or overheating. Winterize your gas-powered trimmers prior to storing them away for any period longer than 3 months. And make sure that you use an appropriate extension cord if you have a corded model. This will prevent the motor from burning out. By taking these steps, you can count on your weed whacker for years to come.
What to Look for When Buying a String Trimmer?
When you’ve finished mowing your lawn, you’ll still find unsightly weeds and grass around your flowerbeds, trees, walkways, and fences to take care of. Unfortunately, your lawn mower isn’t going to be able to reach those spots. This is where a trimmer comes in.
Just a tip – when you’ve finished trimming, putting the garden waste in a composter bin can have amazing benefits.
String trimmers finish what your lawn mower started, getting those hard-to-reach spots and leaving your yard with a professional, manicured look. But with several styles and options available, choosing the right trimmer can be confusing.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features you should consider before purchasing your new trimmer.
As mentioned above, there are two styles of string trimmer on the market today: electric and gas-powered. Gas models offer the most cutting power and are best for landscaping professionals and homeowners with large properties. The downside to gas-powered trimmers is that they’re the most expensive models on the market and also the heaviest, making them a bad choice for anyone looking for a lightweight, affordable tool. Other factors that need to be considered are that gas trimmers require more maintenance, are slightly louder, and emit gas fumes.
Gas trimmers can range from $200 to $400. Electric trimmers come in both corded and cordless models. Cordless models run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and allow you to use your tool without being tethered to a power cord. Cordless models offer a bit less power than gas models but are also less expensive and lighter. The drawback is that they aren’t practical for large-scale, heavy-duty applications because your battery might run out.
But having a spare rechargeable battery on hand is a good way to resolve that problem. Cordless trimmers can cost between $100 to $200. Corded trimmers need to be plugged in to operate, but they’re also the most inexpensive and lightest models on the market. These tools are ideal for smaller properties where being bound by an extension cord isn’t a problem. But if you have a large property, you’re better off purchasing a cordless or gas model since they are far more portable. Corded models can run between $30 to $90.
The second factor to consider is the cutting width. The size of the cutting diameter directly translates to how wide a cutting swath the trimmer can make. Models can have a cutting width as narrow as 10” to as wide as 18”. If you have a small yard and tight spaces that need tending, then a compact width is perfect. But if you have a large property and are looking for efficient performance, a model that has a cutting width of at least 16” is recommended.
Trimmers come with three shaft options: straight, curved, and adjustable. Each of these designs has its own pros and cons. A straight shaft trimmer is best for trimming tight spaces, thanks to its inline design. It’s also perfect for getting under obstacles such as shrubs, decks, and benches. The downside is that straight shafts can be a bit unwieldy to control. Curved shaft trimmers offer better control, thanks to their curved design.
This control allows you to guide it into the tightest spots with ease. The downside is that curved shaft trimmers are difficult to maneuver under bushes and other objects. Both curved and straight shaft models often feature an adjustable shaft, allowing you to change the working height of your tool. This is highly recommended since it allows you to get into spots that you normally couldn’t reach. If more than one person will be using the trimmer, this feature is essential. They can select the working height that’s right for them.
Single or Dual-Feed Line
String trimmers are designed with either a single or dual-feed line. Single-line heads allow for easier winding when installing a new trimming line. They’re perfect for small gardens and lawns. But if you want a tool that cuts larger properties faster, we recommend a dual-line, since these tools cut twice with each revolution.
One major factor you need to consider is the weight of your trimmer. Since you’ll be hauling it around your yard, you need a tool that’s easy to carry. The weight of string trimmers can range from 5 lbs up to 20 lbs. This is where some trade-offs might be necessary – gas-powered trimmers tend to be the heaviest on the market but offer the most power.
Corded models can be as light as 5 lbs but have a limited work range. For most homeowners with a medium-sized yard, a cordless trimmer is one of the best options. It leverages impressive cutting power in a model that’s heavier than a corded tool but considerably lighter than a gas model.
By considering the size of your yard, your budget, and how heavy a workload you need to tackle, you’ll be able to find the model that’s perfect for your needs.
Professionals and power enthusiasts can’t go wrong with a gas string trimmer that features a generous cutting width.
Homeowners with medium or large properties and average grass conditions will reap the benefits of a battery model that offers a lighter weight and a more affordable price than its gas-guzzling cousin.
Users with small yards and light grass conditions can efficiently tackle their lawn with a corded model that’s easy to handle and incredibly affordable. They’re also noise-friendly too!
Check out this study on the Reduction of Vibration Transmission in String Trimmers.