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Charlie Nardozzi

Professional Gardening Expert

Best String Trimmers & Best Weed Eater

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Americans have created all types of machines and tools to fulfill their quest for the finely manicured lawn. One of the most popular tools is the string trimmer. After the lawn mowers are through cutting, string trimmers come in and polish off the edges. They feature a plastic string that’s whipped around at the end of a metal shaft to mow down soft grasses and weeds. They are great at cutting grass and weeds close to buildings, under fences, and between rocks. Heavier duty trimmers can be used to cut back weeds and with the blade attachment, even brush and small saplings.

What type of string trimmer you buy depends on your yard and usage of the machine. String trimmers come with gas powered engines (two or four cycle) or electric (corded or battery-powered). Gas powdered machines are more powerful, heavier (ten to fourteen pounds) and more expensive than the electric units. If you have a good size yard and plan on using the trimmer to tackle weeds and some brush, the gas-powered unit is the way to go. The four-cycle engines burn cleaner, start easier, pollute less, and are less noisy than the two-cycle engines, but are heavier and more costly.

If you have a small yard or you’re planning to exclusively just trim grass, then an electric unit may be a better choice. Electric units are simple to start, clean running, and less noisy than their gas powered counterparts. Corded electric string trimmers allow you to trim until the job is done and are the lightest weight (around five pounds) trimmers available. However, you have to contend with the extension cord and it’s best to have multiple outdoor outlets to use this machine. Battery-powered trimmers are heavier (around ten pounds) than corded machines and you’ll have to recharge or switch batteries after about twenty minutes of usage. However, they are very portable and perfect for a small yard.

Beside the type of engine, there are a few other choices to keep in mind. A string trimmer with a curved shaft allows you to get up close to a wall, plant or building without having to bend the machine at odd angles. A straight shaft machine is more durable and usually the type commercial landscapers use. The straight shaft units allow for a longer reach under benches, tables, and plants. Some units also have interchangeable heads so you can remove the trimmer head and place an edger, blower, or other yard tools on the shaft.

Most trimmers have two plastic lines extending from the rotary head. The lines are either automatically fed out as needed or you bump the ground to get more line. Newer versions have short lines that are clipped onto the head and easily replaced instead of having to wind a whole ball of plastic string around the head.

For heavy-duty units, or if trimming for hours on end, consider getting a shoulder harness attachment to lessen the weight of holding the trimmer. For trimming brush with a blade attachment or trimming on slopes, consider getting a bike handle bar attachments for easier and more even cutting.

There is even a string trimmer on wheels. These units look like a lawn mower, except in front there is a string trimmer attachment. They are great for trimming large areas and are easy to use, but they are expensive and limited when trying to do detailed trimming.

Whatever trimmer you chose, remember the cord is whipping around at about 400 mph. So wear the appropriate protective clothing. Sturdy boots, long pants, ear and eye protection will prevent accidental injury from flying material and debris.

Here are some of the best units available. I’ve listed a selection of string trimmers from gas to electric for small and large yards.

Best of the Best:

These units are some of the toughest on the market. They are durable, long lasting and powerful. When buying a string trimmer try out the balance and weight in the store. It should feel comfortable and not awkward to use.

The best string trimmers make it easy to have a well manicured lawn that is the envy of the neighbors. We recommend the best weed eater selections that polish the edges without much effort.

Best String Trimmers by Charlie Nardozzi

The Best You Can Get

  • Black and Decker Grass Hog XP

    Charlie says: Black and Decker are well known for their electric power tools. Their Grass Hog XP corded trimmer features a high torque engine that can cut a fourteen-inch wide swath. It also comes in a popular, battery-powered version that’s heavier, but has more freedom of movement without the extension cord. At less than seven pounds, this unit is one of the lightest featured and less expensive than gas trimmers. The line automatically feeds as needed and trimmer head guard can be rotated for easier and more accurate edging. Although not as robust as the gas powered string trimmers, this is a good choice for grass trimming in small yards.

    • Corded electric, 7.2 amp electric motor
    • Comes in a battery-powdered cordless trimmer version
    • Automatic dual-feed spool
    • 6.9 pounds
    • Height adjustment and soft grips on shaft
  • Echo GT-201i

    Charlie says: Echo receives high marks for this lightweight, durable string trimmer that cuts like professional models. The “i-start” system makes getting this two-cycle engine off and running much easier. The curved shaft cuts like a professional trimmer. The two-line rapid load trimmer head allows you to reload string with having to remove the trimmer head. Echo also has a professional trimmer line (the SMR series), but for a homeowner, the GT-201i will do all the trimming you need.

    • Gas powdered, 21 cc engine
    • Curved shaft
    • Easy starting
    • 9.6 pounds
  • Honda HHT25SLTA

    Charlie says: As concerns about gas emissions and pollution are raised, small engines are being redesigned to fit these new standards. One direction is using four-cycle, versus two-cycle engines, on power hand tools. These models emit up to 75 percent less air pollution. Honda’s string trimmers feature these heavier, but cleaner, stronger, and easier to start engines. The semi-automatic line feeds when bumped.

    • Gas powered, 4-cycle, 25cc engine
    • Straight shaft
    • 13 pounds
    • Bump feed line
  • Husqvarna 125-C

    Charlie says: Husqvarna is known for their high quality power equipment and their string trimmers are no exception. The homeowner versions have extra long curved shafts for easier reach, an improved air purge system for faster starting and bump trimmer head for line extension. The strong engine is particularly good at cutting down tall grass and weeds without getting tangled. Their professional line of trimmers feature straight-shafted trimmers with a split boom. The boom allows other attachments such as a pole saw, cultivator, and edger to be added to the trimmer body.

    • Gas powdered, 28 cc engine
    • Extra long curved shaft
    • 9.7 pounds
    • Ergonomically-designed shaft
  • Stihl FS 45 CE

    Charlie says: Stihl is another brand well known for its quality professional landscaping power equipment. While they have a good professional line of string trimmers for bigger jobs and brush clearing, the homeowner string trimmers feature lightweight, dual line TAP action trimmer heads and the Easy2Start fast action starting system. Easy2Start reduces resistance and eliminates the need for strong, fast pulls on the cord to get the engine running.

    • Gas powdered, 27.2 cc engine
    • Curved shaft
    • 9.5 pounds
    • Easy2Start system

You will be happy with any of these

  • Homelite Mightlite

    Charlie says: This Homelite trimmer features a “roto-chock” starting system for easier ignition, a quiet engine, a seventeen-inch wide cutting swath, and a bump feed string head system. It also comes in a straight shaft and versa tool version. The Versa tool allows you to add other tool heads to the shaft.

    • Gas powdered, 26 cc 2-cycle engine
    • Curved shaft
    • 7.9 pounds
  • Poulan Weedeater SST 25

    Charlie says: One of the lighter gas powered string trimmers on the market and less expensive than the more popular brands. This tool features a sixteen-inch cutting width and a Tap N Go line feed system on an easy to remove head.

    • Gas powered, 25cc, 2-cycle engine
    • Curved shaft
    • 8 pounds
    • Lightweight
  • Ryobi 30 cc

    Charlie says: This seventeen-inch trimmer features a twelve-volt battery powder touch start system that reduces the struggle in starting this gas-powered, low emissions machine. It has an on-board recharging system and a bump and feed line system. The shaft can fit other attachments such as a tiller, blower, or edger. The down side it, the trimmer is heavy (fifteen pounds).

    • Gas powdered, 2-cycle engine
    • Straight or curved shafts
    • 15.6 pounds
    • Electric starter
  • Toro 13 inch

    Charlie says: On of the lightest trimmers on the market, The Toro electric trims a thirteen-inch wide cutting swath. The shaft and handle are ergonomically designed for easier usage. They also have an eight-inch cordless version available. The bump line feeder has an easy-to-open spool for line replacement.

    • Corded electric, 3.9 amp engine
    • Straight shaft
    • 4.75 pounds
    • Ergonomic designed shaft and handle
  • Troy-Bilt TB50

    Charlie says: This corded electric trimmer features a good balanced shaft with fifteen-inch cutting swath. The line is fed on a bump and feed system. It has an adjustable D handle and telescoping shaft to fit the tool to your body size. It does basic trimming and edging well.

    • Corded electric, 4.7 amps
    • Curved shaft
    • 8 pounds
    • Telescoping shaft

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Buy the best string trimmers that have durable, long lasting power but aren't so heavy you can't carry them for long. The best weed eater choices manicure your lawn with ease for the best looking yard in the neighborhood. We recommend the best string trimmer selections from Toro, Troy, Ryobi and others.