Grass and weeds don’t always grow where we want. Some can grow up the side of the shed, encroach on the garden, and climb the fence, but with a gas string trimmer, you can quickly remove these unwanted plants.
This garden tool is a helpful addition to a large yard or any location with a lot of different obstacles, like trees, lawn ornaments, fencing, garden beds, sheds, and workshops. While battery-powered trimmers may be a good choice for light trimming in small yards, gas string trimmers have the power that’s ideal for cutting through dense grass, weeds, and brush.
The best gas string trimmer for your yard will depend on several important factors, like cutting width and engine type. This guide details some of these important factors and highlights what features would be most beneficial for trimming your yard. Also, the following list includes some of the best gas string trimmer tools available.
- BEST OVERALL: Craftsman 30cc 4-Cycle Straight String Trimmer
- UPGRADE PICK: PROYAMA 42.7cc 2 in 1 2-Cycle Gas Dual Line Trimmer
- BEST CURVED SHAFT: Husqvarna 129C 17″ Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer
- BEST STRAIGHT SHAFT: Remington 25cc 2-Cycle Straight Shaft String Trimmer
- BEST TWO-CYCLE: Poulan Pro 28cc 2-Cycle Gas Straight String Trimmer
- BEST FOUR-CYCLE: Husqvarna 4-Cycle 18″ Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas String Trimmer
A string trimmer is a powerful tool equipped with a weed eater string to quickly cut through overgrown grass and weeds. However, before deciding on the best gas string trimmer for your home’s landscaping, consider the following criteria: engine type, fuel efficiency and run time, cutting width, feeding and loading, speed, ease, attachments, and safety features.
Gas string trimmers fall into two categories based on the type of engine they use: two-cycle or four-cycle. This seemingly simple difference creates significant gaps between efficiency, cost, maintenance, and power.
- Two-cycle engines are lightweight, allowing the user to move more freely while working with the trimmer. Two-cycle engines use a fuel and oil blend, which reduces average maintenance to changing the weed eater string and emptying the fuel tank before storing the trimmer for the off-season. Though lower maintenance, these trimmers have less power output than those with a four-cycle engine.
- Four-cycle engines are generally considered more efficient than two-cycle engines. The efficiency comes at the cost of size and weight, so users should expect a heavier tool when they pick up a four-cycle engine trimmer. These tools also are more powerful than products with two-cycle engines, making them a good choice for yards that are more than an acre. However, keep in mind, products with four-cycle engines typically cost more and require regular oil changes to keep them working properly.
The size of the engine is another important factor. This is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). As an engine increases in size, as indicated by the cc, the power output of the engine increases. This is because a larger engine is generally capable of displacing more air and fuel at one time. When displacement is low, power output is also low. So, if high power is the goal, look for a product with an engine larger than 40 cc.
Fuel Efficiency and Run Time
Fuel efficiency is a difficult feature to gauge, as there are a number of different factors that can influence the efficiency of a gas string trimmer, including fuel mixture, ambient temperature, operating speed, and even the type of grass or weeds that are being cut. However, a gas string trimmer with a four-cycle engine usually will be more efficient than a trimmer with a two-cycle engine.
Run time is a bit easier to measure because manufacturers typically provide the fuel tank size and the maximum run time on a single tank of fuel. These run-time numbers are based on tests performed in ideal, controlled environments, so factors like high- and low-temperature extremes or very dense, wet foliage can reduce the actual run time. These situations decrease the fuel efficiency of the trimmer, causing it to use more fuel in a shorter period of time.
The cutting width of a gas string trimmer refers to the total width the rotating string can reach when the trimmer is being used. Standard gas string trimmers will have a cutting width of about 16 to 18 inches. However, there are compact models that may be as small as 12 inches wide and commercial gas string trimmers that exceed 20 inches wide, so it’s important to know what size is necessary for the lawn, yard, and garden.
Yards that exceed 1 acre and have very few small obstacles may benefit from a gas string trimmer with a cutting width of 18 inches or more, while yards that are smaller than 1 acre are fine with gas trimmers that have a smaller cutting width. Users with many obstacles in their yard may find that they prefer a smaller cutting width so they can have more precise control while trimming. For cutting through deep, dense weeds and overgrown grass, it’s helpful if the cutting width is big and the engine is powerful.
Variable Speed Control
The speed of a gas string trimmer is controlled by a variable speed trigger that can either be placed on the shaft of the trimmer or on one of the handles (if the trimmer boasts a split-handle design). The placement on the right handle may cause some problems for left-handed users. When the trigger is on the shaft of the trimmer, it’s relatively easy to use either hand to control the speed while the other hand controls the movement of the trimmer head.
The variable speed control allows the user to reduce the speed for light trimming or increase the speed rapidly to cut through dense brush and weeds. The ability to dial down the speed for precision control is a great feature to have while trimming around lawn ornaments, garden beds, and along fencing to reduce the potential damage that can be caused by less controllable trimmers.
Feeding and Loading
Feeding and loading is easily the most challenging part of using a gas string trimmer. Sure, it’s easy to swing the rapidly rotating cutting string around to make mulch out of grass and weeds, but loading that cutting string can be difficult, especially when dealing with a dual-line head that has two weed eater strings. To help make this cringe-worthy task easier, consider products with a detachable head so you aren’t fighting with the entire trimmer while trying to change the line.
Feeding the line refers to pulling more line out of the trimmer head. There are now many products that offer innovative line feeding methods that eliminate the need to start and stop, while using the trimmer to deal with a standard fixed line. These include bump feeding and auto feeding.
- Fixed-line gas string trimmers are attached tightly to the head, meaning the user needs to loosen the head and manually pull the line out when they need more.
- Bump feeders are designed to push out more string when the head is bumped on the ground or on another hard object so the user doesn’t need to stop to extend the string.
- Auto feeders have a pre-wound head that automatically feeds string using centrifugal force so the length of string is constantly self-correcting to the ideal length.
Ease of Use
Using a gas string trimmer can be tiring, but there are several factors that can help make the work easier. These include the angle of the shaft, the weight of the string trimmer, the balance of the trimmer, and the trimmer head.
- The shaft of the trimmer can either be completely straight or curved. Curved shafts are great for getting a flat angle cut over a broad area without having to bend and twist to change the cut of the trimmer. Straight shafts are better for detailed trimming between and around lawn ornaments.
- The weight of a trimmer can wear on the user, especially if they are working in a very large yard or having to deal with many different precision cuts. This additional time spent trimming can leave the user’s arms aching, so a lighter trimmer of 10 to 12 pounds may be a better option. If the power of a heavier trimmer is needed, then work breaks may be necessary to avoid injury.
- The balance of the gas string trimmer is dependent on how the weight of the engine, focused at the rear of the tool, compares to the weight of the rest of the trimmer, which is dispersed along the entire length of the shaft down to the head. Unfortunately, balance is difficult to determine without holding the tool in your hands, so the best option is to read the product information and reviews to get a good idea of how the trimmer handles.
- The trimmer head can come with a variety of attachments detailed in the next section. It also can have a versatile tilting feature that allows the head to be angled up or down for more precise cutting in tight spots.
When using a gas string trimmer to clean up the yard and garden, it’s possible to encounter sticks, leaves, and debris; the trimmer is useless to deal with these unless it comes with an edging tool, saw, blower, or brush attachment.
- Edging tools are useful for creating a defined edge between the garden and the lawn or the lawn and the sidewalk or driveway. They have a more powerful cutting blade that makes quick work of overgrown grass, which saves you the time and effort of using a shovel for edging the lawn.
- Saw attachments are a great choice for cutting through sticks and brush that have fallen during the fall and winter seasons. While it shouldn’t be used for cutting through logs or planks of wood, the saw moves easily through small branches and twigs.
- Blowers are a separate tool, but sometimes they are packaged as a kit with a trimmer. They help quickly clean up a mess made by trimming, edging, and cutting.
- Brush attachments can help clean up a messy sidewalk or driveway, pushing the yard debris into a pile or just brushing stray grass and dirt back onto the lawn.
Before picking up a gas string trimmer, it’s important to remember that this is literally a device designed for cutting through layers of the tough cellulose fiber of plants while hitting walls, rocks, metal, and wood at an impressive speed. It is a machine that should always be handled with proper precautions.
With this in mind, look for gas string trimmers that have safety features like a debris guard, a trigger switch, and a padded grip.
- Debris guards are included with almost every gas string trimmer because they are essential to protecting the user. Even with a guard, some flying grass can escape, which is why users need to wear safety glasses, long pants, and closed-toe shoes while working.
- Trigger switches are designed to prevent the trimmer from being accidentally turned on. The trigger switch must be held down before the trigger will activate the trimmer.
- Padded grips on the shaft and handle of the gas string trimmer will help reduce hand fatigue and muscle strain that can be caused by excessive vibration. The padding also makes the tool easier to hold and helps prevent it from slipping out of the user’s hand while trimming.
Our Top Picks
The list of gas string trimmers was chosen based on the individual safety features, attachments, and engine type as well as product quality and the other important factors mentioned above. These products are among the best gas string trimmer options for keeping your yard and garden neatly trimmed.
The Craftsman gas string trimmer is a powerful option that can handle yards ranging from small to large, thanks to the efficient four-cycle engine and the versatile 17-inch cutting width that allows the user to cut through denser overgrowth or make neat trims along the garden bed. The gas string trimmer has a broad, adjustable handle suitable for both right- and left-handed individuals.
The four-cycle gas string trimmer weighs 18 pounds and has a bump feeding system to quickly unwind additional weed eater string by simply tapping the grass or ground. The dual-line head with straight-shaft design is good for trimming under bushes without damaging the branches, allowing the trimmer to be turned or twisted for precision cutting around lawn ornaments and other obstacles.
- 17-inch cutting width
- Adjustable handle for right- or left-handed users
- Straight shaft useful for trimming under bushes
- Dual-line head with bump feeding
- Weighs 18 pounds
- Attachments sold separately
This premium gas string trimmer with four different head attachments is an excellent choice for homes with trees, dense overgrowth, and piles of brush. When dealing with simple yard trimming, the two-cycle gas string trimmer can be equipped with the dual-line trimmer head and debris guard. For edging, make the change to the three-blade edging tool for efficient yard landscaping.
The gas string trimmer also features a saw blade attachment for twigs and sticks as well as a brush cutter attachment that uses chainsaw teeth to quickly tear through the brush. The trimmer weighs 21 pounds and has a split-handle design to help users manage the weight. However, the variable speed trigger is located on the right-hand handle, so this may be inconvenient for left-handed users.
- Includes four attachments
- Split-handle design balances weight
- EPA-certified engine for less fuel use
- Safety equipment included
- Weighs 21 pounds
- Variable speed trigger placement not ideal for left-handed users
This Husqvarna gas trimmer has a curved shaft design that is intended to make it easier to cut parallel to the ground and help to evenly distribute the weight of the trimmer to reduce operator fatigue. The trimmer features a bump feeding system, enabling the user to extend the string from the dual-line head by tapping the trimmer head against the ground.
The two-cycle gas string trimmer is a good option for homes with small to medium yards, as it weighs just 10 pounds and has a 17-inch cutting width. It protects the user with a debris guard that is cleverly designed with a narrow extension from the shaft widening to a broad protective shield; this combination makes it easier to see where the trimmer is cutting without sacrificing safety. The trimmer also has a trigger switch, which must be activated before the variable speed trigger will respond, helping prevent accidental start-ups.
- Curved shaft
- Trigger switch prevents accidental starts
- Weighs 10 pounds
- Translucent fuel tank
- Curved shaft isn’t ideal for cutting under bushes
This Remington gas string trimmer comes with a straight shaft, making it a good option for trimming underneath bushes and fences as well as cutting grass and weeds in hard-to-reach places, like under a deck or behind a shed. The trimmer’s narrow 16-inch cutting width helps when you need to maneuver the trimmer between lawn ornaments, trees, and other obstacles for more precise trimming.
This product has a two-cycle engine, weighs just 14 pounds, and comes with an adjustable handle that can be moved up or down the shaft of the trimmer for better control and to reduce user fatigue. The handle also can be positioned so that both right- and left-handed individuals can use the trimmer without a problem. The dual-line head, with a bump feeding system, makes it easy to trim the yard without having to take multiple breaks for manual line feeding, so users can get yard work done in a hurry.
- Adjustable handle for right- or left-handed users
- Weighs 14 pounds
- Straight shaft reaches under fences and bushes
- Costs less than other models
- Does not include any accessories
This Poulan Pro gas string trimmer has a two-cycle engine that provides ample power for trimming yards smaller than 1 acre and boasts a 17-inch cutting width to help navigate around garden beds, lawn ornaments, and other obstacles without causing damage. Instead of having a dedicated oil tank, the two-cycle engine is fueled by a 40:1 gas-to-oil mixture, so users don’t need to be concerned with regularly changing the oil.
The gas string trimmer has a straight shaft that’s good for trimming under bushes and fences, and the head can be removed to replace the weed eater string. The trimmer weighs just 14 pounds and is equipped with a dual-line head that has a bump feeding system; the user won’t need to stop to extend the length of the cutting line.
- Does not require regular oil changes
- Weighs 14 pounds
- Dual-line head has bump feeding
- Head needs to be removed to replace string
- Six compatible attachments sold separately
The gas string trimmer has a four-cycle engine designed for efficiency and power that doesn’t disappoint. It is capable of powering the trimmer head to rotate up to 7,000 RPM, making it easy for the dual-line trimmer head to cut through grass, weeds, brush, and even small sticks. The 18-inch cutting width is ideal for working on large yards, as the trimmer can cut more grass with the same amount of effort than trimmers with smaller cutting widths.
Users can control the length of the weed eater string with the bump feeder system. This reduces the number of times that the user needs to stop while working, meaning it ends up taking less time overall to clean up the yard. This gas string trimmer also has an air purge feature that allows the user to purge the air from the carburetor and fuel system, making it easier for the trimmer to start up.
- Large 18-inch cutting width
- Does not require mixing gas and oil
- Translucent fuel tank
- Air purge primer removes unwanted air
- More expensive than others
Even though yards vary with the type of landscaping and size, the Craftsman 30cc 4-Cycle Straight String Trimmer is one of the best gas string trimmers for home use. For those looking for a curved trimmer that is lightweight, it’s worth considering the Husqvarna 129C 17″ Cutting Path Gas String Trimmer.
How We Chose the Best Gas String Trimmers
The recommendations for the best gas string trimmers include a variety of engine types to suit many typical users who want to tidy landscaping around a home. We narrowed the field of research to include tools that deliver both the required power needed for home use and the ease of string changing, as well as options that have straight and curved shafts. While weight can be a factor for some users, there are tools on this list that range from 13 to 21 pounds.
We also evaluated the trimmers based on their cutting width, fuel efficiency, speed, ease of use, safety features, and attachments. Some of the tools on this list include extras like safety equipment or attachments beyond the basic tool. Others that ranked high in our research are able to work with multiple attachments and even other brands’ accessories (sold separately), increasing the flexibility of the tool’s uses.
If you’re still unsure about some of the details surrounding gas string trimmers, read the following answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to use these trimmers and how to store these machines to keep them working for years to come.
Q. What size gas string trimmer do I need?
When trying to decide on the right size trimmer for the job, consider the size of the yard, the number of obstacles in the yard, and the type of obstacles. Generally, larger yards without many obstacles will be easier with larger gas string trimmers. Yards with gardens with low-hanging plant leaves, lawn ornaments, and fences are better handled with a smaller trimmer.
Q. How do you store gas string trimmer?
So it’s safe from hot and cold temperature extremes, precipitation, and debris, it’s a good idea to store a gas string trimmer off of the floor inside a workshop or garage. This can be done by hanging the gas string trimmer on the wall using two or more hanging hooks. Make sure to empty the gas from the trimmer before storing for the off-season.
Q. How long do gas string trimmers last?
Gas string trimmers can last about 5 to 10 years, with some difference in longevity depending on how the trimmer is stored and if it is maintained properly.