The Best String Trimmers for Yard Maintenance
Looking to rid your yard of weeds? Use these tips and tool recommendations when shopping for the best string trimmer for tackling the tall grass and unwanted weed growth on your property.
If your lawn features a lot of “interruptions”—trees, shrubbery, pavers, and pathways—odds are that you struggle with a bulky lawnmower to maneuver around and maintain growth around these landscaping highlights. A perfect complement to a lawn mower, the string trimmer tackles overgrown grass in hard-to-mow areas. This lawn tool, also known as a “weed whacker” or “weed eater,” uses a monofilament line (a strong, flexible, hard plastic cord) to do just what its name implies: trim!
Since many variations of string trimmers exist on the market, finding one that delivers top performance, reliability, and ease of use can be a daunting task. Keep reading to find out what to look for when shopping for one, and discover our top picks among the best string trimmer models available today:
- BEST OVERALL: EGO Power+ 15-Inch Lithium-Ion Cordless Brushless String Trimmer
- BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Husqvarna 17-Inch Gas Curved Shaft String Trimmer
- BEST VALUE: BLACK+DECKER 13-Inch String Trimmer/Edger
Let’s Cut to the Chase: Shopping Considerations
To make sure that you’re selecting the right tool for your yard, start by getting a grasp on the different variations available.
Pick your power.
The fuel source you need often depends on the size of the yard and how long your string trimmer would need to run to get the job done. That said, you’ll also need to think about what a battery or a tank of fuel adds to the overall weight of the machine.
- Gas-powered models are powerful and untethered, giving users the freedom to move about the yard without extension cords. As exhaust emissions become a greater concern than ever before, some manufacturers have introduced gas-powered models that create less pollution without sacrificing performance. If you’re interested in buying a more environmentally friendly gas-powered string trimmer, look for the words “low emission” on the packaging. While these tools can handle long weeds better than their electric-powered counterparts, but they’re also more expensive. They’re heavier as well, with many models weighing in at just under 13 pounds.
- Electric-powered models tend to be even more lightweight and functional, whether a consumer chooses one with a rechargeable battery or a good old-fashioned cord. Corded versions occasionally pose problems maneuvering around a property, since the cord can get tangled or run out of length, but they’re also the most budget-friendly option. Cordless versions, on the other hand, are extremely portable and easy to maneuver, but their battery (or batteries) must be recharged between each use and they don’t perform as well as corded models in tall grasses. That said, recent technological improvements have aided corded and cordless electric string trimmers in catching up with their gas-powered counterparts in terms of performance.
Whether or not you need a tool with wheels depends largely on the type of terrain you’ll encounter on your property.
- A wheeled model, sometimes called a “walk-behind,” ideal for handling large patches of rough terrain, thanks to the maneuverability provided by the wheels and typically wider cutting paths. A majority of these machines operate on a gas-powered engine similar to a lawnmower’s and run on two or four wheels.
- A string trimmer without wheels, though, is far more common and generally effective on even the messiest tangles of grass. Unless you live on a property with extensive weeds and rough terrain, you can likely make do with a model without wheels.
Select a shape.
String trimmers come in two shapes: curved shaft and straight shaft.
- Curved shaft string trimmers feature a bend at the end of the shaft, near the blades, that makes them shorter in length and—combined with a lighter weight—more comfortable to use. These weed wackers work best for homeowners who need to manage grass and plant growth around (but not underneath) trees and other objects, since their design won’t quite fit into hard-to-reach places.
- Narrow straight shaft string trimmers boast a greater reach for tall users and those who need to trim far beneath shrubbery or unique landscape features, but they tend to be tougher to use due to their heavy weight and high level of vibration.
Find the right feel.
The most popular string trimmers range in weight from five to 15 pounds. Corded, curved-shaft models are typically the lightest, while gas-powered walk-behinds are the heaviest. Additionally, most weed string trimmers have cutting path diameters somewhere between 12 and 17 inches.
Our Top Picks
This model operates on highly efficient lithium-ion batteries and a brushless motor, eliminating exhaust fumes and excessive noise without sacrificing any of the power. Plus, you don’t have to worry about plugging it in and tripping over a long cord. Its light weight (only 9 pounds), extendable aluminum shaft, and the 15-inch cutting swath it easy to maneuver. The trimmer comes with a 5-year warranty, and the battery has a 3-year warranty.
2. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Husqvarna 17-Inch 129C Gas Curved Shaft String Trimmer
The Husqvarna gas trimmer, which features the easy handling that comes with curved shaft trimmers, also boasts a 2-stroke gas engine designed for professional as well as personal use. At 10 pounds, the Husqvarna is a good mid-size model, and its ergonomic shaft design helps with posture and handling. Bonus features include automatic “smart” controls for easy starting and stopping.
3. BEST VALUE: BLACK+DECKER BESTA510 6.5-Amp Electric String Trimmer/Edger
If you use a trimmer occasionally or have a small garden, consider this excellent, less inexpensive choice. As a bonus, BLACK+DECKER’s 14-inch straight-shaft electric trimmer also converts into an edger for extra precision. The electric cord has an automatic feed spool, which can be extended or retracted as needed. With 6.25 amps of power and a smooth transmission system, this adjustable height trimmer is also lightweight—only 7 pounds. The tool comes with a limited 2-year warranty.