Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: February 14, 2021
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If the lawnmower just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially in regards to cutting grass around obstacles, then you need to think about getting a string trimmer. Once you do, the obstacles in question will no longer be cause for headaches.
If you’ve already chosen to make the purchase, the BLACK+DECKER LST136 is one of the best string trimmers around. It has been selected as our editor’s choice out of the 30 products we reviewed due to a couple of benefits. Among them are the facts that it is cordless, has an automatic feed spool and even comes with a long straight shaft. The other nine products highlighted in the table below also give it quite the run for its money. As such, they will provide suitable alternatives for a lot of you, given that your needs vary.
You should know that putting together the table below was a time-consuming exercise. During the extended period that our team allocated to research, we were able to check various manufacturer sites. We even added information from vendor sites for a more comprehensive review. Among the areas we paid the most attention to with regards to the devices were the motors, cutting swath diameters, and trimmer line diameters. These are the features you look to if you are going to gauge the performance of the device. Additionally we checked on weight, warranty and quite a few additional features. While they may not affect performance, most users will have their preferences, and that will affect their buying choices. Below you will see a table listing and ranking some of the best string trimmers. Additionally, you get a section for in-depth reviews as well as a buying guide.
The quality exhibited by this tool is something to write home about. As such most people looking to own one of these devices should put it in their top three or top five lists. However, this will largely depend on their lawn, as well as a few other factors, such as the budget.
As it stands, you can order this item from Amazon for under $145. You can also opt to add a trimming line instead of purchasing the two at different intervals. This will, of course, add to the cost.
The device is battery operated and comes with a 40V battery. As such, if you make sure to charge it before going out to your lawn, you will be good to go. This is a process that should take less than two hours.
Also, the power consumption will, of course, vary depending on how you use the device each time. If the weeds and grass are relatively thin, you can choose the 6500 RPM option. Since this is on the lower end, you will get more battery life out of your device.
However, you might occasionally encounter thick brush. When this happens, you have to add more torque, and that will make cutting into the foliage a lot easier.
One can also not fail to mention the lightweight design of the tool. Given that you carry the device around as you trim your grass, this is a huge positive. The 52-inch shaft of the machine further aids this. You will thus find it easier to reach around obstacles and make sure your entire lawn is in pristine condition.
Another positive for the tool is that you can covert it from trimmer to edger in no time at all. As such, shaping your lawn shouldn’t present you with any problems.
In addition to the above, you get an automatic feed spool with this purchase. This mechanism should help feed the trimmer line most of the time without needing your input.
Our next device is one of the more powerful ones on offer owing to the engine that is incorporated into the design. Also, it is a rather large machine. With regards to storage, the folding handle might be useful as it reduces the space that the device takes up.
However, the weight should be of little consequence with regards to how you use the device. This is because it also incorporates wheels. As a result, you will rarely have to carry it in and out of your garage.
Another thing that is quite conspicuous on the device is the size of the wheels. At 14 inches, they are quite big and will make it possible for the tool to glide over small obstacles.
Also, it would be quite inconvenient for some components of the machine to get in the way of cutting grass. For that reason, it makes sense that the manufacturer incorporated an offset trimmer head.
As we already mentioned, the size of this tool may be inconvenient in some ways. However, it may be a blessing in others. One such area is in the cutting swath, which is 22” wide.
That cutting width is the largest on our list and will make sure you finish with your grass cutting quickly. It also makes sense to look at the warranty provided by the makers, which is two years long. This gives you time to put the machine through the paces and figure out what it can and cannot do.
Also, if you’ve already set your mind to purchase this tool, you will appreciate the variable cutting height as well. Let’s not forget that this is a gas-powered machine that needs refueling from time to time.
What we liked:
14-inch wheels make it easier to glide over steep terrain
You might be under the impression that gas-powered machines are bulky and heavy. The Husqvarna 324L is one of the devices that easily proves that theory wrong.
It comes with a 25 cc 4-cycle engine that will be useful for rotating the trimmer head. As to the power, you will be pleased with the 7500 rpm that this tool is capable of. For most grass cutting scenarios, this will be sufficient.
Of course, for a tool of this caliber, one of its more attractive features is its weightlessness. However, this is also a necessity since you need to carry it as you get to work on your landscaping exercises.
One thing you will likely appreciate is that the machine runs on pure gasoline. As such, you won’t need to mix fuels to get the best out of it. Also, the fact that it comes with a translucent fuel tank makes it easier to tell if you are running on low.
Another positive is the starting system. For one, it removes air from the engine and a few other components as it might prove a hindrance to starting the machine. Also, there is a smart start system that makes it possible for you to pull-start the tool with minimal effort.
A braided trimmer line as well is incorporated into the device. This will increase both the strength and durability of the line making it easier to cut through grass and brush.
Also, similar to our second best choice, the Remington RM1159, you get a two-year warranty. However, this is only if you use it for residential purposes.
You will as well need to change the trimmer line from time to time. Once you use the tap and go release mechanism, you will find this exercise to be a piece of cake.
As far as curved shaft devices go, the Echo GT-225 is one of the best machines you can own. If you purchase from Amazon, it should cost you close to 170 dollars.
You, of course, have to check on the engine that runs the device. You get a 21.2 cc, 2-cycle model that uses gas as the source of power. It should thus be a powerful gardening tool if the engine is anything to go by.
Also, for a handheld tool, the cutting swath is quite extensive as it measures a total of 16”. Both professionals and regular homeowners can purchase this tool. However, the warranty terms will be different for each of these parties. The homeowner gets a five-year warranty while the commercial user gets much less coverage at only two years. Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop it from being one of the best commercial string trimmers around.
The weight of the tool as well comes in at 10.1 lbs. However, you will likely have to contend with a bit more weight once you have added fuel. Nevertheless, the difference in weight is not significant enough to be a decider in whether you buy the tool or not.
You can also thank the manufacturer for the adjustable handle as it will be of benefit to you.
What we liked:
5-year consumer warranty
Easy to load new trimmer lines
What could be better:
A few users have mentioned that you need to purchase another head to make the best use of the device
The Husqvarna 129C is one of the two curved shaft devices on our list. As such, it may be able to reach some places where the straight shaft or walk-behind string trimmers can’t.
What powers the device is a 27.6, 2 cycle engine. Of course, you may need to add in some gallons of gas every so often to keep it running and in tip-top shape.
This is a handheld device. Consequently, one of its main benefits is that it only weighs 9.9 lbs. This includes the engine and shaft.
The cutting components of the tool, such as the trimmer head and trimmer line, may add some weight. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be much.
Also, you will likely note a similarity between this model and other Husqvarna devices on the list. All of them have translucent fuel tanks.
Another area that similarities are likely to occur is in the controls. Air is currently a problem that many users deal with. It may cause problems when it fills up the carburetor. With this machine, you don’t have to worry about that as you can easily use purge controls to remove it.
Users may as well appreciate the tap n go functionality of the device when it comes to releasing new trimmer lines. To activate this, all you would have to do is tap your trimmer head on the grass on your lawn.
Also, loading new 0.095” lines should be a piece of cake. As well you get an auto-return stop switch, which makes it easier to start and stop your device.
If the warranty is usually a make or break it feature for you, then you should know this product comes with two years’ coverage.
What we liked:
Purge controls to remove air from the engine
Translucent fuel tank
Wide cutting swath
What could be better:
The fuel tank is relatively small
The engine is not all that strong
Starting the device may be a problem in certain conditions
Like the editor’s choice, this is a battery-powered machine and one that is quite pleasing to look at. If you sufficiently charge the batteries, then you should have nothing to worry about when you get to mowing and shaping the lawn.
The device weighs a meager 9.26 lbs., and as such, you will be able to carry it for long durations of time without getting tired.
With regards to the cutting swath, you might find 13” not to be impressive. Nevertheless, you may look to other features to offset the disappointment you get from this feature. Among them, you find the warranty which covers you up to four years for the body of the tool while it only covers the battery for two.
The four-position pivoting head is also a noteworthy feature. This is because it allows you to change the configuration of the head, depending on the task at hand. The result of such is a more versatile tool in your hands.
If the above is not enough to convince you of the quality of the machine and why you should buy it, you can consider the telescoping shaft. This means that the shaft extends and contracts as per your instructions. This feature is quite useful since you need both shorter and longer reach for variable projects.
Also, you will be able to change the speed of rotations on the trimmer head.
What we liked:
Up to four years warranty
Comes with edging wheel
Battery and charger included in the package
What could be better:
Cutting swath is relatively small
Some users have complained about the guard being too flimsy
The trigger is uncomfortable to pull for extended periods
This unit only costs about $130 to order from Amazon. Nevertheless, some people will mind that it doesn’t come with the battery and charger, while others won’t. Whichever way you fall on this pendulum, you are still bound to be impressed by some of its other features.
For one, the 8.5 lbs. package weight is something you will love. Given that you may have to use this tool on a large tract of land, the lightweight nature will probably be of great benefit. However, without the battery, it weighs even less.
One of the things that the manufacturer is proud of with regards to the tool is the brushless motor. The result of this is often a longer run time.
Something that may also help you use the device for longer is using lower rotation speed. The range offered is between 4600 and 6000 rpm, and the controls allow you to move from one end of that spectrum to the other freely.
If you encounter some thick weeds, it is probably wise to use the higher rotation limit as that will increase cutting efficiency. However, for general use, you can use the 4600 rpm to conserve energy.
As well this tool uses a bump feed as a release mechanism for the string that is already in your spool. This means that squeezing the trimmer head onto the grass or any other solid flat surface will culminate in the release of the string.
Also, other than putting in the battery that you’ve bought separately, you will as well need to assemble the device. It comes as two separate pieces. Nevertheless, putting these pieces together is a relatively straightforward exercise.
With regards to the warranty, DEWALT has outdone itself. The 3-year warranty also comes with one year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Another tool that should feature in your considerations list is the WORX WG163. As a battery-powered option, the device makes a good case for itself concerning whether you should purchase it or not.
It is priced at less than $120, and this is inclusive of the twin batteries that make up the package. The only extra purchases that you thus have to make are those of the line. Admittedly the line diameter is not that impressive and will wear down much quicker.
Other components of the tool are robust, and the three-year warranty is there to emphasize this. Also, this tool can be used as both a trimmer and an edger.
Concerning the latter, rubber wheels on the device make it easier to use this feature. You can, therefore, glide through the edges quite easily as you shape them. This also means that you can convert from edger to trimmer and vice versa by just turning the tool.
The machine is capable of getting up to 7600 rpm. If you already own a WORX battery that powers one of your other tools, there is a chance you can use it with this model as well. This would result in some savings as you can opt to exclude the battery from your purchase.
An impressive aspect of the tool is that you can feed the line at the press of a button. You as well have an adjustable spacer guard. The result is that you can be more precise with your cutting and end up with a cleaner looking lawn.
Our next installment on the list is the CRAFTSMAN WS205 gas-powered machine. It comes at a weight of 14 lbs., which is a bit on the heavy side for a handheld device. Nevertheless, this weight is still manageable.
The engine is a 2-cycle variation, which is a common theme for a lot of the handheld, gas-powered options on the list. It has proven to be reliable when it comes to taking on landscaping jobs.
Users will as well find that starting the tool is as easy as pie. Also, the handle is customizable. As a result, many different users will find the machine a joy to use.
Another key feature of the tool is the bump feed, similar to the one provided by the DEWALT DCST920B model. It also provides the same benefits of easy line feeding.
Other users will like the fact that the tool has many optional attachments. Of course, if you make it a point to purchase them, the machine will end up quite versatile.
What we liked:
Large cutting swath
Easy line feeding
Has many optional attachments that you can buy to work with the machine
What could be better:
Difficult to find some replacement parts if you ever need them
The machine has 3-in-1 functionality, which means it can be converted from a lawn-mower to a string trimmer and, if need be to an edger.
It as well happens to be one of the least expensive devices to feature on our list. This should make it an even more attractive purchase for potential buyers.
Since it is corded, you will have to look for a socket close enough to your lawn so that you can use the device. Also, it doesn’t use up much electricity. Another thing to note is that it doesn’t come with an extension power cord, and you will thus need to purchase one that fits you.
One aspect that may disappoint a few users is the size of the cutting swath, which is only 12” wide. The 134 lbs. weight may also underwhelm you. Nevertheless, this device comes with wheels, and as such, it shouldn’t be too problematic to work around the weight.
With regards to the cutting height, the device offers options that range from 1.6” to 2.4”. Consequently, you should be able to select a height for your grass that you find suitable before you start trimming.
The AFS or automatic feed spool in full will guarantee that you don’t have to keep stopping the machine so you can adjust the spool. This also means continuous workflow for the duration that you trim the grass.
Another element of the tool that the manufacturer is proud of is the gear drive transmission, which is meant to take on more substantial tasks. The machine will thus easily hold its own on any terrain or grass that you put it up against.
With an additional two-year warranty, it makes an attractive purchase. Also, if you feel like the power chord would be a bother, you can opt for a cordless version that will likely cost you more money.
What we liked:
Both corded and cordless versions available
Gear drive transmission
Adjustable cutting height
What could be better:
Small cutting swath
No speed controls
Things to Consider
As with any other buying process, getting a string trimmer requires you to be aware of a few dos and don’ts. If you want to get the best string trimmer, then the buying guide below should provide you with guidelines on how to go about that.
What is a string trimmer?
A string trimmer may also be referred to by a few other names such as weed eater, weed whip or weed-whacker. Its primary function is the same as that of a lawn-mower where the device cuts through grass and other plants that are prominent on your grounds.
You should also note that the main difference between a lawn-mower and a string trimmer is in the components that do the cutting. Both options often have engines. However, a string trimmer uses a string as the cutting element while lawnmowers use blades.
Admittedly a blade is more durable. With strings, you will need to replace them regularly as they fall prey to wear and tear. Nevertheless, the devices in question all have their benefits and specific use scenarios that would make them worthwhile purchases.
Benefits of string trimmers
The thing that sets these devices apart from their obvious competitor the lawn-mower is reach. These devices will allow you to cut grass close to obstacles.
This is because the cutting element should be able to hit some of the installations in your yard or around your house without breaking or causing any damage.
Features to consider when purchasing a string trimmer
Features are one area that you should pay attention to with regards to string trimmers. With enough information, you will be able to know what to expect from the tool even without testing it out. Of course, this is regarding the capabilities of the machine.
You may also be able to tell the limitations of the tool. Consequently, if this is your first time looking into string trimmers, then the list, as well as descriptions below, should be of great help.
String trimmers can be classified in several ways. An example of such is the design. There are, of course, the wheeled machines as well as walk-behind options.
The two mentioned above don’t have to be mutually exclusive as a walk-behind machine needs wheels so it can move forward. These are typically heavy, but since you don’t have to lift them, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. An example of such is the BLACK+DECKER MTE912.
You may also be able to classify each device according to the source of power. Those that use a socket connection or battery are electronic. This type can as well be subdivided into two with corded electric and cordless electric being the main options. Of course, the cordless ones are those that come with batteries, such as the DEWALT DCST920B.
There are as well gas-powered options on our list. If you are looking to reduce fumes, gas-powered machines may not be the best option for you.
You as well want to know as much about the motor as you possibly can. Here you check on whether the engine is a 2-stroke or 4-stroke option. The former tends to be more compact than the counterpart. This is because it requires less moving parts to achieve the same processes.
If it is an electric device, you want to know about the amps and voltage. These show how much power goes into the motor as well as how much comes out of it.
With in-depth information about the motor of a particular device, you will be able to tell its efficiency in cutting grass and other weeds. The general rule of thumb is that the more the power, the better.
As we have already mentioned, the string is the component that goes about cutting your grass. Of course, this is made possible by the fast rotation of the trimmer head.
One should, therefore, expect a lot of friction between the grass and the line. Consequently, you may want to have the thickest line possible since it will take longer to wear out. Nevertheless, one cannot take away from the fact that most of these devices will dictate the line diameter you use.
You also want to know if it is a single or dual string device. The only significant difference is that the latter requires that you load two different sets of strings onto the device.
Another area of concern is how the lines are fed to the tool. One example is a bump feed option in the CRAFTSMAN WS205. You will have to stop the machine and press the trimmer head on a flat surface to feed the line. With other devices, this process is automatic.
Another area that heavily varies from model to model is that of the cutting swath. You can see significant differences in the WORX WG163 vs the Remington RM1159 of more than 10”. Choosing the latter will likely mean that you can get the work done in fewer runs.
Also, the former does have its advantage in that it can be used for more precise cutting.
Shafts are as well different, and you can see this in the various images we have provided above. Of course, when it comes to the shaft, this mostly matters with handheld machines.
Two common variations are the straight and curved shaft.
Since you already know your lawn requirements, you should be able to choose between the two quite easily. If yours requires a curved one to reach some areas, by all means, go for that option.
We advise that you choose a telescopic option if it is available. The ability to extend and contract the shaft component may come in handy for different users as well as varying gardening scenarios.
Handles and vibration
Most users would prefer a tool with a comfortable grip. The result of such is that they don’t need as many breaks while working. This is also aided by vibration resistance.
As such, check to see what makes up the handle as well as the additional features it possesses.
Heads and attachments
Of course, most of the devices we highlighted will come with trimmer heads. However, it is a rarer occurrence to find a tool that can be converted to an edger. It is even harder to find one that has optional attachments for other uses. The CRAFTSMAN WS205 is one of those tools that stands out here the most.
If the tool is handheld, the weight will be a significant factor in the number of breaks you need to take between sessions. Make it a point to choose the lightest machine possible.
On the other hand, the weight may not matter as much for tools that come with wheels. Nevertheless, you don’t want a tool that can prove problematic to carry and move should the need ever arise.
Looking through warranty terms is not something that should be overlooked. Often you find that commercial and home use warranties differ since what will be expected of the device is different.
There are as well differences from manufacturer to manufacturer. Always make sure that the most critical and expensive parts are covered.
Some models offer extra features, and that works to the advantage of the user. This may also require that you get additional accessories.
Examples of such include a shoulder harness for handheld devices. This should prove useful, especially where you intend to use the machine for longer. Your hands will likely suffer less fatigue as a result.
Flying debris is common when using a string trimmer. For that reason, you should wear well-fitted clothes as well as add gloves, a face shield, safety glasses and protective shoes for the trimming exercise.
You would be wise to also include ear protection in the mix.
Changing the trimmer line depends on the anatomy of the tool in question. The most common option is the single line trimmer. With this, all you have to do is take out the retaining cap on the trimmer head.
Once you do so, you will expose the spool. After that, you insert the new line into the starter hole then wind as directed by instructions on the spool.
Also, you need to put the line through the slot provided on the side of the trimmer head. The result of this is that part of the line will stick out of the trimmer head.
After that, replace the spool and cap. If you tug at the line and it does not feed smoothly, then you need to redo the exercise until you get it right.
Some machines will come with two spools. In this case, you need to change individual lines for each of these before replacing them in their respective slots. However, the same process applies to change the lines.
Other devices aren’t as complex to restring. You put the line through a hole in the trimmer head and pull it out on the opposite end. The next step is rotating the head so that you are left with a reasonable-sized trimming line exposed. The rest of the line will be fed from the device as you use it.
The BLACK+DECKER LST136 makes a great first choice option for ourselves as well as some of you. The battery, weight of the device and expected rotations per minute all count in making this our editor’s choice. As such, it should prove one of the more powerful gardening tools people can own.
Not far behind is the Remington RM1159. You will have to push this device forward if you want the best results. It may, however, struggle in steep terrain. Also, the fact that it is quite heavy means you will not often be in a rush to take it out on journeys where a trimmer is required.
A third option is the Husqvarna 324L. This gas-powered cordless machine exhibits quality in a few of its features and it’s hard for users not to notice. The cutting swath is particularly impressive in comparison with other handheld devices of its caliber.
Of course, no rules are enforced in choosing from the other seven listed options, either. As such, you get to pick a model, order it from Amazon and await its arrival at your convenience. After all, with the information that our team has provided above, you should have the easiest time picking from the fray.