Best Weed Eater 2016
A decent quality lawnmower can certainly give you a tidy and healthy lawn, but there are some places that it simply cannot reach. This is where a weed eater, also known as a string trimmer and a weed whacker, comes into play.
A string trimmer utilizes a cord that spins really fast to hack and chop away at even long and tough weeds. It is used to give a tidy finish to the borders of your lawn, fence lines, and under bushes and besides trees.
For this reason, a weed eater is a great tool to add to your arsenal. There is no way to get a perfect finish without it. There are many options available on the market, but not all are equal in terms of their quality or functionality.
This guide to the best weed eaters will help you to understand what options are available to you, and which type and model of trimmer will best suit your lawn space and your needs.
At the bottom of this article you'll find a detailed review of each of the products discussed.
Top 5 Comparison Chart
|Black & Decker LST136W||Cordless Electric||40V battery||Battery powered, transforms into edger, auto-feed spool, performs well||4.5 out of 5 stars2,075 reviews||$129 - $161
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|Toro 51488||Gas||21.1cc 2-stroke engine||'S-Start' easy pull, lightweight and powerful, anti-vibration, auto-string adjust||3.8 out of 5 stars79 reviews||$129 - $171
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|GreenWorks 21142||Cordless Electric||48V battery||Multiple speed settings, battery storage mode, auto-string adjust||4.0 out of 5 stars2,322 reviews||$79 - $95
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|Husqvarna 128DJx||Corded Electric||10Amps||18” trimming width, ergonomics, attachment capable||3.8 out of 5 stars181 reviews||$249 - $259
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|Hitachi CG22EAP2SL||Gas||28cc 2-stroke engine||17” cutting path, powerful, CARB compliant, ergonomic||4.3 out of 5 stars22 reviews||$199 - $259
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Types of Weed Eaters
There are three types of weed eaters available, and this is one of the main factors and preferences for you to consider. You can choose from gas powered, electric corded, and electric cordless models, all of which have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Gas Powered Weed Eaters
Gas powered weed eaters are the most powerful available, and usually come with 2-stroke or even 4-stroke engines. They are capable of cutting through the most tough and long grass, and can deal with large lawn trimming jobs and even commercial applications.
However, gas weed eaters are also the most noisy and difficult to control. They tend to be heavier and bulkier, and they give off more pollution. They are also more expensive than their electric counterparts.
Though not as peaceful to use, a gas weed eater really does the job well, and for some people this is the main priority. If you want something with a bit of a kick, gas powered is the way to go.
Electric Corded Weedeaters
Next are the electric corded weedeaters, another popular choice that tend to be less expensive than gas powered, while still providing enough power to cut through tough weeds and make light work of long grass. They are light and easy to use, economical and a lot more quiet.
On the other hand, electric weed eaters lack the oomph of a gas powered model. They are rarely as powerful. The main drawback is the cord. It can get in the way. It can restrict the distance from a power source that you can use the trimmer, making electric models a much better choice for smaller sized lawns.
If you want an easy to handle weedeater that is quiet, and causes less pollution, while still being capable of trimming through tough patches, an electric model is a great choice.
Electric Cordless Weed Eaters
Cordless string trimmers utilize DC rechargeable batteries. They are probably the easiest and most ergonomically option. There is no need for an extension lead and no pull starting. All you have to do is press the button and enjoy some lawn trimming. Once you are finished, plug it in and recharge the battery.
The fact that these models have no cords makes them incredibly attractive. This is, however, also there downfall. The battery life, while significant, restricts the amount of trimming you can do in one session. The battery also tends to give less power than a gas or corded electric weed eater.
For this reason, a cordless model is best for light home applications, and is certainly not a wise choice for huge lawns or commercial use. If you have a nice small area to trim, and you want a peaceful and eco-friendly tool to do it, then a cordless model can be a joy to work with.
Factors To Consider When Buying
There are a few major factors to consider before making your weed eater purchase. The type of weed eater is the most important element of your decision, so think carefully about whether you want a gas or electric model. You can also make the following considerations:
Performance & Power
Obviously, you want a weed eater that will perform well. It should achieve its function of trimming your lawn. The power of the machine is a factor in this, but you don't always need the most powerful trimmer. This depends on whether you have a small lawn, or a giant yard with lots of tough patches of weeds. A more powerful model will be preferable for the latter case. Cutting width also effects performance. A wider girth makes life easier, but some weed eaters, such as battery powered models, deliberately use a smaller width in order to channel their power better. All of the weed eaters reviewed here perform well for their intended purpose.
Size Of Lawn
The size of your lawn or yard is a huge factor in your purchase decision. It should be one of your main considerations. You don't need a top of the range gas powered model for dealing with a tiny yard. On the other hand, a battery powered weed eater typically lasts around one hour on full power before it needs a charge, so if you have to use it for more than an hour at the time this will be impractical. An electric corded model gives you the power, but you need a power source to keep it going, so consider how far from your property you are likely to use the weed eater.
Another huge factor with weed eaters, is how ergonomic they are. You want one that you can handle. Gas powered weed eaters tend to be bulkier and heavier, as they have a built-in engine. They usually (but not always) come with extra handles, and harnesses so that your body can take the weight. Generally, lighter models are easier to swing around, so if you have physical difficulties then you should always go for a light electric model. In general, a well-balanced and ergonomic machine will be much more pleasant to use. Some models have additional comfort features, like padded handles or anti-vibration technology.
Some trimmers come with a range of features that enhance their usability, and even their purpose. You can find auto-feed spools, cutting speed setting for more control, and some take attachments that allow them to be transformed into other tools like edgers and blowers. Check out individual reviews to see what features each weed eater can offer.
As with all purchases, your other considerations will be made according to your budget. The prices of our selected trimmers go from $79 to $249.If you require a powerful gas-powered model, expect to pay the high-end prices.
Top 5 Weedeaters Reviews
Now that you have seen a brief overview of the best weed eaters available, it is time to go into more detail for each product. Read the full reviews below to make sure you are buying exactly what you need.
Black & Decker LST136W
The Black & Decker LST136W is a well rated string trimmer from a reputable brand. It performs well using a 40V battery, which is around 33% more powerful than standard lithium batteries, and provides ample time and energy for trimming small to medium yards.
The LST136W is also really ergonomic. It is well-balanced, and only weighs 9lb, giving you the ultimate mobility and comfort while you trim your lawn. The auto-feed spool makes life even easier, and the chunky controls can be used even while wearing gloves.
This cordless electric weed whacker has a 13” cutting width. This is not the widest in our range, but it does mean that the 40V power is well utilized, and this increases the overall performance so that the Black & Decker can manage tougher patches. A multiple-speed cutting option gives you more control, while also helping to preserve battery life.
There have been complaints about the overall battery life, but this will always be the case with cordless models, and the Black & Decker is no better or worse than other models like the Toro. This drawback is a given. However, you get a nice quiet, eco-friendly weedeater that is still capable of doing an excellent job.
One of the niftiest features of the LST, is the cutting head, which rotates to transform the machine into an edger, without the need for attachments.
Overall, it's a close call between this and the Toro 5148. Both are great battery powered weedeaters that compare similarly on performance, control, and price. Consider it a safer option, with a 4.5 rating and over 2000 reviews! You can get the Black and Decker LST for $128, and we can say that it is well worth the cost.
The Hitachi CG22EAP2SL is a beast of a machine, and boasts a 21.1cc gas powered 2-stroke engine that gives you the power to cut through even the toughest weeds and longest grass.
One of the outstanding features of the Hitachi is its 60” long drive shaft, giving you an extensive reach to trim under bushes and hard to reach places, and reaching up high if needed. It is also incredibly lightweight, ergonomic, and well balanced. It weighs only 11 lb – much less than most gas models. This gives it one of the best overall handling ratings out of all of our picks.
Other features include the anti-vibration system, to reduce the amount of energy that ends of wobbling your arms. The Hitachi has an 'S-Start' technology, which reduces the amount of pull needed to get it started, and a debris shield to ensure rocks and mulch don't fly back in your face. The semi-automatic string adjustment coils out more string when needed, further reducing hassle.
You can also use the Hitachi with several attachments, such as an edger, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and mini-cultivator, making it a versatile choice if you want to spend the extra money.
In terms of drawbacks, the Hitachi does have a few. Being a gas-powered model, it is pretty noisy at 108 decibels, and requires ear protection for safe use. It also has only 13ft of string per spool, which will need replacing more often than most. The Hitachi is easy enough to handle, but doesn't come with a harness – its only drawback in terms of usability.
If you are looking for a quality, reliable gas-powered weed eater that is both powerful and ergonomic, the Hitachi is a great choice, and is priced at under $200, making it affordable too. The 7 year warranty is testament to its overall durability. An excellent investment!
Toro 51488 Cordless
Next up is the Toro 51488, a cordless electric model that gives you twice the usual power of a battery weed eater, boasting a 48V lithium ion battery.
The battery usually lasts around 1 hour on full, and 3 hours on lower power. The trimmer can run on full power until the battery is completely empty, so you won't notice performance diminish as you are trimming. There is also a storage mode for out of season, to preserve the battery life and increase it by around 40%.
The Toro also features multiple speed settings, to give you more control over your trimming, so you can use it on maximum only when you have tough weeds to deal with. The 13” string automatically feeds out from the spool, gaining the Toro even more points for usability.
The usual problems with battery are nearly negated by the Toro. It's extensive battery life, and 48V power, means it can handle your garden nearly as well as a gas model. Nearly, but not quite. It is also ergonomic, lightweight, and durable, so you can fling it around for fun without straining yourself.
If you want a decent quality weedeater that is quiet and eco-friendly, and doesn't have an annoying cord to drag around with you, then the Toro is an excellent battery powered model, and it isn't too expensive either.
The Greenworks 21142 is our favorite pick for electric corded models. It provides a whopping 10 Amps of power, which is almost double what a lot of electric weedeaters offer. This makes it pretty darn good for tackling even long grass and tough weeds. It can't compete with the power of a gas model, but it does exactly what it is supposed to do, and is perfect for small yards and lawns.
It is also relatively lightweight, and ergonomically designed, with a cushioned handle to reduce vibrations, and an additional handle for maximum control. Another outstanding feature is the 18” trimming width – very wide compared to most – which makes lighter work for you.
The Greenworks 21142 is attachment capable, and takes most of the add-ons that a gas powered model takes. You can easily transform it into a pruner, hedge trimmer, blower, and more using the'Quick-Connect' system.
The ratings of the Greenworks has been dragged down by complaints about the spool tangling, and the difficulty finding new spool. Both of these complaints are kind of unwarranted, as this can happen with any brand, and the spools can be found readily online. Despite this, it has kept up a highly positive rating with over 2000 reviews.
Of course, another drawback is having to deal with the cord, which restricts the distance you can use it from a power source, and can also get in the way. This is the price you pay for using an electric corded weedeater. Your reward is a nice, quiet, eco-friendly way to trim your lawn.
The power, ergonomics, and attachment-friendly Greenworks is an excellent and high value choice for anyone seeking an electric corded model. For just $79 you get a lot for your money!
This is the most powerful model on our list. The Husqvarna has a 28cc gas powered 2-stroke engine, which will make light work of all of your home-trimming needs, and could even be used for light commercial applications. A 17” cutting width adds to this feeling of ease, and steel brush cutter blades and a semi-automatic spool system top it off. The Husqvarna is a mean machine, that's for sure!
Luckily, the Husqvarna is also manageable to handle, and has auxiliary handles and a harness for controlling the almighty weedeater. You might be happy to know that it also has a built-in safety shut off switch. It's also pretty lightweight, weighing only 10.8lb, which is less than some electric models.
Gas powered weedeaters are notoriously noisy, and not the most friendly for the environment, but the Husqvarna has CARB-compliant status, and E-tech II system for lower emissions, so as far as gas models go it isn't so bad.
At $249, the Husqvarna is in a different price range to many other models featured in this list. Is it an investment you want to make? That depends what you are looking for. If you have a tiny lawn that needs trimming every now and then, a lower powered model will suffice. If you want to regularly trim a larger area, or you just want to feel the might of a gas weedeater, this is one of the best that you can buy.
The weedeaters presented and reviewed here are the finest on the market right now. We have been careful to include at least one from every type – gas, electric, and battery powered – so that you can find what you are looking for.
Once you know what power source you prefer, you have almost made your decision already! All that is left is to check the details and make sure the weedeater you have in mind is perfect for you.
We hope you enjoy your time in the garden, and your nice neat yard. Your weed eater is going to make a big difference this season!