10 Best Weed Eaters of 2018 – Reviews and Buying Guide
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 10 Comparison Chart
Multiple speed settings, well balanced and lightweight design
Performs consistently well, easily converts into edger
Motor provides longer life, speed and noise control
Weather resistant, easy handling
Lightweight design, simple electric startup, zero carbon footprint
25cc 2-Cylce engine
Gas power makes it very strong, ergonomic shaft design
Quick edger conversion, instant line feeding
Automatic feed system, handles offer max comfort
Improved battery life, sleek design
Large cutting path while still lightweight, versatile attachments
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 $70 to $250. If you require a powerful gas-powered model, expect to pay the high-end prices.
Weed Eater Reviews
You’ve seen an overall comparison of my favorite weed eaters, but now it is time to figure out the best weed eater to suit your individual needs. Check out these more in depth reviews of each of the top 10 weed eaters.
1. Black & Decker LST136W – The Best for Lightweight Weed Eating
Black & Decker has built up a reputation for themselves as a reliable brand, and it is hard to go wrong with such a lightweight weed eater. We’ve all experienced a serious case of tired arms while doing yard work. Even if you’re an experienced landscaper, you’ve still faced the difficulties of lugging around heavy equipment.
This string trimmer has a 13” cutting width, which is not the largest width, but it can still get a lot done while also providing maximum mobility and ergonomic comfort. The slightly smaller width means that the 40V battery can be concentrated more strongly on the smaller area and tackle surprisingly thick patches of weeds or grass.
Despite being battery powered, this eco-friendly weed wacker can still offer the performance and power of a much heavier tool. One of the best features of this model is its ability to transform into an edger with no added attachments.
You should definitely keep your batteries inside your home – keeping them outside in very hot or freezing temperatures will decrease the battery’s life expectancy. There have been a number of concerns about this product’s battery life, but that is to be expected with cordless weed eaters.
Even with the battery life issues, it is still a solid competitor against other reputable brands, like Toro. This Black & Decker model is a little more inexpensive than the Toro 51488, so that is a benefit to keep in mind.
2. Dewalt DCST990B : The Best Product for a Smaller Yard
Another highly rated trimmer is this model from Dewalt. We love how quietly this machine runs – it is perfect for some quick trimming without disturbing any neighbors. Everyone’s been unfortunate enough to wake up to the sound of power tools in the morning, so we can sympathize with that.
If you have a yard that is a little smaller, this might be the best bet for you. Pricing around $200, it is on the more expensive side, but you’ll find that it runs very smoothly and has an impressive amount of power.
A big benefit of this Dewalt tool is that it requires little maintenance since it is electric instead of gas powered. It has a very durable motor and specially designed gear case and housing to maximize its lifespan, even with everyday use.
You have a lot of control over the feed rate of this trimmer, and this weed eater has a 15-inch cutting width that allows you to work more efficiently than the 13” width of the Black & Decker we previously mentioned.
Because it is a cordless electric model, you will still run into battery issues and may want to purchase a backup battery if you plan on using it for a longer amount of time. It will also be lacking in the raw power that comes naturally to gas powered models.
3. The EGO Power+ Split Shaft : For the Most Convenience
The EGO Power+ sports a 56V battery rather than the typical 40V, like the Black & Decker and Dewalt models used. The 0.095 inch dual-feed twist line is a handy feature that keeps the string from wearing out too quickly.
At 15 inches, this tool can cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time, and fortunately it is pretty easy to restring. People who used this model also rave about the adjustable speed feature that adds to the flexibility of this tool.
The handle of this model was made with extra padding for absorbing the vibrations of the tool as it runs, making it very easy to handle for long periods of time. The quick charge feature adds to the convenience of this tool, and it is a solid candidate for the best weed hwacker.
Again, we’d like to caution you about the typical cordless electric tool battery issue – although it is well worth it to not have the extreme noise of a gas tool the whole time. Another down side is that it doesn’t convert into an edger very easily.
4. Greenworks String Trimmer 21212 : The Cheapest Trimmer
When looking for the best weed whacker, a solid place to start is at the #1 best seller in Amazon’s String Trimmer category. With looking at the price, this trimmer is by far the cheapest on my list.
The cutting width of this model is 13 inches and it has a 0.065 dual auto-feed line. Weighing in at just over 5 pounds and powered by 4 amps, this lightweight trimmer is very effective for how small it first appears.
This Greenworks trimmer is the first electric option we are examining that is not cordless. Since you are limited to the length of the cord in this case, it is more recommended for those who have smaller yards.
This model is a great choice for a cheap and easy yard grooming tool. It is easy to use and assemble, making it an ideal quick solution.
There have been a few complaints about the lifespan of this tool, but that is to be expected with something this inexpensive. If you are looking for something more durable with a longer lifespan, consider the Black & Decker LST136W.
5. Use Remington RM2510 Rustler for the Most Power
All right, time for our first gas powered trimmer – the Remington RM2510. The 25cc 2 cycle engine features new QuickStart technology so that you no longer need to struggle with the pull start that is so common with gas powered tools.
This powerful weed eater has one of the largest cutting widths at 16 inches, giving you the ability to tackle a larger area more efficiently. The line is easy enough to replace by simply tapping the cutting head onto the ground.
This machine is made up of durable components surrounding its ergonomic design to give you comfort while using it for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, it is not as strong as some heavier gas weed eaters and it is definitely noticeable if you are used to more heavy-duty tools.
If you have moderate to heavy weed eating needs, this Remington is a good option. It is powerful, not too heavy, and allows you to get the job done at a decent price.
6. The Dewalt DCST920B: My Favorite
This highly rated Dewalt model is a great alternative to gas units like the previously mentioned Remington. The 20V battery charges up fast enough to impress you and will last a decent amount of time, provided you house the battery correctly.
It can be used as an edger if you turn the trimmer upside down, but it does not convert as easily as the Black & Decker LST136W. This Dewalt features a convenient 13 inch cutting swatch that is big enough to get work done and small enough to make the tool easy to maneuver.
The battery will drain quicker when it is on a higher speed setting, so if you are planning on tackling a lot of thick underbrush then this might not be the tool for you. Another common issue is that the tool’s motor might die out after a few seasons of use, so keep that in mind.
This model features a speed control trigger lets you control the speed and battery consumption at the same time – the lower the speed is set to, the longer the battery life will last. Having this control gives you a lot of convenience as the user.
7. Maintain Your Trimmed Yard with the WORX WG163.9
If having a tool that easily converts to an in-line edger is important to you, this WORX model might be best for you. It doesn’t require any extra tools, and its two 20V batteries will get you pretty far in your yard work.
This is a great model if you have an average sized yard (or even a yard that’s on the bigger side). The batteries last a decent amount of time, but it is still probably not your best bet for commercial use.
Definitely check this product out if you are invested in other WORX products. This brand has a unique battery sharing feature, so you can use these same 20V batteries across any of their 20V WORX Power Share Tools line.
This product does tend to struggle with higher and thicker grass, so if you have a large yard full of high grass then you might run into some issues with this model. Although it has only 12 inches in cutting diameter, it’s hard to beat the $50 asking price and lightweight design.
The ergonomic design of this offers you some great comfort while using it as well as easy height adjustments if multiple people plan on using the same trimmer.
8. The Black & Decker GH900: A Strong Electric Model
This Black & Decker corded electric model runs on 6.5 amps and exerts an impressive amount of power for an electric weed eater. This brand is always highly recommended, and this trimmer is no different.
The GH900 has a lot to offer including 14 inch cutting width, lightweight design, and high torque transmission. It features an automatic feed system that allows you to work without having to stop for bumping issues.
While this product might be best for medium sized yards, as long as you don’t mind extension cords this thing can reach as far as you need it. The fact that it is electric comes with the added benefit of no gas-powered related fuss like engine starting and noise.
If you want a weed eater that you can also conveniently use as an edger, this might not be the product for you. Instead, try the WORX or the other Black & Decker model we looked into earlier. You also lack the mobility that cordless products offer with this model.
While we’re examining a lot of high quality weed whackers here, this Black & Decker has proved that it works great no matter what age or shape you’re in. This product is honored with Amazon’s “Amazon’s Choice” award for their weed eater category, so it is definitely a model to take note of.
9. The Durable Toro 51488
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.
10. The Largest Model: The GreenWorks 21142
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 3000 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.
And Our Top Pick is…
My personal favorite weed eater is the Dewalt DCST920B electric cordless model. Even though it is just 12 inches in cutting width, this convenient tool helps you get a lot done. This is the best weed eater product (in my opinion) because it hits all the major points across the board:
Even though this trimmer is electric, it can still handle some very tough yard work. Hundreds of consumers have raved about the impressive power of this tool – you might not want to go back to gas after trying this one out.
Works with any size yard
Thanks to the cordless nature of this model, you can easily access your entire yard with this tool – no matter how big or small it is. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of extension cords or the trouble of starting a gas-powered tool.
This Dewalt model, while heavier than other cordless products, utilizes a brushless motor to maximize its durability and its efficiency.
The 20V battery can be fully charged in under an hour, which is enough charge to handle most average sized yards. If you want to elongate the battery life, you can simply set it to a lower speed setting for less tough parts of your lawn.
This Dewalt product is a decent price for what you get. Unlike the cheaper models, this product will prove to be more durable and last significantly longer while performing