Of all types of string trimmers, gas models are the most powerful. These are best for large properties where a cord won't reach fence lines and a cordless battery doesn't last. For extra-tough weeds and grass, experts recommend a heavy-duty model with dual cutting lines.
"Most string trimmers today have two-stroke engines that burn the familiar gas/oil mix," says Roy Berendsohn of Popular Mechanics. "Over the past several years, manufacturers have experimented, not always successfully, with four-cycle engines to give homeowners a string trimmer that takes the same fuel as their lawnmower or tractor." Professional and user reviews give the highest scores to two-stroke engines, which are lighter, less expensive and require less maintenance.
Experts and owners alike say the Husqvarna 223L (Est. $250) is the best gas string trimmer. Its 18-inch cutting head comes with two heavy-duty nylon lines to make quick work of trimming and edging, and the 25 cc engine is beefy enough to power through even the thickest weeds and grasses. Users say the 223L cleans up horse pastures and fence lines without bogging down or getting tangled.
Even though it's a tough tool, the Husqvarna 223L gets high marks for being easy to handle. Reviewers say long jobs are less tiring because of its adjustable loop handle, and balanced engine and trim head. The spool has a smooth bump-feed mechanism, and line reloading is uncomplicated. Husqvarna's two-year warranty is shorter than other trimmers at this price, but most owners call the 223L durable.
Still, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to find a top-notch gas trimmer. Editors at Popular Mechanics like how well the Hitachi CG22EASSLP (*Est. $190) performs, saying it holds its own against more expensive trimmers. The 21 cc engine meets California Air Resource Board (CARB) emission guidelines. The Hitachi's 14-inch cutting head runs dual heavy-duty lines, and reviews say it eats through most vegetation with minimal weed wrapping.
The CG22EASSLP has the most comprehensive coverage in our report, with a seven-year consumer, two-year commercial and one-year rental warranty. Durability and construction are mid-grade, according to reviews, with a few small problems. Owners frequently say the fuel line wears out quickly, but this is easily and inexpensively replaced by most.