The Husqvarna 223L gas string trimmer is a favorite among professionals and hundreds of owners. After a grueling two-day test, Popular Mechanics reports that it "started easily right out of the box, cut aggressively and ran with almost no vibration." Reviewers say the 18-inch cutting head quickly eats through the thickest weeds, leaving a clean, smooth finish. Users like its easy-start engine, well-balanced body and first-rate bump-feed head, saying the 223L boasts excellent handling.
Well-designed clutch and shield. According to experts, the Husqvarna 223L has one of the best-designed shields over the cutting lines, protecting the user from most flying debris. Still, a few owners say some things get past. The trigger is protected from accidental use with a throttle lock; after you release the trigger, an internal clutch stops the trim line from spinning but leaves the engine running.
Popular Mechanics measures the 223L's noise output at 109 decibels, which is loud enough to recommend hearing protection. However, many owners say this Husqvarna seems quieter than other gas models.
First rate. In a grueling head-to-head comparison test at Popular Mechanics, the Husqvarna 223L is barely edged out of the top slot and editors call it "the most consistently well-mannered machine." Hundreds of owners say the 223L is versatile, scything through thick grass without bogging or tangling.
Top performance helps the 223L earn an impressive 97 percent recommendation rate from more than 300 owners at Lowes.com. The current model is equipped with a 25 cc two-cycle engine. Its 18-inch cutting head is one of the largest in our report, using two .095-inch lines to speed through trimming chores with power to spare.
Easy handling, maneuverability. Users call the Husqvarna 223L light and well-balanced; only a few recommend buying a separate shoulder strap. When fueled, the 223L weights in at about 10 pounds, which is lighter than many competing models. An adjustable loop handle helps owners find the right balance for their height.
Experts report that the 223L consistently starts in two pulls, using a bulb to purge air from the carburetor and a spring-loaded stop switch that resets each time. Owners say the bump-feed is flawless, and most find reloading the spool to be straightforward. Popular Mechanics praises the head design, saying it's seamless to prevent weed winding or dirt infiltration.
Solid and dependable. With durable components like a three-piece crankshaft, the Husqvarna 223L is sturdy enough to trim up to two acres and be used semi-professionally. Several owners say that after a few years of use, this Husqvarna still runs strong. Some reviewers don't like the lack of a skid plate under the engine, the small foam air filter and some plastic components, but few post complaints of breakdowns. Husqvarna's two-year limited warranty is much shorter than that of competitors.
Professional testers evaluate more than 60 models of string trimmers, including about 30 gas-powered units. They recommend a handful of weed whackers that show an exemplary combination of performance, handling and convenience.
Review: String Trimmers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
2. Popular Mechanics
Testers push six heavy-duty string trimmers to their limits to find which is the toughest. At the end, the Echo SRM-225i just barely cuts ahead of the Husqvarna 223L. Editors say the 223L is consistent, with a well-designed head and shield.
Review: The Best New String Trimmers: Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn, Not dated
The 223L is one of the best-reviewed gas string trimmers at Lowes.com, with more than 300 owners giving it 4.7 stars out of 5. Users like its handling, maneuverability and easy starting. Lowes.com also includes reviews from Husqvarna.com.
Review: Husqvarna 25cc 2-Cycle 18-in Straight Gas String Trimmer, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of July 2013
About 25 owners give the 223L 4.5 out of 5 stars, with most giving it a perfect score. Overall, they say this string trimmer is very powerful yet easy to use, and praise its fast-starting engine and straightforward line reloading.
Review: Husqvarna 223L 18-Inch 24.5cc 2-Stroke Gas Powered Straight Shaft String Trimmer, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013
Product expert Joe Delulio calls this the best gas-powered weed whacker, although the review is erroneously listed on the page for Husqvarna's 323L. Delulio calls the 223L "versatile" with a long reach and lightweight package. A handful of owners give it 5 stars out of 5.
Review: Husqvarna 24.5cc 2-Cycle Straight Shaft Trimmer, Editors and contributors to StringTrimmersDirect.com, As of July 2013
This owner gives the Husqvarna 223L two thumbs up for its power, light weight and easy starting. He walks viewers through starting the engine and gives a quick demonstration.
Review: Husqvarna 223l Trimmer Review, "Strandedinpr", Sept. 20, 2012