Although it weighs less than 10 pounds, the gas-powered Husqvarna 223L string trimmer is strong enough to plow through thick weeds and tall grass. It's effective and is deemed very reliable, and it rises to Best Reviewed status in our latest update. The 24.5 cc two-stroke engine quickly gets going, thanks to its Smart Start system. Additionally, the 223L is equipped with a bump-feed head and a loop handle, which help make this lightweight unit easy to grip.
Owners say the 223L is well-balanced and that the straight-shaft design is especially convenient for tall users. But some note that there's little protection from the top-mounted motor's heat or fumes. It may be difficult to avoid burning your arm, especially if you're left-handed. Also, the 223L doesn't meet California's Air Resource Board (CARB) standards. A more eco-friendly choice is the CARB-certified Hitachi CG22EASSLP (*$185), which is less expensive but not as powerful. Or, if you don't mind being tied to an extension cord, consider the Stihl FSE 60 (*Est. $120) , which runs on electricity.
We found a comparative review of the Husqvarna 223L at Popular Mechanics, where editors rate it against five other gas string trimmers. Owners at Lowes.com, Amazon.com and the manufacturer's website offer hands-on perspective.
After a two-and-a-half-day competition, editors say the Husqvarna 223L is the "most consistently well-mannered machine in the test." It comes within a whisker of beating out the Echo SRM-225i for top honors, largely due to its easy start, aggressive cut and minimal vibration. However, editors conclude that the 223L needs a "more robust air filter."
Review: The Best New String Trimmers: Comparison Test, Roy Berendsohn
The Husqvarna 223L receives a nearly perfect 5-star overall rating from more than 200 users here, with 98 percent of them saying they would recommend this model to a friend. Low vibration, good handling and ease of use are cited as standout attributes, and there are few complaints about reliability.
Review: Husqvarna 2-cycle Straight Gas String Trimmer, Contributors to Lowes.com
Ratings for the Husqvarna 223L at the manufacturer's site parallel those at Lowes.com: a near-perfect 4.8-star overall rating from more than 150 users, with 97 percent recommending the trimmer. The only complaint we saw was that the fumes and heat the motor emits may burn a user's arm.
Review: Husqvarna 223L, Contributors to Husqvarna.com
The Husqvarna 223L gas trimmer has only about a dozen reviews at Amazon.com, but all of them are positive. Users say this trimmer is durable and lightweight, starts easily and "goes through anything." Also, one left-handed user mentions that burns can occur, though he says holding it "like a right hander" solves the problem.
Review: Husqvarna 223L 18-Inch 24.5cc 2-Stroke Gas Powered Straight Shaft String Trimmer, Contributors to Amazon.com