Types of String Trimmers
Cordless Weed Whackers
Cutting the cord on your electric weed eater gives you the mobility of gas models (discussed below), but without needing to deal with gasoline and its downsides -- fumes, higher maintenance, and harder starting. There's no limit to their range, but run times will depend on the battery, and/or whether you have spares on hand.
Corded Electric String Trimmers
These are the lightest and least expensive type of weed whacker. They have the power to deal with even tall grass, but their range is limited as they must always be tethered to an AC outlet. Still, if your property is on the smaller side, they are a reasonable alternative to a cordless model.
Gas String Trimmers
If your property is large, and there are lots of weeds and other growth to trim away, gas models are a reasonable choice. Gardening and landscaping professionals might also look to a gas weed eater first as well. But keep in mind that gas string trimers are heavy, harder to handle than electric models, and require more maintenance.
A top string trimmer is the secret to a
perfectly manicured lawn
trimmers leave a crisp edge along the driveway, cut grass growing beyond your
lawnmower's reach and tidy up growth along fence lines. Also called grass
trimmers, weed whackers, lawn trimmers and weed eaters -- the last a brand name
that has become a generic term, much like Kleenex for tissues and Xerox for
copy machines -- the setup is the same: A power source rapidly turns a cutting
head, using tough, nylon line to shear grass and weeds.
generally mow first, then trim, so be sure to read our reports
on lawn mowers or, if you have lots of property to look after, lawn tractors to round out your lawn-care needs.
trimmers pack lots of power, enough to strip bark, mar a wood deck and fling
debris up to 50 feet away. That makes safety equipment a must. Always wear
safety goggles to protect your eyes and ear protection if the noise of the trimmer
is above 85 decibels; keep the head of the tool angled away from your body. Long
pants, sturdy shoes and a good pair of gloves are also recommended to protect against
your property when selecting a string trimmer. A smaller weed eater is enough
to manage trimming around flowerbeds and a walkway. On a large property,
especially one with long fence rows, driveways, multiple buildings and the
like, look to a more powerful, heavy-duty model -- though keep in mind that
these types of weed whackers are usually among the heavier and more expensive
options, making them overkill for smaller suburban plots.
are important, too. A balanced trimmer will hang at the right angle for easy
maneuvering, whether you're trimming flat or turning it to edge. Most trimmers automatically
advance the trim line, although some require you to tap the trim head on the
ground to do so; reviewers say either type is acceptable as long as it works
smoothly. Reloading new trim line into the spool should also be uncomplicated.
Finding The Best String Trimmers
"Best Battery Powered String Trimmer Roundup"
"The Best String Trimmers"
To find the best weed eaters, editors
looked to experts at ConsumerReports.org, Popular Mechanics, ProToolReviews.com
and elsewhere to see which weed whackers excelled in hands on testing. These
tests and reports narrow down the choices to the ones that perform best when
used by experts that are familiar with weed whacker performance and have the
breadth of expertise to know how a particular model stacks up against the
Next, to see how well string trimmers
performed in real-world conditions, we turned to user reviews. Sites such as
HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Sears.com and Amazon.com were most helpful for that.
Though there are certainly exceptions, users don't have experience with as many
models as the pros, but they can often provide insight into the long term
performance and satisfaction with specific weed whackers that they own.
The final step is boiling down the
feedback from users and experts to find a consensus on which string trimmers
meet or exceed expectations, and which ones fall a little -- or a lot -- short.
Considering factors such as performance, safety, ease of use and more, the
results of our research and analysis are our picks for the best string trimmers
for anyone from a casual gardener to landscaping pro.