Edger Vs Trimmer: What’s the Difference. Edger and weed eater
Edger Vs Trimmer: What’s the Difference?
Lawn edgers are used to define boundary lines and cut edges, whereas string trimmers are used to maintain boundaries. It’s rather tempting to use just one of these for both purposes, but it’s best to use them both for best results.
Finding the right garden tools among the many thousands that are on the market can be quite a challenging and overwhelming task, especially if it requires you to make a hefty investment. If you’ve been concerned about keeping the edges in your lawn tidy, you might have been wondering about the benefits of a lawn edger vs trimmer.
These tools share a number of similarities, so it’s understandable that this decision may be a tough one to make. It’s best to be well-informed about both options before investing in either. If you’re still on the fence and need some help deciding, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about these tools and why it may be best to invest in both!
Lawn Edgers VS String Trimmers: What’s The Difference?
Edgers are predominantly used to create distinct boundaries between lawns and other areas of yards, such as driveways, flowerbeds, pavements and even between sand traps and greens on golf courses. Edging your lawn will prevent it from looking overgrown, increase curb appeal and save trimming time.
There are several types of lawn edgers to choose from, starting with manual and motorized edgers. Manual edgers can be roller-based, spade-based or hand shears, while motorized edgers can be single-wheeled purpose-designed, multi-wheeled purpose-designed or adaptable string trimmers. Motorized lawn edgers can also be gas or electric-powered.
Manual edgers are the simplest of the lot, in terms of technicality. They are generally a lot cheaper than other types of edgers, they don’t require much maintenance and they usually last a long time. However, you do need to exert a lot more energy and effort when using them to achieve the best results.
The roller-based edger involves a roller wheel that needs to be pushed along a hard surface directly next to the edge you’re looking to cut, while the spade-based edger is best described as a broad-bladed spade with a long handle that’s used as a vertical cutting blade.
YouTube user ehowgarden demonstrates how easy it is to use a manual spade-based edger in this video:
Hand shears, which are also called pruning shears, are operated by hand and come in varying lengths and configurations. Some of them need to be used at ground level, while others have long handles which allow for users to operate them while standing. These often come with an adjustable length, making them easy to customize according to your needs.
Motorized edgers can either be powered by a gas or electric engine. Gas-powered edgers are usually powered by 2 or 4-cycle engines and are known as the best lawn edgers to deliver precise cuts with a single swipe of their blades.
These heavy-duty machines are popular for a number of reasons, including how easy they are to start, how fast they operate and how smooth they run.
In this video, Husqvarna USA shows viewers how to use a 2-cycle gas-powered lawn edger:
Electric-powered lawn edgers require either electricity or batteries to operate. These are often designed with ease of use in mind and are best suited for small or medium yards. Using nylon wicks as opposed to blades, these lawn edgers are affordable but are known to lack power when used on lawns that haven’t been tended to for a while.
Purpose-designed lawn edgers are used for edging long distances. They are generally known for being more time-efficient for long and even edges. Single-wheeled purpose-designed edgers are easy to maneuver and are lighter in weight. Multi-wheeled ones differ in that they are designed and used for heavy-duty work.
YouTube user How To with Doc demonstrates how an edger should be used in the video below:
Lawn Edger Pros
- Best to use when edging a lawn for the very first time
- Edges are more precise and distinct
- Minimizes the invasion of weeds
- Defines boundary lines easily
- Variety of options to choose from
Lawn Edger Cons
Check out this post if you’d like to learn more about lawn edging!
String trimmers are used to trim lawns and remove weeds in hard-to-reach places. Also known as weed whackers and weed eaters, this type of tool is lightweight and uses a flexible monofilament nylon line that operates at an intense speed to cut grass.
They are often used to trim foliage on steep and rocky terrain. String trimmers come in both gas and electric options and varying shaft designs.
String trimmers can sometimes be operated with a vertically-positioned head, as opposed to a horizontally-positioned one, which is the norm. Some of them are sold with attachments for edging your lawn. To edge your lawn with a string trimmer, you will need to remove the string and replace it with a blade fitted to the head.
Gas-Powered String Trimmers
Gas-powered string trimmers come in two-stroke and four-stroke options. Two-stroke trimmers are powered by a combination of oil and gas, while four-strokes are powered solely by gas.
This heavy-duty tool tends to do the job quicker due to increased power, but they can also be pollutive. String trimmers are often used for larger areas due to their extended use time.
If you think you might be interested in purchasing a gas-powered string trimmer, have a look at this video where YouTube user Echo USA shares his tips on how to choose the best string trimmer:
Electric-Powered String Trimmers
Electric-powered string trimmers are environmentally friendly and usually cost-effective. They are generally used on smaller areas as they are known to have less power.
These come in both corded and cordless options. The corded electric string trimmer needs to be plugged into an electric source in order to operate, which reduces its portability and may prove to be inconvenient if used on larger areas.
They won’t be suitable for a yard that’s larger than a 1/4 acre. The portable cordless string trimmers are powered by battery, but they may have a shorter run time as a result of battery drainage.
Types Of String Trimmer Shafts
String trimmers come with two types of shafts: straight and curved.
Straight shaft string trimmers are able to reach around trees and under decks and are typically used for large yards. Using a string trimmer with this type of shaft is best suited for taller people, as it helps reduce fatigue and is more comfortable to use.
Curved shaft string trimmers are typically used for smaller yards and are rather lightweight. This type of shaft is best suited for intricate work and for trimming around ornamentals.
YouTube user Lawn Care Life does an excellent job illustrating how a string trimmer ought to be used in the video below:
EDGER vs STRING TRIMMER 2.0 [Which one is Better for Edging?]
String Trimmer Pros
- Great at removing weeds
- Easy to maintain boundary lines
- Compact and easy to store
- Available in a variety of options to suit your needs
String Trimmer Cons
- Gas string trimmers can be loud and lead to noise complaints from neighbors
- Electric-powered cordless string trimmers need to be recharged often
- The nylon line spins dangerously fast and can lead to injuries if users fail to use protective gear
If you’re convinced that a string trimmer is the best bet for you, check out this video by YouTube user Pro Tool Reviews for reviews of some of the best battery-powered string trimmers on the market:
Edgers Vs Trimmers – Variety, Versatility, Affordability
I hope this debate between the edger vs trimmer has been eye-opening, but it is important to note that these tools share just as many similarities as they do differences.
The wide range of products on the edging and trimming market ensures that no matter what your individual needs are, there is definitely something out there best suited to you. After researching just how wide the variety of lawn edgers and string trimmers are, it is safe to say that the array of lawn edgers on the market are impressive and incredibly hard to beat.
Both lawn edgers and string trimmers are capable of doing what a lawnmower cannot – mainly maneuvering around trees and smaller crevices. They’re both similar in their shape and design, and their compact nature allows them to fit into areas that are too narrow for a lawnmower. String trimmers win in this regard because they’re so versatile that they can even be used to shape intricate shrubs.
The fact that both lawn edgers and string trimmers have cost-effective options widely available is a major bonus. After comparing a range of of lawn edgers and string trimmers, it appears that lawn edgers are the most affordable. The variety of low-cost manual lawn edgers definitely sealed the deal for this win!
Is an edger and trimmer the same thing?
An edger and trimmer are not the same. Lawn edgers are used to define boundary lines and cut edges, while string trimmers are used to trim lawns and remove weeds in hard-to-reach places. Using both lawn edgers and string trimmers to tend to your yard will keep it looking pristine.
Can an edger be used as a trimmer?
An edger can be used as a trimmer if you’re not willing to invest in both tools. However, a string trimmer will not give your lawn the great results that a lawn edger can.
Is trimmer same as edger?
A trimmer is not the same as an edger. A string trimmer is used to trim lawns and remove weeds in hard-to-reach places, whereas a lawn edger is used to define boundary lines and cut edges. They should be used together rather than in place of each other.
Can a string trimmer be used as an edger?
A string trimmer can be used as an edger. However, this may not give you the best results as a string trimmer has not been designed for the type of precision offered by lawn edgers.
Edger Vs Trimmer – The Verdict
While a string trimmer can technically be used to edge your lawn, a key point to note is that you are bound to get different results from each tool. Using a lawn edger is sure to give you clean and tidy edges, but a string trimmer will not. It will still get the job done, but the quality of the end result will be incomparable to that of a lawn edger.
Trimmer v. Edger What is Better to Edge with?
- You’re a stickler for crisp edges and boundary lines.
- You pride yourself on having a pristine and tidy lawn.
- You like to have a variety of tools to choose from.
- The aesthetics of your lawn is important to you.
- You’re still debating between edger vs trimmer but you have the budget for it and know you’ll make good use of it over the years.
- Your yard has plenty of spots that you aren’t able to reach using a lawnmower.
- You have delicate plants and shrubs that you need to be careful around when trimming.
- You hate weeds.
- Grass tends to grow through cracks in your driveway or pavement.
Funky Junk Interiors
Hi, I’m Donna, from BC, Canada. My passion is creating unique home decorating from repurposed finds. Let’s junk!
Tools for women – My new battery powered weed trimmer edger.
Are you done with gas powered or electric weed trimmers? You will LOVE this battery powered Black and Decker weed trimmer which is so easy to operate, and does the job perfectly!
This post is not sponsored, however does contain some Amazon Affiliate links.
As many of you know, I am a sole owner household, so what gets done around these parts (or lack thereof) is done by me. One rather big hurdle for me personally lately is yard upkeep. Is it just me or is yard work better geared for the younger crowd?!
Perhaps it’s finally realizing I’m not in my 20s any longer. I don’t really know what it is, but one thing I do know, I had thrown my weed trimmer to the curb until this one came along.
I was using the Weedeater Featherlite for years. I still in fact have it! But when my one cutting cord wonder died, I bought another. Only… now they make them with two cutting cords.
Let me just say, the two stringer is sitting brand new on my workbench used only once. I can’t start it, and can’t stand fussing with the more technical cord stringing. Done! I’m totally over it.
So I resigned to just do without a weed trimmer and pull the grass by hand.
I did this over the course of several weeks, and felt really enlightened I no longer had to fight that silly machine, when I spotted my neighbour through the weeds and proudly chortled, “I am so weed eater free! Yep! Happy to be pulling by hand these days…”
“Oh, I LOVE my weed trimmer!” stated Janette.
What? When did this happen? I remember them having a big heavy lug that made you shake like a jack hammer after the fact.
“What are you even talking about? You hate weed trimming!”
“Not since I got my battery operated one!” “It’s soooo light! It doesn’t need any pulling to start, just flick a switch. And the battery lasts for my entire yard and then some. AND… my hands don’t shake afterwards at all! Hang on a minute and I’ll show it to you…”
I lifted it up and it felt like a feather. And perhaps even. dare I say it… toy-ish?
“Sure!” Well I’ll be. Back to the one cutting cord thing once again. I was nearly sold at that point.
So I proceeded to crack that little whip on my entire yard in minutes. With a half used battery. My goodness… this battery powered weed eater was so light, it was like I just walked around with a broom in my hands.
And get this… no grass even landed back on my legs. Don’t you hate it when you turn into a walking grass creature after the fact?
Ecstatic, I then put that thing on my shopping list pronto and finally picked up my own!
So… let me show you MY new toy! : ) Brand
It does not have the wheel, but there are some that do.
It only came with one battery which lasts a long time. I nearly purchased a 2nd, however they are as much as the trimmer. No point! Just get another trimmer if you want another battery. (so silly isn’t it?)
This is a light duty edger, perfect for a typically kept up regular sized suburban type yard. It would not be tough enough for say…acreag e needing to hack down blackberries
Easy to assemble
Oh I don’t love assembling stuff. But I made myself drag out the directions so I could figure out how to snap the protection cover on, then screw it in. VERY simple. When you read directions…
The (single) cutting cord was already installed, so I purchased an extra.
Weed trimmer and flower bed edger-in-one!
I like to trim along cut turf edges and sidewalks, however I always had to hold my old weed eater upside down in order to do edging.
For this unit, the handle loosens, allowing you to spin the head so the cutting part swings backwards.
And it was so nice not to have to play a lawn version of Twister for a change in order to do it! Lovely clean cuts along the sidewalks here I come!
Here’s a shot of the cutting head flipped for edging after I used it.
Janette’s had a wheel so you could roll the head while edging. I found when I used hers, I didn’t use the wheel.
So when I purchased mine without the wheel (by mistake), I didn’t worry about it.
But it is a neat feature to watch out for.
I said I was thrilled to not have to use an automatic weed trimmer.
But what I really meant was a GAS run one. Because I am VERY thrilled to run this battery operated variety! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
Light duty tools, you are now officially welcome in my home anytime, as long as you do your tasks well.
Click above to see how I edge my flower bed edges with this weed trimmer! It works so good!
And HERE is a post on my other current fav tools…
The 10 Best Weed Eaters of 2023
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
Mary Marlowe Leverette is one of the industry’s most highly-regarded housekeeping and fabric care experts, sharing her knowledge on efficient housekeeping, laundry, and textile conservation. She is also a Master Gardener with over 40 years of experience and 20 years of writing experience. Mary is also a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.
Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.
Whether you call it a “weed eater,” “weed whacker,” or “string trimmer,” these landscaping tools are ideal for trimming grass and weeds along the edge of a flowerbed, around a tree trunk, underneath a deck, and in other hard-to-reach places.
Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love, says, “A weed whacker can quickly and effectively trim grass, weeds, and other unwanted plant growth in areas difficult to reach with a mower or shears. When choosing one, the most important thing to look for is the power it offers, as well as the size and weight of the tool. Gas weed eaters are the most powerful, but electric models are best for most homeowners.”
He cautions, “To ensure safe use of a weed whacker, always wear the appropriate protective gear, including goggles and gloves, stand with your feet apart for balance, hold the tool’s handle firmly but comfortably with both hands, and never operate the weed whacker without its guard attached.”
Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer
If you want the power of a gas weed eater but the convenience of a battery-powered tool, then this 40-volt offering from Ryobi is the answer. Our top choice of string trimmer is loaded with great features, including a brushless motor for longer life with less required maintenance and an adjustable handle so you can position it comfortably for your height. We also appreciate its two-speed trigger with variable speed control, so you can go faster when you need extra power for tough weeds or brush, and slow the tool down to extend the battery run-time when merely cutting small weeds and grass. Plus, it has an adjustable cutting width, with a minimum of 13 inches and a maximum of 15 inches.
This string trimmer comes with 0.085-inch string, which is good for trimming grass and weeds, but you can also load it with 0.095-inch string if desired for tackling tougher weeds, light brush, or thick grass. Either way, the weed whacker is very easy to reload, thanks to the REEL EASY head, which can be rewound in under 60 seconds. When you want to let out more string, a gentle bump of the tool against the ground advances just the right amount so you can keep working without having to stop and let out line by hand. The tool also comes with a set of serrated plastic blades, which can be fitted into the tool’s head in place of string. Use the blades for cutting tougher brush and weeds. While not nearly as strong as metal blades, these do a good job on softer weeds and grasses, but they aren’t sturdy enough for woody weeds.
This versatile weed eater works with the Ryobi line of Expand-It accessories, sold separately, which can turn your string trimmer into a pole saw, electric hedge trimmer, soil cultivator, snow thrower, blower, and more quickly and easily. The weed whacker comes with one Ryobi lithium-ion 40-volt battery and charger, which are compatible with any other Ryobi tool using a 40-volt battery. Depending on conditions, you can get up to one hour and 10 minutes of run-time from the battery before needing to recharge.
Price at time of publish: 213
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 11.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 40 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches
Greenworks 5.5 Amp 15-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer
Just because a weed whacker comes at a budget price, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo great features, as this corded electric offering from Greenworks proves. Plug the tool into an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 100 feet in length; no smelly gasoline fumes or worrying about a battery running down before you finish. Suited to a small-to-medium yard, this string trimmer’s head easily pivots for use as a trimmer or an edger, doubling its versatility. It has a 15-inch cutting swath and uses 0.065-inch string, which automatically advances as the exposed string wears down. When you need to reload the string, you can use pre-filled spools or rewind bulk string onto the spool that comes with the tool. However, you cannot use heavy-weight string with this weed eater, and if you choose to rewind the spool, rather than replace it, it can be a bit tricky to do correctly.
The handle telescopes from 40 inches to 50 inches, and the grip is also adjustable, so you can set the weed whacker to fit your own height, making it comfortable to use for lengthy gardening sessions. Its 5.5-amp motor runs smoothly and quietly and has enough power to quickly cut through grass and non-woody weeds. At only seven pounds, this is a reasonably lightweight string trimmer, so it won’t wear you down before the job is through.
Price at time of publish: 90
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 7 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 5.5 amp | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches
Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer
If you have a large area of brush, overgrown grass, or woody weeds to clear, then you’ll appreciate the extra power of a gas weed eater like this offering from Echo, which runs on a 25.4 cc, professional-grade two-stroke engine. Like other gas-powered weed eaters, you’ll need to fill the gas tank with a 50:1 ratio of fuel to oil mix. Echo’s i-30 starting system makes it much easier to start up this weed eater than most others, and once powered on, this sturdy beast chews steadily through just about anything you ask it to. The handles are padded and ergonomically shaped for comfort and are also designed to greatly reduce the amount of vibration that reaches your hands and arms.
The 0.095-inch heavy-duty string advances with a bump of the tool against the ground. When the string runs out, the Echo Speed-Feed system requires no tools and takes only seconds to reload; no frustrating fuss or bother. With a 17-inch cutting swath, you can work your way across the lawn quickly. Should you need even more powerful cutting action, Echo sells a separate conversion kit that lets you swap out the string head for a metal-bladed head that easily cuts through thick underbrush and overgrown weeds. Be aware that this weed eater is quite loud and does emit gas fumes, as is typical for gas-powered tools.
Price at time of publish: 329
Type: Gas | Weight: 13.4 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 25.4 cc | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches
Ryobi ONE 18-Volt Cordless Battery String Trimmer
Go cordless with this lightweight string trimmer that’s designed to take care of small-to-medium yards. The curved shaft makes it easy to maneuver around shrubs, rocks, and tree trunks, and the handle is ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip. Plus, weighing a mere four pounds, this is a weed eater that shouldn’t tire you out. It’s powered by an 18-volt battery that recharges in an hour and runs for anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes per charge, depending on how you use it. And with a simple push of a button, you can switch the head’s orientation: use it horizontally for trimming and vertically for edging.
The cutting swath of this tool is 10 inches, which is on the small side but can be a good thing if you are edging a flowerbed or other area with many obstacles to work around. It can only use 0.065-inch string and automatically feeds out more string as required. It’s not too difficult to reload once the string runs out. The weed whacker comes with an 18-volt battery that can be used in other 18V Ryobi tools, as well as a charger. Note that it is not compatible with Ryobi’s Expand-It attachments, however.
Price at time of publish: 69
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 4 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 18-volt | Shaft Type: Curved | Maximum Cutting Width: 10 inches
Best Corded Electric
Ryobi 10-Amp Attachment-Capable Corded String Trimmer
As long as you have an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 100 feet, and you don’t need to trim beyond that point, a corded electric weed eater is a great option. You get a lot of power, like you would from a gas-powered tool, but you also get the benefits of a cordless tool, including no smelly fumes, no need to keep gasoline on hand, and an easy start at the push of a button. Plus, there’s no need to worry about your battery running out too soon. This corded weed whacker from Ryobi is loaded with great options beyond the above: It has a 10-amp motor for maximum performance, it cuts an impressive 18-inch path, and it is designed to reduce vibrations through the handle, so it’s easy on your hands, although it is relatively heavy for this type of tool.
The tool comes with 0.080-inch string, but can also use 0.095-inch string if you need something even more heavy-duty. String advances with a bump of the tool to the ground, and when it’s time to replace the reel, it’s very easy to install a new one or simply rewind bulk string around the reel. Best of all, this string trimmer is compatible with Ryobi’s extensive line of Expand-It attachments, meaning you can purchase a wide variety of optional attachments to turn the weed whacker into a brush cutter, hedge trimmer, pole saw, snow thrower, and more. However, its head does not pivot for use as an edger, as do many other weed eaters.
Price at time of publish: 90
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 11 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 10 amp | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 18 inches
Best Under 200
BLACKDECKER 20V 12 Inch Lithium Ion Cordless 2-in-1 Trimmer/Edger
Here’s a reasonably priced tool that effectively whacks weeds with the head in a horizontal position and then serves as an edger when you rotate the head into a vertical orientation. This battery-powered, 20-volt string trimmer from BLACKDECKER is perfect for small-to-medium-sized lawns and has enough power to chew through typical grass and weeds (although this isn’t the tool for tough brush or heavily overgrown lawns). You can adjust the handle up or down to suit your height. The cutting width of this weed eater is set at 12 inches, which is somewhat narrow but sufficient for small yards.
The weed eater comes with 0.065-inch line, which is suited to light use on grass and small weeds. Note that you cannot refill it with heavier line. The line advances automatically as it wears down with use, so you don’t need to carry the task out manually or bump the tool on the ground. The weed whacker comes with the 20-volt battery and charger, which are compatible with other BLACKDECKER cordless tools. Run-time before needing to recharge the battery varies greatly, depending on yard conditions, but you will typically get anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes on a single charge, which is enough to finish trimming or edging a small lawn.
Price at time of publish: 89
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 7.1 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 20 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
WORX WG163 GT 20V Power Share Cordless String Trimmer Edger
The WORX Power Share cordless weed eater just keeps racking up high ratings; this weed whacker has more than 20,000 customer ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. But that’s not really surprising, considering that this 20-volt tool comes with two batteries, so you can have one charging and one in use, doubling your working time. The batteries and charger are compatible with any other 20-volt WORX tool. You can easily pivot the head on the weed eater to turn it from trimmer to edger, and it’s easy to angle it for use on a slope or when reaching into awkward spots between plants or around obstacles. When using it as an edger, its rubber wheels help you stay in a steady line.
This weed whacker uses 0.065-inch string, which is easy to advance at the push of a button, thanks to the Command Feed spool system. But most amazing of all, WORX will send you free refill spools of string for the life of the tool; you just pay for shipping. This will come in handy, since the string can run out quickly. It also has a 12-inch cutting diameter, which isn’t the highest but is quite sufficient for average-sized lawns and yards. And at only 5.3 pounds, this is a lightweight string trimmer that’s easy to use even when your gardening sessions stretch out long.
Price at time of publish: 140
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 5.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 20 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
DeWALT 60-Volt Cordless Attachment-Capable String Trimmer Kit
If you use your string trimmer frequently and want lots of power as well as useful features, then you’ll appreciate the DeWALT weed whacker, which is a cordless model running off a 60-volt battery; that’s a lot of power, although it does add to the overall weight of the product. The high-efficiency brushless motor requires no maintenance to keep on running smoothly and fairly silently. There’s a two-speed, variable control trigger, so you can turn it up high when you need maximum power for chewing through brush or tall grass, or turn it down low to extend the battery run-time. You can even adjust the cutting width between 15 and 17 inches.
The weed whacker comes with 0.080-inch string, but the tool can also use 0.095-inch string if you need something even more heavyweight. To advance more string, just bump the weed eater lightly against the ground. The quick-load spool makes it easy to refill the string once you run out. If you want even more versatility from this weed eater, you’ll like its universal-attachment capability, which means you can purchase a wide variety of attachments from DeWALT or other companies to transform the weed whacker into a brush cutter, hedge trimmer, pole saw, blower, tiller, and more. It comes with a 60-volt DeWALT battery that is compatible with other tools from this company, as well as a charger.
Price at time of publish: 301
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 15 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 60 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches
Best with Attachments
BLACKDECKER Corded String Trimmer With Lawn Mower Attachment
With most models of string trimmers, you have to purchase attachments separately. However, this 6.5-amp corded electric weed whacker from BLACKDECKER comes with a lawnmower attachment, making this a highly versatile tool for small backyards. In fact, it’s three tools in one: edger, string trimmer, and lawnmower. It’s especially good for mowing on slopes or hills where a traditional lawnmower can be hard to maneuver. And it can be used with an outdoor-rated extension cord up to 150 feet in length, so you can work your way around most small yards. Since there is no way to add a clipping bag to the tool, you can leave the grass clippings in place on the lawn to decompose into mulch or rake them up once you are finished mowing.
The string trimmer uses 0.065-inch string. There’s an automatic string feed, so you don’t have to stop and reel string out yourself or worry about bumping it against the ground while mowing. As a weed eater, the cutting swath is 12 inches. It pivots easily into edger mode. For use as a mower, the trimmer simply snaps into the mower base. You can adjust the mower’s cutting height from 1.6 inches to 2.4 inches; the mower does not have blades, but simply uses the spinning string to cut the grass, and it does a great job on most lawn types. You can even adjust the height of this tool’s handle between 33 inches and 43 inches to make it comfortable for your height.
Price at time of publish: 119
Type: Corded electric | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 6.5 amps | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches
Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cordless Quik-Lok String Trimmer
This professional-quality cordless string trimmer has the kind of power and run-time you’d expect from a gas weed eater, thanks to its M18 8.0-Ah lithium-ion battery. This sturdy weed whacker consists of two parts: a Milwaukee M18 FUEL power head with Quik-Lok and a Milwaukee M18 FUEL Quik-Lok string trimmer attachment. You can use any of Milwaukee’s other compatible attachments with the fuel head, making this a very versatile tool that can carry out a wide range of landscaping tasks. It has enough power to clear through thick brush, overgrown grass, and heavy weeds, reaching full throttle in less than a second and maintaining power without bogging down. The tool is designed for good balance, making it easy to carry and comfortable to use, even on lengthy yard tasks.
A variable-speed trigger lets you go faster when you need more power, or slow things down when you want to extend battery run-time as much as possible. The cutting width of the weed whacker adjusts from 14 to 16 inches. The string that comes with the tool is 0.080 inches, but you can also use it with heavier 0.095-inch line. Either way, you can reload the string reel in just a few seconds. When the string gets short during use, just bump the trimmer against the ground to advance more string. Not everyone needs a weed eater with this kind of power and at this price point, but for those who do, it’s hard to beat this offering from Milwaukee.
Price at time of publish: 349
Type: Cordless electric | Weight: 12.3 pounds | Engine/Battery Power: 18 volts | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 16 inches
If you’re looking for a cordless electric weed eater that not only has plenty of power but is also loaded with great features like an adjustable cutting swath, variable speed control, and compatibility with numerous attachments for other landscaping purposes, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer. But if you need the kind of power that only a gas tool can deliver, then the Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight-Shaft Trimmer is our recommendation. It has a 17-inch cutting swath and can be converted for use with metal blades instead of string.
What to Look for in a Weed Eater
There are three basic types of weed eaters, based on their power source.
Gas-powered weed whackers like the Echo 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer are the most powerful type, making them the best suited for large properties or for chewing through heavy brush. On the downside, they are much louder than electric models and can be heavier and more difficult to start. Plus, they require you to have a supply of gasoline on hand, and in many areas, they are being phased out due to their emissions.
Corded electric string trimmers are not as popular as they once were, but are still a fine choice if you are looking for a low-priced weed eater, you don’t have a very large lawn or garden to maintain, and you have access to an outdoor electrical outlet and an outdoor-rated extension cord of 50 feet or more. The Ryobi 10-Amp Attachment-Capable Corded String Trimmer has an 18-inch cutting swath and great power.
Cordless or battery-powered weed eaters are now the most popular type—the WORX Power Share WG163 is an especially highly rated option—particularly in areas where gas-powered models are restricted. Today’s cordless weed whackers have good power, although not as much as a gas-powered model. Still, they have more than enough oomph to maintain a small to medium-sized lawn. As a rough guideline, you’ll generally get half an hour or so of runtime before you need to recharge the battery. For many people, that’s all that’s needed to get the job done. If you have a big lawn, then it’s convenient to keep two batteries on hand so one can recharge while the other is in use. Other benefits of cordless weed whackers include a lack of smelly emissions, immediate starting at the press of a button, reduced vibrations, and quiet operation.
A string trimmer’s cutting swath or cutting width is the width of the tool’s cutting capacity, indicating how much you’ll be able to trim in one pass. There are weed whackers with cutting swaths as small as 10 inches, and weed eaters with large 20-inch cutting widths, but most are between 12 and 16 inches. If you have a large lawn, a string trimmer with a wide cutting swath will help you trim more quickly. But if you need a tool that can squeeze between shrubs, rocks, or other obstacles, then you’ll find that a weed wacker with a smaller cutting swath can maneuver a bit more easily.
Some higher-end weed eaters have adjustable cutting swaths that let you go up or down a couple of inches. Our top choice, the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer, can be adjusted for cutting widths between 13 and 15 inches.
Noise Level and Vibrations
Generally, cordless string trimmers are fairly quiet; you’ll mostly hear the whirl of the string and the sound of grass or weeds giving way. However, gas-powered weed whackers are loud enough to require ear protection during use, and corded electric models may or may not be loud enough to make you want to cover your ears, depending on the brand and model. However, you should wear eye protection when using any type of weed eater, as there is always a danger of stones or debris being tossed up into your face.
Vibration can be an issue with many weed eaters, especially gas-powered models. This can be tiring if you are using the tool for an extended session of trimming or chewing through brush. Some brands now build anti-vibration technology into their string trimmers, usually in the form of a handle that helps reduce some of the vibration. You can cut down even further on unpleasant hand numbness or fatigue by wearing a good pair of thick work gloves while you use your weed eater.
Since you’ll be holding your weed eater the entire time you are working, its weight can become an issue. You don’t want to be tired out before you finish your edging or trimming. As a general rule, electric weed eaters are quite a bit lighter than gas-powered models. The Ryobi ONE 18V Cordless Electric String Trimmer weighs a mere four pounds.
Most electric weed eaters weigh 12 pounds or less, although battery-powered models are usually heavier than those with a cord. Gas weed whackers generally weigh between 12 and 18 pounds.
Any weed eater should have a protective guard over the string to help keep rocks and other debris from flying toward you. However, you should always wear closed shoes, long pants, and eye protection when using these tools. Most weed whackers have the power switch placed so you can easily shut the tool off immediately should there be an emergency.
Straight or Curved Shaft
There are two basic styles of weed eater shafts: straight and curved. Curved shafts are generally easier to maneuver around rocks and other obstacles and are less tiring to the user’s back during long work sessions. However, straight shafts give you more reach and can be extended underneath shrubs or fences. Weed eaters with straight shafts often have a little more power, and battery run-time tends to be a little longer on these tools as well, but the choice between the two mostly comes down to personal preference.
Weed whackers work by spinning a thin plastic string-like cord very rapidly, which creates enough force to slice through grass, weeds, and brush. Most weed eaters have a roll of string within the base of the tool, so you can reel out more as the cord wears down, which can happen fairly quickly when working on thick brush or grass. There are three basic methods for reeling out more cord:
- Automatic feed senses when the cord is getting short and reels out more without you needing to do anything. The Greenworks 5.5 Amp 15-Inch Corded Electric String Trimmer is an auto-feed weed whacker.
- Push-button feed requires you to push a button on the weed eater’s handle to reel out more string.
- Bump-feed weed eaters reel out more cord when the trimmer is bumped against the ground.
Once the reel of string is empty, you’ll need to refill it. This is a fairly simple process for most weed eaters, but be sure to read the instructions before attempting it for the first time.
Note that there are also different thicknesses of string-trimmer lines or strings: as a general rule, 0.065-inch to 0.085-inch string is for light-to-moderate trimming of grass and weeds. For heavier weeds, brush, or tough grass, string that’s between 0.085-inches and 0.110-inches is required. Many string trimmers can use different sizes of line so you can switch them out if necessary.
Most string trimmers have just one set speed. Some higher-end models, including the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cordless String Trimmer, however, let you adjust the speed with either a two-speed setting or variable control. This allows you to speed up the tool for more power while tackling thicker growth or tougher brush, or slow the speed down to extend battery run-time when working on small weeds or grass.
Some string trimmers have heads that can be adjusted from a horizontal position to a vertical orientation, which allows them to be used as an edger as well as a trimmer. Others, including the DeWALT 60-Volt Cordless Attachment-Capable String Trimmer Kit, allow you to attach a variety of separately purchased heads for other landscaping tasks such as cultivating soil, shearing hedges, mowing grass, or blowing leaves.
The vast majority of weed eaters are stringed tools, using a thin plastic cord that spins very rapidly to cut through grass and weeds. There are more powerful, but similar tools often called “brush cutters,” that use metal blades instead of plastic cord to chop through thick brush, tough weeds, and highly overgrown grass. Some weed eaters can be converted for use with blades as well as with plastic cord. Typically, only a gas weed eater has the power to convert to metal blades for cutting thick brush. The electric corded or cordless models that can cut with blades, as well as cord, typically can only handle plastic blades. These can cut light brush but can’t handle thick, woody stems as a metal-bladed brush cutter can. Neither a string nor blade weed eater is necessarily better; the best choice depends on your specific needs and the condition of your property.
Both gas and electric weed eaters have their pros and cons. Gas-powered weed eaters are stronger and aren’t tethered to an electrical outlet. However, gas weed eaters require filling with gas and oil and create smelly fumes. They are generally much louder than electric models and vibrate more during use. They are also heavier and more costly than electric models. However, for maintaining a large property or tackling thick brush or very overgrown weeds, a gas weed eater can be the better choice. For most yard cleanup, however, an electric weed eater, whether corded or cordless, is sufficient to handle grass, weeds, and light brush that isn’t too woody. Electric weed eaters don’t create smelly fumes and don’t require you to keep gasoline on hand. They generally are much quieter than gas-powered models and don’t vibrate as heavily during use, which makes them easier on your hands and arms.
There are pros and cons to both two-stroke and four-stroke (also called “two-cycle” and “four-cycle”) gas-powered weed eaters. Fewer moving parts means that two-stroke weed eaters are lighter in weight and easier to maintain than four-stroke models. They generally also have quite a bit more power. However, you will need to mix the gas with oil for two-stroke trimmers. If you’re looking for a quieter model that produces lower emissions, a four-stroke gas trimmer is the way to go. Another benefit: with four-stroke models, no mixing of gas and oil is required. Keep in mind, these models are pricier and generally weigh more than two-stroke weed eaters.
There are gas weed eaters for home use with 20 cc engines and professional models with as much as 50 cc engines, but the majority of gas-powered weed eaters used by the average homeowner have 22 cc to 28 cc engines, which provide plenty of power for tackling overgrown weeds, grass, and brush. When it comes to electric weed eaters, corded models for very light use might have as little motor power as 3 amps or as much as 10 amps, but for typical home use, a motor in the middle of that range is more than sufficient. Cordless weed eaters can use batteries between 18 volts and 80 volts, but again, the middle of that range is generally powerful enough for regular home use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, who specializesin home and garden products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers. To choose the best weed eaters for this article, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews, considering each product’s power source, performance, ease of use, versatility, and price point. She received additional input from Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love.
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
gardening tool manufacturers are opting for battery power over fuel or electric, and today’s string trimmers are a case in point. We tested these eco-friendly yard maintenance devices to help consumers make the right purchase for their property.
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Handy outdoor power tools make quick work of tackling overgrown weeds and grass, giving the yard a tidy look and trimming hedges and shrubs. We put battery-powered trimmers through their paces on several grass or weed types to see how well they ran and cut, ultimately arriving at this list of the best battery trimmers.
For ensuring a polished look to a lawn, the best string trimmer is a great investment. These yard-care tools spin a cutting head loaded with nylon string (instead of a fixed blade) to cleanly trim the grass at the edge of a lawn or mow down weedy areas. Though gas and electric models once dominated, new and improved battery-powered versions don’t require mixing fuel or storing gasoline like gas string trimmers do, nor are they limited by the length of an extension cord, like corded electric string trimmers are.
Some battery trimmers are better suited to different-size yards, users, and budgets. So we could help consumers make the right choice, we tested some of the most popular string trimmers to find out how they perform under real-world conditions. To qualify as a top pick, a string trimmer should be durable, powerful, and easy to operate. The string line should exit the reel easily with no need for the user to constantly remove the reel cover and untangle the line.
The following battery-powered string trimmers are at the top of their class. Anyone looking to invest in a trimmer is likely to find one here to fit their landscaping needs.
- BEST OVERALL:STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
- RUNNER-UP:Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
- UPGRADE PICK:Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT:BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
- BEST FOR SMALL YARDS:Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
- BEST DUAL DIRECTION:Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
- BEST TRIMMER/EDGER COMBO:Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
- MOST VERSATILE:Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
How We Tested the Best Battery Trimmers
To truly test these battery-powered string trimmers, we started by assembling the tools and charging the batteries. Most trimmers arrived with the batteries about 25 percent charged right out of the box, but a full charge allowed us to gauge runtime at full power. Although some of the trimmers offer lower power settings that could extend runtime, we found that the lower settings simply made them less capable when it came to coarse weeds, so we ran them at full power for testing.
We put each trimmer through its paces in a variety of real-world scenarios: “clean” lawn grass, weedy grass, and natural areas featuring coarse, weedy seedlings and vines. To earn a spot in our lineup, the lightweight 20-volt (V) trimmers had to deliver a clean, crisp cut in both clean and weedy grass sections. In addition to trimming the grass zones, we used the 36V, 56V, and 80V models to cut through woody, viny growth in natural areas. Along with cutting power, we tested for battery runtime, maneuverability, and operator comfort and determined the best battery trimmer by category.
Our Top Picks
These reviews describe the key features of each cordless string trimmer and how the models performed in our backyard tests.
STIHL FSA 60 R 36V Battery Trimmer
It makes sense that the STIHL FSA 60 R would be a top performer in this test group. It comes from a brand with a long history of industry-leading outdoor power equipment. This string trimmer measures just over 66 inches long, weighs less than 10 pounds with the battery installed, and works for about 25 minutes per charge. The 36V 3.9 amp hours (Ah) battery charges in a little more than 2 hours.
The tough polymer material used for the motor housing and debris shield help keep the weight down. A few other standout features include a variable-speed throttle trigger, trigger interlock, battery retainer latch, EasySpool cutting head, bump guard, and hang loop. The trigger interlock and battery retainer latch prevent accidental startup. The variable trigger and EasySpool head improve operating efficiency by saving battery life and minimizing the time it takes to reload, respectively. The bump guard protects sensitive surfaces during close trimming, and the hang loop offers a convenient way to store the tool when not in use.
This is a great all-around pick for quarter- to a half-acre yards. The relatively short runtime of the STIHL FSA 60 R belies a very capable trimmer. In our tests it easily and cleanly sliced through all kinds of grass and weeds, including tough tree saplings up to about ¼ inch thick. The shorter runtime actually mattered less because the trimmer cut so well, and we moved at a faster pace than with some of the other trimmers with longer runtimes.
The other thing we noted here was the amazing level of operating comfort. The trimmer was fairly lightweight to begin with, but the weight was so well balanced—with just enough weight forward of the front handle to keep the head near ground level—that using it required significantly less effort than what was required of some of the other trimmers that weighed about the same. Also, vibration was minimal, so after trimming we had plenty of energy to keep working.
- Weighs less than 10 pounds but easily powers through tough weeds
- 25-minute runtime per charge for about 5,000 linear feet of trimming
- Excellent balance to keep the head at ground level
- EasySpool head, bump guard, variable-speed throttle, and accidental start protection
- Smallish 13.8-inch cutting swath is on the small side for open spaces
- 2-hour recharge time for battery is longer than that of some competitors
Get the STIHL battery trimmer at Ace Hardware or Blain’s Farm Fleet.
Ego ST1511T Power 15-Inch Powerload String Trimmer
Ego Power has made a name for itself in the outdoor power-equipment category by building an affordable battery-powered tool line that competes favorably against old-fashioned 2-cycle gas-powered equipment. The ST1511T 15-inch string trimmer proved to be powerful, clean, and quiet in testing. The 56V 2.5Ah lithium-ion battery delivers up to 45 minutes of runtime, with a recharging time of just 50 minutes. The bump-feed trimmer head comes preloaded with 0.095-inch trimmer line for more cutting force and less noise. Taller users will appreciate the straight shaft design, and the unit weighs in at just over 10 pounds.
In our tests, the Ego trimmer showed ample power to cut through everything in its path, including overgrown, weedy grass; privet seedlings; and honeysuckle vines. Its well-balanced design, with the heavy battery in back offset by the long, straight shaft, made it comfortable to work with and more agile than others we tested. Our only caveat: For seasonal yard cleanup or maintaining larger landscapes, the 45-minute maximum runtime may not be quite enough.
- Auto-loading trimmer head reduces downtime while working
- Adjustable telescoping straight shaft provides a custom fit for different users
- Excellent power and runtime value at a moderate price point
- Heavier than some with less forward weight to keep head down
- Battery is bulkier than others, making the tool tiring to use over an extended period
Get the Ego Power battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.
BlackDecker LST300 LBXR2020-OPE 20V String Trimmer
To give the yard a polished look without breaking the bank, consider the BlackDecker cordless string trimmer. It features a 12-inch cutting swath to cut down the corners and clean up the edges of small- to medium-size yards. An automatic feed spool means no more stopping to bump the tool when new string is needed. Two 20V lithium-ion batteries are included.
In our tests, this trimmer performed very well in weed-free grass and in weedy lawn areas. With a light weight of just 5.7 pounds, this trimmer is easy to handle without causing arm and shoulder fatigue. The short, straight shaft design is most comfortable for users under 5 feet 9 inches tall. We also liked that with a quick adjustment to the head, the trimmer becomes an edger to neaten up the grass along sidewalks and driveways. In all, we found this affordable tool a solid pick for small obstacle-free landscapes.
- Pack includes 2 batteries for more runtime, less downtime
- Automatic feed spool
- Money- and space-saving design that both trims and edges
- Battery recharges in just 45 minutes
Get the BlackDecker battery string trimmer at Amazon (with extra battery) or The Home Depot.
Makita XRU15PT1 36V LXT Brushless String Trimmer Kit
The Makita XRU15PT1 string trimmer is a premium option to keep the lawn and garden under control. It can handle large yards with enough power to tackle dense weed growth. This cordless string trimmer comes with four 18V 5.0Ah batteries so you’ll never run out of power. Shoppers can purchase this model as a kit that includes a dual battery charger and two sets of batteries, or as a “tool only” for those who already have items from the Makita 18V tool platform.
With a long, straight shaft and high-power cutting head, this 10.4-pound trimmer feels like a pro-quality tool. It was well balanced and articulate while trimming around shrubs and between obstacles. It had plenty of power to cut through tough vegetation. In our tests, it made nice clean cuts and crisp edges in the grassy areas and tore through weedy privet seedlings and honeysuckle vines without hesitation. It’s an excellent candidate to replace gas equipment for medium to large landscapes, though the price may be high for budget-minded shoppers.
- Runtime is longer than charge time for ready-to-go fresh batteries
- Includes a second set of batteries for extended work
- Gas-like power and performance for tough trimming jobs
- Expensive trimmer due to the high cost of batteries
- Small debris guard allows some material close to operator
- Stiff bump head required a hard strike to let out line
Get the Makita battery trimmer at Amazon or Mowers Direct.
DeWALT DCST972X1 60V MAX 17-Inch String Trimmer Kit
When an established leader in pro-grade cordless hand tools enters the lawn-care category, shoppers will want to take note. The DeWALT 60V battery trimmer packs a heavy-duty brushless motor powered by a 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium battery that lets it tear through all kinds of tough weeds for at least 40 minutes per charge.
This attachment-capable trimmer comes equipped with a straight shaft and Rapid- loading adjustable spool. It uses.080-inch trimmer line to cut either a 15-inch or 17-inch swath. A safety switch in the grip prevents accidental starts. Users can select high or low power, depending on the project, and control the trimming RPM with a variable-speed trigger. The universal attachment feature lets owners replace the trimmer attachment with a variety of other tool heads, including an edger, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and more.
The DeWALT battery trimmer was one of the heaviest we tested, but also the most powerful. With the standard.080-inch trimmer line that came pre-spooled, this tool had no trouble cutting anything from grass to thin tree seedlings and even tough blackberry canes. In low-power mode it offered more cutting force than the high- power setting of most others we tested. In high range it beat all but the STIHL, which was about an even match in terms of pure power. To be honest, high power was too much for many of our applications, so we also tested thoroughly in low range. It ran about 40 minutes on high, and about 60 on low.
Other than the heavy weight, the only negative point we have to offer is the noise. The trimmer is loud to begin with, and when initially triggering or feathering the trigger it makes an even louder whine/whistle sound. Still, it’s a very impressive tool at a fair price for the power and runtime and a good choice for large properties or cleaning up overgrown areas.
- Battery type: 60V 3Ah FlexVolt lithium ion
- Runtime: 40 minutes
- Weight: 12.95 pounds
- Outstanding power for clearing overgrown weeds and brush
- Works with.080-inch or.095-inch trimmer line for normal or heavy trimming
- Excellent runtime of up to an hour for average grass trimming
- Power head can run other landscaping tool attachments
- Heavy weight of just under 13 pounds, but no shoulder strap
- Longer battery charge time at 135 minutes
- Noisy operation, especially when initially triggering
Get the DeWALT battery trimmer at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.
BlackDecker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer/Edger
Weighing just 8.8 pounds, this string trimmer is easy to carry, maneuver, and control with an adjustable handle and a safety trigger switch to prevent accidental starts. The 12-inch trimming radius is suitable for keeping the lawn properly maintained without damaging fencing, decks, trees, or other common yard obstacles.
This cordless string trimmer operates with a 20V battery that can last for up to 20 minutes, and a spare battery is included. For edging, simply turn the head and use the built-in wheel to balance as the trimmer string handles the task.
When we used the tool to trim weedy lawn grass patches and edge the curb and driveway, it made nice clean cuts and tracked well to make good straight edges. The shaft and handle adjusted to comfortably fit our 6-foot user. The tool is amazingly lightweight for the amount of power it offers, but the weight is mostly balanced to the front of the handle, and having to manually counterbalance it while working fatigued our tester. Though not built for heavily weed-infested yards, it has ample power and runtime to clean up curb lines, driveway edges, and otherwise maintain a smaller landscape.
- Very lightweight and easy to carry
- Handle is customizable to fit the size of user
- Trimmer doubles as an edger with a simple turn of the head
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a spare is included
- Not enough power to tackle coarse, woody weeds
- Weighted toward the front, which may cause user fatigue
Get the BlackDecker MAX battery trimmer/edger at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co.
Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE 56V 16-Inch Battery Trimmer
A wide cutting swath, extended runtime, and powerful trimming ability make the Echo DSRM-2100 eFORCE battery trimmer an excellent choice for large yards. The straight-shaft trimmer is powered by a brushless motor and 56V 2.5Ah lithium battery for up to 56 minutes of powerful performance that rivals traditional 2-cycle trimmers. It cuts a 16-inch-wide swath to get the job done efficiently.
This battery trimmer weighs in at a comfortable 9.75 pounds, making it a relatively lightweight choice at this level of capability. It features battery-saving low/high power settings for different cutting conditions, a variable-speed trigger, and a cushioned handle grip for comfort. The Speed-Feed cutting head comes preloaded with.095 trimmer line and reloads quickly without disassembly.
The Echo eForce battery trimmer is an excellent value for large-property maintenance. In our tests, the cutting power seemed to be slightly less than that of the DeWALT and STIHL trimmers, but it was still very capable. In high-power mode we trimmed for about 40 minutes. But the better-than-average power and wider swath meant that in 40 minutes with the Echo, we were able to complete work that other trimmers would need an hour to accomplish. The noise level was good, and reloading was fast and easy.
This trimmer could have scored higher with improved balance. Although it is a lightweight trimmer overall, most of the weight is in the working end. The heavy cutting head forces the operator to compensate by lifting upward on the front handle and pushing downward on the rear handle while working. We tested with the 2.5Ah battery that comes standard. Working with the available 5Ah battery (sold separately) would rebalance the trimmer to some degree while doubling runtime and increasing overall weight.
- Excellent price for this combination of power and runtime
- Wide cutting swath and power performance for large properties
- Rapid charging system charges the battery in less than 40 minutes
Get the Echo battery trimmer at The Home Depot or Acme Tools.
Worx WG163 20V Power Share GT 3.0 String Trimmer
Owners of small yards may find this lightweight string trimmer an excellent option. It weighs just 5.5 pounds and easily converts from a trimmer to an edging tool; a built-in wheel helps balance the tool while edging. A push-button feed system gives the ability to extend the trimmer string without bumping the 12-inch trimmer head or manually pulling additional string from the trimmer. It comes with two 20V batteries and a charger, and the battery lasts for up to 20 minutes on a full charge.
This Worx string trimmer tackled our grassy areas with ease, both the weedy and weed-free zones, but it wasn’t as capable on rough areas. We were particularly impressed by the edger function, which we found comfortable and well balanced thanks to the 90-degree shaft-rotation capability. The adjustable trimmer head and upper handle let us customize the working angle, but the process of doing so proved clunky. We had to reach down and turn a rather stiff knob at the connection point between the shaft and cutting head to unlock and relock the angle for each adjustment.
- Battery provides limited runtime, although a second battery is included
- Head-tilt adjustment is somewhat awkward and clunky
- Relatively long 60-minute charging time for 20 minutes of runtime
Husqvarna 320iL 40V Battery String Trimmer
One limiting factor of most string trimmers is the cutting head’s direction of rotation; it matters more than one might think. The direction of rotation determines where the clippings will go, and in some situations, how the user should grip the trimmer. The Husqvarna 320iL 40V battery trimmer offers a solution, thanks to its dual-direction cutting head. At the touch of a button, we could change from clockwise to counterclockwise rotation and back, without changing grip on the handles.
This straight-shaft trimmer is powered by an efficient brushless motor and 40V 4Ah battery that drives about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. It features a Rapid-load cutting head that comes prespooled with.080 trimmer line and cuts a 16-inch swath. Low-vibration technology improves operator comfort, and the machine weighs in at just over 10 pounds with the battery.
Anyone not interested in going off the beaten path might still do well to consider this trimmer. Its balance is impeccable, rivaling the STIHL in comfort even though it’s a fraction of a pound heavier. And for quiet operation, this one takes the gold medal. The only real question regarding comfort and control was, why so many buttons? Its four thumb-operated buttons control on/off, high/low power, clockwise rotation, and counterclockwise rotation.
- Dual-direction trimmer head leaves clippings where desired
- Excellent balance for comfortable extended use and less fatigue
- Among the quietest of the trimmers we tested
Get the Husqvarna battery trimmer at Lowe’s.
Worx WG170 20V Power Share Revolution String Trimmer
While plenty of string trimmers also function as edgers, we found this model to have the best dual-function design. At the push of a button, the trimming head on the Worx WG170 Revolution trimmer converts to an edger that rolls easily along the edge of a sidewalk or driveway. The head tilts up to 90 degrees, so it is easy to reach weeds on slopes while standing comfortably.
The trimmer comes with two batteries plus a charger and three extra spools of trimmer line. The string trimmer also boasts a handy spacer guard that keeps it from bumping into plants, and the shaft adjusts to suit taller or shorter users. It cuts a 12-inch swath and operates on a 20V lithium-ion battery. We tested the tool with the 2Ah battery, but it also comes with a 4Ah battery at some retailers.
In our yard, this trimmer cut through and created a crisp edge on both weedless and weedy lawn areas. We really liked the easy adjustable feature on the trimmer head: A twist lock holds it in just the right position, up to 90 degrees, for a customized working angle for users of different heights. Also, the batteries are interchangeable with those of many other Worx 20V cordless tools.
- Adjustable upper handle to accommodate users of different sizes
- Trimmer head converts to an edger for use along sidewalks or driveways
- Comes with 2 batteries to make up for shorter runtime
- Requires a relatively long charging time
- Trimmer feels underpowered for tackling coarse, heavy weeds
- Only 20 minutes of runtime per charge
Get the Worx WG170 GT battery trimmer at Amazon or Target.
Greenworks Pro 80V 16-Inch Cordless String Trimmer
The Greenworks Pro 80V trimmer is a quality tool that adapts to a variety of other functions with attachments such as a brush cutter. (However, attachments are sold separately.) The 2Ah battery provides up to 45 minutes of runtime and recharges in just 30 minutes. The brushless electric motor is efficient and quiet, providing plenty of torque to cut through heavy weeds without the noise and smell of a gas-powered unit.
In our test areas, the Greenworks Pro trimmer was powerful enough to cut through the toughest weeds and vines with ease. The heavy battery weighs the machine down toward the rear, but the included adjustable shoulder strap makes operation more comfortable. The battery is compatible with other Greenworks 80V tools. Just don’t get too excited about the variable-speed trigger: Although it’s intended to allow a gradual increase from “off” to “high” speed, we found the range of movement between the two to be minuscule; in effect, the trimmer is either “off” or “on.”
- Battery type: 80V 2Ah lithium ion
- Runtime: 45 minutes
- Weight: 10.6 pounds without battery
- Trimmer has a quiet, efficient brushless motor
- The recharging time is only 30 minutes; runtime is 45 minutes
- Gas-like power and performance without the noise and smell
- Slight lag time between triggering and full power
- The trimmer’s adjustable speed feature is difficult to use
- Weight is balanced toward the rear, but shoulder strap helps
Get the Greenworks Pro battery trimmer at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Battery Trimmer
When shopping for string trimmers, also known as weed eaters, keep in mind yard size, how often the tool will be used, and the height and strength of the primary user. The following key considerations will help in selection.
Trim width, also called swath width, indicates how wide a path the trimmer will cut through weeds in a single pass. Many models on the market today feature swath widths of 10 to 18 inches. The wider the width, the more power the trimmer must have, which often means the tool will be heavier because it will require a larger, more powerful battery.
Running a string trimmer requires a hefty dose of power. Though most of today’s trimmers run on rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, a few accept nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Li-ion batteries are more powerful, but NiCad batteries are less expensive (an average of 70 to 125 less). Li-ion batteries also are smaller, hold a charge longer, and provide full power throughout the discharge cycle.
NiCad batteries suffer from “memory effect,” meaning if the battery is used before it has fully charged—or if it’s recharged before its power depletes—it will “remember” the earlier charge level and won’t hold a longer charge in the future. If choosing a trimmer that has a NiCad battery, let it charge fully before use and drain completely before charging. For most users, a string trimmer with a Li-ion battery will be the best choice.
Along with battery type, consider how much operating power the battery has, which is measured in volts. Today’s rechargeable string trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to an average of 60 volts of power. powerful batteries at the high end often are intended for commercial use and can cost 200 or more per battery.
Some string trimmers in this category sell without a battery (or battery charger), which the user must purchase separately. This could be a cost-saving benefit for those who are adding to a same-brand, battery-compatible cordless tool collection, since the same battery will power multiple tools. However, it can be more convenient to purchase a kit with multiple batteries to have one on the charger while the other is in use.
The “feed” of a string trimmer indicates how the trimmer head releases additional trimmer line as it becomes frayed and broken during use. The standby is a bump feed where the user bumps the bottom of the trimmer (the area where the spool attaches) on the ground to release a few inches of fresh line.
Some newer models feature an auto-feed sensor that gauges the length of the strings and releases more when needed. Still others have a push button to release more line. Auto and button feeds eliminate the need to bump the spool, which can reduce the risk of damage if bumped too hard, but many commercial-type trimmers still use bump feed because it’s quick and easy.
Curved vs. Straight Shaft
Some string trimmers feature a straight shaft that runs from the handle to the cutting head, while other models feature a distinct curve in the lower shaft about two-thirds of the way down. Some users find curved-shaft trimmers to be easier to operate since the spool end already rests at a handy angle for weed whacking.
Straight-shaft trimmers often accommodate interchangeable tools, such as a tree trimmer head, which can be swapped out depending on the task at hand. In general, straight-shaft trimmers work better for users at least 6 feet tall, while shorter users will appreciate curved-shaft trimmers.
Battery-powered string trimmers have a distinct advantage over gas-powered trimmers when it comes to noise pollution. Gas-powered trimmers are moderately loud, emitting an average of 90 decibels (about as loud as a motorcycle passing by from 25 feet away). By contrast, a cordless string trimmer emits approximately 77 decibels, which is comparable to casual conversation.
Those who are still unsure about how to use a battery string trimmer may find the following answers to common questions about these tools helpful.
Q. Can a string trimmer cut weeds?
A string trimmer is used to cut and control weed growth around the home and garden. However, light-duty trimmers may have issues with very dense weed growth.
Q. Can you use a string trimmer to cut grass?
A string trimmer can be used to cut grass, though you need to be careful not to cut the grass too short while trying to keep the trimmer balanced. It isn’t the easiest way to cut the grass, but it is possible.
Q. Can you edge with a string trimmer?
Yes, a string trimmer can be used for edging the garden, driveway, walkway, or sidewalk. If you have a large yard, it may be better to invest in a separate edging tool.
Q. How many volts should be in a trimmer?
String trimmer batteries average from 18 volts up to 80 volts. Typically, the higher the voltage, the longer the battery life.
Q. How do you edge a lawn with a string trimmer?
Hold the string trimmer perpendicular to the lawn to keep the cut even. Position the head about 4 inches off the soil so the string has space to rotate. The string should rotate and cut through the grass and dirt. As you move along the desired borders, keep the head balanced and even. Clean up the cut grass and dirt to finish the job.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Glenda Taylor.