STIHL FS 56 RC Weed Eater (2023 Update). STIHL trimmer straight shaft

STIHL FS 56 RC Weed Eater (2023 Update)

If you’re looking for a top dog trimmer look no further! The STIHL FS 56 RC Brush cutter is the real dang deal. Relatively lightweight but more than capable power makes this straight shaft trimmer hard to turn down.

Don’t take it from me! Ace Hardware has this rated as a 5 star product themselves.

I have dealt with misleading reviews and bought a bad trimmer before, so this hits home for me, too. Today we will review all the key points of FS 56 RC weed eater and clear up any qualms you may have.

Let’s get started:

  • STIHL 101
  • Gas vs electric trimmers
  • STIHL FS 56 RC features
  • The final grade

Why we review lawn tools

The reason we started this website in the first place was because we had so much trouble trying to find reasonable, understandable, honest reviews for lawn equipment. And it’s not cheap! After hours and hours of research, trying products and returning them, and messing up our yards – we started this site.

As people who had to learn the hard way, we want you to know exactly what you are signing up for before you purchase a piece of equipment. That’s why we are committed to providing honest, easy-to-understand reviews that mean something.

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STIHL’s reputation

STIHL is still at it! Pumping out high quality product after high quality product. They’re thought of as one of the GOATS of the yard product game. The boys in orange are known to have a superior product to their competitors. The STIHL FS 56 RC Trimmer is a top notch trimmer that falls right in line with some of their other awesome products.

The world’s largest chainsaw manufacturer, the company moved some operations to Virginia in the 1970s and opened up their first factory dedicated to a single chainsaw. They have continued to master their craft and expand their product offers in the lawn care space.

STIHL has a great reputation that many commercial landscapers rely on each day. Many residential owners will be more than pleased with their products.

Gas vs Electric String Trimmer

When purchasing a piece of lawn equipment in 2022 it’s important to understand your power source options. It basically boils down to gas or electric. Electric trimmers are typically easier to star and usually maintenance is a breeze. They also have less of a noise and environmental impact. Electric trimmers are usually a good bet for small jobs.

Trimmer powered by gas usually end up having more power and are more suitable for larger, more commercial type applications. Because some electric trimmers receive power by a cord they’re not super mobile, gas powered weed eaters can go where you can go. If you want to trim up the moon, it can go with you.

Either way you go, you need to make sure you have the right size weed eater string.

What to look for in a gas powered string trimmer

When looking to purchase a gas powered weed eater there are a few key things to keep in mind. It is always important to understand the power of the machine you are wanting to buy. A good indicator of the power is cubic centimeters or “CC’s”.

Other considerations are comfort level (straight vs curved shafts, weight), how the line in the trimmer advances (single line vs dual line, bump heads vs automatic feed), and whether or not it has the ability to add attachments. It’s important to find the right balance for your particular yard and personal strength.

We’ve actually compiled a full list of the best STIHL weed eaters on the market.

STIHL FS 56 RC Trimmer Features

As discussed earlier, it’s important when buying a trimmer to make sure you’re getting a clear understanding of the product’s power, comfort level and ease of use before purchase. There’s nothing worse than buying something that has great power or fuel efficiency that ends up weighing as much as an elephant. Let’s jump in to what makes the FS 56 RC unique.


This trimmer boasts a capable 27.2 CC 2 cycle gas powered engine. Compared to other trimmers of it’s size and price range and some we’ve reviewed recently, this is actually on the high end of power. Compared to an alternative competitor such as the Echo SRM 225 (which we reviewed here).

That’s than enough power to keep cutting as long as you have line to feed it. I really haven’t experienced this bogging down at all in my experience.

Comfort Level of the STIHL FS 56 RC trimmer

This trimmer has a straight shaft which makes it really easy to handle for taller people like me. I had an Echo curved shaft that was very difficult on my back. This engine also runs very smoothly so it reduces vibration on your hands and forearms which is good for days where you’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do.

Also, not super duper heavy at 10.6 lbs which is also great for long days on the job. Once you get it started the comfortable and adjustable handle on the shaft make customization pretty simple as well. If you have longer arms, just slide the handle down the shaft and retighten.

Ease of Use

The STIHL FS 56 RC Trimmer is relatively easy to use. It boasts the Easy2Start technology which makes start-up a breeze. It’s pretty initiative, honestly. You start it up just like you would any other trimmer. You push the primer bulb about 5 times and move the choke position to closed and pull. Usually starts on the first pull for me.

While using you basically just pull the trigger right below the engine housing to power the spinning action. If you need more line you just bump the trimmer cutting head on the ground while holding the trimmer and it should release more line for you.

The downside of the STIHL FS 56 RC

The only qualm I have with the decision on this is when I go to refill the cutting head with trimmer line. Man, it is super frustrating for me. I don’t know exactly how it’s supposed to fit when I reattach the spinner to the head itself. I feel like I do the same thing over and over until it locks into place. It’s pretty hard to explain so just watch our view video review and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The Official STIHL FS 56 RC Trimmer Review

This is another situation where I’m not going to tell you to buy something I wouldn’t buy myself. I have bought this and I LOVE it. I use it almost every time I mow. I’ve had it for several years and it’s never missed a beat. It’s easy to start, easy to maintain and has everything I’d need in a trimmer. It’s not super expensive for a gas trimmer.

It’ll run you about 220 but in my opinion, it’ll be well worth it. You can grab it at an Ace Hardware near you by following this link, (for about 200) or get it from STIHL’s website directly.

You know what you’re getting with STIHL and this is no exception. Another A in my book!

We made a cool web story highlighting the STIHL FS 56 RC.

STIHL Trimmer Weight By Model: Complete List – Battery Gas

STIHL products are some of the most recognized and reliable lawn care products on the market, trusted by homeowners and professionals alike. But is the weight of one of these weed eaters too much to warrant its use by the casual weekend user? Let’s find out!

How much does a STIHL Weed Eater weigh? The lightest STIHL trimmer is the battery-powered FSA 45 that weighs 5.1 lbs. The heaviest model is the Professional Series FS 311 weighing in at 15.9 lbs. The average weight of STIHL gas-powered trimmers for homeowners is 10 lbs.

STIHL weed eaters (technically trimmers but in the south we refer to all trimmers as “weed eaters”) offer a unique balance between practicality, comfort, and efficiency.

Check out the DynaTrap Mosquito Flying Insect Trap – Kills Mosquitoes, Flies, Wasps, Gnats, Other Flying Insects – Protects up to 1/2 Acre (link to Amazon).

The company designs state-of-the-art string trimmers with the needs of the user in mind. You can find the ideal trimmer for you in their range of products. But if you aren’t yet committed to buying a STIHL, be sure to read my comparison of STIHL vs. Echo.

Now, let’s get to the details on this but be sure to watch the video at the end of this article on how to choose the right STIHL trimmer for you.

STIHL Trimmers By Weight

Gas Trimmers (Professional Series)

FS 70 R 10.6 lbs.
FS 91 12.8 lbs.
FS 91 R 12.1 lbs.
FS 94 R 10.1 lbs.
FS 111 12.8 lbs.
FS 111 R 12.1 lbs.
FS 111 RX 11 lbs.
FS 131 12.8 lbs.
FS 131 R 12.1 lbs.
FS 240 15.2 lbs.
FS 240 R 14.6 lbs.
FS 311 15.9 lbs.

As you can see, weight varies significantly depending on the model and power source.

If you are looking for a weed eater, few brands on the market can compare with the high-efficiency products created by STIHL. The company’s range includes hedge trimmers, brush cutters, leaf blowers, and chain saws, making it a giant in the field of 2-stroke outdoor handheld equipment.

They also make an all-in-one multi-attachment yard tool called the STIHL KombiSystem. It’s been my tool of choice for several years when combating weeds and high grass. Click here to read my complete review.

You can also check out our head-to-head comparison of multi-attachment yard tools from STIHL, Echo, EGO, and Maruyama.

Sthil has designed their products to be highly functional and maneuverable. Thanks to the ergonomic design, STIHL weed eaters are reasonably lightweight and compare respectably to their competitors.

A basic, entry-level gas trimmer from STIHL like the FS 38 is just over 9 lbs.

If you are looking at landscaping as a side job and you need to optimize your performances, you may want to explore the other models offered by the company in their Professional Series.

While unique, each product manufactured by STIHL is easy to use, highly efficient, and adaptable to any need. Yet, their product line includes a ridiculously large list of string trimmer models and, if you are not an expert in the field, it can be challenging to pick one that fits your needs.

Types Of Weed Trimmers

String trimmers, aka weed eaters, have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1972. Today you can purchase one that is electric, gas-fuelled, battery-powered, straight, or curved.

Here are the factors that can affect the weight of your weed eater.

Battery, Electric, Or Fuel-Powered

Studies have been supporting the argument regarding the high environmental impact of gas-powered weed eaters since 2011. Their construction is more straightforward and they can be more substantial due to the added weight of a full fuel tank.

Yet, while 120V electric-powered yard tools are more sustainable, they are not as efficient to groom large green areas. Who wants to drag an extension cord around their yard.

Alternatively, battery-powered weed eaters are lighter, quieter, and guarantee you all the freedom of movement you need to reach the corners of your lawn.

I have two acres and have been itching to trade by STIHL Kombisystem for one of the new EGO Multi-Head systems (link to Amazon). They are cheaper, lighter, and the reviews on the battery life have been outstanding. But I just haven’t been able to let go off my STIHL… at least not yet.

Straight Or Curved Shaft Trimmers

If your lawn is easy to groom and does not include spots that might be challenging to reach, a weed-eater with a curved rod is often the ideal choice. Curved shaft trimmers generally have a better balance to them.

Oppositely, trimmers with a straight shaft are usually heavier and more difficult to maneuver if you are not of a tall or adequately strong built. Yet, straight trimmers are perfect for grooming uneven surfaces and tricker spots in your garden.

I prefer to straight shaft but this is really a personal preference. Just know the straight shaft models can be a little heavier. Be sure to watch the video later in this article. It covers choosing a curved or straight shaft trimmer with some pretty good guidelines.

Power And Engine Displacement Capacity

The engine’s displacement capacity is a loose indicator of a gas engine’s power and, therefore, the efficiency of your weed eater. To express such a measurement, manufacturers use “cc” (Cubic Centimeters) or cm³.

The higher the engine’s capacity is, the more powerful the weed eater will be.

Often the weight and price of the trimmer are related to this measure. For example, a STIHL weed eater’s engine of 27.2 cm³ will weigh between 8 and 9 lbs. A model with a much higher displacement will weigh heavier.

Battery-powered and electrical STIHL weed eaters follow a similar pattern, but you will need to calculate their power in ­kW (kilowatt). Just know that the higher the number, the more power it has. Example 56V is more power than a 40V battery trimmer.

How To Choose A String Trimmer

You really need to take just a few minutes and watch this short buying guide from STIHL. They explain the various uses and how to choose between the curved or straight shaft and even point out their best options for different use cases.

Thriving Yard aims to simplify the unnecessarily complex process of growing and maintaining a healthy, thriving lawn and garden. Unlike corporate website companies who write articles from an office overlooking a major city, the authors on this website live in small towns and regularly use many of the tips and recommendations provided in their own garden and lawn care. Read

The 7 Best STIHL Trimmers 2023

There are tons of options when it comes to trimming your yard, but there aren’t too many brands that can compete with STIHL for outdoor power equipment.

They are without a doubt the premier name on the market and they have been for decades. Unlike some of their competitors, their products are built to last a lifetime. They may cost a little more, but they are worth every penny.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other good choices on the market. There are many. With that in mind we decided to update this STIHL trimmer guide to take a closer look at the competition as well.

For every STIHL trimmer we review, we now include a comparison against one of its closest competitors. It’s our hope that this will make your buying decision easier.

The STIHL brand has an extensive dealer network to support their equipment and they’re strong believers in backing up their workmanship. They may be the only maker of lawn care equipment that still refuses to embrace selling online – it’s one area that the completion has an advantage. Purchasing STIHL equipment is less convenient, but it’s worth the hassle.

If you’re thinking one STIHL product is probably much like any other, nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to weed eaters, string trimmers, weed whackers, or whatever your preferred name for a lawn trimmer is, they have a full range of products.

In this article, we’re going to look at a few different options from their gas powered, battery-operated, and electric trimmers. Hopefully, our STIHL trimmer reviews will help make it easier for you to choose the best STIHL trimmer for you.

Top 7 Best STIHL Trimmer Reviews 2023

We’ve divided our reviews into three different categories: gas powered, battery powered, and electric powered string trimmers. What makes these reviews unique is that there isn’t a bad choice. Anyone of the trimmers reviewed in this article will keep your yard neat and tidy for years.

Instead, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. No matter which one of these STIHL trimmers you decide to go with, you’ll be satisfied with your choice.

Here are the best STIHL trimmers 2023:


If you find yourself leaning towards a green option that leaves only a small footprint on the environment while you work outdoors a cordless battery powered trimmer is the best way to go.

STIHL has some great options for the green gardener. In our STIHL battery string trimmer reviews you won’t find better value for the money than the FSA 56.

The FSA 56 weighs slightly less than 8 pounds with the battery attached and it has a familiar straight shaft design.

On the plus side, this is likely to be one of the lightest trimmers you’ll ever use. It weighs only 5.1 pounds and that makes it very easy to handle for almost anyone. The cutting width isn’t very large though at just 9 inches. This trimmer is really meant for small yards or small finishing jobs.

What you do get with this trimmer is cordless freedom and a clean conscience. It emits zero emissions and very little noise. The environment will thank you and so will your neighbors. It also comes equipped with the familiar STIHL adjustable shaft for comfort and the looped handle can be adjusted up to 360 degrees as well.

stihl, weed, eater, 2023, update, trimmer

The STIHL FSA 45 battery-operated trimmer is designed for small jobs. If you have a small yard with just a few areas to trim you’ll be happy with it. It’s cordless and there are no emissions to worry about. For anyone with a large yard it would be a good idea to look at a different STIHL product as this one won’t fit the bill.

FSA 45 vs. The Competition

A good product to compare the FSA 45 against is the BlackDecker LST201. It’s a popular model with strong reviews and for good reason. It has a slightly larger cutting deck than the FSA 45 at 10 inches. That extra inch will speed up your work a bit, but how does it perform?

Its battery life is similar, about 20 minutes of use on one charge. Many suggest having a second battery ready to swap out and that may be the best option for any trimmer in this category. The bottom line is there aren’t many clear advantages for STIHL over BlackDecker in this category.

Where this BlackDecker model does seem to fall behind is in terms of the quality of workmanship. Many consumers have complained that parts of the machine are fragile and can break easily. That’s not an issue with a STIHL trimmer.

It’s true the LST201 does have a slightly larger cutting deck, but that wasn’t enough to convince us it’s a better product. Yes, you can buy this product from online retailers and that’s an advantage, but you can find a STIHL dealer in just about any city or town so that’s not a major issue either. They simply make a better quality trimmer than Black Decker, so we’ll stick with our endorsement of the FSA 45 as the best choice in the entry-level battery powered trimmer category.


Many consumers avoid battery-powered string trimmers because of the limited run time you get on an individual charge. The FSA 90 R string trimmer is in a different class from what most of us are used to.

This trimmer is compatible with two different batteries – the AP 300 runs for about 30 minutes and the AR 2000 can run for up to 2 hours on one charge. That’s enough cutting time to power through most jobs, even professional jobs. With the recommended AP 300 battery it weighs 9.9 lbs.

Another feature that separates the FSA 90 from other battery-operated models is its impressive cutting swathe. This machine covers an area about 15 inches in diameter.

With this model you get the type of specs you’d expect from a professional trimmer – it just happens to be environmentally friendly as well. It operates quietly and there are zero emissions produced.

This STIHL trimmer also features an ergonomic design with a fully adjustable shaft. It features a looped handle with a quick start trigger that starts the machine instantly. It’s an easy to use trimmer with industrial strength.

Anyone with their heart set on a battery-powered string trimmer will love the FSA 90 R. It’s one of the best cordless string trimmers and it’s a great environmentally friendly option.

It does have to be recharged like other battery-operated models, but with the compatible AR 2000 battery you can get 2 hours of runtime before each charging session. There aren’t too many battery-operated string trimmers that can match that.

FSA 90 R vs. The Competition

A company that’s a bit of a new name offers some decent competition for the FSA 90 R. In the premium battery-powered trimmer market the Kobalt KST 130X is a decent product.

This is an impressive machine with a 40-volt battery for extra power. It cuts a respectable 13-inch path which makes for quick work of most weed problems and it’s comparable to the FSA 90 R.

As far as battery life is concerned this one does okay. It will last somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour depending on how you use it. That’s better than most battery-powered trimmers, but it doesn’t compare to the FSA 90 R’s ability to go for up to 2 hours with its upgraded battery.

The Kobalt KST 130X is a good machine with some clear advantages over its competitors. It’s a powerful trimmer and it cuts a 13-inch cutting path. Where it falls short is with its battery power. You’ll get a decent amount of running time with this model, but it doesn’t come close to the FSA 90 R’s potential to go for up to 2 hours.


We might typically think of gas-powered string trimmers as large machines that are difficult to carry around the yard. That’s not always the case. The FS 40 C-E is a relatively lightweight trimmer that’s a perfect entry-level trimmer for the home owner. It’s not meant for dealing with heavy-duty brush, but it’s perfect for those standard backyard jobs.

This trimmer has a curved shaft design which can make it a little easier to maneuver, although it doesn’t make it easy to get into tight spaces. It weighs in at 9.9 lbs, which is pretty light for a gas trimmer and STIHL has done everything they can to make it as environmentally friendly as possible. It is a gas trimmer so it will give off some emissions, but they aren’t a significant amount.

One of the nice features about the FS 40 C-E is that you can adjust the handle to make it more comfortable for you depending on your height. This is ideal for the husband and wife that tend to share yard duties.

With older gas-powered lawn equipment, one of the biggest frustrations for anyone using them was getting them to start. It wasn’t unusual to need a few tugs on the cord before you got it going.

This STIHL gas-powered trimmer starts with very little effort thanks to their easy starting technology. It will start on the first pull just about every time and your shoulders will thank you!

The FS 40 C-E also comes equipped with a quick stop button that will stop the device quickly if you run into a snag. If you tend to be a bit absent minded like me when doing the yard work this is a nice back up feature to have. Let’s just say I’ve come close to taking out my wife’s favorite flowers on occasion!

stihl, weed, eater, 2023, update, trimmer

The FS 40 C-E is ideal for the homeowner with a small to medium sized lawn. It isn’t meant for heavy-duty jobs, but it’s a reliable machine that works as advertised.

FS 40 C-E vs. The Competition

The Remington RM2510 Rustler is a strong competitor for the FS 40 C-E. This gas-powered trimmer is perfect for the homeowner that wants the power of gas on a tight budget. Typically this model retails somewhere between 125 and 150. That’s not bad for cordless freedom and strong cutting power.

Like our STIHL trimmer, this model has a curved shaft. That makes it easier on the body, but not the most practical design for dealing with tight spaces. Its 16-inch cutting deck is a nice feature – that’s a pretty large deck for a trimmer. The FS 40 C-E has a slightly smaller deck.

The level of quality with this Remington trimmer is what you would expect from an entry-level trimmer. It’s okay, but after a couple of years of use, you start to notice where they’ve taken short cuts. Parts start to wear out or break off. That’s where STIHL shines even in this entry-level gas trimmer category. Their products are always built to last.

In terms of performance, there isn’t much to choose between the FS 40 C-E and the RM2510. The real difference is in overall quality. The STIHL model is built to last. When you’re ready for an upgrade it will make a great gift for a family member who can still expect many more years of use out of it. The Remington trimmer is a good for 2 or 3 years and then it’s time for a new one.


An entry-level trimmer may be fine for a homeowner with a small yard, but if you’ve just purchased a couple of acres in the country, you’ll need something a little more robust. The FS 56 RC-E definitely fits the bill.

This trimmer has a straight shaft design which makes it easier to reach into confined spaces and it’s long enough to extend your reach considerably.

This is a pretty powerful trimmer with a 0.8kW gas powered engine. It’s also equipped with an impressive 16.5-inch cutting deck so that you don’t have to make too many passes as you go.

These features do make it a little larger than the entry-level models though – it does weigh in at about 10.6 lbs. That can be a lot of weight to swing around and that’s why they’ve also included a support strap to ease the burden.

Compared to professional trimmers the FS 56 RC-E is still relatively lightweight. When you’re using it with the support strap you can easily work for a couple of hours without a lot of discomfort. If you have a couple of acres to trim that’s a good thing!

Like other STIHL gas-powered trimmers this one starts on the first pull just about every time. STIHL takes the quality of their products seriously and that’s evident with this trimmer.

The handle is fully adjustable for the comfort of the user and it can be rotated as well. The drive shaft also has built-in vibration protection which also makes it more comfortable to use.

The choke lever is also housed behind a protective sleeve to help protect it from damage. It’s little details like these that separate this and other STIHL products from its competitors. It’s even equipped with a throttle trigger interlock that has to be engaged before the trigger can be activated. They might not have thought of everything, but they’ve come close.

The FS 56 RC-E is one of the top-rated STIHL grass trimmers. It’s a bit of a crossover device that can do the job for both homeowners and professional users. The weight may be a bit much for some to handle, but the support strap does compensate for that. It is a gas-powered model so there are some emissions, but its carbon footprint is still relatively small.

FS 56 RC-E vs. The Competition

The Bolens BL110 is a great trimmer that gives the FS 56 RC-E a run for its money. This machine has a 25cc engine for extra cutting power and it has a strong reputation. It’s a premium gas-powered trimmer that’s more than capable of handling just about any weeding job you throw at it.

Unlike the FS 56 RC-E this Bolens trimmer has a curved shaft. That makes it easier to use in wide open areas, but it isn’t ideal when you’re working in tight space. The FS 56 RC-E’s straight shaft is a more practical design. What you lose in ease of use in wide open areas is worth it – it’s not a major drawback.

There’s no arguing that Bolens has made a good trimmer with the BL110 – it’s just not quite as good as the FS 56 RC-E. STIHL’s trimmer is a more reliable product and it’s built to last the test of time. If you want a trimmer that you’ll get years of use out of STIHL is the clear winner.


Sometimes you need something with a little more power. A prime example is someone who’s moved from a house with a small yard to one with a few acres. It may also be because you’re a professional landscaper.

Whatever the reason is that you need a string trimmer that can handle a lot of hard work the FS 240 from STIHL has you covered.

STIHL specifically designed this trimmer to be used by professionals. It comes with a 5-year warranty which is virtually unheard of for lawn equipment.

The cutting deck on this machine is an impressive 22 inches and it has a powerful 173cc engine. As you might expect with all that power, it does weigh a little more than standard trimmers.

The FS 240 weighs in at 15.2 lbs and that’s why it has a two handled bicycle handle design that makes it easier to manage. It also comes with a harness when you purchase it and it’s a good idea to use it. With the two handled design and the harness it’s still relatively comfortable to use for most users.

For the environmentally conscious consumer this one may pose a bit of a problem. The FS 240’s powerful engine does emit a fair bit of fumes and it will make a lot of noise as well.

If you’re in the back half of a large property while using this trimmer you should be okay, but you may want to wait and do the areas around the house until the family’s awake.

This trimmer has all of the standard features that other STIHL models come with, including the ability to start on the first pull. The gas tank is a decent size at 25 ounces, but you may have to fill it a couple of times for large jobs. That’s pretty normal for any gas powered trimmer though.

The FS 240 is one of the best STIHL trimmers for professional use or if you have a large property. It has a powerful engine and a nice wide cutting deck for handling larger jobs. It is a little on the heavy side, but the double handle design and included harness do compensate for that nicely.

FS 240 vs. The Competition

It wasn’t easy finding a competitor to compare to the FS 240. It really doesn’t have any. The closest runner up we could find was the Craftsman WS405 and it still doesn’t really compare. It’s a good-quality product with tons of great features, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as the FS 240.

This Craftsman trimmer does have some quality extra features. For example, it does have easy start technology that allows you to start the machine without having to pull a cord. It’s something your shoulders will definitely thank you for, but the FS 240 has similar features.

Where it really falls short is in terms of raw power and cutting capability. The FS 240 has an unmatched 173cc engine – the Craftsman trimmer lags far behind at 29cc’s. With the extra horsepower, STIHL was able to include a 22-inch cutting deck without negatively affecting performance. The Craftsmen trimmer only offers a 17-inch cutting deck.

This really isn’t a close contest. The FS 240 is clearly a much better trimmer than the WS405. Both are good trimmers – it’s just that the STIHL trimmer has a lot more cutting power. If you want to plow through weeds with ease it’s the machine you’ve been looking for.


If you want something that’s environmentally friendly, but you’re not sold on battery powered trimmers that only operate for a limited time then an electric model is your best options.

The FSE 60 is a good-quality STIHL electric weed trimmer with zero emissions. It’s a quiet machine that won’t disturb those around you while you trim the yard and it does a good job.

It weighs a manageable 8.8 lbs and the engine pumps out a decent amount of power at 0.6 kW. As it is electric you will need an available wall outlet nearby, so it’s not ideal for property that’s more than ½ an acre.

This model does not come with a support harness included, although thanks to its relatively light weight design that’s not a major concern.

There are some major benefits to using an electric trimmer like the FSE 60 on a small or medium sized lawn. First of all, as long as you have an outlet nearby you don’t have to worry about running out of power. You don’t have to recharge a battery or refill the gas tank. All you have to is turn the switch and press the button and you can keep going until the jobs done.

This model also comes equipped with STIHL’s standard adjustable handle which can be adjusted up and down or rotated up to 360 degrees to make it more comfortable to handle. The built-in anti-vibration technology also makes it more comfortable to use.

The FSE 60 does have a curved shaft design which can limit your ability to get under brushes and trees. What the curved design does do is make the trimmer easier to handle. If most of the areas you’re trimming are edges or exposed areas this model will do a great job.

The bottom line is that the FSE 60 is a great option for the environmentally conscious consumer with a small to medium sized lawn. It’s a top-quality STIHL weed trimmer and it performs as you would expect. It is limited in range due to the need for an available wall outlet, but other than that there are few major issues with this machine.

FSE 60 vs. The Competition

The FSE 60 is a good-quality electric trimmer with the STIHL name backing it, but it has some strong competition in its category. Perhaps the best example of this is the Greenworks 21272. This is a nice little machine that’s usually competitively priced for well under 50. It’s 5.5 amp motor gives the user plenty of cutting power.

At just a little over 7 lbs it’s lighter than the FSE 60, but not by much. Both machines start at the push of a button and both do need an available outlet nearby for power.

The problem with the Greenworks trimmer is that it doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to longevity. Many buyers complain about parts wearing out within a couple of years of purchase.

Both the FSE 60 and the Greenworks 21272 offer similar features. In fact there isn’t much to choose between them – until you look at the quality of the product. The STIHL trimmer may cost a little more, but it has the same reputation for durability as more expensive trimmers in the STIHL line.

Do I Really Need a Lawn Trimmer?

If you own a home or you’re renting property where you’re in charge of lawn maintenance then the answer is yes – you need a lawn trimmer!

That is unless of course you’re okay with runaway weeds or you want to use a hedge trimmer. The latter option is a bit awkward though, so we don’t really recommend it. For the rest of us a trimmer is a must and a STIHL trimmer is the best of the best.

A weed trimmer keeps the edges of your lawn looking pristine and it keeps the weeds from invading your gardens. It also happens to be a great way to get outside and get a little fresh air – you’ll even get in a little exercise while you’re at it.

How Do I Know Which STIHL Trimmer is the Best One for Me?

There are a lot of things you may want to take into consideration when finding the right STIHL lawn trimmer for your needs.

Gas powered trimmers are the clear winner when it comes to extra cutting power and the ability to last and go anywhere. The problem is they are noisy and even the most environmentally friendly ones do pollute the environment.

It comes down to a matter of both priority and needs. If you have a big piece of property, but you don’t want to harm the environment by using a gas powered trimmer a battery powered trimmer with an extra battery pack on hand may be the right choice.

If you have a small yard than an electric model can easily cover than that’s a good green friendly option as well. If on the other hand, raw cutting power is your main concern, there’s no substitute for a gas powered STIHL trimmer.

Straight Shaft or Curved Shaft?

There are both straight shat and curved shaft trimmers. Both have their good qualities, but in our experience the straight shaft is usually the best option. They make it easier to get under brushes and other confined areas, they also give you a little more reach.

Curved shaft trimmers tend to be a little lighter and easier to handle. If you’re not used to lifting or if you have certain physical limitations this is still a good choice. Curved shafted trimmers are just as powerful as most straight shafted trimmers – it’s just a matter of preference and comfort.

Can’t I Just Use My Mower?

There are few things that make me cringe more than watching a neighbor trying to awkwardly navigate the edges of their lawn with a lawn mower. Sure you might be able to trim the edges with a mower, even with a cheap entry-level lawn mower, if you have a square lawn with no objects in the way, but why would you want to?

In some spots, you may have to lift your mower on an angle to trim and that can cause injury to you and damage to your lawn. A good lawn trimmer does a better job, it’s easier to use, it’s quicker, and it’s really not that expensive.

What Makes a STIHL Trimmer Better?

We live in a throwaway world. Everybody wants the latest and greatest gadget. That means we’re typically looking to replace our things within a year or two of purchase. It’s no wonder manufacturers aren’t too concerned about their products lasting, since we’re just going to move on in a couple of years anyway.

That type of thinking can be expensive when it comes lawn equipment that can easily cost you a few hundred dollars. The folks at STIHL certainly think so.

That’s why they’ve stuck with an old fashioned approach that relies on quality products, a strong dealership network, and a warranty that’s second to none in the industry. Quality and reliability are the two things that make STIHL trimmers better.

Closing Thoughts

STIHL has a reputation for being a top-quality manufacturer of outdoor power equipment and it’s a reputation that’s well earned. Their products are first class and this applies to their line of string trimmers as well.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a gas-powered machine, electric, or a battery model. STIHL has something in every category and for every type of consumer. You may pay a little more for a STIHL string trimmer, but it’s money well spent.

Tidying the edges of your yard maintains its appearance and can also prevent water damage and staining on fence boards, sheds, and garden-bed edging blocks. Get the job done with the gas-powered string trimmer that best suits your situation.

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Grass and weeds can grow up the side of the shed, encroach on the garden, and climb the fence, but with a gas string trimmer—commonly called a weed wacker—unwanted plants can quickly and efficiently be removed. This garden tool is a helpful addition to a large yard or any location with a lot of different obstacles, like trees, lawn ornaments, fencing, garden beds, and small structures. While battery-powered trimmers may be a good choice for light trimming in small yards, gas string trimmers have the power that’s ideal for cutting through dense grass, weeds, and brush.

The best gas string trimmer for your yard will depend on several important factors, including cutting width, shaft type, and engine size. Ahead, we discuss these and other important considerations that went into choosing the trimmers we tested for this article. Later on, we will share more details on the individual models and how each one performed for us. The following list includes some of the best gas string trimmer tools available.

  • BEST OVERALL: Echo SRM-225i
  • RUNNER-UP:Husqvarna 330LK Gas String Trimmer
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Ryobi 2-Cycle Straight Shaft String Trimmer
  • BEST CURVED-SHAFT:Husqvarna 130C Curved Shaft String Trimmer
  • BEST LIGHTWEIGHT:STIHL FS 40 C-E Gas String Trimmer
  • HONORABLE MENTION:Craftsman 25cc 2-Cycle Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer
  • ALSO CONSIDER:Echo GT-225 Curved Shaft String Trimmer

How We Tested the Best Gas String Trimmers

Shopping for a string trimmer reveals that statistics can only forward the search so far. Regardless of the engine size, machine weight, shaft length, and other measurables, much of the tool’s effectiveness depends on the operator’s physical build and personal preferences, along with the type of trimming to be done. To learn more about the trimmers on our list, we field-tested them in a variety of settings.

We spent 2 days testing the gas string trimmers in this article on regular lawn trimming, close-quarters trimming among shrubs and perennials in landscape beds, and mowing an overgrown field. After unboxing and assembling each trimmer, we filled the fuel tank and got started.

Our initial notes included measurable and easily observable features, such as each machine’s physical size and weight, whether it had a straight or curved shaft, and whether or not it could be used with other tool attachments. The first operational tests were simply to start each machine and note the number of pulls required to get started.

We then used each machine for 30 minutes of field mowing and 15 minutes each of lawn trimming and landscape bed trimming. In each setting, we noted perceived cutting power, responsiveness to triggering, responsiveness to bumping out new trimmer line, operator comfort, and whether or not refueling was necessary to complete the project. Finally, we reloaded each cutting head with trimmer line and noted the difficulty.

We recorded our field notes and used a scoring rubric to organize the trimmers with award titles for this guide.

Our Top Picks

The lineup of gas string trimmers was chosen based on the individual safety features, attachments, and engine type as well as product quality and the other important factors mentioned above. The following products were tested in situations DIYers are likely to encounter on their property and proved to be among the best gas string trimmers for keeping the yard and garden neatly trimmed.

Echo SRM-225i

Our top pick proves the adage, “You get what you pay for.” The Echo SRM-225i string trimmer costs a little more than some of the competitors we tested, but it delivered the best combination of easy start-up, overall working comfort, and grass trimming power at a reasonable price.

Powered by a lightweight, high-output 21.2cc two-cycle engine, this trimmer cuts with satisfyingly aggressive results in dense grass and coarse weeds, and uses less fuel than competitors with larger engines. It makes a 17-inch cutting swath and features a speed-feed head that reduces the time it takes to reload the trimmer line by half. The 59-inch straight shaft offers excellent reach beneath shrubs and into tight corners. The weight-balanced design, rubber overmold grip on the handles, and ergonomic throttle trigger reduce operator fatigue for extended use.

No assembly was required to get started with the Echo straight-shaft string trimmer. The position of the fuel tank made it easiest to fill with the motor elevated. Using a 1-gallon fuel can, we held the trimmer in one hand while pouring with the other. Following the start-up instructions printed on the machine, it started on the third pull of the recoil cord.

We were pleasantly surprised by the way the smaller-than-average motor powered this trimmer through coarse vegetation and even small, woody stems. Performance exceeded the 25cc trimmers we tested and rivaled the 27cc models. The weight of the motor was well balanced by the long, straight shaft, so maneuvering was very easy and comfortable, even after an hour of use. The rubber grips on the handles deadened any vibration so that we didn’t experience the hand fatigue or numbness that sometimes comes with hours of weed wacking. Though not the most powerful brush-cutting string trimmer we tested, this Echo model makes the best case for general trimming and frequent, larger cleanup projects.

  • I-75 ignition system reduces start-up effort
  • Speed-feed head makes adding trimmer line easy
  • Spool can’t be wound in the wrong direction
  • Anti-vibration design; cushioned front and rear grips
  • Compatible with heavy-duty.095 trimmer line

Get the Echo SRM-225i gas string trimmer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Mowers Direct.

Husqvarna 330LK Gas String Trimmer

The Husqvarna 330LK Gas String Trimmer offers heavy-duty capability for trimming, edging, and other yard-care tasks. It features an attachment-compatible shaft that comes with the high-capacity Rapid Replace trimmer attachment and is compatible with lawn-edger, hedge-shear, and pole-chainsaw attachments. Spring-assisted recoil starting, a powerful 27.9cc two-cycle engine, and customizable trimming swath make this multitasking trimmer one of the top performers in our tests.

While it offered similar benefits of reach and power as the other straight-shaft trimmers, the Husqvarna attachment-capable trimmer stood out in our tests in terms of controls and overall feel. The auto-return on-off switch defaulted to the “on” position, and the pull-out choke lever made it obvious which position was for cold starting versus running—two points of confusion on many trimmers.

The spring-assisted recoil starter took some getting used to. There was a catch point mid pull, before which we could feel resistance slightly intensifying, but afterwards the power-assist mechanism released. Overall starting was easy (never more than three pulls), and the motor ran relatively quietly (although we wore over-the-ear hearing protection for the tests).

Powered by the largest motor in our test group, the trimmer did a fantastic job cleanly snipping the tops of wayward grass blades and hogging through heavy overgrown weeds. The vibration-dampening system seemed to reduce hand fatigue, but after an hour of operation, the machine’s weight was more tiring overall than the other trimmers. Adding a harness system could help for bigger jobs. This model seemed like a really good fit for those who want to get the most production from a single machine, with plenty of power for a wide range of tasks.

  • 27.9cc engine delivers more power for tough cutting conditions
  • Spring-loaded Smart start and air purge for easier cold starting
  • 20-inch-wide cutting swath reduces trimming time
  • Compatible with Husqvarna power-head attachments

Get the Husqvarna 330LK gas string trimmer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Rural King.

Ryobi 2-Cycle Straight Shaft String Trimmer

For those just starting to build their outdoor power-tool collection, a reliable and budget-friendly choice makes sense. The Ryobi straight-shaft string trimmer delivers plenty of power to knock down grass and weeds, and it’s attachment capable for punching out more yard chores beyond just trimming.

This trimmer features a 25cc two-cycle engine and includes the “reel-easy” Rapid-loading trimmer head. The shaft is compatible with Ryobi expand-it attachments, including the lawn edger, cultivator, pole chainsaw, leaf blower, and hedge shear, sold separately.

The Ryobi string trimmer was ready to go within 5 minutes. Out-of-the-box assembly required attaching the debris guard above the cutting head and inserting the attachment into the power-head shaft. When we added fuel, we noted that the tank’s opening was quite small, so we had to pour very carefully (or use a funnel) to avoid spills. Also, the opening is oriented horizontally, which could pose a leak problem with age but was not a problem for us.

For the low price, we were impressed with this trimmer’s performance. It tore through weeds and grass with a similar effect as the more expensive models. But this machine was significantly louder and vibrated more than the pricier competition. We also noted that the Ryobi was one of two machines in our tests that did not run a full hour on a single tank of fuel—we had to refuel at about 55 minutes. But for anyone on a budget, this weed wacker makes quick work of trimming jobs and may save money and storage space when other attachments are added.

  • Ample power for trimming and edging; suitable for both thick and thin plant and grass varieties
  • Works with hedge-shears, lawn-edger, or pole-chainsaw attachments
  • Easy to maneuver into hard-to-reach areas

Get the Ryobi gas string trimmer at The Home Depot.

STIHL FS 70 R Grass Trimmer

Even at a premium price point, landscape pros and commercial property managers choose STIHL string trimmers and brush cutters for their combination of power, durability, and operator comfort. The STIHL FS 70 R commercial-grade straight-shaft string trimmer features a fuel-efficient 27.2cc two-cycle engine to go along with its rugged but lightweight polymer housing. To protect the environment and the health of workers, this trimmer earns the STIHL “Caring For Nature” rating as a low-emissions trimmer that operates cleaner than Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

Among the trimmers we tested, the STIHL models were more expensive and a little harder to get, but worth it. STIHL only sells through its network of authorized full-line servicing dealers, so online ordering is limited and home delivery is generally not available. But the process eliminates out-of-the-box start-up problems because a certified technician assembles, tests, and adjusts the machine at the dealership prior to customer pickup.

Our first note on this trimmer was that the fuel-fill opening is conveniently wide and extremely easy to access, even while the machine is resting flat on the ground. For our tests, the FS 70 R started on the first pull. It ran noticeably smoother than any of the other machines, both at idle speed and at full throttle, with delay-free acceleration when triggered. The trimmer cut cleanly through tall grass and densely overgrown weeds without getting wrapped up or bogged down in debris. As for fuel efficiency, even with the modest 11.5-ounce fuel tank, we were able to trim for a full hour without stopping to refill. The AutoCut trimmer head was fast and easy to respool without disassembly.

Another point for consideration was the overall operating comfort. Not only was the FS 70 R the lightest straight-shaft trimmer we tested, but it also came with a shoulder strap that transferred all of the machine’s weight away from the hands. As a total package, this would be our machine of choice for all-day trimming on large properties.

  • Very lightweight design; easy to maneuver design
  • Carry strap for extended-use comfort included
  • Protected choke lever reduces risk of damage in transport
  • Easy-access air filter for quick clean out or replacement
  • High-power engine and excellent fuel economy increase work productivity

Get the STIHL FS 70 R gas string trimmer at Ace Hardware.

Husqvarna 130C Curved Shaft String Trimmer

This Husqvarna gas trimmer has a curved-shaft design that is intended to make it easier to cut parallel to the ground. The trimmer features a bump feeding system, enabling the user to extend the string from the dual-line head by tapping the trimmer head against the ground.

The two-cycle gas string trimmer is a good option for homes with small to medium yards, as it weighs just 11.8 pounds and has a 17-inch cutting width. It protects the user with a debris guard cleverly designed with a narrow extension from the shaft widening to a broad, protective shield; this combination makes it easier to see where the trimmer is cutting without sacrificing safety. The trimmer also has a trigger safety switch, which must be activated before the variable speed trigger will respond, helping prevent accidental start-ups.

The Husqvarna curved-shaft trimmer weighed less than most straight trimmers but a little more than the other curved shaft trimmers in our tests. It arrived ready to work, with no assembly required. After filling the fuel tank, it started on the third pull and delivered powerful and surprisingly quiet performance.

The molded fuel cap was easy to grip, and the tank mouth was wide enough to fill easily. We found it convenient to rest the engine on an elevated surface for refueling. The spring-assisted recoil starter made starting easy—typically on the second pull in our tests. The trimmer easily mowed down all of the coarse weeds and thick grass in its way. We loved the responsiveness of the bump cutting head, which seemed to feed more easily than most of the other trimmers we tested. For curved-shaft enthusiasts with small to midsize yards, this could be a great choice.

  • Surprisingly quiet operation for such a powerful engine
  • Plenty of power to whack coarse weeds and thick grass
  • Curved shaft comfortable for users under 6 feet tall

Get the Husqvarna 130C gas string trimmer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Northern ToolEquipment.

STIHL FS 40 C-E Gas String Trimmer

Curved-shaft trimmers are touted for the weight reduction that comes from a shortened shaft—but they often place more weight on the user’s rear hand, which can increase operator fatigue. Weighing less than 10 pounds, the STIHL FS 40 C-E Gas String Trimmer pairs the lightest design in our roundup with a shoulder strap that transfers the load to the operator’s core. The result is a major upgrade in extended-use comfort for curved-shaft trimmer users.

This machine also excels in trimming performance. The 27.2cc engine runs clean and smooth, delivering commercial-grade cutting power, excellent fuel economy, and low exhaust emissions. It has earned STIHL’s “Caring For Nature” seal for exhaust emissions that outperform EPA standards.

We were pleasantly surprised by the bargain price on the STIHL curved shaft trimmer—just a few dollars more than our Best Bang for the Buck pick. It was worth every penny. As with the other STIHL trimmer on our list, this model was assembled and tested at the dealership before we picked it up. Both machines are built with the same engine type.

The FS 40 C-E started on the first pull and tore through all of the grass and weeds in its way without hesitation. The engine ran and accelerated very smoothly throughout testing, with a crisp response to triggering. We cannot overstate the value that a shoulder strap adds to this curved-shaft design. The other curved trimmers we tested left us with heavy right arms from carrying the weight of the motor after an hour of trimming, but this STIHL did not. In fact, the shoulder strap increased overall maneuverability by providing a pivot at the attachment point. Arm and shoulder muscles were used only to guide the direction of the trimmer. This makes an excellent pick for any curved-shaft trimmer user, especially those faced with hours-long jobs.

  • Budget-friendly price for industry-leading performance
  • Very light weight, plus shoulder strap to further decrease load
  • Easily cuts through dense grass and coarse weeds
  • Very low exhaust emissions for a reduced environmental impact

Get the STIHL FS 40 C-E gas string trimmer at Ace Hardware.

Craftsman 25cc 2-Cycle Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

At 13 pounds, this gas string trimmer is considered lightweight, but it weighs a bit more than most of the competition we tested. It features a dual-line head that cuts a 17-inch swath, making this trimmer a good choice for yards up to 1 acre or for any locations where landscaping and lawn ornaments demand precision trimming.

The trimmer comes with a debris guard and has a multiposition handle that can be adjusted to the user’s preferred position for better control and comfort. It also features a bump feeding system so the available line can be extended by simply tapping the head on the ground. This trimmer has a straight shaft, and the head can be removed to make string loading easier. It works with other Craftsman trimmer attachments, which are not included.

In our tests, the Craftsman trimmer performed similarly to the Ryobi. Both featured no-frills design and powerful cutting action, and both were priced near the low point among our test group. Installing the debris guard and loop handle took about 5 minutes. We added fuel and were ready to start. This was the only trimmer we flooded by overpriming while attempting to start the first time. After waiting a few minutes, it started on the fourth pull.

The 25cc motor provided ample power to cut through thick grass and weeds. The cutting head was easy to reload with a new trimmer line. The machine ran a bit louder than the other trimmers we tested, and we felt more vibration in the handles. Still, because of its modest price, and especially because of its ability to power other tool attachments, this Craftsman string trimmer has a lot to offer budget-conscious homeowners.

  • Lowest price point of all trimmers we tested
  • Ample power for grass trimming and weed wacking
  • Attachment-capable shaft compatible with numerous yard-care tools
  • Easy winding bump head for fast trimmer-line reloads

Get the Craftsman gas string trimmer at Lowe’s, or Amazon.

Echo GT-225 Curved Shaft String Trimmer

The Echo GT-225 string trimmer makes yard work easier thanks to its lightweight curved-shaft design and professional grade 21.2cc two-cycle engine. Weighing just over 10 pounds, this trimmer is easy to carry and highly maneuverable—an ideal build for smaller yards. The two-line Rapid-loader cutting head trims a 16-inch swath and uses precut trimmer line for easy line changes.

The GT-225 curved-shaft trimmer arrived ready to work and no assembly was required. After adding fuel, which worked best with the engine resting on an elevated surface, it was ready to go. We noted that this Echo trimmer is powered by the same engine type as our Best Overall pick. It started easily on the second pull, accelerated smoothly, and delivered cutting power seemingly beyond its 21.2cc engine displacement.

As with the Husqvarna curved-shaft trimmer, the shorter shaft left a greater proportion of the machine’s weight in the operator’s rear hand. But the lighter overall weight made it a bit less tiring. One aspect of this trimmer that really stood out was the unique cutting-head design. It uses fixed pieces of trimmer line instead of feeding from a reserve spool. It cuts well, but when the trimmer line wears down, the operator must stop and reload. This design is most practical for small yards where multiple reloads will not be required.

  • Smooth-running, surprisingly powerful 21.2cc 2-cycle engine
  • Easy to maneuver in small landscapes
  • Durable and fuel efficient
  • Simple cutting-head design makes it easy to reload

Get the Echo GT-225 gas string trimmer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Blain’s Farm Fleet.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas String Trimmer

A string trimmer is a powerful tool equipped with weed-eater string to cut through overgrown grass and weeds quickly. For help deciding on the best gas string trimmer for your home’s landscaping, consider the following criteria: engine type, fuel efficiency and runtime, cutting width, feeding and loading, speed, ease of use, attachments, and safety features.

Engine Type

Gas string trimmers fall into two categories based on the type of engine they use: two-cycle or four-cycle. This seemingly simple difference creates significant gaps between efficiency, cost, maintenance, and power.

  • Two-cycle engines are lightweight, allowing the user to move more freely while working with the trimmer. Two-cycle engines use a fuel-and-oil blend, which reduces average maintenance to changing the weed-eater string and emptying the fuel tank before storing the trimmer for the off-season. Though lower maintenance, these trimmers have less power output than those with a four-cycle engine.
  • Four-cycle engines are generally considered more efficient than two-cycle engines. The efficiency comes at the cost of size and weight, so users should expect a heavier tool when they pick up a four-cycle engine trimmer. These tools also are more powerful than products with two-cycle engines, making them a good choice for yards that are more than an acre. However, products with four-cycle engines typically cost more and require regular oil changes to keep them working properly.

The size of the engine is another important factor. This is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). As an engine increases in size, as indicated by the cc, the power output of the engine increases. This is because a larger engine is generally capable of displacing more air and fuel at one time. When displacement is low, power output is also low. So if high power is the goal, look for a product with an engine larger than 40cc.

Fuel Efficiency and Runtime

Fuel efficiency can be difficult to gauge, as there are a number of different factors that can influence it, including fuel mixture, ambient temperature, operating speed, and even the type of grass or weeds being cut. However, a gas string trimmer with a four-cycle engine will usually be more efficient than a trimmer with a two-cycle engine.

Runtime is a bit easier to measure because manufacturers typically provide the fuel-tank size and the maximum runtime on a single tank of fuel. These runtime numbers are based on tests performed in ideal, controlled environments, so factors like high- and low-temperature extremes or very dense, wet foliage can reduce the actual runtime. These situations decrease the fuel efficiency of the trimmer, causing it to use more fuel in a shorter period of time.

Cutting Width

The cutting width of a gas string trimmer refers to the total width the rotating string can reach when the trimmer is in use. Standard gas string trimmers will have a cutting width of about 16 to 18 inches. However, there are compact models that may be as small as 12 inches wide and commercial gas string trimmers that exceed 20 inches wide, so it’s important to know what size is necessary for the lawn, yard, and garden.

Yards that exceed 1 acre and have very few small obstacles may benefit from a gas string trimmer with a cutting width of 18 inches or more, while yards that are smaller than 1 acre are fine with gas trimmers that have a smaller cutting width. Users with many obstacles in their yard may prefer a smaller cutting width so they can have more precise control. For cutting through deep, dense weeds and overgrown grass, it’s helpful if the cutting width is big and the engine is powerful.

Variable Speed Control

The speed of a gas string trimmer is controlled by a variable speed trigger that can either be placed on the shaft of the tool or on one of the handles (if the model has a split-handle design). Trigger placement on the right handle may cause problems for left-handed users. When the trigger is on the shaft of the trimmer, it’s relatively easy to use either hand to control the speed while the other hand controls the movement of the trimmer head.

Variable speed control allows the user to reduce the speed for light trimming or increase the speed to cut through dense brush and weeds more rapidly. The ability to dial down the speed for precision control is great while trimming around lawn ornaments, garden beds, and along fencing to reduce the potential damage that can be caused by less controllable trimmers.

Loading and Feeding

Loading and feeding the line tend to be the most challenging parts of using a gas string trimmer. Loading refers to installing the cutting string, which can be difficult, especially when dealing with a dual-line head that has two weed-eater strings. To help make this task easier, shoppers will want to consider products with a detachable head so they aren’t fighting with the entire trimmer while trying to change the line.

Feeding the line refers to pulling more line out of the trimmer head. There are now many products that offer innovative line-feeding methods that eliminate the need to start and stop while using the trimmer to deal with a standard fixed line. These include bump feeding and auto feeding.

  • Fixed-line gas string trimmers are attached tightly to the head, meaning the user needs to loosen the head and manually pull the line out when more is needed.
  • Bump feeders are designed to push out more string when the head is bumped on the ground or on another hard object so the user needn’t stop to extend the string.
  • Auto feeders have a prewound head that automatically feeds string using centrifugal force, so the string is constantly self-correcting to the ideal length.

Ease of Use

Using a gas string trimmer can be tiring, but several factors can help make the work easier. These include the angle of the shaft, the weight of the string trimmer, the balance of the trimmer, and the trimmer head.

  • The shaft of the trimmer can either be completely straight or curved. Curved shafts are great for getting a flat angle cut over a broad area without having to bend and twist to change the cut of the trimmer. Straight shafts are better for detailed trimming between and around lawn ornaments.
  • The weight of a trimmer can tire the user, especially if working in a very large yard or dealing with many different precision cuts. Additional time spent trimming can lead to aching arms and shoulders, so a lighter trimmer of 10 to 12 pounds may be a better option. If the power of a heavier trimmer is needed, then work breaks may be necessary to avoid injury.
  • The balance of the gas string trimmer is dependent on how the weight of the engine, focused at the rear of the tool, compares to the weight of the rest of the trimmer, which is dispersed along the entire length of the shaft down to the head. Unfortunately, balance is difficult to determine without actually holding the tool, so be sure to read product information and hands-on reviews, such as the ones that appear here, to get a good idea of how the trimmer handles.
  • The trimmer head can come with a variety of attachments detailed below. It can also have a versatile tilting feature that allows the head to be angled up or down for more precise cutting in tight spots.


When using a gas string trimmer to clean up the yard and garden, it’s possible to encounter sticks, leaves, and debris; the trimmer is useless to deal with these unless it comes with an edging tool, saw, blower, or brush attachment.

  • Edging tools are useful for creating a defined edge between the garden and the lawn or the lawn and the sidewalk or driveway. They have a more powerful cutting blade that makes quick work of overgrown grass, which saves the time and effort of using a shovel to edge the lawn.
  • Saw attachments are a great choice for cutting through sticks and brush that have fallen during the fall and winter seasons. While it shouldn’t be used for cutting through logs or planks of wood, the saw moves easily through small branches and twigs.
  • Blowers are a separate tool, but sometimes they are packaged as a kit with a trimmer. They help quickly clean up a mess made by trimming, edging, and cutting.
  • Brush attachments can help clean up a messy sidewalk or driveway, pushing the yard debris into a pile or just brushing stray grass and dirt back onto the lawn.

Safety Features

Before picking up a gas string trimmer, it’s important to remember that this device is designed for cutting through layers of the tough cellulose fiber of plants while hitting walls, rocks, metal, and wood at an impressive speed. It is a machine that should always be handled with proper precautions. With this in mind, look for gas string trimmers that have safety features like a debris guard, a trigger switch, and a padded grip.

  • Debris guards are included with almost every gas string trimmer because they are essential to protecting the user. Even with a guard, some flying grass can escape, which is why users must wear safety glasses, long pants, and closed-toe shoes while working.
  • Trigger switches are designed to prevent the trimmer from being accidentally turned on. The trigger switch must be held down before the trigger will activate the trimmer.
  • Padded grips on the shaft and handle of the gas string trimmer will help reduce hand fatigue and muscle strain that can be caused by excessive vibration. The padding also makes the tool easier to hold and helps prevent it from slipping out of the user’s hand while trimming.


If you’re still unsure about some of the details surrounding gas string trimmers, read the following answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to use these trimmers as well as how to store and maintain these machines for years of use.

Q. What size gas string trimmer do I need?

When trying to decide on the right size trimmer, consider the size of the yard, the number of obstacles in the yard, and the type of obstacles. Generally, larger yards without many obstacles will be easier with larger gas string trimmers. Yards with gardens, low-hanging plant leaves, lawn ornaments, and fences are better handled with a smaller trimmer.

Q. How do you store gas string trimmer?

To keep it safe from hot- and cold-temperature extremes, precipitation, and debris, store a gas string trimmer off of the floor inside a workshop or garage. This can be done by hanging the gas string trimmer on the wall using two or more hanging hooks. Make sure to empty the gas from the trimmer before storing for the off-season.

Q. How long do gas string trimmers last?

Gas string trimmers can last about 5 to 10 years, with some difference in longevity depending on how the trimmer is stored and if it is maintained properly.

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