Checked and updated on January 5, 2021 by Aaron Barnett
The best weed eater is made by Makita or Milwaukee and is cordless. A cordless string trimmer requires much less maintenance than other gas-powered line trimmers out there. Cordless trimmers have decent run time, power, and you don’t have to run down to the gas station and mix oils. They are also more environmentally friendly and are quieter to use.
Although gas-powered line trimmers are good for large amounts of heavy-duty work, and sometimes it is more fun to use a gas-powered tool.
Take note that string trimmers come off the shelf with a standard bump-feed-attachment, this feeds the trimmer line out as it wears down by the user bumping the line attachment on the ground.
Although this can be very frustrating to use as it gets tangled easily. It is best to throw the stock line feed attachment in the bin on day 1 and get an aftermarket trimmer head that you manually insert trimmer line as you need to replace it.
This will save you a lot of frustration and time. The stock bump feed is simple to unscrew, and again you can just screw the new line feeder in its place.
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Line trimmers are handheld gardening tools that are used for cutting grass and weeds. Also known as “string trimmers”, “whipper snippers”, “weed whackers”, or “weed eaters”, they utilize a rotating mechanism fitted with a monofilament line that allows you to cut grass without causing damage to other objects that the tool comes in contact with.
Although be careful around small newly planted trees.
Line trimmers may be powered by electricity, gasoline, or a battery. They work pretty much like handheld lawnmowers but are considerably lighter and easier to maneuver.
Instead of the blades used in lawnmowers and conventional grass cutters, the mechanism causes the micro-filament string to spin rapidly, stiffening it up enough to cut grass, on the flat, and much more easily on slopes and steep inclines on hills.
Line trimmers don’t have blades that wear out with use. However, the micro-filament strings do wear out and will have to be replaced regularly.
Newer line trimmers have auto-feed systems that feed fresh string automatically, although this tends to cause snags. With other line trimmers, or with an aftermarket head attachment, you will have to feed the string manually but this is much preferred by me, as I don’t mind manual inserting a new line every 5-10miniutes knowing that I never have to deal with it getting tangled.
Line trimmers are excellent for finishing up lawn work or for working alongside porches, sidewalks, pavements, or other structures that you wouldn’t want to come close to with a bladed grass cutter or a lawnmower.
They are a lot better for fine, detailed work near flower beds and other hard-to-reach spots. Combined with a lawnmower for the heavy work, a line trimmer will give your lawn or garden that clean, precisely-manicured look that isn’t possible with conventional gardening tools.
Some line trimmers are durable enough for heavy-duty jobs, so you could theoretically use them to handle most of your grass cutting needs. But if you need to clear out large expanses of dense overgrowth, it might be better to use a brush cutter along with your line trimmer.
Brush cutter blades can cut through thick weed and shrubbery more efficiently, and they can reduce wear-and-tear on your line trimmer.
Line trimmer features
Gas vs. Cordless weed whackers
Line trimmers may be powered by gas or Lithium-ion batteries. Gas driven trimmers are generally more powerful and are better suited for big jobs or when you need to cover large areas.
A good gas-powered model will keep running for as long as you need it to as long as there is gas in the tank.
Most gas-powered models have a starter cord that you pull to start the engine manually. They are generally pretty low maintenance, although periodic servicing will help extend the tool’s operating life and ensure safe, efficient, and reliable performance.
Most battery-powered weed eaters are equipped with a start switch rather than a starter cord. They require even less maintenance than gas-powered trimmers and are pretty much ready to go as soon as you pick them up.
Of course, cordless weed eaters are usually less powerful than their gas-driven counterparts and are better suited for trimming small areas around the house.
On the plus side, they are lighter and easier to use than gas trimmers and vibrate less as well, so you can use them for longer periods without fatigue.
If you do opt for a battery-powered weed eater, it’s a good idea to pick up a second battery, so you could charge one while using the other. This will allow you to use your trimmer for longer periods without having to cut your work short due to a dead battery.
Curved vs. Straight shaft
Trimmers come with bent or curved shafts and straight shafts. From the inside, both types look pretty much alike, with the main difference being the shaft itself, Curved trimmers have a slight curve toward the end, while straight trimmers have longer strings that are totally straight.
Curved shafts are more commonly seen in home-gardening models. They are easy to maneuver and you have a bit more control over the cutting action due to the smaller shaft and engine and better balance. They are also usually cheaper than straight trimmers.
Keep in mind that curved shaft trimmers usually have limited reach compared to straight shaft models. They can also be difficult to maneuver around fixed objects in your path, and you might find it challenging to keep the head at a level position.
Straight shaft trimmers are better suited for heavy-duty use. They can reach deep into the shrubbery and even under decks, porches, or lawn furniture, and can handle a wider variety of jobs.
They are also generally more durable, although the trade-off is added weight and less maneuverability. If you are a tall person and have to reach under bushes, the added weight of a straight shaft trimmer might pose a bit of a challenge.
2 stroke vs. 4 stroke
Most gas line trimmers come with 2-stroke or 4-stroke motors. “Strokes” or “cycles” refer to the piston’s back and forth movement inside the cylinder of the engine. The number refers to the number of times the cylinder has to move from one end of the cylinder to the other before the engine produces power.
The pistons in 2-stroke trimmers go through the cycle twice before the engine produces power. In 4-stroke trimmers, the pistons cycle four times before the engine produces power.
This means that 2-stroke trimmers generally reach speed faster than 4-stroke trimmers, which almost always results in faster performance, but the 4 stroke engine has more torque behind the weed wacker, this can help with mowing through thicker weeds that can slow a 2 stroke trimmer down.
On the other hand, 4-stroke trimmers burn fuel more efficiently than 2-stroke models. They are also quieter during use. However, they tend to be heavier than 2-stroke engine trimmers, and are usually more expensive. For home gardening use, 2-stroke models generally cheaper and give you better value for your money.
Keep in mind that many 2-stroke trimmers require you to mix oil with the gas. These models require a bit more maintenance than 4-stroke trimmers because you have to get the gas-oil mixture just right.
Your choice between the two basically comes down to this: if you want a simple and powerful trimmer and don’t mind the extra work and louder engine, go for a 2-stroke model. If you want quieter and more efficient performance, and torque for heavy weeds go for a 4-stroke model.
Battery-powered Makita vs. Milwaukee
Both Makita and Milwaukee have made significant advances in battery technology over the years, and both are pretty equally matched when it comes to performance and features. Makita is best known for its LXT Lithium-Ion Battery Technology, which results in more efficient models that have 50% longer run-times than most other Lithium-ion batteries.
Makita batteries can also work with most of the company’s battery-powered tools. Milwaukee for its part is known for its Red-lithium Battery Technology, which provides its cordless string trimmers with longer run-times per charge.
The company’s batteries are also known for their long life. Milwaukee tools also have the Red-link Plus Intelligence system, which protects against overloading and optimizes the performance of the motor, battery, and charger.
Top weed eaters
The Makita XRU09PT1 is a cordless line trimmer made for modern environmentally-conscious users. It boasts of low-noise performance and zero emissions and requires much less maintenance than other line trimmers intended for home gardening use.
The XRU09PT1 is powered by a pair of 18V LXT Lithium-ion batteries, giving you enough juice to clear out grass and weeds from even large areas. Its brushless motor results in more efficient performance and longer run-times per charge, so you could get a lot more work done.
The XRU09PT1 also utilizes Makita’s ingenious electronic control system that optimizes power and speed according to the demands of the job.
Makita cordless weed eater xru09pt1
Milwaukee’s 2725-21HD line trimmer is part of the QUIK-LOOK Attachment System. It features the Easy Load Trimmer Head, which makes the trimmer easy to use right out of the box.
Even with its relatively simple design, the 2725-21HD is more than capable of professional-looking results, with the power to cut through the densest shrubs within seconds.
In fact, the motor gets up to full speed in less than one second, so you can begin clearing out stubborn grass and weeds immediately after starting it up. You also get several attachments including the Edger, the Articulating Hedge Trimmer, and the Pole Saw attachment, all of which greatly can add to the versatility of this tool.
Milwaukee cordless weed wacker 2725-21hd
Husqvarna’s 967055801 Gas Weed Wacker boasts of the power and performance that is only available from a gas-powered weed wacker. Driven by a 25cc 4-cycle engine, this trimmer can cut through the densest bush like butter and clears out weeds and grass quickly and efficiently.
The 967055801 is a lot easier to use than most other gas-powered trimmers, with an engine that runs on unleaded fuel. This means that you don’t have to worry about getting the gas and oil mix just right before you can begin using it.
Husqvarna gas weed wacker 967055801
Best line trimmers with a pole saw attachment
Most people use their line trimmers to cut grass and weeds at ground level. But you can use them to trim tree branches and tall shrubs as well by adding a pole saw attachment.
These are basically mini chainsaws with extended booms that you can attach to the end of your trimmer to increase its reach. Some pole saw attachments can reach as high up as 11 feet and cut branches from 4” to 6” thick. For branches you cant reach with you cordless hand-help electric chainsaw.
If you are looking to get more use out of your line trimmer, buying a pole saw attachment is a cost-effective way to increase its capabilities.
Milwaukee Cordless String Trimmer Kit with Pole Saw Attachment
Makita Cordless Line Trimmer with Pole Saw Attachment
Trimmer line sizes
“Line size” refers to the thickness of the string or mono-filament cord used to cut grass. In general, the thicker the line is, the more effective it will be at cutting dense grass and shrubbery. Thicker lines also last longer and are less likely to break.
Lines used in line trimmers range from 4 mm to 0.8 mm. Manufacturers usually color code their strings so you can easily tell them apart. For light trimming work like cutting grass strings with diameters ranging from 2.5 mm to 0.8 mm should work just fine but the thinner line will cut much faster.
If you have to cut through thick grass where you might hit thicker weeds and stones on occasion go for the, go for 2.5 mm line and even thicker if you have to cut through dense underbrush and hit the ground and rocks regularly.
The thin string lines cut the fastest but break the easiest when you hit a rock if you have a 4 stroke motor you can chew through the grass while staying with a strong 2.5mm line.
I use a 2 stroke Makita trimmer and rarely go bigger than 2.5mm as the motor starts to bog down if I’m cutting grass. Although when I do go bigger I can cut surprisingly big weeds, and small trees without the line breaking too early.
Aftermarket line feed attachments
Head attachments usually come in two types: auto-feed and manual. With the short line head attachments, you will have to replace the string manually. With automatic heads, the line is fed through the head attachment as it wears out, so you always have a fresh length of string to work with.
The problem with many auto-feed systems is that the line tends to get tangled frequently, so you have to stop and clear out the snag.
Even if you have to cover a large area with your trimmer, it is better to go with manual attachments that let you replace shorter lengths of string at a time and save the frustration of a tangle.
Cut grass: Before or after rain?
Although you will probably have to cut the grass again soon afterward, your lawn will probably look a lot better than if you cut the grass after a rain shower.
Before you buy check the…
Trimmers will have to go through a lot of wear-and-tear, so you should make sure to get a model that is durable enough to hold up to heavy-duty use. Manual feed line feeders are more durable than those with auto-feed lines.
Most 4-cycle engine trimmers are also more durable than 2-cycle engine models. And a cordless model is even more durable, with-out the vibration, and engine wear and tear. With a brushless motor, it won’t require any maintenance.
The best string trimmers are made by Makita, Milwaukee, Husqvarna, and DeWalt. Line trimmers from these manufacturers are generally more powerful and vibrate less than cheaper models.
According to many string trimmer reviews, they also last longer and are less likely to break down, giving you better value for your money despite their higher cost.
Gas-driven trimmers are generally than battery-powered models. They are better suited for large jobs and can cover a lot of ground quickly. On the other hand, battery-powered trimmers are lighter and easier to handle, with much less vibration.
They can easily handle quick trimming work around the house, and can even cover large areas if you have an extra battery.
The shaft is among the most important components of your trimmer. You can pretty much rely on shafts labeled as ‘reinforced’, which will give you dependable and consistent performance.
Flex shafts are generally preferable due to their low vibration and shock-absorbing characteristics. They can also be used safely even if the drive housing gets bent.
Most string trimmers have idling speeds ranging from 2700 to 3000 RPM, with high speeds reaching up to 10,000 RPM. Higher RPMs allow you to clear away grass and weeds faster, so you can work more efficiently.
Ideally, you will want the trimmer head to remain still while the trimmer is idling. If it spins, your idling speed is probably too high.
When buying power tools, it is almost always better to spend a little more on a “pro”-market model than a home DIY model.
You generally get a lot more value for your money with a pro model, with more years of use before you have to replace it.
Tips for using a string trimmer
Just as with all power tools, safety should be the topmost priority when using line trimmers. You should consider not only your safety but also that of any people or animals that may be nearby while you work.
Like lawnmowers, line trimmers cause a lot of material to fly around, which can cause injury to the eyes or other parts of the body.
Apart from making sure that other people keep at least 50 feet away while you are using your line trimmer, you should protect yourself with safety goggles, gloves, and sturdy work boots as well. It is advisable to wear heavy denim or work pants and to wear earplugs or protective earmuffs.
Before you turn on the motor, make sure your stance is firm so that you don’t go off-balance. Don’t try to reach for grass or weeds that are too far away and always keep the head attachment below the waist level.
Line trimmers are fairly simple, but they do need a bit of care and maintenance.
Before you use your trimmer, check to see that the fasteners are secure and that the string heads aren’t cracked or chipped. If it is a gas-powered trimmer, make sure there are no leaks along the fuel line, and that you have remembered to mix 2 stroke oil if it is a 2 stroke motor.
Trimmer line that has a bright color like orange, stands-out this means at the end of the job, you can quickly see and pick up the broken bits of the line to put in the bin.
Top string trimmer comparison
|Makita Cordless Weed Eater||Milwaukee Cordless Weed Wacker||Husqvarna Gas Weed Wacker|
|RPM:||5,000 - 6,500||4,900 - 6,200||3,100 - 8,220|
|Weight:||22 lbs.||12.3 lbs.||11.2 lbs.|
The Makita XRU09PT1 Cordless Weed Eater is about the safest and most environmentally-friendly weed eater you can buy. Its low noise performance and zero-emissions operation make it perfectly suited for modern users that need a dependable line trimmer.
The Milwaukee 2725-21HD Cordless Weed Wacker is the only real choice if versatility is what you are looking for in a weed wacker. It comes with a host of attachments that let you handle jobs that most other line trimmers couldn’t touch.
Finally, the Husqvarna 967055801 Gas Weed Wacker is what you are looking for in a powerful and efficient gas-driven line trimmer. With its 25cc 4-cycle engine, it can cut through even the densest overgrowth without a hiccup, making it one of the best gas string trimmers you can get for the money.
And If you have some serious cutting back work to in your yard first have a read of my gas chain saw review by clicking here.
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