Weed eaters (also known as string trimmers) are handheld devices for cutting grass. First invented by George C. Ballas Sr. They use a high-speed rotating string instead of a blade.
Once you’ve done the heavy-lifting with a traditional lawn-mower, the weed eater comes in. You can use it to trim whatever areas the mower missed, plus trees and shrubbery. It’s used to give your lawn that clean, manicured look.
Weed eaters are ideal for trimming trees because the string can’t cut through the bark.
Below you’ll find our recommendations for the best 4-stroke weed eaters, as well as how to choose one of your own.SEE ON AMAZON
This swiss heavy-duty gasoline trimmer can handle commercial use. It has a cutting width of 17 inches, a straight shaft, and a 20 oz tank that runs for hours.
This weed eater doesn’t come with a lot of attachments or extras, but it can handle anything you throw at it. It’s much more durable and long-lasting than its residential counterparts.
If you’re doing yard work professionally, this trimmer can handle it. If you’re just buying it for your yard, it’ll probably be the last one you’ll ever need to buy.
- Powerful engine
- 17-inch cutting width
- 20 oz tank lasts for a long time
- Gas only – doesn’t need oil
- Relatively quiet
- Low fumes
- Easy maintenance
- No attachments available
- Doesn’t come with a strap, but you can buy one separately
This battery-powered trimmer can be converted into an edger to give more options for fine-tuning your yard. It also comes with two options for speed. The higher speed gives you more power, while the lower speed is good for saving battery.
Since it’s battery-operated, this trimmer has no fumes and makes little noise. However, one charge would last about 20 minutes (30 if you use the lower speed). It comes with 2 batteries so you’ll always have a spare.
Additionally, you can extend or shorten the handle depending on your height and reach. It’s suitable for light to moderate non-commercial yard use.
- Relatively powerful for a battery-operated trimmer
- 18-inch trimming width
- Battery lasts up to 30 min
- Handle can be shortened or extended
- 2 speed options
- Lightweight at 6.3 lbs
- The motor is at the bottom, so the weight is unbalanced
- Batteries can take about 3 hours to charge, and their capacity is reduced over time
This trimmer can also change from a trimmer to an edger. It has an excellent spool-feeding system and the company promises to give free strings for life!
It comes with an innovative trimming head that can be tilted 90 degrees. This is especially handy for trimming shrubbery. It also comes with two batteries, each lasting about 10 to 15 minutes.
It’s very light at 5.3 lbs, and features rubber wheels so you can rest it on the ground while working. This trimmer is best for light use and for people who don’t understand the more complex trimmers. It’s an easy, affordable way to get the job done.
- Great price
- Lightweight at 5.3 lbs
- Easy to use
- Can work as a trimmer or edger
- Trimming head tilts 90 degrees
- Rubber wheels
- Short battery life
- Won’t handle larger yards or tough weeds
This highly-affordable corded trimmer has a trimming width of 18 inches. It’s very adjustable, as it can accommodate several attachments, including ones from different brands.
It’s meant for the casual user, and is therefore easy to use. It has a cushioned grip for extra comfort. It even comes with a 4-year warranty, which is rare for this type of product.
It weighs around 10 lbs which is in the middle range.
Unfortunately, it may be hard to get a hold of replacement spool. It also has many plastic parts that aren’t very durable.
Like any corded trimmer, you need to have a power outlet nearby. It wouldn’t work with large yards.
- 18-inch trimming width
- Several attachments
- Cushioned grip
- 4-year warranty
- Replacement spool is hard to find
- Not very durable, but you can use the warranty
- Needs a power socket
How to Choose the Best Weed Eater
To make the most out of your shopping experience, it’s wise to know what all those specs mean. Below, you’ll find some of the jargon explained.
2 Cycle vs. 4 Cycle
The number of cycles (or strokes), refers to how many strokes the piston needs to make to produce power. As their names suggest, 2-cycle weed eaters generate power every two strokes, while 4-cycle weed eaters require 4 strokes.
This can have unexpected results on their performance. For example, 2-cycle trimmers generate more power and noise. They’re also lighter and simpler machines.
4-cycle trimmers are heavier and more complex. They don’t generate as much power, but they’re quiet, and they use energy more efficiently.
If the trimmer runs on a mix of lubricating oil and fuel, the 4-cycle trimmer can keep them in separate compartments, while the 2-cycle trimmer requires you to mix them in a specific ratio.
Although 4-cycle trimmers (or 4 stroke weed eaters) are heavier and more expensive. We recommend them because they’re quieter, more efficient, and better for the environment.
There are three main ways to power your weed eater. The first one is fossil fuel (gas is typically used). The other two are electric; one is corded, the other makes use of a battery.
Gas-Powered Weed Eater
This type of weed eaters uses gas only, or a mixture of gas and oil. These weed trimmers have been around for over 50 years. They’re the oldest type available.
Gas-powered weed eaters give you maximum mobility and a long runtime. They have a bulkier construction, which makes them durable, but difficult to move around.
This type is great for large yards, as they can handle more work effectively. Unfortunately, that means they also require more maintenance.
As you may have guessed already, this type also emits fumes.
Corded Electric Weed Eater
If you have a smaller yard, you can opt for a corded weed eater. Those need to be constantly plugged in to work, so you need to have a power outlet nearby.
This type is the lightest, as it doesn’t carry around a large tank or battery. It’s also clean as it doesn’t generate any fumes.
These weed eaters aren’t powerful, and are therefore quiet.
Battery-Powered Weed Eater
Battery-powered weed eaters are clean, quiet, and you can move them around without having to worry about a cord. The only real downside is that they may not run for long and would need a while to recharge.
Weed eaters weigh between 5 lbs and 15 lbs, with some being heavier or lighter. The lighter varieties are typically corded, while the heavier ones are gas-operated.
Heavyweight is typically a sign of a more durable machine, but it may be difficult to carry around.
The cutting width refers to the space in which you can cut the grass without having to move the trimmer. It can range between 12 and 19 inches for most weed eaters.
If you have a large yard, choosing a higher cutting width value may be more efficient. However, bigger doesn’t always equal better. Sometimes you need the trimmer to get into tighter spaces, in which case the extra width can be a hindrance.
Straight vs. Curved Shaft
The shaft is what connects the motor to the cutting head. It can be either curved or straight.
The straight shaft ensures that the cable inside doesn’t move around as much, which makes it less prone to breakage. This is only noticeable with intense use.
Straight shafts are more practical in the sense that they have a longer reach, and are more likely to have different attachments available. They also fit into tighter areas such as under furniture. Straight shafts are preferred for taller folks.
A curved shaft is usually shorter, which makes it lighter and easier to maneuver. It’s recommended for shorter people and smaller yards. It’s also the cheaper between the two.
The Makita is highly recommended if you have a lot of yard work to do. Whether professionally or if you just have a large yard.
If you don’t want to worry about refueling or recharging, and have a small yard, use the greenworks trimmer.