String trimmers, also known as weedeaters, weed wackers, or weed trimmers, are designed to spin a line fast enough to cut grass. Finding the best model can be subjective, as different people may have different preferences. We asked our team of experts to provide their recommendations for a range of users, from homeowners with small lawns to professional lawn care crews.
Check out our best battery-powered string trimmers guide for our top picks among all battery-powered models. And while you’re at it, have a look at our Best Leaf Blowers reviews!
What We Look for in the Best String Trimmer
Battery vs Gas vs Electric String Trimmers
When selecting a string trimmer, it’s important to consider factors such as performance, convenience, and cost. Gas-powered string trimmers offer the most power. Their excessive noise and fuel requirements and need for annual maintenance make them less desirable for some. Gas string trimmers also produce engine emissions that many users want to avoid or curb where possible.
On the other hand, battery-powered string trimmers operate more quietly. They also produce no emissions and require only minimal maintenance. They do tend to cost more upfront due to the prices of lithium-ion batteries and runtime is limited by the battery capacity. When you exhaust the battery power, recharging also takes a lot more time than filling up the tank!
Electric string trimmers are generally cheaper and have unlimited runtime, but may not be as powerful and require the use of an extension cord.
String Trimmer Line Size
The thickness of the line used in a string trimmer typically falls within the range of 0.080 to 0.105 inches, although options exist outside of this range. We’ve even seen a cheap string trimmer that uses zip ties . We definitely don’t consider this a recommended practice!
The diameter of the line in a string trimmer affects its performance and suitability for different tasks. Smaller diameter line causes less damage to objects it strikes, such as siding, wood, or pipes. It can also provide longer runtime on battery-powered string trimmers. However, they may not cut through tough grasses as effectively. Larger diameter lines can be more destructive and less energy efficient but may be better suited for heavy-duty use in tough conditions.
For smaller lawns, 0.080-inch line keeps grass under control and minimizes collateral damage, while also providing good runtime on battery-powered string trimmers.
We recommend 0.095-inch line as a good all-around option. It cuts quickly and moderates the risk of damage. Most high-end and all professional-targeted cordless string trimmers support this size line.
For professional crews, farm and ranch use, or large properties, 0.105-inch line may be the best choice for quickly clearing overgrown grass and handling thicker stalks. This size may require a 30cc+ engine to effectively use, however. On battery-powered models, only the high-end products that target pros can handle this size.
The cutting swath of a string trimmer refers to the diameter of the area that the line can cover. For smaller lawns, a 13-14 inch cutting swath is sufficient, especially when using a walk-behind mower that can get close to landscape edges. A 15-16 inch cutting swath is a good all-around size, while professional crews and those with large properties may benefit from a 17-inch or larger cutting swath.
If you run a gas trimmer and want to ditch the guard and run your string at 24 inches, a battery-powered solution may not provide the speed or run time you expect.
The weight of a string trimmer is an important factor to consider, as heavier models can be more difficult to maneuver and may cause strain on your back. Shoulder straps can help with this, and some cordless models include them.
When selecting a string trimmer, we recommend choosing the lightest model that has the power to handle your toughest jobs. You also want to ensure the build quality and warranty meet your expectations.
Vibration is a factor that has gained attention with high-performance cordless string trimmers. Gas engines generally produce more vibration than battery-powered tools. Still, cordless and electric trimmers vary significantly from model to model.
In some cases, placing the motor in the head of the string trimmer can help reduce the vibration caused by the drive shaft. This also moves some of the weight away from your arms.
Gas and AC electric string trimmers typically don’t have many extra features, but brushless battery-powered models may have a few options that could influence your purchasing decision. These may include:
- Attachment capability (all power types with the motor or engine at the operator end of the tool)
- Multiple speeds (including automatic modes)
- Reverse rotation to untangle tall grass
- Faster throttle-up
- Compatibility with other lawn care equipment and power tools
We prioritize value in our purchases and want to help you get the most for your money. When selecting a string trimmer, it’s not just about finding the cheapest option, but rather finding one that meets your top priorities while staying within your budget. Keep this in mind as you go through our picks.
Best String Trimmer Overall for Professionals
Echo X-Series String Trimmer SRM-2620T
There is much debate about the best overall gas string trimmer, but the Echo X-Series SRM-2620/2620T model keeps showing up in our lists. The only difference between these two models is that the “T” version has 2:1 high-torque gearing, which we recommend for professional use.
The 25.4cc engine in this model strikes a good balance in terms of power, weight (12.5 pounds dry), and ease of starting. Its power-to-weight ratio is among the best available. It also has a solid runtime with a fuel capacity of just under 21 ounces. The Echo SRM-2620T is highly maneuverable and has a narrow guard that provides good visibility on its 17-inch cutting swath. Additionally, the Speed-Feed 400 head makes line changes easy.
Best String Trimmer Overall for Homeowners
EGO PowerLoad String Trimmer with Line IQ ST1623T
Homeowners can confidently switch to a battery-powered string trimmer if it fits within their budget. EGO produces some of the top-performing and lowest-vibration string trimmers on the market. We know as we’ve put our hands on every single one of them.
One standout model is the EGO ST1623T. It features PowerLoad technology that makes it easy to load new line. Simply thread the line to the halfway point in the head, press the PowerLoad button, and it automatically winds. The ST1623T also has Line IQ, an automatic feeding system that keeps the line at a consistent 16 inches without the need to constantly bump the head. It works really well. Finally, with a telescoping carbon fiber shaft, the EGO ST1623T makes for a top choice for homeowners of any height.
Price: $329 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Gas String String Trimmer
Stihl FS 91 R Professional String Trimmer
While the Echo 2620T remains our pick for the best overall professional string trimmer and gas model, a close second is the Stihl FS91. This 16.5-inch trimmer features a 28cc engine that has plenty of power for trimming grass. You can also easily use this tool for farm and ranch work. Despite its impressive power, you can easily manage the FS91 with a dry weight of 12.1 pounds and a fuel tank capacity of 24 ounces.
One major advantage of owning a Stihl product is the company’s extensive dealer and service network. If you need regular maintenance or if your trimmer needs repair, you can get it taken care of quickly.
Best Cordless Battery-Powered String Trimmer
Husqvarna 520iLX Battery-Powered String Trimmer
The Husqvarna 520iLX is a cordless battery-powered string trimmer built for professional and large property use. It performs well on lawn grasses and has a reverse direction button to release tangled grass or direct clippings to the proper side when edging along sidewalks.
One of the standout features of the 520iLX is its lightweight design. The bare trimmer weighs just 6.6 pounds, and adding a battery keeps it under 10 pounds. It is one of the lightest and most well-balanced trimmers available that targets professional users.
In addition to its lightweight design, the 520iLX has extremely low vibration and a noise level that, while not the lowest we have tested, has a more palatable tone than other models.
Price: Around $349.99 as a bare tool
Best Electric String Trimmer
Ryobi Attachment Capable Electric String Trimmer RY41135
If you prefer electric power, it is possible to find a string trimmer that performs well. In a rather close competition, we feel the Ryobi 10-amp, 18-inch string trimmer outperforms the Kobalt model of the same size.
Both trimmers have the same power and cutting swath. Both also work as attachment-capable tools and are lightweight. However, the Ryobi RY41135 electric string trimmer has an easy-load head that makes changing the line less frustrating. This gives it the edge as our best electric string trimmer pick.
Best String Trimmer for Large Areas
Echo X-Series Brushcutter SRM-2620U
For large areas where mowers can’t reach, the best string trimmer should have excellent runtime, a large cutting swath, and, in our opinion, a bike handle design. The Echo SRM-2620U brushcutter, which is based on our top overall professional pick, meets all of these requirements.
It has the same engine and trimmer head but replaces the D-handle with a bike handle and harness for better support during extended use. This design offers the same performance as the original model but the handle design makes it easier to manage over longer periods of time.
Best String Trimmer for Overgrown Areas
Husqvarna Brush Cutter 545FR
When dealing with areas that have a lot of overgrowth, it’s important to be patient and choose a string trimmer that is capable of using a brushcutter head. We also recommend going with a larger engine for this type of work. The Husqvarna 545FR represents our top pick for the best string trimmer for overgrown areas.
The trimmer houses a powerful 45.7cc engine that can handle a trimmer head, grass blade, or brush-cutting blade. It efficiently clears both tall grass and saplings. This string trimmer also comes with a comfortable harness, vibration-dampening bike handles, and easy starting, making it a reliable choice for tackling overgrown areas.
Best String Trimmer Line
Echo Black Diamond String Trimmer Line
I may start an argument in this section, but I recommend Echo’s Black Diamond line as the best string trimmer line for most applications. Its density, combined with a sharp-pointed square twist, makes it more effective at cutting for its size compared to many basic lines. You can purchase it in 0.095-inch and 0.105-inch sizes, making it a great choice for almost any trimmer, including most battery-powered options.
The one exception? Auto-load/feed trimmer heads like those found on the EGO Line IQ trimmer and similar models. On those tools, something. about the twist on this line makes it bind before fully leaving the spool. It also often binds on loading after a time. The simple solution is to grab a line with a less aggressive outer shape. Round line or something with a less aggressive twist should work fine.
Best String Trimmer Brand
This section will likely spark an intense debate. When it comes to string trimmer brands, Stihl, Redmax, Echo, and Husqvarna consistently float to the top of the list. Additionally, all-battery brands like Milwaukee and Greenworks Commercial also have a growing presence in the marketplace.
In our opinion, Husqvarna prepresents the best overall brand for string trimmers. They offer a wide range of trimmers for both homeowners and professionals. They also seem committed to carrying both gas and battery-powered solutions (unlike Makita ). They have solutions for cutting grass as well as forestry brush. While Stihl is known for its vast dealer network, Husqvarna remains easily accessible through its local service partners.
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