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Three weed wackers stand against a cart in a yard Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Best Weed Wackers and String Trimmers of 2022

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Three weed wackers stand against a cart in a yard Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

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Editor's Choice Product image of Kobalt KST 2580-06
Best Overall

Kobalt KST 2580-06

If you’re looking for the power of a gas string trimmer without the fumes, racket, and weight, then the Kobalt 80-volt is the one for you. Read More

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Well balanced
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Large
2
Editor's Choice Product image of DeWalt DCST925M1
Best Value

DeWalt DCST925M1

Light and quiet, this 13-inch cordless string trimmer is very easy to use and offers a good value. Read More

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Binds up easily
  • Small shield
3
Product image of Milwaukee M18 2828-21

Milwaukee M18 2828-21

This cordless string trimmer is powerful, well-balanced, and easy to use. It cuts through just about everything we put in front of it. Read More

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Great battery life
  • Battery compatible with other M18 tools

Cons

  • Loud
  • Small shield
4
Editor's Choice Product image of Ego Power+ ST1500-S

Ego Power+ ST1500-S

Powerful until the string starts to fray and shorten. Also, balance may be an issue, depending on your own body size. Read More

Pros

  • Powerful

Cons

  • Quick reduction in cutting ability
  • Unbalanced
5
Product image of Husqvarna 128LD

Husqvarna 128LD

This gas-powered weed wacker cuts down everything in its path at a professional level, but leaves behind noise and fumes. Read More

Pros

  • Professional level power

Cons

  • Gas-powered
  • Loud

Used indiscriminately over wide swathes of grass, lawn mowers are the brute force of the lawn care world. But when it comes to more detailed work, you need a weed wacker—or line trimmer, weed eater, string trimmer, or whatever else you want to call it. These slim, handheld power tools are designed to make short work of garden and lawn maintenance. They're adept at nitty gritty details, like the weeds around edges and ledges of patios, walkways, bushes, and flower beds.

But not all weed wackers are created equal. Over the course of a hot, wet (i.e., verdant overgrowth choked) summer, we put string trimmers from leading brands to the test.

Just-get-it-done consumers will appreciate our favorite, the powerful Kobalt KST 2580-06 (available at Amazon) weed wacker, which works like a gas-powered plaything, but without the fumes, racket, and weight. But, if you prefer one that's light and quiet, not to mention a good value, invest in the Dewalt DCST925M1 (available at The Home Depot) string trimmer, which we named the Best Value option on the market.

A man carries a blue Kobalt brand weed wacker across a green lawn
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

If you’re looking for the power of a gas string trimmer without the fumes, racket, and weight, then the Kobalt 80-volt is the one for you.

Best Overall
Kobalt KST 2580-06

If you’re looking for the power of a gas string trimmer without the fumes, racket, and weight, then the Kobalt 80-volt is the one for you. While all of the weed wackers we tested cut through most reasonable underbrush, the Kobalt is one of the few that cut through everything in one pass. Long grass, bittersweet vines, small saplings, even bamboo—it shredded it all.

All that power and the massive 80-volt battery that drives it don’t seem to come with additional weight or balance problems. At just over 11 pounds, the Kobalt 80-volt string trimmer is right in line with the rest of the tools we tested. In terms of balance, it is easy enough to get in and around objects while keeping a level cutting height. It is also maneuverable enough to turn on its side to edge around driveways or walkways.

This said, this is a large weed wacker, not meant for tight spaces, so if most of your work involves tight quarters, then you may want to choose a smaller option. If you’ve got a lot of area to cover, however, then the Kobalt 80-volt string trimmer is a great choice at a solid price.

Pros

  • Powerful

  • Well balanced

  • Versatile

Cons

  • Large

A man uses a yellow weed wacker on a green lawn on a sunny day
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The DeWalt is the lightest and quietest of the larger weed wackers that we tested.

Best Value
DeWalt DCST925M1

As the lightest and quietest of the larger weed wackers that we tested, the DeWalt 13-inch cordless trimmer is very easy to use. The low weight only comes with a minor sacrifice in power. While it didn’t cut through thick underbrush quite as quickly as some of the others, it could get through some heavy-duty growth, particularly for the relatively low price.

This said, the design of the spinning cutter head lends itself to getting bound up. Several times while I was cutting through longer growth, particularly bittersweet vines, strands wrapped around the spinner head, slowing or even stalling the trimmer. This was the only weed wacker where this happened.

Another drawback of this trimmer is the very small shield. My legs were under constant assault from clippings, dirt, and rocks, far more so than any of the other devices I tested. However, if you’re wearing jeans like you should be, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

The DeWalt trimmer works with a much broader set of battery-powered tools. If you’re already invested in the DeWalt lineup, then this is a great trimmer for the price.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Quiet

Cons

  • Binds up easily

  • Small shield

How We Tested Weed Wackers and String Trimmers

The Testers

I’m Jean Levasseur, a former conveyor mechanic, current property manager, and hobbyist woodworker, in addition to being a writing instructor at a local university. I come from a family of tool-users—my grandfather was a carpenter, my father owned an excavation company, and my mother was a mechanic. Between growing up working for my family’s businesses and then moving onto my own projects, I’ve used most tools you’ve heard of and quite a few that you haven’t. I've also got a huge yard filled with plants, grass, weeds, and other tricky growth, which was perfect for testing string trimmers and weed wackers.

I’ve recently retested and added new products to this list, as well as considering previous tests and notes from Sarah Zorn, an amateur gardener, currently in possession of an urban garden in New York City.

The Tests

A man uses a weed wacker to cut grass around the edge of a garden
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

We put the trimmers to work on both short and tall grass, as well as tougher roots and weeds, seeing how quickly, efficiently, and consistently they tackled each job and maneuvered around edges and obstacles without running out of battery or breaking a string.

We assembled each trimmer, taking note of how clear the manual instructions were, how much set-up was required, and how easy it was to install a new string. We looked at safety features, such as locking power switches and trimmer guards. We also assessed how comfortable each unit was; if the weight was evenly distributed from top to bottom, if the controls were accessible, where the handles were situated, and if the shafts could be adjusted for better reach. Then we put the trimmers to work on both short and tall grass, as well as tougher roots and weeds, seeing how quickly, efficiently and consistently they tackled each job, and maneuvered around edges and obstacles without running out of battery or breaking a string.

What You Should Know About Weed Wackers and String Trimmers

A man holds a weed wacker with a battery pack at one end
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

While a gas string trimmer is generally preferred by professionals, an electric or batter-powered weed wacker (pictured here) makes more sense for at-home use.

While a gas string trimmer is generally preferred by professionals, an electric weed wacker (corded or battery-powered versions) makes more sense for a small yard and at-home use.

Corded trimmers are generally lightest and least expensive, and they start with the push of a button. Unfortunately, they almost always require extension cords, which can be frustrating to wrangle while you’re working.

Battery-powered models offer the mobility of gas, without pull-starting, fueling, and fumes, but are heavier and more expensive than corded, and have a battery life with a run time between 30 and 60 minutes before needing a recharge. As far as cordless trimmers, look for options with a top-mounted motor, which tend to be better balanced (making them easier to handle) than models with motors mounted down near the cutting line.

Also, keep an eye out for amperage—averaging between 3.5 and 7.5—which generally affects the price, and assess how much power you really require for the size of your space.

Whether you opt for corded or cordless, select a cutting swath (10 to 16 inches) that makes sense for what range you need. A curved shaft is best for light trimming, while a straight shaft is better for heavy-duty work.

the
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Select a cutting swath (10 to 16 inches) that makes sense for what range you need. A curved shaft is best for light trimming, while a straight shaft is better for heavy-duty work.

Quiet motors or engines are obviously preferred, as are lightweight, balanced, and low vibration models as far as comfort goes.

Thicker strings and dual nylon lines are most effective for tougher weeds and unruly yards, and trimmers with swivel heads assist with creating clean edges and finishes.

Bump feed systems allow users to deliver lines as needed, while automatic feeds dispense line, well, automatically, so you don’t need to stop in the middle of a job. And models are ideally equipped with spools, which make it easy to load a new line.


Other Weed Wackers and String Trimmers We Tested

Product image of Milwaukee M18 2828-21
Milwaukee M18 2828-21

This is another in a long line of quality tools from Milwaukee. The M18 cordless string trimmer is powerful, well-balanced, and easy to use. It cut through just about everything we put in front of it in one or two passes, and still had plenty of battery life left after 20 minutes of use. The battery is really the biggest benefit of this tool. As part of the M18 family of tools, the weed wacker can share batteries with all of your other Milwaukee M18 tools, like drills, blowers, or reciprocating saws.

However, there are two drawbacks to the Milwaukee. The first is the volume of the motor. It is noticeably louder and higher pitched than the other large battery-operated trimmers I tested—not as loud as the gas trimmers, but still unpleasant. The other drawback is that the shield isn’t very big and has some openings. On the one hand, this makes edging a bit easier, but it also means more debris is thrown back at you, which can be annoying/painful.

If you’re already invested in the Milwaukee M18 line, then the weed wacker is a fantastic option.

Pros

  • Powerful

  • Great battery life

  • Battery compatible with other M18 tools

Cons

  • Loud

  • Small shield

Product image of Ego Power+ ST1500-S
Ego Power+ ST1500-S

At 56 volts, the Ego is one of the most powerful battery trimmers that we tested. And it shows. This is another machine that cuts through just about anything without hesitation. When it comes to pure cutting power, it’s comparable to the Kobalt. That said, when the string starts to fray and shorten, there’s a much greater reduction in cutting power than the other weed wackers. This isn’t a huge problem—tapping the machine on the ground to extend the string is easy enough—but it does make for a few moments of frustration as you’re working.

The other, and more important, issue with the trimmer is the balance. I never found a comfortable position on the shaft for the handle. No matter how I held it, the cutter head kept dipping forward, making for uneven trimming and a pretty ugly end result in a lot of places. A previous reviewer with a smaller body frame had tried this model and found it well-balanced, so this may be more connected to my body size and shape than the design of the weed wacker.

Pros

  • Powerful

Cons

  • Quick reduction in cutting ability

  • Unbalanced

Product image of Husqvarna 128LD
Husqvarna 128LD

This is an absolute monster of a trimmer. If you put it in front of something, it’ll cut it. I brought this into my back woods to cut back some ivy and underbrush, and I didn’t even really have to pay attention to what I was cutting. Everything I touched just disappeared. For heavy-duty trimming, it’s hard to beat the reliability of a solid gas weed wacker, particularly since you don’t have to worry about battery life.

This said, there are two significant drawbacks to all of that power—volume and fumes. Like all 2-cycle engines, the Husqvarna is loud, and it puts out a significant amount of exhaust. If you can live with this and need more power than most electric trimmers will give you, then the Husqvarna is an excellent option.

Pros

  • Professional level power

Cons

  • Gas-powered

  • Loud

Product image of Echo SRM-225
Echo SRM-225

If the only thing that matters is raw power, then a gas trimmer is what you’re looking for, and the Echo is a solid choice. Just about anything it touches gets cut. It’s actually a case of sometimes seeming too powerful—when I went to cut a piece of bamboo with it, it didn’t just cut the bamboo. It sent the pieces flying about 10 feet. Getting in and around my shed, it’s strong enough that it can damage the wood as well. For most homeowners, a gas trimmer is simply more power than you need.

Beyond the question of power, this had a few small quirks. First is the balance. In order to use it comfortably, the motor compartment rests against my elbow. And that gets hot. Not painfully hot, but enough to notice. The second drawback is the volume. Gas trimmers are very loud, and the motor only sits about two feet from your ear. Finally, like all 2-stroke engines, this one is very smelly, especially on startup.

Pros

  • Powerful

Cons

  • Gas powered

  • Too powerful

  • Uncomfortably balanced

  • Loud

Product image of Ryobi RY40250
Ryobi RY40250

The Ryobi string trimmer is a solid tool for all types of grass. It cleans up the edges of lawns nicely, and is maneuverable enough to get around all types of objects. But, it lacks quite a bit of power. It cuts sporadically in underbrush, and even thicker long grass may require multiple passes to fully trim. Unlike most of the other larger weed wackers we tested, this one can’t be relied on to just cut—you have to actually look and see if the grass you were trying to cut actually cut.

That said, the Ryobi is part of the Expand-It line of products, which means that it takes all kinds of different attachments. The trimmer head can be swapped out for everything from a hedge trimmer to a leaf blower to a snow thrower. If that kind of versatility is appealing, and all you need in a trimmer is basic grass-cutting, then this could be a great option, though we did not test any of the other attachment products.

Pros

  • Easy to maneuver

  • Works with attachments

Cons

  • Lacks power

  • Unreliable cuts

Product image of Greenworks 21212 4 Amp 13-Inch Corded String Trimmer
Greenworks 21212 4 Amp 13-Inch Corded String Trimmer

If you have an open, small yard, or are specifically looking for a lightweight machine, then this Greenworks is an excellent option. It cuts far better than its size and power-rating would suggest, and is easy to use and maneuver. It weighs about half of what the larger battery-powered tools do. And yet the cutting area is right on par with those other, larger trimmers.

The only issue with this trimmer, other than the need to manage the extension cord, is the height. It’s by far the shortest trimmer that I tested, and as an average-sized man, it is much too short for me, even fully extended. In order to reach a good trim height, I had to hunch over, and I couldn’t easily reach under bushes to trim the grass there.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to maneuver

  • Cuts well

Cons

  • Too short

  • Unbalanced

Meet the testers

Sarah Zorn

Sarah Zorn

Contributor

Sarah Zorn is a food writer, cookbook author, and product tester for Reviewed, Wirecutter and the Food Network. She regularly contributes to outlets such as Saveur, Esquire, and Civil Eats, and has very much passed her food obsessions down, as her beloved rescue hound, Rowdy, regularly deglazes his kibble bowl.

See all of Sarah Zorn's reviews
Jean Levasseur

Jean Levasseur

Contributor

Jean Levasseur became a professional writer over a decade-long career in marketing, public relations, and technical writing. After leaving that career to stay home to care for his twin boys, Jean has continued to write in a variety of freelance roles, as well as teaching academic writing at a local university. When he's not reviewing tools or chasing toddlers around the house, he's also an avid fiction writer and a growing woodworker.

See all of Jean Levasseur's reviews

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