Even a blue-ribbon lawn won’t win any landscaping prizes if you have shaggy, untrimmed walkways and tall grass poking up around trees and fence posts. Modern string trimmers address a garden variety of lawn-grooming issues with better performance and convenience for less money.
If you’re environmentally conscious you may gravitate toward an electric Gas string trimmers. But you should know that today’s gas-powered string trimmers emit fewer pollutants than they used to. And cordless, battery-powered trimmers—while not as robust as corded-electric or gas models—can still make your yard look trim and proper.
What to Consider
You don’t need an expensive, professional-grade string trimmer (although the best gas models come close to matching their power). For regular jobs, gas trimmers and even some electric trimmers can dispense with run-of-the-mill grass and weeds just fine.
What type of yard work do you need a string trimmer for? Typically, gas-powered trimmers are more powerful and may be more effective at tackling substantial weeds and grass growth. Newer battery-powered models have power nearly equal to gas trimmers, but they’re just as heavy and more expensive. Corded string trimmers can be easier to maneuver, and a good choice for lighter duty landscaping tasks. For more see our full Gas string trimmers ratings.
Try It Out
Handle a string trimmer in the store to check its balance. After adjusting the front handle for a comfortable reach, hold the trimmer in the cutting position with both hands. Its weight should feel evenly distributed from top to bottom or slightly heavier at the top. Be sure the controls work smoothly and are easy to reach.
Mind the Gap
Some Gas string trimmers have a built-in design flaw that allows tall grass and weeds to wrap around the top of the cutting head, which can slow or stall the trimmer. Look for models with only a small gap or better yet, a protective sleeve between the cutting head and trimmer shaft.
String trimmers can kick up debris. Make sure you wear safety glasses, gloves, long pants, and boots. All but the cordless electric Gas string trimmers we tested emitted at least 85 decibels, the level at which we recommend hearing protection.
We Don’t Recommend Split Shaft
With split-shaft models, the shaft comes apart to accept a leaf blower, hedge trimmer, edging blade, or other yard tools. But most add-on tools haven’t been very effective in our tests.