The top performers in our review are Hitachi, the Gold Award winner; Poulan Pro, the Silver Award winner; and Toro, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a tool to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 weed whackers.
Caring for your lawn may seem a simple task, at first. You keep it watered, fertilized and then watch as the lush, green grass starts to fill in. Once it gets too long, you mow it, but you may find some persistent and pesky weeds pop up in areas that a lawnmower simply cannot reach. If you add a gas-powered weed whacker to your arsenal, soon you can tame the wilderness that is your yard.
A well-made, balanced weed whacker is a great investment if you have a vast yard overgrown with tall grasses and weeds. The best string trimmers can hack through the weeds and reach areas that a lawnmower cannot. A straight shaft trimmer allows you to trim along fences, under bushes and near trees.
The gas-powered models we featured in our review are ideal because there are no cords to trip you up. Our weed whacker reviews are focused on tools with two-stroke engines. This type of engine has some advantages over the four-stroke engine models, such as significant power. In addition, they are easier to handle because they are lightweight and, third, they are more affordable.
When you purchase a weed whacker, you’re also buying a guarantee, though limited. The best trimmers include at least a two-year warranty that covers parts and labor should anything go wrong.
There are several brands of string trimmers similar to those on our lineup; however, these were omitted for a variety of reasons, such as engine power and price. To offer you a list of the best weed whackers under $200, we omitted Honda and Tanaka. Each trimmer we tested for our Top 10 list is gas-powered, so all of them are suitable for small and big yards alike. We only included two-cycle engines for a fair comparison.
If you have a smaller yard or you don’t do yard work weekly, an electric string trimmer can be a good fit for you. And if you want to fill up your tool shed, be sure to also check out the top 10 gas lawn mowers here and these electric lawn mowers.
The two most important functions of a weed whacker are efficacy and efficiency. A trimmer should be powerful enough to cut through the brush in your yard with only a few passes and quick enough that you can be back on your porch enjoying the fruits of your labor. We tested each trimmer in a controlled environment to determine which tools performed best.
We measured the decibel levels of each trimmer running at full throttle so you know if certain precautions, such as hearing protection, are needed when using these tools.
In addition to the sound, efficiency and efficacy scores, we enlisted the help of several testers of varying height, weight and strength to determine how balanced and heavy each weed whacker feels. Exposure to vibrations for a long period of time can be potentially damaging, so we also asked the testers to rate the level of vibrations they experienced while using the weed whackers.
After several of these tests, we were able to determine which tool works best for tall, strong users, which trimmer was the most comfortable to use that didn’t leave us feeling shaky and which tool would be best for those of smaller stature with smaller hands. Our tests also revealed the tools that aren't able to eradicate thicker weeds but that might work well for your yard if you don’t require a more powerful engine.
In addition to how well each weed whacker compared against the others, you need to know how to maintain your weed eater; be sure to read tips in our articles about weed whackers.
Below are some other considerations to keep in mind.
A straight-shaft weed whacker is perfect for those who want to destroy the weeds in their yard, and some of these trimmers come loaded with extras to make the job easier. Each of the weed whackers on our list include adjustable handles, but only a few include a shoulder strap – both of these features can help reduce strain as you carry the tool around your yard.
Several models we tested are capable of accepting attachments, so you can turn your trimmer into an edger, brush cutter, pole saw and other tools if you purchase the proper attachments.
Warranty & Support
It’s important to know how long your weed whacker is covered by a warranty. Also, you should be able to download a manual from the manufacturer’s website in the event you lose the physical one. Support is necessary if you have any questions about the warranty, and customer service representatives can help walk you through the operation of your weed whacker and suggest a nearby service center if you need your trimmer repaired.
You can find many more features on our product comparison chart for you so you can choose the weed whacker that is right for your needs.
The numerous tests we conducted with each trimmer helped us separate the cream of the crop. All of the testers who used the Hitachi weed whacker were extremely impressed by the low vibrations. We were able to use the Hitachi trimmer much longer than its competitors. It also was able to cut through very thick brush without stalling or even staggering. This trimmer also offers the longest warranty of all of the trimmers on our list.
The Poulan Pro got high marks with everyone who used it as well. We liked how quickly it tore through grass and weeds, no matter how thick they were. Another top performer was the Toro Gas Trimmer. It performed well in a series of tests and it has decent reach, making it a good choice for reaching under big bushes and fences.
All of the weed whackers on our list are good choices, depending on your needs, so be sure to read through the reviews to find the gas-powered, straight-shaft weed whacker that works you.