PROS / At a generous 18 inches, the cutting radius of this Toro gas trimmer is the best of any of the models we tested.
CONS / This is the heaviest weed whacker we tested at 12.5 pounds, which is not extraordinarily heavy for a lawn tool but could be problematic for some homeowners.
VERDICT / The Toro 51978 is a reliable machine that offers a lengthy drive shaft, easy handling and it vibrates far less than many competitors. One other plus: it accepts universal attachments without jeopardizing its warranty.
Since World War I, Toro has been a respected manufacturer of all manner of outdoor power equipment, and the U.S.-based company continues to produce everything from tractors to lawn mowers. Continuing in this tradition is the Toro 51978 straight-shaft gas trimmer.
This is an effective and powerful weed whacker to help you slice down those stubborn weeds that seem to crop up even in the best-tended lawns. This gas trimmer offers an expansive cutting radius of 18 inches, has a lengthy reach and is easy to assemble. For these and other reasons, the Toro 51978 wins our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
The Toro 51978 gas weed eater gives you a hearty 18-inch cutting swath – the largest of any of the trimmers we tested. This means fewer passes across your yard to eliminate weeds, brush and scraggly greens that detract from the beauty of your well-maintained lawn.
Our tests showed this string trimmer efficiently and effectively whips through pesky weeds and grass in short order, and you do not have to keep going back over the same areas to clear them, unlike less-efficient machines. You also get a long drive shaft with this weed eater, which is a boon for anyone who is tall, because he or she won't have to bend over to get that yard work done.
The Toro 51978 is quiet to operate and scored as the second-quietest string trimmer of the products we tested. Given that all weed whackers make some noise when you operate them, this is a real benefit for you and your neighbors. However, it is always wise to use some kind of hearing protection when using this or any other string trimmer.
The design of the Toro 51978 lends itself to easy handling, especially with features that combat engine vibration and stubborn starting. Its 25.4-cc two-cycle engine moves along energetically, and we experienced no problems with stalling or stopping.
At 12.5 pounds, this gas trimmer is the heaviest we tested, which might present problems for someone who cannot lift much weight. However, for most DIY homeowners, 12.5 pounds is not an extreme weight, and the Toro 51978's design makes it easy to maneuver.
Since this grass trimmer uses a two-cycle engine, you need to use an oil-and-gas mixture for fuel. This grass trimmer uses spring-start technology for easy starting; you can usually start the engine in one or two pulls of the cord, even if the machine has been gathering dust all winter.
Your weed eater can be an all-in-one yard care tool if you purchase universal attachments. Toro does not make trimmer attachments, but it designs this trimmer so you can use attachments from most other weed trimmer brands. Another benefit: This does not void your warranty. You can whack through undergrowth by replacing the weed eater head with a brush cutter or even connect a cultivator for your garden. When you're done with the hard part, you can use a blower to keep your property nice and tidy. The Toro gas trimmer doesn't come with a harness or the ability to become a power sweeper.
This is one of the best weed whackers in our product lineup as far as anti-vibration technology, coming in as the second best in a field of 10 products. This is a significant asset for you as a homeowner since heavily vibrating tools such as string trimmers and leaf blowers can cause painful muscle stress and fatigue.
The Toro yard trimmer has many of the popular features you expect from a weed eater. You firmly tap the head on the ground to release more string. The trimmer also has a black plastic debris shield to keep leaves, mud and grass clippings from flying around and getting onto your face, body and clothing.
The string feed has a capacity of 25 feet, which is the most of the gas trimmers we tested. This means more time in the yard and less time in the garage looking for a refill. The string itself is nearly an inch thick, adding to the strength of the weed whacker’s cutting ability.
Warranty & Support
If you encounter any problems with your Toro 51978, the company offers an online manual you can download.
You can also take your weed eater to a service center, or call or email the company directly. When you buy the product from an eligible dealer, it comes with a three-year warranty for parts and labor and another three-year warranty that covers the drive shaft. Since most weed eaters come with two-year warranties, this is quite a reasonable deal.
The Toro 51978 straight-shaft gas trimmer is easy to assemble and use. It does not have a shoulder strap, but this weed whacker performs nicely on its own and becomes quite versatile if you opt to invest in some extra attachments.