We spend 27 hours researching, edging, trimming, and detailing our yardto bring you the most complete information on the best overall string trimmer on the market. We decided to test trimmers that weren’t overbearing in design yet could get the job done. Most of us don’t need to tackle acres of overgrown field, so a reliable all-around trimmer is what we went for. We determined that the GreenWorks 40-Volt 12-inch Trimmer is the best string trimmer out there, and we’re sure you’ll think so too.
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Using a String Trimmer
String trimmers are the perfect add-on tool to your existing yard equipment and are great for finishing any trimming job because they help you pay attention to every detail.
String trimmers (also known as weed whackers and weed eaters) are great for getting into every nook, cranny, and hillside that your lawnmower can’t reach.
Chances are you won’t need a professional-grade, expensive string trimmer for regular residential jobs. Gas trimmers are more powerful but can be messy and a hassle to operate. Besides, advances in battery technology have made battery-powered string trimmers nearly equal to gas trimmers in power.
We use our trimmer every time we mow the lawn and sometimes in between. We like to keep on top of the weeds and foliage that take over our yards – especially during the rainy and summer months. Because of our frequent use, we prefer a trimmer that offers pizazz (meaning makes us happy by getting the job done) at a great price.
However, when choosing a string trimmer, it’s important to take note of the many options that are available to you when you’re shopping. There are a few important factors you’ll want to be aware of, and we’ve outlined them below.
Be sure that the trimmer you’re looking at has a safety shield across the back of the trimming head to keep rocks and debris from kicking up while you’re working. Be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles too.
An added advantage to having a safety shield on your trimmeris that it will keep longer grass and weeds from twisting around the shaft which could potentially slow or stall the trimmer.
Battery voltage is important to take note of when choosing a trimmer. The higher the voltage, the stronger the trimmer will be. This will also determine how long the battery will last before it needs to be recharged.
Many of today’s trimmers use Lithium-Ion batteries which are better than the older style, Ni-Cad batteries, for three main reasons:
- They are lighter than Ni-Cad batteries – as much as 50% lighter.
- They don’t drop off in power when the battery gets low on ‘’
- They can be recharged up to three times as many times as the older Ni-Cad batteries before they need to be replaced.
- Curved Shaft – A curved shaft on a string trimmer is better on your back but can be more difficult to fit into tight spaces. Usually, the curve is at the lower part of the handle – right before the head of the trimmer.
- Straight Shaft – A straight shaft makes the trimmer more functional regarding fitting it into small spots and tight spaces. The straight handle also allows you to reach areas further away from your body than a curved shaft. Some of these models even offer a telescoping shaft to make the handle as long or as short as you like.
- Two-in-One– Some string trimmers offer a multi-purpose design that will allow you to use it in multiple directions. Usually, the head has a pivot point that can be locked into place on its side to turn the cutting head into an edger.
Often the more powerful trimmers will be larger and bulkier. Be sure you know what you want to handle before making your purchase.
Lastly, we recommend NOT buying a trimmer model with an exchangeable shaft. An exchangeable shaft is one which you can remove the trimmer end and replace it with something like an edger or a blower. We’ve found that these multi-use tools don’t work as well and aren’t as strong as tools designed for just one purpose.
How we Selected
Wow! We had a lot of battery-powered string trimmers to ‘weed’ through to find the five models we tested.
Of course, battery-powered (versus corded or gas powered) is the model type we wanted to mostly test because no one wants to drag a cumbersome cord around their yard – unless you have a smaller space. We felt that a cord would be too restricting and only compatible with smaller yards.
Gas powered units are usually more aggressive and primarily used in commercial applications. Battery Powered is the way to go for the average user and is a more-than-adequate model to get the job done.
We started with over 1,000 models to choose from so we began reading every review we could on the various models of battery-powered string trimmers. We wanted to be sure that the five, toptrimmers we chose for testingwere already well-liked by consumers.
After choosing only the most well-liked trimmers, our search results now had only 68 trimmers to choose from. Many of them were made by the same company, so we decided to choose five models, one from each brand, that were similar in power, performance, and options.
Lastly, we read online reviews from companies such as This Old House and Handyman Magazine to see what they felt was important to look for when buying a string trimmer.
Now loaded with all this information, we set off to pick our top, five contenders.
How We Tested
We headed out to the yard and straight to where the driveway meets the grass. We figured this area is one of the most important to tackle as it’s the area that gives thefirst impression when someone comes to visit.
We trimmed a 2-foot section with each trimmer to see how well they each did.
We also headed to the mailbox and around the deck posts to test the string against a hard surface to check its durability.
It was also important to us that the trimmer was comfortable to hold and could easily reach into the most important areas we wanted to trim.
What We Liked
- We liked that the Black + Decker 20V Max can convert from a trimmer into a wheeled edger for extra oomph in the garden.This can be done with a quick swivel of the trimming head.
This model also has an EasyFeed feature which allows you to advance your line with an easy push of a button.
- We liked the 13-inch cutting path of the Dewalt 20V Max trimmer – a perfect length for residential trimming.
- The Greenworks 40-Volt trimmer comes with an extra spool of line. We loved not having to run to the store in the middle of a project because we ran out of line!
What We Didn’t Like
- Not so important, but we needed to bump the Dewalt to advance the string. Some of our other models had an easy-feed which automatically fed the string which was one less thing to think about while on the job.
It’s best not to head out to purchase any garden tool without doing a bit of research. Especially one that can cost a bit more than some of your other tools.
There are variables involved that you’ll want to understand so that you’ll know whether they’ll be important to you or not when you’re using that tool.
We’ve done all the background work for you when it comes to buying a string trimmer and put it all here in this guide – a one-stop-shop to learn the basics before making your purchase.
So wait no longer….follow our tips and tricks above and get yourself happily on your way to perfectly manicured lawn.