The electric string trimmer, also known as a weed eater or weed whacker, is one of the most useful gardening tools one can own. These handy machines are ideal for taming hard to reach areas of your yard, and they also double as edgers, ensuring a straight and even edge on your lawn along patios and sidewalks.
To help you find the perfect electric string trimmer for your particular needs and preferences, below we have reviewed several of the most popular and best-selling electric string trimmers currently on the market, and highlighted the pros and cons associated with each product.
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We have also put together an Electric String Trimmer Buyer’s Guide, in which we will outline and explain the various factors and characteristics you should consider when purchasing one of these handy yard and garden products.
BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer
Boasting their patented PowerDrive transmission, the BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer is a very useful tool to have in your yard and garden arsenal—a tool that delivers more power from the motor to the cutting string, enabling you to handle tough jobs in just a fraction of the time associated with hand tools.
The machine boasts a robust 40-volt MAX lithium battery, which delivers plenty of weed-cutting power and keeps the string trimmer running longer at full speed. Users of this tool can employ the Power Command dial on the trimmer to choose between MAX power and MAX runtime, a feature that provides a level of versatility typically not seen with similar products of this kind.
One of the best things about the BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer is its easy conversion, switching from a string trimmer to an edger with just one quick turn of the shaft head. When used as a trimmer, the Automatic Feed Spool on the Black and Decker LST136W ensures a continuous supply of line, without any annoying bumping that can harm the bottom of the string trimmer over time.
Versatile and fully customizable, this string trimmer is definitely capable of handling all of your lawn and garden tasks.
- Well-balanced. The BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer is a well-balanced and easy-to-maneuver tool.
- Adjustable shaft. The adjustable shaft on this electric string trimmer makes it perfect for users of all heights and strength levels.
- Adjustable power settings. Users of the BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer can choose between MAX power and MAX runtime, the latter of which saves battery life for large jobs.
- Short battery life on MAX power setting. When using the MAX power setting, the battery life on the BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer is only about 25 minutes.
- Narrow cutting path. Compared to some other electric string trimmers, this tool has a relatively narrow cutting path of 13 inches.
- Only one battery included. There is only one battery included, so users of the BLACK+DECKER LST136W 40V MAX Lithium String Trimmer will need to purchase an additional one separately to ensure continuous work.
Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer
Weighing just 5.2 pounds, the Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer is one of the most lightweight and easy to use machines of its kind.
When plugged into a standard wall socket, the tool delivers 4-amps of cutting power, and because it is totally electric, with fewer moving parts than a gasoline-powered string trimmer, the machine is virtually maintenance free. The Greenworks string trimmer has a 13-inch cutting path and utilizes a .065 dual line auto feed to get the big and little jobs done. The trimmer has an adjustable auxiliary handle that can be adapted to the height and cutting style of the user; and the electric start button enables you to start the machine with ease, without having to worry about endless pulls on a rope starter system.
The Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer is the perfect tool for individuals and families with small to medium sized yards. It can be operated with a power cord of any length and leaves absolutely no carbon footprint. To demonstrate the confidence they have in this (and all of their) machines, the Greenworks Corporation offers a 4-year warranty on the product, which is about double the industry standard for machines of this type.
- No carbon footprint. The Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer is 100 percent electric, which means no messy gas or oil to worry about.
- Lightweight. At only 5.2 pounds, this is the perfect electric string trimmer for people of all ages and strengths.
- Auto-feed line. The auto-feed dual line setup on the Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer means no bumping or hand feeding of the cutting line.
- Short shaft. The adjustable auxiliary shaft on the Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer does not extend very far.
- Narrow cutting path. Like the previous machine we reviewed, the Greenworks 21212 13-Inch 4-Amp Corded String Trimmer has a narrow cutting path.
Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger
The all-electric Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger is compatible with both Ni-Cad and Lithium ion ONE+ batteries.
Perfect for small yards and small areas, the tool boasts a very narrow 10-inch cutting swatch that allows it to fit into hard-to-reach areas that mowers and other tools can miss. The two-in-one electric string trimmer works as both a trimmer and edger—simply press and turn the easy conversion button and the head of the edger will turn. In edger mode, the Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger is extremely easy to operate, and the end result is a sharp line along the edge of your lawn.
The Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger is very lightweight, compact and easy to store. With its automatic-feed line, the trimmer releases a continuous supply of cutting cord—line that is thick enough to tackle some of the toughest jobs around your yard and garden.
- Easy to use. With its lightweight design and narrow cutting path, the Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger is very easy to maneuver.
- Compact. The compact nature of this electric string trimmer makes it very portable and easy to store.
Two-in-one tool. The Ryobi string trimmer doubles as both a trimmer and an edger.
- Battery and charger not included. Unlike with some other models, the battery and charger are not included with the Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger.
- Lacks power. When compared to the Black and Decker string trimmer, the Ryobi Electric String Trimmer and Edger has only about half of the cutting power.
Electric String Trimmer Buying Guide
When setting out to purchase an electric string trimmer, there are several factors and characteristics to consider; and understanding these considerations can help you select a trimmer that meets all of your particular yard requirements. Here are just a handful of electric string trimmer features you will want to consider before making a purchase.
Electric string trimmers come in a variety of weights, so you’ll want to make sure you select one that you can easily maneuver for at least 30 minutes or more. Fortunately, the majority of electric string trimmers are much lighter than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
About the Shaft
There are two basic shapes in terms of the shaft on an electric string trimmer: curved and straight. A curved-shaft trimmer is ideal for trimming in tight areas and can make the tool much easier to control. A straight-shaft trimmer is perfect for reaching under obstacles such as decks, shrubs and benches. Ultimately, the type of shaft you decide on should depend on the layout of your yard.
Both curved and straight shaft trimmers can also have an adjustable mechanism, which extends the shaft to a given length. These adjustable shaft trimmers can come in very handy when working on different areas of the yard.
The cutting swath of the trimmer is the amount of area it can cover in one pass. For larger yards, with a lot of weeds to trim, we recommend a trimmer with a wide cutting swath (14+ inches), while families with very small yards can get away with a cutting swath of 13 inches or less.
Many of the electric string trimmers today double as edgers. With just a press of a conversion button, the head on these trimmers can rotate, transforming them into walk-behind tools that can produce a straight edge on any lawn.
Single Line vs. Double Line
Single line electric string trimmers have one line of string that protrudes from the head of the trimmer. This simplifies the winding process when it’s time to refill and lessens the chance of the line being fouled. Double line electric string trimmers have double the cutting power, but can be more complicated to maintain.
Line Feed Methods
There are two basic ways in which line is fed out of the spool during the cutting process: automatically and bump feeding. With automatic spools, the trimmer recognizes when the line has been cut and automatically feeds more line. This method, which is very convenient, has replaced the bump feeding method on many electric string trimmers. With bump feeding, users need to bump the head of the machine on the ground every time new line is needed, and this is not always foolproof.
Last but not least, variable speed electric string trimmers have two or more speeds of cutting power—replacing the single power speed found on older trimmers. With variable speeds, users can save battery power by switching to a slower cutting speed. Cordless models with different speeds allow you to vary the power for either cutting thicker weeds or extending the battery life.