Top 7 Electric Weed Eaters Reviewed + Buyer’s Guide
Are you trying to decide what's the best electric weed eater for you? I've been there, and I'm still in awe about how many different ones there are! Variety is one thing, but the market seems to be flooded with options nowadays.
Maybe I can help you choose. Let's start by looking at some of the models that I researched when I was shopping for one, then we'll see how to pick the best for you and your yard in the buyer's guide.
Our Top Picks
A few of these stand out as the best in their category. They are all nice ones, but the one that you need depends on your yard and how you'll use your weed eater.
Best Electric Weed Eater: Ego Power Cordless String Trimmer
This is my pick for the all-around best because of its long run time, short charge time, ergonomic design, exceptional 56-volt power and ease of loading string. It really excels in all areas.
It'll cut a 15" swath of tall grass or weeds with no problem. Of course, cutting tall grass will whittle its normal run time of 40 minutes in half. But the cool thing is that it charges from totally drained to fully charged in an hour.
The lithium-ion battery can last through hundreds of charging cycles, so you may never need a replacement battery.
I like the comfortable handle and nicely balanced design, which is typical of straight-shaft trimmers like this. That really cuts down on the fatigue factor during long days of yard work.
A charger is included, and it's a nice one. 210 watts is a good amount of power. That's enough for a quick charge, but not so much that it can burn the battery out.
The price reflects the quality. It's not cheap, that's for sure. But if you're looking for a top-of-the-line string weed eater, you'll be impressed with the value of this model.
Most Versatile: Black+Decker LST136W 40-volt Max String Trimmer/Edger
For years, I edged with a spade. It was a lot of work, and the edges of my lawn never looked very neat. I didn't want to invest in an edger. I wish they had nice combo models like this back then!
Converting from straight-shaft trimmer to edger is as simple as twisting the head. That's it.
Letting more string out is as easy as doing nothing. It's automatic! You don't have to bump the head or anything. It's maximum cutting width is 13", which pairs well with its 40-volt motor. When the string wears down to a cutting width of around 11", it'll let a couple inches of string out.
It runs through about 25 minutes of normal trimming before the battery gets weak. Recharging takes two hours. That's a pretty long charge time.
This could be a good choice for you if you need a trimmer and edger. Since it has such a long charge time, however, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with a lot of edging work on their chore list.
Budget Pick: Greenworks 21212 4-amp Corded Electric Trimmer
Not everyone needs the range and special features that the higher priced battery-powered trimmers have. If that sounds like you, you can save a bunch of money with this curved-shaft Greenworks model.
The main drawback here is that you are limited by the cord. You can't get too far away from an outlet. And the cord can be a hassle to deal with, too.
The 13" cutting path makes short work of anything that grows where it shouldn't. It has a 4-amp motor, so it's got some juice. Even thicker weeds aren't a problem.
It'll edge too, but it isn't really cut out for it. The handle isn't the most comfortable, so edging feels a little awkward. But for this price, I'd make some minor concessions like that.
Greenworks offers a four-year warranty for this trimmer. That's twice as long as the industry average.
Anyone on a budget who can deal with a cord will love this deal. It has a great price and a fantastic value.
Worx WG160.4 Hi-capacity Cordless Trimmer
This straight-shaft trimmer can also edge. But the coolest feature, I think, is the wheels that turn it into a mini-mower.
The wheels stabilize the cutting head and hold it at a constant height for a decent cut on small areas of lawn. That's really useful if you have thick patches of grass that you don't want to mow. It also good for large weedy areas.
Although Worx claims that the run time of this weed eater is double the old version's, the battery doesn't last that long. 20 minutes seems to be the average. But guess what? It comes with two 20-volt batteries. So I guess you end up with double run time if you take that into account.
The shaft is telescopic, so it easily adjusts for any arm length. I like the idea of loosening a wing nut and pulling the shaft a lot better than having to adjust a handle. Moving a handle along a shaft messes with the balance, and an unbalanced weed eater can start to feel heavy after a short time!
This may be a good choice for anyone with other 20-volt Worx tools, because the batteries are interchangeable. But anyone with a tough lawn that needs to be pre-mowed or big weedy patches will enjoy using the mini-mower function.
DeWalt DCST920P1 Cordless Trimmer
This weed eater is built for raw power. It has a long-lasting 5Ah battery and a specially designed gear system that allows for more torque. More torque means more cutting speed, even in thick grass or stalky weeds. Even though the motor is only 20 amps, the gear ratio, combined with the straight shaft, maximizes every bit of the motor's power.
You may think that so much power saps the battery quickly, and you'd be right. DeWalt anticipated this, and they added a power-saving switch. Use the high setting when you need a lot of power, and use the power-saving mode for normal trimming.
The 13" cut width is pretty standard among cordless trimmers. But I have to wonder why, considering the power of the motor, DeWalt didn't up the cut to 14" or even 15". But with all this power, you can swing it faster than you could with a milder weed eater.
I just recommended this model to a friend who has to plow through a thick patch of wild lettuce several times per year. If you regularly have to cut down thick patches of weeds, I'd recommend it to you, too.
Black+Decker ST8600 Cordless Trimmer
This straight-shaft cordless trimmer and edger is a step up from our budget pick, but obviously its priced a little higher.
It has a powerful 5-amp motor. That's strong enough for wet grass or pesky weed-infested and neglected areas of your yard.
The neat edger guide makes edging pretty easy. Some trimmers call themselves edgers because they can be held sideways. But I think you've got to have something like a guide or wheel to consider a tool an edger.
You can cut 13 inches of grass at a whack without the motor even slowing down. You have to take it easy through anything thicker than grass, though. Give yourself some extra time to chop up weedy areas.
All in all, this is a fine model for anyone wanting the affordability of a corded trimmer, but is willing to spend a bit more for extra power.
Toro 51480 Corded Electric Trimmer/Edger
This is a top-of-the-line corded trimmer and edger. It has some cool and useful features that you don't normally see on corded models.
It's got the same 5-amp motor as the Black+Decker one. That's a good amount of power, and it should be all you need for everyday trimming and edging.
The head twists easily on the straight shaft to convert for edge work, and the guide wheel ensures a neat job in less time. This is the best edging setup I've seen on a corded model.
Another thing not seen very often on cord trimmers is a telescopic shaft, but this trimmer has one! And speaking of the shaft, it's made of aluminum. Not only is that rust-proof, but it's so much lighter than steel. Aluminum isn't as strong as steel, but this shaft is pretty thick. It shouldn't bend or dent under normal use.
If you've decided on a corded trimmer, and you want the best, take a good look at Toro's awesome trimmer and edger.
Make a good choice, even if you don't want one of the trimmers that we think are the best. Use this guide to compare what's out there with what you need.
Corded Or Battery-powered?
Corded trimmers have the advantage of being less expensive, and you never have worry about battery life.
Of course, the obvious disadvantage is that you have to deal with a cord. The correct cords aren't cheap, especially if you need a long one.
For the average 5-amp trimmer, a 50-foot cord needs to have a 16-gauge thickness. A 100-foot cord calls for 14-gauge. If you don't get the correct gauge, you risk a drop in voltage than can burn the motor up.
So if you're considering a corded trimmer to save money on purchase price, check the price of the cord you need and factor that in. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendation regarding cord specifications.
Battery-powered trimmers cost more, but they don't tether you to an outlet. They also usually have more useful features. There are some exceptions to this, like with the Toro corded model I reviewed above.
Straight Shaft Or Curved?
Trimmers with curved shafts are lighter and usually better balanced than straight-shaft models.
They're great for general trimming. I like them because I can trim with one for an hour without my arms turning into spaghetti noodles.
Most people with easy-to-care-for yards do just fine with a curved-shaft trimmer.
That being said, straight-shaft trimmers have two advantages. They generally have more power, and they can trim more easily under things like porches and bushes.
They have more power because the absence of a curve allows more torque.
The longer shaft and more acute head-to-shaft angle lets you get under things much more easily.
So which one is right for you? It all depends on your yard. Think about it. It should be a major consideration while you shop around.
Understand Cutting Width
13" is the norm. 14", 15" and even wider widths are available. You may think there's not much difference. Whether there is or not depends on how you'll use the trimmer.
Light trimming around trees, ornamental features and your mailbox doesn't call for a wide cut path. All you're doing is trimming a few inches.
But if you sometimes have to pre-mow parts of your lawn or level thick weed or grass patches, a wide cut can be a God-send. It's simple: Wide cut equals less work. You can wind the motor up and let it do its job.
Any width will do for light trimming, edging and touch-up work. But that extra inch or two really makes a difference when you go to do some serious cutting over a large area of land.
What Makes A Good Edger?
Any trimmer is also an edger, at least theoretically. You can hold a weed eater sideways, can't you? There ya go. That works for very short strips, but it won't look very good.
To be a real edger, there must be some sort of guide. A simple plastic arm is sufficient in most cases, and that's actually the most common form of guide. It used to be the only type available on electric trimmers.
Wheels are better, mostly because they roll instead of trying to dig into the ground. Wheels are superior to plastic arms in every way, but they are a more expensive option.
If you want a trimmer with edging capability, check how it converts. It should be simple. All you should have to do is push a button or flip a lever and twist the head into position. Any more than that not only complicated things, it lessens the trimmer's durability. Too many removable parts cause problems, like lost components or breakages.
This is one of the least understood aspects of electric weed eaters, even though it is actually one of the simplest. People get confused when confronted with amps, volts, watts and amp-hours.
Corded trimmers have motors that are rated in amps. More amps mean more power. 3 amps is kinda weak. That's OK for the lightest trimming. 4 amps is average, and it's good for general trimming and grass with some thick weeds mixed in. 5 amps is pretty strong. With that power, you can chop through thick grass and even hefty weeds. More powerful motors are out there, but they aren't that common.
Battery-powered trimmers are rated differently, but they're just as easy to understand. Higher volts deliver more power.
Most cordless trimmers have motors in the 20 to 80 volt range. 20 to 30 is great for everyday use. 40 to 60 cuts through thicker grass and weeds better. 70 and 80-volt models are amazing, all other things being equal.
You've likely heard about amp-hours, which is abbreviated as Ah. This is a measure of how much electrical energy a battery can hold. Take a 3Ah battery for example: It can supply a steady three amps for one hour. Or it can deliver six amps for half an hour. Get it? Using this info, it's not hard to calculate battery life based on the battery's Ah rating and the amp rating of the motor.
How long do you use a trimmer each time? Well, 10 minutes can seem like an hour if you're struggling with a poorly designed trimmer.
Don't buy one that doesn't have an adjustable handle. Telescoping shafts are even better and easier to adjust for length.
Look at the handle. Does the angle in relation to the shaft look awkward? If so, it's a wrist breaker.
Weight is important too. Corded models usually weigh seven to eight pounds. Just about anyone can handle that. Curved-shaft trimmers run from 8 to 11 pounds, but straight-shaft ones typically weigh more than 11. You see why it's important to check the weight?