Best Gas Weed Eaters: Our Picks And Buyer’s Guide

How do you find the best gas weed eater? You know, I had this very same question. My old trusty gas trimmer finally gave up the ghost after six years of frequent and heavy use. So I started learning everything I could about weed eaters so I could get one that would last another six years or even longer.

Are you facing the same dilemma? I know. There are so many models out there, and they all claim to be the best. It's hard to sort them all out.

I want to help. I'll show you all of the features that you should consider, and why they are important. Things like straight vs. curved shaft, engine displacement and adjustability may seem like simple matters of personal preference, but they are actually crucial factors that can impact how useful the weed eater is to you.

Our Top Picks

Before we look at the things you should consider before buying your gas weed eater, I want you to see the ones that jumped out at me during my research.

The Best Gas Weed Eater: Husqvarna 128LD

Husqvarna is known for its durable and powerful weed eaters and other lawn equipment, so it's no surprise that the best gas weed eater carries their name.

So what makes this particular model the best? No matter what you're looking for, it is likely that you will be happy with it for many years to come.

Its 28cc engine has the power to cut through thick grass and weeds without bogging down the way a less powerful weed eater can. You can use the entire 17" cutting swath to plow through overgrowth, as long as you don't try to swing it too fast. You can't do that with a little 22cc trimmer, that's for sure.

The straight shaft makes it easy to trim under low decks. But this model is about more than just trimming grass, There are a bunch of high-quality attachments available. You can get an edger, pole saw, tiller and other tools to make this a multi-function yard machine. The grass blade is nearly unstoppable in brush and thickets.

When you're done with your yard work for the day, you can break the shaft down into two pieces for easy storage. Hang it up or put it on a shelf. I like that feature because my garage is so crowded.

Are you looking for a no-nonsense tool that can eat weeds and grass, edge, cut brush, trim trees and hedges, cultivate soil and more? Take a good look at this one. It's likely to retain the number one spot for years to come.

Budget Pick: Troy-Bilt TB22 EC

You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good gas weed eater. In fact, there are some really good finds out there. I think this one can be your best bet if you are on a tight budget. It has plenty of power and some surprising features that you'd expect to see only on high-end models.

It has a 25cc engine, which is close to the displacement of some smaller commercial trimmers. The power comes down a straight shaft and spins line up to .095" thick. That's great for even woody overgrowth.

The JumpStart feature confuses me a little. It allows you to use a power drill to start the motor. But the recoil starter will get the engine going in only two or three pulls, so I don't know why the power start is necessary. But it is pretty cool.

If you have tough, neglected areas to whack down, you'll really like the four-toothed brush saw that attaches in place of the trimming head. Some people have even used it to cut down 3" trees!

Left-handed people will like the design of the handle. It's big and offers a lot of room between the handle and shaft.

One thing this model has that even some top tier weed eater don't is the full crankshaft. That doesn't give it more power, like some people think, but it does cut down on the vibration and make for a longer engine life.

If you want the most for your money, but you're on a budget, I recommend you consider this one carefully.

Makita EX2650LH MM4 Power Head

This 4-stroke power head easily powers all of its available attachments, like the straight shaft trimmer, curved shaft trimmer, hedge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, cultivator and edger. You won't need a single tool to swap them out. All you have to do is flick a lever.

Several good weed eaters offer a pole saw attachment, but this power head has an extension that can give you a few extra feet to get at those higher branches that need to come down.

The 25.4cc engine features auto decompression technology. This prevents vapor lock and makes starting so much easier. It just takes a couple pulls of the handle, that's it.

Whenever I see a weed eater with so many power-hungry attachments, I take a good look at the drive cable. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, instead of a braided cable, this power head has a solid steel drive shaft! That makes it very durable. This thing can stand up to years of commercial use or heavy residential use.

If you want a heavy-duty powerhouse that can power a garage full of useful attachments, you may fall in love with this awesome power head from Makita.

Troy-Bilt TB575 EC

This one is similar to our budget pick, but there are some key differences and advantages that justify its higher price.

First of all, it has a 4-stroke 29cc engine. That makes it quite a bit more powerful. It'll zoom through even thick, wet grass and weeds with no problem.

Another difference is the shaft. It's made of the same thick gauge steel, but it's curved rather than straight. Curved shafts allow for a better view of where the action happens at the cutting head. Some people think that curved shafts are better balanced, but that has a lot to do with how you hold it.

This model also has the JumpStart feature. If you decide to use the recoil starter, you'll like the SpringAssist mechanism. It requires almost zero effort to pull the starter rope. You'll be amazed the first time you start it.

Parts and workmanship is covered by Troy-Bilt's two-year warranty. They have an excellent reputation for honoring their warranties and making their customers happy. I guess that's part of why they have so many loyal customers.

Hitachi CG23ECPSL

Here you have an nice little gas trimmer that's easy to use, even for extended periods of time, and has a good price that puts it within just about everyone's reach.

It has an engine displacement of 22.5cc, which is powerful enough to handle basic residential trimming. I like the long straight shaft. It gives the trimmer a good balanced feel and allows a nice reach under obstacles like decks and bushes.

I actually considered this one for our budget pick at first, but there are two minor things that kept it from the coveted spot. First, there have been reports of the throttle trigger breaking during use. This is covered under the warranty, but it can be a hassle to return the unit or have it fixed.

Another thing is the stiffness of the bump head. The spring must be really thick, because you have to give it a good bump to feed line. Some people, like myself, actually prefer a stiff mechanism. I'm clumsy, and I have accidentally bumped the head on my trimmer hard enough to accidentally feed line. But some people feel like they are going to break it by bumping it so hard. I looked but couldn't find any complaints of the bump head being damaged by getting knocked to hard.

This is a very affordable gas weed eater for light to medium use, but you want to be easy on the throttle trigger.

Shindaiwa T262

This thing is heavy! It weighs a whopping 18 pounds. I had to see what the deal was, so I did some snooping on the manufacturer's site and scrutinized the technical specs, including the engine build and even the type of steel that is used in the shaft. It's heave because it is made to last. Actually, this model was originally designed for commercial use. Shindaiwa decided for some reason to market it as a residential model.

I did some more digging and found out that many professional landscapers use this model. I scoured the internet for reviews from the pros and found out that they are impressed with its durability.

So what does this mean for you, the residential customer? It means that this trimmer will stand up to just about anything you can throw at it.

It's got a straight shaft with a 25.4cc engine behind it, so it will rip through tough grass and weeds. Light trimming is no problem, either, but this model really shines as a heavy-duty weed chopper.

It's priced around $350, so it is a good-sized investment. But it will last for many years if you keep up with the routine maintenance.

If you're in the market for a very tough and dependable gas weed eater and don't mind paying extra, this may be the best choice for you.

Ryobi RY251PH

You didn't think I was going to make a list of the best gas weed eaters without showing you a Ryobi, did you? Ryobi is perhaps best known for its electric trimmers, but they make some cool gas models too.

This one in particular boasts a 25cc engine, straight shaft and a full crankshaft. So it has the power most people need and is still relatively quiet and easy to use.

You can use any of Ryobi's Expand-It attachments with it. That includes the edger, blower, pole saw and about seven others. I really like that kind of versatility.

As a trimmer, it has the length you need to easily trim under and around obstacles. The 18" maximum cutting swath makes short work of hard-to-mow areas as well.

Lefties will love this one. The trimming head spins counterclockwise. That means that you wont have your shins pelted with pebbles and other debris as much as you would with a common clockwise-spinning head.


Buyer's Guide

So, now you've seen our picks. But there are tons of great gas weed eater available today. Maybe you want to keep looking to see if you can find something better. No problem, just check out our buyer's guide so you know what to look for and what to avoid.

Straight Or Curved Shaft?

Curved shafts used to be the most common, but straight shafts are closing in fast.

A curved shaft allows you to see what you're cutting a little better. They are also usually cheaper. That's really the only two major advantages.

Straight shafts allow more of the engine's torque to actually make to the cutting head. That's a key efficiency point. They also make it easier to trim under things.

As far as balance goes, some people think that straight shafts give a more even swing. Some think curved shafts are more balanced. This has a lot to do with your trimming habits and how you hold your weed eater.

Engine Size

Most models fall into the 22cc to 30cc range. Bigger engines are obviously more powerful, but they are more expensive. To get the best value, you need to figure out how much power you need.

If you already have a gas trimmer and are just looking for a replacement, use your current weed eater as a starting point. If you need more power, look for a model with a couple more cubic centimeters of displacement. If it has more than you need, you can save some money by getting a new one with a smaller engine.

Light trimming around your yard requires only 22 to 24. Heavier trimming and extensive edging needs 24 to 26. If you routinely have to work neglected areas, tough patches of grass of thick weedy areas, go for an engine between 26 and 30.

Do You Need An Edger?

Every weed eater is also an edger, if you hold it sideways. It works, but it isn't ideal.

Some weed eaters feature an adjustable trimming head that pivots so you can hold the unit as you normally would while you edge. This is great if you have anything more than a couple minutes of edging to do at a time.

Edgers are also available a separate attachments for some models. I really like these. They make edging almost effortless, and they give you professional results. They're great for big yards with a lot of edging needs. You'll also love them if you are passionate about your lawn.

Other Attachments

You've probably seen some of the awesome attachments that are available for today's gas weed eaters. I've talked about some of them here, but there are many more.

A good, powerful weed eater with a variety of attachments can provide you with almost all the tools you could possibly need to take care of your yard and keep it looking its best. Hedge trimmers, pole saws, tillers, blowers, edgers and small stump grinders are just a few examples of what your weed eater can become with the proper attachments.

You may already have some of these tools. But all yard tools eventually wear out and need replacing. If you get a good weed eater that can accept multiple attachments, you could just replace these expensive tools with the kind that can be powered by your trimmer when the time comes. You'll end up saving money in the long run. Plus, you'll end up using your weed eater more often. And the more you can use something, the more return you get on the investment you put into it.

I look forward to the day when one of these weed eater manufacturers come out with an aerator attachment. That's really the only tool I need that I can't power with my weed eater. The day is coming, I think.

Cable Or Solid Shaft?

The component that transfers the power from the engine to the trimmer head or other attachment can be either a braided steel cable or a solid steel shaft. Curved shafts must, out of necessity, have a cable drive. Straight shafts can have either, with the less expensive ones usually having a cable.

So which is better? Solid shafts are stronger and therefore usually last longer. But they are more costly. Still, this shouldn't be the only thing you consider when looking for your next gas weed eater. But if you do have a choice, go with a solid shaft for the ultimate in dependability.

Weight

How long do your trimming jobs usually last? More to the point, how heavy of a weed eater can you handle?

Gas weed eaters can weigh anywhere from less than 10 to almost 20 pounds. Manufacturers tend to make their products as light as possible. Not only does this make them cheaper to manufacture and ship, but it appeals to customers who want a light piece of equipment. The problem is that in order to cut the weight, they usually have to skimp on the steel. That can cause durability issues.

A gas weed eater that weighs less than 10 pounds may have steel shaved off of the wrong places. Generally, the heavier the unit is, the stronger and more durable it is. Some commercial models weigh well over 20 pounds.

In the end, you just really need to think about how much weight you can handle. In these days of online shopping, it is easy to forget about weight. You can't hold something before you buy it online, so you have to look up the weight and think about it before you add it to your cart.

Two Vs. Four Stroke

Most weed eaters are 2-strokes. That's the kind that you have to use mixed gas in. 4-stroke models take oil in their crankcase, just like cars.

4-stroke engines are usually more powerful than 2-strokes, given the same engine displacement. They are also quieter and have less vibration, especially at full throttle.

If you are going to be using your new weed eater for extended periods of time, you will probably be better off with a 4-stroke engine. For shorter and less frequent use, a 2-stroker will be just fine.

Ed Kirkland
 

Hi, I'm Ed, and I've been doing lawn work since my mid teen years, picking up jobs here and there mowing and helping with basic landscaping projects. I worked at a couple different lawn care / landscaping companies throughout my college years, and now thanks to the internet I'm able to make a share my knowledge and advice with people about lawn care and landscaping.