String trimmers, or weed eaters as they are sometimes called, can be broken down into 3 groups depending on their power source. Those include gas powered engines, corded electric motors, and cordless electric battery powered trimmers.
Units powered by small gas engines are the most powerful and provide the most range, but also weigh the most and are the noisiest. Weed eaters with corded electric motors are limited by how long your extension cord is and do not provide as much power, but are the lightest, quietest and cheapest options available. Cordless models are also quiet and depend on a battery which limits how long you can run them, but they allow the freedom of range. Their cost is in the middle and provide about as much power as an electric trimmer.
For this article we are going to focus on units with gas powered engines. There are two main types of engines – 2-cycle or 4-cycle. The pros of a 4-cycle engine are that they are much easier to start, provide more power, and run on gas only, but they are usually more expensive. While 2-cycle engines require you to mix gas with oil to run them and they are notoriously difficult to start, but they are cheaper, lighter, and more commonly available.
Below we review the top 10 best gas powered string trimmers. If you are interested in a electric model – either corded or cordless – then see our review here.
Our choice for the best string trimmer is the Honda HHT35SLTAT which sells for $359. Users on HomeDepot.com rate it very highly as well with a 4.7 rating. If features a reliable, easy to start 35cc 4-cycle Honda engine that provides plenty of power for any home user or even professional landscapers. This relatively quiet machine also has a straight shaft with a 17 inch diameter cutting path and bump line-feed.
The only downside other than being the most expensive model on our list, is that it is also the heaviest at 14.8 pounds. However, it does come with a shoulder strap to help distribute that weight. This unit is perfect for those of you who want reliability and plenty of power, but for home owners with smaller yards there are lighter and cheaper trimmers that might suit your job better.
Next up on our list is the $320 Husqvarna 224L. It is the highest rated model available from Amazon with an average rating of 4.8 stars. This is another 4-stroke engine with 25cc’s that means you can use just regular gasoline with no need to mix in oil. It has a bit less power than the Honda, but it is also very reliable, quiet, and has an almost effortless, smooth operation. Weighing 11.24 pounds it is a bit lighter than some other gas powered models and has a straight shaft with a 17 inch max diameter cutting path.
We highly recommend the Husqvarna 224L for all users, although again for home owners with a smaller yard you might want to look for a cheaper model.
We picked the Husqvarna 223L as the best 2-cycle string trimmer which will cost about $249. This straight shaft unit comes with a 24.5cc 2-stroke engine and has a bump trimmer head with a 17 inch cutting path. It is louder and has less power than the top 4-cycle gas engine models, but it still has plenty of power. It feels very well balanced and is pretty lightweight at 10.5 pounds.
As with all 2-cycle engines, it can be a bit more difficult to start, although it comes with an air purge system that helps make starting easier. We recommend the Husqvarna 223L for all users.
Another solid 2-cycle machine meant for commercial use is the $289 Echo SRM-230. Weighing 11.2 pounds it has a 23cc engine which provides enough power to handle almost any task. It has a very comfortable feel in your hands and does not wear you out from too much vibration. It has a straight shaft with bump line-feed and a 17 inch diameter cutting path.
We would not hesitate to recommend this Echo trimmer for all users.
At $199 the Echo SRM-225 is the best string trimmer under $200. This 12 pound unit features a 21.2cc 2-cycle engine with a straight shaft and a 17 inch cutting width. It is a bit less powerful and not quite as heavy-duty as the SRM-230, but it still can handle tough jobs for the home user or professional.
With a price tag under $200, the Echo SRM-225 is a great choice for a more affordable trimmer that is not lacking anything.
A step down from the top rated 35cc Honda is the 25cc 4-cycle Honda HHT25SLTAT which costs about $330. This model features a straight shaft and 17-inch cutting path. At only a $30 savings over the more powerful HHT35SLTAT, plus this one being only 1.8 pounds lighter, we would recommend going with the larger more powerful Honda model if you are considering the HHT25SLTAT.
Our top rated trimmer with a curved shaft is the Hitachi CG22EABSLP which sells for $169. The engine is a 21.2cc 2-stroke and it cuts a smaller 14 inch diameter cutting path. One main advantage of this Hitachi model is that it is the lightest gas-powered string trimmer on our list at just 8.8 pounds making it much easier to use over a long period of time.
It is a bit lacking in power compared to some of the top models, but it can still get the job done in almost all situations. At this weight and price we feel it is a real bargain and we highly recommend it for home users.
The $230 Husqvarna 128DJx has the largest 2-stroke engine of our top 10 at 28cc’s. Despite that engine it weighed in a 10.8 pounds which is about average for gas powered models. With a straight shaft and a 17 inch cutting path this thing has more than enough power to handle any challenge you throw at it. One slight downgrade was that users gave it a bit lower overall rating than some of the other top tier Husqvarna trimmers.
At $169 the Echo GT-225 is tied for the cheapest gas powered trimmer of our top 10. Weighing 10 pounds, it has the same 21.2cc 2-cycle engine as the SRM-225, but with a curved shaft and a 16 inch diameter cutting path. The 2-cycle engine requires you to mix gas and oil and can also be a bit of a pain to start at times. It scored a decent 4 star average rating from buyers at Home Depot at we feel it provides a solid value at this price point.
Rounding out our top 10 is another more affordable WeedWacker – the Craftsman 71117 at $170. Weighing 11.25 pounds, it comes with a 27cc 2-cycle engine and a curved shafted with a 14 inch cutting path. The Craftsman 71117 has a bit more power than other similarly priced models , but it is a bit heavier and has a smaller cutting path than most. We do still feel it would be a good choice for any home user.