A weed eater—also known as a string trimmer or weed whacker—targets grass, weeds, and other organic ground covers in areas a lawnmower can’t reach. To find the best weed eaters on the market, we researched dozens of models, evaluating them on maneuverability, durability, and value.
Our best overall pick is the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer, which stands out for its variable speed control, adjustable cutting width, and range of attachments.
Here are the best weed eaters.
Best Overall: Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer
Ryobi tool compatible
Multiple attachments available
Adjustable cutting width
Who else recommends it? Wirecutter also picked the Ryobi Electric Cordless String Trimmer.
What do buyers say? 3,500+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
For a powerful, versatile, and effective weed eater, we recommend the Ryobi Electric Cordless String Trimmer. This electric weed eater delivers plenty of power, with the convenience of rechargeable electric batteries. Those are compatible with over 50 Ryobi tools, so you can always have an extra battery ready to go!
Designed to give you more control, this weed eater has a variable speed trigger and two-speed switch, plus an adjustable cutting width (13 to 15 inches). It comes with a 5-year warranty for the body, and a 3-year warranty for the battery.
You can use other attachments to turn it into a blower or pole saw. Ryobi's tools all work together, and many are multi-use. Rather than purchase several different devices, you could save space in the garage with just one. While pricey, it may be the only lawn trimming tool you need.
Best Budget: Worx 15 in. 6 amp. Corded Electric String Trimmer, Edger with Telescopic Straight Shaft and Pivoting Head
Auto feed line
Cord limits mobility
One of the best-priced weed eaters available, the Worx 15 in. 6 amp. Corded Electric Trimmer and Edger is also one of the best low-budget models. It is a combination weed eater and edger, giving you extra utility from a well-priced piece of equipment. At 7 pounds, it is also lightweight and has a foot-long extendable cord.
The 15-inch cutting width isn’t the largest available, but it can meet the needs of most homeowners without any issues. While the cord may limit some of your landscaping abilities, it’s lightweight enough to attach to an extension cord without having to fight extra weight. In our opinion, the price outweighs this tool’s limitations, especially considering it offers both a trimmer and edger in one.
Best Electric: BLACK+DECKER 20V 12 Inch Lithium Ion Cordless 2-in-1 Trimmer/Edger
Battery compatible with other BLACK+DECKER products
Narrow cutting width
This combination trimmer and edger tool is a great value for its utility and performance. Its PowerDrive transmission can tackle even heavy, overgrown weeds and grass. The 12-inch cutting width can tackle most trimming and edging that homeowners need. The trimmer's 6,200 RPM keeps your tool going, even against tough brush.
The battery works with other BLACK+DECKER products, an essential feature that makes it easy to switch between tools during regular lawn maintenance. This particular line has everything, from power drills to chainsaws.
Best Gas: ECHO 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer
Powerful horsepower and cutting capabilities
Easy to start
Wide cutting swath
This gas string trimmer from ECHO features an i-30 starting system, which the manufacturer says reduces starting effort by 30 percent, and a bump-line advance system for easy reloading. The 17-inch cutting width is one of the widest available at this price, and the 25.4-cc engine displacement makes this trimmer powerful enough to cut through thicker grass and brush.
While this weed eater is one of the heavier options available, its contoured handle makes for comfortable and safe control while in use. On a gas-powered weed eater, you need to operate common functions such as the choke and purge settings. But ECHO designed the controls to be intuitive. Plus, the included instructions explain all of the functions very well.
Best With Attachments: Craftsman 30-cc 4-Cycle 17-Inch Straight Shaft Gas Powered String Trimmer with Attachment Capability
Requires gas and oil
If you want to make the most of your lawn care equipment by taking advantage of tool systems, the Craftsman TrimmerPlus multi-yard is a great option. Attachments (sold separately) include a hedge trimmer, brush cutter, pole saw, garden cultivator, and more. One of the best advantages of a combination tool system is once you get the hang of using the controls, the new attachment's learning curve is quick and easy.
This weed eater also performs well as a weed whacker, with an impressive 17-inch cutting width, power from a four-cycle engine, and a simple prime-and-pull start process. It is also quieter than many other gas weed whackers, and it features an adjustable handle for right-handed or left-handed users.
Best Battery: Ryobi ONE+ 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Electric Cordless String Trimmer and Edger
Battery compatible with other Ryobi products
Easy to rotate shaft
Narrow cutting width
Ryobi's easy-to-use products have interchangeable batteries to power a variety of electric tools to care for and maintain your lawn. This weed eater's batteries are compatible with the manufacturer's ONE+ tool system. This isn’t a huge, powerful weed eater, but it is a great option if you want something convenient that can take care of small or mid-sized yards. The ergonomic handle makes it easy to use this weed eater without tiring quickly. It is also easy to rotate the shaft to edging mode by pressing one button near the handle.
Best Safety Features: Makita XRU15Z Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless
Automatic Torque Drive technology
Protects battery life
This pro-quality weed eater from Makita is expensive, but it offers the most control and customization in the industry. Its three speed options—Low (3,500 RPM), Medium (5,300 RPM), and High (6,500 RPM)—allow you to control the weed eater's output and avoid potential injuries. The Automatic Torque Drive technology can adjust the RPM based on the power needed for your job. This helps ensure that the battery doesn't drain too quickly or overheat.
Best Plug-In: Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger
Wide cutting swath
Cord limits mobility
Generally, plug-in electric weed eaters are not the best option for large areas because of their limited range. But the Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger is a great option for anyone with a smaller yard, especially if you're hoping to bypass charging batteries or refueling. A weed eater with a plug-in cord allows you to run it indefinitely without having to worry about battery life.
A plug-in weed eater requires close proximity to an electrical outlet. But thanks to this trimmer's lightweight design, you could easily plug it into an extension cord without having to worry about the additional weight from the cord. The telescoping shaft is made from aluminum, and the wide cutting width is perfect for almost any job. This is a reliable combination tool at a great price.
Our top pick is the Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer for its great performance, ease of use, and coordinating line of compatible tools from Ryobi. Another great option is the budget-friendly Worx 15 in. 6 amp. Corded Electric String Trimmer, Edger with Telescopic Straight Shaft and Pivoting Head. This lightweight weed eater can tackle just about any weed or overgrown area of your yard while still being easy on your muscles and wallet.
What to Look For in a Weed Eater
As many yard tools, weed eaters come in outlet-powered, battery-powered, and gas-powered varieties. Gas-powered weed eaters are more powerful, but require you to have gas or a mixture of gas and oil on hand and may be difficult to start up. Electric options are less powerful but can easily be recharged or plugged in for lighter jobs.
Some weed eaters can be rotated to serve as edgers, which cut perpendicular to the ground rather than parallel to it. This feature allows you to clean up areas around your sidewalk or driveway without buying another yard tool.
If you anticipate multiple members of your household might use the weed eater, look for one with an adjustable shaft you can make longer or shorter, depending on user height.
What is the best kind of weed eater for long/thick weeds?
Generally, gas-powered weed eaters are more powerful than electric varieties, making them great for long or thick weeds. If you choose an electric tool, look for an option with a high voltage rating for maximum power against those tough weeds.
The type of feeder string you use also makes a huge difference in how well the trimmer performs. Your user manual helps guide you, but square, multi-sided, serrated, or round strings slice through thick weeds easier.
You may need to use a hedge trimmer or brush cutter for bushes and other overgrown areas with thick or tough stems. Investing in a weed eater that has attachments or is compatible with a larger line of yard tools can help you complete a variety of jobs.
How long do weed eaters last?
With routine maintenance, weed eaters can last for years. You need to replace the string regularly before replacing the weed eater, and may need to purchase a new battery for your battery-operated weed eater.
How do you care for/maintain weed eaters?
You need to replace the cutting string periodically, but most models make this easy with a plug-in refillable string spool. If you have a gas-powered weed eater, you also need to replace the oil to keep the motor operating well, and refill it with gas to provide power. Seasonal maintenance, such as a thorough cleaning and proper storage, is important to keep your weed eater working properly. If you tackle a particularly dirty job, make sure to clean off any brush and debris before putting your weed eater away.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, who is a writer specializing in home and garden products. She has been writing for The Spruce since 2019, covering everything from air conditioners to outdoor storage sheds, and moisture meters for plants. To choose the best options for this article, she consulted dozens of customer and third-party reviews, considering each product's power source, durability, versatility, and price point.