The 8 Best Weed Eaters of 2023

The winner is the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Electric String Trimmer

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BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* String Trimmer / Edger

The Spruce / Laurey W. Glenn

A weed eater—also known as a string trimmer or weed whacker—is a lawn care tool that 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.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer

4.7
Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Electric Cordless String Trimmer

Homedepot

What We Like
  • Ryobi tool compatible

  • Multiple attachments available

  • Variable speed

  • Adjustable cutting width

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Heavy

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 can save space and keep your garage organized with just one. While pricey, it may be the only lawn trimming tool you need.

Price at time of publish: $204

Weight: 11.7 pounds | Voltage: 40 volts | Power Type: Electric | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches

Best Budget

Worx 15 in. 6 amp. Corded Electric String Trimmer, Edger with Telescopic Straight Shaft and Pivoting Head

Worx 15 in. 6 amp. Corded Electric String Trimmer, Edger with Telescopic Straight Shaft and Pivoting Head

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Dual function

  • Auto feed line

What We Don't Like
  • 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 lawn 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 can both trim and edge your lawn.

Price at time of publish: $60

Weight: 7 pounds | Voltage: Not listed | Power Type: Corded Electric | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches

Best Electric

BLACK+DECKER 20V 12 Inch Lithium Ion Cordless 2-in-1 Trimmer/Edger

4.2
BLACK+DECKER 20V 12 Inch Lithium Ion Cordless 2-in-1 Trimmer/Edger

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Battery compatible with other BLACK+DECKER products

  • 6,200 RPM

  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • 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 and landscape maintenance. This particular line has everything, from power drills to chainsaws.

Price at time of publish: $89

Weight: 7.06 pounds | Voltage: 20 volts | Power Type: Electric | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 12 inches

Best Gas

ECHO 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer

ECHO 25.4 cc Gas 2-Stroke Straight Shaft Trimmer

Homedepot

What We Like
  • Powerful horsepower and cutting capabilities

  • Easy to start

  • Wide cutting swath

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Expensive

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.

Price at time of publish: $329

Weight: 13.4 pounds | Voltage: Not listed | Power Type: Gas | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches

Best With Attachments

Craftsman 30-cc 4-Cycle 17-Inch Straight Shaft Gas Powered String Trimmer with Attachment Capability

Craftsman 30-cc 4-Cycle 17-Inch Straight Shaft Gas Powered String Trimmer with Attachment Capability

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Attachments available

  • Two-step start

  • Quiet

What We Don't Like
  • Requires gas and oil

  • Heavy

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.

Price at time of publish: $279

Weight: 18.91 pounds | Voltage: Not listed | Power Type: Gas | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 17 inches

Best Battery

Ryobi ONE+ 18-Volt Cordless Battery String Trimmer

Ryobi ONE+ 18-Volt Cordless Battery String Trimmer

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Battery compatible with other Ryobi products

  • Easy to rotate shaft

  • Ergonomic handle

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Price at time of publish: $69

Weight: 4 pounds | Voltage: 18 volts | Power Type: Electric | Shaft Type: Curved | Maximum Cutting Width: 10 inches

Best Safety Features

Makita XRU15Z Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless

Makita XRU15Z Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Three speeds

  • Automatic Torque Drive technology

  • Protects battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

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.

Price at time of publish: $535

Weight: 11 pounds | Voltage: 18 volts | Power Type: Electric | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 15 inches

Best Plug-In

Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger

Toro 51480 Corded 14-Inch Electric Trimmer/Edger

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Combination trimmer/edger

  • Budget-friendly

  • Wide cutting swath

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Price at time of publish: $80

Weight: 6.3 pounds | Voltage: Not listed | Power Type: Electric | Shaft Type: Straight | Maximum Cutting Width: 14 inches

Final Verdict

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

Power Source

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.

Rotating Head

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.

Adjustable Length

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.

FAQ
  • What type of weed eater should I get?

    The type of weed eater you choose will depend on the size of your yard and frequency of use. For small yards with minimal areas to trim, an electric or battery-powered weed eater is sufficient. Gas-powered weed eaters are a more powerful choice and are necessary for large properties with a lot of thick grass and weeds to cut.

  • Is a gas or electric weed eater better?

    Both gas and electric weed eaters have their pros and cons. Gas-powered weed eaters are stronger and aren’t tethered to an electrical outlet. However, gas weed eaters require filling with gas and oil. They are also heavier and more costly than electric models. For small jobs, an electric weed eater is a great choice. They are lighter weight and easier to manage than gas-powered weed eaters. They run by plugging into a regular electrical outlet and are easy to use. However, an electric weed eater is not appropriate for large areas or particularly thick weeds. 

  • Which is better, a 2-stroke or 4-stroke weed eater?

    There are pros and cons to both 2-stroke and 4-stroke (also called 2-cycle and 4-cycle) gas-powered weed eaters. Fewer moving parts means 2-stroke weed eaters are lighter in weight and easier to maintain than 4-stroke models. Users will need to mix gas with oil for 2-stroke trimmers. Our best gas model, the ECHO, is a 2-stroke trimmer. If you’re looking for a quieter model that produces lower emissions, a 4-stroke trimmer is the way to go. Another benefit: with 4-stroke models no mixing of gas and oil is required. Keep in mind, these models are pricier and generally weigh more than 2-stroke weed eaters. If you’re looking for a powerful 4-stroke model, we recommend the Craftsman Trimmer Plus.

  • How long does a 20-volt battery last in a weed eater?

    Depending on the setting used and whether it is running continuously or intermittently, a run time of 15 to 60 minutes is typical for a fully charged 20-volt battery. Rechargeable batteries for weed eaters usually need to be replaced every few years.

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.