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The Best Weed Whackers of 2016

A Cut Above the Rest: Choose the Best Weed Whacker
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The Best Weed Whackers of 2016

Our Ranking Weed Whacker Price
1 Hitachi $199.97
2 Poulan Pro Gas Trimmer $169.99
3 Toro Gas Trimmer $179.00
4 Ryobi Gas Trimmer $175.54
5 Snapper Gas Trimmer $167.00
6 Bolens Gas Trimmer $98.00
7 Homelite Gas Trimmer $99.00
8 Weed Eater Gas Trimmer $199.99
9 Troy-Bilt Gas Trimmer $149.95
10 Craftsman Gas Trimmer $89.99
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Why Buy a Gas-Powered Weed Whacker?

The top performers in our review are the Hitachi 21.1-cc Split-Shaft Gas Line Trimmer, the Gold Award winner; the Poulan Pro PP328LD Gas Trimmer, the Silver Award winner; and the Toro 51978 Straight-Shaft Grass Trimmer, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a tool to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 weed whackers.

Caring for your lawn may seem like a simple task – at first. You keep it watered, fertilized and then watch as the lush, green grass starts to fill in. Once it gets too long, you mow it, but you may find some persistent and pesky weeds pop up in areas that a lawnmower simply cannot reach. Adding a gas-powered weed whacker to your arsenal soon helps you tame the wilderness that is your yard.

A well-made, balanced weed eater is a great investment if you have a vast yard overgrown with tall grasses and weeds. The best gas trimmers can hack through the weeds and reach areas that a lawnmower cannot. A straight shaft trimmer allows you to trim along fences, under bushes and near trees.

The gas-powered models featured in our review are ideal because there are no cords to trip you up. Our weed trimmer reviews are focused on tools with two-stroke engines. This type of engine has some advantages over the four-stroke engine models. First, they are more powerful than electric models. Second, they are easier to handle because they are lightweight and, third, they are more affordable.

When you purchase the best weed eaters, you're also buying a guarantee, though limited. The best trimmers include at least a two-year warranty that covers parts and labor should anything go wrong.

There are several brands of string trimmers similar to those on our lineup; however, these were omitted for a variety of reasons, such as engine power and price. To offer you a list of the best weed whackers under $200, we omitted Honda and Tanaka. Each trimmer we tested for our Top 10 list is gas-powered, so all of them are suitable for small and big yards alike. We only included two-cycle engines for a fair comparison.

If you have a smaller yard or you don't do yard work weekly, an electric string trimmer can be a good fit for you. And if you want to fill up your tool shed, be sure to also check out the top 10 gas lawn mowers here as well as these eco-friendly electric lawn mowers.

Weed Whackers: What We Tested, What We Found

Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate products in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of the typical consumer. The weed whackers on our lineup were purchased and our testers offered unbiased results based on a range of tests. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.

The two most important functions of a weed whacker are functionality and design. A trimmer should be powerful enough to cut through the thick brush in your yard with only a few passes and quick enough that you can be back on your porch enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time at all. We tested each trimmer in a controlled environment to determine which tools performed the best.

For design, we measured the decibel levels of each trimmer running at full throttle so you know if certain precautions, such as hearing protection, are needed when using these tools. We measured the shaft length, the cutting path and the weight. To make sure we catered to all body types, we enlisted the help of several testers of varying height, weight and strength to determine how balanced and heavy each weed whacker feels. Exposure to vibrations for a long period of time can be potentially damaging, so we also asked the testers to rate the level of vibrations they experienced while using the weed whackers.

After several of these tests, we were able to determine which tool works best for tall, strong users; which trimmer was the most comfortable to use that didn't leave us feeling shaky; and which tool would be best for those of smaller stature with smaller hands. Our tests also revealed the tools that aren't able to eradicate thicker weeds but might work well for your yard if you don't require a more powerful engine.

What Else is Important When Selecting a Weed Whacker?

In addition to how well each weed whacker performed against the others, you need to know how to maintain your weed eater; be sure to read tips in our articles about weed whackers.

Below are some other considerations to keep in mind.

String Features: How Easy Is It to Replace the String, and How Long Does It Last?
All weed whackers use some variation of a wound-up spool of string, which is enclosed in a case inside the trimmer, to knock down tough grass and weeds in your yard. This string wears out and needs to be replaced, often several times in one session. String reloads from the case a few distinct ways: Semi-automatic models have string that will adjust on its own. Most models require a bump, meaning you need to knock the bottom of the weed trimmer against the ground to activate a button at the bottom that feeds out additional string. Manual-feed models require that you stop trimming, turn the unit over and pull the string out manually with your hands.

You'll want to pay attention to the amount of string the case holds. The more feet of string you have, the longer the weed whacker will last before you need to purchase replacement string, which can be expensive. A case with a short amount of string could end up costing more in the long run.

Warranty & Support: What Guarantees and Support Do Manufacturers Provide?
It's important to know how long your weed whacker is covered by a warranty. Also, you should be able to download a manual from the manufacturer's website in the event you lose the physical one.

Support is necessary if you have any questions about the warranty, and customer service representatives can help walk you through the operation of your weed whacker and suggest a nearby service center if you need your trimmer repaired.

You can find many more features on our product comparison chart for you so you can choose the weed whacker that is right for your needs.

Gas-Powered Weed Whackers: Our Verdict & Recommendations

The numerous tests we conducted with each trimmer helped us separate the cream of the crop.

All of the testers who used the Hitachi Gas Trimmer were extremely impressed by the low vibrations. We were able to use the Hitachi much longer than its competitors. It also was able to cut through very dense brush without stalling or even staggering. This trimmer also offers the longest warranty of all of the trimmers on our list.

The Poulan Pro Gas Trimmer got high marks by everyone who used it as well. We liked how quickly it tore through grass and weeds, no matter how thick they were.

Another top performer was the Toro Gas Trimmer. It performed well in a series of tests and it has decent reach, making it a good choice for reaching under big bushes and fences.

All of the weed whackers on our lineup are good choices, depending on your needs, so be sure to read through our comparison chart and the reviews to find the gas-powered, straight-shaft weed whacker that works you.