PROS / A powerful, four-cycle engine paired with a straight shaft design and superior attachment options make this the best weed eater for the money.
CONS / The quick-change line system takes some getting used to.
VERDICT / From the biggest yard to the smallest, Craftsman’s gas-powered Weedwacker has all the torque and attachments you need.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it was replaced by another model. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Weed Whackers here.
The four-cycle, gas engine from Craftsman’s Weedwacker line has all the power you need to chop weeds and grass on your property, and this gas trimmer is easy enough for almost anyone to use. If the trimmer head isn’t enough to decimate your weeds and brush, you can purchase a variety of attachments to make the Craftsman 4-cycle Straight Shaft Weedwacker an all-in-one tool for your landscaping needs. The four-cycle, straight-shaft model combines the latest technology with sturdy, old-fashioned construction, which helps the Craftsman Weedwacker blow past the competition.
The Craftsman Weedwacker has many features important in a grass trimmer – it's easy to use, powerful, quiet and very reliable. The Weedwacker's four-cycle engine can displace 30 cubic centimeters (cc) of volume, amounting to more power than most other residential weed eaters. This outdoor power tool is astonishingly quiet for the power it packs, being much quieter than the standard, 2-cycle engines used for weed eaters.
In addition to making it stronger and faster, the Weedwacker’s four-cycle engine makes it cleaner burning and easier to use than other engine types. Instead of mixing engine oil with gas for fuel, you can use regular, unleaded gas. Motor oil, which comes with your new machine, goes in a separate tank just as it does with your car or truck.
The Craftsman 4-cycle Weedwacker weighs just 14 pounds, which makes it one of the heaviest trimmers in our review, but overall its straight-shaft design is relatively lightweight and easy to carry. Curved shafts are also available from the Weedwacker brand, but they lack the extended reach of the straight shaft trimmer.
The head of the machine has two points of exit for nylon string so you can get the job done twice as fast. This gas trimmer has the smallest cutting width of any product in our review. At 14 inches, the narrow cutting width works well with tight corners but falls short on larger jobs. This weed eater also loses points because the hassle-free line loading system wastes line.
The system works by inserting one end of an 18-inch piece of line into one hole on the head and pushing it through to another hole on the opposite side. When the ends of the nylon string wear away during use, you must stop and reload. That means discarding the section of string that was inside the whipping head, but it also means that you won’t need a degree in engineering to load new line properly.
The black and crimson weed trimmer also comes with a large debris shield to keep grass trimmings off your face and clothes. Craftsman’s 4-cycle Weedwacker balances customization with power. You can change the position of the D-shaped handle to accommodate users of different heights.
Craftsman’s Weedwacker also comes equipped with an easy-start system that gives you three different ways to ignite the engine, finally solving the problem of the finicky pull-cord. Three options to start the weed eater are a P3 electric starter, the Incredi-Pull coil and a Power Bit Start accessory that works with most power drills. The electric starter and Power Bit Start accessory allow you to start the weed eater without pulling the cord but require additional equipment. The Craftsman Incredi-Pull coil system does require pulling, but it has a reputation for cold starting quickly and easily. It comes equipped on this trimmer.
In addition to a four-cycle engine being less jolting than a two-cycle engine would be, the Weedwacker has an anti-vibration element, which helps you stay comfortable when working for long periods. If you can keep the effort going for an hour, however, you will have burned through all the gas in the 12-ounce tank and you'll need to refill.
While the Craftsman Weedwacker string trimmer is a great tool on its own, its engine is powerful enough to command a variety of attachments that only boost its appeal. These attachments fit onto the power head with a quick connection system that makes switching attachments an easy task. Compatible attachments include a shoulder strap, a brush cutter, a pole saw, an edger, a cultivator, a hedge trimmer, a blower and a power sweeper.
These accessories can help your yard look as though you hired a professional landscaping company, even though you did it all on your own. If your yard is small or if it lacks trees and bushes, the only must-have attachment for your weed eater is the edger. If you plan to use the machine commercially, we recommend purchasing the shoulder strap, brush blade and blower. Ultimately, the best fit for you will depend on your circumstances, but providing as many options as Craftsman does puts the company, and its Weedwacker line, far ahead of the competition.
The Craftsman Straight Shaft Weedwacker comes with a two-year warranty. If you buy it through Sears, you can purchase an additional service plan. The drive shaft on this trimmer carries a 10-year warranty, which gives you extra protection after the original warranty expires. You can get replacement parts through Sears' service centers and other Craftsman dealers. To know which parts you need, be sure to keep the paperwork that comes with the weed eater. A free PDF copy of the manual is also available online. For direct support, you can also contact Sears by phone or email for additional assistance.
The Weedwacker brand has become so popular over the years that the term “weed whacker” has slipped into common usage as a generic term for the machines. Sadly, the “h” in the second word has also been lost in some instances. While grammarians everywhere grumble about the term, it’s clear that the Craftsman 4-cycle Straight Shaft Weedwacker is worthy of spawning the generic name. The Craftsman weed eater is faster, stronger and easier to use than competing trimmers. You may find that you get the dirty job done more quickly than ever before.