Best electric weed eaters 2019: great battery-powered trimmers

Black & Decker LST136 electric weed eater
(Image credit: Black & Decker)

If you’re looking to keep weeds at bay and keep your garden or yard looking great, then you need a weed eater. The best electric weed eaters are one of these handy garden tools that enable you to cut back weeds with ease. 

We’ve focused on the best electric weed eaters here, but if you’ve got a big yard, then you’ll want to take a look at our guide to the best gas-powered weed whackers

How much do electric trimmers cost?

Like other electric yard tools, corded electric weed eaters are the most affordable solution available. Batteries for electric tools are costly and the price for battery-operated tools reflects that. The most expensive trimmers in our lineup are the battery-operated WORX WG191 and the Kobalt 130X-06, but you can find battery-operated trimmers at much cheaper price points. 

For a battery-powered trimmer, you can pay anything between around $60 and $200 for one, while a corded trimmer and be picked up for as little as $20, but the good ones start at around $40. 

You’ll find everything you need to know about electric weed eaters - from important features to look for, through to the pros and cons of gas vs electric weed whackers - at the bottom of this buying guide. However, if you’re in a rush and need to keep those weeds at bay now, then our top recommendation is the Black & Decker LST136

1. Black & Decker LST136: best overall

Black & Decker LST136 electric weed eater

(Image credit: Black & Decker)

Black & Decker LST136

The most versatile and customizable model we reviewed

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Cordless | Volts: 40 | Battery life: 25mins | Charge time: 1 hour | Cutting path: 13-inches | Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to Buy
Very well-balanced
Maneuverable
You can adjust the shaft length
Has adjustable power settings
Reasons to Avoid
Battery only lasts 25 minutes.
Cutting path is relatively narrow
It only comes with one battery

We picked the Black & Decker LST136 as the overall best electric weed eater because it’s the most versatile and customizable model we reviewed. You can adjust both the length of the shaft and the power settings, making it ideal for yards that have varying terrain and different types of weeds.

It also has almost all the features we look for in a weed eater. For example, it has a dedicated edging position and an edging guide that makes it easy to get a clean, straight cut in a single pass. Its 13-inch cutting path is good for most jobs, though other electric weed eaters we reviewed have cutting paths up to 18 inches. It delivers 40 volts of power – which is among the best we saw as we evaluated these tools. But this isn’t a perfect weed eater. 

At 7.8 pounds, it’s a bit on the heavy side, but its weight is offset by its excellent balance and handling. The average battery life is quite short, just 25 minutes, and it takes about an hour to fully recharge. The Black & Decker LST136 is under warranty for three years, which is just average for an electric weed eater. However, it is long enough to know if you need to replace a defective machine.

Read the full Black & Decker LST136 review

2. Ryobi P2060A: best value

Ryobi P2060A electric weed eater

(Image credit: Ryobi)

Ryobi P2060A

All the features found on the top-ranked Black & Decker model but only about half the power

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Cordless | Volts: 18 | Battery life: 40mins | Charge time: 1 hour | Cutting path: 12-inches | Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to Buy
It is inexpensive.
Dedicated edging position and guide
Battery lasts 40 minutes
Reasons to Avoid
It’s very low powered 
Narrow cutting path
Only one battery included

If you’re not going to use a weed eater often or only for light duty, consider the Ryobi P2060. It has all the features found on the top-ranked Black & Decker model but only about half the power.

What the weed whacker lacks in raw power, it makes up for in run time. On a fully charged battery, you can expect to get about 40 minutes of work time before it goes dead. Like the Black & Decker, you can keep an extra battery on the charger while you work and switch it out when necessary, though you must purchase the extra battery separately. This electric weed eater weighs about 6.5 pounds – just under the average for the machines we reviewed. It’s lightweight enough for anyone to use, and it is balanced and easy to maneuver like the more expensive Black & Decker model.

The P2060 has a 12-inch cutting path, which is the narrowest among the weed eaters we reviewed. By comparison, the Black & Decker model cuts a 13-inch path, and the widest path we saw was 18 inches. While this is narrow enough for tight spaces, it may leave you wanting during big, heavy-duty jobs. Perhaps most importantly, the Ryobi P2060 only costs around $55 – about $30 below our test group’s average price and almost $100 less than the Black & Decker. And although it’s relatively low powered, the feature-to-price ratio is better than any weed eater we evaluated.

Read the full Ryobi P2060 review

3. Kobalt 40-Volt Max: best warranty

Kobalt 40-Volt Max electric weed eater

(Image credit: Kobalt)

Kobalt 40-Volt Max

This weed eater comes with an impressive 5 year warranty

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Cordless | Volts: 40 | Battery life: 45mins | Charge time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Cutting path: 13-inches | Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to Buy
Excellent 5 year warranty i
Has as an adjustable shaft
45 minute battery life
Reasons to Avoid
No dedicated edging position
Long charge times

Warranty periods reflect how much confidence manufacturers have in their products. Generally, the longer the warranty period, the more durable and well-made the tool is and this weed eater comes with an impressive 5 year warranty.

For comparison, the average warranty period for the weed eaters we reviewed is three years, and the shortest one we saw was only two years. Kobalt has good reason to be confident in this weed eater. It tied with the overall best weed whacker, the Black & Decker model, for power, putting out 40 volts. And with a 45-minute average battery run time, it lasts longer on a full charge than both the Black & Decker and our best-value pick, the Ryobi P2060. 

However, it is missing a few features, the most important being a dedicated edging position. It does include an edging guide to help cut straighter lines. Like the Black & Decker, this weed eater has an adjustable shaft, so you can use it in hard-to-reach places and on a variety of weeds without having to hold it at odd angles.

Read the full Kobalt 40-Volt Max KST 130X-06 review

4. GreenWorks 21142: widest cutting path

Greenworks 21142 electric weed eaters

(Image credit: Greenworks)

GreenWorks 21142

Cuts the widest path of any trimmer in our lineup at 18 inches

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Corded | Volts: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Charge time: N/A | Cutting path: 18-inches | Warranty: 4 years

Reasons to Buy
Cutting path of 18-inches
Decent 4 year warranty
Reasons to Avoid
Shaft doesn’t extend very far

The GreenWorks 21142 is an affordable string trimmer with a fairly basic feature package, but it cuts the widest path of any trimmer in our lineup at 18 inches.

This helps make quick work of weeds and effectively edges grass along the sidewalk. Its edge guide and head pivots 90-degrees for easier edging. This is a good, uncommon feature for a string trimmer in this price range.

This is a corded model and requires you to have an outlet within reach, but if you have an extension cord that reaches throughout your yard, this may not be a problem. The nice thing about corded trimmers is not worrying about your power dying in the middle of a job. The shaft doesn’t extend very far, so it may be uncomfortable for tall people to use. Overall, this is a good trimmer for the price.

Read the full GreenWorks 21142 review

5. WORX WG191: most powerful

WORX WG191 electric weed eater

(Image credit: WORX)

WORX WG191

Operates off a powerful 56-volt battery with a class-leading battery life of 45 minutes

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Cordless | Volts: 56 | Battery life: 45mins | Charge time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Cutting path: 13-inches | Warranty: 3 years

Reasons to Buy
56-volt battery
Decent battery life of 45 minutes
Reasons to Avoid
2 hour charge time

It runs for an average of 45 minutes after a 90-minute charge. While 45 minutes may not seem very long, it is plenty of time to trim a good-sized yard with time to spare. This trimmer has a design similar to a gas trimmer with the battery pack sitting at the top of handle. However, unlike top-heavy gas trimmers, this one is nicely balanced with a battery that weighs only 1.1 pounds. The battery is interchangeable with other WORX tools.

The WORX WG 191 has some nice features that make it a multifunctional tool. The head pivots 90-degrees for edging and it has two wheels to help cut a straight edge. One of the few drawbacks with this electric weed eater is it is one of the pricier trimmers in our lineup.

Read the full WORX WG191 review

Gas vs. electric weed whackers

Professional landscapers usually prefer gas weed whackers for a few reasons: power and unlimited time and reach. In other words, gas models don’t limit you by the distance of a cord or battery life. Professional landscapers also need all the power they can get for jobs like clearing large fields of tough weeds and scrub. As such, gas weed whackers are often the best choice for serious yard work.

For most people though, an electric weed eater is more than up to the job. For a start, they’re easier to use than their gas counterparts, but have enough power to trim and edge a lawn, and keep most weeds that spring up around the yard under control. Electric trimmers also create much less noise pollution and have zero emissions, which is a huge benefit to you, your neighbors and the environment.

Important features to consider when choosing an electric weed eater 

When looking for a new string trimmer, pay attention to the design, power options, string features and warranty. For instance, most of the trimmers we reviewed are cordless, and batteries are a nice convenience but they don’t last forever. A corded trimmer may be a good fit for a small yard. The following considerations will help you select the best electric string trimmer for your lawn.

Trimmer design

Because you will be carrying around the weed eater, its overall weight is an important consideration. We compared how heavy the grass trimmers are, as well as if they have an adjustable shaft length for extra, customizable comfort. A dedicated edging position makes it easier to get a precise cut against sidewalks without having to hold your trimmer at an odd, uncomfortable angle.

Straight-shaft weed trimmers let you stand further away from what you are cutting, which keeps you safer. Safety is important, so we also looked to see if the trimmers we reviewed include devices that keep cords from getting in the way, as well as if the starter switch is protected from accidentally starting.

Power and battery

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing an electric string trimmer is if it has the power you need to accomplish the type of work you do. We looked for weed whackers that have high amps for corded models and high-voltage batteries for cordless ones. The more power a weed trimmer has, the tougher the grass and weeds it can tackle. We evaluated and compared cordless and corded electric string trimmers and found that regardless of the power source, if you choose a trimmer with enough power, you can trim efficiently.

When choosing between a corded and cordless weed eater, consider the type of work you need the trimmer to do and the size of your yard. Buying a trimmer that requires an extension cord limits your mobility, but that may not be a problem if you have a small yard. The advantage of using a cord is you don’t have to worry about the battery eventually dying and needing to be replaced. However, a cordless trimmer gives you limitless mobility, so it’s likely the best option if you have a large yard or need to trim in a remote location.

String features

We looked for trimmers that are easy to restring and have great line-feed capabilities. The width of the cutting path is also important to consider when you choose an electric trimmer. Look for a grass trimmer with a cutting path wide enough to clear large areas with each sweep, yet narrow enough for you to use in tight spaces. The average cutting path is 13.5 inches wide.

In addition, we evaluated an even mix of single- and dual-feed lines. A single-line head is sufficient for most types of lawns. However, having an extra line gives you more cutting power with each swipe, which can come in handy if you have a lot of tough grass or weeds in your yard. A dual-line head is slightly harder to maintain and may result in more down time when you have to deal with a tangled spool.

Warranty and support

The industry-standard warranty for electric string trimmers is one year. We looked for trimmers that met or exceeded this standard. The manufacturers of the best electric string trimmers also provide repair or service center locations and phone or email support. A downloadable owner manual comes in handy if you happen to lose your print copy and need to look up a part or procedure.

Maintaining your electric weed eater

While electric trimmers don’t require nearly as much maintenance as their gas counterparts, there are things you can do on a regular basis to keep them running well for an extended period. Kristi Howard, of Black & Decker Outdoor Products, says that a common problem with electric string trimmers involves people using the wrong gauge of extension cord to power them. Howard says you should be sure to use an extension cord that is heavy enough to carry the current your product will draw.

“An undersized cord will cause a drop in line voltage resulting in loss of power and overheating,” Howard explains. “When in doubt, use the next heavier gauge.” She says the letters WA on the cord jacket indicate a cord that is suitable for outdoor use. Regarding corded versus cordless trimmers, Howard feels they are comparable in terms of power. Corded trimmers are generally less expensive than battery-operated trimmers and are easy to maintain, but they have less mobility. 

To properly maintain an electric trimmer, Howard suggests checking for damaged parts and cleaning off the air intake slots before each use to avoid overheating. She says you should never immerse an electric string trimmer in water or clean it with a pressure washer, and you should store it indoors, out of reach of children. “Keeping your trimmer regularly maintained should minimize your need for larger repairs,” Howard adds.

ProductPriceOverall RatingTrimmer DesignPower & BatteryString FeaturesWarranty & SupportTotal Weight (pounds)Edging PositionEdging GuideAdjustable Shaft LengthStarter Safety DeviceCordlessCord RetainerAmpsVoltsAverage Battery Run-time (minutes)Battery Charge-time (hours)Batteries IncludedInterchangeable BatteryCutting Path (inches)Recommended Line Diameter (inches)Number of LinesLine Feed TypeWarrantyRepair & Service LocatorPhone & Email SupportOwner Manual Download
Black & Decker LST136View Deal4/5109.82.3107.8Not ApplicableNot Applicable40251130.0651Automatic3 Years
RYOBI P2060AView Deal4/5109.52.3106.65Not ApplicableNot Applicable18401120.0651Automatic3 Years
WORX WG191View Deal4/5107.82.37.58.8Not ApplicableNot Applicable56452-130.81Command Feed3 Years-
Kobalt 40-Volt Max KST 130X-06View Deal3.5/58102.37.88.7-Not ApplicableNot Applicable40451.25130.82Bump5 Years-
Greenworks 21212View Deal3.5/59.31.5107.55.2--4Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable130.0652Bump4 Years-
Toro 51480View Deal3/5101.82.39.87.5-5Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable140.0652Automatic2 Years
Black & Decker GH900View Deal3/59.31.82.39.85.5--6.5Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable140.0651Automatic2 Years
Earthwise ST00115View Deal2.5/59.31.52.56.56--5Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable150.0652Automatic2 Years-
GreenWorks 21142View Deal1.5/53.822.57.59.9----10Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable180.82Automatic4 Years-
Sun Joe TRJ609EView Deal1.5/52.8127.33.3-----3Not ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable9.450.0551Bump2 Years-