Best Electric Weed Eaters of 2018

Noel Case ·
Updated
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After more than 85 hours of research and evaluation, our team of expert reviewers determined that the Black & Decker LST136 is the best electric weed eater available today. It’s a battery-powered tool that has a 13-inch cutting path and a three-year warranty. You can adjust the power level to fit your specific task as well as shorten or lengthen the shaft to accommodate your height. These features make this tool versatile and an ideal choice for most lawns.

Best Overall
Black & Decker LST136
This is the most versatile electric weed eater we reviewed. You can adjust the power settings and shaft length to fit whatever job you’re tackling.
View on Amazon
Best Value
Ryobi P2060
This is an economically priced electric weed eater that fulfills your basic outdoor needs. It’s not as powerful as the Black & Decker but still has almost all the features we look for.
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Best Warranty
Kobalt 40-Volt Max
The average warranty period for the weed eaters we reviewed is three years, but this tool has a five-year warranty. This generous warranty shows how much confidence its manufacturer has in its product.
View on Lowe's
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Trimmer Design
Power & Battery
String Features
Warranty & Support
Total Weight (pounds)
Edging Position
Edging Guide
Adjustable Shaft Length
Starter Safety Device
Cordless
Cord Retainer
Amps
Volts
Average Battery Run-time (minutes)
Battery Charge-time (hours)
Batteries Included
Interchangeable Battery
Cutting Path (inches)
Recommended Line Diameter (inches)
Number of Lines
Line Feed Type
Warranty
Repair & Service Locator
Phone & Email Support
Owner Manual Download
$143.90 Amazon
8.4 10 9.8 2.3 10
7.8
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
40
25
1
13
0.065
1
Automatic
3 Years
$115.28 Amazon
8.3 10 9.5 2.3 10
6.65
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
18
40
1
12
0.065
1
Automatic
3 Years
$169.00 Amazon
7.5 10 7.8 2.3 7.5
8.8
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
56
45
2
-
13
0.8
1
Command Feed
3 Years
-
$149.00 CJ
7.4 8 10 2.3 7.8
8.7
-
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
40
45
1.25
13
0.8
2
Bump
5 Years
-
$29.98 Amazon
6.9 9.3 1.5 10 7.5
5.2
-
-
4
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
13
0.065
2
Bump
4 Years
-
$70.17 Amazon
5.9 10 1.8 2.3 9.8
7.5
-
5
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
14
0.065
2
Automatic
2 Years
$49.99 Amazon
5.6 9.3 1.8 2.3 9.8
5.5
-
-
6.5
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
14
0.065
1
Automatic
2 Years
$44.04 Amazon
5.3 9.3 1.5 2.5 6.5
6
-
-
5
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
15
0.065
2
Automatic
2 Years
-
$77.99 Amazon
3.4 3.8 2 2.5 7.5
9.9
-
-
-
-
10
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
18
0.8
2
Automatic
4 Years
-
$21.48 Amazon
2.5 2.8 1 2 7.3
3.3
-
-
-
-
-
3
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
9.45
0.055
1
Bump
2 Years
-
Best Overall

Black & Decker LST136

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.
Pros
  • This is a very well-balanced and maneuverable tool.
  • You can adjust the shaft length.
  • It has adjustable power settings.
Cons
  • The battery only lasts 25 minutes.
  • It’s cutting path is relatively narrow at about 13 inches.
  • It only comes with one battery.
$143.90Amazon
Best Value

Ryobi P2060

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.
Pros
  • It is inexpensive.
  • It has a dedicated edging position and edging guide.
  • The battery lasts 40 minutes, much longer than our top choice’s.
Cons
  • It’s very low powered – only 18 volts.
  • The cutting path is less than average at 12 inches.
  • Ryobi only includes one battery.
$115.28Amazon
Best Warranty

Kobalt 40-Volt Max

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.
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.
Pros
  • The five-year warranty is the longest in our comparison
  • It has as an adjustable shaft, so you can use it for a variety of jobs.
  • Its battery runs an average of 45 minutes before it needs to be recharged.
Cons
  • It has the narrowest cutting path of the weed eaters we reviewed.
  • There isn’t a dedicated edging position.
  • You can’t download the owner manual from the internet.
$149.00Lowe's
Widest Cutting Path
The GreenWorks 21212 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.
Pros
  • It has a wide swath and the head pivots for edging.
Cons
  • The shaft doesn’t extend very far.
$42.12Amazon
Read the full review
Longest Battery Life
The WORX WG191 operates off a powerful 56-volt battery with the longest battery life of any in our electric string trimmer reviews.
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.
Pros
  • This trimmer’s battery lasts 45 minutes on a 90-minute charge.
Cons
  • It costs more than most of the trimmers in the lineup.
$169.00Amazon
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We reached out to professionals and industry insiders to expand our knowledge beyond our online research. We talked to Kristi Howard, the Director of Product Marketing for Black & Decker Outdoor Products. She said a common problem with electric string trimmers involves people using the wrong gauge of extension cord to power them. Howard said 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 said. “When in doubt, use the next heavier gauge.” She said the letters WA on the cord jacket indicate a cord that is suitable for outdoor use.

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

To get expert advice about environmental considerations we contacted Simon Mui, a lithium-ion battery expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He said in addition to being much easier to use and creating much less noise pollution, electric trimmers have zero emissions, which is a huge benefit to you, your neighbors and the environment.

The one environmental concern with electric tools is battery disposal when the battery dies. As a solution to this Mui said, “Don’t throw batteries in the trash. Today’s lithium-ion batteries don’t use toxic metals, but the materials can corrode over time.” Mui said Call2Recycle.org provides a network of over 34,000 recycling centers and drop-off locations throughout the country at no cost to consumers.

Despite the advantages of electric trimmers, professional landscapers commonly use gas trimmers because they are more powerful and it’s much easier to fill up a gas tank than continually recharge batteries when you are using them all day. In consideration of this, we asked Mui if he was aware of a battery in development that would allow professionals to eventually replace gas-powered tools with electric.

Mui admitted that for someone who is whacking weeds all day, a battery-powered trimmer is probably not the best option. He suggested the possibility of using a corded electric trimmer, however. Mui also felt that professional-grade battery-powered trimmers weren’t out of the question in the future. “If Tesla can design a class eight semi-truck to run on batteries, I’m sure someone can figure out how to spin a 4-ounce trimmer line for a long time,” Mui said.

How We Picked the Best 

During our evaluation, we considered each weed eater’s weight and compared it against how powerful the machine is. We also took note of how customizable and versatile each model is – features such as an adjustable shaft and variable power settings let you optimize your weed eater to different tasks.

We also factored in the width of each weed eater’s cutting path. The wider the cutting path, the more weeds you can take out in a single pass. However, narrower cutting paths are better for tight spaces.

Additionally, we compared each weed eater’s power supply, noting whether it comes with a battery or needs to be plugged into an outlet to run. Battery-operated weed whackers are limited by how long their batteries hold a charge, while corded models tether you to the power supply.

We also evaluated the safety features of each tool, looking for features such as a starter safety device and cord retainer, both of which prevent accidental electrocution when using a weed eater. Other considerations included whether the machine has a dedicated edging position and an edging guide, since these make the weed eater much easier to use – the best weed eaters have both.


How Much Do Electric Trimmers Cost?

Like other electric yard tools, corded electric weed eaters are the most affordable. 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 for much cheaper. An internet search shows that battery-powered trimmers are priced between about $60 and $200. You can buy corded trimmers for as low as $20, but the good ones start at around $40. The more you pay the better the features, but you should be able to find very good battery- and cord-powered trimmers in your price range.

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 & 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, as they tend to do. 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 & 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.

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