We tested each of the 10 string trimmers in our comparison for the most important aspects, including weight, balance, vibration, sound and cutting ability. The Hitachi easily chopped through thick grass, tough weeds and even small trees without any issue.
Hitachi’s two-cycle, straight-shaft gas weed eater is a versatile tool. It offers length in the drive shaft so you can reach under bushes and fences as well as around trees and other obstacles. The extended reach also lends itself well to taller users. If you're of a smaller stature, you’ll appreciate how lightweight it feels. The anti-vibration system reduces the effects of long exposure to vibration. This trimmer also proves to be effective in chopping down any weeds in its way, including thick, reedy vegetation.
Hitachi’s weed eater had the second lowest level of vibration among the weed eaters we reviewed. Low vibration levels are important because higher levels can be dangerous to your health. Prolonged exposure to vibration can lead to hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), which can eventually result in loss of feeling in your fingers and hands and reduced ability to firmly grasp items. Also, if you feel less vibration, you're less likely to tire easily while trimming your yard.
Hitachi’s gas string trimmer is one of the lightest tools we tested. It weighs 10.3 pounds, so in spite of its considerable length, it's very easy to handle. Sometimes weed whackers can feel heavier on one end or the other, which may lead to fatigue and muscle strain more quickly than lighter trimmers. Our testers liked how the Hitachi felt and considered it somewhat balanced.
As with any gas-powered engine, you can expect this trimmer to be loud enough to require hearing protection. In our tests, on average, Hitachi’s unit produced higher decibels than most of the other trimmers on our lineup. The weed whackers we tested averaged about 100 decibels (dB), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act recommends wearing hearing protection when a worker is exposed to sounds louder than 85 dB.
The Hitachi gas trimmer has a cutting path of 15 inches, which is smaller than other weed eaters. A larger cutting path can mean less time out in the yard. If a large cutting path is a top priority for you, check out the Ryobi RY253SS; it has one of the widest cutting swaths in our reviews.
This weed whacker is designed to work with four other Hitachi-compatible attachments, which makes this a versatile tool. To change out attachments, all you do is remove the trimmer head and then attach the edger, hedge trimmer, pole saw or mini-cultivator tool. These attachments are sold separately.
The debris shield that's included on this trimmer helps cut down on bits of grass, weeds, branches and even rocks that could fly up and injure you or others around you. The shield also helps regulate the length of your trimming string.
The Hitachi has a unique semi-automatic string that adjusts on its own. Other weed whackers require you to bump the head of the tool against the ground to get more string to come out, but this weed eater senses when more string is needed and feeds it out of the trimmer head accordingly. This means less hassle. Bumping the trimmer head too hard against the pavement could distribute too much string and lead to extra work. The Hitachi keeps the string at an even length.
This model holds 13 feet of string, which is a lot less compared to most others. The string is thick, though, so it can last quite a while before you have to purchase replacement string. Like with all the weed whackers in our lineup, the string comes out in a dual line, meaning the tool is chopping from both sides with two different strings rotating around the head.
Any outdoor power tool will need repairs and replacement parts eventually, so you should buy a gas-powered weed whacker that has the best warranty available. Hitachi offers a seven-year limited warranty, so if you discover any defective parts within that time, you can take it to a service center near you to have it repaired for free. Hitachi also offers a lifetime guarantee for all of its cordless grass trimmers that have solid steel drive shafts.
If you misplace the physical copy of your manual, you can go to Hitachi’s website and download a new one. You can also find contact information for customer support on the manufacturer’s website, including phone and email.
The Hitachi is our top choice for most people. It is a strong gas-powered string trimmer with versatility and low vibration. It includes more extras than any other weed eater we tested, and it can cut through some of the toughest brush. These are the reasons we consider it the best two-cycle gas-powered weed whacker on the market.