Best String Trimmers of 2024 - Consumer Reports (2024)

String trimmers (also commonly called weed whackers) are the tool of choice to cut high grass along fences, rock walls, and garden beds. That’s because they’re designed to get into tight areas where mowers can’t go. But not all of them are created equally.

To find out which ones are worth the money, CR’s lawn experts have tested hundreds of string trimmers over the years, including gas, corded, battery, and cordless versions. In our tests, we’ve found capable models in every configuration across a wide range of prices. But first you need to settle on which type is right for you.

In this article

  • Best String Trimmers: Straight-Shaft Gas Curved-Shaft Gas Battery Corded Electric
  • How CR Tests String Trimmers

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“We’re at a point where thebest battery modelscut every bit as well as thebest gas tools,” says Dave Trezza, who oversees string trimmer testing at Consumer Reports. “You should really let the size and design of your lawn dictate whether you can make do with the limited range or run time of a battery model, or whether you need the flexibility of gas.”

Based on our tests, you can expect about 30 minutes of run time from the best battery trimmers—and that time grows considerably if you have multiple batteries.

Within the world of electrics, you’ll see both corded and battery-powered models, which are also sold as cordless string trimmers. Either can cut well, and though corded electrics are cheaper, keep in mind that you’ll need an outdoor outlet and extension cord, which can be cumbersome.

Read on for ratings and reviews of eight standout models from our tests, with two in each configuration. CR members can jump right into our full string trimmer ratings to compare models. To learn more about the different types, start with our string trimmer buying guide.

Below, you’ll find two of the best gas straight-shaft string trimmers in CR’s ratings. Straight-shaft models are usually longer than curved-shaft trimmers, which can help you reach places a curved-shaft model can’t.

Best Gas Curved-Shaft String Trimmers

Curved-shaft gas string trimmers typically offer better maneuverability for treating hard-to-reach areas of your lawn. Below, we highlight two of the best models from this category, which as a whole don’t perform as well in CR’s tests as straight-shaft or battery-powered string trimmers.

Best Battery String Trimmers

Battery string trimmers now often pack the power of gas models, and they’re priced comparably. Plus the batteries can usually power other tools, like chainsaws, hedge trimmers, or leaf blowers, from the same brand.

Best Corded Electric String Trimmers

Corded electric string trimmers are incredibly affordable. But there aren’t a ton of great options among this increasingly unpopular variety, and they have a built-in distance limit because they require a constant connection to an outlet.

How CR Tests String Trimmers

We use each trimmer to tackle typical yard weeds and high grass as well as dense brush, noting and timing how long each model takes to clear a defined path. We also test each model’s edging, or its ability to create a neat and straight line along a walkway. And we look at how easy each trimmer is to hold, maneuver, and operate, noting how difficult it is to start up or feed extra line through the cutting head.

We test gas models with curved and straight shafts, along with battery and electric models. If you’ve never used a string trimmer, try handling curved-shaft and straight-shaft models in a home center or hardware store to see which type feels better. In general, tall users may favor straight-shaft models because they have a longer reach. Shorter users may prefer curved-shaft models because they can be a bit easier to control.

Best String Trimmers of 2024 - Consumer Reports (1)

Paul Hope

Paul Hope is a senior multimedia content creator at Consumer Reports and a trained chef. He covers ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens, as well as grills, drills, outdoor power tools, decking, and wood stains. Before joining CR in 2016, he tested kitchen products at Good Housekeeping and covered tools and remodeling for This Old House magazine. You’ll typically find him in his old fixer-upper, engrossed in a DIY project or trying out a new recipe.

Best String Trimmers of 2024 - Consumer Reports (2024)


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