As the gardening season kicks into full gear, it's time to review the best string trimmers of 2023. String trimmers, also known as weed eaters or weed whackers, are essential tools for maintaining a neat and tidy yard. They're ideal for tackling hard-to-reach spots that mowers can't handle, like the grass around trees, against fences, and along garden borders.
This year, we have seen advancements in battery technology, ergonomic designs, and power output, making these tools more efficient and easier to use. This guide will dive into the top 5 string trimmers of 2023, discussing their features, pros, cons, and user experiences.
Types of String Trimmers
Gas-Powered String Trimmers
Gas-powered models are known for their power and mobility. They're excellent for large properties and heavy-duty tasks, as they can cut through thick and tough vegetation. However, they're bulkier, noisier, and require more maintenance than their electric counterparts.
Electric String Trimmers
Electric string trimmers are quieter, lighter, and easier to maintain than gas models. They're ideal for small to medium-sized yards, and for people who prioritize environmental friendliness.
- Corded Electric Trimmers: These models are limited by the length of their power cord, which can be inconvenient if you have a large yard. However, they deliver consistent power and are typically less expensive than cordless or gas models.
- Cordless (Battery-Powered) Trimmers: These trimmers offer the mobility of a gas-powered model without the noise and emissions. However, their runtime is limited by battery life.
What to Look for When Buying a String Trimmer
- Power: If you have a larger yard or need to trim thick, tough vegetation, you'll need a more powerful string trimmer. Gas models generally offer the most power, followed by cordless models, and then corded electric models.
- Weight and Balance: A lightweight and well-balanced string trimmer will be more comfortable to use, especially for long periods. Look for models with adjustable handles and shafts, which allow you to customize the trimmer to your height and preferred working position.
- Cutting Width: The cutting width determines how much area the trimmer can cut in one pass. A larger cutting width can save you time if you have a lot of ground to cover, but a smaller cutting width may be easier to control and better for precision tasks.
- Line Feed System: There are two main types of line feed systems: automatic (the line advances automatically when the trimmer is running) and bump feed (you bump the head of the trimmer on the ground to advance the line). Automatic systems are more convenient, but bump feed systems give you more control over the line length.
- Battery Life (for Cordless Trimmers): If you opt for a cordless model, pay attention to the battery life. You'll want a model that can last for the duration of your trimming tasks. Some models come with a quick-charge feature, which can be handy if you have a large yard.
Top String Trimmer Models of 2023
Here are some of the top string trimmer models as of the time of writing, each excelling in different areas:
1. DeWalt DCST922P1 20V MAX String Trimmer
The DeWalt DCST922P1 is a battery-powered string trimmer with a 14-inch cutting swath. It's powered by a 20V MAX 5.0Ah Lithium-Ion battery, providing robust power output and good runtime.
- Folding hinge for easy storage
- QuickLoad™ Spool for easy line replacement
- Variable speed trigger for power control
- The DeWalt DCST922P1 is lightweight and easy to maneuver, making it suitable for extended use without causing fatigue.
- The foldable shaft makes it compact for storage and transport.
- The QuickLoad™ Spool allows for fast and easy line changes, reducing downtime.
- Some users have mentioned that the line can break off easily on tougher weeds.
- The battery life might not be sufficient for larger yards.
2. Husqvarna 128LD 28-cc 2-Cycle 17-in Straight Shaft
The Husqvarna 128LD is a gas-powered string trimmer with a 17-inch cutting width. It's powered by a 28cc 2-cycle engine, which offers high power output for tackling tough overgrowth.
- Detachable shaft for easy transport and storage
- Tap 'N Go line release feature
- Compatible with multiple Husqvarna attachments
- The Husqvarna 128LD offers superior power, allowing it to handle thicker grass and weeds.
- It has a detachable shaft, making it easy to store and transport.
- The tap 'N Go line release feature allows for easy line feeding.
- Being gas-powered, it produces more noise and emissions compared to electric models.
- Some users have reported issues with the carburetor.
3. EGO Power+ ST1502SA 15-Inch String Trimmer
The EGO Power+ ST1502SA is a cordless string trimmer powered by a 56V Lithium-Ion battery. It has a 15-inch cutting width and features an automatic line management system.
- Rapid reload head for quick line replacement
- Weather-resistant construction
- Variable speed control
- The EGO Power+ ST1502SA has a powerful motor and battery, offering performance similar to gas-powered models without the noise and emissions.
- The rapid reload head enables quick line changes.
- The trimmer is built with weather-resistant materials, making it durable for outdoor use.
- Some users find it a bit heavy compared to other models.
- The battery and charger are sold separately, adding to the overall cost.
4. Ryobi RY253SS 25cc 2-Cycle 17-inch
The Ryobi RY253SS is a gas-powered string trimmer with a 17-inch cutting width. It's powered by a 25cc 2-cycle engine and is compatible with multiple Ryobi attachments.
- Reel-Easy bump-feed string head
- Attachment capable design
- Zip Start carburetor
- The Ryobi RY253SS offers robust performance with its 25cc engine.
- The Reel-Easy bump-feed string head allows for fast and easy reloading.
- The trimmer is compatible with several attachments, making it versatile for various yard tasks.
- Like other gas-powered trimmers, it can be noisy and produce emissions.
- Some users have reported issues with starting the trimmer.
5. Black+Decker LSTE525 20V MAX String Trimmer
The Black+Decker LSTE525 is a cordless string trimmer powered by a 20V MAX Lithium-Ion battery. It features a 12-inch cutting width and has a 2-speed control for increased power or extended runtime.
- EasyFeed™ system for easy line advancement
- Power Drive Transmission™ for increased torque
- Convertible to a wheeled edger
- The Black+Decker LSTE525 is lightweight and easy to handle.
- The EasyFeed™ system allows for easy line advancement without bumping.
- The trimmer can be easily converted to a wheeled edger for precise trimming along sidewalks and driveways.
- With a 12-inch cutting width, it may take longer to cover large areas.
- Some users have reported that the battery life is not sufficient for larger yards.
Tips for Using a String Trimmer
- Safety First: Always wear safety glasses, sturdy footwear, and long pants when using a string trimmer. The trimmer can throw debris at high speeds, so it's essential to protect yourself.
- Proper Handling: Hold the trimmer with both hands and keep the cutting head at a slight angle—about 30 degrees. This will make it easier to control and more efficient at cutting grass.
- Trimming Technique: For the best results, sweep the trimmer from side to side in a steady, controlled motion. Avoid cutting too close to the ground, as this can damage the trimmer line and create a dirt cloud.
- Maintenance: Keep the trimmer well-maintained for optimal performance. This includes cleaning it regularly, keeping the string at the right length, and replacing the string when it becomes worn or thin.
In 2023, the string trimmer market continues to evolve, offering a range of models to suit different needs and preferences. Whether you prefer the raw power of gas models like the Husqvarna 128LD and the Ryobi RY253SS, or the quiet, emission-free operation of battery-powered models like the DeWalt DCST922P1, EGO Power+ ST1502SA, and Black+Decker LSTE525, there's an option for you.
When selecting a string trimmer, consider factors such as power source, cutting width, weight, and special features like the EasyFeed™ system in Black+Decker LSTE525 or the Rapid Reload head in EGO Power+ ST1502SA. Remember to also take into consideration the size of your yard, the type of vegetation you'll be dealing with, and your personal comfort.
While each of these five models has its strengths and weaknesses, they all represent the top of the line for 2023. Each one is a solid investment in maintaining your yard's appearance and health. Happy trimming!