Best Electric String Trimmers of 2020

Paul Hope
·2 min read

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If the notion of buying and maintaining another gas-powered yard tool doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll be pleased to know that electric is probably all you need in a string trimmer.

Consumer Reports has tested dozens of gas and electric string trimmers, and the full results are available to CR members in our ratings. If you’re unsure about which type to buy, start with our buying guide. Here, we cover what to consider, and we highlight some of the very best electric string trimmers from our tests. 

“Electric trimmers really rival gas in cutting performance,” says Misha Kollontai, who oversees string trimmer testing for Consumer Reports. He recommends choosing a corded model if you have a small yard with an outdoor outlet and want to save a little money.

“Otherwise, spend a bit more and invest in a good battery-powered tool platform, and consider the brand’s electric lawn mower, chain saw, and leaf blower when you buy the string trimmer,” Kollontai says.

(If you need to clear weeds and high grass for 30-plus minutes at a clip, buy a second battery for a cordless string trimmer or opt for a gas trimmer.)

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 at edging, or its ability to create a neat and straight line along a walkway. We also look at how easy each model is to hold, maneuver, and operate, noting how difficult it is to start up or feed extra line through the cutting head. 

We also assess the predicted reliability of string trimmers, by fuel source and brand, relying on insights from 31,374 CR members who told us about their experiences with string trimmers purchased between 2013 and 2019. Specifically, problem rates by the end of the fourth year of ownership inform our reliability rating, while owner satisfaction is determined by the percentage of members who say they are extremely likely to recommend their string trimmer to a friend or family member. 

Our members can jump to CR’s string trimmer ratings or read on for ratings and reviews of five of the best electric string trimmers.

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