Best String Trimmers of 2019

Paul Hope

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Along fences, rock walls, and garden beds, you can let grass do its thing—or easily cut it down to size with a string trimmer.

Using a whizzing microfilament (the string) a string trimmer can get into those tight spots and keep your property looking tidy.

CR’s lawn experts have tested dozens of string trimmers so that you can weed out those that bog down in tough conditions. Among our top picks are some that can breeze effortlessly through tall grass and weeds. All in all, we found plenty of string trimmers worth recommending.

We found capable models in every configuration across a wide range of prices. But first you need to figure out which style is right for you.

“We’re at a point where the best electric models cut every bit as well as the best gas tools,” says Misha Kollontai, who oversees string-trimmer testing at Consumer Reports. “You should really let the size of your lawn dictate whether you can make do with the limited range or run time of an electric, or whether you need the flexibility of gas.”

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

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 neatly trimmed grass walkway. And we 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 test gas and electric models with curved and straight shafts. If you’ve never used a string trimmer, try out curved-shaft and straight-shaft models in a home center or hardware store to see which 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. 

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of six standout models from our tests, the top performer and best value in each configuration. 

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