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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. To learn more about the types, start with our buying guide. CR members can jump right into our string trimmer ratings to compare models. Here, we’ve highlighted the best string trimmers in different configurations.
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.
“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 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 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.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2020, Consumer Reports, Inc.