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Gas, electric string trimmers make quick work of stubborn lawns

Posted April 21, 2016

Getting a perfectly trimmed lawn takes some work.

For professional landscapers and home gardeners alike, though, one piece of equipment can help get that perfect edge: a string trimmer.

Whether it's edging the yard or tackling weeds and grasses that are too tall, a string trimmer is the go-to garden tool.

Consumer Reports compared three types of trimmers: gas powered, battery powered and electric. Gas trimmers are popular because they’re powerful, can go anywhere and run for a long time.

Consumer Reports named several Best Buys, including the $130 Ryobi. It gets under bushes and makes quick work of tall grasses.

This year, for the first time, Consumer Reports found several battery powered trimmers that perform just as well as gas ones.

The top-rated battery trimmer is the $180 E-GO, which can get into hard-to-reach areas and has enough power to handle any situation without the worry of mixing oil and gasoline.

The battery lasts about 25 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to recharge.

Consumer Reports says for smaller jobs, a corded electric can work well.

“All corded electric units are limited to the length of the electric cord, but they are (a) good, cost effective alternative for smaller jobs," said Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk. "Look for one that has twin cutting strings. You’ll get the job done faster.”

The best of the corded electric of the bunch as tested by Consumer Reports was the $90 Ryobi.

With any type of string trimmer, the cutting strings need to be changed at the start of the season—old string can become brittle and break easy.

Another tip: Get the right string size string. Cutting string that's too thin will reduce cutting power and string that's too thick can slow down the engine or motor.


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