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One of the best string trimmers.

Best String Trimmers for Yard Cleanup

You don't have to pay a lot to get a capable machine

To keep your yard looking neat all season, invest in a good string trimmer. There are a few dozen to choose from in Consumer Reports' latest tests. Of the dozens of string trimmers in our ratings, 30 models performed well enough for us to recommend.

There are capable models in every configuration across a wide range of prices. But that's not to say you can't go awry—our top picks can tackle tall grass and weeds with ease, but the worst models in our tests choke under pressure. Here are six standouts:

1
Gas Straight-Shaft
Echo SRM-230

Echo SRM-230

Best Overall
At $290, the Echo SRM-230 is among the priciest models in our ratings. But it cuts like a champ through tall, thick weeds in our tests, and it aced our edging test, which will help you keep growth along walkways at bay. Like all straight-shaft models, it's best suited for taller users—if you're on the shorter side, look for a curved-shaft model. For $70 less, the slightly lighter-weight Echo SRM-225, $220, performed almost as well and weighs a half-pound less. 

    2
    Troy-Bilt TB2044 XP

    Troy-Bilt TB2044 XP

    Best Value
    The Troy-Bilt TB2044, $200, was right behind the top-rated Echo in clearing through tall grass and edging cleanly. Even though you're paying $90 less, you're getting some features that make it easier to use than the Echo, including a swiveling cutting head, which makes it a cinch to edge along a sidewalk or driveway. 

      3
      Gas Curved-Shaft
      Stihl FS 38

      Stihl FS 38

      Best Overall
      Curved-shaft gas string trimmers tend to be better if you're average height or shorter, plus they're generally a little easier to maneuver. And most of the models in our ratings are cheaper than their straight-shafted counterparts. The Stihl FS 38, $130, is our top-rated curved-shaft trimmer. It easily powers through tall grass and weeds, and at 10.5 pounds it's fairly light. For slightly heavier-duty jobs, the Stihl FS 40 C-E, $183, has a larger engine and matched the Stihl FS 38 on cutting.   

        4
        Ryobi RY252CS

        Ryobi RY252CS

        Best Value
        The Ryobi RY252CS, $135, is pretty tough to beat. It trims neatly, clobbers tall grass and weeds, and has a pivoting head for easy edging—all for a very reasonable price.

          5
          Battery-Powered
          EGO ST1501-S

          EGO ST1501-S

          Best Overall
          The Ego ST1501-S, $200, took top prize among battery-powered string trimmers. It trims and edges as well as the best gas models, even if it doesn't pack quite the same punch when clearing tall weeds. At 9 pounds, it's also extremely light. And being battery-powered, it's easy to start and operate. It'll go anywhere a gas model can, but run times are limited. If you splurge on the top-rated Ego LM2101 lawn mower, $500, you can use the batteries interchangeably between the tools and can always have one charging. 

            6
            Plug-In Electric
            Black+Decker GH3000

            Black+Decker GH3000

            Best Overall
            If you have a small yard, a plug-in electric string trimmer will suffice. You'll need an outlet within 100 feet and an extension cord to power the machine. The Black+Decker GH3000, $70, trims really well and spares you the need to buy gasoline or splurge on a battery-powered trimmer. It has a single cutting line, and it lacks the power of larger gas models, but if you have only a few spots to hit each week, it's a solid choice. 

              Shopping links are provided by eBay Commerce Network and Amazon, which makes it easy to find the right product from a variety of online retailers. Clicking any of the links will take you to the retailer's website to shop for this product. Please note that Consumer Reports collects fees from both eBay Commerce Network and Amazon for referring users. We use 100% of these fees to fund our testing programs.
              Paul Hope

              As a classically trained chef and an enthusiast DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test in the 1850s farmhouse my wife and I are restoring while raising our two young children.