Best String Trimmers of 2021

CR's tests show you don't have to pay a lot to get a capable model

When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

string trimmer GettyImages-913865986

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.

These tools get into those tight spots around your property where a mower just can’t go.

CR’s lawn experts have tested dozens of string trimmers, including gas, corded, and battery versions. To learn more about the types, start with our string trimmer buying guide. CR members can jump right into our string trimmer ratings to compare models. Below, we’ve highlighted the best string trimmers in each configuration.

More on string trimmers & lawn care

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 though 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. 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.

Best Gas Straight-Shaft String Trimmers

Best Gas Curved-Shaft String Trimmers

Best Electric String Trimmers


Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic 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, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.