Easiest String Trimmers to Use
Trimming grass around edges and tight spots is less of a chore with these models from Consumer Reports' tests
String trimmers can be a pain. Many an hour on a weekend day has been lost while trying to feed string into a fickle trimmer or fruitlessly yanking a gas-powered trimmer's pull cord while the engine sputters.
Plus, many string trimmers are bulky and heavy, which gets tiring when, for instance, you’re trying to trim a neat line along a walkway. That’s why Consumer Reports tests string trimmers for ease of use and handling as well as performance and other qualities.
Testing for Ease of Use and Handling
Across all string trimmers, including gas, battery, and corded electric, our ease-of-use test captures how simple it is to load string and use the controls. For gas models, we assess how easy it is to work the pull cord for starting a trimmer's engine and we record how long it takes for the trimmer head to begin spinning once you engage it (by pressing a separate button or other trigger). For battery models, we time how long a model can cut grass on one charge—the longer the better, so you don't have to keep stopping to recharge. We do this test twice, and take the average time.
Our handling tests assess two factors: responsiveness and balance. How quickly does a trimmer start when you pull the trigger? Is the weight of the trimmer evenly balanced so that it's not awkward—and tiring—to use? "By the end of testing a batch of string trimmers, the best models just feel like they're floating in your hands, while the worst feel bulky," says Kollontai.
So which models in our tests are the easiest to use? Here are the details on four that fit the bill—one each of the four different types of string trimmers we test. To learn more about string trimmers, see our string trimmer buying guide. CR members can also jump right to our ratings of more than two dozen trimmers.