If your garden is more overgrown wilderness than tranquil haven, you’re probably dreading the hard work ahead. But with the right tool for the job, you can cut your weeds down to size fast. Read on for our list of the best walk behind string trimmers to make clearing undergrowth a pleasure, not a chore.
If you’ve ever been faced with ground that’s overgrown with weeds, you’ll know what a daunting task it is. Getting them under control can be back breaking work – and dangerous too.
I remember the time my partner suggested using a scythe to cut through the undergrowth in our new home’s backyard. I took one look at that long, curved blade and imagined a speedy trip to our local hospital. Instead, I got out the garden shears. Three hours later, I was still up to my knees in weeds.
If that sounds familiar, you might be wondering the same thing I was. Is there a better way of dealing with that pesky greenery? The answer, thankfully, is yes. After a bit of research, I discovered that what I needed was a string trimmer. These clever machines take far less effort, and can clear your ground in a fraction of the time.
The ones you swing by hand – like a big magic wand making your weeds disappear – are affectionately known as “weed whackers”. They’re great for smaller patches of ground. But if you’re lucky enough to have a bigger area to work with, you’ll need something with more power.
That’s where walk-behind string trimmers come in. These beasts will munch up any weeds in their path, turning your overgrown wilderness into neat pasture in minutes. Watching them in action is genuinely impressive. (It’s well worth taking a moment to snap “before” and “after” photos of your garden to wow your friends.)
There are, though, a lot of different options on the market – and they come with very different price tags. So if you’re thinking about a purchase, check out our list of the best walk-behind string trimmers out there. We’ll take you through everything you need to know to decide which option is right for your garden.
The Best Walk Behind String Trimmer Reviews of 2019
1. Remington RM1159 Walk-Behind String Trimmer (My Top Recommended)
- 159cc 4-cycle gas engine to handle tough weeds
- 22-inch cutting swath covers ground fast
- Off-set trimmer head to get into hard-to-reach spots
The power in Remington’s RM1159 comes from a 159cc 4-cycle gas engine from Power more. That gives it plenty of heft to deal with even tough weeds. We’ve seen it handle five-foot tall monsters without breaking a sweat. It’s easy to start too, cranking up on the first pull pretty much every time.
You’ll get a 22-inch cut with every pass, helping you cover a big area reasonably fast. Don’t expect a bowling-green finish though: this is a machine designed to deal with the rough stuff. If you’re looking for a manicured result, you’ll need to mow afterward.
That’s not to say that it can’t handle intricately shaped spaces. It can. The trimmer head is positioned off-center, making it easier to cut around fences, flower beds or other features.
It uses 0.155-inch diameter string, resilient enough to stand up to a lot of hard work. If you’re spending a lot of time cutting against barriers like fences though, be prepared to change it sooner. It isn’t a task to fear: the design here makes it very easy to do.
There’s also the ability to change the height of the cut. There are three different settings, selected using a simple lever on the handle.
The wheels are large, and designed to cope with uneven ground. This is, however, one area where we think Remington could make some improvements.
The problem isn’t the wheel diameter. That’s a healthy 14 inches, plenty big enough to keep the bottom of the trimmer clear of rough surfaces.
More of an issue is the width. The wheels would work far better if they were just a little wider. If you’re dealing with rutted terrain, you may find it an effort to keep it on track.
You could, of course, change the wheels. Wheelbarrow wheels of the same diameter do the job perfectly and make for far easier maneuvering on rough ground. Yes, changing the wheels is a hassle, and it would be better not to need to do it. But for an otherwise excellent trimmer at a competitive price, it may be worth it.
2. Powermate 43cc Walk-Behind Wheeled Multi String Trimmer Mower
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Beveled trimmer head for cutting precise edges around obstacles
- Multi-string trimmer head with on-board string storage
Powermate’s string trimmer has the smallest engine on our list at just 43cc. That makes it easy on fuel consumption. And you’ll still get 35% more torque than with a hand-held trimmer.
It’s also very light and easy to maneuver. The wheel diameter is a little smaller than the Remington at 12 inches – but this is a smaller machine overall. And the wheels themselves are good and chunky, so they’ll handle difficult terrain.
There are other nice design elements too. If you’re looking for a machine that can cope with trimming against obstacles, this should be on your shortlist. The beveled trimmer head allows you to cut at an angle of between five and ten degrees. That will give you a precise finish around fence posts, curved patio edges or flower beds.
The whole trimmer head can be swiveled too, from 20 to 30 degrees. It’s a great feature, giving a neat finish along straight lines like fences, or the edges of decking.
You have the option of choosing from different string diameters, depending on the job. The Powermate will take either 0.095, 0.105 or 0.155-inch diameters.
Replacing the string is easy too. There’s onboard storage so you can keep the different options handy. And there’s a guide to help make sure you get a perfect length with every cut.
The handle is comfortable to hold onto, and the throttle is activated with your thumb. It’s spring-loaded, so it doesn’t require a lot of effort.
The downside of the Powermate’s smaller scale is, as you might expect, cutting scale and power.
The cutting width here is 17 inches. That’s considerably less than the 22 inches of most walk-behind string trimmers. For a larger garden, it’s not the best choice. And if you’ve got really tough, overgrown weeds, go for something with a bigger engine.
But if what you’re looking for is a nimble, easy-to-use trimmer that gives a neat finish, it’s well worth a look. For anyone with a smaller plot and lots of obstacles to navigate, it’s a great option.
3. Southland SWFT15022 Field Trimmer (Best Budget)
- Powerful 150cc engine deals with even woody weeds
- Easy start system
- Handle folds down for convenient storage
The first of two Southland string trimmers to make our list, this field trimmer is the polar opposite to the Powermate. Its 150cc engine is big, powerful and noisy. And its 5.75 ft-lbs of torque will eat up almost everything in its path. Expect it to handle even woody stalks up to 3/8-inch round with ease.
If you’ve had difficulties starting gas engines in the past, you may be wary of this one. Don’t be. The manual recoil system delivers a shot of fuel that makes it easy to crank first time. And you don’t need biceps on your biceps either. Just ask my 66-year old neighbor, who uses her Southland field trimmer effortlessly.
It uses four 0.155-inch diameter strings, and they’re really easy to change. Just loop the string through a guide and around a tab. You won’t need any tools, and the whole process takes less than a minute.
Like the Remington, this trimmer has a 22-inch cutting swath. In this case, though, the wheel diameter is slightly smaller, at 12 inches. That won’t give you as much clearance over rough ground, but the wheels are a lot chunkier.
For our money, that makes the Southland a more stable proposition – but it does have its limitations. It isn’t great on sloping surfaces. Although the instructions note that trimming should be across slopes, rather than up and down, it’s still liable to tip. We found we needed a fairly steep diagonal approach to keep it upright.
Take away the problems with the sloping ground, though, and this is a trimmer that’s easy and comfortable to use. The handle has a foam cushion to absorb vibrations and avoid aching hands during long trimming expeditions. That handle folds down easily when you’ve finished, taking up less storage space in your shed or outbuilding.
All in all, a powerful machine that’s simple to use. If you’ve got a plot with steep slopes, however, it won’t be the best option.
4. Southland SWSTM4317 Wheeled String Trimmer
- Beveled trimmer head for precise trimming around barriers
- Lightweight for easy use, weighing just 39 pounds
- Optional blower and edger attachments
With its 43cc engine, the Southland SWSTM4317 has a lot in common with the Powermate string trimmer. It’s lightweight and maneuverable, weighing in at just 39 pounds. And like the Powermate, it has a 17-inch cutting swath.
It features a beveled trimmer head that’s great for working around obstacles. The bevel is from 5 to 10 degrees, giving a neat edge even in tricky spots in your garden. The trimmer head itself can be rotated too, from 20 to 30 degrees. Adjusting the angle will allow you to trim straight edges right next to boundaries.
At 12 inches, the wheel diameter is appropriate to the size of the machine. Those wheels are sturdy too, and wide enough to maintain stability in difficult conditions.
It uses a 0.155-inch diameter string, much wider than you’d get in hand-held string trimmers. That, in turn, makes it much more resilient. The string should last up to three times as long as 0.095-inch diameter versions.
When you do need to change it, it’s easy to do. And there’s a storage compartment in the trimmer so your replacement string is always on hand.
Smaller than other walk-behind string trimmers on this list, this won’t require a lot of room for storage. The handle doesn’t fold down, but the whole machine is compact enough for that not to matter. If you’re pressed for space in your shed or garage, it’s a good option.
You can purchase optional accessories with this one too.
There’s a handy blower that generates an impressive 170 miles per hour of airspeed. It comes with an extra wheel which sits in front and makes it easy to control.
Our favorite gadget, though, is the edger attachment. The straight 8-inch blade will cut to an edging depth of 2.5 inches. It has an additional small wheel on either side for precision steering. If you love the look of a clean, crisp border, that might be reason enough to choose this trimmer.
5. Husqvarna HU675HWT High Wheel Trimmer
- Powerful 163cc engine by Briggs and Stratton
- Starts on the first pull
- Adjustable rim height giving a cutting range of 1.6 to 3 inches
Husqvarna is well-known for its powerful garden tools, and the HU675HWT high wheel trimmer is no exception. Its 163cc engine is made by American manufacturers Briggs and Stratton, and it’s the second most powerful on our list.
It has a 22-inch cutting width, standard for this kind of string trimmer. It gives a good balance between covering large areas quickly, whilst still being able to negotiate confined spaces.
It’s easy to assemble, ready to go in less than half an hour from getting it out of the box. And despite having such a large engine, it’s simple to start. Just one pull on the starter cord, and it springs to life. You can also disengage the trimmer and leave the motor running if you need to.
The string used here is 0.155 inches in diameter. Invest in a good quality string (we like Cyclone) and you’ll be able to keep going for ages without replacing it. The powerful engine won’t overheat either, taking plots of around two acres in its stride.
When it does come time to put in a new string, it’s super-easy to do. You won’t need any tools, and it takes seconds not minutes. For the best results, Husky recommend replacing the string when it’s half its original length.
A particularly nice feature of this trimmer is the adjustable rim height. This allows for a cutting height range of between 1.6 and 3 inches.
So are there any negatives? Well, just the one. We’ve heard about some problems with the plastic plate that carries the string. Some people have found that it’s liable to break. It’s not the end of the world – replacement carrier plates are available. They’re not cheap though – about a tenth of the price of the trimmer itself.
Set that to one side, and this is a reliable, powerful trimmer. It will munch up those weeds fast, and despite its high-powered engine, it won’t run away without you.
6. Dirty Hand Tools Kohler XT675 Walk Behind High Wheel String Trimmer
- 5 cutting height options, from 1.5 to 3.5 inches
- Can take string up to 0.17 inches in diameter
- Patented trim ball keeps string secure
This trimmer from Dirty Hand Tools provides a range of impressive features for a very competitive price.
Let’s start with the engine. While not as big as the Husky or Sarlo, it still offers a more-than-respectable 149cc. It’s made by Kohler, specialists in high-powered garden machinery. The automatic choke means it starts easily, and it’s quieter than other string trimmers too.
There’s also the option to select different cutting heights. If you’re tackling an overgrown area for the first time, 3.5 inches may be low enough. If it’s a repeat outing and the worst of the weeds are already under control, go for a lower setting. This trimmer will cut right down to 1.5 inches.
A major advantage in our book is the ability to use a thicker string than many other trimmers. In most cases, you’ll find the thickest string used in walk-behind trimmers is 0.155 inches in diameter. This trimmer will take string up to 0.17 inches.
The thicker the string, the longer it should last. So if you’ve got woody weeds to deal with, this will be a real advantage. If you have a 0.155-inch string instead – perhaps for a previous trimmer you’re replacing – never fear. There’s no reason you can’t use that too.
Another handy feature is the metal blade that supports the string. It cuts down on wear and tear, providing additional cutting for power for troublesome weeds.
The trim ball has a patented design. The folks at Dirty Hand Tools say it will keep the string secure, even in difficult conditions.
And unlike many other string trimmers, this one allows you to disengage the trimmer while keeping the engine running. That allows you to pause if you need to and safely clear debris from in front of the trimmer.
The cutting orientation here is fixed – you can’t swivel the trim head to get a neater edge. So if you have lots of flower beds or other obstacles to trim around, it won’t be the best choice. But if you’re looking for a keenly priced trimmer to clear a large plot, it should make your shortlist.
7. Swisher STP4422HO Self Propelled String Trimmer
- Adjustable trimmer head, allows cutting heights from 1.5 to 3.5 inches
- Uses 4 strings to give 8 cutting lines
- 75-inch wheels improve mobility on uneven ground
The STP422HO from Swisher isn’t the cheapest trimmer on our list. But we think it packs enough features to be worth a look.
To start with, there’s the 160cc engine from Honda. That gives it plenty of oomph when tackling overgrown weeds. The trimmer will propel itself forward at a speed of about two miles per hour.
Then there are the great big wheels. At nearly 14 inches in diameter, they give plenty of clearance to keep the machine running smoothly over rough ground.
Bear mind, though, that “rough” isn’t the same as “steep”. Like many other trimmers, Swisher’s will struggle with sharp inclines. It isn’t recommended for slopes of more than fifteen degrees.
The trimmer head is offset to the left-hand side, helping achieve a neat edge along obstacles. (Swisher also produce a “deluxe” model, the STD4420HO. With that one, you can place the trimmer head to either side or keep it in the center.)
Perhaps the most striking feature of this trimmer is its innovative string design. It uses four strings in a cross-over pattern to give no fewer than eight cutting lines.
That sounds like a great idea – more cutting lines equals more cutting power, right? Unfortunately, the execution doesn’t quite right live up to the promise. For some reason, using all 4 strings seems to be too much for the trimmer. We’ve heard it stalls frequently, and there’s an uncomfortable level of vibration.
Fortunately, this is a problem that’s easy to sort out if you encounter it. It’s a simple business to remove two of the strings and tighten the belt tension. Hey presto, the trimmer eats up those weeds without all the vibrations.
It’s a shame Swisher hasn’t been able to pull off the four-string design, but this is still a decent machine. It will cover a lot of ground at a fair old pace. And if you have uneven terrain to contend with, the high wheel design will be worth a look.
8. Cub Cadet Gas Walk-Behind String Trimmer
- Choice of seven cutting heights, from 1.75 to 4 inches
- Resilient cutting deck, made from 15-gauge steel
- Ideal for yards of between a quarter and half an acre
With a 159cc 5X65RU Powermore engine by Cub Cadet, this is another powerful string trimmer. It comes with a three-year warranty that covers both the engine and chassis. And in its distinctive Cub Cadet yellow, it stands out from the crowd.
The auto-choke system means there’s no need to prime the engine before you start it up. In fact, there’s hardly any preparation needed at all. Just fold up the handle, screw it in one of three positions, add gas and oil, and you’re ready to go.
It’s 22-inch cutting width will clear a path through some serious weeds. And it takes a 0.155-inch diameter string, so it will stand up to tough treatment and keep going.
The deck is made of resilient 15-gauge steel, and it’s rust resistant. Its unique design allows you to trim right up to the edge offenses and other boundaries. And you’ll be spoilt for choice with no fewer than seven different cutting heights, from 1.75 to 4 inches.
The wheels are 14 inches in diameter, and use ball bearings for a smooth rolling experience. With a fuel tank capacity of 0.25 gallons, it’s ideal for yards of between a quarter and half an acre. It will cope with gentle slopes, but don’t try to use it on anything steeper than 15 degrees.
That’s for two reasons. First, keeping the mower stable on sharp inclines is a challenge. This is a fairly heavy piece of equipment, so that presents a safety issue. Secondly, if the mower is at too steep an angle, the oil won’t get to the engine. That means it won’t get the necessary lubrication and could seize up.
This is an issue with most walk-behind string trimmers. If you’ve got a steep slope to clear, make sure you cut across it, instead of going up and down. Take your time, and take care as you go.
All in all, this is a great trimmer, easy to set up and use, and best suited to medium-sized plots.
9. Poulan Pro PR22WT Walk Behind String Trimmer
- 163cc engine gives 6.75 ft-lbs of torque
- Innovative technology means no need for oil changes
- Choice of six easily-selected cutting heights
If you’re looking for a powerful string trimmer that starts easily, the PR22WT is worth checking out. It uses what Poulan Pro call “ReadyStart” technology to get going without the need for choke or priming. They’re so confident, they guarantee you’ll never have to pull the cord more than twice to crank it up.
The 163cc engine delivers plenty of torque – 6.75 ft-lbs, in fact – enough to tackle really tough weeds. It will even cope with woody stems up to about an eighth of an inch around. You can choose your cutting height too. There are six options, the highest fractionally over 3 inches, and the lowest 1.6 inches.
This is another trimmer with a 22-inch cutting width. Together with its powerful engine, this makes it a good choice for bigger plots. It’s simple to assemble too. You’ll need only a few minutes to fix the handle in place and add gas and oil.
The wheels aren’t the biggest, with a diameter of 12 inches. But they are sturdy, and do a good job of keeping the trimmer stable on uneven terrain. It comes with its own string – a robust 0.155 inches in diameter – but we’d recommend upgrading for greater durability.
There’s a real sign of quality when it comes to the clips for the strings. On many trimmers, you’ll find these are plastic, and they can snap easily. The PR22WT features metal clips instead – far more resilient.
We also like what Poulan Pro refers to (somewhat unimaginatively) as their “Just Check and Add” technology. This is designed to mean you never have to worry about the mess and hassle of carrying out full oil changes. As the name suggests, you simply check the oil level occasionally, and top it up as necessary.
On the downside, there’s no throttle – so no opportunity to reduce rpm to tackle tougher weeds. That’s a minor gripe, though, for a trimmer that otherwise performs well.
10. Sarlo SST6 Walk-Behind String Trimmer
- Powerful trimmer with 8.5 gross torque from a 190cc engine
- Robust steel frame for durability
- Off-center trimmer head and four high-speed strings for close, even cutting
The priciest model on our list, Sarlo’s SST6 has impressive features that might make it worth the investment. You’ll have to have deep pockets though – it’s more than twice as expensive as other walk behind string trimmers.
So what do you get for your money?
Perhaps the most obvious difference between this and other trimmers is the size of the engine. The SST6 uses a 190cc engine. That’s a whole 27cc more than the Husky, the next biggest on our list. And it’s more than four times as powerful as the Powermate trimmer.
There’s a 1.5-quart fuel tank capacity to keep it running, and you’ll get 8.5 gross torque. All that means serious weed-tackling action. It can even cope with wet undergrowth on uneven terrain. If you’ve got a problem site to deal with, it’s well worth considering.
The risk with an engine this size is that it becomes difficult to maneuver. That’s not a problem here. The plow-style handles and high wheels make it easy to control, and the whole machine is beautifully balanced.
But there’s more to this trimmer than power alone. Clever features include a trimmer head that’s mounted off-center for close cutting, and a high-quality safety shield. That shield is made of steel, not plastic, as with many cheaper machines. There are no fewer than four trimmer lines that work at high speed to give you a close cut.
There’s also a rubber safety flap. The flexibility of the rubber allows it to protect the trimmer and operator without compromising performance.
And to make sure that the weeds don’t win, the spindles are designed to avoid tangling. They feature a U-shaped cutter made of heavy-duty steel to recut thick or fibrous weeds and stop the trimmer getting clogged up.
With a string trimmer this expensive, you’ll want to know it’s built to last. Fortunately, this one is. The whole frame is made of welded steel, and there’s a steel bumper bar too. It will cope easily with frequent turns, and the occasional bump won’t do it any harm.
What you should look for?
You might be finding all these different features a bit confusing. What do they mean for you?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’re going to take you through the questions to consider when choosing the best walk-behind string trimmer for your garden.
How big an area will you need to cover?
The first thing to ask yourself is whether a walk-behind string trimmer is the right product at all. If you’ve got a small garden a hand-held string trimmer may be better. They’re less expensive, and will do the job you need them to just as well.
That’s doubly the case for small gardens with a lot of ornamental features. Will you need to trim around flower beds? A rockery or garden pond? What about the edges of fences? Or a patio?
A hand-held string trimmer gives you maximum maneuverability. It can move just as freely as your arm, and will handle all those awkward edges easily.
But if you’ve got a bigger area – and bigger weeds – to deal with, a walk-behind trimmer will be a better bet.
First of all, you’ll get a lot more power. Even a small walk-behind like the Powermate or Southland’s SWSTM4317 will deliver about 35% more torque than a hand-held trimmer. That means faster clearance of bigger areas.
Secondly, you won’t have to lug the thing around the whole time. Even hand-held trimmers will get heavy if you have to use them for long. Let the wheels take the strain with a walk-behind version. Your muscles will thank you for it the next day.
Supposing you’ve concluded your garden is big enough for a walk-behind model, consider how long it will take to cover. Trimmers have different cutting widths – the ones we’ve selected from our list are either 17 or 22 inches. A 22-inch version will get your area cleared quicker, but won’t be quite as nimble in tight spaces.
And think about the engine. The larger the space, the bigger the engine needed to trim it quickly. But look out for the fuel tank capacity too. You don’t want to have to be stopping and starting because you’ve run out of gas.
Open expanse or features galore?
Next, think about the kind of space you’re going to be working in. Will you have to cut around irregular-shaped obstacles – trees, statuary or garden ponds? What about straight edges? Will you need to trim up against fences or other boundaries?
Is your terrain rough and rocky, or largely smooth going? Will you need to trim sloping ground, or is it flat all the way to the horizon?
All these factors will affect the features you need in your walk-behind string trimmer.
If you need to trim along long, straight edges, look for a machine with a swiveling head. Both the Powermaster and Southland’s SWSTM4317 have a trimming head that will rotate 20 to 30 degrees. That will allow you to get right up to the edge of fences or other barriers. And it will keep you moving in a nice straight line.
On the other hand, those trimmers can be prone to swiveling when you don’t want them too. If you don’t need to worry about a neat edge next to fences, go for a trimmer with a fixed head instead.
To deal with curved obstacles, some trimmers have beveled edges. These make it far easier to get a close finish around odd shapes – a curved patio, say, or a bird bath.
And if you’ve got an uneven surface to deal with, look out for a trimmer with high wheels. There are several on our list with wheel diameters greater than 13 inches. That will lift the base of the machine above rocks or protruding tree roots. And that, in turn, will keep it steady and produce a better finish.
Watch out for wheel widths as well. A high wheel needs to be wide enough to carry it over rutted ground. Get stuck in a narrow hollow, and it will be hard work to get back out again. Check customer reviews for good intelligence on whether the wheels are up to the job.
Finally, ask yourself whether your trimmer will need to handle the sloping ground. This can be a tall order for many machines, and you’ll need to go slowly across the slope, whichever model you choose.
Some trimmers, though, handle slopes better than others. Check the specifications to see the maximum incline for safe operation before you buy.
Who will be doing the trimming?
Are you going to be sub-contracting the hard work to a muscle-bound athlete who powerlifts small cars on the weekend? If so, great! You won’t need to worry about winning a battle of strength with your string trimmer. If not, bear in mind that some trimmers can require a fair amount of power to operate.
Most gas powered trimmers will use a pull cord to start up. These can vary enormously in how much strength they need to crank up. We’ve heard of customers who’ve been flat out unable to use their trimmer because of the upper body power required.
Some manufacturers have put considerable effort into addressing this issue. Look out for auto-choke mechanisms that help the motor to start easily. And Poulan Pro even offer a guarantee that you’ll never have to pull the starter cord more than twice.
It’s also worth looking at the weight of the machine. The heavier it is, the stronger the engine will need to be to keep it moving. And look out for features like foam padding on the handle, and adjustable handle positions. They will make the trimmer much more comfortable to maneuver.
How low will you go?
You might think all trimmers will cut weeds to about the same height – in fact, that’s not the case. There’s a surprising amount of variation between machines.
Think about the kind of area you’ll need to tackle. If it hasn’t seen a blade for years, that first trim is likely to need to be several inches high. Any lower, and you’re going to burn through strings like there’s no tomorrow.
If, on the other hand, you’ve got an area of scrubby growth, you might want a lower cut. And if you’re looking for a higher quality finish, you may want to reduce the cutting height in stages.
Most trimmers will cut to a height of somewhere between about 1.5 and 4 inches. Some also offer the ability to adjust the cutting height. Even adjustable trimmers, though, will have pre-set increments. So as well as checking the height range, find out how many intermediate settings are available.
The most flexible trimmer on our list is the Cub Cadet, offering an impressive seven different cutting heights. With some others, you’ll be restricted to the cutting height set at the factory.
It’s worth remembering though, that a walk-behind string trimmer isn’t designed for a manicured finish. It can look great to produce a flat green swathe through a wildflower meadow, but don’t expect a bowling green. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll need a ride-on lawnmower – and that will be much more expensive.
Price and durability
As with most other pieces of garden machinery, the price you pay for a walk-behind string trimmer can vary enormously. Make sure you check online sites and compare with local dealers. We’ve found exactly the same machine at wildly different prices.
But setting aside differences between retailers – do you get what you pay for? In some cases, yes.
Sarlo’s SST6 string trimmer is at least twice as expensive as other walk-behind trimmers on our list. You do, though, get an engine that’s a class apart in terms of power. Perhaps more importantly in terms of value for money, it’s built to withstand years of heavy use.
A good sign of quality is the materials from which the components are made. Look for a welded steel chassis. A steel bumper will help protect the trimmer from damage from collisions. And a safety shield that’s made from metal not plastic will be far more robust.
It’s also worth considering the string that’s doing the cutting. The wider the string diameter, the more resilient it will be and the less often you’ll have to change it.
Some trimmers, like the Powermate, will take a range of different string thicknesses. That allows you to go for less expensive, thinner strings where weed coverage is lighter. You can then break out the thicker strings for tougher jobs.
You can play your part in making sure your trimmer goes the distance too. Check the oil level regularly so that the engine stays lubricated. Change the string when it’s down to half its original length. And always use the string thickness recommended by the manufacturer for your machine.
And remember: not all gardens need a super-strong steel-heavy trimmer. If you’re looking for something for irregular use on a modest sized area, a lighter trimmer may be all you need.
However much you spend, check out the length of the warranty. Bear in mind too, that some warranties won’t cover every part of the machine. Make sure you read the small print to avoid any unwelcome surprises. And if you do need a replacement or repair, check whether you’ll have to meet the costs of taking it to a dealer.
Looking for a little extra?
Generally speaking, there aren’t a huge number of optional extras when it comes to walk-behind string trimmers. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t any at all.
In some cases, you can buy compatible tools that extend the functionality of your machine. Southland’s SWSTM4317 offers an optional blower to help clear away debris. There’s also a smart edging tool for a crisp finish around borders or other garden features.
You should expect any string trimmer you buy to come with string – after all, the clue is in the name. Some machines, though, will come with extra string for replacements. On the other hand, you might prefer to go with a specialist brand to reduce string changes. Cyclone cord, for example, is well-known for its durability.
Last but not least, check for small extras. Even less expensive walk-behind trimmers aren’t cheap, so compare offers between dealers. Some will include things like safety goggles or a can of oil in the price. After all, every little helps.
Keep in mind that you’ll need somewhere to store your trimmer. Even rust-resistant coatings won’t make them entirely weather-proof. And you don’t want an envious passer-by spotting your beautifully trimmed ground and helping himself to your kit!
Check the dimensions of your trimmer, and make sure you’ll have a secure space to store it. Machines with a 22-inch cutting width will obviously be bigger than those with a 17-inch cut. But that’s not the whole story.
Some trimmers have fold down handles which dramatically reduce the space requirement for storage. So if it’s a tight fit inside your shed or garage, that’s a feature to look out for.
Ready to choose?
That brings us to the end of our guide to some of the best walk-behind string trimmers available today. We hope you’re now ready to pick the model that best meets your needs.
Before you make your final choice, remember: think about your own comfort, as well as the area you’ll be trimming. Engine power and cutting heights are important, but so is ease of use.
We hope our list has shown that’s there are lots of great trimmers to choose from. Our favorite is Remington’s RM1159. It offers plenty of power to make short work of even hefty weeds – and it won’t break the bank.
Whichever option you go for, we’re sure those weeds will soon be history!