The Best String Trimmers

The Best String Trimmers

Our pick

Ego ST1521S Power+ String Trimmer

Ego ST1521S Power+ String Trimmer

The best string trimmer

The Ego ST1521S far outperformed the competition in run time and power. It’s also very comfortable to use, even for extended trimming sessions.

Buying Options

$230 from Ace Hardware

Compared with other brands’ cordless trimmers, the Ego ST1521S Power+ String Trimmer is on a different level. It cut through 1-inch-thick Japanese knotweed like it was grass, while the others pathetically slapped their strings against the thick stalks. Considering all that power, you’d expect this trimmer to be noisy, but it was also the quietest tool we tested, with a hair-dryer-like hum that sounded more pleasant than the whine of its competitors. The Ego ST1521S is just as powerful and affordable as a gas tool, but without the messy fuel, smelly exhaust, or time-consuming maintenance. It was also the most capable cordless trimmer we found, with enough run time to cut a 1-foot-wide strip of grass almost two-thirds of a mile long on a single battery charge. The Ego comes with a push-button line load system, which eliminates the typically tedious process of putting new line on the spool head. There are a variety of systems that do this, but the Ego’s is the easiest we’ve tested. It wasn’t the lightest trimmer we tried, but its excellent balance and handling made it one of the easiest to swing around and maneuver in tight spots. This one replaces our previous pick, the now-discontinued Ego ST1502.

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Runner-up

Ego ST1502-SA Power+ String Trimmer

Ego ST1502-SA Power+ String Trimmer

The next best trimmer

The Ego ST1502-SA is very similar to our main pick, but the line load isn’t as polished.

Buying Options

$170* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $190.

If the Ego ST1521S is not available, we also like the Ego ST1502-SA Power+ String Trimmer. This is the previous generation of Ego string trimmer, and it shares much of what makes the ST1521S such a success: long battery life, excellent power, and ergonomics. The primary difference is that it doesn’t have the easy push-bottom line load system. Instead, the string needs to be hand-wound into the head of the trimmer. It’s a nice system and still easier than those of most other models we’ve used, but it simply isn’t as simple to use as the push-button version.

Also great

Ryobi RY40270 40V Brushless Expand-It String Trimmer

Ryobi RY40270 40V Brushless Expand-It String Trimmer

Not as powerful, but attachment-ready

This Ryobi is not as powerful as the Ego models, but it is compatible with Ryobi’s Expand-It system for attachments, which means it can double as a tiller, a brush cutter, and more.

Buying Options

$200* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

If you’re looking for a trimmer that can double as an all-purpose lawn tool, we also like the Ryobi RY40270 40V Brushless Expand-It String Trimmer. Though it can’t cut very thick and tall weeds with the ease of the Egos, it still has the strength to slice through dense grass and the run time to handle a large property. Unlike the Egos, however, the Ryobi is also “attachment-ready,” meaning you can remove the trimmer head and replace it with any number of other yard tools, like a pole saw, a brush cutter, or a mini cultivator (each sold separately). The Ryobi typically sells for about $30 less than the Ego ST1521S. But, again, it isn’t as effective on the thick stuff, and it’s also heavier and much louder. The Ryobi uses a hand-crank reel mechanism, like our runner-up Ego, which makes line loading easier than with the older models, but it’s not as good as our main pick’s push-button system.

Also great

Echo SRM-225 Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

Echo SRM-225 Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

A gas option for the biggest jobs

With no battery, the Echo can run nonstop. But it does require maintenance and the mixing of gas and oil.

Buying Options

$200 from Home Depot

Though we think the vast majority of people will be able to get by with a cordless string trimmer, in some extreme cases, the nonstop power of a gas model is a better fit, such as for clearing large field areas or remote trimming on an extremely large property. For this, we like the Echo SRM-225 Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer. It’s normally priced comparably to the Ego ST1521S, so it’s on the low side for a high-quality gas trimmer. In our own tests, the Echo handled waist-high weeds and 3-foot-tall grass with no problems, and it has a tremendous amount of positive feedback on Home Depot’s website, one place where it’s sold.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Ego ST1521S Power+ String Trimmer

Ego ST1521S Power+ String Trimmer

The best string trimmer

The Ego ST1521S far outperformed the competition in run time and power. It’s also very comfortable to use, even for extended trimming sessions.

Buying Options

$230 from Ace Hardware

Runner-up

Ego ST1502-SA Power+ String Trimmer

Ego ST1502-SA Power+ String Trimmer

The next best trimmer

The Ego ST1502-SA is very similar to our main pick, but the line load isn’t as polished.

Buying Options

$170* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $190.

Also great

Ryobi RY40270 40V Brushless Expand-It String Trimmer

Ryobi RY40270 40V Brushless Expand-It String Trimmer

Not as powerful, but attachment-ready

This Ryobi is not as powerful as the Ego models, but it is compatible with Ryobi’s Expand-It system for attachments, which means it can double as a tiller, a brush cutter, and more.

Buying Options

$200* from Home Depot

*At the time of publishing, the price was $180.

Also great

Echo SRM-225 Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

Echo SRM-225 Straight Shaft Gas Trimmer

A gas option for the biggest jobs

With no battery, the Echo can run nonstop. But it does require maintenance and the mixing of gas and oil.

Buying Options

$200 from Home Depot

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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