Consumer Reports: Super string trimmers

With spring on the way, it’s time to clean your yard. String trimmers can help you tidy up faster. Consumer Reports has tested 60 string trimmers to see how they handle all sorts of tasks, from whacking through tall grass and weeds to edging walkways and paths.

Gasoline trimmers have been popular for a long time because they’re powerful, they can go anywhere, and they run for a long time. Consumer Reports named several as Best Buys, including the $130 Ryobi RY253SS. It has a straight shaft, which is ideal for reaching under bushes. Plus it makes quick work of tall grasses and weeds.

This year for the first time, Consumer Reports found several battery-powered trimmers that perform just as well as gas trimmers. The EGO ST-1501 for $180 earned top ratings. It’s well-balanced and has a nice long reach and enough power to handle any situation. And you don’t have to worry about the hassle of mixing oil and gasoline. The battery lasts about 25 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to recharge.

For smaller yards and jobs, a corded electric may be all you need. You are limited to the length of the electric cord, but corded trimmers are a good, cost-effective alternative for smaller jobs. Look for one that has twin-cutting strings; you’ll get the job done faster.

The best in the tests is the $90 Ryobi RY41134. With any type of string trimmer, be sure to change the cutting string at the start of the season because old string can become brittle and break easy. And Consumer Reports says be sure to buy the right string size for your trimmer. A line that’s too thin will reduce cutting power; too thick, and you may slow down the engine or motor.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

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