Reviews You Can Rely On

The 4 Best String Trimmers of 2024

We tested string trimmers from Makita, Black+Decker, EGO, and others to find the best weed eaters
gearlab tested logo
Best String Trimmer Review
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
By Hale Milano, Michelle Powell, and David Wise  ⋅  May 21, 2024

The Best String Trimmers for 2024


After researching over 75 different string trimmers, we bought the 10 best models on the market today and tested them head-to-head to find out which ones eat up weeds best. We tested their weed-slashing performance in a series of comparative tests, cutting through dense patches of grass and burly weeds, and making precision cuts around obstacles. We also analyzed ergonomics and ease of use. Then, we measured the maximum runtime and noise level of each model. Read on to find out which weed eater cut through the competition, which is your best bet on a budget, and which models will work with your existing cordless tool batteries.

In addition to string trimmers, our team can be seen in the field testing the best leaf blowers and the best cordless lawn mowers, among many other electric tools. We've tested over 150 electric power tools over the last several years. This gives us unique insight into performance over an entire line of electric tools, so if you're enticed by the performance of a Makita string trimmer, you can check out how a Makita cordless circular saw or chainsaw stacks up before you commit to a brand and its batteries. Don't forget, of course, about our curated list of the best tools on the market.

Editor's Note: We updated our string trimmer review on May 21, 2024, to streamline our Noise metric scoring.

Top 10 String Trimmers

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
< Previous | Compare | Next >
 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $329 List
$326.24 at Amazon
$399 List
Check Price at Amazon
$329 List$195 List
Check Price at Amazon
$140 List
$165.85 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
84
81
75
73
64
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent performance across the board, auto line feed is great, comfortableEasy to use, great battery life, low noiseGood at cutting grassInexpensive, quietLightweight, relatively quiet, easy to service
Cons Expensive, heavyNot the lightest tool around, priceyExpensive, heavy, not great for edgingNot the most powerfulNot super powerful, short battery life
Bottom Line This top-tier string trimmer is up to any task, from fine detailing to heavy-duty yard transformationsErgonomic and easy to use, this is one of our favorite cordless yard tools to use in a variety of weed-clearing scenariosThis string trimmer is great for cleaning up small patches of your yardThis budget-friendly and compact string trimmer packs a punch and is on par with other full-size modelsIf you need a string trimmer in your tool arsenal but don't have much money to spend, this one is the one to buy
Rating Categories Ego Power+ Powerloa... Makita XRU15PT 36V Ryobi 40V HP Brushl... Black+Decker LST136 Craftsman V20 Weedw...
Performance (35%)
9.0
8.0
6.7
8.5
6.3
Ease of Use (35%)
9.0
8.5
7.0
7.0
7.0
Battery (20%)
7.0
8.0
10.0
6.0
5.0
Noise (10%)
6.7
7.0
6.9
6.6
7.5
Specs Ego Power+ Powerloa... Makita XRU15PT 36V Ryobi 40V HP Brushl... Black+Decker LST136 Craftsman V20 Weedw...
Cutting path 16 in 15 in 15-17 in 13 in 15 in
Measured weight 12.8 lb 10.2 lb 13.2 lb 6.6 lb 7.0 lb
Number of speed settings 2 3 Variable by trigger pressure 6 2
Shoulder strap attachment Yes Yes No No No
Line feed mechanism Auto Bump Bump Auto Button
Measured sound level from ear level 85.4 dBa 83.6 dBa 84.2 dBa 85.5 dBa 81.5 dBa
Measured no-load runtime 50 min 88 min 140 min 43 min 35 min
Nominal voltage 56 V 36 V 40 V 36 V 20 V
Measured Amp-hours 4 Ah 5 Ah 6 Ah 2 Ah 4 Ah


Best Overall String Trimmer


Ego Power+ Powerload with Line IQ ST1623T


84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Performance 9.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Battery 7.0
  • Noise 6.7
Feed Type: Automatic | Weight: 12 lb 13 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Phenomenal weed-eating performance
Excellent battery life
Smart Line IQ auto feed
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Heavy

The Ego Power+ Powerload with Line IQ ST1623T is the string trimmer that has and does it all. Best-in-class grass, heavy weed, and detail trimming? Check. Top-notch comfort, ergonomics, and battery performance? Check. Automatic line feed and no-fuss maintenance? Another check. This trimmer packs a punch with its 56V battery and 16-inch cutting path and is capable of handling the toughest and largest jobs in your yard while still being nimble enough to edge around a sidewalk or garden wall. Its two power speeds help control the amount of power that it can unleash, and the Powerload line feed and automatic line adjustment make for a hassle-free experience.

The downsides to the Ego Line IQ are minor when compared to its performance. It retails at a premium price point, as one would expect for such a high-performance machine. The Ego batteries, although leading the pack in runtime and compatibility across the Ego brand, are also quite heavy. The sling, purchased separately, can make a big difference in distributing the weight of this nearly 13-pound trimmer. If you're looking for a serious weed-eating machine capable of transforming and maintaining your yard, with the latest bells and whistles to make that job a breeze, the Ego Line IQ should be your go-to choice. If strong battery life is essential but you'd like to avoid the heavier weight associated with it, check out the Makita XRU15PT 36V. It's a couple of pounds lighter than the Ego, with a longer-lasting battery, although we should note it has a smaller cutting path.

Read more: Ego Powerload with Line IQ review

string trimmer - this trimmer tackles any job in your yard without breaking a sweat.
This trimmer tackles any job in your yard without breaking a sweat.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Bang for Your Buck


Black+Decker LST136


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Performance 8.5
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Battery 6.0
  • Noise 6.6
Feed Type: Automatic| Weight: 7 lb 13 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Lower price
Good weed-eating capabilities
Relatively quiet and lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Struggles with dense weeds
Large guard can be obstructive

If you're looking to stretch your dollar with a string trimmer purchase, check out the Black+Decker LST136. We were impressed with this small machine's abilities as its work stood up to considerably more expensive models that we tested. Despite its size, it performed remarkably well in all of our weed-eating tests — even thicker weeds. The LST136 is also one of the lightest trimmers we tested and collapses to half the size of other full-size models. The six different power settings help meet a variety of weed-trimming scenarios, and it boasts a healthy runtime. We loved the rotating head for edging along sidewalks.

Unfortunately, the design of the Black+Decker 136 also makes it tiring to use for extended periods. It extends larger than other collapsible models, but we still had to hold it closer to our body than we would have preferred, and the trigger grip grew tiring over time. It also has one of the larger guards, which can get in the way when making detailed cuts. However, the guard is quite effective at stopping plant and weed debris from getting thrown back at you. Ultimately, if you don't need a serious beast of a weed-eater, this is one of our favorite budget options for a cordless trimmer. If budget allows, we recommend looking at the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper RY402110VNM as a worthy alternative. Boasting the best battery life out of all the models tested to go along with an exceptionally quiet motor, the Ryobi Brushless Whisper is worth taking a look at for those prioritizing battery and noise.

Read more: Black+Decker LST136 review

string trimmer - the black+decker lst136 is one of the quietest and easiest trimmers...
The Black+Decker LST136 is one of the quietest and easiest trimmers to handle.
Credit: Laura Casner

Another Great Bargain Option


Craftsman V20 Weedwacker


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Performance 6.3
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Battery 5.0
  • Noise 7.5
Feed Type: Button | Weight: 7 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Precise for edge work
Relatively quiet
REASONS TO AVOID
Not powerful enough for thick weeds and shrubs
Large guard can get in the way
Shorter battery life

The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker is an excellent, effective tool for keeping your small or medium-sized yard looking great, as well as light-duty brush clearing. It's lightweight and easy to break out for quick jobs or cleaning up what your mower missed, and replacing the spring when it runs out is a simple and easy process. The spool head will receive a lot of abuse as it's dragged and bumped against the ground, and Craftsman even offers a very affordable replacement.

For bigger jobs where thick grasses and brush have really taken over, the light and relatively quiet V20 does not have enough power. It does a better job of maintaining the yard rather than transforming it. During testing, the battery life averaged only 35 minutes. Although this isn't very long, it should suffice for edging along smaller lawns. While the guard effectively shielded us from debris, it is a little too large for detailed work. There are certainly more powerful models with even longer battery life, but we feel this string trimmer is the best choice for the average homeowner on a budget. If you're still trying to keep budget in mind but need something with a bit more power we suggest looking at the Ryobi 40V Expand-It. Thanks to a 40v battery the Ryobi boasts an impressive amount of power from an electric trimmer. While it does not offer the same level of comfort and ergonomics as pricer models, it can tackle larger jobs just as effectively.

Read more: Craftsman V20 Weedwacker review

string trimmer - this model will help you keep your yard &quot;high and tight&quot; without...
This model will help you keep your yard “high and tight” without making you pay a high price.
Credit: Laura Casner

Most Versatile String Trimmer


Makita XRU15PT 36V


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Performance 8.0
  • Ease of Use 8.5
  • Battery 8.0
  • Noise 7.0
Feed Type: Bump | Weight: 10 lb 6 oz
REASONS TO BUY
Great versatile trimming performance
Battery life is exceptional
Very easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive

For the versatile and highly capable string trimmer that does it all with ease, look no further than the Makita XRU15PT 36V. The ability to cut down both light tufts of grass and the most resistant weeds and plants is highly impressive. This machine handles detailed work with ease, helping to straighten lawn edges quickly and effectively. Cycling through the three different speed settings enables the user to operate the trimmer at its ideal speed for the job at hand. It's easy to use and comfortable to wield, thanks to its ergonomic grip. In addition, it has a long runtime and is exceptionally quiet compared to some other models.

Considering all the attributes, our complaints with this model are relatively minor. However, they are worth noting. For instance, we had to reference the instructions to figure out how to replace the line after it had run out. Once we did, the process was about as easy as it could be. Although there is more weight to handle on this trimmer, the weight is so well-balanced with the ergonomic grip that we didn't find it to be an issue. Lastly, we felt like the cutting path isn't as large as other models, despite boasting a potential 15-inch path. Overall, the Makita 36V balances all-around performance with ease-of-use and ergonomics that make it a model we'd keep reaching back for in our own yards, and we can easily recommend the Makita for a versatile pick. For those who find themselves cutting large areas and dense vegetation a powerful trimmer such as the Ego Power+ 15-Inch w/ Rapid Reload ST1502SA may be suited best. While it does not boast the versatility of the Makita, it excels in high weeds. At a much friendlier price point, this is a great option if you know the majority of your trimming is focused around denser areas and less so in finer grass.

Read more: Makita XRU15PT 36V review

string trimmer - if you want a well balanced and versatile trimmer, then this makita...
If you want a well balanced and versatile trimmer, then this Makita model is a great option.
Credit: Laura Casner

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
84
Ego Power+ Powerload with Line IQ ST1623T
Best Overall String Trimmer
$329
Editors' Choice Award
81
Makita XRU15PT 36V
Most Versatile String Trimmer
$399
Top Pick Award
75
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper RY402110VNM
$329
73
Black+Decker LST136
Best Bang for Your Buck
$195
Best Buy Award
64
Craftsman V20 Weedwacker
Another Great Bargain Option
$140
Best Buy Award
59
Ego Power+ 15-Inch w/ Rapid Reload ST1502SA
$200
58
Greenworks 14-inch 40V
$249
57
Ryobi 40V Expand-It
$179
52
Worx 20V Power Share GT Revolution 12-Inch WG170.2
$120
38
Black+Decker LST300
$120

string trimmer - we put each trimmer we tested through a battery of tests designed to...
We put each trimmer we tested through a battery of tests designed to push them to their weed-eating limits.
Credit: Hale Milano

How We Test String Trimmers


To say we put each string trimmer through its paces would be an understatement. We implemented 110 individual tests between the 10 trimmers in the review, running each through the same 11 tests to comparatively assess aspects ranging from weed-eating power to noise levels. This allows us to rank each in accordance with its performance in each metric and make specific recommendations for the unique needs of homeowners or anyone looking to improve their yard. We paid retail price for each model to ensure an unbiased assessment of these string trimmers. For more on our process, see our full How We Test article.

Our string trimmer testing is divided across four different metrics:
  • Performance (35% of overall score weighting)
  • Ease of Use (35% weighting)
  • Battery (20% weighting)
  • Noise (10% weighting)

string trimmer - we used our sound meter to measure how loud each of these string...
We used our sound meter to measure how loud each of these string trimmers are.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Why Trust GearLab


Our expert string trimmer testing and review team is comprised of a powerhouse trio of yard-tool testers, Hale Milano, Michelle Powell, and David Wise. Hale is a veteran tester on everything from cordless leaf blowers to stud finders and no stranger to battery-powered yard tools. Living in the woods, Hale has plenty of experience working to maintain a — somewhat — pristine yard and lawn. Michelle has made a career of evaluating products side-by-side, comprehensively testing and scoring the smallest details, and differentiating factors on everything from coffee grinders to cordless power tools. David has formal training as a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in lithium batteries and electrical power systems, which he gained from working on electric vehicles and underwater robots.

string trimmer - we spent dozens and dozens of hours testing these products...
We spent dozens and dozens of hours testing these products side-by-side.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Analysis and Test Results


In total, we conducted eleven tests for each string trimmer that were divided among four weighted rating metrics. Each of these metrics — Performance, Ease of Use, Battery, and Noise — are weighted proportional to their importance to overall string trimmer performance. The score for each metric is determined by the performance of each trimmer in the tests composing each metric.


Value


If you're shopping for a bargain weed eater, then two models stand out: the Black+Decker LST136 and the Craftsman V20 Weedwacker. These typically cost about half as much — or even a little less — than our top-scoring models, the Ego Line IQ and the Makita 36V, and both are solid string trimmers, costing about the same.

The Black+Decker LST136 is perfect for clearing small areas of your...
The Black+Decker LST136 is perfect for clearing small areas of your yard.
The Craftsman V20 is perfect for light-duty work around the yard.
The Craftsman V20 is perfect for light-duty work around the yard.
Both the Black+Decker and Craftsman are collapsible models that are great for your average suburban yard.

The Black+Decker 136 model is a bit more powerful than the Craftsman V20, and it also has a longer battery life. Deciding between the two will likely come down to whether or not you already have tools with compatible batteries. Both are lightweight and great for quick clean-up tasks. While neither is up to snuff for professional operations, both are worthy of consideration for the average homeowner.

string trimmer - the craftsman v20 weedwacker suffices for basic string trimmer needs...
The Craftsman V20 Weedwacker suffices for basic string trimmer needs of most lawns, helping you save money while getting the job done.
Credit: Laura Casner

Performance


Weed-eating performance composes the greatest share of a product's overall score. To rank and compare the weed-eating skills of each string trimmer, we looked at the effectiveness of each model when it came to trimming plain grass and sections of a yard, how each handled dense and hard-to-cut vegetation, as well as how much precision you have for trimming edges and cleaning up around delicate obstacles.


The Ego Line IQ is the best of the best when it comes to eating weeds. It is exceptionally effective at eliminating weeds, cutting through pretty much any grasses, weeds, shrubs, and bushes we pitted them against smoothly and effectively. Its variable squeeze trigger and two selectable speeds tackle tall grass and dense weeds with ease, even cutting through burly stalks and stems without showing any sign of a struggle.

string trimmer - dense, thick, and high weeds are no problem for this ego, and the...
Dense, thick, and high weeds are no problem for this Ego, and the automatic line feed keeps the string length topped off perfectly.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Black+Decker 136, snagged second place thanks to its outstanding performance as a precision edging machine. The pivoting head and wire guard enabled hassle-free crisp lines along our driveways and sidewalks, while still holding the trimmer normally.

string trimmer - the pivoting head and guard wire on the lst136 make edging a breeze.
The pivoting head and guard wire on the LST136 make edging a breeze.
Credit: Hale Milano

Also scoring well across all of our performance tests was the Makita 36V. Although it did not stand out in any one particular test, we had no qualms with its performance in any of them, and it earned its place among the leaders with ease. We did find the Makita quite enjoyable to use in close quarters. Its slow speed settings enabled nimble and controlled cuts around sprinklers, lawn ornaments, and flower beds without damaging them.

string trimmer - we liked that this tool has plenty of power to cut lots of plants at...
We liked that this tool has plenty of power to cut lots of plants at once, as well as a slow speed for more precise use.
Credit: Laura Casner


Ease of Use


Like the performance metric, ease of use also constitutes 35% of the total score for each string trimmer. Here we compared the weight and guard design of each trimmer, as well as how comfortable and balanced they are to hold. We also compared the ease of replacing and feeding the line and noted if there was a shoulder strap attachment.


The Ego Line IQ, again, earned the top score in this metric. It is exceptionally well balanced, even with the large four amp-hour battery installed, making it easy to carry one-handed and to wield through fields of grass. If you have a sling, attaching it to the included sling attachment point relieves the arms of all the weight and holds the trimmer head at a consistent height. We found this very useful when trimming sections of the lawn to keep the cutting height even. The guard is also significantly better than most. It kept debris from flying back, although we still wore safety glasses, and it also did not block our view when making detailed cuts.

string trimmer - the ego line iq&#039;s guard is the perfect blend between blocking debris...
The Ego Line IQ's guard is the perfect blend between blocking debris and a clear field of view.
Credit: Hale Milano


By far, the nicest feature we tested during our ease of use metric was the Powerload and Line IQ technology found in the Ego Line IQ trimmer. As with other models, simply feed the new line through both eyelets to replace the trimming line. Then, with the Powerload, simply press the wind button, and it will automatically spool the line until about eight inches are left on each end. The automatic line feed then keeps the trimming line set at about seven and a half inches, dispensing more as needed.

string trimmer - the powerload button on this ego makes winding the spool pain-free.
The Powerload button on this Ego makes winding the spool pain-free.
Credit: Hale Milano


The runner-up was the Makita 36V. We loved the included shoulder strap, something other models require you to purchase separately. The balance on the Makita, even without the sling, is exceptional, and the molded rubber grips provide a secure way to control the trimmer. The guard is too small to effectively block much debris from spraying backward, although it did enable us to trim in tight corners with precision.

string trimmer - we found the makita xru15pt string trimmer to be exceptionally...
We found the Makita XRU15PT string trimmer to be exceptionally well-balanced and easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

This trimmer employs a bump feed to dispense more string, but it's a little more difficult to replace the string than some of the other models. There aren't alignment indicators on the spool, which forced us to consult a manual, but it was straightforward once we became familiar with the process. This minor drawback should only be an issue once or twice, after which you'll get the hang of it.

string trimmer - it took us a little bit of effort to figure out how to swap the...
It took us a little bit of effort to figure out how to swap the string on the Makita model the first time.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Craftsman V20 and the Black+Decker 136 both scored well regarding convenience and ease of use. Line replacement on these models is straightforward - we didn't even need the manual for the Black+Decker, although you do need to remove the head of the trimmer to do so.

string trimmer - replacing the spool and line on the lst136 is straightforward...
Replacing the spool and line on the LST136 is straightforward, though keeping the line wound tightly is a little tricky.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Black+Decker 136 and Craftsman V20 are both very simple to pick up and use right away. Both are very lightweight, making them easiest to handle and finesse in tight areas around obstacles. They're fairly comfortable to use, even without a shoulder strap. We did not find them as well balanced as full-size models, though, and wouldn't recommend them for larger jobs.

The Craftsman V20 is a compact trimmer that is perfect for basic...
The Craftsman V20 is a compact trimmer that is perfect for basic yard trimming tasks.
Both of these models collapse down to roughly half the size of other models; it is helpful for storage, but they're not as comfortable to use for long periods.

An honorable mention in our ease of use metric is the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper RY402110VNM. This is a well-balanced, although heavy, full-size trimmer. We wish that it had a sling to balance the heavy weight but found that its design kept it at the perfect height for trimming grass. It also has a larger-than-average guard that stopped quite a bit of debris from flying backward at us.

string trimmer - the ryobi is a heavier but well-balanced trimmer and very pleasant...
The Ryobi is a heavier but well-balanced trimmer and very pleasant to use.
Credit: Hale Milano

Battery


Our next metric focused on the battery system of each string trimmer, and this accounts for 20% of each product's final score. We based the bulk of this score on the maximum runtime for each product and the time it took to recharge the battery from empty. We measured the runtime for these weed eaters when they were not actually eating weeds, so you will probably get lower numbers if you're chewing through dense vegetation or particularly stubborn weeds.


The Ryobi 40V Whisper cut down the competition in our run time test, with its massive six amp-hour battery powering the trimmer on high for over two hours.

string trimmer - a full yard-trimming session barely puts a dent in the monster 6ah...
A full yard-trimming session barely puts a dent in the monster 6Ah Ryobi battery.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Greenworks 14-inch 40V and the Makita 36V lasted for around 90 minutes before the batteries gave out, and they both have a series of different speed settings. Determining which battery system is best for you depends on whether or not you have any other devices that run on compatible batteries that you can use to prolong the run time.

string trimmer - the makita features 3 speeds, giving you the option to save battery...
The Makita features 3 speeds, giving you the option to save battery for lighter duty jobs or power up for the tougher stuff.
Credit: Laura Casner

Noise


Our final metric focused on the amount of noise that each string trimmer generated while in use. This metric accounted for 10% of the overall score. To determine scores, we used a sound level meter to measure the noise from each string trimmer at ear level. Since the sound can vary depending on the weeds you are trimming, our sound test was not during actual cutting. Most trimmers have a louder start-up sequence as the line begins to spin; we took our decibel readings once each unit steadied out. Though our noise scores are determined solely by decibel reading, we also took note of the pitch of each trimmer.


The Craftsman V20 registered as the quietest trimmer at 81.5 decibels, but it also put out an annoying, high-pitched whine. The Black+Decker LST300 tested at 83.1 decibels, with a very pleasant and low pitch. The Makita 36V also scored well here. Our meter recorded 83.6 decibels when this model was in use. After its initial start-up, the Makita is incredibly pleasant and quiet to use.

string trimmer - the makita manages to be both powerful and amongst the quietest.
The Makita manages to be both powerful and amongst the quietest.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Greenworks 40V was the lowest scorer in this metric, with the noisiest reading of 100 dBa.

string trimmer - whether you are shopping for a light-duty model that won&#039;t break the...
Whether you are shopping for a light-duty model that won't break the bank or a heavy-duty trimmer to tackle the toughest weeds, we've tested all the top products out there to help you find the perfect one.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


Whether you need a powerhouse trimmer to tackle the toughest weeds or a lightweight budget model for some minor yard maintenance, we hope this analysis and review helped you find the perfect string trimmer to match your needs.

Hale Milano, Michelle Powell, and David Wise